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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“When early humans traversed the region, the Sahara was wet and green enough to sustain animal and human populations.
The area has undergone several enormous variations between wet and dry due to a 41,000-year cycle in which the tilt of earth’s axis changes between 22° and 24.5°.
It is expected that, 15,000 years from now, the Sahara will be green again.
‘It had always been assumed that humans travelled north along the Nile’, says Lara Mallen, curator of the Sahara exhibition.
‘That was until two years ago, when stone tools were found in Western Sahara and subsequent radar imagery showed two huge ancient rivers that had flowed through what is now desert into the Mediterranean.'”
“The image of our Neolithic ancestors as simple souls carving out a primitive existence has been dispelled.
A groundbreaking excavation of a 5,000-year-old temple complex in Orkney has uncovered evidence to suggest that prehistoric people were a great deal more sophisticated than previously thought.
The archaeological dig at the Ness of Brodgar, which is still in its early stages, has already thrown up discoveries that archaeologists say will force us to re-evaluate our understanding of how our ancestors lived.
The picture that has emerged so far points to a complex and capable society that displayed impeccable workmanship and created an integrated landscape.”
“During ongoing excavations in northern Sudan, Polish archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Pozna?, have discovered the remains of a settlement estimated to 70,000 years old.
This find, according to the researchers, seems to contradict the previously held belief that the construction of permanent structures was associated with the so-called Great Exodus from Africa and occupation of the colder regions of Europe and Asia.
The site known as Affad 23, is currently the only one recorded in the Nile Valley which shows that early Homo sapiens built sizeable permanent structures, and had adapted well to the wetland environment.
This new evidence points to a much more advanced level of human development and adaptation in Africa during the Middle Palaeolithic.”
“The famed prehistoric man known as the Iceman suffered from periodontitis or infected gums, genetic tests have shown.
The tests on the 5,300-year-old frozen mummy also known as Oetzi after the Oetz Alpine Valley where he was found confirmed the findings of a CAT scan performed in April 2013.
Researchers from the northern Italian city of Bolzano’s Eurac academy and the University of Vienna found traces of the bacteria Treponema denticola in a DNA sample taken from the Iceman’s pelvic bone.”
“An archaeological dig in southeast Turkey has uncovered a large number of clay tokens that were used as records of trade until the advent of writing, or so it had been believed.
But the new find of tokens dates from a time when writing was commonplace – thousands of years after it was previously assumed this technology had become obsolete.
Researchers compare it to the continued use of pens in the age of the word processor.
The tokens – small clay pieces in a range of simple shapes – are thought to have been used as a rudimentary bookkeeping system in prehistoric times.
One theory is that different types of tokens represented units of various commodities such as livestock and grain.
These would be exchanged and later sealed in more clay as a permanent record of the trade – essentially, the world’s first contract.
The system was used in the period leading up to around 3000 BC, at which point clay tablets filled with pictorial symbols drawn using triangular-tipped reeds begin to emerge: the birth of writing, and consequently history.”
“A complete set of armoury of an ancient nomadic warrior has been unearthed in an undisturbed burial of the 10-12 century A.C. by an archaeological expedition of the Russian Geographical Society in the valley of the Idzhim river in the Siberian Krasnoyarsk region.
Archaeologists found more than a hundred items in the burial, including a sabre, a quiver filled with various types of arrows, a knife, ornamental metal belt plates, and horse harness.
‘Mounds with undisturbed burials are extremely rare to find’, Natalia Solovyova, a deputy director of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told ITAR-TASS.
‘As a rule, the bulk of burial mounds were plundered back in the old times.'”
“Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology (IAE) in Szczecin, Poland, have discovered a meteorite fragment inside the remains of a hut dating back more than 9,000 years at Bolków by Lake Swidwie in Western Pomerania.
The pyrite meteorite fragment is cylindrical shape and measures only 8 cm long and 5-3.5 cm wide.
‘The meteorite was brought to the shelter as a special object, as not of this world, which must have been obvious to the contemporary men, knowledgeable of stone raw materials. The thing became an object of belief, and maybe even shamanic magic’ – explained Prof. Tadeusz Galinski of IAE, head of the research project.
The archaeologists also excavated a rich assemblage of objects with a spiritual association: an amulet, a bone spear tip with engraved decoration and so-called magic wand made of antler, decorated with geometric motifs.”
[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:
“Built at the end of the last ice age, the mysterious stone temple complex of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is one of the greatest challenges to 21st century archaeology.
As much as 7,000 years older than the Great Pyramid and Stonehenge, its strange buildings and rings of T-shaped monoliths – built with stones weighing from 10 to 15 tons – show a level of sophistication and artistic achievement unmatched until the rise of the great civilizations of the ancient world, Sumer, Egypt, and Babylon.
Chronicling his travels to Gobekli Tepe and surrounding sites, Andrew Collins details the layout, architecture, and exquisite relief carvings of ice age animals and human forms found at this 12,000-year-old megalithic complex, now recognized as the oldest stone architecture in the world.”
“Some of the most exciting archaeological discoveries aren’t made by Indiana Jones wannabes prowling through the jungle in search of forgotten cities or by Egyptologists looking for lost passageways in the pyramids.
They are found by divers exploring shipwrecks such as the Titanic and the U.S.S. Monitor.
Every now and then they even uncover the remains of human settlements sleeping beneath the waves.
Underwater Archaeology is an inexpensive and colorful book about the people who do this work and what they sometimes bring to the surface – a great introduction to the subject.”
“Jeremy Green’s systematic overview of maritime archaeology offers a step-by-step description of this fast-growing field.
With new information about the use of computers and Global Positioning Systems, the second edition of this handbook shows how to extract as much information as possible from a site, how to record and document the data, and how to act ethically and responsibly with the artifacts.
Treating underwater archaeology as a discipline, the book demonstrates how archaeologists, ‘looters’, academics, and governments interact and how the market for archaeological artifacts creates obstacles and opportunities for these groups.”
“A book that completetly changes the established and conventional view of prehistory by relocating the Lost Eden – the world’s 1st civilization – to S.E. Asia.
At the end of the Ice Age, SouthEast Asia formed a continent twice the size of India, which included Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia and Borneo.
The South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and the Java sea, which were all dry, formed the connecting parts of the continent.
Geologically, this half sunken continent is the Shunda shelf or Sundaland.
He produces evidence from ethnography, archaeology, oceanography, from creation stories, myths and sagas and from linguistics and DNA analysis, to argue that this founder civilization was destroyed by a catastrophic flood, caused by a rapid rise in the sea level at the end of the last ice age.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Man: 12,000 Years Under the Sea is the dramatic story of underwater archaeology.
The work looks back at Greek divers’ discovery of ancient statues in the sea, and covers the history of marine archaeology to the present, including the recovery of Ice Age Man’s 12,000-year-old remains from the bottom of Florida springs.
Burgess writes from his experience for an assured exciting read.
In Man: 12,000 Years Under the Sea Robert Burgess gives us a peak at . . . the work done by sponge divers, treasure hunters and underwater archaeologists.
The excitement and hazard of underwater exploration is so clearly described that I was tempted to get a diving suit to join them. This book is more than intriguing, it is a necessity.”