Professor Earl Ertman’s “Sandals “ Brouhaha! 

In 1992, Prof. Earl L. Ertman, a professor of Art at the University of Akron, Ohio claimed that the Mansoor Amarna Sculptures could not be authentic on the ground that the type of sandals worn on one of the Mansoor sculptures was unknown in Ancient Egypt. 

In a rambling response to a recent request for an interview by a producer, investigating the Mansoor Amarna Collection, Prof. Ertman, continued to defend his claim that the Mansoor Amarna Collection cannot be authentic. And in a gratuitous gesture, he informs us that :” All the surface patination in the world will not conceal elements that are not ancient or of the time the piece is proported ( sic? ) to be.” Furthermore, he delights us with the following:” For example my comments about the sandals worn on one of the Mansoor reliefs in a past issue of KMT indicate that the type sandal shown as being worn was unknown during the New Kingdom.” 

In his letter published in the KMT issue of the Summer of 1992, Mr. Ertman appealed to the readers of the journal:” I would be pleased to know if any readers are aware of ancient Egyptian examples of the type sandals shown in the Mansoor reliefs”.

In the late Mr. Aldred’s book titled “ Akhenaten and Nefertiti”’published by the Brooklyn Museum in 1993, on the occasion of an exhibit of Amarna works or Art, there is on page 184 a stela in sunk relief depicting two kings seated side by side in which the king on the left is wearing a sandal with a heel support just like the one in the Mansoor relief. This was brought to the attention of Prof. Ertman who regretfully did  not comment on it.

Let us now explore another approach to Mr. Ertman’s question. Let us suppose there are no parallels to the type of sandal such as that in the Mansoor reliefs. Every one knows that there was trade in antiquity between many countries. And in this case, couldn’t this sandal have originated from a country nearby Egypt? Hasn’t Mr. Ertman heard of the “ Silk Road” or “ Silk Route”? Hasn’t he heard of “ caravans”? Doesn’t he know that even foreign Asiatic gods such as Baal, Recheph, Qedech, Astarte and Anat were introduced to the Egyptians during the New Kingdom by soldiers and negotiators? And if foreign gods were imported into Egypt, couldn’t sandals also have been imported?

Mr. Ertman must certainly know that when King Ahmose liberated Egypt from the Hyksos’ occupation and inaugurated the New Kingdom, a period during which Egypt’s frontiers extended to the Euphrates on the north and to Nubia on the south, doesn’t he know that this resulted in close contacts with other civilizations, which contacts created profound cultural innovations? And doesn’t he know that there was more than one style of chairs and thrones and crowns? Can Professor Ertman tell us from where cedar and ebony woods were imported from? If some materials were imported from foreign countries, couldn’t sandals have also been imported, maybe even from Italy or Greece or Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, the Sinai and into Egypt? Couldn’t they have been imported from Assyria, Lybia or Nubia?

This is only one example we can cite, but there are others and we will be glad to publish them if anyone requests them.

So the above effectively destroys Mr. Ertman’s position in the matter of the sandals in the Mansoor sculptures.

But before we close this “ Sandals” chapter, let us comment on Prof. Ertman’s two statements, or shall we call them “ jewels “, mentioned above. 

First, we think that Egyptologists, Art historians AND ART PROFESSORS would be better off if they concentrated on ART and HISTORY and left SCIENCE to the scientists. When Prof. Ertman states that “ all the surface patination in the world will not conceal…………etc”, he proved to us that he has not read any of the scientific reports found in our home page <>  and if he had read  them, he obviously did not understand any of them.  We think that any of his “ scientist” colleagues at the University of Akron would have gladly explained to him the meaning and importance of these scientific reports!


 Two more things about SCIENCE:

a. The late Hans Wolfgang Muller, admittedly a great scholar, condemned the Mansoor Amarna Collection, without having ever laid an eye on it. But a SCIENTIST he is not. Later he was sent two sculptures from the Mansoor Collection for his evaluation. Here is what he wrote: “The material of both objects submitted to me in the original (relief head and small head of princess) is a reddish lime-sandstone, which is supposed to have derived from Egypt, according to the expert opinions, but which is not known to me as coming from Egypt; this type of stone has during the entire pharaonic history of the valley of the Nile been used neither in its architecture, nor in its art production of reliefs, statues or small objects.”<> Sorry, Prof. Dr. Muller you were wrong! The stone IS Egyptian. We will just quote one scientific document contradicting this statement:” From geological work done in Egypt, a probable localization of the material (limestone) would be Luxor and Quena in the Nile Valley”. Dr. Philippe Blanc, Universite Pierre& Marie Curie ( Sorbonne) , Paris.

<> The reader is free to peruse the other scientific documents, for further verification   of the stone provenance.

b. The Rosetta Stone .For the better part of two centuries, Egyptologists claimed the material to be “ black basalt”.  “NO” said the scientists of the British Museum, recently. It is GRANITE. OOPS! That proves our point above. If you know “science” say so. If you don’t, say so, also. There is no shame.

Secondly:” my comments about the sandals worn on one of the Mansoor reliefs in a past issue of KMT indicate that the type sandal shown as being worn was unknown during the New Kingdom”. This is really a stretch, Prof. Ertman. The New Kingdom spanned a period of 490 years! Can anyone imagine a span of 490 years without a change in “ fashion”?  Women of the world, Arise!

We still stand by our offer to publish more examples of different “sandals”, during the New Kingdom. Just ask, Mr. Ertman.


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