Breaking the pyramids’ code

By Cam Cotton-O’Brien

It was a chance encounter in front of the Sphinx that led to a U of C researcher’s TV series.

The series, set to be released in late October, challenges a number of notions currently held on ancient Egypt.

Immediately after finishing the manuscript which was to become the basis for her imminent five part documentary, University of Calgary faculty of education professor Carmen Boulter set it aside and went to Taiwan.

Upon her return, she decided to take another trip. This was to Egypt, which for Boulter, who has been fascinated by ancient Egypt since childhood, is a startlingly frequent occurrence.

While staying in the small town at the foot of the Sphinx she met a Hollywood director who read the manuscript and immediately decided he wanted to film it as a documentary.

“It goes on to explain that ancient Egypt is much older than traditional Egyptology claims,” she said. “It gives evidence of high-level technology and how it was used. It challenges the theory that the pyramids were tombs for pharaohs built by slaves and presents a new way of interpreting art, symbolism and hieroglyphic writing.”

The films draw on the testimony of a number of experts, ranging from archaeologists to authors to physicists. The work came out of Boulter’s earlier book, Angles and Archetypes: an Evolutionary Map of Feminine Consciousness, which had encompassed a study of ancient Egyptian goddesses and inspired her to continue her research in that field.

In addition to challenging long-held notions of ancient Egypt, Boulter has been working to drive education forward.

Having taken a master’s in Educational Psychology from the University of Alberta and a PhD in Educational Technology from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbon, Australia, Boulter has been actively exploring the teaching options available via technology, including using the Internet.

“[I] went abroad to Taiwan and worked at Chien Quo Technology University,” said Boulter. “I worked there for four years and I was creating online programs for teaching English.”

Boulter holds that online courses are especially useful for language education, because “it appeals to auditory, visual and kinaesthetic learners.”

Despite this, her work initially encountered some ambivalence.

“I found that during that time there was a lot of resistance to the uptake of technology, so I actually created a program called ‘I am a Geek!’ But it was really ahead of its time.

“The younger generation has caught up, so now multimedia and online learning is no longer such a tough sell.”

This new appreciation for the potential of online education will benefit Boulter’s present work designing videos to aid teachers in language instruction.

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