Atlantis Enigma - Chapter 5
THERE REALLY WERE ICE AGE PEOPLES WHO CREATED VAST ENGINEERING WORKS AND BUILT GREAT CITIES ...
There seems to have been early civilization elsewhere as well. According to the Old Testament, the Lord promised the Hebrew warrior Joshua that he would capture the city of Jericho if he was prepared to try a rather unusual military strategy. He was to surround the city with his army and walk around it once a day for six days. On the seventh day, he was required to make the march seven times preceded by seven priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant and carrying seven rams' horn trumpets. The Lord's final instruction was: "And the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn . . . all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat." Joshua did as instructed and the walls came tumbling down.
Just how great a miracle this was only really came to light in 1952, when a team of British archaeologists, led by Kathleen Kenyon, began to excavate the Dead Sea site where Jericho once stood.
What they found was, in Kenyon's own words, amazing.
Although Joshua's army approached the city in 1425 BC, Jericho had existed long before then. Mesolithic traces were found, and carbon dated to somewhere around 9000 BC - only 600 years later than Plato's supposedly mythical Atlantis. There was definite proof of an organized community living in the city by about 8000 BC. By then, if not before, massive stone-built walls, 13 feet thick and 10 feet high, surrounded a 10-acre enclosure. At the center stood an engineering masterpiece - a well-built stone tower with its own internal spiral staircase ... 30 feet of which was still standing after nearly 10, 000 years.
But the sophistication of Jericho went beyond its famous fortifications. Kenyon unearthed extraordinary portrait sculptures created by the innovative technique of modeling plaster over human skulls to produce eerily lifelike results.
Nineveh, a city so old it is mentioned in Genesis, was situated on the east bank of the Tigris, opposite modern Mosul, in Iraq. It grew into the largest population center of the ancient Assyrian Empire. Although not quite prepared to accept that it dates almost to the creation of the world, modern archaeologists believe it was founded no later than the seventh millennium BC. By Assyrian times, the boundary wall was more than 7 miles long and in places an almost unbelievable 148 feet thick. It had thirty great gates, several of them guarded by stone colossi.
In 1820, the brilliant Orientalist Claudius J. Rich became the first person in modern times to survey Nineveh. It was later excavated by French archaeologists, and in 1846 and 1847 by the distinguished English archaeologist Henry Layard, who discovered the palace of Sennacherib. Layard took back to England an unrivalled collection of stone bas-reliefs, several bronzes and thousands of clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform script. But it was while working at Nimrud, the earlier capital of Assyria, that Layard made his most intriguing find - a curious crystal artifact.
It was a disc, not quite circular since it had 0.2 inches discrepancy between its longer and shorter diameters. One face of the disc was flat, but the other had been ground to make it convex, using some sort of precision tool. Although no longer in pristine condition, it showed the remains of twelve cavities which had once contained condensed gases or liquids.
At first, archaeologists concluded the disc must be an ornament of some sort, but then David Brewster became interested in the find. Brewster was an eminent Scottish physicist noted for his experimental work in optics and polarized light. Today he is best remembered as the inventor of the kaleidoscope and the man who first produced three-dimensional images using a modified stereoscope. Brewster examined the artifact and announced, in 1853, that it was a well-made optical lens. This find is not unique. Some seventy-five similar lenses of varying dates have subsequently been found at sites that range from central Turkey through Crete to Troy. Current orthodoxy has it they were all decorative furniture inlays.
What an optical lens was doing in ancient Nimrud was then - and remains today - beyond the understanding of orthodox archaeology. But then so does the ancient 8.8-ton slab of manmade glass discovered in 1956 at Beth She'arim, south-west of Galilee. Similar weights of glass have been manufactured in modern times, but only rarely and for very specialized purposes - like the lenses of giant telescopes.
When faced with a find of cogged stone discs up to 6.5 inches in diameter in the Santa Ana River Valley, Ventura County, California, archaeologists fell back on the time-honored explanation of 'ritual artifacts'. In this case, as in many others, the phrase is an admission of defeat. The plain fact is that no one has the least idea what the discs, which are more than 8,000 years old, were actually used for.
Once you begin to pay attention to what Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson aptly call 'forbidden archaeology' (13) - finds that fail to fit the current paradigm and are consequently ignored, explained away or dismissed as fraud - a wholly new and unexpected picture of the ancient world beings to emerge:
A workable pregnancy test is described on a Babylonian clay tablet. It involved the insertion of a herbaly impregnated woolen tampon into the woman's vagina. When removed and treated with an alum solution, the tampon turned red if the woman was pregnant.
The Maya of South America knew how to drill teeth and repair cavities with metal fillings.
People were tailoring their own clothes as long ago as 20,000 BC. The implements they used have been found. Excavation of three burial sites at Sunghir, Russia, in 1964 showed the men interred there had worn hats, shirts, trousers and moccasins. Excavation of the prehistoric mound of Catal Huyuk, in central Turkey, revealed linen textile fragments, apparently from a girl's skirt.
People who lived at Spirit Cave in northern Thailand seem to have been growing domesticated beans, peas, gourds and water chestnuts around 9000 BC. In faraway Palestine at the same period, the Natufians are known to have used sickles, although it's admittedly difficult to decide whether they were actually planting grain or simply harvesting wild crops.
Map-making has a history of at least 12,000 years. A map was found in 1966 engraved on a mammoth tusk discovered at Mezhirich, in the Ukraine. It was dated to 10,000 BC and showed a local river flanked by a row of houses.
Pottery jars were in use by the same date. A fine example was discovered in the Ishigoya Cave, on Honshu, Japan. Other pots found on the island were
1,000 years older (11,000 BC),
Cheese-making, yogurt-making and wine fermentation were all known in the Stone Age, according to recent discoveries. (14)
Larger than life-size fingerprints are carved on a Neolithic dolmen on the Ile de Gavr'inis, Brittany, France. Most of the carvings show fingertip patterns typical of those on modern police files. Two are partial representations of palm prints. An article in the Chronique Medicale suggests the carvings may have been used as the ultimate identification references of tribal chieftains.
The earliest boomerang, a hunting weapon with very specific and unusual aerodynamic properties, is dated at 21,000 years of age. It was found not in Australia, but in Poland.
Oil lamps were made 20,000 years ago. They may have been used to light surgical operations on the human brain carried out at much the same time. There is an ancient tradition of anesthetics, such as controlled doses of mandrake, which rendered patients immobile and insensitive to pain.
Incredibly, copper was mined before flint in Serbia. There are prehistoric copper mines on Lake Superior, in California, Arkansas, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, New Jersey and Ohio, where prehistoric iron smelting furnaces have also been found. Manganese was mined near Broken Hill in Zambia. Carbon dating of charcoal on the site indicates these mines were being worked 28,130 years ago.
In 1987, Birmingham University archaeologists, Lawrence Barfield and Mike Hodder, concluded that a mound of fire-cracked stones, excavated beside a stream in the city, had been a prehistoric sauna. Other similar sites have since been identified throughout Britain.
The horse was domesticated in Europe sometime before 15,000 BC. A cave wall drawing at La Marche, France, shows one clearly wearing a bridle. So does an engraving found at the Grotte de Marsoulas, and another from St Michel d'Arudy.
Archaeologists excavating tumuli on New Caledonia and the Isle of Pines in the south-west Pacific, discovered more than 400 man-made cement cylinders, 40 to 75 inches in diameter and up to 100 inches long. These cylinders, the purpose of which is unknown, were speckled with silica and iron gravel. Carbon dating showed they could be as old as 13,000 years.
There are paved prehistoric roads in Yucatan, New Zealand, Kenya and Malta. There is a water tank in Sri Lanka with a surface area equivalent to Lake Geneva. There are 170,000 miles of underground aqueducts, thousands of years old, in Iran.
In 1932, Captain G. E. H. Wilson wrote in 'Man' of a forgotten civilization in East Africa's Rift Valley. Signs of this civilization stretched across what are now Tanganyika, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Northern Zimbabwe and included terracing, ancient canals, drainage systems, miles of roadways and an irrigation system that appears to have included the diversion of whole rivers.
In June 1940, Froelich G. Rainey and Magnus Marks began excavating a Neolithic site near Ipiutak in the Arctic Circle. By the time they uncovered the remains of some 600 houses, with indications that at least a further 200 remained to be excavated, they realized they had stumbled on a prehistoric metropolis. The city was laid out on a logical grid and stretched for more than a mile. Artifacts and craft work discovered at the site were of 'elaborate and sophisticated carving and ... beautiful workmanship'. The archaeologists were convinced their find could not represent any proto-Eskimo culture, and decided instead that the people who built this chilly city must have entered the area from elsewhere.
Prehistoric stone-built structures on the Pacific island of Ponape, and on several neighboring islands, indicate the presence in ancient times of yet another unknown civilization. Writing towards the end of the nineteenth century, Royal Geographical Society member F. W. Christian described them as follows:
A massive breakwater runs along the edge of the . . . sea. Out to sea lie other islands, where there are scattered remains of another ancient sea wall. The most remarkable ... ruins are on the Islet Tanack. The water front is filled with a solid line of massive stone-work about 6 feet wide and 6 feet above the shallow waterway. Above this is a striking example of immensely solid cyclopean masonry - a great wall 20 feet high and 10 feet thick.
Christian goes on to tell of various enclosures walled to a height of 40 feet and a massive subterranean vault roofed with enormous slabs of basalt.
A group of more than 90 man-made islands around Ponape covers an area of approximately 11 square miles. The group is protected by a reef, but to the east where the reef is broken, the ancient builders constructed a massive breakwater which stretches south for 3 miles. The basalt used in much of this work was transported a distance of 30 miles. The artificial islands are raised on basalt platforms anywhere from 5 to 10 feet above water level, then topped by huge walls - in the case of Nan Tauach, 30 feet high and 10 feet thick. An article in the American Antiquarian described the constructions as being 'among the world's pre-historic wonders'.
In 1928, the Geographical Review published a report on the discovery of ancient ruins on the site of Kevkenes Dagh, Asia Minor. This great isolated city, built by an entirely unknown culture, was three times the size of Boghaz Koi, the ancient Hittite capital. High-walled fortifications, 13 feet thick, enclosed an area of 1.5 miles by 1 mile.
Also in the 1920's came reports of the remains of cities, temples and monuments hidden in the wooded valleys stretching along the coastline through Honduras up to Yucatan. The remains were described as superbly carved monoliths and stones of immense size covered with ornaments and glyphs reminiscent of Egyptian, Indian and even Chinese art. An anonymous writer in Pan-American Magazine suggested they might be remnants of Atlantis. You can see why.
Yonaguni is a small island south-west of Okinawa in the Japanese archipelago. In 1988, scuba divers led by Kihachiro Aratake discovered an enormous stone structure on the seabed off the coast of Yonaguni. The structure lay more than 75 feet below the surface. Investigation showed it was 600 feet long, 450 feet wide and 90 feet high. The locals decided it was a natural formation.
Ten years later, the experts weren't so sure. The first geologist to investigate the site was Professor Masaki Kimura of Ryuku University on Okinawa. In April 1998, he discovered a structure divided into five distinct layers and decided it had to be manmade. It is easy to see why. Underwater photographs and video footage reveal a stepped, ziggurat-like monument of extraordinary proportions. Each step is about 3 feet high with clean edges and sharp angles. There is also an archway and two parallel monoliths among other intriguing features like drainage channels. Further investigation led to the discovery of smaller satellite ziggurats near the main edifice. Each is about 30 feet wide and 6 feet high. Each appears to be constructed of stepped slabs. Divers also found what looks like a road surrounding the main structure.
Robert Schoch, the American geologist who re-dated the sphinx, dived to examine the Yonaguni Monument and later commented that while natural water erosion and rock splitting might possibly produce a structure of this type, he had never seen anything quite like it before. Professor Kimura was even more forthcoming. He maintained bluntly that if the sharp steps were the result of natural erosion there would be debris on the seabed surrounding them. In fact, there is none.
The aptly named Team Atlantis expedition who dived to make a video documentary of the site concluded that while the monument may be a natural formation in part, it had certainly been extensively modified by human hands. In other words, someone in the depths of prehistory discovered a suitable rock formation and used sophisticated engineering techniques to shape it the way they wanted.
But if the various structures in the Yonaguni complex are artificial, there is no known Japanese civilization that could have created them. Geological dating places the site above water no later than 8000 BC. (The actual time-span is somewhere between 8000 and 10,000 BC.) Orthodox prehistory claims the most advanced culture in Japan at the time was small groups of hunter-gatherers. As Professor Kimura points out, there is no way they could have built or even modified the Yonaguni Monument. He believes for something of this size some sort of machinery must have been involved.
America's William R. Corliss, a tireless collector of anomalies, expresses the fundamental situation brilliantly:
Most impressive of all are the great deserted cities, the ruins of which stand on the lonely plains of Asia Minor, high in the thin air of the Andes, and on storm-swept Arctic shores. Here are signs of great civilizations that once prospered and raised magnificent walls, buildings and monuments. Perhaps we have acclaimed the Greeks and Romans too loudly.(15)
Plato described Atlantis as a literate, seafaring culture which had domesticated the horse, created vast engineering works and built great cities. Its people wore clothes, mined and used metal, engaged in agriculture, drank wine and had some sort of centralized political structure. For anyone who subscribes to today's consensus of prehistory, this must all seem like an outlandish fantasy.
Yet, as we have now seen, there really were Ice Age peoples who created vast engineering works and built great cities, who wore clothes, mined and used metal, grew crops, drank wine and manifestly must have had some sort of centralized political structure. Even the question of literacy no longer seems quite so fantastic. Although the Sumerians are generally credited with inventing writing in the fourth millennium BC, a 1979 study by two American academics thinks otherwise.
Allan Forbes Jr. and T. R. Crowder undertook an in-depth analysis of some curious signs which appear repeatedly in Upper Palaeolithic cave art. Unlike the rest of the art, these signs do not seem to be directly representational - that's to say they bear no obvious resemblance to any animal, person or artifact. Forbes and Crowder systematically considered, then eliminated, the possibility that the signs were meant to mark individual property, that they were hunting tallies or memory aids. The Americans then compared the signs with characters found in several early written scripts - Greek, Runic and Indus Valley signs - and found sufficient similarities to justify the belief that the later alphabets actually evolved from the prehistoric cave signs. They were left with only one conclusion, which they expressed forcefully in a paper published in World Archaeology: 'The sole remaining possibility is writing ... a precursor form not differing fundamentally from inscriptions in early written languages.'
If we could just find evidence of maritime ability, it would almost seem as if Plato might one day be vindicated.
Notes for chapter 5
(13) In the title of their exceptional work, "Forbidden Archaeology, the Hidden History of the Human Race", published by the Bhaktivedanta Institute, San Diego, 1993.
(14) See Ancient Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe, Michael O'Mara Books, London,1995.
(15) Quoted from "Ancient Man: A Handbook of Puzzling Artifacts" by William R. Corliss, The Sourcebook Project, Glen Arm, MD, 1980.
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