- Education and Science
The secret file of the Earth(2): 30 degree North Latitude C. Pre-historic civilizations
30 degree North Latitude runs through the four ancient civilizations: ancient Babylon, Egypt, India, and China. Before the year of 3000 B.C., the four countries all owned the technique of Bronze Art Casting, which is called "Bronze Age" by historians.
About 5000 years ago when Egypt, Indian and China were still in the late period of New Stone Age, ancient Babylonian first began to create bronze products, and thus started the Bronze Civilization. Ancient Babylonian produced a series of bronze statues, such as the King, the Goddess, and the Priest. The most impressive one is the 176cm-high naked priest with a hat, which was uncovered in the Khafajeruins (near to Baghdad) in 1930-1938, and used to be known as the peak of Bronze Art, so that Bronze Art, the Hammurabi Code, and the Hanging Gardens became the symbols of ancient Babylon.
It is believed that the bronze techniques of ancient Egyptian and Indian were from Babylonian. Egyptian artists had gained power to create bronze arts since the 12th dynasty. The kings and gods or goddesses were the perpetual themes, such as Nice Goddess, Seth God, Pepy I, while ancient Indian were skilled at creating ordinary people, such as dancing girls, farmers, etc. Later time, the skill of Bronze Art Casting was introduced into ancient Greece from Egypt, and the brilliant Greek legends had become the spiritual source of bronze artists. An epoch-making Bronze Kingdom was thus born, and Greek bronze art was believed to reach the peak of the Age.
However, in 1986, a 260.8cm-high Bronze Giant was uncovered in Sanxingdui ruins in Chengdu plain of China on 30 degree north latitude. It was known as "Oriental Giant", and even called "the eighth wonder of the ancient world". There were 111 pieces of bronze arts that were uncovered at the same time, which completely changed the knowledge of historians on Bronze Age. In 1987, the English archeologist and vice-president of University of Oxford, Jessica Rawson, reported in the newspaper of The Independent that Sanxingdui discoveries might be more impressive than world-famous pottery figures of warriors and horses of Mausoleum of the First Emperor of Qin of China, and all those bronze arts were unparalleled. (The pottery figures of warriors and horses of Mausoleum of the First Emperor of Qin is commonly believed as the eighth wonder of the ancient world.)
Sanxingdui was from early ancient Shu culture. The 111 masterpieces include bronze figure, bronze heads, and masks. These topics are obviously different from all those of Babylonian styles. Why did ancient Shu artists create those large faces with five sense organs out of proportion? This has still been a puzzle that confused historians and archeologists until now. There have been two major guesses: to memorize the first king of Shu, Cancong; to use as artificial sacrifices to replace the real people. All those head statues have painted colors and the same one look: numb and serious. Four of them have gold cover, which seems to show different identities. Among all those statues, there is one that is especially worth to mention. It is a beautiful female face staying out of all those bold and unstrained male ones. Who was she? A princess or a witch? Can we say that Sanxingdui of 3000 years ago was not just a kingdom that was ruled by males? It was documented that there was none of worship of idols in primordial China, however, cannot say that those head statues were the symbol of some god(dess)?
Chang Jiang (or Yangzi) River and Yellow (or Huang He) River are the two major rivers within China. Chinese civilization was generally born in the valley of Yellow River. However, the Hemudu Site that was uncovered in 1973 added new knowledge in history textbook. Hemudu Site locates Yuyao City at Chang Jiang Valley, across 40,000 square meters. Along the depth of 4 meters earth, people can see 4 culture layers of New Stone Age: i) 5500-5000 years ago; ii) 6000-5500 years ago; iii) 6500-6000 years ago; iiii) 7000-6500 years ago. Lots of animal and plants relics, construction remaining, production and life tools, primitive arts, and tombs buried deeply.
Hemudu ancient people had developed agriculture, especially skilled at growing paddy. When those paddy grains and spikes were uncovered from deep earth, they still looked fresh, golden yellow, full, and upright. All those paddy grains, spikes, chaff, leaves and straw plaiting arts were accumulated 80cm deep, which proved that paddy is a native crop in China instead of deriving from India or Japan. However, how had primitive people thousands of years ago developed such excellent growing skill? Hemudu ganlan style architecture began from the fourth cultural layer, i.e. 7000 years ago. Those ganlan wooden houses occupied a large area, dense and spectacular. One largest is 23 meters long and 6.4 meters wide with a 1.3 meters wide passageway. This construction style indicates that Hemudu people had already had the same intelligence with modern people.
Hemudu people had two types of primitive arts: independent pure arts and decoration arts that etched on other appliances for both practice and appreciation. Those arts fully indicate that Hemudu ancient people had developed their own aesthetic appreciation and cultural taste. An ivory carving is especially impressive: five concentric circles are at the center with the flame along the outermost circle, and each bird is on each side staring at each other. The carving is called a pair of birds exposed to the sun. Some archeologists think that it speaks of the sun, and some others think that it is a story of hatching, which indicates that primitive people worship the life and the reproduction. In sum, this work of art gives strong religious meaning, implying the rich spiritual life of Hemudu people.
Hemudu people had created production, construction, transportation and art, etc. about 5000-7000 years ago, however, this primitive civilization had finally disappeared. Why? There are two major theories on this subject. (1) Environment hypothesis, i.e. the marine transgression event of 6000 years ago and the severe flood of 5000 years completely destroyed Hemudu culture. (2) Foreign invasion hypothesis, i.e. Hemudu culture was assimilated by another culture, Majiabang culture.
Egyptian pyramid and the Sphinx
It is well-known that Egyptian pyramid is one of the seven wonders of ancient world. It is the tomb of the Pharoah (i.e. the king) and the Queen, and was first founded 4500 years, the 3rd dynasty of ancient Egypt.
The concept of pyramid design derived from the worship of ancient Egyptian for the Sun God. The founder of pyramid design was Imhotep, a powerful official and genius as a current priest, writer, doctor, astronomer and architect. Imhotep first designed the Djoser pyramid (the king of the 3rd dynasty) near the present Memphis. The 6-step-style pyramid that Imhotep designed implied that the soul of the king was melted into the sun when the sunlight laid on the tomb. Imhotep started the construction of Egyptian pyramid, and had worldwide fame in the history of architecture. In present days, he is admired as the god of wisdom.
The design of Egyptian pyramids involved in the precise mathematical calculation and astronomical knowledge. The greatest one belongs to the king of the 4th dynasty, i.e. Khufu King. It covered the area of 52,900 square meters, and holds the volume of 2.6 million cubic meters. The 4 sides directly face up to the 4 directions of east, south, west and north. It took about 2.3 million pieces of stones in neat cut, and each stone weighs 2.5 tons in average. How did ancient Egyptian about 5000 years ago collect, transport and lift such huge stones without modern tools, i.e. how did ancient Egyptian build Pyramids? This is one of the most mysterious puzzle on the Earth so far!
The son of Khufu King, i.e. Khafre King, created his pyramid beside the Khufu Pyramid. Khafre Pyramid is almost as spectacular as his father's. He also ordered the Guardian Sphinx statue to symbolize the greatest power and endless energy. The statue with Khafre face and a lion body is huge, looks majestic, and was actually created on one whole piece of limestone. Most of time it had been buried into the sand, but still suffered from turbulent times. Napoleon's army used to invade into Egypt in 18th century. He ordered his men to shot at the huge statue. Some people believe that the nose was shot off by Napoleon's men, but some others think it as an erroneous assumption.
The Tower of Babel
The tower of Babel, or the Babel, is in Iraq. It was mainly created by Babylonian Emperors of the father and the son, Nebudchadnezzar I&II, finished in the year of 560 B.C. The original idea was to build a tower that could reach the sky. According to modern measurement, the Babel has 8 floors and is 96 meters in the height and in each bottom side.
The Babel is considered as a sacred religious construction, the gift for the greatest god, Merodach, in Mesopotamian plain, and the hotel of gods when they come to the Earth. There is one MerodachTemple on the top, and another one on the bottom. The bottom temple dedicates to sacred religious images, while the top one is a magnificent palace for sacrifice. According to document, the Merodachimage and accessories weigh 23,700 kg, and all made with real pure gold, which has been estimated to worth 24 million USD.
Since the birth of the Babel, it was given mysterious color. In the Old Testament, the God promised humans after the Great Flood in the time Noah that Great Flood would not happen again. However, some people doubted that, and then organized people to build a great tower that could reach the sky in case the Great Flood would happen again. When the God saw that, he punished humans to speak different languages, so that the tower was stopped in the middle. This is obviously a religious theory to explain why people speak different languages.
In 597 B.C., Nebudchadnezzar II, who created the Hanging Gardens (detail in my last series), invaded into Jerusalem. In 586 B.C., he ordered to destroy the saint city and eradicate the Jewish kingdom. Many Jewish people, including the king, officials and ordinary people, were captured to Babylon, which was the famous history of "Babylonian prisoners". Most Jew became slaves to build the grand Babylonian city. The Jew used their ideas to express their indignation, then the "gate for gods", i.e. the Babel, was cursed: the beasts from deserts and islands would live in there, owls would live in there, and no people would live in there forever! Interestingly, this curse seemed to come into truth. In 538 B.C., ancient Persian king, Cyrus the Great, destroyed the Babylonian city. The Babel was destined to bad luck and became a pile of waste gravels. Alexander the Great was inclined to rebuild it when he came to the Babel on the way invading to India in 331 B.C., but it was said that he gave it up because of the too great project. So, for over 2000 years, the Babel had stayed lonely on the Mesopotamian plain as a waste remaining.
Actually, there are no definite documents to explain why the Babel Tower was built. Whether was it for sacrifice, the tomb of emperors, or for astronomical observation? Nobody can answer it.
The sanctuary of the temple in Lebanon
There is a ruin of primitive tribe in Lebanon. The city walls were made with three huge stones. Each of them is over 1000 tons. It was said that a three 5-storey high, 6-meter wide, and 12-meter long houses can be built by using only one of them. Where were on earth the three stones from?
The trace on the island of Malta
A strange trace was found on the island nation of Malta. The trace is 72cm deep, and extends 42 meters into the Meditteranean sea. For hundreds of years, there rose more than 20 theories about this trace, but none of them can be accepted without doubt.
The Stonehenge is actually within north latitude 51 degree in Salisbury of England, but I would like to mention it here. It is a famous pre-historical sanctuary relics, and also called Salisbury Stone Ring, the Sun Temple, etc. The English archeologists announced in 2008 that the Stonehenge was built around the year of 2300 B.C., i.e. 4300 years ago.
The Stonehenge occupied 11 hectares of land, mainly consists of whole bluish-gray sandstones, and each stone weighs about 50 tons. Those stones are arranged into circles. The highest ones are 10 meters, and some of them are crossed above other two. The major part are some complete concentric circles made from tens of stones. The concentric circles are believed to be a symbol of the perfection.
Those higher and highest upright stones in the center and those across above others become the unsolved riddle. How did ancient people 4000 years ago build it?