Ancient Mysteries and Graham Hancock
Most of us are familiar with the idea of lost civilizations. Whether it is through television, or comic books or through the original source of Plato's Timaeus, we have all at one point or other heard about the 'lost kingdom of Atlantis' as well as slightly less known examples such as Lemuria.
Those of us who are educated can be entertained by these notions, but ultimately dismiss them as being fanciful and unfounded. Our modern and well developed understanding of archeology and of our history tells us that the legend of Atlantis is just that, a legend.
What if, however the answers were not as 100% airtight as you might think, and that while conventional wisdom may indeed be true, that there are serious and legitimate questions to be asked about and explored regarding our history.
One person doing just that is journalist and world renowned author and historical/archeological sleuth Graham Hancock.
Born in Edinburgh Scotland, and spending a significant period of his childhood in India, where his father practiced as a surgeon, Hancock began his writing career not as an explorer of ancient mysteries, but rather as a journalist.
In fact there are some who are more interested in debunking unusual and novel and innovative ideas out of hand, who like to point out that Hancock is not an Archeologist.
For the record, Graham Hancock is not an Archeologist, and has never claimed to be one. He is however an investigator of ancient mysteries with a very keen interest, a wealth of experience investigating various sites across the globe and a deep knowledge of the subject, both conventional and non.
What drew Hancock into the world of ancient mysteries was stories he would hear while working as the East Africa correspondent for the highly regarded magazine 'The Economist', in which claims were made that the 'ark of the covenant' in which were placed the commandments given (as the faithful will say) by God unto Moses, was in fact located and kept in a town in Ethiopia called Axum.
His investigation into this mystery and subsequent book, 'The Sign and the Seal ' became a best seller and set Hancock on a path that would take him from the tops of the great pyramids, to the bottom of the ocean, seeking out and exploring ancient mysteries, the most preeminent of those being the concept of a lost civilization, a lost chapter in our collective history.
The Lost Civilization
The exploration of the idea of a lost chapter in human history, is one that will take you across the globe and over ten thousand years into the past, but might be best started by looking at the remarkable work, architecture and engineering of the ancient Egyptians, most famously and notably expressed in the great pyramid at Giza.
What is remarkable about Giza, is not just it's scale, but the accuracy and exacting tolerances to which it was built, a feat that would be a challenge for us in this modern age, and one that the ancient Egyptian's presumably did with human manual labour.
This is not suggest, however that some sort of supernatural or otherworldly force was at work here, such as the Anunnaki, the civilizing ancient astronauts of ancient Babylon posited to the world by Zechariah Sitchin.
It does, however challenge credibility that the ancient Egyptians go from being presumably nomadic tribes and not building a whole lot of anything, to these massive and exactingly constructed monuments and megaliths springing up seemingly over-night and with little to precede it, or show steps towards the development of that knowledge.
This is an Historical mystery, but not one without answers, as Hancock questions why we are so quick to dismiss what the very peoples and civilizations that we are studying have to say about themselves and their development. Not to be taken as being a completely literal account, but to give us a window into the past through a legendary account most likely with some basis in historical fact.
What we find is talk of a 'golden age' called Zep Tepi, in which gods walked among men, and preeminent among them is the Promethean figure of Osiris, who brings civilization to humanity.
What is particularly intriguing about this, is that this concept of a 'great civilizer' is repeated across the globe, among cultures that should have had no connection or interaction with each other. In addition to this other similarities start to crop up, such as the importance of pyramid building in ancient Egypt and then much later on in Mesoamerican civilization, or the global prevalence of flood myths.
This could be nothing more than a series of massive coincidences, or somehow the practices that we as human beings will naturally gravitate towards.
That, or it suggests that these legends, and this knowledge comes from a common and ancient source, a mother culture that has since vanished, with all but a hint of it's existence erased from history.
Could this be true and is it even possible?
Yonaguni (all photos Santha Faiia)
Show us just one pottery shard!
The most serious flaw in this line of thinking, and one that supporters of more orthodox theories will point out is a lack of physical evidence.
Now certainly, there are controversies regarding dating in the first place, especially inorganic material. Also a lot of dating is done contextually, which can cause problems if working from a false premise.
Some, as John Anthony West has famously done with the Sphinx, may challenge the conventional dating, and in this regard Hancock alongside Egyptologist and engineer Robert Buval have also provided evidence that while not outright giving a different date for the Sphinx or the great pyramids, does suggest that the entire Giza site was built to correspond with a much earlier period, of about 10500 BC.
Ultimately, however Hancock believes the reason we are not finding the smoking gun is not only are too few people looking, but they are also looking in the wrong place.
This is because human settlement, and thus human civilization tends to like to pop up around water-ways and coastal areas. If we are indeed looking at 10500 BC as being relevant to the story we should take note that what was prime real estate for human habitation in this time, is now very much under water today.
If one is to shrug or look to dismiss this, one should note that this lost coastline is not an insignificant area, as 25 million square kilometers were swallowed up.
The cause of this loss of shoreline was the end of the last ice age, in which kilometers thick sheets of ice melted, and massive glacial lakes emptied. These would have been events with dramatic and catastrophic peaks. This period of massive global flooding might also make one ponder the possibility that the story of Atlantis vanishing beneath the waves, as well as the biblical story of Noah, and in fact all of the flood myths which can be found throughout the world, in fact hearken back to this time.
A lot of research and exploration would need to be done, as so far marine archeology has barely scratched the surface.
Still as nascent as this field truly is there are already discoveries that suggest further investigation is meritted, such as the structures off of Yonaguni Japan. While debate still continues as to whether they are man-made or natural.
If it is proven they are man made, then this would have profound implications as the site was last above water around, yes you guessed it, around 10,000 years ago.
There is a long way to go before any of this is even close to becoming proven, espescially considering it would be uprooting long held conventional wisdom. However, as Hancock says, he is not trying to provide absolute answers, but rather possibilities, about what might have happened in the shadows of our distant past.
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Piri Reis Map (to provoke additional thought)
More by this Author
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The idea of an Atlantis, a lost civilization forgotten to history is an exciting and alluring concept, but is an advanced civilization predating our own even plausible?
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