Thinking about R’lyeh and Egypt

Looking for something different this Christmas?  How about a Cthulhu Christmas tree?  I’m sure the Dagon Tabernacle Choir will love it!


All kidding aside, Leive is planning a Christmas dinner for us and some friends, so during the past two days I have made short trips to buy the ingredients she requested.  Today I also attended the Christmas Eve service at church; somebody from the family had to be there, because Leive’s niece Rezia led the worship.  But because it was only 25 degrees outside, Leive did not go with me.

Finally, this afternoon my favorite author, David Rohl, gave an interview with an online radio station, where he talked mainly about Egypt.  I expect a podcast version of the interview will be available here soon; the interviewer, James Swagger, also put copies of his programs on YouTube.  Although I only learned a couple new things, it was interesting nonetheless; check it out.

Iraq Wants the Deed to the Tower of Babel

In the past I have posted links to odd news stories from the Middle East, but I can’t figure out this one.  Iraq kicked out its Jewish community in the 1940s, and most of them went to Israel.  The Iraqi government confiscated the books the Jews could not take with them, and the United States removed those books after toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003.  Now Iraq wants the Jewish Iraqi Archive back, so the Jews won’t try to take the Tower of Babel by claiming they built it originally.

Can anybody make sense of this?  There weren’t any Jews in existence when the tower was built.  If Abraham lived at the time, which I doubt, he wouldn’t have claimed the structure.  Moreover, the tower crumbled away thousands of years ago, and nobody knows for sure where it was (David Rohl thinks it was the temple of Enki, at Eridu).  What’s the point in claiming a building that no longer exists?

Finally, if we give the manuscripts back, what assurances do we have that the Iraqis will treat them as well as the Jews have?  Let an Islamist government take over in Iraq, and the manuscripts will probably get the same treatment as the Bamian Buddhas in Afghanistan.

Anyway, check it out and tell me if you understand what the Iraqis are thinking:

Iraq Wants Jewish Archive to Prove Ownership of the Tower of Babel

Florida Isn’t Heaven, But It Might Be Eden

Back when I was a kid, my mother had a travel guide on the bookshelf with the title Florida Isn’t Heaven!  I was reminded of that today when I heard where my brother went.  Now that he isn’t working on weekends anymore, he spends his time off sightseeing in the Tallahassee area.  That in itself is no surprise; I did that during my first year in Kentucky (until Leive moved here to join me), and two years ago, I did a little bit in Connecticut.  Unfortunately I didn’t go out as much in Connecticut because gas prices were so high.

Anyway, today my brother drove west for an hour and came to Torreya State Park, at Bristol, FL.  On Facebook he posted this picture of a Torreya tree, a type of yew that can only be found there:


I immediately remembered that years ago, a pastor named Elvy Calloway claimed the Garden of Eden was located on that spot in north Florida, and I commented on it in one of my history papers, Chapter 8 of The Genesis Chronicles.  I told my brother that, and how Calloway also believed Noah used wood from the Torreya tree.  He responded that the trees he saw were so small, it would have taken a million of them to build an ark!  Oh, well, the Eden-in-Florida theory still has a few bugs in it.  I guess David Rohl’s theory about Eden being in the same location as Tabriz, Iran, is still the best one that explains the evidence.

I also did a Google search to find out what information is available online about Mr. Calloway and that part of Florida, and updated the paragraph I had on them.  Here is how it will read now:

11. The Florida Panhandle. Elvy E. Calloway (1889-1981), a Baptist pastor and retired lawyer, claimed that the Garden of Eden was on the banks of the Apalachicola River, one mile from Bristol, FL. Despite his background, he was no fundamentalist (he took Clarence Darrow’s side during the John Scopes trial); he got his ideas from metaphysics, numerology, and libertarian politics as well as the Bible. In the early 1950s Calloway set up a Garden of Eden park on the site, and in 1971 he wrote a book, In The Beginning, to promote his theories. He believed Bristol marked the spot because the Apalachicola is the only four-headed river system in the world (the other is in Siberia); and that onyx, bdellium, and gold are found nearby. Finally, because the Apalachicola River runs through a ravine, while most of Florida is flat, the Bristol area is home to several rare plants; the Torreya tree, which Calloway thought was the source of gopher wood, Noah’s building material, grows nowhere else. The state of Florida must have liked the Eden idea, because after Calloway’s death, the hiking trail from his park became part of the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, and another park, Torreya State Park, was established nearby.

“The Lords of Avaris” in Central Kentucky

This afternoon, among other things, I visited a used bookstore two and a half miles from my house; they always have interesting books, and I hadn’t been there in a few months.  Of course I checked out the world history books, and found a big surprise – they had three copies of David Rohl’s book “The Lords of Avaris!”

Long-time readers will know that David Rohl, a British archaeologist, is my favorite author.  I bought my copy of “The Lords of Avaris” five years ago, and reviewed it in this blog; check out my messages from February 19, 2007 and July 18, 2008 to read what I said about it.

What amazes me is how these three copies got to my part of Kentucky.  They have never been published in the United States; I had to order mine from the British equivalent of Amazon,  And while it wouldn’t be too surprising to find a copy in a big city on the coast, Kentucky is off the beaten path.  Finally, the books are in mint condition, so I don’t think somebody donated his copies to the store after reading them.  I paid $40 for my copy, and these are being offered for $7.99 each.  What a deal!

Because I still have my copy, I don’t expect to be buying another one, unless I want to give it to a friend.  Last year my pastor was working on bringing David Rohl to speak in our state, so I called and told him, in case he might want one.  Of course they will be sold, if David does come to town.

The Temple of Beth-Shemesh

I just read about the discovery of a temple at Beth-Shemesh in Israel, dated to the 11th century B.C. (see the link below).  This got my attention right away because (1) Beth-Shemesh was a border town in Old Testament times, between the Israelites and Philistines, (2) the 11th century B.C. was the time of the last judges and King Saul, and (3) a story from the Old Testament took place in Beth-Shemesh, right at that time.  According to 1 Samuel 4-6, the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant in a battle, but after a wave of plagues hit the cities where the Ark was kept, they decided to return it.  To find out if God was behind the plagues, they loaded the Ark on an ox-cart, and sent it off without a driver, to see if the oxen would take it to Israel.  They did, and when the cart reached Beth-Shemesh, the locals rejoiced and made a sacrifice of the oxen, until a number of them were struck dead for not handling the Ark properly.  Then the Ark was sent to another town, Kiriath-Jearim, and because nobody there wanted to touch it, after what had already happened, it stayed there for at least forty years, until King David came along and took the Ark to Jerusalem.

The article goes on to say that the site was identified as a holy place because of the animal bones found there, and that it was destroyed once and rebuilt.  The archaeologists are guessing it was an Israelite place of worship, which the Philistines destroyed when they took Beth-Shemesh, and the Israelites rebuilt it later, when they took Beth-Shemesh back.

So far so good, but I have a few questions which the story did not answer.  First, how did the archaeologists get the 11th century B.C. date?  I am assuming it was carbon-14 dating, or a comparison of the local styles of pottery.  This matters because at other sites in the Holy Land, it now looks like the artifacts were dated to the wrong period.  The ashlar stone walls at Megiddo, for example, are usually dated to the time when the Canaanites ruled the city, when King Solomon may have been the one who really built them.

Second, how did they decide it was an Israelite temple, and not a Philistine or Canaanite one?  It would have helped if the article mentioned what kind of animal bones were found; if they included pig bones, you can rule out the Israelites.  In those days, the Israelites were only allowed to perform sacrifices where the Ark was (usually at Shiloh), so sacrifices only could have been done legally during the brief period when the Ark was at Beth-Shemesh.

Have we found the exact spot where a Bible story (1 Samuel 6) took place?  It’s an exciting thought.

11th-century temple uncovered near Jerusalem | Fox News.

The 9/11 Tragedy, Eleven Years Later


Yes, it’s hard to believe, but eleven years have gone by since the day most of us can remember so well.  My New England calendar (a souvenir from my last job) calls today “Patriot Day.”  Yesterday and today, I saw plenty of tributes to the victims and heroes of that fateful day, from abroad as well as close to home (the above picture came from the Philippines).  I won’t try to compete in a tribute contest, because so many have done better already.


I also saw something bizarre on Facebook.  Apparently there is a travel agency in Egypt that claims today is New Year’s Day, and is trying to profit by selling ancient Egyptian calendars.  You can see it at ; apparently they don’t have their own website yet.


One of my Facebook friends is David Rohl, Egyptologist and progressive songwriter.  Long-time readers may remember him posting a few comments on this blog in 2008 and 2009.  Naturally he thought the calendar was bogus, and asked how the date was calculated.  Well, I believe I know where they got the year of 6254.  Somebody is counting from 4241 B.C., and another archaeologist, Ludwig Borchardt, proposed that date, more than a century ago.  Borchardt simply counted two Sothic cycles before 1321 B.C., which used to be the accepted date for the pharaoh Ramses I.  Click here to see what I wrote fifteen years ago, about the Sothic cycle’s affect on Egyptian chronology.

What bothers me about the agency calendar is not the year but the day.  The Egyptians began a new year when the star Sirius (Spdt or Sothis) rose at dawn, because that happened just before the annual flood of the Nile, giving the Egyptians just enough warning to head for higher ground.  That used to happen around July 19, but because of the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, it now happens around August 1.  Therefore the ancient Egyptian New Year began on August 1, not September 11.

On the other hand, there is a country near Egypt that begins a new year on September 11 – Ethiopia.  Nothing to do with the tragedy we’re observing; the Ethiopian calendar has slipped over the ages, so that it is now 7 years and about 250 days off.  Thus, in Addis Ababa, today should be January 1, 2005.