As we enter the 21st century technological advances are coming to the aid of ocean scientists of all descriptions. But it will likely be the Marine ArchÃ¦ologists, 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 just 29% of the total surface area of our planet and the remaining 71% is currently ocean. Over the last 15 years or more The Morien Institute has been carefully documenting as much information about new discoveries underwater as we can find, and The Morien Institute Marine ArchÃ¦ology 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 some 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 archÃ¦ologists and prehistorians who have traditionally regarded them simply as ‘quaint myths’ which they often claimed have no bearing on reality.
But that is a very foolish perspective. The countless oral traditions of every ancient society that has ever 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 mainstream 20th century 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 academia, we cannot afford to let this ancient knowledge die away simply because the supposed ‘experts’ of today cannot understand it.
Neither can we continue to look at the prehistory of human civilisation 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 evidence is emerging which shows that the environmental impact of encounters with comets, asteroids and cometary debris has probably been responsible for the destruction of a number of ancient civilisations on many occasions in the prehistory of the archaic world over the past 15 to 20 millennia.
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 late 20th century have pursued lines of inquiry which has horrified general academia. These individuals were ridiculed and vociferously opposed by academic archÃ¦ologists 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 history.
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 years or so are only just beginning to get a proper hearing. Such theories, if proven, could help not only to date these monuments, but would also illustrate how well their builders were oriented in time and space. The simple appreciation that the Earth orbited the Sun and periodically encountered streams of cometary debris suggests that ancient peoples may well have been far more aware of the position of the Earth in the solar system, and the dynamics of the solar system itself, than has previously been suspected.
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” is must reading for all serious students of ancient astronomy, astro-archÃ¦ology 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 case the total destruction, of various Bronze Age civilisations right across the so-called ‘fertile crescent’ from Greece and Anatolia through Mesopotamia and Afghanistan to Harrapan India.
These natural cosmic catastrophes were recorded by all ancient societies and passed down through many 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 phenomenon. 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.
The sophistication and unprecedented accuracy of the astronomical phenomena that was an integral part of almost all of the megalithic structures that have been discovered on most continents suggests a long period of development, yet academic archÃ¦ologists and prehistorians have been at a loss to expain them. Most have simply ignored the astronomy, or made idiotic statements about ancient peoples not being capable of that level of understanding, but there they are for all the world to see.
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 archÃ¦ologists 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 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 supposed 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.
This incredible discovery is indisputable evidence that ancient peoples were far more capable of understanding the cyclical nature of heavenly bodies than they had previously been given credit for, and could also contruct 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 megalithic structures a long period of development becomes evident, and is deserving of radical review.
Over the past 15 years The Morien Institute archives have recorded many new archÃ¦ological discoveries as well as new interpretations of old archÃ¦ological 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 astromythology and its interpretation, and constant review of our poor appreciation of the scientific achievements of our ancestors remains the common theme that we feel ties most of them together. 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, will help us gain a better understanding of the past than is currently taught in our schools, colleges and universities.
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“A team of scholars and students will return to explore and investigate the site now thought to be the remains of the lost city of Helike, the legendary city that was for centuries the stuff of ancient writers and a tantalizing mystery for explorers and scientists for over 2,000 years.
Led by Dr. Dora Katsonopoulou, Director of the Helike Society, researchers have uncovered a wealth of artifacts and structural remains dating from the Bronze Age through the Roman and Byzantine periods at sites near the southwest shore of the Gulf of Corinth in northern Peloponnesos.
In 2000 and 2001, the research team located in this area what is now thought to be the remains of ancient Helike, on the coastal plain between the Selinous and Kerynites Rivers.
Excavation of trenches revealed the architectural remains of Classical period buildings located at a depth of 3 m, likely destroyed by an earthquake and subsequently buried under the deposits of a shallow inland lagoon.”
“A British excavation has struck archaeological gold with a discovery that may solve the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba of biblical legend derived her fabled treasures.
Almost 3,000 years ago, the ruler of Sheba, which spanned modern-day Ethiopia and Yemen, arrived in Jerusalem with vast quantities of gold to give to King Solomon.
Now an enormous ancient goldmine, together with the ruins of a temple and the site of a battlefield, have been discovered in her former territory.
Louise Schofield, an archaeologist and former British Museum curator, who headed the excavation on the high Gheralta plateau in northern Ethiopia, said: ‘One of the things I’ve always loved about archaeology is the way it can tie up with legends and myths. The fact that we might have the Queen of Sheba’s mines is extraordinary.’”
“Scientists have long held that some of the rainforests of Central Africa disappeared about 3,000 years ago, abruptly replaced by savannas due to a dramatic shift in the regional climate.
However, the conclusions of a recent study now suggest that it was not climate change alone that may have been responsible for the shift — that humans may have had a big hand, as well.
Germain Bayon and a research team of colleagues conducted a geochemical analysis of a marine sediment core taken at the mouth of the Congo River and determined that the sediment had undergone very significant chemical weathering around 3,000 years ago.
While climate change at the time was a factor, the weathering also coincided with the arrival of Bantu-speaking farmers from the region that now encompasses modern-day Cameroon and Nigeria.”
“Native Americans originated from a small mountainous region in southern Siberia, new genetic research shows. The work is the most targeted study yet to suggest a genetic ‘homeland’ for North America’s indigenous peoples, according to the authors.
New DNA analysis of ethnic groups living in the Altay Mountains (see map) revealed a unique genetic mutation that also occurs in modern-day northern Native Americans.
A possible link between Siberians and Native Americans is an ‘age-old question’ that was first raised by European explorers in the New World, said study leader Theodore Schurr, an anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.”
“Extended synaptic development in the human brain may be the secret to superior cognition and a key engine of human evolution, according to a recent study.
For the first five years of life, human cognition slowly comes to fruition, receiving and storing information and experience from the environment and enabling humans to advance beyond the capabilities of their primate cousins, according to a study published online in Genome Research.
An international team of researchers have identified extended synaptic development in the prefrontal cortex of the human brain that sheds new light on the evolution of human cognition and suggests another reason why the human family diverged from other primates 4-6 million years ago.”
Academic archÃ¦ologists and historians are publicly confident that they understand most
if not all aspects of prehistory: when and where the first settled communities appeared,
when and where the first experiments with agriculture and domestication of animals
began, and they collectively paint a picture of a gradual development from small
hunter-gather groups to larger tribal societies and then the eventual rise of the
first supposedly civilised urban cultures of Mesopotamia, Akkad and Egypt
But numerous discoveries being made all over the world are increasingly questioning
that well-established wisdom, and as the standard paradigm of prehistory begins to fall apart the 11,000-year-old megalithic complex at GÃ¶bekli Tepe is just one of the discoveries that is changing our misunderstanding of the archaic past