We are pleased to welcome as February 2012 Co-Authors of the Month Scott Creighton and Gary Osborn with their article titled “In Search of Khufu.” Their new book, The Giza Prophecy- The Orion Code and the Secret Teachings of the Pyramids, is a detailed study of the proportions of the Giza pyramids and how they reveal shifts in the Earth’s axis in the remote past—and near future. Offering a radical new perspective on the Great Pyramid of Giza and all the structures surrounding it, including the Sphinx, Scott and Gary show how the designers of Giza intentionally arranged these massive structures to create an astronomical timeline recording catastrophic events in the past as well as warning later generations of the precise times of future catastrophes. Join the discussion this month on the AoM Message Boards and have your views on this matter heard by the authors.
They reveal how the Old Kingdom pyramids of Giza were created, not as tombs for the pharaohs and their queens, but as “recovery vaults” to ensure the rebirth of the Kingdom of Egypt after a global disaster.” The ‘Recovery Vault’ theory is a key part of our proposal in the book. Graham has written the foreword to The Giza Prophecy.
In Whose Name?
Who built the Great Pyramid? Most will reply, “Khufu” (Cheops in Greek) – and they are, in all probability, quite right. When did Khufu build his pyramid? Those knowledgeable in such matters will reply, “Around 2550 BCE”. And they are, in all probability….
Whilst the name ‘Khufu’ is inextricably associated with the Great Pyramid (most likely as its builder), the name ‘Khufu’ is categorically not the name that should be associated with the 2nd King of the 4th Dynasty, a king who apparently lived ca.2550 BCE. It is our view that the placement of Khufu within this timeframe by mainstream Egyptology is quite erroneous.
Figure 1: Hieroglyphics for “Khufu”
The above image (figure 1) are the hieroglyphs of “Khufu”, an inscription not unlike that discovered in 1837 by Colonel Howard-Vyse painted in plain sight onto the hitherto inaccessible ceiling of Campbell’s Chamber high above the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid. This inscription (reading from left) is believed to be made up of the placenta (or sieve) hieroglyph i.e. a circle with horizontal hatchings (“Kh”), a quail bird (“U”), viper (“F”) and another quail bird (“U”) – “Khufu”. However, if we compare this rendering of Khufu with the hieroglyphic inscription for what is also believed to be the name “Khufu” from the Abydos King List in the Temple of Seti I (figure 2), we find a considerable difference:
Figure 2: Cartouche of ‘Khufu’ as Depicted in the Abydos King List
The inscription above (a horizontal rendering of the Abydos King List inscription) is also said to present the name “Khufu” although instead of the first glyph (from left) presenting the hatched circle glyph (“Kh”), it presents a plain circle, the glyph for the ancient Egyptian sun God, “Re” or “Ra” which is identical to the plain disc glyph in the other cartouches to the immediate right of this cartouche in the Abydos King List (presented vertically in figure 3) that are fully accepted by Egyptologists as representing the plain solar disc of the god, Ra.
Figure 3: 4th Dynasty Kings from the Abydos King List
Strictly speaking then, the inscription in the Abydos List (#21) that is believed to be the cartouche of ‘Khufu’ should actually be read as “Ra-fu” since the disc glyph here that should denote the phonetic “Kh” actually reads as phonetic “Ra” since there are no horizontal lines (hatchings) evident in the circle that would render the disc unambiguously as “Kh” – just a plain disc exactly like the plain Ra disc in the cartouches of his immediate successors, Radjedef, Rachaf, Menkau-Ra etc (figure 3).
However, as with most ancient Egyptian matters, things are not quite as straightforward as they might at first appear. We understand from other ancient Egyptian texts that a plain disc (i.e. a disc without the horizontal hatchings) can apparently represent the phonetic “Kh” sound. However, when the phonetic “Kh” disc is presented in its plain disc form, it is usually painted a bluish-green color in order to clearly distinguish it from the plain Ra disc which is painted either yellow-gold or reddish-orange (the colors of the sun).
To complicate matters further still, what is clearly evident in the Abydos King List is that none of the discs in the cartouches of any of the kings have been painted. This creates something of a problem – how do we know which disc glyphs should be understood as “Re” and which, if any, should be read as “Kh”? This begs the immediate question – why render such a highly important relief in such a seemingly unclear and ambiguous manner? Surely the scribes and artisans of the Abydos table would have been aware of the potential ambiguity they were creating by failing to carve or even paint the differentiating detail into the ‘Khufu’ cartouche.
What is even more intriguing (and somewhat confusing) is that it seems that both of these cartouches i.e. with plain disc (Rafu or Raufu) and hatched disc (Khufu) are present in the archaeological record with examples of both having been found in and around Giza and elsewhere. Indeed, even within Col. Howard-Vyse’s very own journal where he first notes the ‘Khufu’ cartouche from Campbell’s Chamber (with hatched disc), we find on the very same page that he has also drawn a cartouche of ‘Raufu’ (with a plain disc) that he found inscribed in the mastaba of Imery at Giza. But how can this be? Why do Egyptologists interpret these similar (yet quite different) inscriptions as the name “Khufu” and not as ‘Khufu’ and ‘Raufu’?
Invariably Egyptologists will insist that there is really only one inscription i.e. that the two different cartouches (plain disc and hatched disc) we find in the archaeological record both refer to the same person, the same king Khufu. Egyptologists insist that the plain disc variety of the name “Khufu” (as presented in the Abydos King List and elsewhere) was simply an unfinished disc i.e. that the artist failed to paint the plain disc green-blue or to carve/paint horizontal lines within the disc to render it unambiguously as “Kh”. Alternatively, they will claim that the absence of the differentiating detail was the result of a simple mistake or an oversight on the part of the scribe or sculptor, or that the etched or painted horizontal lines have simply faded away.
Is it reasonable to consider that this disc in this cartouche should have been rendered so ambiguously? Is it not more likely that there are no mistakes and that these two distinctly different cartouches do, in fact, refer to and identify two quite different individuals, two quite different kings – Raufu and Khufu? Is there any other evidence that might support such a conclusion?
What must be understood here is that the scribes, sculptors and artisans of the Abydos King List would have well understood the frailties of paint and so, to ensure that the king’s precise name would endure for all eternity they would surely have sought to carve the horizontal hatchings into the disc of the king’s name (as opposed to merely painting the lines) to permanently render the disc as “Kh”.
Such carving of the hatching lines (as opposed to merely painting them) would have been all the more pressing when one views the context in which the presumed ‘Khufu’ cartouche is presented within the Abydos table. As stated earlier, the presumed Khufu cartouche is immediately followed by inscriptions that present identical plain discs in the names of Radjedef, Rachaf, Menkau-Ra etc that are fully understood and accepted by scholars as phonetic “Ra/Re” and not as phonetic “Kh”.
So why, we must ask, did the scribes and artisans not ensure that the Khufu cartouche was rendered unambiguously with a carved (or painted) disc?
The answer may be staggeringly simple – these differentiating lines were not carved or painted, nor the plain disc painted greenish-blue because this additional differentiating detail may not actually have been required, ergo, the plain disc glyph presented in the presumed ‘Khufu’ inscription in the Abydos King List is to be read precisely in the manner that we find it i.e. as “Re/Ra” – as ‘Raufu’. There seems little possibility of a mistake by the scribes here. The two types of inscription believed to be the one name “Khufu” may in fact refer to two quite different Kings – Khufu and Raufu. It is, in our opinion, quite unreasonable to expect that this disc – if it was meant to be read as ‘Kh’ – would not have received carved hatchings precisely due to the frailties of paint and the highly ambiguous context in which this cartouche is presented in the Abydos table.
The Seal Seals it.
Now, such a statement will be regarded as highly controversial, calling into question hundreds of years of Egyptological consensus that regards these two different cartouches as referring to the same king “Khufu”. There is, however, further compelling evidence to support our view that these two different inscriptions do indeed represent two different kings.
Consider the images below (figures 4 and 5) which show the impressions from a 4th dynasty cylinder seal supposedly depicting the term “Pyramid Town Akhet Khufu”. Note: the supposed ‘Khufu’ inscription is within the large oval-shaped cartouche.
Figure 4: Author’s Impression of Cylinder Seal and Impression Depicting “Raufu”
(Click for larger image)
Now, the purpose of a cylinder seal was to quickly and efficiently render the name of the king onto a wet clay tablet, usually for official business. This clay tablet would then be fired in a kiln. It would not be expected that each and every clay impression from such a seal – when fired and dried – would then have to be painted to finalize the precise detail of the king’s name since such an action would completely undermine the very purpose and efficiency of the seal. In order that such a seal could function as efficiently as possible it should be able to render the full, royal name of the king upon impression and without having to resort to painting additional detail afterwards in order to make the meaning of the name clear and unambiguous.
Simple common sense tells us that the most efficient and most practical way to render the full, unambiguous name of the king when using a seal would be to carve the full, unambiguous name of the king – hatchings and all – right into the seal from the start so that, upon impression the meaning is perfectly clear – ‘Kh’.
Now, observe the disc within the cartouche of the king’s name below (labeled ‘1’ in figure 5). Once again we see the disc within the royal cartouche has been rendered without the horizontal hatchings – it is a plain (unhatched, unpainted) disc that is identical in every way to the plain disc of Ra just as we find in the cartouche of this king in the Abydos table.
All ambiguity could have very easily been removed from this seal (and, of course, its impressions) with the simple use of carved, horizontal lines within the disc of the king’s name. But these differentiating lines were not carved into this seal and we have to ask – why wasn’t this done? Why was the disc in the king’s cartouche of this seal finished without the absolutely essential hatched lines that would be needed to render the king’s name properly, efficiently and unambiguously?
Beside the cartouche (bottom right figure 5) we see another disc (labeled ‘2’) has been rendered very precisely with the intricate detail of a cross, carved into the disc’s interior. This is the ancient Egyptian word for “town” or “territory”. The point in highlighting this is to show that it is quite inconceivable that the maker of this seal would have remembered to carve the full, intricate line detail for the word “town” and yet completely forget to carve the full detail (i.e. hatched horizontal lines) within the disc of the God-King’s name.
It has been argued by some that the disc of the king’s name in this particular seal is simply too small an area to have rendered such intricate detail. This argument makes little sense since, if such line detail were indeed required, then simply create a slightly larger disc, i.e. a disc of similar size to the “town” disc into which the horizontal line detail could have been carved.
There is but one inescapable conclusion that can be drawn from this evidence. It seems reasonably clear that the maker of this seal fully intended the disc within the cartouche of the king to be rendered as a plain disc to be read as “Ra”. There seems to be no mistake here on the part of the scribe or sculptor (as is often assumed by mainstream Egyptology). The name of the king on this seal seems to have been fully intended to be impressed as “Raufu” and, again, almost identical to the name we find inscribed within the cartouche of the second king of the 4th dynasty as presented in the Abydos King List (figure 3) – i.e., ‘Rauf’.
Naturally, this then leads us to the very obvious question – if Raufu was the 2nd king of the 4th dynasty ca.2550 BCE – as the evidence seems to suggest – who then was Khufu? When did he live? And why do we find his name (as opposed to Raufu’s name) painted in an inaccessible area (until 1837) of the Great Pyramid?
It seems to us that whilst Khufu may indeed have been the builder of the Great Pyramid he was not the 2nd king of the 4th dynasty ca.2550 BCE – this being Raufu. And since Khufu is not mentioned as being the king in earlier (or later) dynasties, we must further conclude that this king belonged to an age before the dynastic period of Ancient Egypt ever arose. And it stands to reason that if Khufu does not belong to dynastic Egypt then neither can the Great Pyramid (built by Khufu). And, by extension, neither can the other giant pyramids that preceded the Great Pyramid belong to the Old Kingdom period.
In short, Egyptologists have convinced themselves that this king Raufu of the 4th dynasty ca.2550 BCE was the same person that built the Great Pyramid (i.e. Khufu) who – in all probability – belonged to another, earlier age. This, of course, begs the further question – how far back might we have to go to find Khufu and the true date for the construction of his Great Pyramid?