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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“Archeologists have found an ice age settlement so high in the Peruvian Andes that they were surprised ancient humans could survive the low oxygen there.
The 12,400-year-old settlement was found in a cave called the Cuncaicha rock shelter, located nearly 4,500 metres above sea level. That makes it the highest ice age human settlement ever found.
The site is more than 2,000 metres higher than the famous Inca archeological site Machu Picchu – where travellers already risk becoming ill from altitude sickness – and just 880 metres lower than the Mount Everest base camp in the Himalayas.
The discovery, published online Thursday in the journal Science, suggests that just 2,000 years after arriving in South America, humans had already spread into some extreme environments.”
“Move over, Cusco’s famed 12-angle stone. Archaeologists have discovered a stone with 13 angles.
The discovery has been made by researchers investigating a stretch of the Inca road network, known as the Qhapaq Ñan that runs from Vilcashuaman in the Ayacucho Andes to Pisco on the coast south of Lima, according to the state news agency Andina.
The Ministry of Culture said that the stone was built into an irrigation system at the Inkawasi archaeological site, located in Huancavelica region’s Huaytará district.
Like the 12-angle stone in the wall on Cusco’s Hatun Rumiyoc street, the stone at Inkawasi has been cut to fit in with impressive precision to the other stone blocks in the wall, an example of the Inca skill of very fine masonry.” [Read The Full Story]
“Multi-disciplinary research led by a city-based archaeologist has confirmed the presence of humans in the Ayodhya hills of Purulia about 42,000 years ago, a finding that pushes Bengal’s archaeological calendar 22,000 years back.
Bishnupriya Basak, who teaches archaeology at Calcutta University, sealed the findings after more than 12 years of intensive exploration and excavation of 25 stone-age sites she had discovered between 1998 and 2000 while working with the Centre for Archaeological Studies & Training, Eastern India.
The breakthrough came when Basak, 47, returned to the forests of the Ayodhya hills in 2011 to build on her findings using a technique called Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) that establishes the antiquity of tools of a particular age.
Before Basak’s discovery, the earliest evidence of human presence in Bengal was at Sagardighi, in Murshidabad. The tools found there were dated to approximately 20,000 years ago.”
“Archaeologists and heritage experts have condemned a series of attacks on the country?s historical buildings and ruins which are increasingly suffering from vandalism and neglect.
Libyan archaeologist Dr Fadl Al-Korana has warned that some of the country?s key archaeological sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Leptis Magna and Sabratha, are being targeted by thieves and vandals.
Korana told Buwabat Al-Wasat news that eastern sites too were under particular threat, with some locals still laying claim to plots of land on the outskirts of the extensive ruins of Cyrene.
Building projects, first reported in August last year, were able to continue unchecked, he said.
Other sites in the Green Mountain area were routinely defaced with graffiti and damaged by small fires, or were used to graze livestock, Korana added.
Thieves were able take what they wanted from the unguarded sites and, with a lack of properly-trained customs officials, he said these were at risk of being smuggled abroad.
In Europe and elsewhere, there is a lucrative market for stolen antiquities.”
“Studies of the mummified Ukok ‘princess’ – named after the permafrost plateau in the Altai Mountains where her remains were found – have already brought extraordinary advances in our understanding of the rich and ingenious Pazyryk culture.
The tattoos on her skin are works of great skill and artistry, while her fashion and beauty secrets – from items found in her burial chamber which even included a ‘cosmetics bag’ – allow her impressive looks to be recreated more than two millennia after her death.
Now Siberian scientists have discerned more about the likely circumstances of her demise, but also of her life, use of cannabis, and why she was regarded as a woman of singular importance to her mountain people.
‘When she was a little over 20 years old, she became ill with another serious disease – breast cancer. It painfully destroyed her’ over perhaps five years, said a summary of the medical findings in ‘Science First Hand’ journal by archeologist Professor Natalia Polosmak, who first found these remarkable human remains in 1993.”
Sirius, the underwater robot, aka. Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)
from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics was used in September 2014 to produce very high resolution 3D digital maps of the Antikythera shipwreck
“The discovery of tell-tale objects during excavations at Palos de la Frontera in southwestern Spain has allowed scholars to determine the exact location from which Christopher Columbus’s three ships set off to discover the New World in 1492.
For years it had been suspected that the remains of the port’s long-vanished infrastructure was located in the area known as “the trough,” but until Monday, there was no evidence to confirm it, said Professor Juan Manuel Campos, who led the team that made the discovery.
Historical sources say the port comprised a shipyard, a fresh water fountain called La Fontanilla, a pottery works and a reef, Campos told a press conference.
Traces of the pottery and the reef were discovered in the most recent excavation, confirming Palos as Columbus’ point of departure.” [Read The Full Story]
“A report from the UN cultural agency released Monday concludes that a shipwreck found off northern Haiti could not be the Santa Maria, the lost flagship from Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Western Hemisphere, as a U.S. explorer had claimed.
UNESCO said a team of experts who explored the site at the request of the Haitian government determined the wreckage was from a more recent vessel for reasons that included the discovery of copper nails and spikes at the site.
The Santa Maria would have used components of iron or wood, the agency said.”
“A new study published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 2 may help to rewrite the story of ape and human brain evolution.
While the neocortex of the brain has been called ‘the crowning achievement of evolution and the biological substrate of human mental prowess’, newly reported evolutionary rate comparisons show that the cerebellum expanded up to six times faster than anticipated throughout the evolution of apes, including humans.
The findings* suggest that technical intelligence was likely at least as important as social intelligence in human cognitive evolution, the researchers say.
‘Our results highlight a previously unappreciated role of the cerebellum in ape and human brain evolution that has the potential to refocus researchers’ thinking about how and why the brains in these species have become distinct and to shift attention away from an almost exclusive focus on the neocortex as the seat of our humanity’, says Robert Barton of Durham University in the United Kingdom.” [Read The Full Story]
[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:
“This volume, the first in a series of three heliophysics texts, integrates such diverse topics for the first time as a coherent intellectual discipline.
It emphasizes the physical processes coupling the Sun and Earth, allowing insights into the interaction of the solar wind and radiation with the Earth’s magnetic field, atmosphere and climate system.
It provides a core resource for advanced undergraduates and graduates, and also constitutes a foundational reference for researchers in heliophysics, astrophysics, plasma physics, space physics, solar physics, aeronomy, space weather, planetary science and climate science.”
“The Sun is a magnetically variable star and for planets with intrinsic magnetic fields, planets with atmospheres, or planets like Earth with both, there are profound consequences.
This 2010 volume, the second in this series of three heliophysics texts, integrates the many aspects of space storms and the energetic radiation associated with them – from causes on the Sun to effects in planetary environments.
It reviews the physical processes in solar flares and coronal mass ejections, interplanetary shocks, and particle acceleration and transport, and considers many space weather responses in geospace. In addition to its utility as a textbook, it also constitutes a foundational reference for researchers in fields from heliophysics to climate science.”
“This final book in this series of three heliophysics texts, published in 2010, focuses on long-term variability from the Sun’s sunspot cycle and considers the planetary system’s evolution from a climatological perspective.
Topics covered range from the dynamo action of stars and planets to processes in the Earth’s troposphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere and their effects on planetary climate and habitability.
Supplemented by online teaching materials, it can be used as a textbook for courses or as a foundational reference for researchers in fields from astrophysics and plasma physics to planetary and climate science.”
“Astrobiology involves the study of the origin and history of life on Earth, planets and moons where life November have arisen, and the search for extraterrestrial life.
It combines the sciences of biology, chemistry, palaeontology, geology, planetary physics and astronomy. This textbook brings together world experts in each of these disciplines to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the field currently available.”
“This up-to-date resource is based on lectures developed by experts in the relevant fields and carefully edited by the leading astrobiologists within the European community. Aimed at graduate students in physics, astronomy and biology and their lecturers, the text begins with a general introduction to astrobiology, followed by sections on basic prebiotic chemistry, extremophiles, and habitability in our solar system and beyond.”
“Stonehenge today is a battlefield, not only for police and festivalgoers at midsummer but also for rival camps of archaeologists, astronomers, and other researchers into the mysteries of prehistoric religion and science. Controversy flared up in 1963, when Gerald Hawkins made early use of the computer to identify Stonehenge as an observatory for the sun and moon and an instrument for predicting eclipses. Further studies of megalithic sites by Alexander Thom proved that many of them were also related to the seasonal positions of the heavenly bodies.
The study of astro-archaeology has now expanded worldwide, bringing new revelations about the mystical sciences of antiquity. This “little history” summarizes the issues involved in astro-archaeology, and illustrates its principal sites and personalities. Included are recent findings of British scientists, whose records of anomalous levels of natural energies at stone circles are in accordance with the magical reputations of such places in local folklore.”
October 2014 Monthly, Quarterly, Periodical Magazines & Journals