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AHRF
Thursday, 28 January 2016 00:00

Colorado's Egyptian Scarab

Previously published in the Sept 2015 Ancient American Issue Number 108, pg. 38-39

Inscriptions obverse and reverse. (Photo by Terry Carter)
 
In the early 1950's beneath the azure sky of Mancos, Colorado, a little 5- year-old boy roamed the hills of his family property. Even at that young age Rob spent his days with his faithful Collie exploring the countryside, drawn to the wonders of the numerous native ruins scattered among the hills. Just below the crest of the highest knoll was his "throne,” a recessed area where Rob loved to sit and gaze across the land. It was there in that same depression he found a remarkable, pocket-sized, inscribed stone, a treasure that was destined to last a lifetime. 
 
The knoll where the scarab was found.
In 2013, Shawn Davies and Terry Carter of Ancient Historical Research Foundation (AHRF), acting on a tip received for a possible Mystery Glyph site, met with Rob at a local cafe. Terry Carter explains, "All of a sudden he pulled out of his pocket a flat black rock about the size of a chicken egg and handed it to me. I was absolutely flabbergasted because what I was holding in my hand was a rock that had been carved to look like an Egyptian scarab beetle with Egyptian hieroglyphs carved all over it front and back." 
 
Other than Rob's mother and a few close friends who are now deceased, AHRF was the first to see the scarab. Rob had kept it in his box of Tinker Toys, afraid that if he showed it to anyone they would take it. Rob, now 67, still has the box of Tinker Toys but the scarab beetle, a relic of a bygone era, has remained his prized possession for more than 60 years. 
 
How the scarab came to be on a hill in southwestern Colorado, who constructed it and why, is an enigma. Not unlike other anomalous artifacts, the possibilities are numerous and lack of conclusive evidence requires that the answers remain unknown. While it may be the creation of an amateur craftsman passing the time, a misplaced tourist trade item, or even a residual product from the Egyptian Revival period, one cannot rule out the possibility that at some point in time this artifact found its way across a vast ocean from the hands of an illiterate Hyksos peasant who copied random glyphs onto the crudely constructed scarab. 
 
The Hyksos, a group of foreigners who immigrated into Egypt's delta region and gradually settled there during the 18th century BC, were an important influence on Egyptian history. A series of Hyksos kings ruled northern Egypt as the 15th dynasty (c. 1630–1523 BC). Often referred to as “Shepherd Kings” or “Captive Shepherds”, Hyksos were identified by the Hebrew historian Flavius Josephus as the Hebrews of the Bible. Indeed, it is generally thought that the Hyksos were Semites who came from the Levant. (Josephus, Against Apion, 1:86–90 &1:234–250). 
 
A most interesting piece of information has come down from one historian to another as an important and enlightening event of ancient American history often overlooked by academia today. The following quote from John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travel (vol. 2 pg. 171), indicates an intimate connection between the Israelites of the 15th Dynasty Egypt and the Toltecs of Mexico. Incidentally, the lower portion of Colorado, where the scarab was found, was part of Mexico until 1848 when Mexico was forced to relinquish the territory with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. 
 
Rob found the scarab when he was 5
years old. (Photo by Terry Carter)
“According to Fuentes, the chronicler of the kingdom of Guatemala, the kings of Quiche and Kachiquel were descended from the Toltecan Indians, who, when they came into this country, found it already inhabited by people of different nations. According to the manuscript of Don Juan Torres, the grandson of the last king of the Quiches, which was in the possession of the lieutenant-general appointed by Pedro de Alvarado, and which Fuentes says he obtained by means of Father Francis Vasques, the historian of the order of St. Francis, the Toltecas themselves descended from the house of Israel, who were released by Moses from the tyranny of Pharaoh, and after crossing the Red Sea, fell into idolatry. To avoid the reproofs of Moses, or from fear of his peinflicting upon them some chastisement, they separated from him and his brethren, and under the guidance of Tanub, their chief, passed from one continent to the other, to a place which they called the seven caverns, a part of the kingdom of Mexico, where they founded the celebrated city of Tula. From Tanub sprang the families of the kings of Tula and Quiche, and the first monarch of the Toltecas.”
 
 Experts who have reviewed photos of the scarab offer their comments:
  • Jan Summers, Archaeologist/Egyptologist with The College of Idaho's Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History: 
 “The stone is in the shape of a scarab but a very simplified one, not detailed on the top (body) surface. Many are made like this for tourist trade. Scarabs were important symbols, common & made for many occasions as amulets for the ancient Egyptian. Some were heart scarabs placed on the mummy, marriage scarabs, lion hunt scarabs etc. Others commemorating events with hieroglyphs. 
 “The glyphs are questionable & randomly carved saying no real text. There is no cartouche around the hieroglyphs identifying it (on either side) or a circled enclosure for a name or royal title. 
 “The bottom flat side is usually inscribed with a person’s name but this one has no cartouche. It is probably a scarab commemorating an event but a tourist piece. The birds are odd on this not Owls= M; quail chick=O; Vulture= A. Do not make sense. 
 “The material appears to be black steatite but difficult tell w/o handling, weighing; granite, basalt, schist etc. perhaps. 
 “I can see no real text just symbols & some are not in Gardiners. It could be older but not prehistoric Egyptian.” 
  • Dr. Geoffrey A. Smith: Doctor of Anthropology, emeritus trustee at the Museum of the Desert, current trustee at the Museum of Man in San Diego, California. 
The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the eastern Mediterranean. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its slands,
that is, it included all of the countries along the eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica. The term Levant entered English in the late 15th century from French. It derives from the Italian levante, meaning “rising,” implying the rising of the sun in the east land, where the sun rises'.
 “Pretty easy to condemn…But during the Roman thru Middle Ages similar were done as a magic amulet. So not necessarily recent.” 
  •  Hussam, Member of the Association of International Antiquities Dealers (Zurqieh Co. L.L. C. Dubai – UAE) states: 
 "I agree with Dr. Smith and the stone type is very similar to later magic amulets but, I have never seen such magic amulets in Scarab shapes, usually Intaglios. I think it's real, not 100% sure, but from pictures I cannot see anything wrong with it. I handled similar magic amulets, which I used to attribute to the Roman period, amulets mostly in the form of Intaglios. Some of those intaglios do come from all over the Levant area also. Logically, if anyone wants to fake a piece like this, he would try his best to make [sure] the inscription looks as much as possible as the typical hieroglyphs you usually see. The crude inscription is maybe because it was made in a later period and inscribed by the magician himself?!! [The] symbols probably intended to mean something which the magician understands alone?! Again, in other words, I cannot say the piece is fake, it might be good. This is my humble opinion." 
  •  Tonio Birbiglia offered his comments on the yahoo group AncientArtifacts.: 
 “Fake and badly done. A lot goes into telling it’s a fake but on this piece it’s the hieroglyphs that…are nonsense. Why would a later magical amulet even from the Levant have a crude inscription of the name of tutmosis III which on this piece is at the bottom? I [have] seen in hand many magical scarabs inscribed in various languages from around the Mediterranean though none in false hieroglyphics. Show me any comparable. And no Egyptians were ever in the new world even if the coastal global trade route theory proves true.” 
  •  Frank Parrish, Archaeologist: 
 “[The scarab] is a very interesting find and has several things in its favor. The size of the black Colorado scarab is correct for a good luck charm and matches those from Egypt. Also, when an Egyptian wrote the language casually, they would write the opposite direction of English, from right to left, with the hieroglyphs facing the front of the words to the right, or, vertically from top to bottom as on the "back" of the piece. The Colorado scarab has this correct. The half circle above the cobra is the Egyptian word for eternity or forever, which is on your specimen. The bird glyphs are troublesome as they do not resemble the vulture, or the owl, an important distinction. They may be the cursive vulture or letter "A"- alyph- or [?] Many of the glyphs are authentic but I did not recognize many others. There are over 3,000 total with 6 to 7 hundred in common use. 
 “You stated that the name Tuthmosis appears on the stone, but not in a cartouche, this could be the name of a commoner. Tuthmosis the third (Toth is born) was a very powerful ruler of the eighteenth dynasty in the 15th century BC. He reconquered the Nile delta and ruled the land of modern Israel and Sinai all the way to the Euphrates River. In the 17th dynasty, the Nile delta was ruled by the Hyksos or "shepherd kings". According to Egyptologist Bob Brier, the Hyksos also made good-luck scarabs in the tradition of the south, but, since they were largely illiterate, their scarabs lack inscriptions or read as illiterate gibberish. These Hyksos scarabs are found as far away as the Greek island of Crete and help archaeologists to date archaeological sites in places outside of Egypt. The stone could easily have made its way through trade to the Americas.”

 

Published in AHRF Library

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