> Are you willing to at least entertain the
> idea that stones shipped to the Giza plateau might
> have been stones used for the pyramids, Philip?
(In retrospect, sorry I included more than you asked for.)
Of course I am willing to consider that as one possibility, I always have, and I may have already stated that previously. But “possibly” is not "probably" or "likely" and certainly isn't “proof”. It’s not proof that Merer delivered stones to Giza, nor is it proof that any stones that Merer may have delivered to Giza were used for the pyramids.
Conversely, my question is, why do so many people interpret Merer’s log to be such strong proof of the provenance of G1 when there isn’t a single mention of any work done on Giza at all, let alone any pyramid? Why aren’t people, instead, clamoring to find out what She-Khufu and Ro-She Khufu are, especially since Merer spent as many as 8 full days in a single block at that mysterious dyke? The contradiction is too strong to be able to be hand wave it by contorting the narrative to simply focus on G1 instead of what the narrative actually focuses on.
By the way, I don’t recall ever insisting that Merer didn't ship stones to Giza; I said his log doesn't “prove” G1 was built by Khufu in the 3rd millennium BC. Even if I believed this really is G1’s true provenance, it would still be true that the findings at el Jarf do not serve as proof for G1’s provenance.
> Otherwise, why take them to the plateau at all?
There are other applications for Tura on and around the Giza Plateau, some of which I believe are far more probable than work done on a pyramid, let alone the original construction of G1 (see below). Note it’s not as clear to me as it is to others what Akhet-Khufu actually refers to. There seems to be disagreement about whether it only refers specifically to G1, vs. a broader area, perhaps the necropolis, perhaps Giza, and perhaps even a broader area around that.
That said, first of all, it depends on what you mean by "them". What are you envisioning as the "stones" that were loaded onto Merer's "boat"? What was the size of the boat, how much room did it have to load stones (vs. other cargo it might have been carrying), how many stones would fit into that space, how big were those stones, what shape were they? In his log, Merer mentions three kinds of boats, but neither Merer or Tallet offer any specifications of those boats, so I don’t know the capacity of those boats. Tallet states that two of them (previously documented to have transported "large" stones) were used regularly in the second half of the Old Kingdom (e.g., 5th Dynasty) according to ancient writings, but I’m not aware of any artifacts, or even graphics, of such boats that would allow us to verify their size, cargo capacity, and provenance. If Merer's log truly was written during Khufu’s reign, then this would be the oldest mention of such a boat (according to Tallet). Unfortunately, I was unable to surface any detailed reference for those boats on my searches. Perhaps someone else has better info. Otherwise, I really don’t know what “loaded with stone” means without a frame of reference for the boat.
But let's consider the possibility that the stones were indeed unloaded at Akhet-Khufu. Exactly where is that harbor (and what are Ro-She Khufu and She-Khufu)? How big of a ship could the Akhet-Khufu harbor handle, and how big of a draft could it accommodate? Among the various possibilities, let's assume for the moment that Akhet-Khufu refers to a harbor at Giza. Dropping off stones at the Giza plateau is by no means proof that the stones were used on G1, e.g., for repairs, restoration, original construction, etc. (See my answer to your question about applications of Tura stone, below.)
Regarding the apparent overnight stop at Akhet-Khufu while loaded with stones, we need to be careful about singular incidents like that since there is at least one example of what appears to be an omitted segment of the trip. This becomes a larger problem if these papyrus fragments are a scribe’s copy of the original ledger, e.g., for distribution to various officials/nobles, which introduced various errors and omissions known to happen with copies, more so with copies of copies, etc.. Considering it was found at Wadi el Jarf, it very possible it could have been an administrative (scribe’s) copy and not the original.
I think it’s fair to consider that Tura is mentioned because that’s where the boat was loaded with stone. And it’s fair to consider the Ro-She Khufu and She-Khufu were mentioned because that’s where work was done and is likely where the stones were unloaded. But why mention or stop at Akhet-Khufu at all other than to simply indicate that's where they spent the night? It might depend on where the Akhet-Khufu and She-/Ro-She Khufu ports were located, and we don’t know that. If the ports are close to each other, then Akhet-Khufu might be a holding port when the She-/Ro-She ports were full (after all, there seems to have been major construction going on at that site which suggests lots of harbor activity). Other reasons he might need to stop at Akhet-Khufu include administrative reporting (who did he report to and where was his home office?), pick up or drop off one or more important officials or dignitaries that traveled between Akhet-Khufu and Tura or Ro-She (he does comment elsewhere on associating with a noble, an officer, the royal palace). Also, he seemed mainly concerned with recording where they started and ended each day, and so we can consider the possibilities that he might have made other stops along the way in a given day which he felt less compelled to report. If he could depart from Akhet-Khufu early enough to unload the stones in Ro-She and still have time in the day to return to Tura, then perhaps he wouldn’t need to report the mid-day stop.
In addition, since we don't have the specifications of Merer’s boat, and since we don’t know whether it had other functions besides loading stones onto it -- such as transporting food, animals, furniture, to larger harbors along the Nile -- perhaps those other, non-stone-related functions are recorded in a separate log on a different papyrus. So there may be several other possibilities that had nothing to do with the stones or construction at the harbor site that made Merer dock at Akhet-Khufu before unloading stones, e.g., perhaps at Ro-She Khufu on the way back to Tura.
And as I mentioned earlier, it’s also possible that Merer’s log is a scribe’s copy (or copy of a copy, etc., since it was found so far from the sites mentioned in that log), and that the scribe could have made one or several errors in the copy process.
By the way, note that Sections AI, BX, and BY never mention "Merer" by name or title. Maybe he didn’t write those sections. Different sections do have a distinctly different style (according to the English translation, anyway) which might indicate different officials maintaining the log who had different standards of what details needed to be recorded (and/or different translators for each section?). For instance, note that nowhere on Papyrus A is "stone" mentioned at all. Since stones are mentioned many times in Papyrus B, are we to assume the ship didn’t carry any stones during the month logged in Papyrus A? Section AII does mention work being done, but every mention of work is in reference to the dyke at Ro-She Khuf, not at Akhet-Khufu.
> Have you any ideas or suggestions for what
> else stones shipped to the Giza plateau
> might have been used for in a graveyard?
Construction or repair/restoration of temples and mastabas (e.g., Kaninisut), repairs and restorations of the "gut" lining in the Sphinx as well as damaged casings on the other pyramids...I think there were opportunities to install Tura in structures other than just the original casing stones of G1.
I see several other omissions that create questions not answered by Merer and so we can only guess what might have happened (maybe Merer wrote that entire log, but I don’t believe that’s actually been established, especially considering the differences in format and style between different sections). Consider some of these “omissions":
- What was Merer doing at a "the royal palace" on Day 3 (Papyrus A)? Was his boat loaded with stone when he departed from the “palace” harbor? Since he omits information about what palace it is or why he was there, we can only guess.
Merer writes that on Day 4 that he casts off from Tura and spends the night at Akhet-Khufu, but then the next day he claims he cast off from Tura again toward Akhet-Khufu? The same oneway trip on 2 consecutive days? So this is another example of what appears to be an omission in his log. We are left to guess what he actually meant by that apparent contradiction.
He sailed from Akhet-Khufu to Tura on Day 6, and then went from Tura back to Akhet-Khufu on Day 8, so where did he "cast off” from and what was his destination on Day 7? We can only guess what happened on Day 7. Yet another example of an apparent contradiction due to a possible omission in the log.
On Day 9 he casts off from Akhet-Khufu and says “spend the night” but he doesn’t state his destination or where they spent the night. Since Merer was in the habit of recording where his boat spent the night, this seems to be an example of another omission in the activity log.
Then, on Day 10 he traveled from Tura and moored in Akhet-Khufu. Was the boat loaded with stone then, also? He doesn’t say, but there are several other examples of him specifically nothing when his boat was “loaded with stone”, and so perhaps this is another example of an omission. We are left to guess. If the boat wasn't loaded with stone, why stop at She-Khufu where he then spent 8 days at the dyke?
On Day 16, it’s reported that Merer spends time "with the noble" on She-Khufu. But when he visits Akhet-Khufu on Day 27 (Papyrus B), he states no reason for making that stop. Might he have stopped at Akhet-Khufu to visit with a noble, but that detail was omitted in the log?
Likewise, regarding omissions in the following month (Papyrus B sections II and onward), the month starts out with Merer apparently having spent four days in Tura, at least three of which were spent “hauling" stones. Since other times he only spends a single day loading stones onto the boat before deparing, it seems that Merer omitted information about what required him to stay at Tura for 4 days hauling stone.
On Day 3 Merer sails from Tura to Akhet-Khufu “loaded with stone”. on Day 5 he is already back in Tura spending the day to load stones for the “Elite”. He appears to omit logging any of his boat's activity for Day 4 and simply states that “the Elite hauls stones in Tura North”.
There seems to be several details omitted for Days 6, 7, & 8, when he gives a hand to the naval section.
On Day 17 he makes a short stops at Akhet-Khufu and proceeds to another destination that same day. Why make a such short stop at Akhet-Khufu again? Perhaps it's another administrative stop. In any case, once again Merer omits any details about why he stopped at Akhet-Khufu.
On Day 22 he spends the night at the "Chapels of Akhet-Khufu". He omits information that would tell us what that means. Does anyone contend that Merer and his men spent the night G1’s in mortuary temple?
On Day 25 he spends the day in Tura, but he doesn't say how he got to Tura. The last log entry has him in Ro-She Khufu, but he omitted any detail about leaving Ro-She Khufu. Did he go to Akhet-Khufu again before sailing back up to Tura, or did he go straight back to Tura, etc.?
To simply ignore all of those apparent omissions and, instead, presume that Merer not only dropped off his stones at Akhet-Khufu on Day 27 (Papyrus A), but also presume the stones were intended for G1, and presume it definitely constitutes "proof" so strongly that G1 was constructed in the 3rd millennium BC, defies logic and is not a plausible analysis. And for the orthodox-minded to not acknowledge the presumptions that must be invoked in order to draw such a conclusion and, instead, attempt to intimidate and insult anyone who simply flags all of those contradictions, inconsistencies, and apparent omissions in an honest attempt to reconcile them with an alternate explanation, exposes the clear weakness of that orthodox argument.
If the purpose for docking his "loaded with stone" boat at Akhet-Khufu really was to unload stone on the plateau (B1 Day 27), then in all that time (months), Merer only unloaded stone at Giza once. Does that sound like a reasonable logistic for the original construction of a super-high-priority royal tomb and the largest man made structure in the history of mankind which absolutely must be completed before the King's death?
Clearly, the translation of that log doesn't include every detail of Merer’s travels either because his entries were not all legible, and/or because he made a mistake or two, and/or because he simply didn’t think they were worth logging, and/or because the (French and/or French-to-English) translation is not accurate, and/or because one or more scribes made errors in the transcription (again, why was that log found all the way over at the galleries that are 8km inland from the el Jarf harbor, and why would the original find its way there?). In any case, there are “omissions" of information in that log, and we are left to guess about them. And there are a lot of them. It's perfectly reasonable to question whether it represents a consistent and accurate narrative regarding that single enigmatic statement about a boat "loaded with stone" that spent the night at "Akhet-Khufu".
> Just curious to gauge your take on this.
Not sure what you are able to gauge from this, but that's a glimmer of my take on it so far.
How can any of us ever know, when all we can do is think?
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 22-Jan-18 17:56 by Origyptian.