Remains of Egyptian chariot wheels have been found in the eastern arm of the Red Sea between the Sinai Peninsula and Saudi Arabia. Their discovery challenges traditional assumptions of the Exodus route from Egypt and of the location of Mt. Sinai, also known as Mt. Horeb. The map at right shows the possible new route based on the location of these Egyptian relics.
Discovered over three decades ago by Ron Wyatt, they are situated on the northern third of the arm of the Red Sea known as the Gulf of Aqaba and lie on a 7 mile wide underwater land bridge that slopes gradually down to a depth of 800 feet. On either side of this land bridge the sea floor plunges to 5,000 feet.
An enormous beach reportedly capable of accommodating 2,000,000 people is depicted on the western edge of this underwater land bridge. Also shown is a sizable beach on the eastern, Saudi Arabian, side of the crossing site.
Below is an aerial photo of the beach at the location of Wyatt's discoveries. Notice in the picture on the right the view of the mountains coming down to the sea; thus, as Scripture says, "hemming them in."
Note chariot relic site in upper arm of Gulf of Aqaba
Close-up of relic and crossing site
View of massive beach, 4.25 miles long and 2 miles wide, at site of the crossing
view from beach of mountains to the south
Jewish historian, Josephus, tells this account of the Red Sea entrapment. "Now when the Egyptians had overtaken the Hebrews, they prepared to fight them, and by their multitude they drove them into a narrow place; for the number that pursued after them was six hundred chariots, with fifty thousand horsemen, and two hundred thousand footmen, all armed. They also seized on the passages by which they imagined the Hebrews might fly, shutting them up between inaccessible precipices and the sea; for there was on each side mountains that terminated at the sea, which were impassable by reason of their roughness, and obstructed their flight; wherefore they there pressed upon the Hebrews with their army, where the ridges of the mountains were closed with the sea; which army they placed at the gaps of the mountains, that so they might deprive them of any passage into the plain."
Ancient Pillar near the beach on the Sinai entrance to the underwater land-bridge
As Wyatt explored this beach area around the eastern (Sinai) entrance to the underwater bridge, he found this granite, Phoenician-style column lying in the sand on the southern end of the beach; partially in the water, its ancient inscriptions were no longer legible. At the time - 1978 - the Israeli army was occupying Sinai. As a soldier approached, he showed him the pillar. When Wyatt returned sometime later, the monument had been moved across the road and mounted in cement.
In 1984, the mystery of what had been inscribed on the pillar was solved. A matching column was found at the exit point on the Saudi side of the crossing. Phoenician letters - archaic Hebrew - were still legible along with the following words: Mizraim (Egypt); Solomon; Edom; death; Pharaoh; Moses and Yahweh. From these words Wyatt understood this to have been erected by King Solomon as a monument to the miraculous deliverance by God of the children of Israel from Pharaoh in the Red Sea.
Stone Found Near Sight of Chariot Remains
The picture below is of a rock found at Wadi Mukattab, the site of the likely exit of the Hebrews from the Red Sea into Saudi Arabia.
Photograph was taken by Francis Frith in 1857
A spate of discoveries occurred in the Sinai Peninsula in the 1800's, as well as 1700's, of inscriptions on sandstone (and other rocks) in an unknown language; they were particularly clustered in the Wadi Sidra area of Sinai.
Notice in the top right section the engraving of a candlestand depicting the one placed in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of Moses
In the mid-1800's a man by the name of Charles Forster realized the inscriptions were a combination of Hebrew and a form of Egyptian hieroglyphics, and was able to dicipher them.
Below are three of the innumerable inscriptions on rock walls scattered through the area.
"The people depart fugitives. A mighty army is submerged in the deep sea, the only way of escape for the congregated people."
"The wind blowing, the sea dividing into parts, they pass over."
"Moses causes the people to haste like a fleet-winged she-ostrich crying aloud, the cloud shining bright, a mighty army propelled into the Red Sea is gathered into one; they go jumping and skipping. Journey through open channel, taking flight from the face of the enemy. The surge of the sea is divided."
Quotes from Grant R. Jeffery's book, The Signature of God
Egyptian Chariot Remains
gold-plated four-spoke wheel
The coral encrustation below and to the right of gold plated wheel suggests the remains of the wooden hub of a wheel
Wheel and hub
Both photos above appear to be of the same gold plated four-spoke wheel. Coral encrustations form on wood but not on gold; thus some wood remnant of the hub remains as is evidenced by the coral that has formed around it. This wheel was thinly coated with gold. The wood inside has disintegrated making it too fragile to move.
It is likely the gold wheel belonged to the chariot of an Egyptian priest who sometimes accompanied armies on particularly difficult missions and rode in especially elaborate chariots. Considering the stunning display of power Egypt had witnessed from the God of the slaves, it would be reasonable to expect that the Pharoah would want a representative of his gods on this pursuit. According to Scripture, Pharoah enlisted all the chariots of the realm in attempting to thwart the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.
Encrusted wheels and axle
investigating a coral out-cropping
coral formation preserves wooden wheel
As coral encrusts on wood it preserves it and leaves a prickly form of the object it encases, thus making it easier for divers to recognize possible chariot remains amid unusual coral formations on the seabed.
Ancient Depictions of Egyptian Chariot Wheels
Stone engraving showing 4 and 8-spoke Egyptian chariot wheels
Ancient sketches and stone carvings reveal aspects of chariot wheels that enable accurate dating of wheel remains in the Red Sea.
Three different types of wheels were found by Wyatt. Beside the 4 and 8-spoke wheels already mentioned, a 6-spoke version was also found on the sea floor. According to Wyatt, when he showed his evidence to the Director of Antiquities in Cairo, Egypt, and asked for an estimate of the time frame in which these wheels would have been in use, his reply was immediate...the 18th dynasty. There was only a short period in which the 8-spoke wheel was used and certainly an even shorter period in which all three styles were simultaneously used. The 18th dynasty coincides with the time of Moses.
Along with the chariot remains, Wyatt also found some fossilized human and horse bones.
As a result of his discoveries, he then assumed Mt. Sinai (Mt. Horeb) must exist in Saudi Arabia rather than the traditional site in the Sinai Peninsula, and he began looking for it in the general area where the Israelites would have exited the sea. There he found...
The Mountain of Moses
In the parching sands of Saudi Arabia there is a mountain rising 8,000 feet above sea level. At the base of the mountain is a large pile of boulders with a large flat stone place atop it that, together, appear too be an altar. Near the base of some of those boulders are extensive petroglyphs of Egyptian cattle. Cattle, particularly in ancient times, were not found in the sands of Arabia. It is quite possible that this was the altar referenced in Ex. 32:5-6..."And when Aaron saw [the molton calf], he built an altar before it...and they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings..."
One of many petroglyph etchings of Egyptian cattle
Circling the base of the mountain is a series of large stone piles precisely spaced 400 yards apart. "Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, 'Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it'." Ex. 19:12
Elsewhere on the mountain is a large split rock.
"Behold, I will stand before you there upon the rock in Horeb; and you shall smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink." Ex. 17:6
"He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river." Ps. 105: 41
Rock approximately 60' tall with the split measuring 12-18" wide
At the base of that rock and flowing down from it is water-worn granite, smooth and rounded and trailing down the mountain into the valley below. Though the desert reportedly receives less than an inch rainfall in ten years, from a distance, the barren valley clearly appears to have contained a great water flow at some point.
"He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas; He brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers." Ps. 78: 15-16
Note the pockets in the granite that have been beveled out by water.
Up at the top, the peak and long granite ridge to the left are blackened...a shiney black...scorched by a fierce heat that has melted the surface of the granite. Beneath the surface, it is as it should be...light in color and with normal consistency.
"And the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds and thick darkness, and the Lord spoke...out of the fire." Deut. 4:11-12
Local Bedoins and other area residents call this the "Mountain of Moses." It may be the most remarkable archeological, biblical "discovery" ever...as close to proof of the miraculous events of Mt. Sinai as is possible. Because it is in the Moslem land of Saudi Arabia, it may never be opened to the rest of the world.
All of this happened because of the dedication and genius of a man named Ron Wyatt. Others, such as Jim Irwin (former astronaut), are bringing the mountain to light, but it would not have happened had it not been for an obscure man who, in the mid-1970's, began to untangle some of the mysteries that have hidden from history the wondrous reality of the exodus from Egypt.
If you would like to know more about this controversial, yet fascinating subject, the following links are a starting point: