Revising History (Again?) – Evidence of an Even Older Civilization in India

The theory that civilization developed in India as the result of the migration of Aryans from the north had to be revised after the discovery of the Indus Valley Civilization in the 1920s. In 1999-2000, a marine archaeological survey found the remains of an ancient civilization beneath the Gulf of Cambay. The similarity of structures submerged for more than 10,000 years to those in Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, and other Indus Valley cities that are thought to have been built in the 3rdmillennium BCE raised the question of whether or not an even earlier civilization once existed in this part of the world.

Comparison of side-scan sonar image of submerged structures in the Gulf of Cambay with an aerial photo over Mohenjo-daro. Photos courtesy National Institute of Ocean Technology/Government of India/Harappa.com

This article presents new evidence suggesting that certain sites in the Indus Valley and in other parts of India were first established during and possibly even before the last ice age based on their alignments to previous locations of the North Pole.

Click here to read the full paper.

Indus Valley Sites

The Nile and Tigris-Euphrates valleys were once regarded as the birthplace of modern civilization. Excavations of the ancient cities at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in the 1920s offered the first hint that another equally advanced, contemporaneous civilization once existed in the Indus Valley.

Harappa

The first excavations at Harappa were led by Daya Ram Sahni who uncovered as many as eight levels of construction within the ancient city. Dales and Kenoyer (1991) describe the lowest levels:

Beneath these latest Harappan structures are earlier mud-brick platforms that overlay a series of eroded and reconstructed platforms. The mud-brick platforms and retaining wall appear to have been strengthened by a baked brick revetment or facing. Traces of this baked brick revetment have been found to the west of the mud-brick revetment wall. This structure was about 2 meters wide at the base, with a sloping exterior face. Based on calculations of toppled courses of brick, it is estimated that this baked brick facing stood some 3 to 4 meters high from natural soil to the crest of the mound…

Wanzke (1984) notes that structures at Harappa are misaligned with respect to the cardinal directions. Detailed drawings (Dales and Kenoyer 1991) show that extended sections of brick walls and platforms within Mound E are rotated approximately 14° west of north. Kak (2010) discusses Harappan (i.e., Indus Valley Civilization) astronomy but does not comment on the alignment of the ancient city itself. As shown below this direction is toward the previous location of the North Pole near Hudson Bay. Based on its alignment to the Hudson Bay pole, Harappa may be as old as the structures beneath the Gulf of Cambay.

Alignment of baked brick pavements and retaining walls within Mound E at Harappa to the Hudson Bay pole. Site plan courtesy Meadow (1991).

Mohenjo-daro

According to Jansen (1984), the goal of the excavations at Mohenjo-Daro was to reach “virgin soil.” He states

Since virgin soil was never reached through vertical diggings the full horizontal extent of the site beyond the mounds visible at present, which were normally regarded as being the outer limits of the former site, remains unknown.

Archaeologists date Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, and other Indus Valley cities to around 2600 BCE. The results of several deep digs at Mohenjo-daro suggest that it could be much older. Drilling reports at what is known as the “old site” found bricks and pottery down as far as 70 feet below the surface. An early report from 1931 stated: “The excavation revealed the existence superimposed one above the other of structural remains belonging to the three latest cities and remains of other structures underneath them.” An attempt in 1950 to find the bottom-most level of the site was unsuccessful. It can be argued that if archaeologists cannot find the bottom-most layer of a site they cannot state with any certainty its age.

Structures atop the “acropolis” at Mohenjo-daro are aligned in the direction of the winter solstice sunrise/summer solstice sunset relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Click here to compare to the alignment of Gunar Tepe in Central Asia. Apple Maps.

Aerial imagery over Mohenjo-daro clearly shows the site is not aligned to the cardinal directions. Wanzke (1984) made detailed measurements of the site that he was unable to explain. The figure above shows the stupa, bath, grainary and other structures atop the acropolis are aligned in solstice directions relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Similar alignments can be found throughout the ancient city. What is particularly interesting is that these alignments are identical to those found at Merv and Gonur Tepe in Central Asia (Carlotto 2020). We thus hypothesize that based on its alignment, Mohenjo-daro like these other places were first established at least 18,000 years ago when the North Pole was in Hudson Bay.

Kalibangan archaeological site is aligned to the Hudson Bay pole. Apple Maps.

Kalibangan

A significant find at Kalibangan was the discovery of a pre-Harappan (i.e., pre-Indus Valley Civilization) settlement below the remains of the Harappan citadel (Thepar 2015) that is described as follows:

The occupation endured through five structural phases, rising to a height of 1.6 m. above the natural soil, when it was brought to a close by a catastrophe (perhaps seismic), as evidenced by the occurrence of displaced (faulted ?) strata and subsided walls in different parts of the excavated area. Thereafter, the site seems to have been abandoned, though only temporarily, and a thin layer of sand, largely infertile and wind blown, accumulated over the ruins. During this period the peripheral portions of the mound, particularly on the east and west, seem to have been badly eroded and gullied.

Also organized in a grid pattern, Kalibangan, like Harappa, appears to be aligned to the Hudson Bay pole. Thepar estimates the earlier settlement existed perhaps a century or two before the Harappan city. We propose the earlier settlement was built over even older structures that were aligned to the Hudson Bay pole.

Three temples in Dwarka are aligned to the Hudson Bay pole: the Dwarkadhish Temple, the Samudra Narayan Temple at the confluence of the river Gomti and the Arabian Sea, and Nageshvara Jyotirling Temple. Google Earth.

Sacred Sites

Dwarka is in the province of Gujarat, south of the Indus Valley. The search for underwater ruins off the coast of India was inspired in the 1960s at Dwarka by the discovery of pottery shards that were once underwater and later buried in the sand for two thousand years. In the cleared remains of a building next to the Dwarkadhish Temple, Rao (1990) discovered three temples built over one another with the oldest dated to the middle of the second millennium BCE. These discoveries led to the realization that Dwarka had been rebuilt many times over as a result of sea-level rise. Thought to be the Dwarka of the Mahabarata the possibility that an even older city lies submerged off the coast of modern-day Dwarka led to a series of expeditions in the 1980s (Gaur et al 2004) including those further south in the Gulf of Cambay (Badrinaryan 2010).

Benaras

According to a famous quote by Mark Twain, “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” Artifacts at several sites in Benaras, also known as Varanasi or Kashi, have been dated to 1800 BCE. Benaras is located in north-central India and like Mohenjo-daro, which is more than 1500 kilometers to the west, the orientation of one of the sites  is aligned in solstice directions relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Approximately two miles east of this site is the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The temple, which is located just west of the Ganges does not face the river but is aligned in the direction of the Hudson Bay pole.

Five of twelve Jyotirlinga temples face previous locations of the North Pole in Hudson Bay (magenta) and Greenland (green). Google Earth.

The Twelve Jyotirlinga Temples

The Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Benaras and the Nageshvara Jyotirling Temple in Dwarka are two of twelve Jyotirlinga, which are devotional temples and shrines devoted to Shiva. In examining the alignments of all twelve Jyotirlinga, which are located throughout India, three are aligned to the cardinal directions, one to solstices, and five to previous locations of the North Pole in Hudson Bay and Greenland (see above figure). The Nageshvara Jyotirling is aligned in the same direction as the two other temples in Dwarka discussed above. The alignment of these temples to previous locations of the North Pole suggests the possibility that the original sites were established tens of thousands of years before becoming Hindu temples.

Buddhist stupas of Sanchi including the Great Stupa are aligned in the direction of the winter solstice sunrise/summer solstice sunset relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Apple Maps.

Sanchi Stupas

The Great Stupa at Sanchi in central India is believed to be one of the oldest stone structures in India, built under the rule of Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. Rao (1992) proposes that the Buddhist stupas of Sanchi including the Great Stupa were oriented towards moonrise and sunset on the day of Buddha Purnima when they are thought to have been built, around 2nd century BCE. Like Mohenjo-daro and Benaras, its alignment to solstices relative to the Hudson Bay pole suggests another possibility – that the original site was first established tens of thousands of years when the North Pole was in Hudson Bay and later co-opted by Ashoka as a sacred site. A similar argument has been proposed to explain the orientation of the Parthenon and other structures atop the Acropolis in Athens relative to the Greenland pole as an alternative to the existing explanation that the Parthenon was aligned in the direction of sunrise on the date of Athena’s birthday (Carlotto 1999b). If Athena’s birthday was established based on the pre-existing alignment of the Acropolis to the Greenland pole then perhaps the date of Buddha Purnima was similarly established based on pre-existing alignments at Sanchi.

Coastal areas around the Arabian Sea now and 18,000 BCE when sea levels were more than 120 meters below current levels.]

Discussion

Without a “rosetta stone” or some other means of translating the Indus script it is far from certain how the Indus Valley civilization began. One theory is that it developed from earlier agricultural societies such as those at Mehrgarh in the 7thmillennium BCE with cities such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro established much later during the 3rdmillennium BCE.

Another theory is that the Indus Valley was once a part of a larger and older civilization. This theory is supported by Badrinaryan’s discovery of ruins off the coast of Gujarat in western India in the late 1990s. According to Badrinaryan “Most of the structures that were discovered in the Gulf of Cambay had many similarities to the CITADEL, GREAT BATH and grid-iron pattern habitation sites, grannery, etc. of the Harappan civilization.”

Considering Badrinaryan’s discoveries, Robinson (2018) argues that it may be time to revise history once again:

Is this lost city the stuff of legends and myth? Badrinaryan’s discovered city feels similar to the lost city of Troy before Heinrich Schliemann found it in the 1870s.

Based on their location and depth, the ruins below the Gulf of Cambay must be at least 10,000 years old. Thermoluminescence dating of pottery shards recovered at several locations in the gulf revealed even more ancient dates, some as old as 31270±2050 years BP, more than 10,000 years before the last glacial maximum.

Evidence of widespread trading with neighboring regions including Mesopotamia and Central Asia (Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex) suggests the Indus Valley was at one time part of a larger civilization in this part of the world. According to Bakry (2006):

Due to the big amount of Indian or Indian related objects discovered in Central Asian sites (more than Central Asian in India), one can say that the Indus people were the initiators for these relations at their initial stage, or the direction of relations was more from India to Central Asia. Later on, after the formation of BMAC in Central Asia, such relations took direction more from Central Asia to India. This happened especially when Harappan civilization started to decay in the beginning of the second Mill. BC, as if BMAC peoples sensed a vacuum in the Indus Valley region and moved in to fill it.

We propose that the Indus Valley Civilization and the BMAC were the descendants of an even earlier civilization. Badrinaryan (2010) sums it up:

So, from the foregoing it is very evident the prehistoric civilization that matured and developed in the present day Gulf of Cambay was the forerunner and model to the subsequent advanced Harrapan civilization known to history. This wonderful twin prehistoric metropolis of Cambay lasted from about 13000 BP to about 3000 BP making it the most ancient and largest city civilization not only in Asia but in the entire world. It is seen to be at least 7500 years older than the oldest Mesopotamian city civilization. However strong evidence supports the presence of humans from at least 31000 BP who were evolving and developing and formed a great hitherto unknown civilization that were submerged by the flood, giving credence to local and global flood myths.

The alignment of numerous archaeological sites in this part of the world to previous locations of the North Pole supports Badrinaryan’s discoveries in the Gulf of Cambay. In his opinion, the sudden appearance of a technically advanced civilization in this part of the world suggested that there was a “missing link between the ancient hunter gatherer group of people and ‘Harappan’ civilization. In India, there were many Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic stone-age cultures. But none of them have any remote resemblance of the type of civilization found in the Harappan sites.” He goes on to suggest that

It is possible that the missing link between the two is either under cover or has been submerged due to major sea level rise caused by melting of ice-sheets.

Perhaps it is both. Complementing Badrinaryan’s discoveries under the Gulf of Cambay we believe that the alignments of Indus Valley and other sites in India to previous locations of the North Pole is the other half of this missing link that together can lead to a better understanding of the origin of early civilizations in this part of the world.

References

Charles H. Hapgood (1958) Earth’s Shifting Crust: A Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Science, Pantheon Books.

K. Thapar (1979) “Kalibangan: A Harappan Metropolis beyond the Indus Valley,” in Ancient Cities of the Indus (Gregory L. Possehl, ed.), Vikas Publishing House.

Arthur Cotterell (1980) “The Indus Civilization,” in The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations (Arthur Cotterell, ed.), Penguin Books.

Jansen (1984) “Preliminary results on the ‘forma urbis’ research at Mohenjo-Daro,” In Interim Reports on Fieldwork Carried out at Mohenjo-daro 1982-83, Vol. 2, (M. Jansen and G. Urban, eds.).

Wanzke (1984) “Axis systems and orientation at Mohenjo-Daro,” ibid.

R. Rao (1990) “Excavation of the legendary city of Dvaraka in the Arabian Sea,” Marine Archaeology, Vol. 1: 59-98.

George F. Dales and Jonathan Mark Kenoyer (1991) “Summaries of Five Seasons of Research at Harappa (District Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan), 1986-1990” in Harappa Excavations 1986-1990 – A Multidisciplinary Approach to Third Millennium Urbanism (Richard H. Meadow ed.)

Kameswara Rao (1992) “History of Astronomy – Astronomy with Buddhist stupas of Sanchi,” Bull. Astr. Soc. India, Vol. 20:87-98.

S. Gaur, Sundaresh and Sila Tripati (2004) “An ancient harbour at Dwarka: Study based on the recent underwater explorations,” Current Science, Vol. 86, No. 9.

Badrinaryan (2010) “Gulf of Cambay Cradle of Ancient Civilization,” in Lost Knowledge of the Ancients (Glenn Kreisberg, ed.)

Subhash Kak (2010) “Visions of the Cosmos: Archaeoastronomy in Ancient India,” Journal of Cosmology, Vol. 9: 2063-2077.

Bakry (2016) “Prehistoric Contacts between Central Asia and India,” Transactions of Margiana Archaeological Expedition, Vol. 6:422-565, Moscow.

Marsha R. Robinson (2018) Disobedient Histories in Ancient and Modern Times: Regionalism, Governance, War and Peace, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Carlotto, M. J. (2019a). “Archaeological dating using a data fusion approach,” Signal Processing, Sensor/Information Fusion, and Target Recognition XXVIII, Baltimore MD.

Mark Carlotto (2019b) “New Models to Explain the Alignments of Greek Temples,” https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3501950.

Mark Carlotto (2020) “Ruins in the ‘Stans: Evidence of a Lost Civilization in Central Asia,” Available at SSRN: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3677452.\

Acknowledgement

Featured image “Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro (Pakistan)” at the top of the article courtesy Junhi Han/UNESCO

 

Ruins in the ‘Stans: Evidence of a Lost Civilization in Central Asia

In the 1950s, Viktor Sarianidi discovered the ruins of an ancient civilization known as the Bactrian-Margina Archaeological Complex (BMAC) centered in the Murghab Oasis of Turkmenistan. Sarianidi believed the people who settled in this region had migrated east from Anatolia by way of Mesopotamia in search of arable land. Others argue this civilization, which is also known as the Oxus Civilization, was indigenous to the region preceded by earlier civilizations dating back to the seventh millennium BCE. An analysis of archaeological sites in Central Asia reveals that relatively few are aligned to the cardinal points or in astronomical directions such as solstices or lunar standstills. Using Charles Hapgood’s theory of crustal displacement as a working hypothesis, over two-dozen sites are shown to reference previous locations of the North Pole. We propose that these sites were first established tens of thousands of years ago when the climate was less arid than it is today and that the Oxus and preceding civilizations in this region were the descendants of an even earlier civilization that existed up until the time of the last ice age.

Click here to read the full paper.

Central Asia corresponds roughly to the geographic region now occupied by the five former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. Google Earth.

Climate Changes

Bordered by the Caspian Sea to the west and what’s left of the Aral Sea to the north, much of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are deserts.

At the time of the last glacial maximum, around 20,000 years ago, sea levels were approximately 120 meters below current levels and the string of basins stretching from the Black Sea east to the Caspian and Aral seas were cut off from the Mediterranean Sea. At that time, the glaciers in the Hindu Kush were significantly larger. Fed by these glaciers, the volume of water in rivers flowing north into Central Asia was greater than it is today forming a large freshwater lake in the basin now occupied by the Caspian and Aral seas. A similar freshwater lake in the Black Sea basin fed by rivers flowing south from Central Europe also existed at this time.

Landcover in Central Asia at present and at the time of the last glacial maximum 20,000 years ago. Google Earth and Zürich University of Applied Sciences.

When the glacial period ended, the climate in Central Asia became increasingly arid, and these lakes began to shrink in size. Meanwhile, as the North American and other ice sheets melted, global sea levels began to rise. Ryan et al (1997) proposed that around 7500 years ago the level of the Mediterranean Sea rose above the Bosporus causing the Black Sea basin to flood. Chepalyga (2007) argues the flood event created a vast inland sea in what he calls “a cascade of Eurasian basins” that existed 9,000-17,000 years ago. The area of the inland sea was about six times greater than that of the Great Lakes of North America. According to Chepalyga, the timing and magnitude of the flood event “would have been an impressive phenomenon to late Paleolithic humans and could have been reflected in old epic poems and mythology. In particular, a similar basin was described in the ‘Avesta’ (the Zoroastrian Holy Scriptures) under the name of Vorukashah Sea.”

After the flood event as the climate in Central Asia became progressively more arid, the water level of the Caspian and Aral seas decreased. Today, with the Amu Darya (Oxus) River no longer reaching the Aral Sea, it has all but disappeared.

Archaeological Sites

Sarianidi’s discoveries followed the explorations of the American geologist Raphael Pompelly a half-century earlier who published Explorations in Turkestan – a compendium of reports describing the geology and archaeology of the region (Pompelly 1905). Pompelly’s report describes several sites he visited including Merv, an ancient city mentioned in the Avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, and Samarkand, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia.

Locations of geoglyphs (squares) from previous study and archaeological sites (circles) examined in this article are distributed around the Eurasian basin. Google Earth.

Gonur Tepe

Sarianidi spent more than four decades excavating the ruins at Gonur Tepe at the edge of the Karakum Desert. According to Lamberg-Karlovsky (2013), Sarianidi found different building levels with as many as four temples built on top of each other and states “even after more than thirty years of research and excavation, the chronology and stratigraphy of the BMAC remains deeply problematic.”

Gonur Tepe alignments to solstices relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Apple Maps.

As seen from above, the palace complex at the center of the site is closely aligned to the cardinal directions. Zooming out to see more of the site reveals an eastern skew in the orientation of structures to the south. These structures are not aligned along solar or lunar directions or toward any of the Hapgood poles but do appear to indirectly reference the Hudson Bay pole suggesting the first structures at Gonur were built before 12,000-18,000 years ago. Specifically, the southern wall is aligned in the winter solstice sunrise/summer solstice sunset direction relative to the former pole. Interestingly, the complementary summer solstice sunrise/winter solstice sunset direction relative to the Hudson Bay pole lines up along the northeast-southwest diagonal of the site.

Gyaur Kala in ancient Merv is aligned to the solstices relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Apple Maps.

Ancient Merv

The ancient city of Merv is approximately 38 miles south of Gonur Tepe. There are three walled structures at Merv: Gyaur Kala (at one time the citadel for the larger Hellenistic city of Antiochia Marginana), Sultan Kala, and Abdullah Khan Kala. Gyaur Kala is believed to be the oldest part of the site, and Abdullah Khan Kala the most recent. Like Gonur, Gyaur Kala, and Sultan Kala appear to reference the Hudson Bay pole. The north and south walls of Gyaur Kala are aligned to the winter solstice sunrise/summer solstice sunset relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Like Gonur, the summer solstice sunrise/winter solstice sunset direction relative to the Hudson Bay pole is along the northeast-southwest diagonal of the site. Structures within the Shahriyar Ark section of Sultan Kala are similarly aligned.

Structures within the Shahriyar Ark section of Sultan Kala are aligned to the solstices relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Apple Maps.

Did this tendency to align sites to solstices continue after the Hudson Bay pole shift? Abdullah Khan Kala, which was founded in the 15thcentury, is aligned in current solstice directions. Twelve of the sites examined are aligned in solstice directions relative to current or previous locations of the North Pole.

Abdullah Khan Kala is aligned in the current summer solstice sunrise/winter solstice sunset direction. Apple Maps.

But could these directions have some other explanation? In Zoroastrianism, six seasonal festivals are celebrated during the religious year. Two are associated with equinoxes, two with solstices, and two with the mid-spring and fall. The alignments of the south walls of Gonur Tepe and Gyaur Kala are 4-5° south of east. The sunrise in this direction occurs in late winter just before the equinox and in early fall just after the equinox and so do not appear to correspond to Zorastrian festival dates.

Samarkand

Gonur Tepe and Merv are located within the Murghab Oasis in southeastern Turkmenistan. Samarkand is about 300 miles northeast of Merv in southeastern Uzbekistan on the Zeravshan River. Thought to be one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, the oldest part of Samarkand is a hill known as Afrosiah. Its alignment is potentially even more interesting than Gonur and Merv. Excavated rectilinear ruins near the center of the hill are rotated too far from the cardinal directions to align to solstices or mid-season sunrise/sunsets. The ruins appear to be aligned both to the Norwegian Sea pole and in the direction of Merv. If the alignment were toward Merv, Samarkand, like Merv, could be more than 12,000-18,000 years old. Alternatively, if Samarkand was first established when the North Pole was in the Norwegian Sea, the site could be 60,000-80,000 years old.

Alignments of Samarkand to the Norwegian Sea pole (white dotted lines) and in the direction of Merv (orange line). Apple Maps

Koi Krylgan Kala

Koi Krylgan Kala (shown at the top of the article) is an ancient temple complex in the Amu Darya (Oxus) Oasis in Uzbekistan. Archaeological excavations in the 1950s unearthed numerous artifacts including terracotta figures of gods and goddesses, most notably Anahita – the divinity of the waters. The six Zorastrian festivals are associated with the six “primordial creations” of Ahura Mazda: sky, waters, earth, plant life, animal life, humankind. The festival day honoring the water is May 25. The site is very closely aligned in the sunrise direction on that day. It is also possible, that Koi Krylgan Kala may even be older than Samarkand or Merv by virtue of its alignment to an even earlier position of the North Pole in Greenland more than 80,000 years ago.

Alignment of Koi Krylgan Kala to mid-season sunrise/sunset directions. Apple Maps
Alignment of Koi Krylgan Kala to the Greenland pole. Apple Maps.

The Signature of a Lost Civilization?

Let us assume a three-part working hypothesis: 1) Hapgood’s theory of crustal displacement, 2) human civilizations tend to align places of importance to the geographic pole/cardinal directions or in astronomical directions relative to the geographic pole at the time of construction, and 3) the probability that a site survives depends on its age, i.e., there should be fewer sites aligned to previous poles and more sites aligned to the current pole. The dramatic decrease in the number of sites in Mesoamerica and Central Asia aligned to the current pole could be interpreted as a loss of resources and/or megalithic construction technology after the Hudson Bay pole shift. Based on the number of sites, both Mesoamerica and Central Asia civilizations appear to peak during the time of the Hudson Bay pole and then decline.

Regional alignment statistics relative to the current (AR) and previous HB, NS, GR, and BS pole locations.

An analysis of site alignments in Egypt (Carlotto 2020a) suggests that the lack of sites aligned to previous poles in Lower Egypt close to the Mediterranean could have been the result of a flood or some other disaster 12,000-18,000 years ago caused by the last crustal displacement event that destroyed those sites. In contrast, there are many sites in Upper Egypt aligned to previous poles. Far from large open bodies of water and geological faults, it is possible that civilization in Upper Egypt survived the disaster. Civilizations partially destroyed in other parts of the world could have recovered, perhaps with outside help. Given its proximity to Egypt, it is possible that Greece and other parts of Europe were rebuilt after the last pole shift.

The Epic of Gilgamesh describes a catastrophic flood that affected but did not destroy Mesopotamian civilization in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. It is unlikely that a widespread Black Sea/Eurasian basin flood event destroyed a preexisting civilization in Central Asia. It is more likely that subsequent climate changes made it increasingly more difficult to survive in a place that was gradually becoming desert. Although Central Asia was probably one of the major centers of civilization in the early days of Oxus Civilization it later declined as the climate became more arid and water resources increasingly scarce.

References

Raphael Pumpelly (1905) Explorations In Turkestan, Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Charles H. Hapgood (1958) Earth’s Shifting Crust: A Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Science, Pantheon Books.

William B.F. Ryan, Water C. Pitman III, Candace O. Major, Kazimieras Shimkus, Vladimir Moscalenko, Glenn A. Jones, Petko Dimitrov, Naci Gorür, Mehmet Sakinç, and Hüseyin Yüce Seyir (1997) “An Abrupt Drowning of the Black Sea Shelf At 7.5 Kyr BP,” Marine Geology 138: 119–126.

L. Chepalyga (2007) “The late glacial great flood in the Ponto-Caspian basin”. In Yanko-Hombach, V.; Gilbert, A. S.; Panin, N.; Dolukhanov, P. M. (eds.). The Black Sea Flood Question: Changes in Coastline, Climate, and Human Settlement, Springer: 118−148.

C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky (2013) “The Oxus Civilization,” CuPAUAM39, 2013: 21-63 ISSN 0211-1608 22.

Motuzaite Matuzeviciute, A.V. Logvin, I. Shevnina, A.M. Seitov, J. Feng, and L. Zhou (2015) “OSL dates for the ancient geometric earthworks of Kazakhstan,” Archaeological Research in Asia, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ara.2015.12.001.

Mark Carlotto (2020a) “Toward a New Understanding of the Alignment of Ancient Egyptian Sites,” Available at SSRN: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3526820.

Mark Carlotto (2020b) “A New Model to Explain the Alignment of Certain Ancient Sites,” Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 34, No. 2. https://doi.org/10.31275/20201619

Mark J. Carlotto (2020c) “Analyzing the Geometry of the Torgai Steppe Geoglyphs,” http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.23925.19681

Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1976) Islamic Science: An Illustrated Study, World of Islam Festival Publishing Company Ltd.: 92-93.

Analyzing the Geometry of the Torgai Steppe Geoglyphs

In 2007, Dimitriy Dey discovered a large number of “geometric earthworks” in the steppes of northern Kazakhstan including linear arrangements of earthen mounds, cross figures, squares, and other shapes. These features are found at points of high relief, such as on plateaus and river divides. Like the Blythe Intaglios in California along the Colorado River and other geoglyphs discussed in previous articles, those in Kazakhstan can only be seen from above.

Alignments of Earthwork Crosses to Solstices

Six of the Torgai geoglyphs are cross-shaped: Akshiganak, Kara-Torgai, Zharsai, Ashutasty, South Torgai, and Makhsat. The Ashutasty and South Torgai crosses have bent and curved arms that make it difficult to determine their orientation. The Makhsat  cross is also irregular and bisected by a paved road. It is not immediately evident that the other three crosses rotated 9° to 13° from north are aligned in any obvious direction, astronomical or otherwise.

In an attempt to understand their orientation an interesting alignment has been discovered. Instead of using the arms to define the direction of a cross, consider the series of lines that pass through successive pairs of mounds equally spaced from the center.

For a cross that is rotated counterclockwise, lines between mounds along the northern and eastern arms lie within the range of sunrise and sunset directions in this part of the world.

The Akshiganak Cross is rotated approximately 13° counterclockwise relative to the cardinal directions. If a cross were aligned to the cardinal directions lines passing through successive pairs of mounds emanating from the center would run from 135° to -45°. Subtracting the 13° counterclockwise rotation of the Akshiganak Cross produces a series of equally spaced lines running from 122° to -58° or from 32° south of east to 32° north of west. At this latitude, these lines lie in the direction of the winter solstice sunrise and summer solstice sunset circa 7200 BCE.

Akshiganak Cross and alignment lines. Summer solstice (red) and winter solstice (blue). Apple Maps.

The Kara-Torgai and Zharsai crosses are rotated clockwise relative to true north. The Zharsai Cross is rotated 11° east of north. Lines passing through pairs of mounds along the northern and western arms run from 56° to -124° or 34° north of east to 34° south of west and lie in the direction of the summer solstice sunrise and winter solstice sunset circa 3880 BCE.  The Kara-Torgai Cross is rotated by a lesser amount, 9.2° east of north, and so it’s dating is more recent around 900 BCE.

Using changes in the earth’s obliquity to date the crosses, we hypothesis that the Akshiganak and Zharsai crosses are more ancient than the Kara-Torgai Cross. The Akshiganak and Zharsai crosses also appear to be better executed than the Kara-Torgai Cross, which contains unmatched mounds just above and below the central mound. Even more irregular in shape, neither the Ashutasty nor the South Torgai crosses would have been able to function as solstice markers. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of the Ashutasty Cross is early Iron Age around 800 BCE (Matuzeviciute et al 2015). If their intended purpose were to function as solstice markers one could conclude that the astronomical knowledge used to construct the Akshiganak, Kara-Torgai, and Zharsai crosses was lost by the first century BCE.

Kyzylkan Line and the nearby town of Tasty aligned to the ancient city of Merv. Google Earth.

Alignments to Other Places

That the oldest astronomically dated cross figure appears to be the best executed suggests the possibility that some of these figures could have been built by an earlier pre-Iron Age civilization. In the 1970s, Viktor Sarianidi discovered the ruins of an ancient civilization that he termed the Bactrian-Margina Civilization also known as the Oxus Civilization centered in the Murghab Oasis, Turkmenistan and dated to the Bronze Age, 2200-1700 BCE (Lamberg-Karlovsky 2013).

In a study of the alignment of ancient sites in Greece, it was determined that either the ancient Greeks or their ancestors aligned certain temples to face older oracle sites as far as 700 miles away (Carlotto 2019). Here we have found that the Kyzylkan Line and the nearby town of Tasty, the Arshaly Line, and possibly the Aksai Line appear to point to the direction of the ancient city of Merv over 900 miles to the south-southwest.

Alignments of geoglyphs to the ancient city of Merv to the south. Google Earth.

Earthwork Alignments to Previous Poles

The Ushtogaiskii Square, which is perhaps the most unique and sophisticated of the earthen structures appears to be deliberately facing a particular direction, but unlike the crosses analyzed in the previous section, it is rotated too much to be aligned to the sun or moon.

Thousands of years before Abu Rayhan al-Biruni’s earliest geodesy algorithms for calculating Islamic qibla (Nasr 1976), there is no evidence that a Bronze Age civilization in this or any other part of the world was capable of aligning sites hundred of miles apart to one another. If the alignment of these three geoglyphs to Merv is not a coincidence, then such knowledge must have been inherited from an even earlier prehistoric civilization.

Ushtogaiskii Square is cardinally-aligned relative to the direction of the Hudson Bay pole. Apple Maps.

We have found that four of the Torgai geoglyphs appear to be aligned to three former pole locations. According to Hapgood’s theory, the North Pole was located in Hudson Bay 12,000 to 18,000 years ago (Hapgood 1958). Ushtogaiskii Square and a rectangular structure approximately 62 miles to the southeast are aligned to the Hudson Bay pole. By virtue of its alignment to the Hudson Bay pole, we propose that Ushtogaiskii Square was built tens of thousands of years ago by an unknown prehistoric civilization. The Kandy and Kara-Torgai lines could be even older. The Kandy Line is aligned perpendicular to the Norwegian Sea pole, which is thought to have been the location of the North Pole before Hudson Bay approximately 60,000 years ago. The Kara-Torgai Line is aligned in the direction of an even earlier pole in Greenland estimated to have existed 80,000 years ago.

Summary analysis of the Torgai geoglyphs.

Summary

As shown in the above table only one geoglyph is aligned in the cardinal directions. Three could have functioned as solstice markers, two or possibly three appear to point to the ancient city of Merv, one to another geoglyph, and four to previous locations of the North Pole. Together, these explanations account for the alignment of most of the geoglyphs examined except for the curved and irregularly shaped including the ring geoglyphs and the “Torgai Triskelion.” The presence of more and less precise geometries aligned in different ways suggests that the geoglyphs were not the product of a single period or civilization but were created over an extended time with earlier figures more precisely aligned and better executed than the later ones.

References

Mark Carlotto (2019) “New Models to Explain the Alignments of Greek Temples,” SSRN http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3501950.

Charles Hapgood (1958) The Earth’s Shifting Crust: A Key To Some Basic Problems Of Earth Science, CreateSpace.

C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky (2013) “The Oxus Civilization,” CuPAUAM39, 2013: 21-63 ISSN 0211-1608 22.

Motuzaite Matuzeviciute, A.V. Logvin, I. Shevnina, A.M. Seitov, J. Feng, and L. Zhou (2015) “OSL dates for the ancient geometric earthworks of Kazakhstan,” Archaeological Research in Asia, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ara.2015.12.001.

Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1976) Islamic Science: An Illustrated Study, World of Islam Festival Publishing Company Ltd.: 92-93.

Acknowledgement

Featured image at the top of the article is courtesy CNES/Airbus/Google Earth.

The Cities of the Antediluvian Kings

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. These kings are associated with a number of ancient Sumerian cities. Analyzing the visible remains of these cities and other ancient sites in Mesopotamia reveals approximately fifty sites and/or structures within sites are aligned in directions that reference previous locations of the North Pole. Interpreting the alignment of the sites in the context of Hapgood’s theory of earth crustal displacement suggests a far more ancient dating of their origin from thousands of years old to between 20,000 and 130,000 years old depending on alignment. All five of the antediluvian cities contain structures aligned to previous (i.e., pre-flood) poles. The cities associated with the earliest rulers are aligned to the older Greenland pole, while cities associated with later rulers are aligned to the more recent Hudson Bay pole.

The Antediluvian Kings

Finklestein (1963) lists up to ten antediluvian kings from four cuneiform tablets UCBC 9-1819, WB 444, WB 62, Ni. 2195, and Berossus’ Babyloniaca. 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 the chronology from WB 444, a list of eight kings goes back over 240,000 years before the flood. Berosus’ timeline goes back even farther to 432,000 years. Because such ancient timeframes are orders of magnitude longer than currently acceptable historical periods that start with Gobekli Tepe, which is considered by mainstream archaeologists to be the oldest archaeological site discovered to date, most scholars believe that the antediluvian kings were either mythical figures or their reigns somehow must have been shorter.

Pole Shifts, Floods and Other Disasters

The beginning of the Kish dynasty is around the time that the North Pole is thought to have shifted from its previous location near Hudson Bay in Canada to its current location in the Arctic. Rapid displacement of Earth’s crust over the mantle would likely have resulted in worldwide floods, earthquakes, and other disasters at that time. That a catastrophe affected this part of the world  is supported by the Epic of Gilgamesh (Kovacs 1989):

Enlil assigned (Humbaba) as a terror to human beings,
Humbaba’s roar is a Flood, his mouth is Fire, and his breath is Death!
The ground split open with the heels of their feet,
as they whirled around in circles Mt. Hermon and Lebanon split.

The white clouds darkened,
death rained down on them like fog.
Shamash raised up against Humbaba mighty tempests —
Southwind, Northwind, Eastwind, Westwind, Whistling Wind, Piercing Wind,
Blizzard, Bad Wind, Wind of Simurru,
Demon Wind, Ice Wind, Storm, Sandstorm —
thirteen winds rose up against him and covered Humbaba’s face.

Six days and seven nights
came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land.

According to Bůčková (2004) deluge is one of the most widespread mythical motifs throughout the world. She explains how in the Maori mythology of the aboriginal people of New Zealand, their hero Tawhaki took his warriors and built a protected village upon the top of a mountain. It was here that Tawhaki called to the gods for revenge and the flood they let down was so disastrous that the whole earth was covered by water and all human beings perished.

Vigato (2015) proposed that the pyramid of the feathered serpents at Xochicalco in Mexico is a monument erected to commemorate the mythical ancestry of the lords of Xochicalco, descendants from a company of gods that were the sole survivors of a cataclysm that destroyed and sunk their primeval homeland.

In Plato’s dialog Timeus, the Egyptian priest tells Solon that “there have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes.”

Alignments of the Cities of the Antediluvian Kings

Seven ancient cities are associated with the antediluvian kings (Finklestein 1963): Babylon, Bad-Tibira, Eridu, Larak, Larsa, Sippar, and Shuruppak. Although there is a certain degree of uncertainty, Eridu and Babylon are associated with the earliest kings, Alulim and Alalngar, and Sippar and Shuruppak are associated with the latest, En-men-dur-ana and Ubara-Tutu. En-men-lu-ana, En-men-gal-ana, and Dumuzid, the Shepherd are associated with Bad-Tibira, and En-sipad-zid-ana is associated with Larak. Unfortunately, the precise location of the ancient city of Larak is unknown but is probably somewhere in Isin. Bad-Tibira, which is thought to be in modern Medain has yet to be found (Crawford 1960).

Cities associated with the antediluvian kings of Sumeria.

Shuruppak – Although there are no above surface structures at Shuruppak, known today as Tell Fara, excavations by Schmidt (1931) revealed evidence of a flood between the two lowest strata at the site.

The drawing on the left is the ground plan of a Babylonian house excavated by Koldewey (1914). Dated to around the fifth millennium BCE it shows little change in the internal structure of a Babylonian house over a period of thousands of years. Koldewey states: 

Nothing shows more conclusively than these ground-plans the immense age of Babylonian civilisation; for even in this remote period, which is in part prehistoric, they give clear indications of a yet earlier development from a presumably simpler and more primitive building.

If we rotate the ground plan 22.5° counter-clockwise direction so that the arrow points up, the house would have been aligned in the direction of the North Pole when it was in Hudson Bay between 20,000 and 65,000 years ago.

Sippar – According to Berossus (Burstein 1978), records of the civilization that existed in Mesopotamia before the flood were buried at Sippar:

Cronus appeared to Xisouthrosso in a dream and revealed that on the fifteenth day of the month mankind would be destroyed by a flood. Therefore, he ordered Xisouthros to bury the beginnings and the middles and the ends of all writings in Sippar, the City of the Sun.

After the flood “when these people came to Babylon, they dug up the writings at {the city) of the Sipparians and founded many cities and rebuilt shrines and founded anew Babylon.”

Thousands of clay tablets were discovered in Sippar in the late 18th century.  What remains of this the northernmost of the ancient cities on the east side of the Euphrates River is not aligned in any known astronomical direction (i.e., relative to the current geographic pole). As shown in the figure to the right, Ebabbar, the temple of Shamash (dedicated to the Mesopotamian sun god) and the adjacent ziggurat appear to be aligned in the direction of the summer solstice sunrise/winter solstice sunset relative to the Hudson Bay pole.

Larsa – The temple of the sun god Shamash and the ruins of a ziggurat to the north at Larsa (Banks 1905) are aligned to the Hudson Bay pole. Thus both Sippar and Larsa contain temples dedicated to Shamash that are aligned to the Hudson Bay pole.

Eridu –  By association with the earliest kings, Eridu along with Babylon are the two most ancient of the antediluvian cities. A site known as the “palace” at Eridu (below left)  is aligned in the direction of Greenland, which according to our timeline is thought to have been the location of the North Pole 85,000 – 130,000 years ago. What remains of the ziggurat to the south of the palace (below right) appears to be oriented in the general direction of the summer solstice sunrise/winter solstice sunset relative to a later pole in Hudson Bay pole.

Babylon – Robert Koldewey’s 1914 book The Excavations at Babylon describes more than a decade of work in uncovering, documenting, and analyzing the ruins of this historic city.

At the north is Babil (B), the remains of one of Nebuchadnezzar’s palaces, which is inside the outer wall of the city (AS). South of Babil was Nebuchadnezzar’s castle (Kasr or Qasr). The principal entrance to the Kasr (K) is through the 12-meter tall Ishtar Gate. Although the internal layout of the Kasr is cardinally aligned the surrounding walls are not. According to Koldewey, the foundations are so deep that, owing to the high water level at the time, they were unable to reach the footings. The wall north of the Ishtar Gate appears to be very closely aligned with the Greenland pole while the wall south of it appears to be very closely aligned with the Norwegian Sea pole. The orientation of the Ishtar Gate itself lies in between these two directions. While most of the city was constructed of mudbrick, Koldewey found a section of the western wall consisting of four courses of immense limestone blocks bound together with dove-tailed wooden clamps. Many of the structures to the south of Kasr on the mound known as Amran (A) excavated at the time are no longer visible in Google Earth imagery.

Registering a more detailed ground plan of this part of the city reveals that besides the Ziggurat of Etemenanki (ET) also known as the Tower of Babel, whose foundation still exists, the Esagila or Temple of Marduk (ES), to the south appear to be aligned in the direction of the Greenland pole. Structures further south may be also aligned in the same general direction. Like Eridu, based on their alignment to the Greenland pole we hypothesize these two cities were originally established 85,000 to 130,000 years ago.

Summary

All five of the antediluvian cities contain structures aligned to previous (i.e., pre-flood) poles. The cities associated with the earliest rulers are aligned to the older Greenland pole, while cities associated with later rulers are aligned to the more recent Hudson Bay pole. A new paper analyzes 350 ancient sites in Mesopotamia and shows the oldest sites generally tend to cluster in the vicinity of the cities that are associated with the antediluvian kings. Click here to learn more.

Vintage print entitled “Ruines de la Tour de Babel” by Mallet (1683).

Credit: The featured image for this article is a depiction of Babylon by Austen Henry Layard.

References

Banks, Edgar James  (1905) “Senkereh, the Ruins of Ancient Larsa.” The Biblical World, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 389-392, The University of Chicago Press.

Burstein, Stanley Mayer (1978) “The Babyloniaca of Berossus,” Sources and Monographs Sources from the Ancient Near East, Volume 1, Fascicle 5, Undena Publications, Malibu CA.

Bůčková, Martina (2004) “Deluge in Polynesian Mythology,” Asian and African Studies, Vol. 13, No. 2, 191-197.

Carlotto, M. J. (2019). “Archaeological dating using a data fusion approach,” Signal Processing, Sensor/Information Fusion, and Target Recognition XXVIII, Baltimore MD.

Carlotto, Mark (2020a) “Toward a New Understanding of the Alignment of Ancient Egyptian Sites,” (January 28, 2020). http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3526820.

Carlotto, Mark (2020b) “An Analysis of the Alignment of Archaeological Sites,” Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 34, No. 1.

https://journalofscientificexploration.org/index.php/jse/article/view/1617

Carlotto, Mark (2020c) “A New Model to Explain the Alignment of Certain Ancient Sites,” Journal of Scientific Exploration, Summer (in press).

Crawford, Vaughn E (1960) “The Location of Bad-Tibira,” Iraq, Vol. 22, British Institute for the Study of Iraq.

Finkelstein, J.J. (1963) “The Antediluvian Kings: A University of California Tablet”, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2.

Hapgood, Charles Hutchins (1958). Earth’s Shifting Crust: A Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Science, (Foreword by Albert Einstein), Pantheon Books.

Koldewey, Robert (1914) The Excavations at Babylon, Macmillan and Co., Limited St. Martin’s Street, London.

Kovacs, Maureen Gallery (1989) The Epic of Gilgamesh, Stanford University Press.

Schmitd, Erich (1931) “Excavations at Fara, 1931,” The Museum Journal, Vol. XXII, No. 3-4.

Vigato, Marco (2015) “The pyramid of Xochicalco: A monument to the end of times,” http://unchartedruins.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-pyramid-of-xochicalco-monument-to.html

Childhood’s End? An Analysis of a New Video of the Moon

In this article, we digress from our investigation of ancient sites on Earth to examine a new video posted in late March that shows what appear to be three very large UFOs flying around the moon.

The video was taken by a French Canadian astronomer with a telescope viewing a crescent moon in daylight through thin clouds. Click here to view the original video. A magnified version of the video is shown below. Three objects rise up over the limb of the moon, fly across the lunar surface, and disappear into the moon’s shadow.

The following is a motion stabilized and sharpened version of the video that I created to better visualize the event.

What is immediately evident is that the UFOs in the video are large enough and close enough to the moon to be able to cast noticeable shadows. On seeing this I was immediately inspired to analyze the video in greater detail to attempt to answer four key questions:

• How close are these objects to the moon?
• How large are they?
• How fast are they moving?
• What are they?

Measuring Distances

Using the arc or limb of the moon as a starting point, since the size of the moon is known we can estimate the physical length of the portion of the limb that is seen through the telescope. From this, it is possible to compute a scale factor that gives the physical distance between two points at the distance of the moon from the distance between two points in the image. According to Francis Ridge, who leads the Lunascan Project, the large crater in the image is Endymion. Using a computed scale factor of 107 miles/inch (see figure below), the crater’s length measured north-south in the image is 0.55 inches and so its physical diameter is about 59 miles, which is close to the measured diameter of 62 miles using Google Moon.

How close are these objects to the moon?

Object measurements were made in magnified versions of the video. Using Endymion as a reference, the scale factor in the magnified video frames is 34 miles/inch. The images below give altitudes of the three objects (U1-U3) estimated from the highest points in their paths as they rise up from behind the moon.

How large are they?

The fact that these objects are so clearly resolvable in the video immediately suggested that they are quite large. As it turns out they are enormous. A measurement of U1 as it flies over Endymion is between 5 and 15 miles in length and roughly 1 to 3 miles in width. The other two objects appear to be about the same size.

Distances along the lunar surface in the range direction are foreshortened. Near Endymion, the effective scale factor is 100 miles per inch.

As shown below, as U1 moves across the moon we see the bright sunlit side when the background is dark and the dark shadowed side when the background is bright. Putting the two together suggests that U1 and the other objects have an elliptical or ellipsoidal shape.

U1 revealing its shape is it moves over dark and light areas on the moon.

How fast are they moving?

If we can measure physical distances then we can estimate speed. By measuring its displacement between video frames, U1 appears to be moving about 31 miles/sec. Objects in a circular orbit near the moon move at a speed of about 1 mile per second. Thus U1 is moving more than 30x faster than it would were it in lunar orbit.

In an analysis of video imagery of UFOs taken by the Space Shuttle in 1991, it was determined that certain objects, which appeared to be traveling around the Earth, were moving at speeds in excess of 20 miles per second. Although such speeds are not in themselves that remarkable since meteorites can move up to 45 miles per second that they were moving around the Earth in curved trajectories suggested that they were not meteorites or space debris. Similar behaviors are evident in this video.

Object U1 travels across Endymion, a distance of about 62 miles, in 2 seconds at a speed of 31 miles/sec.

What are they?

A recently posted CGI video recreation that attempts to prove the original video is a fake actually proves the opposite. In the side by side comparison shown below the CGI version predicts the general appearance of the event quite well and so validates the underlying sun-moon-UFO geometry. However, it fails to accurately model the appearance of the UFOs themselves. In particular, a thin border around the objects indicates that they were inserted or composited into the frame. There is no such border around the objects in the original video.

Atmospheric turbulence, which causes long-range images to dance or shimmer in a random manner, provides another subtle clue attesting to the authenticity of the original video. As shown below as it moves across Endymion U1 “dances” along with its local background. In the CGI version, this motion appears to have been mimicked by simply adding in frame-to-frame jitter.

Magnified and cropped section of a stabilized version of the original video. (Tenac)
Detail of stabilized version of CGI recreation. Notice border around UFOs indicating the objects were inserted into the frame. (MendezMendez)

Ultimately, it is impossible to prove that this (or any other) video is authentic. But what if it is?

In the midst of political turmoil, global warming, and a worldwide pandemic, could it also be time for something completely different – time for three enormous objects that have been flying around the moon to land on Earth.

Could it be time for us to open our minds up to yet another reality – one that is almost literally looming on the horizon?

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Francis Ridge, Ananda Sirisena, and David Eccott for their contributions.

The picture at the top of this article, which is from the front cover of an early printing of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End, depicts what one of these objects might look like hovering over a major city.

Can an Aztec Legend and an Unproven Scientific Theory Explain the Alignment of Certain Mesoamerican Archaeological Sites?

“The Spanish chroniclers do not give one reliable word about the manners and customs of the builders of the grand antique edifices, that were objects of admiration to them as they are to modern travelers. The only answer of the natives to the inquiries of the Spaniards as to who the builders were, invariably was, “we do not know.” – from Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx, Augustus Le Plongeon, 1900.

There are thousands of ancient structures in Mexico and Central America. Based on measurements from hundreds of locations it evident that their alignment is clearly non-uniform, exhibiting concentrations in certain directions. A paper by González-García and Šprajc (2016) analyzed the orientations of 271 structures at 87 sites in the Mayan lowlands and found that the distribution of orientations was largely in the east-west direction referring to the Sun and to the major extremes of Venus and the Moon. However, it is apparent from their data that alignments in the cardinal directions, solstices, and lunar standstills are much less frequent than those in other directions. What is particularly interesting is the large concentration of unexplained orientations displaced 10° to 20° south of east. Astronomically this range of directions lies between the equinox and lunar and solar extremes.

Histogram of site azimuth angles with key directions indicated: equinox (E), solstice (S), major (M) and minor (m) lunar standstills. Adapted from González-García and Šprajc (2016).

Instead of assuming that Mesoamerican sites were aligned to solar events related to calendrical dates, a recent paper, considered a different possibility – that these sites were first established by a previous (unknown) civilization who used other points of reference to align their sites. In a series of articles we have shown that numerous sites across the world appear to face toward four locations within about 20° of the North Pole that could have been previous  locations of the geographic pole over the past 100,00 years or so. In two regional studies (Carlotto 2019, 2020) almost one hundred sites in Greece, eastern Turkey, southern Italy, and Egypt were found that reference these four previous pole locations. Continuing our search in Mesoamarica we have found another 64 sites aligned to these same four locations. (Click here to read the paper.)

Our Hypothesis

One measure of the power of a scientific theory is its ability to explain the data in a simple way. Our hypothesis is that these and other sites throughout the world were originally aligned in the direction of the North Pole at the time of constuction and are now misaligned due to subsequent pole shifts. Although Charles Hapgood’s theory that suddent large scale crustal displacements and pole shifts remains unproven, the fact that so many sites seem to point to these same four locations is strong circumstantial evidence supporting his theory.

What is particularly interesting is that our hypothesis explains González-García and Šprajc’s data quite well. Together with equinox, solstice and lunar standstill alignments relative to the current pole (the dotted lines in the figure) almost all of the peaks in the data are in the directions of past poles.

Counts of sites “◊” aligned in previous pole directions superimposed over the site orientation data collected by González-García and Šprajc (2016). From left to right: 2 sites aligned to the Bering Sea, 9 to Greenland, 31 to Hudson Bay, and 9 to the Norwegian Sea.

Sites aligned to ancient poles would have to be as old as the poles themselves, from 18,000 to as much as 130,000 years old. Predating human history by tens of thousands of years we find ourselves in the relam of myth.

The Legend of the Five Suns

According to a mid 16th-century account by Hernando Cortes’ chronicler Francisco López de Gómara (von Humboldt 1810):

“The peoples of Culhua or Mexico believe, according to their hieroglyphic paintings, that before the sun that now shines upon them, four suns had already existed and had been extinguished, one after the other. These five suns constitute the ages in which humankind was wiped out by floods, earthquakes, an all-consuming blaze, and the effect of fierce storms.”

Aztec Sun Stone showing the five Suns or gods of Aztec mythology. Counter-clockwise from the top right are glyphs representing Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, and Chalchiuhtlicue. The current Sun Huitzilopochtli is in the center.

Our hypothesis is that the current and four previous world ages described in the legend of the Five Suns corresponds to the current and past four locations of the geographic pole, and the disasters that ended each age were the result of sudden displacements of the Earth’s crust. Our recently updated chronology of past poles and their relation to Mesoamerican Suns is summarized below.

Mesoamerican world ages associated with previous locations of the North Pole.

The Fifth Sun

Aztec traditions tell us that we live in the world of the Fifth Sun, which is associated with the current North Pole. Surprisingly only 18 of the 160 sites examined reference the current pole. The North Acropolis at Ek Balam (see below) is one example.

64 sites/structures reference four past locations of the North Pole and so could have been first established many tens of thousands of years ago during previous world ages or Suns.

The Fourth Sun

According to a chronology of pole shifts described in the previous article, we hypothesize that sites aligned to the Hudson Bay pole were built more than 16,000 years ago. This corresponds to the period of the fourth Sun called Atonatiuh that ended in a great flood. This age was presided over by the Aztec goddess of water, Chalchiuhtlicue. The statue of Chalchiuhtlicue displayed at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City was found within the Temple of the Moon at Teotihuacan. Teotihuacan is one of 31 Mesoamerican sites that are aligned to the Hudson Bay pole.

View looking south from the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacan.

The Third Sun

We believe that sites in Mesoamerica aligned to the Norwegian Sea pole were built 16,000 to 63,000 years ago in the time of third Sun called Ehecatonatiuh. The third Sun is the age of the wind or air and is often associated with Quetzalcoatl. The Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza is one of 9 sites aligned to the Norwegian Sea pole. 

Aerial view of Chichen Itza.

The Second Sun

The second Sun called Tletonatiuh was the age of fire and corresponds to the time 83,000 to 130,000 years ago when the geographic pole was in Greenland. The Aztec god of fire Xiuhteuctli is associated with Tlaloc the rain god at Tenochtitlan. One of the twin temples atop Templo Mayor was dedicated to Tlaloc. Templo Mayor and the surrounding area in Mexico City is  aligned in the direction of the Greenland pole. In total, we found 9 sites aligned to this pole.

The original design of Templo Mayor is evident in the excavated remains of the second pyramid (Phase II) that lies under a protected roof at the site. The two structures at the top were the temples dedicated to Tlaloc (left) and Huitzilopochli (right).

The First Sun

The first age of Sun was called Tlaltonatiuh, the epoch of the earth or the “age of the giants” Von Humboldt (1810) associates this age with the earliest mythological periods in the world. Only two sites have been discovered that have structures aligned to the oldest pole in the Bering Sea, one example being the megalithic structures at Chimalacatlán discovered by Marco Vigato.

(Click here to read the full paper, which contains a listing of all of the sites discovered.)

Summary

Charles-Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, Augustus Le Plongeon, and other respected 18th-century scientists and explorers lost their credibility when they proposed that the ruins discovered by the Spanish in Mexico were not built by the native people but dated back to a far more ancient age. Time will tell, but perhaps they were right after all.

References

Carlotto, Mark (2019) “New Models to Explain the Alignments of Greek Temples,” https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3501950

Carlotto, Mark (2020) “Toward a New Understanding of the Alignment of Ancient Egyptian Sites,” https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3526820

César González-García, A. and Šprajc, Ivan (2016) “Astronomical significance of architectural orientations in the Maya Lowlands: A statistical approach,” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Vol 9, pp 191–202.

Von Humboldt, Alexander (1810) Views of the Cordilleras and Monuments of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: A Critical Edition.

On the Sequence and Timing of Pole Shifts

In 1958 Charles Hapgood proposed that three displacements of the North Pole had occurred over the past 75,000 years. Last spring at a data fusion conference I presented a paper showing that over fifty ancient sites throughout the world appear to be aligned to previous locations of the pole. Since then more than one hundred additional sites have been found.

Although Hapgood’s theory is not generally accepted in the scientific community, that so many ancient sites seem to be aligned to previous poles raises the obvious question: if Hapgood’s theory is wrong why are so many sites aligned to them?

This article presents a revised sequence and timing of geographic pole shifts over the past 130,000 years based on new climate evidence.

Meridians of sites aligned to previous locations of the North Pole in the Bering Sea (red), northern Greenland (green), the Norwegian Sea (yellow), and Hudson Bay (magenta).

Mollusks and Mammals

In examining the ‘extralimital anomaly’ of mollusk shells in the Americas, independent researcher Mark Gaffney has found new evidence supporting Hapgood’s theory of crustal displacement. Gaffney’s analysis posted last summer at Graham Hancock’s website shows that the locations of today’s faunal beds are displaced by more than a thousand miles from where they were at the end of the late Pleistocene. He determined from this displacement that before its present location in the Arctic, the previous location of the North Pole was on Baffin Island in northern Canada. This location is about 470 miles north of Hapgood’s Hudson Bay pole, and about 530 miles northeast of the location I had determined from site alignments.

Gaffney’s latest soon-to-be-published research reveals new climate evidence that supports Hapgood’s theory specifically in regard to the order and timing of pole shifts. My analysis of site alignment data using data fusion techniques revealed that Hapgood’s Greenland/Norway pole was really two separate poles, one in northern Greenland, and the other in the Norwegian Sea. Although I was able to resolve their locations, without additional data I was unable to determine which came first, i.e., did the pole shift from the Bering Sea, to the Norwegian Sea, to Greenland, and then to Hudson Bay, or was the sequence Bering Sea, Greenland, Norwegian Sea, and Hudson Bay?

Order of poles: Bering Sea (BS), Greenland (Gr), Norwegian Sea (NS), Hudson Bay (HB), and the Arctic (Ar).

By analyzing mammalian fossils in Late Pleistocene deposits in Britain Gaffney determined the sequence was likely the former with a pole shift from the Bering Sea to Greenland causing the climate in Europe to change from sub-tropical to temperate between 123,000 and 96,000 years ago, followed by a pole shift from Greenland to the Norwegian Sea that caused it to become much colder around 85,000 years ago. According to the fossil record, the climate then warmed up around 38,000 to 50,000 years ago, which is consistent with the pole moving to northern Canada and finally to its present location around 20,000 years ago.

Sea Level Change

Generally speaking, during glacial periods when there is more ice at the poles, sea levels are lower than during interglacial periods when there is less ice. The amount of ice depends on temperate, which in turn depends on how much solar radiation is absorbed at the surface or reflected by clouds and ice. Hapgood hypothesized pole shifts were caused by a build-up of ice in the polar regions that eventually create an imbalance large enough to cause the crust to slip over the mantle and shift the added mass toward the equator. When the mass of ice at the pole shifts to a lower latitude some of it melts leading to a rise in sea level. Then as ice begins to accumulate at the new pole, sea levels slowly decrease, and the cycle repeats. Using this basic pattern we can estimate the timing of pole shifts from sea-level changes.

Sequence and timing of geographic pole shifts based on new climate evidence. (Base graphic courtesy University of Toledo)

Over 130,000 years ago at the time of the penultimate glacial maximum, sea levels were about 120 meters below current levels suggesting an ice cap comparable in size to the one at the last glacial maximum (LGM) at the end of the Wisconsinan glaciation. Hapgood estimated that during the Illinoian glaciation the North Pole was near the Yukon region in Canada, a location we have subsequently refined using site alignment data to a point in the Bering Sea north of the Aleutian Islands. When the pole shifted from the Bering Sea more than 2500 miles to northern Greenland much of this ice melted causing the sea level to rise 130 meters by around 120,000 years ago. As ice then began to accumulate at the new North Pole in northern Greenland sea levels began to decrease in stages. About 85,000 years ago the build-up of ice at the Greenland pole caused the North Pole to shift again but by a smaller distance, about 1250 miles, to the Norwegian Sea. The mass of ice in the polar region grew significantly over the next 20,000 years as Europe experienced a much colder climate. The continued imbalance in Earth’s moment of inertia created by a build-up of polar ice caused the pole to then shift to northern Canada about 65,000 years ago. Reaching its greatest extent at the time of the last glacial maximum, the pole moved to its present location in the Arctic about 20,000 years ago.

Dating Ancient Sites

Based on our revised sequence and timing of pole shifts we propose that places in Mexico such as Teotihuacan and Uxmal that are aligned to the Hudson Bay pole are 20,000 to 60,000 years old. Chichen Itza and sites that are aligned to the Norwegian Sea pole are 60,000 to 80,000 years old. Based on their alignment to the Greenland pole, we hypothesize that the original (pre-Aztec) settlement at Tenochtitlan in the heart of modern-day Mexico City and other sites in the Valley of Mexico are among the oldest archaeological sites in Mexico. Sites aligned in this direction could have been first established 80,000 to 130,000 years ago.

Sites in Peru’s Sacred Valley that are aligned to the Bering Sea pole including Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo are more than 130,000 years old. If it is indeed artificial, by virtue of its alignment to the Bering Sea pole, the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun could be the oldest structure in Europe.

Since they are aligned to the same pole, we hypothesize that the Acropolis in Athens and Tenochtitlan date to the same period. According to Plato’s dialog Critias:

“In the first place the Acropolis was not as now. For the fact is that a single night of excessive rain washed away the earth and laid bare the rock; at the same time there were earthquakes, and then occurred the extraordinary inundation, which was the third before the great destruction of Deucalion.”

If the Bering Sea to Greenland pole shift corresponded to the first destruction, the Greenland to Norway Sea to the second, the Norway Sea to Hudson Bay to the third, and the Hudson Bay to the present pole to the fourth, the original structures at the Acropolis were destroyed about 60,000 years ago.

The Greenland to Norwegian Sea pole shift moved Europe much closer to the pole than it is today. As a result of its colder subpolar climate, there are relatively few sites in western Europe aligned to the Norwegian Sea pole. After the pole shifted to Hudson Bay the climate in Europe warmed and many more sites were built there including the oracle of Apollo at Delphi and the Lion Gate at Mycenae, both of which were established before the last flood approximately 20,000 years ago.

Evidence of an Advanced Civilization in the South Pacific During the Last Ice Age

An analysis of the orientation of ancient structures on four islands in the South Pacific suggests the possibility that a previously unknown civilization could have existed in this part of the world during the last Ice Age.

Nan Madol

Nan Madol is a megalithic complex on the island of Pohnpei consisting of about a hundred rectangular islets. Most of the islets are surrounded by retaining walls constructed of long slabs of prismatic basalt laid on top of foundations of immense basalt boulders. Archaeologists believe that the earliest structures were built around 900 CE. It is thought that the enormous basaltic slabs were floated by some means from quarries on the other side of the island to their present location. 

Nan Madol is divided into two areas. One to the southwest known as Madol Pah is where royal dwellings and ceremonial areas were located. The other area to the northeast known as Madol Powe is where the priests dwelled and most of the tombs are located.  

Esteban (2014) measured the alignments of numerous structures at Nan Madol. He determined that the long southeast-facing retaining wall of Madol Pah is oriented at an azimuth angle of 56° and could have been aligned with the rising of the “Southern Cross” at the time the site is thought to have been built. This angle is confirmed in measurements made using a recent LIDAR image (Comer et al 2019).

An analysis of the alignments of Nan Madol and other sites discussed in this article is sometimes difficult since many structures are not perfectly rectangular and not always oriented in exactly the same direction. The azimuth angle of the west-southwest retaining wall of Madol Pah measured in the same LIDAR image mentioned above is approximately 137°, which is not at a right angle to the southeast wall. Together these two walls thus defined a general range of directions to the southeast between 137° and 146°.

Hudson Bay pole alignments at Nan Madol measured in a  LIDAR image overlay created in Google Earth. A is the Hudson Bay pole meridian, B is the solstice alignment of Nan Dowas and other structures in the funerary area in Madol Powe, C is the solstice alignment of the area of royal dwellings and ceremonial areas in Madol Pah. (Google Earth/Comer et al)

Like other megalithic sites throughout the world, the lack of a compelling explanation for how such large structures could have been constructed using primitive technology suggests the possibility that the sites were first established by a previous technological civilization and then co-opted by later more primitive (indigenous) people.

Assuming a date of construction to satisfy a stellar alignment becomes somewhat of a circular argument since such alignments shift due to precession. A search for a more stable solar or lunar explanation that does not assume a date of construction leads to a consideration of alternative pole locations. If we assume the North Pole was in Hudson Bay at the time the site was first established, it would have been located at around 10° S latitude (it is currently at 6.84° N latitude). The southernmost (summer solstice) sunrise angle would range from 137.7° to 139.9°. It is thus possible that Madol Pah could have been aligned to the summer solstice sunrise at this time.

The largest structure at Nan Madol is Nan Dowas, which is constructed of stones weighing up to 50 tons. The alignments of this and other structures in the funerary area in Madol Powe are different from those in Madol Pah. According to Esteban (2003) Nan Dowas and a tomb at Sapwtakai, another megalithic site on Pohnpei, are both aligned in the same general direction, approximately 3° south of east. This angle is very close to the range of northernmost sunrise angles on the solstices (90.4° to 92.26°) relative to an assumed North Pole location in Hudson Bay suggesting that Nan Dowas could have also been aligned to the winter solstice sunrise at this time.

What is particularly intriguing about this ancient dating around the time of last glacial maximum when sea levels were more than 120 meters lower than their present levels is that Nan Madol and other reported ruins off of its eastern coast would have been well above sea level and the island itself would have been larger.

The ancient city of Leluh is constructed from the same kind of prismatic basalt found at Nan Modal and is aligned in the same general direction. (Photo courtesy Maloff1)

Leluh

The ancient city of Leluh was built up as a man-made extension on a small island in a lagoon on the eastern side of Kosrae, an island 540 km east-southeast of Pohnpei. The same kind of prismatic basalt found at Nan Modal was used in Leluh to construct numerous walls and tombs. According to Morgan (1988) the stone was quarried from a site in Utwe (about 15 km from Leluh) and transported using rafts. Although the basalt itself cannot be dated, Uranium/Thorium (U/Th) dates from corals collected from structural materials suggest the tombs were built about 700 years ago (Richards et al 2015).

Even more intriguing than the materials used in construction is the similarity in the alignments at Leluh and Nan Madol. Esteban (2002) reports the orientations of the northeastern sides of five tombs range in azimuth from 47° to 59°. Their southeastern facing sides are thus aligned in the range 137° to 149°. Being at a similar latitude the solstice sunrise directions are similar to those at Nan Madol relative to the Hudson Bay pole. By registering Hambruch’s original 1910 map to create an image overlay in Google Earth we are able to verify that the ancient city itself is aligned in the same general direction of the solstices.

The range of sunrise directions assuming the North Pole was in Hudson Bay may also explain why Leluh was originally built off of the east coast of Kosrae. Extending sightlines in the solstice directions reveal that the southern sunrise and sunset directions relative to the Hudson Bay pole bracket the mountainous landscape of Kosrae to the southwest. On the summer solstice, the sun would have risen to the southeast over the ocean and set west between two mountains on Kosrae.

One of three stone-paved trapezoidal areas called marae on the island of Taputapuatea in French Polynesiamarea. (By Michel-Georges Bernard – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2966431)

Taputapuatea

Taputapuatea is on the island of Raiatea in French Polynesia. Near the eastern tip of the island, there are three stone-paved trapezoidal areas called marae. Marae were meeting places in Polynesia where the world of the living could interact with the realm of the ancestors and the gods.

Alignments of three marae at Taputapuatea – from left to right in the direction of the Hudson Bay pole, the Greenland pole, and to solstices relative to the Hudson Bay pole. (Google Earth)

The long axes of two of the marae appear to be oriented toward former poles – one toward the Hudson Bay pole and another toward an earlier pole in Greenland. The minor axis of a third marae is aligned in a solstice direction relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Salvat et al (2019) have U/Th dated limestone slabs at the site to be 3000 to 5000 years old. Alignments to former poles suggest the original site could be even older.

Haʻamonga ʻa Maui Trilithon. (Photo courtesy Tauʻolunga)

Tonga

The Haʻamonga ʻa Maui Trilithon is a unique megalithic structure on the northern coast of the island of Tongatapu. It is constructed from three enormous blocks of coral limestone, the largest is 5 meters in height and weighs about 50 tons.

This photo taken by Esteban along the lintel of the Haʻamonga ʻa Maui Trilithon indicates the structure is not precisely aligned to the solstices. (Photo courtesy César Esteban)

Although it is widely thought to have been aligned to the summer solstice sunrise/winter solstice sunset, an interesting photo taken along the lintel by Esteban reveals that it is misaligned by several degrees. It turns out to be very closely aligned perpendicular in the direction of the Hudson Bay pole and so would have been once oriented east-west. It is interesting to note that this direction is similar to that of land-use patterns in many parts of the island. Aveni (1980) notes that in Mexico alignments of churches built over earlier structures and planted fields often follow patterns that had been established in pre-Columbian times. Perhaps this pattern on the Tongan landscape was first established tens of thousands of years ago when the North Pole was in Hudson Bay.

Maori Flood Myth

According to Bůčková (2004) “Deluge is one of the most widespread mythical motifs throughout the world…” She explains how in the Maori mythology of the aboriginal people of New Zealand, their hero Tawhaki

“took his warriors and built a protected village upon the top of a mountain. It was here that Tawhaki called to the gods for revenge and the flood they let down was so disastrous that the whole earth was covered by water and all human beings perished. This episode may, however, be characterized as a cataclysmic deluge.”

Could the origin of this myth have been a catastrophe caused by a pole shift/crustal displacement that flooded all but the tallest peaks of the mountains in the South Pacific?

Sea levels have changed dramatically over the past 20,000 years after the last glacial maximum (LGM).

In Hapgood’s chronology, at the time of the last glacial maximum when sea levels were at their lowest, the North Pole was in Hudson Bay. Much more of the Tonga archipelago would have been above sea level at this time. In fact, most islands in the Pacific would have been much larger. According to Hapgood’s theory, when the pole shifted from Hudson Bay to its present location the ice on the old pole melted releasing an enormous quantity of water that caused sea levels to rise over 120 meters in 20,000 years. Over time the rise in sea level could have forced the original builders of Nan Madol and other enigmatic places in the South Pacific to flee these islands.

Tonga bathymetry. Much of this area would have been above sea level at the time of the last glacial maximum.

Perhaps Churchward’s Mu did exist after all, not as a supercontinent in the middle of the Pacific Ocean but as a vast archipelago, much larger than it is today, supporting an advanced civilization that had the capability to quarry, transport, erect, and align these and other (yet to be discovered?) enigmatic structures that are testament to its existence.

References

Aveni, Anthony (1980) Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico(Austin and London: University of Texas Press.

Bůčková, Martina (2004) “Deluge in Polynesian Mythology,” Asian and African Studies, Vol. 13, No. 2, 191-197.

Carlotto, Mark (2020a) “Toward a New Understanding of the Alignment of Ancient Egyptian Sites, https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3526820.

Carlotto, Mark (2020b) “An Analysis of the Alignment of Archaeological Sites,” Journal of Scientific Exploration, Spring (in press).

Carlotto, Mark (2020c) “A New Model to Explain the Alignment of Certain Ancient Sites,” Journal of Scientific Exploration, Summer (in press).

Comer, Douglas C., Comer, Jacob A., Dumitru, Ioana A., Ayres, William S., Levin, Maureece J., Seikel, Katherine A., White, Devin A. and Harrower, Michael J., (2019) “Airborne LiDAR Reveals a Vast Archaeological Landscape at the Nan Madol World Heritage Site,” Remote Sensing, 11, 2152; doi:10.3390/rs11182152

Esteban, César (2014) “Orientations and Astronomy in Prehistoric Monumental Tombs of Nan Madol (Pohnpei, Micronesia),” Monuments and People in the Pacific.

Esteban, César (2002) “Some Notes on Orientations of Prehistoric Stone Monuments in Western Polynesia and Micronesia,” Archaeoastronomy. The Journal of Astronomy in Culture.

Morgan, W. N. (1988) Prehistoric Architecture in Micronesia(University of Texas Press, Austin.

Richards, Zoe T., Shen, Chuan-Chou, Hobbs, Jean-Paul A., Wu, Chung-Che, Jiang, Xiuyang, and Beardsley, Felicia (2015) “New precise dates for the ancient and sacred coral pyramidal tombs of Leluh (Kosrae, Micronesia),” Science Advances, Vol. 1, no. 2, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400060

Salvat, Bernard, Maric, Tamara, Goepfert, Tyler and Eisenhauer, Anton (2019) “The marae of Taputapuātea (Ra’iatea, Society Islands) in 2016: nature, age and origin of coral erected stones,” Dans Journal de la Société des Océanistes(no. 149).

Feature image: Nan Madol ruins in Pohnpei.
Photo by CT Snow, CC BY 2.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3838239

Before Zep Tepi

“…in the time before these men they said that gods were the rulers in Egypt, not mingling with men, and that of these always one had power at a time; and the last of them who was king over Egypt was Oros the son of Osiris, whom the Hellenes call Apollo…” – Herodotus, II, 144.

“They said also that the first man who became king of Egypt was Min [Menes]…” – Herodotus II, 4.

Thirty years ago Robert Bauval proposed that the three great pyramids in Giza were the terrestrial representation of the three stars in Orion’s Belt, This idea led to an even more revolutionary proposal a few years later with Graham Hancock that the pyramids together with Sphinx formed a pattern on the ground that matched that of the heavens circa 10,500 BCE, a time known as Zep Tepi thought to be the true beginning of the Egyptian civilization.

In the last post, we discussed the possibility that certain ancient sites in Greece were not built by the Greeks but by a previous civilization long since forgotten. This article presents new evidence suggesting the Egyptian civilization began tens of thousands of years before Zep Tepi.

The Alignment of Ancient Egyptian Sites

Understanding the alignment of ancient Egyptian pyramids, temples, and other structures is a subject of great interest. Where most (but not all) pyramids are aligned to the cardinal directions – north, south, east, and west, sometimes with uncanny precision as those on the Giza plateau, the orientation of Egyptian temples has remained somewhat of a mystery. In his highly controversial book, The Dawn of Astronomy, Norman Lockyer was the first to propose that the ancient Egyptians aligned their temples to the sun and stars. Using knowledge of precessional motion he estimated that the Temple at Edfu and several other temples were built in alignment with Ursa Major around 6400 BCE. Taking into account changes in Earth’s axial tilt or obliquity he estimated that the Temple of Karnak at Luxor, which is aligned in the direction of the winter solstice sunrise, was established in 3700 BCE.

In their paper “Astronomy, Landscape, and Symbolism: A Study of the Orientation of Ancient Egyptian Temples” Belmonte, Shaltout, and Fekri propose that astronomy and geography were important factors in the alignment of ancient sites and that the “terrestrial landscape, dominated by the Nile, and the celestial landscape, dominated by the sun and the stars, combine in order to permit the establishment of Ma’at, the Cosmic Order, on Earth.”

Even after taking other contextual factors into account such as landscape, many unanswered questions remain regarding the alignment of many Egyptian archaeological sites. For example, why is the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, east of the Nile River, astronomically aligned, while “Temples of the Millions of Years” across the Nile in West Luxor dedicated to Amenhotep III, Seti I, Thutmosis III, and Ramesses II are not? The Osireion is perhaps one of the most enigmatic megalithic structures in all of Egypt. Why is the temple of Seti I in Abydos aligned in the same direction as the Osireion, a direction that is neither astronomical nor geographical?

Alternative Frames of Reference

In his 1958 book, The Earth’s Shifting Crust Charles Hapgood proposes that displacements of Earth’s crust over the mantle and resulting shifts of the geographic pole could explain ice ages and other patterns of climate change. Before Atlantis explores the idea of using pole shifts as a method for dating ancient sites aligned to former poles. According to Hapgood’s pole shift timeline, sites aligned to the Hudson Bay pole are at least 12,000 to 18,000 years old. Those that face Greenland could be 50,000 years old. Sites aligned to even earlier poles could be 75,000 to 125,000 years old or more.

The effect of a pole shift is to shift and rotate the reference frame of the observer. Sites once aligned to the sun or moon are no longer oriented in those directions after a pole shift.

A new paper “Toward a New Understanding of the Alignment of Ancient Egyptian Sites” considers the possibility that when the Osireion, the “Temples of the Millions of Years” and other enigmatic places in Egypt were first established they were aligned relative to earlier poles. The paper lists 60 sites that could have been astronomically aligned to former poles: 19 to the Hudson Bay pole, 35 to the Greenland pole, and 8 each to the Norwegian Sea and Bering Sea poles. As a result of subsequent pole shifts, these sites are not today aligned in any meaningful way and so have been difficult to understand using conventional models/reference frames.

If Hapgood’s theory is correct, based on their alignment with former poles, these sites could have been first established tens of thousands of years ago. Over time as sites fell into ruin, some structures were rebuilt and others added over and around the original foundations sometimes preserving original alignments to the older poles. What exists today is a mixture of site alignments that reference both current and past pole locations.

The Turin King List

The Temple of Hathor at Dendera is one of the sites that are aligned in the direction of a former pole. According to John Anthony West in The Traveler’s Guide to Ancient Egypt

“Like virtually all Egyptian temples, Dendera is built upon the site of a succession of earlier temples. An inscription over one of its subterranean crypts (this one not open to the public) declares the temple had been built ‘according to a plan written in ancient writing upon a goatskin scroll from the time of the ‘Companions of Horus.’ Thus, Ptolemaic architects from the first century B.C. were claiming that the architectural plan for the temple dated to the legendary prehistoric era when the ‘Companions of Horus’ ruled Egypt.”

Data that conflict with established timelines that begin with the rule of Menes, the first king of a unified Egypt circa 3000 BCE, are anathema to Egyptology. In particular, rulers before Menes listed in an important scroll known as the Turin King List are often ignored as having no historical basis. According to R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz in his book Sacred Science, the Companions of Horus or “Shemsu Hor” ruled Egypt from 16,820 BCE up to the dynastic period.  Earlier rulers known as the “Venerables of the North” and the “Venerables of Memphis” ruled Egypt after 40,020 BCE, up to the time the Shemsu Hor.

Refined Hapgood pole shift timeline with Egyptian dynastic (D), Shemsu Hor (SH), and pre-SH reigns indicated.

Correlating the Turin King List with our hypothesized pole shift timeline above shows that the earliest reigns correspond to the time when the North Pole was in Hudson Bay. The reign of the Shemsu Hor began after the Hudson Bay pole shift and continued up to the dynastic period.

Evidence of an Ancient Flood

Could “the great destruction of Deucalion” mentioned in Plato’s dialog Critias have been the result of the Hudson Bay pole shift? Rejected by most scientists as myth new data suggests that certain passages in another of Plato’s dialogs Timeus, widely thought to be little more than a story, might have a factual basis after all.

The following excerpt  is well known:

“There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes. There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father’s chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals…”

This passage could very well be describing a crustal displacement. A rapid shift of the poles would change the apparent motions of celestial objects. Continuing, the dialog goes on to describe the aftermath of a crustal shift

“…at such times those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the seashore. And from this calamity the Nile, who is our never-failing saviour, delivers and preserves us. When, on the other hand, the gods purge the earth with a deluge of water, the survivors in your country are herdsmen and shepherds who dwell on the mountains, but those who, like you, live in cities are carried by the rivers into the sea. Whereas in this land, neither then nor at any other time, does the water come down from above on the fields, having always a tendency to come up from below; for which reason the traditions preserved here are the most ancient.”

The last part of this passage suggests that the impact of the last flood varied geographically. Those who survived in Greece (and Europe) lived in the mountains while others were swept into the sea. Although there is no mention of those who lived closer to the sea in Egypt (i.e., Lower Egypt), the implication of the last sentence is that those who lived in Upper Egypt survived the flood to tell about it.

Histogram of site alignments vs. latitude. There are more sites aligned to the current pole in Lower Egypt, but more sites aligned to previous poles in Upper Egypt.

A geographic analysis of the alignment statistics seems to support this idea. (see paper for details). Sites currently aligned to solstices and lunar standstills are distributed more or less uniformly from Upper to Lower Egypt. Overall most of the sites that are aligned to the current pole are in Lower Egypt. On the other hand, there are more sites in Upper Egypt aligned to older poles than there are in Lower Egypt. One possible explanation is that a flood following the last pole shift destroyed about 80% of the sites close to the Mediterranean Sea.

Based on these new findings perhaps the Zep Tepi of 10,500 BCE was not the “First Time” but only the beginning of the latest chapter in the long history of the Egyptian civilization.

The Mystery of Greek Temple Alignments

The alignments of Greek temples have puzzled archaeologists for over a century. Originally it was thought that the Greeks aligned their temples to the sun and stars on the feast day of the deity to which they were dedicated. Subsequent research revealed the nature of the alignments to be more complex with no simple or obvious explanation.

A New Study of Greek Temple Sites

A recent study of 59 temples, oracles, and other important archaeological sites in Greece, Sicily, western Turkey, and northern Africa found only about a third of the sites to be aligned astronomically. (Click here to read the full paper.) The inability of archaeoastronomy to explain the alignment of most ancient sites in Greece as well as in other parts of the world has led archaeologists to consider the influence of other factors besides astronomy such as local culture, agricultural practices, and landscape. That so few sites can be explained by alignments to the sun, moon, and stars suggest the possibility that the ancients could have used other points of reference or even different frames of reference not previously considered by archaeologists.

Katherine Carlotto, Hyperborea (2019) Acrylic on canvas

Geomagnetic Pole Alignments

Charvátová et al (2011) argue that numerous earthen mounds in China could have been aligned using a magnetic compass toward the north geomagnetic pole at the time of construction. Ioannis Liritzis and Helen Vassiliou (2006) suggest that certain Greek temples were aligned to observe the aurora borealis – a geomagnetic phenomenon commonly known as the “northern lights.” Could the Greeks, who were familiar with the magnetic properties of certain materials, have used some primitive form of a magnetic compass to align temples in the direction of the geomagnetic pole, which is generally displaced from the geographic pole much like many Greek temples are from the cardinal directions?

Although it is not known if the  Greeks had actually developed some form of magnetic compass and used it to align sites as the ancient Chinese are thought to have done, using archaeomagnetic data to compute the location of the north geomagnetic pole over the past 4000 years, 6 of the 59 sites are aligned in the direction of the geomagnetic pole at their estimated time of construction.

Temple of Poseidon at Paestum (400 BCE) could have been aligned to the north geomagnetic pole at around the time of construction. (Sacred Directions/Apple Maps)

Alignments to Oracles and Other Places of Importance

The Greek writer Vitruvius, in his work De Architectura, states that sunrise was not always the principal direction for aligning temples and that there was sometimes a preference for facing nearby cities or directions of approach along rivers or roads. Jean Richer (1994) proposed that the locations of certain sacred places in ancient Greece provided a geographical reference frame for a zodiacal interpretation of the alignments of ancient sites to places such as the Amun Temple in the Siwa Oasis near Libya in northwestern Egypt, Mt. Ida on the island of Crete, and oracles at Dodoni and Delphi in Greece.

Sequence showing the alignments of sites to the Amun Temple in the Siwa Oasis near Libya in northwestern Egypt, Mt. Ida and the Cave of Zeus on the island of Crete, the oracles at Dodoni and Delphi, and Mycenae. (Google Earth)

By examining the orientations of rectangular structures and rectilinear features such as walls, 25 of the 59 sites were found to be aligned in the directions of six “centers”- the Amun Temple in northwestern Egypt, Mt. Ida and the Cave of Zeus on the island of Crete, the oracles at Dodoni and Delphi, and the fortress of Mycenae.

Amphitheater at Dodoni faces toward the Amun Temple in Siwa.
Amun Temple, Siwa, in turn, faces in the direction of Dodoni.

A particularly interesting discovery is that the Amun Temple in Siwa and certain structures at the Greek oracle center of Dodoni face each other implying that they might have been built at the same time. This idea is consistent with the following passage from Herodotus (Book 2, Chapter 55):

“That, then, I heard from the Theban priests; and what follows, is told by the prophetesses of Dodoni: to wit, that two black doves had come flying from Thebes in Egypt, one to Libya and one to Dodoni; this last settled on an oak tree, and uttered there human speech, declaring that there must be there a place of divination from Zeus; the people of Dodoni understood that the message was divine, and therefore they established the oracular shrine. The dove which came to Libya bade the Libyans (so they say) to make an oracle of Ammon; this also is sacred to Zeus…”

How did the Greek build two sites almost 800 miles apart aligned to face one another? Perhaps they did not.

Alignments to Old Poles

Two papers to be published next year based on an analysis of over two hundred ancient sites across the world find that more than half of the sites cannot be explained in terms of alignments to celestial or other known points of reference but can be explained in terms of alignments to previous locations of the North Pole. Remarkably, an even smaller fraction of the sites considered in this study have a conventional explanation but almost all of them appear to reference previous locations of the pole.

Color-coded alignments of sites to the current pole (white), Hudson Bay pole (magenta), Greenland pole (green), Norwegian Sea pole (yellow), and Bering Sea pole (red). (Google Earth)

By referencing Greek sites to previous pole locations, site alignments can be interpreted in a new way. Two locations on the island of Crete, Mt. Ida and the Cave of Zeus, appear to be extensions of meridians through Mycenae and Delphi relative to the Hudson Bay pole as shown in the figure below. Were Mycenae and Delphi aligned to Mt. Ida and the Cave of Zeus or were these two locations on Crete established based on the locations of Mycenae and Delphi?

Alignments between Mycenae, Delphi, and Crete. Magenta lines are meridians relative to the Hudson Bay pole. Orange lines between sites are aligned to within 1° of the corresponding meridians..

Implications

The existence of sites aligned to previous locations of the North Pole suggests that the area of what is now Greece has been inhabited for a considerable period of time. If our hypothesized pole shift chronology is correct, to up to about 125,000 years ago, when the North Pole was in the Bering Sea, Greece was located near the equator. A crustal displacement and pole shift to the Norwegian Sea thrusted Greece into the far northern temperate climate zone with cataclymic consequences. The next crustal displacement moved the pole to Greenland shifting Greece south to where it existed for several tens of thousands of years. This may have been the period that Critias tells us about in Plato’s dialog:

“Now the city in those days was arranged on this wise. In the first place, the Acropolis was not as now. For the fact is that a single night of excessive rain washed away the earth and laid bare the rock; at the same time there were earthquakes, and then occurred the extraordinary inundation, which was the third before the great destruction of Deucalion.”

The Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens is one of many structures in Greece that is aligned to the Greenland pole. According to Critias’ count of destructions/inundations, the Bering Sea to Norwegian Sea pole shift would have been the first, the Norwegian Sea to Greenland pole shift would have been the second, and the Greenland to Hudson Bay pole shift would have been the third. The destruction of Deucalion caused by the last pole shift from Hudson Bay was the fourth.

Shifts in the location of Greece relative to the geographic pole over the past 125,000 years. (Google Earth)

We propose that the Greek temple sites referencing previous geographic pole locations were established by earlier civilizations and later co-opted by the Greeks. Our hypothesis is that, over time, as certain sites were destroyed or fell into ruin, they were rebuilt and expanded, and new structures were added above and/or around consistent with the original site plan. What exists today is an indication of the original alignment of the site. For sites that contain structures aligned to current and past poles there may not be obvious differences between the two if the older pole structures were rebuilt or built over at the same time current pole structures were added.

References

Charvátová, Ivanka , Klokočník , Jaroslav, Kolmaš, Josef, and Kostelecký, Jan (2011) “Chinese tombs oriented by a compass: Evidence from paleomagnetic changes versus the age of tombs,” Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica, Vol. 55, pp 159–174.

Liritzis, Ioannis, and Vassiliou, Helen (2006) “Were Greek temples oriented towards aurorae?” Astronomy & Geophysics, Vol. 47, Issue. 2.

Richer, Jean (1994) Sacred Geography of the Ancient Greeks, State University of New York Press, Albany.