Emmet Sweeney

Emmet John Sweeney is a Scottish-born historian, who has published a series of books arguing for a radical reconstruction of ancient history. He graduated from the University of Ulster, and has lectured at the West University in , Romania.

Influenced by the work of controversial author Immanuel Velikovsky, as well as by Gunnar Heinsohn, Sweeney has argued that both the antiquity of ancient civilizations and the forces which produced them have been radically misunderstood by mainstream academia. According to Sweeney, immense natural catastrophes, the last of which occurred within the span of recorded human history, profoundly affected early peoples. These events gave rise to some of the most enigmatic human practices, including human sacrifice, star and planet worship, and the belief in Armageddon, or the End of the World. Sweeney holds that, under the influence of natural disasters, ancient human beings were impelled to begin the custom of human sacrifice, and to erect immense raised altars - pyramids - upon which to perform them. For him, then, all early civilizations commenced more or less simultaneously, around 1100 BC, and the supposed two-thousand-year "head start" of the civilizations of the Near East is an illusion. For Sweeney, the belief that the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia commenced around 3200 BC, is a legacy of the early Christian age, when the chronology of the Old Testament was made to "tie-in" with the histories of Egypt and Babylonia.

Among his more radical claims is the idea that Old Testament chronology is completely distorted; and it was the application of Old Testament dates to the history of Egypt which in turn made a nonsense of Egyptian history. He suggests, for example, that Imhotep, the great architect and vizier of pharaoh Djoser (circa 2700 BC), is identical to the biblical Patriarch Joseph, son of Jacob (supposedly circa 1700 BC), and that both characters should, in reality, be placed around 950 BC. In the same vein, he regards the Abraham migration from Mesopotamia to Egypt as recalling a real event, and equates it with the Mesopotamian immigration into Egypt which archaeologists have dated to just before the start of the First Dynasty. According to Sweeney however this occurred around 1100 BC, rather than 3200 BC, as the textbooks state. Although the migration was real, he does not regard Abraham as a historical character, but sees him as an euhemerization of the phallic god Min or Hermes/Thoth. In general, he accepts Gunnar Heinsohn's revised chronology, which eqautes the so-called Sumerians with the Chaldaeans and the Akkadians, who conquered them, with the Empire Assyrians. The conquerors of the Akkadians, the so-called Mitanni, whose kings bear Indo-Iranian names, are equated with the Medes, conquerors of the Assyrians in the seventh century BC. Sweeney however differs from Heinsohn in seeing the Hittites as the historical Lydians, and in holding onto most of Velikovsky's character identifications as outlined in Ages in Chaos. And so for example he equates Hatshepsut of the Eighteenth Dynasty with the biblical Queen of Sheba, but places her in the early seventh century, rather than the tenth, as Velikovsky did. This means, essentially, that Sweeney agrees with the chronology outlined by Velikovsky in Ages in Chaos, with the proviso that he brings the Eighteenth Dynasty a further two centuries down the timescale to join up with the Nineteenth Dynasty, which, in agreement with Velikovsky, he leaves in the sixth century.

Sweeney's books have been published in a series entitled "Ages in Alignment", by Algora Publishing of New York. In order of chronology, but not of publication:
* The Genesis of Israel and Egypt (2008) (first published by Janus Publishing Company, March 1997);
* The Pyramid Age: Riddles of Time and Technology (2007);
* Empire of Thebes or, Ages In Chaos Revisited (2006);
* The Ramessides, Medes and Persians (2007).

Sweeney is also the author of a reconstruction of primeval British history: Arthur and Stonehenge (Domra Publications, 2001). In this book he argues that the entire Arthurian myth belongs in the Bronze Age, and sees Stonehenge as the original Round Table of Arthur. He also sees Britain as the source of early bronze-working technology, and sees the myth of the Sword in the Stone as a memory of how the first sword-smiths created weapons, by pouring the molten bronze into a stone mold.


Although most historians would not argue too much with Sweeney's theories regarding British prehistory, partly because there is so little that can, in any case, be said with certainty about this subject his assertions about Ancient Egypt and the Near East have received a much more hostile reception. For example, his claim that the Great Pyramid was constructed around 850 BC, rather than 2550 BC, is viewed as unfounded sensationalism. Sweeney's claims that the pyramid-builders would have needed steel tools to cut granite, basalt and diorite, is said to have been disproved by the researches of Denys A. Stocks, who shows (Experiments in Egyptian Archaeology, 2003) that granite, for example, can be worked by pounding it with a harder stone, such as basalt. Sweeney however has pointed out that while large granite surfaces can be ground down in this way, Pyramid Age sculptors must have been in possession of steel tools, since the carving of basalt and diorite portrait statues, which display details of eyes, nose, ears, etc, can only have been executed using very sharp and fine cutting-tools. He points out that, once the technology of iron-smelting is known - and this is essentially the same as the technology of copper-smelting - then it is comparatively easy to produce steel. The hot iron is simply case-hardened by being covered either with charcoal or an animal-skin. That the Egyptians of the Pyramid Age did know about iron is proved by the numerous references to the metal in the Pyramid Texts and the discovery by Vyse of an iron plate deep in the masonry of the Great Pyramid. Yet iron was not, until much later, used as the main material for tools, because in the Pyramid Age it was so difficult to refine. The labour-intensive nature of production meant that iron (and therefore also steel) was extremely expensive. The royal artisans of the Pyramid Age, says Sweeney, kept their precious cutting and carving tools as family heirlooms. These, worth their weight in gold, were handed down through families from generation to generation; and it was only much later, when new techniques of iron-smelting were introduced, that iron tools began to replace bronze among the general artisan population. In the Pyramid Age, iron and steel tools were owned only by the royal sculptors and masons.
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