Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Evidence Points to Global Cataclysm

New geological evidence of a massive cataclysm engulfing the earth about 12,000 years ago has been found in the American Midwest. The discovery of diamonds, gold and silver at sites throughout Ohio and Indiana – though the materials originated in Canada – point to a massive explosion precipitated by a comet or asteroid striking the earth with devastating results.

As anyone who has read my post Why I Started this Blog is aware, I’m greatly intrigued by the possibility that a worldwide cataclysm occurred such a relatively short time ago. Proponents contend that such an event demolished previous civilizations, drove countless plant and animal species to extinction, and drastically changed the topographical nature of the planet. The cataclysm may be the origin of stories such as the biblical Noah’s flood that are found across the ancient writings of several cultures that presumably had no contact with each other.

Explosion Scatters Canadian Diamonds

The possibility of such a cataclysm was once again advanced in 2007 by geophysicist Allen West of Arizona, who contends a comet or asteroid – likely at least a mile in diameter – exploded above a region of Canada, setting fire to most of the northern hemisphere and causing severe climatic cooling that lasted 1,000 years. West believes the diamonds, gold, silver and other minerals were blown from Canada's diamond-bearing fields to areas around much of the northern hemisphere. His research team in 2007 found the minerals in 26 sites in North America and Europe and were able to determine that they originated from the same location in Canada.

Now microscopic bits of diamond, gold and silver have been unearthed in various parts of Ohio and Indiana. Anthropologist Ken Tankersley of the University of Cincinnati recovered the minerals, which were conclusively sourced back to the specific area of Canada by the university’s geologists using X-ray diffractometry.

“We believe this is the strongest evidence yet indicating a comet impact in that time period,” Tankersley said in a press release issued by the university. The diamonds and other minerals originating in Canada are being found at a subsurface depth consistent with West’s timing of the comet, thus ruling out the earlier belief that they could have been carried southward by glaciers.

More Support for Revised History

In my earlier post, I wrote about the book Cataclysm!: Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catastrophe in 9500 B.C, by D.S. Allan and J.B. Delair. They contend that about 11,500 years ago (or 9500 B.C.) our solar system was invaded by pieces of a supernova, or exploding star. The path of a couple of the largest pieces disrupted our solar system, dislodged some planets from their previous orbits, scattered several planetary moons and demolished one entire planet. Earth was knocked off its previous poles, setting off an enormous cataclysm, changing our planet in major ways and nearly extinguishing mankind.

Civilizations – likely including the mysterious Atlantis – were destroyed around the globe. The few human survivors sometimes banded together to create new civilizations, such as the ancient Egyptian and Mayan cultures, but more often were forced into a Stone Age existence.

The premise also is shared by noted author Graham Hancock in his popular books such as Fingerprints of the Gods.

As more evidence mounts to confirm the cataclysm theory, much of our archaeological, historical and scientific knowledge and text will be in serious need of updating, to say the least.

Click here for the University of Cincinnati press release.
Click here for a History News Network account of West’s theory.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ancient Computer Reveals Some Functions

The mechanism is now thought to have been built in Corinth about 140 B.C.

After more than a century, scientists have deciphered at least some functions of the Antikythera Mechanism – sometimes regarded as the world’s oldest analog computer – finding it to be capable of predicting solar eclipses as well as establishing timing of the Olympiad’s four-year cycle.

The device was built by Greeks around 140 B.C. and was recovered by sponge divers in 1901 from the wreckage of a ship that sank north of Crete. Its functions had stymied researchers until now, when they are able to use high-resolution imaging systems and three-dimensional X-ray tomography to decipher the mechanism’s inscriptions. Among the new revelations are the names of the ancient calendar’s 12 months, found on dials on the backside of the mechanism.

The names of the months on the mechanism seem to tie it to the colonies of Corinth on the island of Sicily. If that’s the case, the device may be connected to Archimedes, the famous Greek mathematician and astronomer who lived in Syracuse and died in 212 B.C. References to devices such as the Antikythera Mechanism are found in classical literature, including Cicero’s mention of one made by Archimedes, though only this one has even been found.

Beginning in 776 B.C., the Greeks held their Olympic games on the full moon closest to the summer solstice. This was done on a four-year cycle, called the Olympiad, and required sophisticated astronomical tools to compute. Researchers discovered the mechanism's role when they found the name of one of the ancient Olympic games, "Nemea," on one of its small dials. 

(Photo at left shows a radiograph of the Antikythera device.)

The mechanism still contains many mysteries,” Tony Freeth of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project in Cardiff, Wales, said in today’s New York Times. “We believe that this mechanism cannot have been the first such device since it is so sophisticated and complex. And we don’t understand why this extraordinary technology apparently disappeared for several hundred years, later to emerge in the great astronomical clocks of the 14th century onwards.”

Click here to go to the New York Times article.
Click here for a Reuters article focusing on the Olympiad aspect.
Click here for a fascinating video on how scientists used technology to decipher the device.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

1,600-Year-Old Bible Goes Online

Pages from the Codex Sinaiticus found in Saint Catherine's Monastery.

One of the oldest copies of the Bible is becoming available on the Internet. This past week, the University of Leipzig went live with several parts of the 1,600-year-old Codex Sinaiticus in its original Greek and in several translations.

“A manuscript is going onto the net which is like nothing else online to date,” says Ulrich Schneider, director of the university’s library. “It’s also an enrichment of the virtual world, and a bit of a change from YouTube.”

High-resolution images of the Gospel of Mark, several books of the Old Testament, and centuries-old notes on the Bible are now available on the site. The entire Codex Sinaiticus is expected to be online by next July.

This landmark online event is at

The document dates from around 350 A.D. The vellum manuscript was found in Saint Catherine’s Monestery at Mount Sinai in 1844. Parts of it have been preserved in Europe and Russia, and the online project is sponsored in part by the Russian National Library, British Library, and St. Catherine’s Monastery.

“It’s just fantastic that, thanks to technology, we can now make the oldest cultural artifacts – ones that were once so precious you couldn’t show them to anyone – accessible to everyone, in really high quality,” Schneider says.

A Psalm as Example

I found the site excellent for showing the original Bible prior to its multitude of translations and reorganizations through the centuries. I checked it out shortly after it went live and found the site a bit slow to load, probably due to the load of traffic.

Not all of the sections are translated into English, but to give you a flavor, here’s the direct translation from the original Greek – much different from the more familiar 17th Century King James version of the 23rd Psalm (in the Codex, actually the 22nd Psalm):

22:1. A Psalm. Pertaining to Daueid. The Lord will shepherd me, and I shall never lack anything.
2. In a verdant place, there he made me encamp; by water of rest he reared me;
3. my soul he restored. He led me into paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4. For even if I walk in the midst of death’s shadow, I not will fear evil, because you are with me; your rod and your staff they comforted me.
5. You prepared a table before me over against those that afflict me; you anointed my head with oil, and your cup was supremely as if intoxicating.
6. And your mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life, and my residing in the Lord’s house is for length of days.

Here’s an MSNBC article about the Codex Sinaiticus going online. 
Here's a link about the Codex Sinaiticus and King James Bible.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Machu Picchu's Discovery Day

The scene among the ruins in 1911, shortly after Hiram Bingham's visit.

Ninety-seven years ago today, a group of Peruvian villagers led American historian Hiram Bingham to the ruins of a spectacular, secluded ancient Incan city that had been hidden by the encroaching jungle for nearly 500 years.

Machu Picchu was built around 1450 and abandoned a century later when, many researchers believe, its inhabitants were stricken with smallpox. Theories abound as to the purpose of this high mountain citadel, but most researchers have concluded it was the estate of the Inca emporer Panchacuti.

After it was abandoned, the surrounding jungle engulfed the site and only a few nearby villagers who were farming its terraces were aware of the ruins. When they showed Bingham wthe ruins in 1911, a few families were living in them and several mummies of women were discovered in the ruined structures.

Machu Picchu is about 50 miles from the Peruvian city of Cusco and is 7,710 feet above sea level, and today is a popular tourist destination.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Experts to Probe Mysteries of Teotihuacan

Pyramid of the Sun in ancient Teotihuacan

Mystery surrounds the ancient city of Teotihuacan, and archaeologists are hoping to find some answers when later this month they explore a 295-foot-long tunnel beneath the Pyramid of the Sun – the third-largest pyramid in the world – some 25 miles northeast of Mexico City.

Teotihuacan was at its peak between 150 BC. and 450 AD, with an estimated 200,000 residents, making it then the largest city in the Americas, larger than Rome and likely the largest city in the world during that age. Yet experts are uncertain as to who built it and why it was suddenly abandoned around 700 AD. For years, archaeologists thought the city was of Toltec origin, but have since determined that the Toltec civilization came later, as did the Aztecs who believed Teotihuacan was a divine city. Sometime during the 7th or 8th Century, Teotihuacan was set aflame and abandoned. Again, the reason remains a mystery.

The 8-foot-high tunnel lies 20 feet below the pyramid. Its sealed entrance was discovered in 1971 while workmen were installing a sound-and-light show for the pyramid. The tunnel also leads to caves beneath the pyramid, which is 738 feet wide. The Pyramid of the Sun is part of a huge complex of Teotihuacan ruins, many of which continue to pose many questions. Some experts believe the city contains highly sophisticated astronomical elements resembling those of the Egyptian culture of the time. 

“We want to find out why the Teotihuacan people sealed it and when,” said Alejandro Sarabia, director of archaeology at Teotihuacan and leader of the team of Mexican, American, and Japanese experts who will be exploring the tunnel, beginning at the end of July. “If we can find out what happened, when, and perhaps how, it will give us a better idea about the history of the Pyramid of the Sun and of the city in general.”

For the complete London Telegraph article, click here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sunflowers in Mexico as Early as 2600 BC

Researchers have determined that ancient Mexicans were cultivating sunflowers at least a thousand years earlier than had been believed. The discovery sheds new light on early Mesoamerica as well as that area’s potential connections with Native Americans to the north.

“For a long time, we thought the sunflower was domesticated only in eastern North America, in the middle Mississippi Valley – Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois,” said Prof. David Lentz of the University of Cincinnati, one of the researchers involved in the project. “Now it appears the sunflower was domesticated independently in Mexico.”

“The Mexican sunflower discovery suggests that there may have been some cultural exchange between eastern North America and Mesoamerica at a very early time,” he said. 

The party of researchers from the U.S. and Mexico determined that sunflowers were being raised in Mexico by 2600 B.C., cultivation was widespread, and the plant was well known to the Aztecs. Researchers used accelerator mass spectrometry to analyze sunflower seeds found at a site called San Andres, among other locations.

For complete text of the article in Science Daily, click here.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Why I Started This Blog

Engraving from the Middle Ages depicting the Biblical Great Deluge.

It’s time to come clean. Here is my personal motivation for starting this “Ancient Tides” blog a couple of months ago.

I read a book in late spring entitled Cataclysm!: Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catastrophe in 9500 B.C., authored by D.S. Allan and J.B. Delair. It sent my mind reeling with huge questions about how and what we are taught regarding the history of this planet.

The authors – both reputable men of science, associated with Cambridge and Oxford universities – contend that about 11,500 years ago (or 9500 B.C.) our solar system was invaded by pieces of a supernova, or exploding star. The path of a couple of the largest pieces disrupted our solar system and had especially dramatic effects on the earth. Some planets were dislodged from their previous orbits, some planetary moons were scattered, one entire planet was demolished. And Earth was knocked off its previous poles, setting off an enormous cataclysm that changed our planet in major ways and nearly extinguished mankind.

I’m oversimplifying, of course. The book is packed with statistics, research findings and is heavily footnoted, with multiple appendices.

Evidence of Widespread Destruction

The authors believe that, prior to the cataclysm, Earth was upright on its axis, which meant no changing seasons. Most of the planet was a lush paradise with abundant fruits and vegetables. Mankind lived in sophisticated civilizations and was vegetarian. This, they say, was the basis for the Garden of Eden in the Bible and every other ancient holy book.

The catclysm set off atmospheric and terrestrial catastrophes that submerged much of Earth’s land mass, created instant mountains and valleys where none existed, blasted the atmosphere with a thick blanket of ash from countless volcanoes, and finally unleashed veritable torrents of shifting seawaters and pounding rains lasting for months. This, they say, is the Great Flood described in Exodus and in the many other early sources cited. Earth finally regained regular rotation, but at an angle 23 degrees off of what had previously been upright. This angle is what has created our seasons and all of the far-reaching implications of that fact.

Civilizations – likely including the mysterious Atlantis – were destroyed around the globe. Only rarely do we unearth a trace of how mankind lived prior to the cataclysm. The human survivors sometimes banded together to create new civilizations, such as the Egyptian and Ancient Mayan cultures, but more often were forced into a Stone Age existence.

Update the History Books

The book tells an incredible story, one greatly at odds with everything you and I were taught about the history of Earth and mankind. To answer the obvious question of why aren’t we more aware of this scenario, the authors only say that the scientific and educational establishments are astonishingly slow moving. No one seems to have come up with proof that the authors and their hypothesis are just plain nuts, but nor is this story being publicized as it deserves.

I began “Ancient Tides” to, first, learn more about this period of time and to find out what today’s archaeologists and other scientists, armed with their technologically advanced tools, are finding out. And second, to keep an eye open for new developments that would either support or contradict the Cataclysm! hypothesis. My post earlier today about Doggerland – plus some of my earlier posts on this blog – seem to support it.

It’s time to get the word out.

Researchers Find Submerged Lost World

Map shows the size of the land mass named Doggerland.

For decades, archaeologists and scientists have believed a land bridge connected Britain with the rest of Europe, but now say a sizeable land mass joined the two until about 10,000 years ago.

For now, they’re calling the new land Doggerland, named after the Dogger Bank, a large sandbank in the North Sea. Indications are that Doggerland was an ideal environment for Mesolithic people, complete with fertile plains and majestic rivers. Rising sea levels at the end of the last ice age consumed Doggerland and turned Britain into an island. Scientists want to determine whether the land mass sank gradually - as has been presumed until recently - or if a sudden geological upheaval could have caused sea water to suddenly submerge the large area.

Archaeologists and other researchers were able to determine the likely size and shorelines of Doggerland through use of seismic information Petroleum Geo-Services, a Norwegian oil company, loaned to them, as well as with computer modeling based on geological information.

For over a century, fishing boats have been finding prehistoric artifacts in the North Sea. Much of the material – such as bones of wooly mammoths - date from the Palaeolithic age that ended 10,000 years ago. But other recovered artifacts are from the later Mesolithic period. “Now we’ll be able to position these archaeological finds within the landscape to understand their meaning,” says Hans Peeters of the National Service for Archaeology in the Netherlands.

Here is a complete article on the new Doggerland findings from Nature News.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tablet's Resurrection Narrative Predates Jesus

The Dead Sea as seen from Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and near where the "Gabriel's Revelation" tablet was found a decade ago.

Biblical scholars and archaeologists are studying a three-foot-tall stone tablet found several years ago near the Dead Sea that describes a messiah – decades prior to the presumed birth of Jesus – who was slain and then resurrected three days after his execution.

“This should shake our basic view of Christianity,” Professor Israel Knohl at Hebrew University in Jerusalem told the New York Times. “Resurrection after three days becomes a motif developed before Jesus, which runs contrary to nearly all scholarship. What happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and his followers based on an earlier messiah story.”

The idea that a spiritual leader would rise three days after death is a recurring theme in several religions and cultures. This is a point made repeatedly by historians of religion and mythology, such as Joseph Campbell, Mircea Eliade and others who have been mostly ignored by the Judeo-Christian hierarchy. The New York Times article appeared on today’s front page.

The premise that the Jesus story is an adaptation of this earlier theme is not new. In fact, in 2000 Professor Knohl published a book based on the Dead Sea Scrolls, rabbinic and early apocalyptic literature where he contended that another suffering messiah predated Jesus. His book did not receive much attention because it lacked textual evidence to support his case.

The so-called “Gabriel Revelation” found on the tablet appears to be the evidence Knohl was lacking. He is part of a growing scholarly movement studying the political atmosphere in Judea and the people’s search for a messiah to lead Jewish rebels against the Rome-supported monarchy assuming control of the land after King Herod’s death.

Knohl, based on information gleaned from the “Gabriel's Revelation” tablet, believes the messiah it refers to was a man named Simon who was slain by an army commander, and that the tablet was composed by Simon’s followers. Knohl says the killing of Simon was a necessary step in the Jewish rebel narrative. The indication of resurrection is in lines 19 through 21 of the tablet: “In three days you will know that evil will be defeated by justice.” Later, amid some harder to decipher language, is: “In three days you shall live, I, Gabriel, command you.”

Knohl says the most important aspect of the tablet is its narrative of a savior who died and was resurrected after three days, and that the politically motivated concept was established prior to the time of Jesus. 

“This gives the Last Supper an absolutely different meaning,” he told the Times. “To shed blood is not for the sins of people, but to bring redemption to Israel.”

The stone tablet (shown at left in New York Times photo of the tablet's owner, David Jeselsohn) was found nearly a decade ago and has been kept in the Zurich home of an Israeli-Swiss collector. An Israeli scholar examined it a few years ago, wrote a paper on it, and scholarly interest has been growing ever since. The label “Gabriel Revelation” comes from an article about the tablet by Ada Yardeni and Binyamin Elitzur, recognized experts in Hebrew script.

There has been no scholarly dispute regarding authenticity of the tablet.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Largest Array of Petroglyphs in US

The Bureau of Land Management is calling Nine Mile Canyon near Wellington, Utah, the “greatest concentration of rock art sites” in the United States. Petroglyphs, such as the one shown here, depict bighorn sheep, bison, owls, two-headed snakes and other creatures. This also shows an image called the Balloon Man.

Photo courtesy Associated Press