You wouldn’t think a 100 mg sample taken from a monument weighing approximately 5.9 million metric tons would make a whole lot of difference; but the monument in question is the Great Pyramid at Giza, and the sample in question was chipped illegally from a rare and critically important graffito in one of the inner chambers—and so, yes, it is a very big deal.
The offenders have been described variously as German archaeologists, archaeology students from Dresden, and amateur or “hobby” archaeologists. The last is closest to being true. In fact, they are common or garden pseudoscholars, of the Atlantis/pyramidiot subspecies, and what they are apparently trying to prove is that the Great Pyramid is about 20,000 years old, far older than the piddling 4500-odd years allotted by boring old orthodox Egyptologists. They’re also making a documentary about it, Das Cheops Projekt, and attempting to collect lots of euros from sponsors, with hearteningly little success so far.
Three anti-heroes are involved. The first is the film-maker Frank Höfer, whose media company, Nuoviso, specializes in stuff about the Illuminati, conspiracy theories, truthers, crop circles, “climate lies,” and visitors from outer space:
We are a network of people who have set themselves the goal of no longer allowing the extraterrestrial presence on Earth to be concealed. The overwhelming evidence for extraterrestrials makes a hypothetical debate about their existence unnecessary.
Then there is Stefan Erdmann, who clearly makes enough income from the nursing home he founded in 1990 to finance his independent esoteric research. A firm believer in the lost Atlantean supercivilization, he has authored such gems as:
- Banks, Bread, and Bombs (Freemasons, Illuminati, Moses=Akhenaten, Knights Templar, George W. Bush)
- The Cheops Lie (Egyptologists have it all wrong about the Great Pyramid)
- Secret Files [regarding] the Ark of the Covenant (Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Knights Templar, Cistercians, Thule Society, etc), and
- Hitler lived in Argentina (and continued working on Plan B for world domination).
Completing the trio is Doctor Dominique Görlitz, Heyerdahl-wannabe and ex-high school teacher of sports and biology, who is similarly convinced we have the Atlanteans to thank for civilization in general and the Great Pyramid in particular. His chief claim to fame is the voyage of his brainchild, the Abora III, an Egyptian-style reed boat built by Bolivians, fitted with leeboards not invented until AD times, and sailed precariously partway across the Atlantic in order to prove something or other about bottle gourds, cocaine mummies, and of course Atlantis. Then the boat fell apart and had to be abandoned. Görlitz may have some connection with a German academic institution (it’s a little hard to fathom), but his bread and butter apparently comes from motivational speaking:
Speaker Dr. Dominique Görlitz is a handsome experimental archaeologist. The New York Times entitled the expedition leader and film maker as the “German Indiana Jones, who tried to cross the North Atlantic on a bale on straw“…. His strength lies in his ability to use his research trips as a metaphor for the modern entrepreneurship. He runs the gamut from his research on group dynamics to future societal developments. If necessary, he is integrating any other theme in his lectures.
So those are the vandals. But why did they do it? Basically, they want the pyramid to be a 20,000-year-old power plant built by Atlanteans, but the cartouche of the pharaoh who commissioned it – Khufu – inconveniently appears in a position where it would be impossible to forge. To cut a long and silly story short, these three stooges are presumably hoping the stolen paint chips will nevertheless prove the cartouche is a 19th century fraud, and strip Egyptologists of their only evidence of the pyramid’s date. Which does, of course, show the vandals’ ignorance of the massive and multiple lines of evidence used by Egyptologists.
But why, apart from the obvious fact that it was illegal and destructive and pissed off the Egyptians, did something like this bother archaeologists so much? First, because these guys were described as “archaeologists” – as if the general public needs to be further confused about where archaeology ends and pseudoarchaeology begins; and, as if professional archaeologists need to be tarred by association with such clowns. Second, other pseudoarchaeologists are hailing them as a heroes: as brave crusaders for the truth, who have risked doing something illegal so that the lies and deceptions of orthodox archaeology will at last be exposed. *sigh*
Note: further details, discussion and links can be found on a thread at the excellent Hall of Maat, initiated by the indefatigable Martin Stower.