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Schist Disc of Sabu

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If you visit the Museum of Cairo to see the glittering treasures of King Tutankhamen, giant statues of the Pharaohs, creepy-looking mummies, impossible vases, and those wood figures with amazing lifelike eyes, you might miss the most mysterious artifact of all – the Schist Disc of Sabu, sometimes referred to as the Tri-Lobed Disk.  It is so mysterious that your tour guide might not even know what it is or where to find it.  (Hint: It is on the museum’s first floor and labeled “Vase of Schist.”)

 

What is so intriguing about this round, black object, only two feet in diameter?

 

In 1936, British Egyptologist Walter Bryan Emery discovered the disc near Saqqara while excavating the tomb of Prince Sabu, Governor of the I Dynasty.  The I Dynasty was around 3,000 B.C. – a long time ago, even for ancient Egypt.  Most of the items in this 5,000-year-old time capsule were to be expected – knives, arrows, vessels, copper tools, etc. – but the disc, found in fragments and later assembled, seemed completely out of place.  It was carefully carved from very delicate schist (an extremely difficult task to say the least) and had the distinct appearance of a functional moving part from a modern machine.

 

Some have suggested the disc is a faithful replica of a much earlier metallic machine part.  Chariots of the Gods? author Erich Von Däniken has proposed that the disc could be a copy of an internal component from an ancient spaceship’s hyperdrive system.  Others have likened it to certain light-rimmed flywheels Lockheed missile engineers developed in the 1970s.  Robert, host of the Observation Deck YouTube series, has a more measured perspective.  He believes the disc may have been an ingenious device used to spin silk fibers into twine.

 

Bringing up the rear, as usual, are the traditionalist debunkheads who observe this futuristic-looking wonder and see an incense holder.  That’s right – an incense holder.  Or, as the Museum of Cairo would have us believe, a vase.  Really?  Take a look at the Schist Disc of Sabu.  Does that look like a vase to you?

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Further Exploration

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Schist Disc - Illustrated Guide to Egypt
Schist Disc - Egyptian Museum in Cairo.p
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