Questions Most Pondered

Top-10As I stated in my previous post, I have always had questions about the facts that have been taught and that have been repeated over and over again for decades. Facts that didn’t seem to make sense when combined with other facts. Or anomalies that got rejected for no other reason than at the time of discovery they were singular or supposedly singular finds. Add to this the arrogance with which modern scholars dismiss past stories as the ignorant imaginings of lesser men, judged such for no other reason than being from an earlier time. Coupled with the dismissing of oral histories and traditions simply because they are oral. And the dismissing of heroes and demi-gods and or times of gods living among men as not factual, more so based on our use and concept of those words than on any true evidence.

So as the title implies, I am going to share with you some of my most pondered questions. They are not in any specific order. For I believe that they are all, in their own way, of equal importance to our understanding of our past and our hope for our future.

Why are their 2 distinct construction designs visible at Giza if everything was built during the same dynasty?
If you observe closely all the structures of Giza, you will notice that a handful of structures are constructed using blocks that are much larger than even the 2 to 5 ton blocks that comprise a majority of the construction of the plateau.

Machu_Picchu_PeruWhy do scholars refuse to believe the stories of ancient indigenous peoples who claim that they did not build certain places that they occupy?

One of the most widely known cases of scholars consistently giving credit to peoples that straight out said was not their’s to take are that of the Incas. There are numerous early sources that include statements of verifiable Inca nobility and religious sects that deny their people’s construction of all or parts of places like Cusco and Machu Pichu.

How knowledgeable and intelligent were past peoples, such as the Neanderthals and Denisovans?
There are theories that propose that Neanderthals were the primary artists of a majority of European cave art and that Denisovans were the constructors of Gobekli Tepe. One of the newest theories that has been years in the making is that they were also accomplished astronomers and may have used those skills to date specific times, possibly as a method of recording historic events.

Mapa_de_Borgia_XV
Africa is at the top.

Why did ancient cultures with geography skills and knowledge orient to South and today we orient to North?
In addition to this tidbit, there are also references to a singular ocean or sea, which when you view the Earth from the South Pole as opposed to the North, is a very accurate statement.

Does coming from Orion or Sirius or Pleiades mean coming from the stars or merely refer to celestial navigational points?
The least hi-tech method of navigation is celestial. To use the placement of the stars and constellations along with the rising and setting of the Sun and or Moon to track one’s course. Something that the ancients did very well and with high specificity.

Why do scholars hold so tight to the Out Of Africa theory, preaching it as fact?
While it can be supported that Africa has a very rich evolutionary history, we do not know for certain that it is the only such place or that it is as completely the whole of homo sapiens sapiens origins as scholars claim. If for no other reason than that we have not put one-quarter the effort into looking in any other location for the evidence that we have in Africa.

Gobekli Tepe Enclosures via aa com ti
Gobekli Tepe

Why did pre-historic cultures, supposedly with primitive rudimentary tools work with such complex layouts and gigantic stones in their buildings?
If you have watched any of the documentaries on the construction of any ancient structures of note, such as the Pyramids of Giza or Stonehenge or Gobekli Tepe, you will hear that it was all done with the most rudimentary tools and or pure hard-labor of man. Another comment that you might hear is from construction experts of our time that claim that such undertakings are basically impossible with all our machines and technology today. Forgetting all that, what logic made working with 2- to 10- to 40-tons plus blocks of stone necessary?

Linear_A_cup
Linear A 

Why do scholars limit civilization’s history to the last ~5000 years denying and even ridiculing the mere mention of things like Atlantis?
If you listen to the ancients that are given status and credit by the scholars, all of them speak of epochs of time before them that were of greatness in terms of the feats of men and the standards of living of the peoples of those long ago eras. Yet, scholar after scholar refuses to even consider that there has to be some truth to their stories.

When, where and why did writing begin?
We define writing as the systematic use of symbols to convey our thoughts and ideas and information without the use of oral expression. But, what really makes up a writing system? And with all the unknowns how do scholars decide that one set of symbols is absolutely writing and other symbols are not. Especially, if their only rebuttal is that some symbols predate the labeled fact of writing originating in Sumeria around 5000YAG.

How much truth and historic fact can really be found in the lines of myths?
Many a child has been so lured by the lines of a story as to become obsessed with proving that it is a real story. That very obsession is how we discovered Troy. So why not put more faith in the reality of our ancients histories by remembering that absence of proof is not proof of absence.

These and more are the questions that feed my curiosity and kindle my desire to know more. It is the desire to find the truth of our history and the journey of our ancestors that inspires me to write this blog. It is my hope that at least one of my articles inspires you to begin or continue your own curious journey for the truth.

Photo Credit: via workplacelanguages.com
via en.wikipedia.org
via wikimedia commons

From Giza to Gobekli Tepe

Puzzle pieces
Photo Credit: Cassi Merten

One of the things that interest me most and inspires me to learn more and read more and research more are the enigmas around us. Those pieces of the puzzle of our story that don’t fit nicely where we are told that they should fit and the pieces that are sitting off to the side cause the ‘experts’ are not quite sure what to do with them, they cannot deny them, but there is no room for them in their solid unbending version of history.

Our story should never be set in stone, it should be allowed to grow and change and shift as we learn more and more about where we come from and how we got where we are. We must remind ourselves that we have not searched every millimeter of dirt and earth, we have not preserved every manuscript, document, monument that recorded the histories and legends of our ancestors, worse, we have destroyed more of our story than we have ever preserved. So we should never judge as if we have or know it all.

Pillar 43 via phys org
Pillar 43 via phys.org

One of the most illustrious examples of this arrogance among respected experts concerns Dr. Zahi Hawass, the former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs in Egypt. He has been pompously insistent about the Sphinx dating from ~3500BC; one of his primary arguments when someone suggests an older date due to geological finds or other evidence regarding the pit and monument, is the utter lack of any other comparable structure proven to be older not just in the region, but anywhere in the world…

Gobekli Tepe Enclosures via aa com ti
Gobekli Tepe via aa.com.ti

Well, Dr. Hawass…..I present Gobekli Tepe, dated and peer accepted to be at least ~11,500 years old. As the pictures show it also seems to out shine the Sphinx in size and skill, both technical and artistic; thus, based on the liner procession that you claim limits the ability of the Sphinx to be older than ~3500BCE, I do believe that you stand corrected.

Hancock Hawass YouTube Still
via YouTube

If you might wonder what the esteemed, Dr. Hawass, would say in a real challenge to the dating of the Sphinx with the supporting evidence of Gobekli Tepe, you can do a quick Google search for the Hawass – Hancock Debate with keywords Sphinx and Gobekli Tepe. If you follow up. please keep in mind that Dr. Hawass wielded more power than God as Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs of Egypt in the field of Egyptology, when it came to researchers seeking access to sites and artifacts and other documents and information curated and maintained by the Egyptian government and affiliated institutions and organizations.

As for what makes Gobekli Tepe so special….
Gobekli Tepe Site via Graham Hancock
via GrahamHancock.com

First, the site, itself, is absolutely amazing, there are dozens of circular enclosures that were built over the span of centuries covering the area. There are a couple theories about the alignment of the enclosures being astronomical in nature. And a new theory that uses Pillar 43 to show the compilation of historic ‘event markers’ using astronomical alignments (the most accurate means of dating any moment in time).

Secondly, there is the craftsmanship of some of the pillars in some of the enclosures that are advanced by our standards, and phenomenal when placed in the context of how we see man 10-15,000YAG. (See above) Some of the pillars are ~3m tall and single pieces of stone. Most of the art work is protruding reliefs, in case you are wondering, it is easier to create sunken reliefs on stone as you are working a positive image as opposed to protruding reliefs that require the crafter to work in the negative.

fertile_crescent_via NASA Earth Observatory
Fertile Crescent via NASA Earth Observatory

Next, the location of the site. Gobekli Tepe is located in southeastern Turkey, or ancient Anatolia, and by some providences in the Northern reaches of the Fertile Crescent. That being said, there are things that we have believed in the past that we do not believe anymore and why is not clear. First, place names have changed over time and by those writing about previous events. Most of our histories are not written by witnesses to either the events or exact locations and times of the events. Up until the middle ages most scholars believed that most of the place names of the Old Testament were places much further north than are believed today.

An example of this is the description of the Garden of Eden, which most modern scholars and laymen alike would tell you is located in Iraq, based on the flow of the Tiger and Euphrates Rivers, some will even suggest that the location is the bottom of the Persian Gulf due to the presence of extinct and now submerged river beds there, however, the accounts tell us that the 4 rivers flowed away from the Garden, thus it is the headwaters and not the deltas that should be sought when seeking the Garden…and the headwaters of the Tiger and Euphrates are north, in the Armenian Highlands, in the East Taurus Mountains.

Neolithic Farming via radiolemberg
Neolithic Farming via radiolemberg.com

Finally, the standing theory is that once man learnt to farm, roughly 10,000YAG according to dates in the Fertile Crescent region, then he had the time and resources to become ‘civilized’ or to build and create cities and societies, yet the dates and information from Gobekli Tepe counter that theory, there does not appear to be any major or even minor organized farming at the site prior to the confirmed dates of some of the believed earliest enclosures. (Not all the known enclosures have been excavated and or dated.) Thus, it cannot be said that Gobekli Tepe was built because the local men had time on their hands due to their new farming lifestyles.

So what was the purpose of the enclosures? And why at some point after their constructions were the enclosures systematically filled in and buried? How and why were the enclosures built in the middle of nowhere void of permanent settlements? Who built the enclosures and where did their skills of construction originate? Interestingly enough, some of the more precise and technologically advanced of the enclosures seem to be the oldest ones with the skill and level of excellence declining over the subsequent centuries; this is something that some will tell you is clear at Giza as well. And questions that we will be taking up in future articles and podcasts.

To learn more check out the official site of the research staff The Tepe Telegrams or pick up “Gobekli Tepe Genesis of the Gods” by Andrew Collins. 

Denisovans, Another “Grandparent”

In previous articles we have discussed our connection to Neanderthals and how their public image, little by little, is improving. If you follow the news you will have heard a lot recently about a new member of our human family. Today we are going to introduce you to that new ancestor of ours, the Denisovans.

Denisovan Cave Entrance Siberia
Denisova Cave, Siberia

In a remote part of Siberia, the Denisova Cave, in the Altai mountains, remains of human habitation going back thousands of years was discovered. Since the initial discovery, research has continued right up to present day. The first amazing discovery that the cave yielded was the finger bone of a child, later determined to probably be female, her mtDNA was distinctly different from modern man and Neanderthal, however it also revealed that a common ancient ancestor was shared with Neanderthal.

More recent finds revealed not only interbreeding between Neanderthal and Denisovans, but also included an unknown human ancestor as well. Based on finds, it appears that the cave has provided shelter to hominins for more than 250,000 years, including the 18th century Russian hermit, known as Denis, whose use of the cave rendered his being the namesake. The cave appears to have been used by Neanderthals and Denisovans separately, as well as, co-habitation between them over the course of time as well.

Denisovan Cave Siberia
via Nature (IAET SB RAS)  

Right now it is the belief that Denisovans died out before Neanderthal, however, our knowledge of the species is very minimal at present. Originally, we thought that they were limited in habitation to Asia and the Pacific, even some indigenous peoples have up to 6% Denisovan DNA left in their genes. But, recently, the DNA profile of 400,000YO remains in Spain showed greater connection to Denisovans than Neanderthals, surprising researchers who expected connections to Neanderthal but not Denisovans. These remains are being used to speculate that Denisovans and Neanderthals shared a common ancestor from which both species descend from on their own separate evolutionary paths. Of course, much more evidence and research would have to be conducted before any theory could be considered more than speculation.

Denisova_Cave_lithic_and_osseous_artifacts_grey
Thilo Parg / Wikimedia Commons 

One of the more unique inheritances that modern humans have received from our Denisovan ancestors is found among the peoples of the Himalayas. It is a gene that allows them to live normally at the very high altitudes with the thin, low-oxygen air. This knowledge will hopefully led to more field work looking for more dwelling places and remains in higher elevations. Another feature of our Denisovan ancestors that while might seem unique, is not quite as unique as textbook human evolution would have us believe. We did not start out as little 3ft monkey-less apes and steadily and slowly evolve into our 6ft selves. We are not the tallest we have ever been, all our ancestors were not shorter than us. And Denisovans, along with homo heiledbergensis, were taller than at least their Neanderthal counterparts, with Denisovans being probably as robust as their Neanderthal cousins. While some homo heiledbergensis were at least 6ft tall, there are some opinions that Denisovans may have easily been over 6ft. Again, there needs to be more finds made and researched before true theories can be successfully floated in the evolutionary sea.

These recent finds, should remind us all that we truly do know very little about our story and that it is not a simple tale that can be wrapped up in a nice neat pretty little liner package. All one should need to do to know that the story of humanity is more like a web or bush than a one way flowchart is look around at school, at the office, at the market, at the cafe as see all the diversity before your own eyes. Just think of how many unknown stories are before you eyes everyday and then ask how can we think that we have any real idea about all those stories from our whole history!

Stepping Into The Pacific

South Pacific Google Maps
Google Maps Screenshot

Over recent years there have been a number of extraordinary discoveries across the islands of the Pacific with regards to hominoid history. And even with the peer-reviewed and rigorous work carried out by respected scholars for a number of universities and organizations the “dogma” about human evolution and diffusion remains virtually unchanged in the textbooks and lecture halls. And this specific ignoring of evidentiary objections to the dogma seems all but certain to eventually either burst forth with a dramatic rewrite of history or to add more fuel to the bonfire that is the huge collection of anomalous discoveries creating a light that outshines the dim glow of the lecture hall dogma.

Just what are some of these discoveries?

Flores-hobbit 2016 Science
Reconstruction of Homo floresiensis
by Atelier Elisabeth Daynes
KINEZ RIZA

Probably one of the better known of these anomalous discoveries is that of ‘the hobbit’ or homo floesiensis in 2004 on Flores. Research indicates that this hominid lived on the island within the last 20,000 years, long after we are told that we were the only surviving homo species, and had probably been inhabiting the island for approximately 700,000 years. This later date is based on recent discoveries of teeth and a jawbone found in 2016 on the island. Also in geographic relation, in 2016 tools were found on Sulawesi, an island north of Flores, whose dating suggests unknown hominid existence on that island at least 118,000 years ago.

While most scholars accept that homo erectus populated at least some of the islands up to 840,000YAG based on discovered tools and that modern man has been found inhabiting the Pacific Islands for at least the last 40,000 to 45,000 years, it is still more considered to be exceptions and not the norm for human migration.

Further south, the aboriginal people of Australia are considered by most to have arrived no earlier than ~30,000YAG, however, some research has suggested evidence might suggest 60,000 to 80,000YAG. Either way, it appears, based on the research, that the aborigines were the original populators of the continent. While it seems that aboriginals themselves do not give a ‘time value’ to their history, most of us can agree that even 30,000 years would be a fair “forever” to have existed in a location.

Aboriginal Austrailians
Aboriginal corroboree ceremony.
Courtesy of the Australian News and Information Bureau, New York

Most of the other islands are conventionally thought to have been much more recently settled by people, regardless of what the oral histories of the locals themselves may or may not claim. Mostly, this thought that most habitation of ‘new locations’ in the Pacific occurred in the last 3,000 to 5,000 years, is based on one staggeringly arrogant presumption….that, seafaring was impossible prior to that. A weakly founded assumption that still holds much sway even though some individual researchers have proven that simple boats and competent navigational knowledge would allow for the movement of man over vast distances, both of which have been knowingly possessed by the primitive islanders since their discovery by European explorers.

Priests_traveling_across_kealakekua_bay_for_first_contact_rituals
Artist John Webber

Many scholars suggest that the only way for prehistoric man to have gotten off of the collective landmass of Africa-Asia-Europe is to have been swept across the seas on storm debris. Really? And if presented with the concept of well how did they survive (reproduce) in the new location, the response is that a small group (obviously mixed gender and ages) was carried together on the storm debris. That is quite the perfect storm. Actually, that would be quite a few of these perfect storms. Another more plausible, but still problematic in its own right, theory is the use of land bridges and or shallow shoals during glacial maximums when ocean levels were much lower than today.

In order to have a storm with the strength to literally move people, you are usually looking at a storm that kills people, not one that simply floats them across the sea. And while land bridges can provide the means for man to venture into unknown and new territory, there is a time limit on the access, which creates issues for any human activity that deviates from said time windows. While it is important to make sure that research is solid and can stand up to scrutiny, it should be noted that there is no amount of evidence that can stand up to close-minded arrogant dogma and it is a disservice to research, history and mankind to allow such dogma unfettered reign over the study and understanding of the human story.

Can We “Write”

Man has been attempting to communicate probably since the beginning of time! Not always successfully, still not always successfully; but, he keeps trying and that is the important part. In the modern world, focused on having things, making things, trading things, we have used our priorities to define past communication styles and successes. We have declared that man did not need to have a writing system until he needed to count for money purposes.Thus we only recognize previous attempts at a written system of communication based on what we see as established commerce in a societal group or settled region with several groups, and we identify these groups that have developed a need for commerce as becoming civilized. We even teach that ‘counting marks’ and ‘bookkeeping’ were the first writing, completely discounting all the other reasons that we communicate in a written or graphically symbolic way. This is a very narrow and one-dimensional approach to studying and understanding our history and those that came before us.

geometric signs ice age europe
Genevieve von Petzinger
In the past, there has been some suggestion that written language, or graphical, forms of communications, has developed in different locales for different reasons. While it does seem logical that Sumerian and other Near-East civilizations began developing written forms for the sake of record keeping, bookkeeping and taxation purposes, it is thought that it is more probable that graphic expression in Europe formed out of religious need. However, the development of written communication is ambiguous at best, with some civilizations, Egypt being the best known, seeming to take up writing virtually overnight; and even the Sumerians appearing to take leaps and bounds in advancement once they appear on the scene.
Against this background, but without this focus, I was perusing YouTube and fell into the Ted rabbit-hole. While there I found a talk by Genevieve von Petzinger. She is a paleoanthropologist from Canada and for her Masters she researched the existence of commonality within the cave art of Ice Age Europe. I found her talk interesting and well researched and presented, please check it out for yourself. While finding merit in her study, it made me wonder about just what she might be on to, if the search were expanded.
greek writingIf one studies writing or written communications, then one is exposed to the very obvious and even the not so obvious development of symbols used to convey sounds, words, thoughts, ideas and concepts, or emotions. There are clear ‘improvements’ of the symbol collections used by a culture over time or from one dominant culture to the next, which is clearly displayed in a Google search image search result to the left. The similarities, as well as, the logical evolution of certain symbols over time, as the styles and methods of using and creating or putting down the symbols changed, in order to make the exchange of information, concepts, ideas, thoughts and feelings more efficient and thus the sharing broader, is evident.
Some of the symbols have lost some of their parts and others have changed their orientation. Some have become simpler in construction while others are not recognized when placed by the original symbol and others have remained virtually unchanged and some seem to have combined previous separate symbols into one new symbol. In addition, within a specific written symbol family you can find multiple variants; take for example, our own, I am sharing this information with you via the latin alphabet symbol family; however, if I were using another language instead of English, then I might use a differing form of latin, whether it would be French, Spanish, German, Slavic or something else the symbols would not be identical, but would be recognized to a greater or lesser extent even by a non speaker of the language. And it is those commonalities that are the first clues used to attempt to understand the symbolic communication symbols of those cultures that came before us.
One of the earliest proposed forms of such organized symbolic ‘written’ communication system are the symbols used by the peoples that we call the Danubian culture of Europe, scattered throughout the lands surrounding the Danube River of Central and Southeastern Europe. Since, the Sumerians are given the title of “the first writers in history,” something that I have always felt was premature to be sure, all other suggestions of writing are supposed to fall into alignment with the accepted dates for Sumerian development and example. Thus, the first rebuke of suggesting that the “Danubian script” was in fact writing was tentatively allowed on the basis that it would have been “given” to these peoples from the much more civilized Sumerians in their great trading. That rebuke did not hold water once the science proved that “Danubian script” was found in much earlier sediments than any possible interactions with Sumeria would have been possible. Not all researchers accept that these peoples had a language or a symbol system for recording or expressing their language, however, there are certain examples that support the theory of both a symbol system and a common and widespread use of the system. Researchers have cataloged over 50 symbols that they claim make up the Danubian script and some of them can be seen in different forms in later scripts from the region, such as Liner A and B.

Below is one of the published collections of the Danubian script, unfortunately, I cannot give credit to or for this image, as it is one that I have had in my notes for years and have unfortunately lost the credits for, but it shows symbols that were used on pottery and other pieces over a region that covers much of the Danube river basin area and surrounding areas from Bulgaria to Croatia.

Danubian Symbols
Danubian Script
I am sure that you can see some symbols in the image above that are very recognizable to you and others that maybe feel similar to something that you are familiar with. In addition, I am sure that you can see symbols that are similar to the “Ice Age Cave Art Collection” of G. von Petzinger, top and the ‘ancient Greek regional scripts’ among the Danube Script.

Join Us For The Journey

Background Conversations With Cassi Logo
Photo Credit: Cassi Merten

So while I have not been doing a lot of writing in quite awhile, I have still been doing a lot of reading, research, and following of others’ research and theories. I have, also, been working out my next pursuit in my head and on paper, so to speak. I have long thought that the “official” story of humanity has some major contradictions and errors in it. Even as a child, raised basically in a christian’ish belief system, I always had questions about things that made no sense to me or that did not seem to tell the whole story or answer all the questions that I had.

Questions like; if Adam and Eve were the first people then why did Cain need to be marked? Didn’t ALL the people (his family) already know who he was and what he did? And if everyone was going to descend from Adam and Eve then wouldn’t they all know who Cain was already? Of course some versions say that God sent them out to find wives, again if Adam and Eve were the first then where were they to go out to to find wives? And Noah, how was he supposed to fit pairs of ALL the animals in the world in his Ark? How was he supposed to get all the animals to his Ark? And again, if it is just Noah and his family (and different versions define the family in different ‘sizes’), where do wives after the flood come from?

Moving forward to school and studies the same half stories with glaring unanswered issues seemed to be more the norm than the exception. The most awful facet was the way that half-stories were not told as this is what we think, believe, or our best guess. Instead, it was stated as unquestionable fact that would beget harsh criticism and ostracization if it was indeed question or if the holes in the supporting facts were pointed out, some so big you could fly the Sun through.

Private Collection Artifacts
Photo Credit: Bekah Olsen

Such ‘facts’ as the Sphinx was built at the same time as the pyramids, yet, while it has in known times spent most of its time covered up to it’s neck in sand, it is the most weathered and repaired of the structures on the plateau. Or that if the Great Pyramid was a tomb, why is it devoid of ALL things that identify tombs fit for pharaohs? If we have only been ‘civilized’ for between 5,000 to 8,000 years, then who built Gobekli Tepe? If we are so advanced and the ancients so unsophisticated from a technological point of view, why can we not easily replicate their famous works?

When we hear their stories of the heavens and the earth and heroes and disasters, why do we assume that they are just made up tales to serve totally abstract purposes? Why is it so easy for experts to dismiss the ancients as being ignorant, in spite of the fact that evidence to the contrary is all around us, from the ruins of ancient cities to their stories and languages? What makes a culture or people “advanced” or “civilized” or “technological”?

In the upcoming articles, I will be looking into Egypt as a possible key between what is now and what was before and is now hidden from our story. We will look at new theories about the Giza plateau. We will also explore megalithic structures from Egypt and the Mediterranean Region to the British isles. We will explore connections between the Egyptian language and cosmology and similar concepts in other cosmologies from the Dogon to Gobekli Tepe to Indian Stuppas. We will look into the study that concludes greater genetic relations between Ancient Egyptians and modern Britains than Ancient and modern-day Egyptians. We will ponder anomalies such as tobacco and cocaine found in Egyptian mummies and hieroglyphs found in Australian rock carvings. We will consider pyramids from Asia to the Americas. In addition, we will consider similarities between pieces of cave art, pectoglyphs and geoglphys. All this is just the beginning of the journey, so come along for the adventure!

And let’s see where this leads us and where we end up.

 

I Believe

Fantasy Creatures
via http://www.e-figart.com/

I believe in dragons, unicorns, fairies, and mermaids; not to mention, giants and elves, trolls and shape-shifters, heroes and demons. I also believe in places like Atlantis, Mu, and Punt. As I have stated before, I believe that we have barely scratched the surface of knowing, much less, understanding our own history. And since we do not know everything, how can we say with certainty that certain things never existed or claim without absolute proof that we understand the languages, words, and symbols handed down to us by our ancestors.

Simply put, We Can’t.

I know that admitting to believing in all the things listed above and more, most would consider me at least silly, if not a full fledged nut job. But, why? Because some teacher in some classroom told you that something didn’t exist. What was their proof? In most cases when we are told that something does not exist, the proof provided to support their claim is that there is no proof. Forgetting that the absence of proof does not in and of itself provide proof of nothing.

Mountain Gorilla wwf
Mountain Gorilla via WWF

Ironically, history has taught us time and time again, that not believing in something, just because there is NO proof is usually a good way to have to eat your beliefs in the end. Mountain gorillas, rhinos, ‘hobits’, and komodo dragons all turned out to be real creatures and not just myths and tall tales to regal listeners! In addition we now have the physical remains of such legends as Homer’s Troy and the Vikings’ Vineland (Newfoundland) and the Bible’s Jericho. Yet, still we are more adamant than ever about our disbelief in things we have been taught don’t exist.

lanse-aux-meadows
L’Anse aux Meadows

As part of the argument that these places and stories cannot be true, we are told that ancient peoples were superstitious, unknowing, scared lesser peoples that through their imagination created fantastical stories to explain things in nature that scared them and that they were unable to understand scientifically on such an evolved intellectual level as us today. The contradiction with this concept, is the following: first, it takes an intelligent mind to imagine and create, not the mind of a simple creature that is incapable of understanding the world around them; second, it tends to be the less intelligent mind that cannot fathom things beyond their understanding, that cannot accept those things as real that they cannot see and touch and feel for themselves. Thus, their argument falls flat when we remove our desire to believe that we are superior to those that came before us.

Part of the challenge of being able to access with as little bias as possible those people and places and events that came before us, is to overcome the arrogant belief that we in our current form are the best, smartest, most advanced we have ever been. For even recent history teaches us that empires rise and fall and that great persons gain great status and then fall into obscurity. Life nor history is a straight line always leading to better and higher success.

I believe that it is the mission of those that most consider to be crazy or ‘out there’ to continue to provide the means by which we can truly seek the truth and then know and understand where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.

 

Little Steps Are Still Steps

So this past week, an article appeared in The Guardian making a move away from the completely liner thinking dogma that has imprisoned paleoanthropologists and others in the human evolution field for decades.

Out Of Africa Basic Map
via arstechnica.com

In the past, the theory, stated as fact, was that ALL modern humans evolved from one family group with one mitochondrial Eve. And that most of this evolution has occurred in the last 250,000 to 500,000 YAG, after millions of years basically remaining intelligent apes.

The map is from an article in late 2016 that still promotes that while some of the migration details of other maps are “inaccurate” that this map is the least inaccurate one to date. Even if more than 15 years ago I would have argued that this model is wrong and lacking, without all the research, reading, and study that I have done in the ensuing years up to the present, I cannot grasp how supposedly intelligent students in the various related fields do not use their own logic and reason with rational thought and question all of it. Thus the result from all of this self-study of the question “What and or where are man’s origins?” instead of becoming more certain of the official dogma, I have become certain of one glaring fact – – We Do Not Have A Clue!

human origins tree 1
via PBS NOVA

The first argument the dogma propagandists throw at the rebellious divergent is all the oldest hominid specimens have been found in Africa, East Africa specifically, thus there is no doubt about the origins of homo sapiens sapiens, of course the reality is that academia has focused their search exclusively to East Africa, thus basically eliminating finds in other areas. In light of this dogged determination to stick to their story, there are still finds accidentally stumbled upon in other parts of the world, such as homo floresiensis and homo gigantopithecus, which while labeled as an ape member of the primate family, some researchers claim some possible familiar human behavior and even some possible interbreeding with homo erectus.

Other bumps in the official dogmatic linear evolution process that originally had offshoots of our evolution process just dying off, cause they were not as adaptable, intelligent or modern as we are, are being proven incorrect. It has been proven that while geneticists label the majority of human genome as junk DNA (translate as they don’t have a clue), in the parts that they have figured out, they have admitted that significant groups of the modern population have at least 3% Neanderthal DNA (Homo neanderthalensis) and that others also have at least as much Denisovan DNA (Homo sapiens denisova) within their gene pools.

Thus, while there is still a very long way to go in the halls of academia before even seeing the truth on the horizon, the step forward that now allows modern humans to have originated in multiple places in Africa is a step closer to greater knowledge and understanding of our past and our history. With new knowledge, new finds, and the possible acceptance of accessing existing finds with more interest and less hostility, we might once again be moving forward in our search for the origins of our species.

 

Consider This

Diploma Money
via AssociateDegreeOnline.com

Today’s world places great emphasis on ‘experts’. Titles are doled out to supposed deserving individuals by Academic Institutions and Associations, Professional guilds and collectives, and government agencies and councils. Letters are added to the end of names upon merit, distinction, or fame.  However, the focus has shifted from the search for knowledge to the image of dominion over a study. This shift has been a killing blow to our understanding of our history and the world around us.

Take the concept of a Renaissance Man, this is a truly inconceivable idea to most people today. Awkwardly, most think that someone that knows a little bit about a few different subjects, enough to be entertaining from an average cerebral context at cocktail or dinner parties, fits the bill. In fact, this is very far from the truth, in reality those men of greatness that provided the example of what we now consider to be the “Renaissance Man” were not just merely acquainted with a few subjects, they were master students of many very diverse and broad areas of interest. The WHOLE of life and the world inspired them and drove them to seek understanding not just in the individual details of the subject matter, but also in the connectivity of all things within the universe. DaVinci was not merely interested in the flight of birds to make his art more realistic, he was consumed with the means and mechanics of flight in order to understand the very air we breathe and all its limits and limitlessness in our universe and the use of it to harness flight of man and machine.

leonardo-da-vinci-vitruvian-man
Vitruvian Man, c.1492 via allposters.ie

These men were inspired and driven to understand how everything worked and functioned and understood that each detail was merely one tiny piece of the huge jigsaw puzzle that made up the world around them and the universe we inhabit.

What made these men different from our scholars and scientist and ‘experts’ of today? These men of old were not seeking fame and fortune, a lot of the most learned have been forgotten to history, take for example Athanasius Kircher, considered the last man to know everything, they were seeking wisdom and understanding, they truly wanted to know how and why and where and when and what about it all! Their goal was universal knowledge as destined self-fulfillment of the mind and soul, the very purpose of our being.

We have lost that drive, that childlike passion and curiosity to know everything and how it is all connected. The ‘experts’ of today (in general) have tunnel vision and work in limited intellectual vacuums like blind mice in shoebox size labyrinths thinking they encompass their entirety. They might be true, in-depth experts of their one puzzle piece, however, they lack understanding of where and how that piece fits into the puzzle and thus in reality are not as expert as they think they are, for how the piece fits or doesn’t fit can change everything about the piece and that is the difference between seeking wisdom and arrogantly thinking one is wise.

Athanasius KircherAnd it is arrogance and ego that has created this prison of ignorance. We have become a species that is divided at the most basic level. We do not depend on the group, nor foster the group. We even lack the understanding of such creatures as the big cats that roam mostly in solitude, yet, still aware of and understanding their connection and dependence on the other of their own kind for their mutual survival. Not only do we put our individual self wholly and almost singularly on our priority list we will even destroy the rest of our species not for the sake of our physical survival, but for the survival of our own ego. We remorselessly kill those we deem less than us and abuse those we can gain some benefit from. This extreme of individualism has cost us dearly.

Thus, we cannot comprehend the savant of the idiot, nor the logic of the crazy, we cannot see good deeds can be done even by evil persons. However, all these things exist and to dismiss them because they are beneath our egos is merely the display of the smallest of individuals among us, namely the ‘experts’.

Thoughts From Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime Class

I am taking a course in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime and we were asked to discuss some points about legislation in the US with regard to restricting the transport and shipment of artifacts from Mali.

We were asked to read the submitted comments to Congress by Dr. Hardy, which can be found here. And then we were given some questions to respond to….I think this is a topic which needs to be known on some level by everyone! So I am going to post the questions and my response to the questions below.

What do you think about the situation that Dr. Hardy presents in Looting, the subsistence digging economy in Mali; and stemming the flow of looted antiquities from Mali to the USA?
I think that it is sad; however, it is not uncommon, and will not be fixed overnight. There is a much larger problem that needs to be addressed and sorted in order to have measured success in stemming the flow of stolen artifacts from any insecure area. I do like that his opinion is supported by evidence that clearly implies the realness of the issue and the contributing factors of the issue. Americans have such a desire to just fix “the problem” instantly without looking for and addressing the underlying contributing factors that lead to “the problem”, not that Europe is much better in that regard either. There are NO easy fixes and there is NO 1 idea that will fix this either.
Why might someone choose to loot an archaeological site? Why might others oppose the looting? 
Looting can be carried out for a number of reasons; however, for this discussion let’s focus on subsistence diggers. They are usually poorly educated without marketable skills in remote, unstable, poor areas. They lack access to proper education or healthcare or skill training. They are in short hopeless. Yet, they have themselves and their families to provide for somehow. What options have they been given other than to loot? Especially if you also have the added instability of conflicts and natural disasters.
I would imagine, without insult, that among the societal group that we are focusing on there will not be many that would oppose the looting. However, I would surmise that it would be those that still held out strong belief in the old ways, such as the shamans and wise men and women of the tribes; for these special individuals would be the most knowledgeable about what the group was losing and the finality of that loss to the group and the future health and existence of that group….the easiest and surest way to eliminate a group from existence is to eliminate its history from existence.
Should looters in poor countries be punished for their crimes?
Yes, but, the punishment should be one that truly resolves the probability of future illegal actions by the looters. What does this mean? It means that either instead of jailing, or while they are ‘jailed’ for their crime, that they are properly educated; whether it is becoming literate and or learning a marketable skill and or a basic education, but it should be in regard to the heart of the culture of the group that the subsistence digger belongs to. Thus, do not educate in a manner that means he has to illegally immigrate to another country to find a job, nor that he is only literate in a language that is not of his culture. By doing either of the aforementioned you are actually re-enforcing the idea that his culture does not have value or a place and that looting the history of his culture was not wrong and thus his punishment was wrong and you have instead instilled bitterness to nurture the hopelessness that will foster animosity. Also, include in the punishment a means by which with respect and dignity the individual may restitute for his injury to the group, have him help protect the sites or help with the excavations in some way, he needs value, worth.
What are some ways that the looting of archaeological sites may be prevented in poor source countries?
The basis of any attempt to protect the archaeological sites must include the local societal group as a primary and valuable asset. They need to have reasons not to turn their backs on their own history. These sites need to be the heart of a whole new life for these peoples. I do know that funding is hard, but imagination and creativity should be able to incorporate the local group into the investigations and various aspects, directly and indirectly. I know that some archaeologists do try to make lasting positive relationships with the local group and help them as much as they can, but there needs to be a broader involvement of all the peoples that will benefit from this history that ensures that the locals have some level of improvement from their support of the investigations at the sites. It should not just be the governments and the officials that reap the rewards of the discoveries of the history that belongs to all!
Looting and the illegal trade of artifacts and art are as much a crime against humanity as genocide is, for one you are erasing the culture by erasing the living members of the culture and the other you are erasing them by erasing their history and thus their identity. And both should be treated the same way, those that are used by the powerful and rich for their own sorted goals, in this case the subsistence diggers, should not be held to the same standard as those that create, finance, facilitate, and, in some cases, legalize the crime!

Neanderthal Public Image Improving

Neandethal Artistic CompsiteIt would appear that Neanderthal’s reputation is finally starting to catch up with their character. A report just published in Nature journal has done two very important things for Neanderthals. First, it shows that they were much more sophisticated than historians have depicted them and secondly, it has pushed their date of sophistication back three fold into prehistory. Until now most experts considered the oldest show of any culture and civilization by Neanderthal to be their cave art, which is only considered to go back to about 40,000 years ago.

Recently there has been a lot of new discoveries or new tests on old discoveries that have given a new image to our Neanderthal cousins. We now know that Neanderthals made tools, used fire, made art, buried their dead, and perhaps even had language. “The new findings have ushered a transformation of the Neanderthal from a knuckle-dragging savage rightfully defeated in an evolutionary contest, to a distant cousin that holds clues to our identity,” wrote Lydia Pyne in Nautilus.

Bruniquel Cave
Bruniquel Cave via The Atlantic

The crowning jewel of the recent new discoveries is the Bruniquel Cave. The Aveyron Valley in the southwest of France is home to at least 15 prehistoric sites and the newest site on the list is the aforementioned cave with wondrous round areas designated by the intentional placement of broken off stalagmites. The site was discovered in 1990, by a young boy, whose father had noticed the air flow from the scree. Thus this young man spent the next 3 years opening a small 30 meter long entrance into the cave, which was then explored by members of the local cave club, upon seeing the importance of the discovery they brought in archaeologist Francois Rouzaud. During the initial investigation, a burnt bear bone found in the cave was carbon-dated to 47,600 years ago, making it the oldest find for Neanderthal in the area.

Bruniquel cave France Neandethal
Bruniquel Cave Study Slide 1

Now, there has been new testing that has yielded new dates. What makes this discovery so amazing is not just its date, but its sophistication of the construction in the cave. Interestingly, the new dates for the cave construction, which is ~176,500 years ago, takes us almost to the mid point of another recent discovery that has added more spice to the recipe of how hominins came and went and merged and split. A team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has pieced together the oldest mitochondrial genome known from 400,000 year old bones found in a cave in Northern Spain. One of the surprises of this study was that the individuals, thought to be the early ancestors of Neanderthal, instead were more closely related to Denisovans, a group thought to be much more prominent further East and even having origins somewhere in Asia. Anatomically speaking though the individuals do not resemble their Denisovian descendants and one theory is that the hominins from Spain may be from before a split that possibly created both Neanderthals and Denisovans. The article for the oldest DNA can be found at The Scientist and the full study report can be found in Nature.

How the DNA study plays into our finds is that it gives only 200,000 years of separation between the existence of hominins that seem to predate Neanderthal maybe by more than one or two evolutionary splits and our believed Neanderthal presence in the Bruniquel Cave with the social and cultural skills already in place to have constructed the round areas showing at least intermediate technological skill as well. However, we do not as of yet have enough answers to say that some of the ancestor hominins and their descendants species did not share the same space and time. We know that both Denisovans and Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon and another unidentified hominin species did share time and space.

This new find, which can be read in abstract in The Atlantic with the full study findings reported in Nature, has certainly opened the door for many new questions that will need to find answers and lots of possibilities for those answers.

 

Decrypting A Mayan Mystery

William Gadoury via CSA
William Gadoury via CSA

In the last few days there has been talk about the discovery of a new Mayan city by a schoolboy from Canada. William Gadoury has been interested in all things Maya for most of his young life. He has taken his interest seriously and used his curiosity and creativity to look for more understanding of the culture that stirs his imagination.

It has long been pondered about how the Maya chose the sites for some of their greatest cities. They are not near water sources. They are not along coasts. They are not along trade routes. They are not on grid patterns. They are not in open plains. They are not strategically impressive. Thus a question has plagued scholars for years; Why build cities in the middle of the jungle away from natural resources, especially water, and seeming to ignore all other logical rationale for human settlement? In most cases Mayan cities remained hidden and undisturbed of hundreds of years, due in part to the jungle having so completely reclaimed them. This adds another factor to the seeming illogical, irrational methods employed by a very intellectual culture in this area.

maya civilization-nwsisdmrc wordpress
via nwsisdmrc.wordpress.com

If we allow that the Mayans created their own calendar system, then they were incredibly intelligent and logical and rational, based on the mathematical skill required to create a calendar system that rivals our computer aided time-keeping in its accuracy. If we also allow that they and they alone built their cities, they were also incredibly skilled engineers and masons and artisans. Yet, between all these intelligent and skilled individuals their city locations seem beneath them based on logic and reason. It seems highly improbable that they did not see the need to have natural resources available for the masses, nor that they missed the need for defenses from regional enemies. Thus, it seems that one needs to look for some other more important reason for why their cities are placed in such unusual places.

Enter our young schoolboy from Canada. Mr. Gadoury studied the Madrid Codex and located 23 constellations that held enough importance to the Maya to be recorded. His theory was that the stars had great importance for the Maya, maybe even extreme importance. What William Gadoury decided to try was logically creative. He took the constellation maps and laid them over the area of Central America that was the Land of the Mayans and he found that the stars and cities matched.

maya-city-discovery-canada
via Canadian Space Agency

While, this in and of itself is significant in understanding the values and mental state of the Mayan elite, the best part was found in the 23rd constellation, which has 3 bright stars in its make up. When matching this constellation with known sites only 2 of the 3 stars has known complimentary sites. So Gadoury then used Google Earth to look at the area that matched the 3rd star without a matching known site. WOW! He found an area of the jungle canopy that was more uniform in shape than one would expect, unless it was covering something man-made.

As of yet, the site has not publicly been the object of a LiDAR search. So, while, Armand LaRocque, an honorary research associate at the University of New Brunswick, and the Canada Space Agency have supported and assisted Gadoury in his research and even claimed that in addition to the pyramid an additional 30 buildings have been located, it will not be accepted until a physical on-site discovery is documented.

However, considering the stance of several ‘experts’ in the various connected fields that 1) use of maps is a modern Western invention and thus cannot be used to locate ancient sites (I do not understand this conclusion on any level) and 2) that the Maya did not use stars to place cities (yet, I have heard of no sound and logical explanation of their unique site placement), it seems highly unlikely that even if a significant site is discovered in the proposed location due credit or even serious consideration will be given to the theory presented by Mr. William Gadoury.