As we enter the 21st century technological advances are coming to the aid of scientists of all descriptions. But it will likely be the Marine Archaeologists, whose discoveries on the continental shelves that were once the coastal plains of the archaic world that will most significantly change our picture of the past. We cannot go on thinking of the past from the scant knowledge available to us from excavations of the remains of ancient peoples discovered solely on the dry land we now live on.
This dry land comprises around 29% of the total surface area of our planet and the remaining 71% is currently ocean. Over the last 17 years or so The Morien Institute has been carefully documenting as much information about new discoveries underwater as we can find, and The Morien Institute Marine Archaeology Archive gives just a glimpse of the many recent discoveries showing evidence of sometimes ‘vast coastal settlements’ that were inundated by rising seas in ancient times.
During the last Ice Age the ‘sea-levels were more than 300 feet lower than they are today’, and a wide band either side of the equator enjoyed a pleasant enough climate for human civilisation to have flourished in many parts of the world. When the sea levels rose as the ice sheets melted ‘many coastal settlements disappeared under the waves’ – forgotten except in the oral traditions of peoples in every land. These oral traditions represent an invaluable archive of knowledge from the archaic world, but they are almost always dismissed by academic archaeologists and prehistorians who have traditionally regarded them simply as ‘quaint myths’ which they collectively claimed have no bearing on reality.
But that is a very foolish perspective. What remains of the oral traditions of the many ancient societies that once developed on our planet must be preserved at all costs so that future peoples can study the wisdom of ancient peoples with an open mind that was sadly absent from past academic thinking. These oral traditions are now acknowledged as being the invaluable ‘Indigenous Knowledge’ of ancient peoples, and represent a collective understanding of the natural world that had developed through careful observation over countless millennia. Despite the scepticism expressed in some academic disciplines, we cannot afford to let this ancient knowledge die out simply because the supposed “experts” of today cannot understand it.
Neither can we continue to look at the prehistory of human societies and civilisations as if our planet somehow stands alone in empty space. Nothing could be further from reality. Our immediate solar system environment is more of a ‘cosmic shooting gallery’ than a vast expanse of emptiness, and a great body of evidence is building which shows that the environmental impact of encounters with comets, asteroids and cometary debris has been responsible for ‘the destruction of numerous ancient civilisations’ on several occasions in the archaic world over the past 10 to 20 millennia.
Alongside this our planet orbits a very dynamic star, which we call the Sun, and modern research is showing that our weather, and its long-term trends we refer to as our climate, is very much determined by its moods. Sometimes the sun is quiet, with few sunspots and few solar storms. At other times it is very active with many sunspots, many solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) of charged particles that impact our geomagnetic field with sometimes disastrous consequences for all organisms on Earth, including humans and their societies.
Many scientists are coming to realise that these strong, X-class CMEs can, and have had, catastrophic effects on our climate, abruptly ending Ice Ages and bringing with them solar radiation that can threaten all life on Earth. Exactly how many times this has happened in the past is unknown at present, but scientists are beginning to recognise their “fingerprints” in a variety of proxy data records, and in the near future we will know more for certain.
Throughout the last few hundred years, and quite probably before that, individual researchers ranging from the eccentric ‘Gentleman Antiquarians’ of the 17 & 1800s to the so-called ‘dissident professors’ of the 20th century have pursued lines of enquiry which has horrified general academia. Those individuals were ridiculed and their ideas vociferously opposed by academic archaeologists and prehistorians who had often invested a lifetime’s work in what the more honest amongst them might reluctantly admit in private company to have been a totally inaccurate view of human prehistory.
Theories that many ‘megalithic sites’ began life as some form of observatories acting as ‘early-warning systems’ for imminent impacts of cosmic debris from the break up of a giant comet have been emerging over the last 30-50 years or so. Evidence supporting these theories is helping not only to date some of these monuments, but also illustrates how well their builders were oriented in time and space. A new appreciation that our ancestors were acutely aware that the Earth orbited the Sun, and that it periodically encountered streams of cometary debris, suggests that ancient peoples understood the dynamics of the solar system to a far greater degree than has previously been acknowledged.
Dr. Duncan Steel, then of Spaceguard Australia, presented a paper to the Society for Inter-Disciplinary Studies conference at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, in July of 1997, in which he gave details of his research suggesting that the earlier ‘henge circle’ which preceded the stone circles at Stonehenge could have been deliberately constructed to function as a ‘cosmic impact early warning system’. His paper, “Before the Stones: Stonehenge I as a Cometary Catastrophe Predictor” makes for interesting reading for all serious students of ancient astronomy, astro-archaeology, archaeoastronomy and prehistory.
The Cambridge Conference focussed primarily on the effects of ‘natural catastrophes resulting from the impacts of cometary debris’. These impacts were presented as being the likely causes of the sudden collapse and in many cases the total destruction of various Bronze Age civilisations, giving rise to radical cultural changes, and to a number of new religions with accompanying astro-mythologies that had hitherto been impossible for academia to understand.
The simultaneous collapse of these civilizations has long puzzled archaeologists and prehistorians as the vast areas affected ran right across the ‘fertile crescent’ destroying the most advanced societies of the time, ranging in distance from Greece and Anatolia through to Mesopotamia and Afghanistan and continuing eastwards to encompass India and Central Asia.
The cause of the most perplexing ‘Bronze Age Event’ around 2350 – 2300 BC has only recently become clear as a wide variety of ‘ologists from various disciplines have begun reviewing the mythologies of the time. What they have found throughout numerous inter-disciplinary studies are the accurate observations of ancient skywatchers describing cosmic bombardment and flooding which in every case, and in every region, came directly from the ancient skies.
These ‘natural cosmic catastrophes’ were recorded by all ancient societies and passed down through countless generations to become the oral traditions that are held sacred by the peoples whose ancestors directly experienced them, but which are often dismissed as being ‘quaint myths that have no bearing on reality’ by so-called scholars who have never even tried to understand them. Bombardment of our planet by cosmic debris is, like all things in the natural world, a cyclical phenomena. If ancient traditions are any indication it has happened many times in the past, and if we dismiss the records kept by ancient peoples simply because they were recorded in a language that our modern scientists cannot understand, then we will not be prepared when it happens again.
In October 1900, Captain Dimitrious Kondos was leading a team of sponge divers near the island of Antikythera off the coast of Greece. They noticed a shipwreck about 180 feet below the surface and began to investigate. Amongst the artifacts that they brought up was a coral-encrusted piece of metal that later Archaeologists found was some sort of gear wheel. The rest of the artifacts, along with the shape of the boat, suggested a date around 2000 years ago, which made the find one of the most anomalous that had ever been recovered from the world’s seas. It became known as ‘The Antikythera Mechanism’.
In 2006 the journal “Nature” published a letter, and a full paper about the mechanism was published in 2008, detailing the findings of Prof. Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University. Using high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the fragments of the anomalous Antikythera Mechanism, they found that it was in fact ‘a bronze mechanical analog computer’ that could be used to calculate the positions and various cycles of the Moon – as seen from the Earth.
This incredible discovery is indisputable evidence that ancient peoples were far more capable of understanding the cyclical nature of the movements of celestial bodies and various temporary celestial phenomena than they have previously been given credit for, and ‘The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project’ has definitively shown that they were also more than capable of constructing devices which could predict them. There was much discussion about its supposed anomalous nature, but it is only anomalous if viewed in isolation or in the context of a completely inaccurate view of prehistory. In the context of the astronomical knowledge embedded into the siting and construction of megalithic structures a long period of development becomes evident, and is deserving of radical review in light of The Antikythera Mechanism.
Over the past 17 years or so The Morien Institute has archived new archaeological discoveries as well as new interpretations of old archaeological discoveries. In our news pages we list many items that may not seem directly related to a better understanding of what our ancestors saw and experienced in ancient skies. But ‘astro-mythology’ and its interpretation, and constant review of our currently poor appreciation of the scientific achievements of our ancestors remains the common theme that we feel ties most of them together. It is only an open-minded approach to prehistory, and a willingness to accept what is found rather then attempting to make new discoveries fit into some pre-conceived paradigm, that will help us gain a better understanding of our ancient past than is currently taught in our schools, colleges and universities.
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“First exclusive pictures inside the grave of ‘giant’ warlord horseman who held sway in the 11th century but lost his left arm in his final battle.
The remains of the fearsome warrior – who towered some 25 centimetres over his peers – were unearthed by archeologists near Omsk in an ancient burial mound.
Experts are intrigued by his death mask and the elaborate nature of his grave which indicates his importance.
Nicknamed ‘Bogatyr’ or ‘Great Warrior’, he is believed to have been trained in combat since childhood. He was buried with the massive fang of a bear embedded in his nose, seen as a sign of his strength and power.” [Read The Full Story]
“High-precision dating of materials from 40 archaeological sites, from Russia to Spain, has revealed that the disappearance of the Neanderthals from Europe occurred about 40,000 years ago.
But rather than a rapid replacement by anatomically modern humans, the research, published by the prestigious Nature journal this week, reveals a much more complex picture, a more biological and cultural mosaic that lasted some thousands of years.
Lecturer at the Department of Geography, Prehistory and Archaeology, Alvaro Arrizabalaga, and Ikerbasque researcher, María José Iriarte, from the Prehistory Team at the UPV/EHU, are two of the international team, authors of the article entitled ‘The timing and spatiotemporal patterning of Neanderthal disappearance’.
Determining the spatial and temporal relations between Neanderthals and the first modern humans is fundamental to understanding the underlying processes of and the reasons for the disappearance of the Neanderthals. “ [Read The Full Story]
“A Stone Age skull with what may be bits of brain clinging to it has been unearthed at an ancient hunter-gatherer site in Norway.
The skeletal fragment, which is about 8,000 years old, may have once belonged to an infant or a small child, though it is so packed into the soil that researchers still haven’t been able to remove most of it, said Gaute Reitan, an archaeologist at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, Norway, who is excavating the site in conjunction with the University of Oslo.
The piece of skull was unearthed along with an adult’s skeleton. These bones may represent one of the oldest Stone Age skeletons, and skulls, ever unearthed in Scandinavia, Reitan said.”
“High winds and sandstorms have revealed previously undiscovered geoglyphs in the ancient Nazca Lines, located in Peru’s southern Ica region.
Eduardo Herrán Gómez de la Torre, a pilot and researcher, found the new shapes while flying over the desert of the coastal Peruvian region last week, El Comercio reported.
He believes one of the geoglyphs depicts a snake 60 metres long and 4 metres wide, near the famous “hummingbird”.
A bird, camelids (possibly llamas) and a zig zag line are among the lines found etched into the ground on hills in the El Ingenio Valley and Pampas de Jumana.
Archaeologists are already trying to confirm whether they match the Paracas culture which flourished in the area from 800BC to 100BC and influenced complex textiles and ceramics at Nazca as well as the lines.”
“Over the past centuries, the remains of more than 500 men, women, and children have been unearthed during peat cutting activities in north-western Europe, especially in Ireland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, northern Germany, and Denmark.
Known as ‘bog bodies’, most date to the Iron Age, between 800 BC and 200 AD, and show a remarkable degree of preservation thanks to the acidic, oxygen-poor conditions of peat bogs, which are made up of accumulated layers of dead moss.
No one knows for sure who these people were and how they ended up in the bogs, but it seems that most bodies are not just the remains of unlucky people who fell in after losing their way as many of them display signs of violent deaths.
Now, thanks to new research reported in the National Geographic, new clues are coming to light regarding the centuries-old mystery of their origins.”
“Scans of Otzi the iceman have already given unprecedented insights into how our ancestors lived, but the latest find could be one of the most significant.
Not only have researchers discovered the 5,300-year-old mummy suffered from atherosclerosis – narrowing of the arteries due to fatty deposits – they have found he may have been genetically predisposed to the condition.
This is significant because evidence of genetic tendencies are notoriously difficult to obtain due to the degradation of remains.
The find also highlights that despite lifestyles becoming more sedentary since Otzi was alive, genetic predisposition and risk for the condition today appears to be very similar to that in ancient times.”
[In October 1900, Captain Dimitrious Kondos was leading a team of sponge divers near the the island of Antikythera off the coast of Greece. They noticed a shipwreck about 180 feet below the surface and began to investigate. Amongst the artifacts that they brought up was a coral-encrusted piece of metal that later archaeologists found was some sort of gear wheel.
The rest of the artifacts, along with the shape of the boat, suggested a date around 2000 years ago, which made the find one of the most anomalous that had ever been recovered from the Greek seas. It became known as The Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2006 the journal “Nature” published a letter, and another paper about the mechanism was published in 2008, detailing the findings of Prof. Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University. Using high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the fragments of the anomalous Antikythera Mechanism, they found that it was in fact a bronze mechanical analog computer that could be used to calculate the astronomical positions and various cycles of the Moon – as seen from the Earth: – Ed]
Part of the Antikythera Mechanism
Antikythera Mechanism Research Project
2000-year-old analog computer recreated
More Antikythera Mechanism Information & Commentary:
“After rumors surfaced about the sun bisecting a petroglyph at Chaco Canyon, people never looked at the site the same again.
The discovery proposed a cosmology at Chaco, and the book looks at the people who lived in the San Juan Basin from 850 AD to 1300, developing an elaborate culture around the cycles of the sun and moon.
Anna Sofaer’s pioneering work on Chaco Canyon, a World Heritage Site, should be required reading for anyone interested in how the prehistoric people of the American Southwest conceptualized their universe and placed themselves within that universe.”
“What was the meaning of Stonehenge? What was the Mayan Code? Why was the elaborate Incan city of Cuzco built? Groundbreaking archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni offers a host of startling new insights and conclusions in this acclaimed study of three of life’s most mesmerizing mysteries.”
Around 700 BC an Assyrian scribe in the Royal Place at Nineveh made a copy of one of the most important documents in the royal collection.
Two and a half thousand years later it was found by Henry Layard in the remains of the palace library.
It ended up in the British Museum’s cuneiform clay tablet collection as catalogue No. K8538 (also called “the Planisphere”), where it has puzzled scholars for over 150 years.
In this monograph Bond and Hempsell provide the first comprehensive translation of the tablet, showing it to be a contemporary Sumerian observation of an Aten asteroid over a kilometre in diameter that impacted Köfels in Austria in the early morning of 29th June 3123 BC.”
“Stonehenge has fascinated mankind for centuries, enveloping generation after generation in its haunting mystery. But while much has been learned about this ancient monument, the fundamental questions remain: Who built it? What was its purpose? How was it used?
Drawing on more than 15 years of research, John North has at last succeeded where others have failed. He comprehensively examines Stonehenge from all available angles — archeological, astronomical, and spiritual — and considers relevant research from other prehistoric remains in Britain and Northern Europe. He shows, for the first time, that the stones were not so much sighting devices as maps of the heavens and that the design of the monument evolved over thousands of years rather than conforming to a single original blueprint.
Such observations form the basis of deductions about prehistoric life and religion that will profoundly affect our understanding of who we are and where we came from.”
“Noted British astronomer’s fascinating study of early astronomical knowledge through the interpretation of Stonehenge, Carnac, other megalithic sites. Stone Age sculpture, astronomical computations, radiocarbon dating, many other topics. Over 140 maps, photos, illustrations. “…essential summary of astronomy in the Stone Age”. Bibliography. Index”
“This complete, authoritative study of the growing discipline of Archaeoastronomy examines the role of astronomy in antiquity. Professor Giulio Magli provides a clear, up-to-date survey of current thinking on the motives of the ancients for building fabulous and mysterious monuments all over our planet. Was it an attempt to reproduce the sky on Earth, to bring down the power of the stars to where they could see it, worship it and use it?
The connecting thread is astronomy: Giulio Magli uses astronomy as a key to understanding our ancestors’ way of thinking. It is a challenge he likes to call ‘predicting the past’ – archaeology as a science is able to make predictions, like any other science, and to check them.
All of the astronomical achievements of the past are considered as a whole, in a comprehensive way that shows the depth and breadth of the thought behind them. In the past, the motives of the ancients – and particularly their scientific thought – have often been misconstrued, maligned or even dismissed.
In an ironic, provocative style, Professor Magli shows the limitations of orthodox archaeology in the face of astronomically-based artefacts and tries to understand what led the ancients to construct magnificent buildings such as the city of Teotihuacan in the Mexico Valley, the Ceremonial Centre of Chaco Canyon in the USA, the Avebury stone circle in Great Britain or the Great Pyramids in Egypt.
The book is divided into two parts. In the first, the reader is taken on an ideal ‘world tour’ of many wonderful and enigmatic places in almost every continent, in search of traces of astronomical knowledge and lore of the sky. In the second part, Giulio Magli uses the elements presented in the tour to show that the fundamental idea which led to the construction of the astronomically-related giant monuments was the foundation of power, a foundation which was exploited by ‘replicating’ the sky.
A possible interpretive model then emerges that is founded on the relationship the ancients had with “nature”, in the sense of everything that surrounded them, the cosmos. The numerous monumental astronomically aligned structures of the past then become interpretable as acts of will, expressions of power on the part of those who held it; the will to replicate the heavenly plane here on earth and to build sacred landscapes.”