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Theories on Ancient Astronauts
Spacesuits, flying saucers, delta wing jets and ray guns are depicted on everything from cave walls to ancient Egyptian temples. Are they surviving eyewitness accounts of UFO’s from the ancient past? Just examining them it would seem unlikely anyone could take them for anything else.
In ancient times, demons and elves ruled the darkness. Even in the Bible, angels were seen ascending into the clouds. Could ancient astronauts have visited our planet long ago?
In modern times the term 'ancient astronauts' is generally used to describe aliens responsible for the most ancient civilizations on earth. Where did these speculative notions originate?
According to a number of popular authors, ancient aliens have visited us. A common shared thread includes gods and deities of most religions are actually extraterrestrials…their technologies being evidence of their divine status.
Concepts such as these have been popularized by such authors as Erich Von Däniken, Zecharia Sitchin, Robert K. G. Temple and David Icke. Ancient astronauts have been widely used as a plot in many science fiction films and novels, but the idea ancient astronauts actually existed is not taken seriously by most scholars and academics.
Zecharia Sitchin's series, “The Earth Chronicles,” beginning withThe 12th Planet, gives his interpretation of ancient Sumerian and Middle Eastern text and artifacts from around the world. He believed gods of old Mesopotamia were actually astronauts from the planet “Nibiru.”" Sitchin claims the Sumerians believed Nibiru to be a remote "12th planet" (counting the Sun, Moon, and Pluto as planets) associated with the god Marduk.
According to Sitchin, Nibiru continues to orbit our sun on a 3,600-year elongated orbit and also suggests the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is the shattered remains of the ancient planet “Tiamat,” destroyed in one of Niburu's orbits through the solar system. So far, no evidence to support Sitchin's claims has been found.
The suggestion is much of human knowledge, religion and culture originated with extraterrestrial visitors in ancient times. Other ideas include civilization may have evolved on Earth twice. The landing of their spacecraft is actually the return of descendants of ancient humans who were once separated from their earthbound brethren.
The Sirius Mystery
Robert K. G. Temple's 1976 book, “The Sirius Mystery,” relates a story of the Dogon people of northwestern Mali. They supposedly preserved an account of extraterrestrial visitations from about 5,000 years ago. He refers to evidence, including theoretically advanced astronomical knowledge and comparative belief systems inherited by the tribe from other ancient civilizations. Temple's conclusions have been criticized by scientists, who point out discrepancies within his account.
The most prominent advocate for ancient astronaut beliefs is undoubtedly Von Däniken, author of several popular books on the subject such as His “Chariots of the Gods?” and Unsolved Mysteries of the Past. In these publications Von Däniken claims many ancient cultures were introduced by astronauts from another world. Proponents of ancient astronaut theories often maintain humans are either descendants or creations of beings who landed on Earth thousands of years ago.
In the Old Testament the Book of Ezekiel describes a flying object seen as a fiery whirlwind which upon landing gave the appearance of being made of metal. It is described as a wheel within a wheel containing four occupants, "living creatures," whose likeness was that of man. The passage continues wherever the wheels went the creatures went, and when the living creatures were lifted up the wheels also lifted up. In chapter 4 of “Chariots of the Gods?” von Däniken suggests Ezekiel had seen a spaceship.
Von Däniken also proposes ancient peoples were taught art and science by visitors from outer space. That is indeed an intriguing idea! But where is his proof for these claims? Not surprisingly, some of it was found to be fraudulent.
For example, there were photographs of pottery he declared had been found in an archaeological dig. The pottery depicts flying saucers said to have been dated from Biblical times. However, investigators from Nova found the potter who had made the pots. When confronted, von Däniken defended his actions arguing his deception was necessary because people would only believe if they saw proof.
However, most of von Däniken's evidence consists mostly of archaeological sites and ancient myths. He begins with the ancient astronaut theory and then, like trying to force a square peg into a round hole, attempts to make the data fit his ideas.
For example, in Nazca, Peru, he suggests the absurd idea of giant animal drawings in the desert as being part of an ancient alien airport. The notion these drawings related to the inhabitants' religion or science was never considered.
Moreover, he never gives the native population credit for any competent reasoning of their own. He discredits them with statements such as, "Either this data is to be explained by assuming these primitive idiots did this themselves or we must accept the more plausible notion they got help from extremely advanced peoples who must have come from other planets where such technologies as anti-gravity devices had been invented."
There have been many critics of von Däniken's work. Most of his detractors advocate prehistoric people were not the incompetent simpletons he depicts them as.
Maybe at present, we don’t understand how these primitive people accomplished some of the technological feats we see. We are amazed how ancient Egyptians moved huge cut stones and placed them in position. We marvel at the giant carved heads on Easter Island. Someday we may discover the answers to our questions. However, those answers will be found using proven scientific methods, not hypothesis and speculation.
For example, we now know how stone age people in Papua New Guinea, possibly managed placing huge stones on top of tombs, with little more than ropes, wooden levers, shovels and a little ingenuity.
Of course, it is possible visitors from outer space came to our planet earth a few thousand years ago. But it seems more likely humans were responsible for their own civilizations.