A previous post explored the Hermetic concept “as above, so below” – that the spatial arrangement of a group of structures or features on the ground “reflect” a pattern in the sky. Here, in considering this same possibility on the planet Mars, we find new evidence of artificiality in the Cydonia region and a possible ancient connection with Earth.
In 1989, Robert Bauval proposed that the pyramids in Giza were arranged to mirror the pattern of stars in Orion’s Belt, and later with Graham Hancock went on to argue that the layout of these and nearby pyramids along the Nile was a terrestrial representation of the constellation Orion and the Milky Way. In his book, The Hidden Records, Wayne Herschel expands on this idea and proposes that a number of sites on Earth and one on Mars were constructed as “star maps” presenting Orion, the Pleiades, and other constellations.
One such star map involves Stonehenge and a group of ancient hills to the southwest that Herschel believes is a ground representation of the Pleiades. The central axis of these hills, known as the Winterbourne Stoke Barrows, is in the same general direction of the summer solstice sunrise. The Pleiades, a small group of stars near the constellation Taurus, is close to the ecliptic – the imaginary circle in the celestial sphere along which the sun and planets move, and so rise and set in roughly the same place as the sun but at a different time, which varies over the course of the year.
The Seven Sisters
According to Ray and Barnaby Norris, legends concerning the Pleiades could be the oldest stories in the world. In Greek mythology, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas, who was forced to hold up the sky for eternity, and so was unable to protect his daughters. To save them, Zeus transformed the seven daughters into stars. According to the story, one of the sisters fell in love with a mortal and went into hiding, which is why we only see six stars.
A similar story is found among Aboriginal groups across Australia. This is particularly interesting as there was almost no cultural contact between European and Aboriginal Australian cultures from about 100,000 BCE, when the ancestors of both cultures are thought to have migrated out of Africa, until 1788 when the British invaded Australia. One possible explanation for this similarity is that the origin of the “Seven Sisters” dates back to this incredibly ancient prehistoric time. Norris’ hypothesis is supported by the fact that although today there are six stars in this constellation, hundreds of thousands of years ago, due to stellar motion, a seventh star was visible.
If legends of the Seven Sisters share a common origin a hundred thousand years ago, what was the source of the original story, and could it be even older?
In 1976 a Viking orbiter spacecraft imaged a mile-long formation on the surface of Mars resembling a humanoid face. Following its rediscovery in the NASA archives by Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar in 1981, an effort was undertaken to evaluate the “Face” along with other unusual features on the Martian surface, including a group of structures to the southwest that Richard Hoagland named “The City.” Hoagland determined the alignment of the Face relative to the City was roughly in the direction of the summer solstice sunrise on Mars. Like Earth, Mars’ axial tilt changes slowly over time, which Hoagland used to date the formations on Mars in the same way Stonehenge has been dated.
Thomas Van Flandern proposed an alternative explanation for the alignment of the City and Face in Cydonia. Early in Mars history, billions of years ago, the Martian poles where approximately 20° from where they are today. It is thought that a mass imbalance resulting from the formation of the Tharsis volcanoes shifted Martian crust relative to its mantle in the same way crustal displacements/pole shifts are thought to have occurred on Earth. He proposed that at this time, the City and Face were aligned in the cardinal directions (N-S-E-W) and were near the Equator. As shown below, the likely range of previous pole locations does not appear sufficient to have rotated the City and Face exactly to the cardinal directions.
Perhaps Wayne Herschel’s most controversial star map is on Mars. Using a recently developed method tested at several terrestrial sites, we find a high degree of correlation between selected stars in the Pleiades and landforms in the City. As shown in the figure below, five ground features were selected based on their size and shape and corresponding stars identified. Remarkably, the patterns match better than most terrestrial sites tested in our previous study with a relative accuracy of 3.5% and a skew of 3.5°.
The matching process computes a transformation from stellar coordinates to ground coordinates. If the City corresponds to the Pleiades, by reversing the transformation, we can determine the location in the celestial sphere corresponding to the Face. Currently, there are no stars at this location, which led Herschel to hypothesize that it could have once pointed to a star that has since moved over the course of many thousands of years. But there is another possibility.
This location (denoted by the crosshairs in the above images) is about 1.4° away from the ecliptic. Mars is currently tilted 25.1° on its axis. Using a model of Mars’ obliquity, the last time the planet was tilted 26.5° was 280,000 years ago.
Where Hoagland estimated the solstice alignment at Cydonia based on image measurements, if we instead use the obliquity when the ecliptic last passed through the celestial location of the Face to compute the angle of the summer solstice sunrise, we come up with a different alignment, 35.5° north of east. Superimposing a rectangular grid at this angle over the landscape appears to be correlated with the alignment of the Face and structures in the City.
Ancient Mesopotamian cylinder seals depict the Pleiades as well as other astronomical objects (see below). Why was this tiny constellation of interest to the Sumerians and other early civilizations in this part of the world?
Cuneiform tablets list the reigns of between eight and ten kings who are thought to have ruled in Sumeria before a flood approximately 20,000 years ago. According to Jushur, the first ruler of the first dynasty of Kish:
“After the flood had swept over, and the kingship had descended from heaven, the kingship was in Kish.”
Working backward from a table of the Sumerian King List, the beginning of the Kish dynasty can be dated to approximately 20,580 BCE. Using chronologies from various sources, the reign of antediluvian kings goes back as far as 432,000 years. Because such ancient timeframes are orders of magnitude longer than currently acceptable historical periods, most scholars believe that the antediluvian kings were either mythical figures, or their reigns somehow must have been shorter.
Long since obliterated by the sands of time, is there any corroborating evidence anywhere of this ancient time?
Almost fifty years after it was first discovered, the possibility that the Face on Mars could be artificial in origin remains a subject of debate. The case for artificiality rests on its uncanny resemblance to the humanoid form and apparent alignment to a group of nearby structures to the southwest. Hoagland first proposed this is a solstice alignment. More specifically, it is an alignment to the ecliptic and path of the Sun and most planets in the Solar System at sunrise on the summer solstice. Exploiting Herschel’s observation that the City could be a representation of the Pleiades, it has been determined the geographic location of the Face maps to a point in the sky that intersected the ecliptic 280,000 years ago. The Face could have been positioned anywhere along the alignment direction. That the ground location is such that its location projected into the celestial sphere intersects the ecliptic at the same time the alignments on the ground in Cydonia occur provides additional independent evidence of a terrestrial, or at least a solar connection.
If the location and alignment of the Face direct our attention to our Solar System by virtue of its movement along the ecliptic, that Earth is the only planet in the solar system home to the humanoid form, leads to the almost inescapable conclusion that these features on Mars reference Earth and humankind.
Still, the evidence remains circumstantial. Scientific data suggests that conditions on Mars did not exist long enough for advanced life to have developed on Mars. If UFOs are not extraterrestrial craft as NASA maintains, then if these structures are artificial, where did they come from?
Before Atlantis proposes that our current technological civilization was preceded by a series of earlier civilizations stretching back more than 100,000 years. Preliminary findings presented here lead to the obvious question of whether an earlier civilization from Earth might have constructed the Face and other structures on Mars long ago.
Perhaps a future expedition may one day rediscover the key to our past on, of all places, Mars.
Feature image at the top of the article courtesy Google Mars/Stellarium.