Tag Archives: Pyramids

Reblogging this post 1) Because it was a cool one and 2) Because it is now cited on a Wiki as evidence that the French explorer Pierre-Constant Letorzec visited Merowe (the link in the footnotes for Merowe leads to my Un-American Graffiti webpage! Hot-diggity dog.)

Not Quite Right

In a land of crushing poverty with a brutal climate, a high rate of disease, and a notorious dictatorship, it might be strange to confess that one of the things most troubling to me in Sudan was its graffiti.  While I started to gain an appreciation for Arabic graffiti itself (noticing some strange juxtapositions between imported Rasta culture, with images of Bob Marley combined with a Muhammad-like veneration) the stuff that most affected me involved the relics from ancient days.

Often covered in names to the point where the hieroglyphs themselves are barely readable, many of the ruins, temples, pyramids and fortifications from three, four and five millenia ago have been been seriously defaced.  What makes a person decide that their name, or their name with the name of their loved-one encircled in a heart, is worth immortalization?  What attraction does an object of history hold, that a man must…

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Strange Pyramids

One of the pyramids at Merowe, northern Sudan.

Who can think of the Middle East without forming a mental image of pyramids?

Despite ideas of golden sarcophaguses and huge temples, it is important to note that not all pyramids are created equal.  My visit to Sudan included a stop at the Kushite (25th Dynasty) site of Merowe, near the 6th Cataract of the River Nile.  Here the pyramids are much, much less massive than the more famous Giza pyramids outside Cairo.  And they’re thinner, pointier, different.  Not quite right.

But, these pyramids are famous in their own right . . . they’re featured on the back of the US $1 bill with the all-seeing eye floating above!


A lot of speculation exists, conspiracy theories that label George Washington and the other founding fathers of the United States as having planned world domination and planted secret guiding symbols in plain sight.

Seeing the pyramids at Merowe, drifted over in red sand, crumbling, covered with graffiti, it is hard to imagine that any particular intent, any forethought, went into the choice of an obscure, skinny tomb for the Great Seal of the United States.  Yet I wonder, what artist decided on this particular type of pyramid for the dollar bill?  How did he know its dimensions, its form and tilt?  Did he visit Merowe?  And, why, why are all these little pyramids decapitated, flattened at the top . . . just as if the eye was meant to float there?

It’s a mystery that will probably never be answered, a little piece of not quite right that I’ve carried around in my wallet, never wondering, for far too long.