5 years ago
Robert Schoch is an associate professor of Natural Sciences at the College of General Studies, Boston University. He has been best known as a proponent of the Sphinx water erosion hypothesis. Check out links to more of his work at http://robertschoch.com
Well, his work, that DVD series that he did, Magical Egypt, was amazing. And I had seen your work before that in that Mysteries of the Sphinx thing that was narrated by Charlton Heston. Charlton Heston, NBC, 1993. I think in many ways it was the mystery of the Sphinx that really broke everything open. It brought everything to the public attention. I've had many people tell me, I'm not trying to brag or anything, I'm just saying factually, that this really opened up a new field, if we could put it that way, a new way of looking at things among the popular public, the popular media, but people around the world versus the academic scholarly journals and the back and forth, that type of thing. You have to remember I'm a faculty member, I'm at Boston University, I'm an academic. And many of the academics have poo poo, should we say, over the years bringing things to the public, but I think it's been important to do. Now, what we're talking about for the people that are uninformed is the idea that some of the structures in ancient Egypt are far older than conventional wisdom or conventional modern-day archaeology, modern-day Egyptologists. They would like us to believe that all of this spawned from a very specific time period. And people like John Anthony West and yourself and some other folks like Graham Hancock are proposing that it's entirely possible that there were many different eras of construction in Egypt and that there are some structures that are far, far older than we think. Yeah, exactly. And this, what I was alluding to is this really opened up with our work on redating the great Sphinx. And I think you know the story, but maybe just to summarize in the smallest of nut shells, John Anthony West, before I met him, he was became a follower, should we say, or I shouldn't say follower because that sounds wrong, that sounds like it's a religion dogma, but he became interested in the work of the late Schwaller de Lubitsch, who died, passed away in 1961, but he had mentioned in one line that the Sphinx had been weathered by rain, I would say precipitation, as a geologist, not wind and sand. So this, if it were true, and it is true, would put the Sphinx back to a much earlier period, which would tie in with Schwaller's work and John Anthony West's subsequent work, that there were indications that dynastic Egypt, as we know it, going back to about 3000 BC, was really a legacy of what I call now an earlier cycle of civilization, something that goes back much, much earlier, which at this point, I date back to the end of the last Ice Age. Ice Age ended at 9700 BC, just to put it in perspective for people. So when, when did you first get on board with this? Hi, John Anthony West come to you or John Anthony West. Okay, so the story goes this way, John Anthony West published Serpent in the Sky, his probably most famous book, first edition, 1979. He was then looking for someone that could really validate, or at least assess, from a scientific point of view, this theory about the Sphinx, which he had just barely sort of touched the surface based on Schwaller, that maybe it could be older, but this was really a geological question. He mentions that in 1979, Serpent in the Sky, John Anthony West went on to become very involved with Egypt, and he started traveling to Egypt. He led tours to Egypt. He wrote The Traveler's Key to Ancient Egypt in 1985, also mentions in appendix, I think it was just the quote, older Sphinx theory, but really looking for someone to at least assess it scientifically. He met a fellow at, in, in Egypt actually, at the time, Robert Eddy, who is PhD English literature, I believe, something like that, but he was teaching in Cairo, American University in Cairo, I believe, then he came to Boston University. This is late 1980s. I was and still do teach at Boston University full time. Robert Eddy and myself got to know each other. Robert Eddy mentioned me as a geologist to John Anthony West, and that maybe this was someone who seemed fairly knowledgeable, fairly open-minded about things. At the time, did you have any thoughts on Egypt? Oh, I, my interest in Egypt goes way back. I was reading about ancient Egypt when I was literally six, seven, eight years old. I had a grandmother who had a wonderful library at the time, and I would go through her library. She had books from the British Museum on ancient Egypt going back to the turn of the century. So I, I was prepared in the sense I was open to such things, but I didn't imagine getting involved in Egypt in any way professionally. Did you have any thoughts about the dating of the Sphinx or the pyramids or anything back then? Yeah, there were two things. So there were two things going on in my head back then, which maybe prepped me for this. Number one, I knew the conventional story. I knew that the Sphinx goes back to 2500 BC, according to the standard Egyptologist. In 1989, which is when I first, I believe it was 1989, I first actually met West in person, I had in my mind that the Egyptologist must be correct because they've studied it. They must know what they're doing. I was coming from an academic point of view. I, I'm not, I'm just giving, you know, saying where I'm coming from. I had gone to Yale University to get my PhD in geology and geophysics. I was very well grounded in quote, the status quo academic point of view. So I thought when I first went to Egypt, I would just prove West wrong. I would just prove that the Egyptologist knew what they were talking about. But, and this is an important, but I was also trained in many ways, both as a graduate student and going back to my grandmother who I had great respect for and was also very, should we say, liberal and open-minded, but critical. You always have to follow the evidence wherever it goes. And that's always been my rule of thumb that not everything is always the way people say it is, even if they're quote authorities. And something I already knew when I went to Egypt for the first time was that some of the very old Egyptologists in the late 19th, early 20th century had actually suggested that just the way it looks, the feel of the Sphinx, not based on hard evidence really, that maybe it was older than the pyramids, that maybe it goes back earlier. So I felt that it wasn't all said and done and, you know, pat and sound that the Egyptologists necessarily knew what they were talking about in modern times because some of the earlier Egyptologists, who they held in very high respect supposedly, had said different things. Secondly, and I hate to bring this up, but I will because it's part of the background, I, my grandmother, who I mentioned a second ago, was a theosophist. And if you know anything about theosophy, it also suggests that, you know, maybe there's things that go back earlier. I don't... What is a theosophist? A theosophist, it's, it's, how do I explain it? Have you heard of Blavatsky, Madame Blavatsky? No. No. Okay. Whoop, I'm losing my headphones. Theosophy was founded in the late 19th century. It questioned a lot of the materialistic values, a lot of the dogma of science of the time, of religion of the time. It looked to the east in particular, to other philosophies, other worldviews. So basically, it was a way, this is what it did for me at least, and I'm not a theosophist. I don't want to say I'm a theosophist. But reading theosophical works on top of everything else allowed me, I think, to expand my horizons and to see that maybe this dogma of the day is just that, the dogma of the day, that there are other possibilities. And not that we accept something just because someone said it, or because it's old, or because it's this religion, or that religion, or that's supposed to be an ancient culture. But no, you keep everything open, you look at the evidence, and that's really where I was coming from. But my point is that even in the late 1980s, early 1990s, when I first got involved with this, if I looked at it critically, the evidence was not that definitive for the age of the Sphinx. So I was going in with open-minded possibilities, but honestly when I first went to Egypt with John Anthony West in 1990, I thought before I got off the plane that this would be simple open and shut case. I would prove him wrong in the sense of his assertions that maybe the Sphinx was older. I had no doubt at the time that my colleagues in Egyptology must know what they're talking about, and all of that changed literally within 30, without exaggerating, 30 to 120 seconds of first seeing the Sphinx. Really? Yeah, it really did. What was your first impression? Because my first impression of the Sphinx was now that I saw it on the ground in person, there was something wrong with the Egyptological dating. Because when you look at the Sphinx, as a geologist with a geological eye, this was not weathered by wind and sand. This was not desert erosion and weathering that I saw on the Sphinx, the body of the Sphinx, which is very difficult to tell because it's been heavily repaired and reworked, but particularly on the walls of what are known as the Sphinx enclosure. The Sphinx enclosure is important because it preserves a lot of the details, and if you haven't, if the audience has not been to Egypt, they should realize that when they carved the Sphinx, it's all solid bedrock, only the head initially was above the ground surface. You carve, they carved down into the rock to free up the body, what I call the core body of the Sphinx. And it's that core body and the walls of the enclosure, more or less the quarry around it, if you want to use that term, that show these ancient weathering, precipitation, erosional features that are incompatible with the last 5,000 years of climatic history on the eastern edge of the Sahara. So immediately I knew there was something wrong geologically, had to figure that out. Either this was a weird geological anomaly or something else was going on, and the Sphinx might go back to an earlier period. Also, I want to point out that when you look at the Sphinx, and other geologists have looked at this as well, they did not just chip away at the rock to carve the body, more or less you could have chipped away at the rock with pickaxes and that type of thing, shoveled out chips of rock in baskets, that would have been the easy way. What they did is they carved out huge blocks of stone, and when I say huge, we're talking multi-ton, tens of tons, some of them maybe over 50 tons or more of limestone. They moved those due east of the Sphinx and built what is now known as the Sphinx Temple, which is still there in ruinous condition, and the Valley Temple. So you had these two huge temples, and what is interesting, a lot of people don't realize this or they don't think about it, I think those constructions which are contemporary with the oldest portion of the Sphinx in some ways are more impressive if you think about the technology and what went into constructing them than the age of the Sphinx itself. So it's not just the Sphinx, it's also these limestone temples that are associated with it and were built contemporaneously. So Jamie pulled up two photos here, the first one that he pulled up was a computer image that showed the Sphinx and showed- Okay, I'm looking at it now, yes, and in this image what you can see, that's a computer image that's actually from Mystery of the Sphinx, and then there's an inset that's an aerial photograph, the real thing, and that shows how when they were carving the body they cut out huge blocks and then put them in position to make what's known as the Sphinx Temple due east of the Sphinx. And the second image is the Sphinx Temple? Okay, and you look at this, it says the Sphinx faces due east, the rising sun, and right in front of it is the Sphinx Temple. So this is a humongous temple made out of these huge blocks of stone which were carved out when they carved the body of the Sphinx, and here you see in this image another picture of the Sphinx Temple. And so these erosion features that you're looking at here- And you can see how big they are, you can see how big they are, they're enormous. Okay, these erosion features on the blocks, don't worry about them for the moment. Okay. Let's go back to the Sphinx enclosure itself, it's a Sphinx enclosure where you see the rolling undulating profile, the erosional features, here you see it in that picture, the vertical fissures, and I know you're familiar with this personally because I've heard you talk about it with John Anthony West, that can only be caused by precipitation. The rocks are like a layer cake, so it takes out the softer layers, it recedes the softer layers, some of the harder layers stick out further, but the water also finds its way down crevices and cracks, natural features that are slightly softer and it forms these vertical fissures. I want to make the point because a lot of people get confused, they say, couldn't it be rising Nile floods? No. Geologically that would give a very different signature on the rock, it's not floods coming up from the bottom, it's actually precipitation and rainfall runoff coming from above. And rainfall for thousands of years? Well, there's two aspects here, it could be thousands of years, it could be much stronger rainfall, you know, huge flash floods, that type of thing, and part of the story that I hope we'll get to is that initially, I'm jumping around here a little bit, but initially I was thinking 5,000 to 7,000 BC, that was very conservative based on the geological data, based on the seismic, which we have to get to also, but now I believe we're talking prior to 9,700 BC for the original construction of the Sphinx and we can talk about why the dating, and at 9,700 BC we have the end of the Younger Dryas, the end of the glacial epic, the end of the last Ice Age. I have now put together the story based on evidence, and when I say, if I say I believe something or I think something, it's always based on evidence that I've been piecing together, that what we had ending the Younger Dryas, ending the last Ice Age, was a huge eruption from the sun, a huge solar outburst, huge climatic changes, which put among other things a lot of precipitation, a lot of moisture into the air, which came down as precipitation with huge floods, huge essentially thunderstorms, etc., and I think a lot of the initial erosion that we still see on the walls of the Sphinx enclosure go back to that period. So you had the situation where you would get this incredible weathering and erosion, and then it continued for thousands of years after that and was reinforced until you had the Sahara coming in in relatively recent times, in geologically Holocene times. The Sahara Desert. The Sahara Desert, yes. So before that it was some sort of a rainforest. It's savannah to rainforest. It actually varied over time, and before that it was very fertile savannah, lots of plants there. People have seen it even in popular movies and whatnot, how the Sahara at one point had water and all kinds of animals. That's before the end of the last Ice Age, before this these incredible changes that we have at 9700 BC. So that's where the Sphinx, I think the original Sphinx, goes back to that time period, and that's what the Egyptians called Zeptepi. This was a first time for them, or what I call an earlier cycle of civilization. The last cycle, the one that we're still part of in my terminology, is the last 5,000 years. So civilization arising, re-emerging. I should say about 3,000 to 4,000 BC, coming into really what we have now, you know, high technology, etc. But before that there had been earlier cycles of civilization that was essentially snuffed out or brought to its knees, if you would, by the end of the last Ice Age. And just to map this out, a period from about 9700 BC, this is what I'm reconstructing now, to about 4,000 to 3,000 BC, where we have civilization re-emerging between that period. So thousands of years, 9700 BC to say 3,700 BC for round numbers, 6,000 years, we have essentially a dark period. And what I've been now calling CIDDA, Solar Induced Dark Age, sort of ironic, the Sun would induce a dark age because it brought civilization back to an earlier stage, if you would. I'm not sure I follow that. How did the Sun do this? Solar Outbursts, essentially coronal mass ejection, huge eruption, bigger than anything we've ever seen. And so that's what caused these massive thunder showers. Exactly. Nothing in modern history. Nothing in modern history is even close to this, but we do have isotope data, etc., that indicates this has happened in the past, at the end of the last Ice Age, and I'm sure it's happened many times over. And you have a lot of markers that indicate this, you have vitrification of rock. In fact, a lot of the markers, and I don't want to be debating the issue necessarily, but a lot of the markers that people have used for a comet at the Younger Dryas, or during the Younger Dryas, most of them are at the beginning of the Younger Dryas. That's what they're claiming, but a lot of the dating is very, very iffy. I found it interesting, for instance, someone will use something as a marker for the Younger Dryas, and it will give a date of 12,000 plus or minus 4,000 years. So, you know, this is just the way geology is. But...