Reviewing "Black Genesis" (Pt. 1)
Black Genesis (2011) by Robert Bauval and Thomas Brophy is a book that seems almost purposely designed to prevent critics from criticizing it without sounding like racists. It claims that the civilization of ancient Egypt derived from “Black” antecedents in sub-Saharan Africa, and I am uncomfortable with the authors’ use of modern racial categories to represent past peoples, who may or may not meet contemporary definitions of socially-constructed “races.” I am also uncomfortable with the idea that civilization should be attributed to a race rather than a culture, as though the Greeks were synecdoche for all Whites or this lost African culture somehow synonymous with everyone with black skin.
The authors write that “Black Genesis [is] not only a scientific thesis but also a testament of respect and admiration of all whose skin happens to be black and who have a direct ancestral line to Black Africa.”
I wonder how discussions between Bauval and his onetime writing partner Graham Hancock went after this book, since Hancock has steadfastly advocated for a white origin for Egypt, from his lost white civilization. Although Hancock later took exception to this characterization of his lost civilization, he mentions their white skin twelve times in Fingerprints of the Gods (1995) as “lean, bearded white men” of “distinctively non-Indian ethnic type.”
The book’s primary focus early on is the site of Nabta Playa, an archaeological site that has become a focus for alternative ideas. Archaeologists recognize it as an early (and small-sized) stone calendar laid out in the Nubian Desert just south of ancient Egypt sometime between 6000 and 3000 BCE. Gavin Menzies claimed in his Atlantis book that the Egyptians used it to teach the Minoans how to build stone circles, which they spread around the world. I covered this back in 2012, and I see nothing in Black Genesis to change my evaluation of Brophy’s extreme theories:
Menzies feels that the Egyptians brought the Minoans to Nabta Playa, a stone circle in the Nubian desert, to teach them about the stars—a neat trick since Nabta Playa is 5,000 years older than the Minoans and would have been long abandoned at 1600 BCE. Menzies’ weird interpretation relies on the work of alternative writer Thomas G. Brophy, who felt (with the help of Robert Schoch and John Anthony West) that the stone circle represented alignments to the stars tens of thousands of years before their construction through knowledge given to the Egyptians by space aliens, which he calls “some other intelligence.” Menzies leaves that part out. Scholars from the University of Colorado criticized these findings: “These extremely early dates as well as the proposition that the nomads had contact with extra galactic aliens are inconsistent with the archaeological record. Inference in archaeoastronomy must always be guided and informed by archaeology, especially when substantial field work has been performed in the region.” Instead, the circle appears to have been aligned to stars at the time of the circle’s construction, of which: duh.
Later, when Brophy appeared on Ancient Aliens this past January to discuss the site, he had somehow revised his dates for the site from 16,000 BCE to 4500 BCE, in keeping with Black Genesis, rather than his own earlier book on the site, The Origin Map. Also: ALIENS. ALIENS!
Mainstream scholars recognize the site as an early calendar, with possible alignments to significant stars, and that it belonged to a pastoral people with a relatively advanced culture (including planned villages and deep wells) whose bones indicate that they came up into Egypt from the southern Sahara during the Mesolithic. Egyptologists believe that some of the cow sacrifice rites (including tomb burials for cattle) may have contributed to the religion of Egypt.
This is the scientific basis for Black Genesis.
The authors talk grandly about the “megalithic” site, using language associated with Stonehenge—it has “gates” and grand alignments and the stones were dragged to their location “with great difficulty” and great purpose. But they also provide this photograph, which I think makes the case for why there is less here than they claim:
A single person could have built this “megalithic” site in short order.
The authors report that the site has suffered extensive damage and that the map made of it includes hypothetical reconstructions; nevertheless, they are so confident in this reconstruction that they are able to conclude that the alignments at the site are so precise as to suggest the presence of a lost civilization of astronomers located in sub-Saharan Africa, presumably somewhere between Zinj and Prester John’s Land. (That’s a joke, Mr. Bauval.)
But first we must sit through a laundry list recitation of every person who ever tried to connect ancient sites to the stars, followed by a lengthy rant from John Anthony West about the way the academic elite conspires to suppress unconventional arguments unless and until television coverage forces them to investigate. Sadly, though, Bauval and Brophy approvingly cite Alexander Thom as a great example of an anti-academic warrior for Truth, with his megalithic yard, an alleged unit of measurement employed by the builders of Neolithic structures in the British Isles. Thom, they say, brazenly challenged his “elderly peers” who in “their zeal to defend their turf” rejected his findings despite the “mathematical logic” of his book. That the megalithic yard cannot be demonstrated independently, let alone to the claimed precision of one-thousandth of a centimeter, was apparently of secondary concern to Bauval’s and Brophy’s interest in complaining about old, befuddled, angry professors. And Brophy has a PhD in physics.
Next they complain about the “firewall of academic Egyptology”: “We too endured from Egyptologists and archaeologists the all-too-familiar war of words and the debunking that is passed off as criticism.” What does one call it when an idea is wrong and someone says so? Bauval and Brophy seem to have adopted Hegelian dialectic as their method of knowledge-creation, whereby they feel that merely proposing the antithesis to the current thesis must, by definition, move the scholarly consensus to a new synthesis, inching ever closer to their position with each new ball of spaghetti they hurl at the walls of the ivory tower to see what will stick. But that isn’t how science works. Sometimes an idea is completely wrong and is therefore rightly rejected, with no gravitational pull on the current understanding.
I just don’t get it: This time the two authors have a book that has a stronger case to be made on the merits—that elements of pre-dynastic Egypt could be traced back to sub-Saharan cultures—and yet instead they devote the entire first chapter of their book to inculcating in the minds of readers reasons to hate academicians, whom they accuse of being too conservative, hidebound, and opposed to “celebrating” Black Africans. Turn on Fox News and then tell me that any of that is true. I thought the anti-academic line was that professors were too liberal, open-minded to the point of incoherence, and enthralled by diversity!
So ends Chapter One. I’m thinking in our next installment I will very briefly summarize the half of the book dedicated to Nabta Playa alignments and focus instead on the weird stuff about a lost Black super civilization.
8/29/2013 08:45:33 am
It shouldn't be surprising that mainstream academics are unwilling to admit to anything other than a white origin for civilization. They spend all their time cloistered in ivory towers; not only is ivory white, but it is only acquired through the exploitation of the African Savannah!
8/29/2013 02:47:07 pm
Harvested from BLACK elephants! Racist academia. All the white elephants get to live in zoos, but those black ones...
The Other J.
8/29/2013 06:02:26 pm
Every now and then I see rumors about a possible Black Panther movie from Marvel. If that happens, it'll be interesting to see if Marvel gets called out as being part of the conspiracy and the film for "trying to tell us something."
8/29/2013 04:39:02 pm
There is an element of truth.Donatella Usai Salvatori,PhD in African Archaeology,an Italian archeologist specialized in Nubia & Sudan spoke extensively about the reticence of Western academia to acknowledge,take interest or promoting Black African contribution & legacy to Egyptology.She mentioned that experts in the field show great enthusiasm in studying & advertising classical Egyptology but intentionally neglect Nubian dynasty.Having said that,it doesn't mean we have to take Afrocentrism exaggerations seriously,but there is an underlying racist undertone in archeology & classical studies.
8/30/2013 02:22:40 am
For that matter, our old friends in the AA crowd even seem to completely write off the existence of over 250 Nubian pyramids, more than twice the number ever constructed by ancient Egypt.
8/30/2013 01:16:26 pm
I somehow predicted that some of these charlatans would eventually jump on the Afrocentric bandwagon.I love the idea of alternative historian crackpots scavenging the work of academic quacks like John Henrik Clarke & Martin Bernal.It is interesting to notice that Robert Bauval latest pseudo historical garbage compilation directly contradicts all the Ancient Aliens,"Atlantean" origins for Egyptian civilization.I think Graham Hancock is seriously thinking about his next move.
8/29/2013 03:57:18 pm
So the answer to the "whites only" racial overtones dominated by such super-cultures as Atlantis and Lemuria, is to propose that the beginnings of Egypt was shaped by a "black" super-culture. This watershed moment then proceeded to influence the "lesser developed", surrounding "white" people.
8/30/2013 04:25:44 am
Just another tangent, but it is interesting that the 'engineers' in the 2012 movie Prometheus were vivid white in color. I'm not suggesting Ridley Scott is racist, but perhaps this is a manifestation of a subconscious bias toward western beliefs of a white origin to civilization... It is also interesting that the weapon created to destroy civilization was black in color.
The Other J.
8/30/2013 08:13:01 am
And the xenomorphs are black.
8/30/2013 10:04:43 am
On another tangent, in Buckaroo Banzi Across the Eighth Dimension, the Red 'Lectroids were White and the Black 'lectroids were...er...Black.
8/30/2013 02:35:40 pm
I think that Buckaroo Banzai was symbolic of the inevitable Chinese takeover of the western world, with Buckaroo's group the "Hong Kong Cavaliers" representing China and the red 'Lectroids representing Native Americans and, by proxy, the US.
9/29/2013 03:44:23 pm
9/29/2013 11:25:10 pm
Yes, the next three parts are the next three days' blog posts.
7/19/2015 11:14:14 am
Gullible African Americans versus wishful thinking whites. Humans can live through an ice age but not well. Early Europeans were dark skin. As were Egyptians and the rest of the Africans. The earliest white civilizations are relatively modern. prior to five thousand years ago the only white people were the children of Black men and women. Selective breeding and basic Mendelian genetics with neanderthal input is the genesis of everyone we call white. The rest of history is full of whites quickly painting pictures of white men in historically black settings and situations. For instance the world considered Moses to be a black man until he was "Romanticized" thousands of years after he existed. If you teach your children wrong their expectations drive scholarly research to its preconceived end.Placing whiteness where it didn't exist. All Egyptians were Black, all Phoneticians were black or at least people of color. All Jews were black or people of color until they moved to Europe and Blackness became out of fashion. Hence the general European dislike.
12/30/2016 03:35:41 pm
You're a crackpot whose claims aren't accepted by the historical community who focus on the relevant areas.
4/13/2017 08:19:51 am
Fraudster? His More credible than all those frauds who claim to be real Egyptologists. You Euronuts should stop claiming Black African history, you diseased fool.
10/24/2014 09:13:24 am
Fearful, ignorant people..nothing, new for whatever the topic/subject..
6/1/2015 09:57:46 pm
So, I don't understand your point Mr. Jason Colavito. Are you saying Mr. Bauval is wrong or he shouldn't have raised that issue of blacks having had constructed the pyramids or inspired the western world? are you of those who desperately claim that whites constructed them? if so, why do you think that those whites forgot to construct them in Europe and chose to do so on African continent? the western world is still misinforming not only other peoples, but also its own people.
6/2/2015 09:12:11 pm
Everything built in African does not mean it was built by 'Blacks' by default. The same can be said about Mayan, Indian and Cambodian Temples.
4/13/2017 08:01:22 am
You guys are always ready to discredit anyone who mentions the truth about the Ancient Egyptians. Your all a bunch of Eurocentric nuts who have corrupted history and science to suit your own narratives, At one point serious academics proposed that the Benin Empire and Great Zimbabwe were European or Middle Eastern in origin but then understood that it was ridiculous to claim these as White civilizations in the heart of Black Africa.
9/4/2015 11:40:38 am
Mr. Jason Colavito.
9/27/2015 01:02:39 pm
Great comment! Archaeologists are always trying to take the "black" out of Egypt. As did Napoleon Bonaparte. They shot off the nose and lips of the Sphinx because the features would let all know who came across it would know it's actual origins
12/30/2016 03:24:36 pm
> Archaeologists are always trying to take the "black" out of Egypt
1/23/2016 04:42:09 pm
so it is wonderful the public has become more aware of the true identity of the original people history has been greatly distorted by a racist society blacks around the world has always known the Egyptians culture and Hebrew Israelites were black people moses is an African name and for the record Egyptians are Africans back in those days they were much darker
12/30/2016 03:11:57 pm
You can't demonstrate your position is the accepted one among historians of Egypt.
7/14/2017 08:44:34 pm
your problem buddy is number one you're salty because the truth is out!! hence your name. your second problem is you think we need people like you to accept the truth! lol truth needs no defender...
12/30/2016 04:26:01 pm
4/13/2017 08:10:24 am
Like Winston Churchill said "History is written by the victors" if you subjugate a people you also deny them of their history. European/Arab Egyptologists and scientists have always lied they are not credible and should all get sent to prison. The ones who tell the truth are always attacked by these idiots because they hate being reminded that they are bunch of charlatans.
4/13/2017 08:15:58 am
All these lies have to stop you Euronuts have to stop claiming African history as yours. Oneday your supremacy will fall and mark my words we shall restore order and we will banish you racist pigs from these land. JUST ACCEPT THAT THEY WERE BLACK.
4/13/2017 08:40:01 am
White Egyptologists be like "If they weren't Black or White or Arab then they must be Aliens" and Facts point directly to Black Africa. We aren't trying to claim shit all we are doing is reclaiming a part of our history that has been Whitewashed by the Eurocentric Academia that dominates this World. At various points these same people tried to claim that the Malian Empire, The Kingdom of Benin, Great Zimbabwe, Kingdom of Aksum was of European or Middle Eastern origin. Churchill said it best "History is written by the victors" They have colonized us, our land and deny us of our achievements. Also to those who claim that it's only crazy African Americans who claim Ancient Egypt as Black, many tribal Africans also claim origin to Ancient Egypt like the Bassa Tribe, Dogons, Fulani people, Yuroba who all have origin stories that date way before "race" was a concept.
7/14/2017 07:38:40 pm
interesting when you make mention of Hancocks view of white ancient Egypt, you seem very comfortable. I'm uncomfortable with that..... it sounds like you need to prehistory your history!! lol blacks were in the land called Greece before whites were as well!! its funny how since as long as I can remember every representation of any ancient royalty anywhere was depicted as white!! I didn't see white people complaining about race depictions then. only until some truth started to come out! smh you people boy!! ting is the deeper you dig the more you interpret, the blacker history gets. and you people can't stand the change in narrative!! get over yourselves.... we not thinking about you people!!
5/20/2018 01:03:45 pm
Amazing...the deniial. All because you pray Melanated people are inferior, when you know the truth is opposite. Saltine futilely posted a plethora of links yet disremembered to post the most significant link of them all. DNA genetics can not be disputed. Let me see how you spin AFRICAN DNA. Should you remain in utter denial, it means you are sick. Call a doctor. http://dnatribes.com/dnatribes-digest-2013-02-01.pdf
1/6/2019 02:10:09 am
The controversy is merely a product of modern racial attitudes, Black was negro until it was inconvenient to the status quo then Black conveniently morphed into handy subclasses of non-negro dark skinned Europeans, Arabs, Asiatics etc. When the moral necessity to graft the curse of Ham onto all dark-skinned people became too difficult to accomplish with a hammer the status quo just fashioned a “negro” scalpel. After all if providence did not subjugate all dark-skinned people to ignorance and intellectual inferiority then even the tangentially devout Abramatic zealot would have to naturally question the accepted justification for their participation or silence in the brute barbarity levied upon these people the world over. There is clear motive in the revisionist impulse, the moral/spiritual conscience of the unrepentant accomplices would surely collapse under the weight of guilt if there was ever an honest effort to reconcile these actions with the tenets of any of the Abramatic faiths. Non-black cultures the world over recorded their interactions with these “dark-skinned” highly advanced civilizations as such, so it seems only reasonable that we consider these accounts. Racial identity as a product of the scriptural declination of siblings cannot really be the baseline of a scientific discussion can it? It seems that we are discussing different things (but I think that the obfuscation is intentional) using the race construct to create or invalidate any association based solely on melanation and disassociating race from melanation when it’s convenient, like when they say some Egyptians are dark-ish “melanated” but not African/ Negroid “race”or by saying Egyptians were Caucasiod “race” although some were Darker “melanated” like Africans. Race ultimately is a cultural construct which really cannot be quantified. Black is black until it’s convenient that it not be. Egypt was Egypt before and after being conquered by people from the Arabian peninsula and Europe, but it was only black before.
9/17/2019 10:10:47 pm
Look at the Bisharin people,the Beja people,the Afar people , the Tutsi people or just the people of Aswan in the south of Egypt , they re all native African people or Black people ,indigenous people of the nile valley and closely related to the ancient people of pharaonic Egypt
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