CAIRO, April 3 (UPI) -- As Jews are observing Passover, Egypt's chief archaeologist says there's no scientific evidence God parted the Red Sea to allow them to escape a pharaoh's army.
Known to Jews as the exodus from the desert and finding the Promised Land, the parting of the waters is seen as symbolic by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist who has scoured the territory, a Washington Post reporter wrote. Passover selebrates the flight from Egypt.
"Really, it's a myth," Hawass said. "Sometimes as archaeologists we have to say that never happened because there is no historical evidence."
He made the remarks as he led a group of reporters through a region in the North Sinai where the event was reported by ancient scribes, who said once the Israelites had fled, the sea closed up and swallowed the pursuing army.
Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, who is heading the excavation there, said modern Egyptian culture could be the reason for the disbelief.
"A pharaoh drowned and a whole army was killed." Abdel-Maqsoud said. "This is a crisis for Egypt, and Egyptians do not document their crises."