PRESS RELEASE              04/28/2008--for release on or after May 17, 2008

 

SUBJECT:  Egyptian Queen beat Columbus—by 3000 Years!

 

FROM:  New World Discovery Institute, PO Box 491, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

 

CONTACT:  Gunnar Thompson, Ph.D.; (360) 643-1709 or e-mail via

discovergunnar@hotmail.com; www.marcopolovoyages.com

 

 

Twenty-one golden corncobs will change everything that has been written about New World discovery—says anthropologist Gunnar Thompson. He announced the findings of a new report on Egyptian maize farming by the New World Discovery Institute in Port Townsend, Washington. The two-year study included Egyptian temples, tombs, and papyrus scrolls—some dating back over four thousand years.

“The Egyptian corncobs are actually derived from a New World crop plant,” he explains. “They aren’t supposed to be in Egypt. This is conclusive evidence that the Egyptians were farming New World corn thousands of years before Columbus was born. All the modern European historians have claimed that Columbus brought the first Indian corn, or maize, to the Old World. That’s a total mistake that needs to be corrected.”

A veteran archeologist, Thompson is no rookie when it comes to solving mysteries; and he is no stranger to controversy. He has solved so many puzzles that Hong Kong celebrity Frank Lee dubbed him “the Sherlock Holmes of American history.”

Most of the new evidence comes from the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Dier el-Bahri near Thebes. Hatshepsut is renowned as being the most innovative ruler of the Nile Civilization. She reigned as a Queen or Pharaoh from 1492 to 1458 BC. Thompson’s report includes photographs from reputable sources including the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Museum of Scotland. According to the study, Egyptian artists included Indian corncobs, pineapples, and other New World plants in their displays of religious offerings. The Queen’s murals coincide with reports that she sent an expedition overseas to a mysterious land called “Punt.” Thompson suggests a daring connection: “Punt must have been located someplace in the Americas. The Egyptians had to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in order to obtain all the New World plants.”

Thompson is elated about his role as a pioneer among the legions of more traditional scholars; but he isn’t surprised by what he found. Almost fifty years ago, the late Norwegian ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl proposed a theory that the ancient Egyptians had sailed to Mexico and Peru. Most historians scoffed at his theory; but Heyerdahl constructed a reed sailboat in Morocco in 1969 as part of a practical experiment. Along with a hardy band of bearded supporters, he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in order to prove the feasibility of his unorthodox ideas. Thompson says he would have volunteered; but he wasn’t old enough to join the crew. Later, Heyerdahl became his mentor.

“Thor must be laughing from his grave,” he observes with nostalgia. “My search for clues really heated up in 2006. That was when I noticed an unusual photograph of a mural that was taken inside the Queen’s Temple almost a hundred years ago. The mural included a Nubian servant who was carrying a platter of fruits, vegetables, and breads. On the very top was balanced a single corncob. Bingo! I knew they had corn.”

The maverick anthropologist has identified similar corncobs at the Temple of Pharaoh Seti I, near Abydos, and at the Tomb of Rekhmire near Thebes. He found more examples on papyrus scrolls dating to the 12th century BC reign of Ramses II. “The golden color of the corncobs, the parallel rows of large kernels, the tapered shape, and the green husk leaves all confirm that this grain is the New World maize plant. Indian maize was more resilient than the common Old World staples—such as wheat, barley, and millet. Eventually, maize farming spread throughout the Mediterranean Region where the foreign grain was affectionately known as ‘barbarian corn or Turkey wheat.’ The plant’s alien pedigree ultimately led to its exclusion from traditional religious art. However, it was a key ingredient in the growth and survival of Old World civilizations.”

Thompson will speak on “The Role of Transoceanic Commerce in the Rise of Civilizations” at the Atlantic Conference in Halifax, August 15-17.

 

NOTE: Hard copy of the report, CD, or Internet electronic version is available on request to journalists. For additional information visit www.marcopolovoyages.com. The report may be copied and distributed free; however, most of the photographs, as noted, have been derived from copyrighted sources and can be copied only in accord with the “fair use” provisions of the US Copyright Office for educational or news purposes.

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES, SUGGESTED CAPTIONS, & SOURCES

 

Hatshepsut1

Queen Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BC)

Granite statue in the collection of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Date of artifact: c. 1470 BCE, early 18th Dynasty.

Location: from Hatshepsut’s Temple at Dier el-Bahri, Egypt.

Source: Hatshepsut Room, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, Archives of the Department of Egyptian Art, photograph by Harry Burton.

Printed References:

·        Roehrig, Catharine E., Editor. Hatshepsut—from Queen to Pharaoh. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005, fig. 36.

 

Temple1

Hatshepsut’s Temple at Dier el-Bahri, Egypt. (Photo credit: Westendorf, 1968).

Westendorf, Wolfhart. Ancient Egypt. New York: Abrams, 1968, 101.

 

EgyptMaize1A

Egyptian Corncobs from an offering display in Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple.

(Reconstruction by Howard Carter, 1908)

Comment: These corncobs have the distinguishing characteristics of New World maize of the golden sweet corn variety including yellow-orange fruit, tapered cylindrical shape, parallel rows of large kernels, and green husk leaves that have been pulled back to reveal the fruit. Eight similar golden corncobs were identified in the Queen’s Temple. More were found at the 15th century BC tombs of Rekhmire and Benia-Pahekamen, Thebes.

Date of artifact: c. 1470 BCE, early 18th Dynasty.

Location: from a painted relief limestone carving in the Anubis Chapel of Hatshepsut’s Temple at Dier el-Bahri, Egypt.

Source: Reconstruction and drawing of the original on-site carving by English artist/Egyptologist Howard Carter 1903-1908.

Printed References:

·        Roehrig, Catharine E., Editor. Hatshepsut—from Queen to Pharaoh. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005, Figure 1.

·        Naville, Édouard. The Temple of Dier el-Bahri. London, Egypt Exploration Fund, 1894-1908, relief drawings by Howard Carter.

·        Egypt Exploration Society, London. Metropolitan Museum of Art Catalogue Number 48; Roehrig, 2005, fig. 1.

·        Tombs of Rekhmire and Benia-Pahekamen: Cartocci, Alice & Gloria Rosati. Egyptian Art. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2007, f. 74, f. 78.

 

EgyptMaize1B

Offering Display with Pharaoh Thutmose I at Dier el-Bahri.

(Reconstruction by Howard Carter, 1908)

Comment: The painted limestone relief of the Queen’s father, Thuthmose I, was regarded as a magical offering to the deified pharaoh. The display of fruit, bread, incense, wine, and other items was intended to provide nourishment to the spirit of the former ruler who presumably went to reside in “the Land of the Gods.” Aside from the maize cobs, squash plants, and pineapples (which are all New World plants), the mortuary display follows the traditions of displays seen in earlier dynasties.

Date of artifact: c. 1470 BCE, early 18th Dynasty.

Location: from a painted relief limestone carving in the Anubis Chapel of Hatshepsut’s Temple at Dier el-Bahri, Egypt.

Source: Reconstruction and drawing of the original on-site carving by English artist/Egyptologist Howard Carter 1903-1908.

Printed References: Same as Maize1.

 

EgyptMaize2A

Offering display in the Osiris Temple of Pharaoh Seti I (1292 BC)

Comment: Offering display includes a row of three horizontal corncobs (colored golden orange) arranged beneath gourds, grapes, pomegranates, and burning incense. Size of cobs, color, and parallel rows of kernels identify these as corncobs. As this display follows use of corncobs in Hatshepsut’s Temple by two centuries, we have reason to conclude that maize agriculture was well established in Egypt.

Date of artifact: c. 1292 BCE, early 19th Dynasty.

Location: Abydos, near Thebes, Egypt.

Source: Photograph of mural in the Osiris Temple, Abydos, Egypt.

Printed References:

·        Oakes, Lorna. Pyramids, Temples and Tombs of Ancient Egypt. London: Southwater, Ltd., 2006, 155.

·        Silverman, David P. Ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 132.

 

EgyptMaize2B

Maize cobs in the Osiris Temple of Pharaoh Seti I (1292 BC)

Comment: Enlargement of top level of offering display. Three horizontal corncobs (colored golden orange) are arranged beside grapes and a pomegranate.. Size of cobs, color, and parallel rows of kernels identify these as corncobs.

Date of artifact: c. 1292 BCE, early 19th Dynasty.

Location: Abydos, near Thebes, Egypt.

Source: Photograph of mural in the Osiris Temple, Abydos, Egypt.

Printed References: Same as Maize2A.

 

EgyptMaize3A

Pharaoh Seti I with mortuary display from Ari’s Book of the Dead (1290 BC).

Comment: Top row of mortuary display includes two horizontal corncobs colored yellow. Coloration, traditional shape, and portrayal of parallel kernels identify this as maize.

Date of artifact: c. 1290 BCE, early 19th Dynasty.

Location: Tomb of Seti I, Valley of the Kings, near Thebes, Egypt.

Source: papyrus scroll in British Museum Archive.

Printed References: Silverman, David P. Ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 132.

 

EgyptMaize3B

Maize cobs in mortuary display, Ari’s Book of the Dead (c. 1290 BC)

Comment: Corncobs appear beneath grapes, gourds, and burning incense. Coloration, traditional shape, and portrayal of parallel kernels identify this as maize.

Date of artifact: c. 1290 BCE, early 19th Dynasty.

Location: Tomb of Seti I, Valley of the Kings, near Thebes, Egypt.

Source: papyrus scroll in British Museum Archive.

Printed References: same as Maize 3A.

 

EgyptMaize4A

Nubian Servant carrying an offering platter, Hatshepsut’s Temple, Dier el-Bahri (c. 1470 BC).

Comment: A painted limestone relief carving from the cult chapel of Queen Hatshepsut at Dier el-Bahri shows a Nubian servant carrying an offering platter. At the top of the platter is a maize plant (arrow) with the characteristic tapered cob with parallel rows of large kernels and husk leaves folded back to reveal the fruit. At the right: enlargements at 200% and 400% were required to reveal the details of the black & white photo.

Date of artifact: c. 1470 BCE, early 18th Dynasty.

Location: Cult Chapel of Queen Hatshepsut at Dier el-Bahri, Egypt.

Source: Black-and-white photograph from the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Printed References:

·        Aldred, Cyril. Egyptian Art in the Days of the Pharaohs. London: Thames & Hudson, 1980, 1993, fig. 111.

·        Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. London: Thames & Hudson, 2000, 87.

 

EgyptPlow1

Shallow plowing of maize fields during the Old Kingdom, Temple mural, Egypt (c. 2350 BC).

Comment: Most traditional grains of Egypt were planted in the manner known as scattering of seeds in the “broadcast” fashion. In this method of planting, the farmer pulled a handful of seeds from a bag and threw them into the air across the ground. These seeds were small (about the size of a grain of rice). They landed on top of the soil and were pushed in very slightly by animal hooves or by a log pulled over the surface. In shallow plowing, a small amount of dirt was pushed over the seeds which were carefully placed in narrow rows. This type of farming seems more suitable for larger, hardier seeds, so we cannot overlook the possibility that Egyptians obtained an earlier variety of New World corn, squash, or beans from the Phoenicians. Egyptian horticulturalists may also have played an important role in the domestication and hybridization of the plant. In any case, the preexisting method of shallow farming would have enabled the immediate planting of maize over large areas of the Nile floodplain. Such an abrupt introduction of a new food plant would have contributed to Hatshepsut’s reputation as an innovator; although the upper class might have balked at eating what they regarded as “a barbarian grain.”

Date of artifact: c. 2350 BCE, Old Kingdom, VI Dynasty.

Location: Tomb of Weirni at Sheikh Said north of Tell Armana, Egypt.

Source: Drawing by Gunnar Thompson based on a sketch by Norman Davies.

Printed References: Aldred, Cyril. The Egyptians. London: Thames & Hudson, 1961, f. 137, 207.

 

EgPine1A

New World Pineapple and Squash, Offering Display, Hatshepsut’s Temple (c. 1470 BC)

Comment: Several murals in Hatshepsut’s Temple have plants that look like New World pineapples and squash—shown here with pomegranates and figs. Botanists believe that the pineapple originated in the Caribbean Region, perhaps northern South America; however, there is a deficit in this theory due to the absence of wild pineapples—whereas wild pineapples were reported in Southeast Asia. The pineapples might be the source of a Greek legend about the “golden apples” of the Hesperides—which was a fairy land, or paradise, across the Atlantic Ocean. Egyptians had Old World melons, bottle gourds, and cucumbers; however, the elongated, globular fruits/vegetables in this display look more like New World summer squash or zucchini.

Date of artifact: c. 1470 BCE, 18th Dynasty.

Location: Cult Chapel, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Dier el-Bahri, Egypt.

Source: Photograph of temple mural.

Printed References: Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. London: Thames & Hudson, 2000, 87.

            Other examples: Westendorf, Wolfheart. Ancient Egypt. New York: Abrams, 1968, 193.

 

EgPine1B

Enlargement: New World Pineapple and Squash, Offering Display, Hatshepsut’s Temple (c. 1470 BC)

Comment: Same as Pine1A.

Date of artifact: c. 1470 BCE, 18th Dynasty.

Location: Cult Chapel, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Dier el-Bahri, Egypt.

Source: Photograph of temple mural.

Printed References: Same as Pine1A.

 

EgPine1C

New World pineapple drawn by the Spanish explorer Oviedo (1525 AD).

Comment: Most historians regard Oviedo’s illustration of the New World pineapple plant to be the “first” such example in the Old World. However, there are a considerable number of pineapples in the artworks of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia, Cambodia, Java, Spain, and India. Most of the early 17th century European botanists regarded the pineapple as an Indian or Hindu fruit. The plant has considerable variety beyond the standard four-pound, palm-high fruit that is seen in American grocery stores. Some are as small as 1 pound, or about the size of a grapefruit, and can fit easily fit in the hand. Oviedo’s example, like the one in Hatshepsut’s mural, appears to be of the larger, Puerto Rican “Cabezona” variety that can reach up to thirty pounds. The fruit in the Egyptian display appears to be in the 4-8 lb. range. Usually, the fruit is distinguishable in art by the shape, golden color, diagonal fruit pattern, and by the “crown” of leaves at the top. Some examples are green or blue-green—which is the color of the fruit before it ripens. Most artists didn’t show the crown leaves in their murals and sculptures.

Date of artifact: 1525 AD.

Location: Oviedo’s sketch made while touring South America.

Source: Oviedo y Valdés, Gonzalo Fernández de. Historia general y Natural de las Indias, islas y tierra firma del mar Oceano. Seville, 1535, 1570; Madrid, 1851, 1855, 4 vols.

Printed References: Thompson, Gunnar. American Discovery—Our Multicultural Heritage. Seattle: Argonauts, 1994, 69.

 

EgPine2A

Pineapples in a festival display from a tomb near Memphis, Egypt (c. 350 BC; photo credit: Westendorf, 1968, 219).

Comment: This display includes two pineapples, a New World plant, in the bottom level. Both specimens have trimmed leafy “crowns.” The display of this New World fruit at important functions shows that it was being locally grown; and it was regarded as a symbol of social status.

Date of artifact: c. 350 BC, XXXI Dynasty.

Location: Tomb near Memphis. Presently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum.

Source: Cleveland Museum.

Printed References: Westendorf, Wolfhart. Ancient Egypt. New York: Abrams, 1968, 219.

 

EgPine2B

Enlargement of 2A.

 

RomPine1A

Pineapple with Roman fruit display, marble carving (c. 300 AD).

Comment: Pineapples were a common motif in Roman art as a symbol of status and luxury. This one is a particularly realistic example.

Date of artifact: c. 300 AD.

Location: Roman Empire.

Source: Museum exhibit, Louvre, Paris.

Printed References: Dersin, Denise, Ed. What Life Was Like When Rome Ruled the World. Alexandria: Time-Life, 1997, 127.

 

RomPine1B

Enlargement of 1A.