Some of my favorite destinations on the Internet are those sites where non-traditional, non-mainstream, non-conformist historians and archeologists claim that human civilization is much older than traditional, mainstream, conformist experts say it is.
The conventional view is heavily influenced by the ideas of Charles Darwin—namely evolution—and a belief in the diffusion of civilizing ideas displacing more primitive lifestyles. The establishment says that civilization as we know it was impossible before 10,000 BC, which was the dawning of the Neolithic (or agriculture-based) age. Before that was the Paleolithic (or hunter-gatherer) age. After 10,000 BC, goes the traditional narrative, most of the world transitioned to the Neolithic stage of development at different rates by region. For instance, Neolithic life was achieved in Mesopotamia around 10,000 BC; in Greece, 7,000 BC; in India, 5,000 BC; in Britain, 3,000 BC.
The revisionists dispute this view. They claim that civilization on Earth is much older than this.
Some of the revisionists are inspired by Plato’s story of the civilization of Atlantis, which Plato (428?– 348? BC) claims he had heard indirectly from Athenian statesman and lawmaker Solon (638–558 BC) —who lived three hundred years before Plato—through Egyptian priests who read about Atlantis in the ancient texts. The revisionists believe that the legend may have actually happened. The mainstreamers, on the other hand, believe that the story is an allegory invented by Plato to illustrate the hubris of nations. At the end of Plato’s account, as we all know, Atlantis eventually falls out of favor with the gods and famously submerges into the Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the revisionists are inspired by stories in the Bible and many other religious texts which describe a worldwide flood, which they say are a remnant memory of a time when the sea level rose and flooded many sites of civilization all over the world. There is basis in fact for this belief. Between 17,000 and 7,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, the great ice caps over northern Europe and North America melted down.
The sea level rose by more than 328 feet (100 meters), and flooded about 15.5 million square miles (25 million square kilometers) of formerly habitable lands. Some of the flooded land is shown in red on this map. Fishermen of northwest India’s Gulf of Cambay and the Poompuhar Coast say their fishing nets snag on underwater structures there, approximately 120 feet (36.5 meters) beneath the surface.
There are ancient Tamil flood myths that speak of a great kingdom that once existed in this area called Kumari Kandam that was swallowed up by the sea. Amazingly the myths put a date of 11,600 years ago on these events—the same time frame given by Plato for the end of Atlantis, and the same time frame for the end of the last Ice Age. They have since discovered two ancient cities there the size of Manhattan.
Human artifacts dredged from the seabed have been dated at over 9,500 years old—and the structures could easily be more ancient still.
There are revisionists who suggest the possibility that the Great Sphinx and pyramids of Egypt are much older than the building date of 2,560 BC—4,500 years ago—ascribed to them by traditional archeologists. They point to at least three factors supporting their view. First, the pyramids’ method of construction still defies our comprehension or replication. Surely an unknown building technology—one explained by an advanced civilization—must have been employed.
Second, evidence of erosion on the Great Sphinx suggests to geologists that water erosion—not wind—is responsible for the Sphinx’s present condition. The Sphinx sits on the edge of the Sahara Desert and the region has been arid for the last 5,000 years. Various structures securely dated to the Old Kingdom show only erosion that was caused by wind and sand (very distinct from water erosion). The oldest portions of the Great Sphinx must therefore date back to an earlier period (at least 5,000 BC, and maybe as early as 7,000 or 9,000 BC), a time when the climate included more rain.
According to one of the revisionists, this is a conservative estimate that has been admitted by one of its main proponents as too conservative; he places the age of the Great Sphinx at 36,000 BC (until proved wrong).
Third, the pyramids have been postulated by astro-archeologists to represent the belt in the constellation of Orion, which is itself associated with Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of rebirth and eternal life.
Examination of the mysterious “ventilation shafts” built into the Great Pyramid show that the shafts point to important stars that last aligned with the shafts on the Vernal Equinox in 10,500 BC (due to the precession of equinoxes, which is a slow, gravity-induced, and continuous change in the orientation of the Earth’s rotational axis that takes approximately 26,000 years to return to its original position).
The main (or most well-known) revisionist proponents of these views described so far are Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, Robert Schock, and John Anthony West. Links to each of their websites are provided should you want to delve into what they each have to say about the age of human civilization.
Yet they seem downright timid in their views compared to Michael Cremo, who describes his writings as having been inspired by the literature of the ancient Vedic scriptures of India, and himself as a proponent of “Puranic Time.” He places human existence in the context of repeating time cycles called yugas and kalpas, lasting hundreds of millions of years. According to Puranic accounts as described by Cremo, we are now in the twenty-eighth yuga cycle of the seventh manvatara period of the present day of Brahma. This would give an Earth inhabited by humans an age of about 2 billion years.
Now I wouldn’t even bother to mention Cremo’s ideas were it not for the existence of some very anomalist evidence which is impossible to explain in the conventional context of human history. I will mention just five:
(1) During the Gold Rush, miners dug a tunnel into the side of Table Mountain in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Senora CA to get at the gold. Deep inside the mountain in solid rock, the miners were finding human bones and human artifacts which included obsidian spear points, stone mortars and pestles, etc. The stone stratus that surrounded these finds was dated by modern geologists at 50 million years old. These were all collected by California State Geologist J.D. Whitney, who published a report about them at Harvard University in 1880. The artifacts are still stored by the University of California, but officials restrict access to them.
(2) In 1979, famous archeologist Mary Leakey discovered fossilized tracks of footprints through petrified ash (turned to mud in the rain) at Laetoli, in Tanzania, which are indistinguishable from those of modern humans. The footprints are about 3.6 million years old.
(3) An anatomically modern human skull was found by Professor Giuseppe Ragazzoni in 1880 at Castenedolo, Italy. The stratum from which it was taken is assigned to the Astian stage of the Pliocene. The rock above the excavation was found to be unbroken, eliminating the possibility that the artifact was placed there in modern times. According to modern experts, the Astian belongs to the Middle Pliocene, which would give the skull an age of 3-4 million years.
(4) In 1862, a human skeleton was found 90 feet deep in coal in Macoupin County, IL. Immediately above the skeleton was 2 feet of unbroken slate rock. The coal in which the skeleton was found was from the Carboniferous period, making the fossil about 300 million years old. The report of this discovery was printed in the December 1862 edition of a scientific journal called The Geologist.
(5) The first significant African discovery related to human origins occurred in 1913 when Professor Hans Reck, of Berlin University, found a human skeleton in the upper part of Bed II at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Modern dating methods give a late Early Pleistocene date of around 1.15 million years for this site. Reck said, “The bed in which the human remains were found….showed no sign of disturbance.” The skeleton was distorted by compression from the weight of substantial accumulation of sediment in the overlying strata. W. O. Dietrich, writing in 1933, stated that this feature of the skeleton argued against its being a recent, shallow burial. George Grant MacCurdy, a leading anthropologist from Yale University, considered Reck’s discovery to be genuine.
These are only five of hundreds of accounts. In 1891 a housewife in Illinois discovered a gold chain about 10 inches long inside a solid lump of coal. The coal containing the chain was of the Carboniferous age, about 300 million years old. In 1912 a man in Oklahoma found an iron pot in a block of coal. The coal was traced to a mine where the coal was about 312 million years old. And on and on.
So why have such numerous discoveries been dismissed by the scientific and archeological establishment?
Remember the Harvard report by J.D. Whitney about the discoveries at Table Mountain? William H. Holmes, a very powerful anthropologist working contemporaneously at the Smithsonian Institution wrote: “Perhaps if Professor Whitney had fully appreciated the story of human evolution as it is understood today, he would have hesitated to announce the conclusions formulated, notwithstanding the imposing array of testimony with which he was confronted.” In other words, if the facts do not conform to the favored theory, then the facts (even a lot of them) must be set aside.
Cremo calls this process “information filtration.” Sounds very civil and polite, doesn’t it? Cremo claims he doesn’t really suspect the motives of his establishment critics. It is only human nature to disbelieve what you know can’t possibly be true.
I suspect, however, that this is a carefully-crafted position. Hell, Cremo believes that mankind has been present on the Earth almost as long as life itself. He believes that human beings co-existed with the dinosaurs. He is accustomed to making “outrageous” claims of many millions of years, whereas revisionists such as Graham Hancock or Robert Bauval are scrapping for just tens of thousands of years. Cremo is probably used to being dismissed as a madman for his Vedic views, but Hancock or Bauval must think that their claims are far more reasonable and deserving of a respectful listen—even if the establishment-types do not. Hancock even suffered the indignity of having a TED talk he delivered removed from YouTube because its ideas ruffled too many feathers.
I don’t care what you think of me for entertaining alternative ideas about history. I have reached no cast-in-concrete conclusions, and I’m not teaching your kids in our monopoly school system. I have always been suspicious of the herd mentality. Discerning the truth of things is not a matter of voting. Yet it’s not as if I’m a creationist or Holocaust denier. This isn’t yet Europe or Canada where you can be found guilty and punished for thought crimes, or for even just asking the wrong questions or telling the truth (in some matters, the truth is legally no excuse).
Anyway, asking “What If” questions is damned entertaining when you only see other people once or twice a week. I keep to myself; so I’m harmless enough. Plus, I’ve got a daily blog to write.
Groove of the Day
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