News of this discovery (also here) has been circulating around the web today. An archaeological team from the University of Pennsylvania (on of my alma matres) has uncovered a Second Intermediate Period necropolis at Abydos, Egypt. The discovery includes the remains of a previously unknown pharaoh named Woseribre Senebkay.
I thought it noteworthy to point out that the sarcophagus was over-sized (probably in the 8-9 foot range), but the actual remains of the Pharaoh tell us he was about 5′ 10″. You’ll often see large sarcophagi like this one touted as evidence that the occupant was a giant. Not so. You can’t tell anything about a person’s height from the box he’s buried in. The photos below come from the links above.
I’ve blogged several times about the pictures of giant human skeletons on the web that aren’t what they seem to be. They fall into two categories: hoaxes and mis-identification of the remains of either dinosaurs or (more often) mastodons or mammoths.
I recently came across this site, which conveniently displays several of the most widely circulated phony giant photos. If you go there, please click on the link mentioned in the article that is the source of most of these hoaxed photos: Worth1000.com. The site runs contests for image fakery. Here is the archaeology archive where you’ll find most of the fake giant photos out there on the web.
On the term “proboscidian” (in the context of this post, an animal with a large trunk), here is the entry from dictionary.com:
1. pertaining to or resembling a proboscis.
2. having a proboscis.
3. belonging or pertaining to the mammals of the order Proboscidea, characterized by a flexible trunk formed of the nostrils and upper lip, large tusks, a massive body, and columnar legs, comprising the elephant and the now-extinct mammoth and mastodon.
Jason Colavito has a short write up on how Christian apologists are using a prop — a giant human skeleton that isn’t a skeleton at all — from von Daniken’s ancient astronaut theme park for the gullible.
Since when is defending one’s faith with a lie a good idea?
Pretty pathetic. It leads people to follow several bogus thought trajectories:
1. That belief in a creator needs to be defended via the idea of giants (it doesn’t, and that “approach” is absurd).
2. That belief in a creator is synonymous with young earth creationism and rigid biblical literalism (it isn’t).
3. That those who defend the young earth view of creationism will basically stoop to any level to do so (many would not; that is, they aren’t ethically challenged).
Jason Colavito has a worthwhile post demonstrating the flawed thinking and resourcing of such claims (and they are quite common). But hey, I guess it sounds better than a giant prehistoric dog eating the evidence.
Jason Colavito has written some recent pieces on presumed discoveries of giant human specimens. Often such reports are simply not what they claim to be – evidence is misunderstood or even fabricated, or reports get garbled and transformed in transmission. Here are two illustrations courtesy of Jason’s work:
This link from the Ancient World Online (AWOL) will take you to a few dozen SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) seminar papers that have been made available for free. There were several academic papers on 1 Enoch that caught my eye:
I’ve blogged before about giant human skeletons that aren’t giant human skeletons. The first two examples I blogged about were hoaxes, created with image editing software (see here and here). The Remnant of the Giants blog recently had an interesting post about a presumed giant human skeleton discovered in Belgium in 1643. Turned out the giant was a mammoth. This is typical, both in the ancient world (as chronicled by Adrienne Mayor) and, as this article points out, in modern times as well.
Many of you have no doubt heard of the Cardiff giant — supposedly a genuine fossilized human giant discovered in 1869. Despite the conclusive evidence for a hoax, one can still find pictures of the giant on obscure websites where it is assumed tobe evidence for biblical giants. There’s a new book out on the hoax (2010) that looks like a definitive work. It’s entitled, “A Colossal Hoax: The Giant from Cardiff that Fooled America.” You can check out the book’s website here. It just went on my wish list.
Before this gets mis-reported all over the web on Christian sites that promote phony Photo-shopped pictures as proof of giants in the ancient world, I thought I’d post it. Here is the link; the photo is below. And I’ll save you the conversion time. 193 cm = just under six feet, four inches, not ten or fifteen feet. Unusually tall for Chinese (these days) but right in the range I’ve suggested constituted a giant in the ancient world (anything over six feet tall upward into the seven foot range — sort of like today on the higher end).