No sign of Red Sea parting, archaeologist finds

A well-known Egyptian archaeologist, Dr Zahi Hawass, who is excavating sites in the northern Sinai, says he has found no evidence to back the biblical account of Moses' parting of the Red Sea.

The International Herald Tribune reports that in a Passover outing, Egypt's chief archaeologist took a bus of journalists into the North Sinai to showcase his agency's latest discovery - the ancient buried walls of a military fort and a few pieces of volcanic lava.

According to Egyptian officials, the evidence of lava is from a volcano in the Mediterranean Sea that erupted in 1500 BC and is believed to have killed 35,000 people and wiped out villages in Egypt, Palestine and the Arabian Peninsula.

The same diggers found evidence of a military fort with four rectangular towers, now considered the oldest fort on the Horus military road.

For Dr Hawass, this was proof of accounts from antiquity.

But there was no evidence of Moses biblical Exodus story, Dr Hawass said.

"Really, it's a myth," Hawass said of the story of the Exodus, as he stood at the foot of a wall built during what is called the New Kingdom.

"If [people] get upset, I don't care," Hawass said. "This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem."

"Sometimes as archaeologists we have to say that never happened because there is no historical evidence," Hawass told journalists.

Hawass said he was not surprised, given the lack of archaeological evidence to date. But even scientists can find room to hold on to beliefs.

Dr Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, the head of the excavation, seemed to sense that such a conclusion might disappoint some. People always have doubts until something is discovered to confirm it, he noted.

Then he offered another theory, one that he said he drew from modern Egypt.

"A pharaoh drowned and a whole army was killed," he said recounting the portion of the story that holds that God parted the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape, then closed the waters on the pursuing army.

"This is a crisis for Egypt, and Egyptians do not document their crises."

Did the Red Sea part? No evidence, archaeologists say

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Exodus (Wikipedia)
Moses (Wikipedia)

5 Apr 2007

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