Archive for February, 2016
What goes around comes around. So if, as my recently read historian/ author Graham Hancock so convincingly proposed, fragments of a big comet hit earth about 12,800 years ago causing the great Biblical flood, we should be wondering whether there are a few decent-sized remnants of the debris stream still doing the circuit of the solar system and, if so, will they be back?
As already outlined in last week’s blog, Hancock’s theory is that pre-deluge there was a highly intelligent civilisation living on the planet quite separate from the majority of Homo sapiens who were still hunter-gatherer nomads. It was only post-deluge that archeologists see the emergence of farming and domestication of animals and people. And why would there not be an advanced civilisation 13,000+ years ago? Homo sapiens had been around for around 190,000 years at that time; an advanced intelligence could quite conceivably have emerged. And if we look at the Biblical verses in Genesis 6 immediately preceding the story of Noah and the flood, we read the story that “The Sons of God took the daughters of man for their wives and had children by them. These children were the great men of ancient times. At this time the Nephilim (cast down/ giants) were on the earth.” We also note in the Book of Job, that the “Sons of God” were clarified as angels who made up God’s Council, and indeed, also according to the Book of Job, Satan was one of these “Sons of God”. Genesis also tells us that it was Satan who gave Eve, a daughter of man ‘fruit’ from the serpent that seeded humanity from the tree of knowledge). So far from being a wacky conspiracy, Hancock’s theory actually has the backing of the Bible in addition to his own archeological and astronomical research.
So let’s think about that. A civilisation existed 13,000 years and more ago that was at least as advanced as we are today. According to Hancock’s research there was a huge comet impact around 12,800 years ago that caused massive global flooding and plunged the earth back into an ice age, from which it had been recovering, for another 1,000 years. Post-deluge signs of the emergence of ‘civilisation’ often focus on the megaliths, the pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge in England etc. These have been carbon-dated and aligned with Egyptian records to date them as approximately 4,000 years old. Carbon-dating however is based on dating organic matter, it cannot actually date stone itself. Hancock’s analysis of Egyptian history concludes that the Pharaohs to whom the pyramids were credited, were in fact quite probably just repairing or extending older constructions. His study was inspired by the discovery of a huge megalithic monument site, Gobekli Tepe in southern Turkey. This massive construction was, for some reason, back-filled with rocks soon after it was completed and so enables the archeologists to precisely date its original construction to 12,600 years ago which is a couple of hundred years after the impact of the comet. The first discoveries of the agricultural revolution on the planet also come from this archeological site.
The Israelite Bible talks about Noah and his ark taking plants and seeds to Canaan, near Lebanon to repopulate the world. Subsequently, Moses’ Israelite army, under the instructions of Yahweh, God, slaughtered the Canaanites who included the ‘giants’ who were descendants of Ham, son of Noah to claim Canaan for themselves as their promised land. Sumerian clay tablets dating back to as far as 5,000 years ago are the oldest written documents discovered. They pre-date the Bible by over 1,000 years. They also have a tale of the Flood, although their hero of the flood is named Ziusudra not Noah. The cause of the flood in Sumerian texts was not so much the ‘evil’ of mankind but rather that they were simply too noisy, bothersome and populous for the gods to tolerate any longer. In these Sumerian clay tablets is also reference, post-deluge, to the seven sages, the magicians of the Gods, travelling and sailing to different parts of the globe on a mission to re-civilise the world. Egypt was first port of call for the civilising process, Turkey and Babylon not far after. China was also an early starter in the modern civilisation process followed by Japan. South Americans have similar tales about Gods arriving after the flood and teaching them metal-craft, gold-smithing and the engineering skills to build intricately designed irrigation schemes on the sides of mountains and precision pyramids with accurate astronomical references.
Hancock’s research led him to the Zoroastrian texts referring to Vara, underground multi storey shelters recorded as having been built to preserve the seeds of the best of homo sapiens, plants and animals, awaiting the post-deluge ‘long winter’ to pass. Hancock did then visit the Cappadicia region of Turkey where a large number of these multi-level underground constructions have been discovered, as detailed in my previous blog. His conclusion is that an ancient, highly sophisticated civilisation, at least as technologically advanced as we are today, predicted the arrival of the comet and preserved the seeds of man, plants and animals in these underground laboratory-shelters. Then, when the dust settled and the planet was ready for replanting, a handful of the survivors took ‘civilisation’ including a genetically intelligent species of human, the best plants and animals to distant parts of earth, teaching their technology to the surviving more primitive hunter gatherers, introducing domesticated farming, pottery, metal-smelting, urban development, legal and commercial systems, art and languages. Ten thousand years later, here we are.
If intelligent man (homo sapiens) was recovering lost knowledge it was very gradual in the first few thousand years, to be expected I guess. So often our primitive neanderthal and earlier primate genes got in the way. It took 10,000 years to get to the Industrial Revolution but since then our intelligence growth has been exponential, matched by our population growth. In our own lifetime the computer age has provided us with outcomes for our species well beyond the capabilities of our own brains. Today we are even landing crafts on far distant Mars
and planning a human settlement there. You may recall my earlier blog on our mission to Mars. The reason why our global leaders would commit billions to developing a Mars life-support system when we have so many more immediate needs for that funding here on earth is a mystery at this point. Unless, as Hancock speculates, the remnants of that comet may actually be quite close to returning. His reasoning was complex and, to be frank, I turned off. It may well be possible. If there are those influential astrophysicists who have reason to agree with Hancock, then a life support module on Mars could be our generation’s version of the underground life support complexes found in Turkey where the seeds of man, plants and animals were preserved awaiting the effects of the comet strike to dissipate. If we had been around 12,800 years ago would we have wanted to survive? Freezing, starving, or being one of the lucky ones living underground for a few hundred years to preserve the species. Never seeing the sun through the dense dust in the atmosphere. If it happened again tomorrow, would we want to be a survivor on earth or even living in a bubble on Mars protecting specimens that someone in a few hundred years might take back to planet earth if / when it recovers?
While I am awfully grateful that the sons of the sons of God did survive in the underground Turkish cities for however long it took and then undertook their re-civilisation mission on earth for however long that took, this time around I am very aware that I have either neither the critical intellect nor the billions of dollars to score a seat on the last rocket out of here to Mars. So I think I will sit quietly pour a brandy and toast those wonderful sages who went to so much effort to ensure that I would be able to do so. For I would not want the gods to think me too noisy and bothersome to deal with and I shall set up a ‘lets not make any noise and maybe the comet won’t come’ movement. Surviving on earth for however many minutes, days, months or years in such post-apocalyptic conditions seems a very dreary prospect.
I presume that, like me, you have spent some time over the summer studying up on the great Biblical flood.
Actually, although I have given the whole subject some philosophical thought over the years, I stumbled on a slightly new take on it with one of the books I bought for my summer reading. It was a book by Graham Hancock, who is a well-established researcher and writer of ancient geology, archeology and astronomy.
He started this book looking at another discovery of megalithic pillars, found in Southern Turkey (yawn more big rocks left by the ancients). The only somewhat interesting feature is that a major part of this structure had been so well preserved that it could be accurately dated to 9,600 bc, much older than any of our previous estimates for great monoliths, including the great pyramids of Giza. But then Hancock actually got my interest a bit more when he then turned to a place referred to as the Scablands of North America.
Throughout the 20th century there had been much debate around the formation of these monumental channels. To put them into perspective, what is referred now to as “The Dry Falls” would have, at the time they were formed, been almost three times higher than Niagara Falls and 50% higher than the Victoria Falls in southern Africa. They would also have been six times wider than Niagara. So the great debate in the 20th century community of geologists was the cause. The geological establishment always favoured the gradual erosion theory following the end of the ice age around 12,000 years ago when Canada and this northern part of North America was under two kilometres of ice. A few geologists who did not buy this gradual erosion, arguing the impact on the landscape was just too dramatic for erosion and had to be the result of a catastrophic event. The two camps argued for a few decades and the community eventually ‘met in the middle’ with the theory of the collapse of a glacial lake causing the dramatic creation of the channels. But neither side really believed in this middle ground. The gradual erosion side were just of that geological religion and the catastrophic geologists just thought that the lake in question, Missoula, would never have contained anywhere near enough water volume to result in the scouring today visible. But they simply had no alternative theory to seize.
But enter the 21st century and geologists are now studying an apparently unrelated geological feature: nano diamonds. A team of 25 Geophysicists, with Richard Firestone, a nuclear physicist as its team leader and including Jim Kennett, an oceanographer at the University of California, presented a paper in 2007 claiming that evidence found in a number of 12,900 year old carbon-rich sites (in the form of nano-diamonds) across North America and one site in Belgium, convinced them that a comet had come into earth’s atmosphere in the time of the last ice age, with North America taking the biggest hit, and caused the extinction of the great animals that once roamed through North America. The absence of a crater was explained by the fact that it would have impacted on the 2km deep ice sheet over Canada and Northern USA. The nano-diamond evidence was created by thermal heat up to, or greater than, 2,200 degrees centigrade. The evidence of glass-like carbon is the smoking gun, or at least the residue from a smoking gun. The evidence began to mount over the next few years. The search has now found evidence of this residue over North America and Northern Europe.
Aha, say the catastrophic geologists of the Scablands study. We have our cause. A 2km wide comet (as estimated from the nano-diamond evidence) impact landing on the 2km ice sheet of North America would account for an instant melting of 10% of the icecap which volume of water would certainly be supported by the evidence of the scablands. Further Geophysical evidence from Greenland core studies of the earth’s temperature movements over the millennia show that the earth was emerging from an ice age 13,000 years ago and warming up again quite nicely before it was suddenly plunged back into another ice age. Game, set and match. It’s not rocket science, the idea of a comet hitting earth is not outrageous sci-fi. A little one did land in Siberia in 1908, a meteor land in Russia back in 2013. These things happen. But if this big 2km one hit Canada 12,800 years ago spraying debris over two continents, melting 10% of the Canadian ice cap ice cap in minutes and also some of the ice sheet along northern Europe, then that would have been one very big wall of water plunging into the ocean and sweeping across the globe. Bigger than any tidal wave we have ever known. The Indonesian tidal wave disaster a few years ago would have been just a kid jumping into a paddling pool incident by comparison. So was this the great flood, made most famous by the story of Noah in the Bible but also turning up in other ancient myths? The climatic impact would have caused massive tidal waves, rains for months and the dust in the atmosphere would have blocked the sun and plunged the planet back into ice age conditions.
We learn from the Bible that this event was foretold to Noah who built an ark to survive the impending flood with only his immediate family of wife, three sons and their wives, with plants and animals as the only survivors on the planet. That is where the story beggars belief. That a mating pair of every animal with all the seeds of plants survived on this ark is a bit far-fetched. That the whole of humanity today was based on the interbreeding of first cousins from three marriages is a bit scary.
However Graham Hancock went down this same path of study linking the Comet strike of 12,800 years ago with the great flood myths. One part of his research led him to the writings of the prophet Zarathustra who is reported by Plato to have lived 5,000 years before the Trojan War. Exactly when that was no one is quite sure, but it is known that Zarathustra borrowed from more ancient writings. His writings talk of the prediction of a great serpent that would sweep through the sky and bring forth a great winter. That sort of aligns with the comet and subsequent plunge back to the ice age. But then the Zoroastrian texts, as they are known, talk of the building of an underground shelter to survive this impending great winter. Into this underground shelter, called a Vara, some remnants of humanity would take refuge, keeping safe the seeds of all animals and plants until the dire winter passed and spring returned. The texts specified that no lepers, lunatics, impotent or deformed humans would be taken into this Vara; and only the seeds of the fruits and vegetables that are ‘fullest of food and sweetest of odour’. Vara was to be constructed on three subterranean levels, each smaller than the one above, the largest with nine streets, the middle with six streets and the smallest three streets. It also described the use of “uncreated lights that shine from below’ since the sun and moon would not be visible. Someone called Yima was given responsibility by the Gods for the construction. He was to bring the seeds of men and women, the seeds of every kind of fruit and of tree. Finally we learn from these texts that ‘every fortieth year, to every couple two are born, a male and a female. And thus it is for every sort of cattle.’ There is also a note that the humans live in Vara for 150 years. Moreover, intriguingly, the births of offspring to every couple do not result from sexual union but from the seeds deposited in the Vara. Actually as sci-fi as this Zorastrian text sounds, it resonates with how we would try to survive a cataclysmic global event today and is much more plausible than Noah and his sons and the animals on their ark being the source of all life today.
Now here’s the thing, being a great traveller and researcher, Hancock went in search of such underground laboratory/ depository and did find that in Turkey’s Cappadicia region there are a large number of underground structures carved out of solid rock and usually, as described with Vara, consisting of multiple levels. He actually visited the one called Derinkuyu, in 2013. Eight of its levels are open to the public, but there are others below still closed off. It also features a subterranean tunnel several kilometres long connecting with another underground ‘city’. Large stone doors shaped like millstones and weighing around half a ton were located ready to be rolled into place to block access. They had a remarkable system of ventilation shafts connecting from the bottom levels to the surface. It was a remarkable feat carved from volcanic rock and extending over four square kilometres. In Turkey over two hundred underground complexes have been found, forty of them at three or more levels. These may have been built before the great Flood to survive the climatic catastrophe of a comet strike or built much later as defence against marauders. We just don’t know.
I will very briefly paraphrase Hancock’s further research, as I am sure you have had enough for one blog already. But he studied ancient scripts in Egypt and Mesopotamia relating to this same period, roughly 12,000 years ago, and found reference to “the seven sages who set forth in ships to all parts of the world to take with them humans, animals and seeds with which to repopulate a world that had been devastated by the great flood”. Possibly Noah was one of these seven sages? And while they may have repopulated the species of a highly civilised and technically advanced race that existed before the flood of 12,800 years ago, no doubt there were still many thousands of simplistic hunter-gatherer humans around the globe, such as those in southern Africa, southern Asia, Australia and South America who had survived the great flood. They were well south of the North American ice sheet and also out of range of the main impact of the comet so possibly were the ones who witnessed the arrival of these god-like humans from the Middle East with their hi-tech magic who came to show them how build great pyramids and temples and how to fashion metals and gems. Uluru, virtually in the centre of Australia, may even have its secrets from the dreamtime.