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BS: How old is civilization?

282RA 25 Dec 07 - 11:10 AM
282RA 25 Dec 07 - 11:16 AM
282RA 25 Dec 07 - 11:27 AM
282RA 25 Dec 07 - 11:28 AM
Bill D 25 Dec 07 - 11:36 AM
Amos 25 Dec 07 - 11:49 AM
mack/misophist 25 Dec 07 - 11:52 AM
Tweed 25 Dec 07 - 12:05 PM
bobad 25 Dec 07 - 12:26 PM
alanabit 25 Dec 07 - 12:44 PM
Tweed 25 Dec 07 - 12:49 PM
Brendy 25 Dec 07 - 01:21 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Dec 07 - 01:48 PM
Tweed 25 Dec 07 - 02:07 PM
Amos 25 Dec 07 - 02:11 PM
Bert 25 Dec 07 - 02:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Dec 07 - 03:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Dec 07 - 04:03 PM
Don Firth 25 Dec 07 - 04:17 PM
GUEST 25 Dec 07 - 05:12 PM
Dave the Gnome 25 Dec 07 - 05:22 PM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Dec 07 - 09:26 PM
282RA 25 Dec 07 - 09:36 PM
Bert 25 Dec 07 - 10:10 PM
Sorcha 25 Dec 07 - 10:38 PM
Bert 25 Dec 07 - 11:42 PM
282RA 25 Dec 07 - 11:46 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Dec 07 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,albert 26 Dec 07 - 04:55 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Dec 07 - 05:07 AM
Les in Chorlton 26 Dec 07 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,282RA 26 Dec 07 - 10:49 AM
Amos 26 Dec 07 - 11:05 AM
282RA 26 Dec 07 - 12:05 PM
282RA 26 Dec 07 - 12:10 PM
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Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Dec 07 - 02:28 PM
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Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Dec 07 - 02:38 PM
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Subject: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 11:10 AM

Human history is greatly fragmented and not well documented. Some eras we know a good amount about, e.g. Europe 300 years ago, while others we know surprisingly little about, e.g. America from 1900-1913. But the impression we come away with is that the human race kind of awakened one day about 13,000 years ago when we were living in caves and wearing animal skins and made things like knives, spears, axes and scrapers out of wood, rock and bone. We tend to cling to it in the face of the evidence that says that it ain't so.

I simply cannot shake the belief that a global, sophisticated culture existed at some point in our ancient past of which only remnants today survive. Doesn't it seem strange that the earth is dotted with places where amazing astronomical observatories graven in stone are to found? Who were these people that must have expended unbelievable man-hours to designing and building these things? When you look at all the ancient stone calendars and observatories there are in the U.K. alone, you have to conclude that these prehistoric people, whoever they were, were able to do things we're not giving them credit for in this day and age. Avebury, Stonehenge, Maes Howe, Castlerigg, Callanish, Loughcrew, Newgrange, Ballochroy boggle the mind of the ones who believe that ancient man was a mere hunter or farmer wearing skins huddled around a fire. Newgrange in Ireland dates back to 3200 BCE—older than Stonehenge. A 300-ft in diameter circular mound 36 feet high, one of the oldest roofed structures known to man. It has a passage that exactly aligns to the midwinter sun of 5000 years ago, it still works although there has been a slight drift due to precession.

In France, there is the Gavrinis mound from 3500 BCE. Its stone passageway aligns to midwinter sunrise and the southernmost lunar standstill, which happens every 18.6 years—called the Metonic Cycle. The stones of the passageway are carved in intricate, beautiful patterns of waves, concentric circles, chevrons and such. People who have seen it firsthand say effect induces awe and astonishment—almost a psychedic "everything-melting" experience.

Gavrinis stones

Another French site is Er Grah in Brittany where a 66-ft, 342-ton rock once stood. It has since fallen and broken into four pieces. No one knows when or how it fell. The stone is of hard granite that must be quarried no closer than 2.5 miles away. It was the tallest of all the marker stones of the neolithic world. Being set in the Bay of Quiberon, the rock was tall enough to be seen by everyone on the bay and so served as a navigational marker. Whether it had any other purpose is open to question since Quiberon has quite a number of sites consisting of tunnels, mounds and menhirs (single upright monoliths) seemingly scattered about haphazardly.

Outside of Europe, we find their traces. The Hashihaka of Nara, Japan is a huge heyhole-shaped mound or kofun although no one knows who is buried in it due to extremely limited archaeological investigation. The official reason is that the govt doesn't want the mound torn up and decimated. The unofficial reason is that the rightwinger nationalists—the uyoku—are afraid the mound will turn out to have been built by Koreans whom they insist had no influence in early Japan despite pottery from that period unearthed in Japan is virtually identical to that of the older Korean culture and the fact that "nara" means "motherland" in Korean as well as haniwa (figurines) found at the mounds that appear identical to Korean artifacts. The kofun is 886 feet long and 89 feet high. Today it is entirely covered by trees and is quite lovely.

Hashihaka 1

Hashihaka 2

It was once surrounded by a moat called a shugo but now only small lakes remain on two sides. One lake contains what is undoubtedly a manmade islet or hillock called a baicho. If one stands on the baicho and faces the kofun on the winter solstice, one will see the sunrise auspiciously marked over the top of the mound by a projection. The summer solstice sunrise is marked by standing on a platform on the kofun called Tukuridashi and looking over the round part of the mound (called a koen) to a large hill in the distance which exactly marks it. Hashihaka was built about 300-700 CE and is by no means the only kofun in the area. Nara and environs are dotted with 31 of them, all of them keyhole-shaped. There are 25 kofun at Osaka and at least 35 scattered throughout three of the four main islands (excluding Hokkaido). Although assumed to be a burial mound, the kofun have never yielded up a single mummy or skeleton nor have any burial chambers ever been found.

Some of the most remarkable mounds to be found anywhere belong to the ancient Cahokia complex. Cahokia was supposedly built by the Mississippian Indians starting around 700 CE. It covered 6 square miles in southern Illinois and contained at least 120 mounds of three distinctive types. Archeologist have found a great deal of evidence of astronomical alignments at Cahokia. The equinoctial and solstice sunrises could be observed in the layout of the mounds.

In Arizona stands a four-story structure called Casa Grande built by the Hohokam people although little is known about them. Evidence would indicate they were quite sophisticated. They had engineered excellent irrigation canals allowing them to farm on the desert around 300 BCE. All that remains of them today is Casa Grande built of sunbaked caliche mud, it still stands as a 35-ft high structure with a 60-ft by 40-ft base and 11 rooms. It required over 600 roof beams of juniper, fir and pine which had to be cut and transported no less than 50 miles.   It has a square hole that aligns to the southernmost major lunar standstill and a round window that aligns to the midsummer sunset. The building appears to be intricately linked to the growing and harvesting of corn—an extremely important staple to Indians of the area. The layout of the rooms suggests that Casa Grande represented the zenith, nadir and world center along with the four directions expressed in three dimensions. The large metal structure over Casa Grande is a shield against erosion. The first white men to encounter Casa Grande were the Jesuit missionaries in 1694 by which time it had been deserted for over 160 years.

Casa Grande


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 11:16 AM

In Chaco Canyon in New Mexico evidence of an advanced culture here is not only undeniable, it is bewildering. The floor of the canyon is dotted with nine "Great Houses" (which in Spanish is Casa Grande), villages with buildings over a story, pueblo building with nice terraces containing courtyards, kivas, storage areas and ceremonial chambers. One of the Great Houses was Pueblo Bonito, the largest prehistoric ruin in the United States which covers three acres and has over 800 rooms. There are smaller such Great Houses scattered throughout the canyon—at least 150 of them. All are in ruins having been built between 900-1115. These buildings lie next to perfectly straight roads 30 feet wide and stretching for 50 miles or more passing through gateways in the Great Houses, crossing one another at points along the canyon floor and sometimes running parallel to each other for many miles. Since the people thought to inhabit these settlements, the Anasazi, appear to have occupied 26,000 square miles of canyon floor but did not have horses or wheels, the purpose of such roads remains a complete mystery.

One of the most stunning discoveries in Chaco Canyon occurred on a beautiful 430-ft high sandstone outcrop called Fajada Butte.

Fajada Butte

Near the top of Fajada Butte sit three large stone slabs leaning against a sandstone wall creating a sort of lean-to effect. All three slabs leaned at the same angle but were not touching. The slabs were about 10 inches apart. On the wall under the slabs were a pair of spiral petroglyphs carved into the rock--one spiral rather larger than the other. They were obviously artificial but their purpose was unknown until 1977 when an artist named Anna Sophaer was inspecting the site on the summer solstice and, at about midday, noticed a sliver of light shaped like a dagger blade passing down through the exact center of the large spiral for the next 18 minutes or so. The slabs formed an opening at the top that allowed sunlight to pass through this way. Sophaer was intrigued because this seemed too much to chalk up to coincidence. She told others but the scientific circles blew her off. But some people returned to Fajada Butte on the solstices and equinoxes to see if there was something to Sophaer's observation. After all, the structure must have served some purpose. To their astonishment, they noticed two daggers of sunlight flanking the larger spiral on the winter solstice at midday. On the equinoxes, a dagger passed through the small and large spirals simultaneously. There was no doubt about it, the slabs were actually an observatory. The observatory was nicknamed the Sun Dagger.

Further investigation revealed the Sun Dagger also a moon dagger that marked the major lunar standstills. The cycle of standstills is 18.6 years from maximum to maximum. By using the sunrise at positions where the moon would rise during a major standstill, the large spiral was observed to be cut exactly in half by a shadow. The large spiral is 19 grooves in diameter and half a cycle—from maximum to minimum--occurs every 9.3 years after a major standstill. This was marked on the spiral by moonlight exactly grazing the edge of the 10th groove from the center (this was proven using lasers as no one could afford to wait 9 years). The spiral tracked the entire 18.6 year Metonic Cycle!! Sophaer had proven the slabs had been cut and set in place to function as an observatory. People flocked to Fajada Butte in such numbers that they wore a path in the sandstone leading to the slabs and researchers feared anymore erosion would cause the slabs to shift. A law was passed restricting access to the slabs to qualified researchers only. But alas, a rain exacerbated the tread worn into the sandstone and the slabs shifted as predicted forever ruining the alignment only 10 years after its discovery. But nonetheless, a great deal of research has been done on the sun dagger to prove that it was beyond all doubt an ingenious stone age observatory.

Sun Dagger

Equally mysterious are the Michigan copper mines. We today have no idea who mined the copper in Michigan starting from about 5000 BCE. But we know they opened many copper pits in the thousands across upper Michigan. We know they used mauls to chip out the ore. They made copper tools with some of their copper but what did they do with the bulk of it? We estimate today that these people mined about 1.5 billion pounds of copper. The level of mining sophistication would have required 10,000 men to spend about 1000 years developing that technology. Lake Superior copper had turns up in old Indian implements from Michigan to South America but still the bulk of the copper must have gone overseas simply because there is no trace of it in the Americas. Indeed, there are archaeologists who claim Lake Superior copper can be found in tools and artifacts from all over the ancient world before the times of Christ. Who transported it, where and how?

Even stranger, why did these mysterious copper miners leave behind no traces whatsoever of their culture other than the tools they used to mine? No petroglyphs or rock art, pottery, figurines, hunting implements, dwellings or burial mounds have ever been found. Only their stone mauls and copper axes used to chip out ore and separate it from the copper have been found along with copper knives, arrowheads and spearheads. Moreover, they appear to have dropped their tools and walked off the face of the earth. Their mauls are found at mining pits left as though the miners had set them down and gone home for the day, ready to resume work in the morning but that morning did not come. No one knows why or even when this happened although it would seem that 1200 BCE would be the cut-off point.

The Michigan mounds are also mysterious because the local Indian tribes do not claim them. Their legends say that their ancestors had taken the land from an "evil" people who mined copper and built the mounds (archaeology shows that the mounds were not built by the people who mined the copper). According to a Detroit news article, the Ottawa Indians call the mound-builders "yam-ko-desh" or "prairie people." Michigan had at least 1100 mounds at one time. Artwork recovered from one mound showed an unmistakable elephant being used as a beast of burden. From one mound in Sanilac County in Michigan's thumb area, Professor W. B. Hinsdale of the University of Michigan discovered the following skull fragment while surveying the mounds in 1925:

Skull fragment

The caption beneath above photo reads:

"This skull found in a Michigan burial mound reportedly suggests that the early inhabitants of the state were performing brain surgery well before the birth of Christ."

http://info.detnews.com/history/story/index.cfm?id=167&category=life

Some of the images on the Ica stones of Peru depict brain surgery at a time when no one on earth supposedly possessed the knowledge. While many dismiss the stones as a hoax, this skull fragment appears to bear out what some of the stones depict. And we know for a fact that the Mesoamerican tribes had extensive dentistry techniques including the drilling and filling of cavities, the performing of root canals, the making of crowns, the manufacture of plates and partial plates (made from the palates of wolves or jaguars) and could even replace a single tooth by pulling the bad one and anchoring the wooden replacement, shaped exactly like the original tooth, into the bone. Mesoamerican dentistry goes back at least 4500 years. It wasn't always pretty and didn't always seem to work out well for the patient, such is the case today as well, but most of the time the work was surprisingly good and rather advanced even by today's standards.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 11:27 AM

Then we have pyramids all over the earth. Not only Egypt and Mexico but India and the South Seas as well. There is a beautiful pyramid located at Candi Sukuh in Java and stone walls that appear to be the ruins of pyramids at the island of Mu'a. The pyramid at Candi Sukuh is said to be Hindu and the bas-relief art depicts men and dwarves with huge, erect penises. The pyramids of Egypt are laid out in replication with certain stars. In fact, the pyramid complex at Giza is laid out in imitation of the three stars in the belt of Orion and the Great Pyramid of Cheops is itself an astronomical observatory.

3 Kings

How is it that these great stones used in these ancient pyramids across the globe are simply stacked together without a shred of mortar to hold them together? The same holds true for structures as Tiahuanaco in Bolvia and Macchu Picchu in the Andes and the stonewalls on Mu'a. How were these great stones cut and transported? The Gate of the Sun at Tiahuanaco is carved out of a single block of stone and weighs 15 tons.

Gate of the Sun

Who made it? It would appear to be Mayan Indians or some tribe closely related to them. The proof is in the man pictured on the Gate of the Sun. He is quite clearly a Mayan priest. He has been called a weeping little ancient astronaut but he's not dressed for space travel. He is wearing a Mayan priest's headdress. He is not stubby and dwarfy—he is kneeling. He is not weeping but paints his cheeks with dots that, on the Gate, look like they were probably inlaid with stones at one time. If they were meant to represent tears, then we can only surmise what this priest is weeping about. Perhaps he was betrayed. Then he sounds like the Essenes' Teacher of Righteousness or Jesus according to Hebrews. Such an austere looking thing in such an austere terrain (the air is quite thin). Think of what the temple it was originally attached to must have looked like.

Off the coast of Okinawa lie the submerged ruins of some type of a huge multi-tiered platform carved from black stone.

Yonaguni Platform

When first discovered quite accidentally by a diver in 1995, scientists and researchers dismissed the structure as a natural formation caused by erosion due to rising and falling sea levels. Indeed some natural formations can look very artificial. Part of the reason for believing the platform natural was that it was solid with no inner passageways or doors leading inside the structure. But the discovery of an arched entranceway and stone spheres substantially larger than a human being in one part of the complex (mysterious stone spheres are found all over Costa Rica also) and three holes in the structure that line up perfectly straight have forced science to accept the structure as manmade. Who built it, when and why is not known.

There is speculation that the builders may have also built Japan's Nakagusuku Castle. Although it is generally credited with having been constructed early in the 15th century by one Lord Gosamaru, the truth is that no one is sure when it was built and that it might be from the first millennium BCE and has simply been occupied by various warlords many centuries later. Some feel the workmanship of the platform and the castle are the same.

Nakagusuku Castle

Who cut and moved the stones to build the temple in Baalbek, Lebanon? The stone below was left unused and may weigh 2000 tons!

Baalbek ruins

Baalbek 2

The Baalbek ruins are enormous and no one really knows whose culture it is that made them. It's demonstrably ancient and these people thought BIG! Take a look at these ruins. Drink it in really good. The smaller stacked stones on top are Roman (the Romans, btw, made no claim to having built the original ruins). They used the ruins as a fortress. They are big stones themselves and yet see how small they are compared to the ruins they are stacked on. One can see also that the upper wall is quite a bit newer than the ruins themselves meaning they are ancient and were ancient by the time the Romans built on them. Notice too how the original builders built a bulwark of smaller stacked stones and then placed the enormous blocks ON TOP of them somehow not crushing the smaller stones stacked beneath. Then look down between the two trees at the bottom of the photo. Look hard and you will see a man standing there. See him? THAT is how HUGE the Baalbek ruins are!! Some of its stones weigh 1500 tons!!

Baalbek 3

Baalbek 4

And Baalbek isn't the only place in the Middle East to boast of great stone ruins. In northeast Pakistan in the Indus River Valley stand the 5000-year-old ruins of Harappa and another 400 miles to the south that is equally old called Mohenjo-daro. Although these aren't so much stone ruins as fire-baked brick ruins. The streets are huge as are their granaries. The people farmed a great deal and were very dependent on it. They were surrounded by wildlife and marshes but were prone to flooding. Mohenjo-daro was rebuilt at least six times due to floods. These are the earliest known civilizations to plan and layout their cities. We know this because they rebuilt identically each time indicating that they followed a set lay-out. They domesticated many animals including cats, dogs, goats, sheep, buffalo and camels. The cities had a highly impressive and advanced system of huge public baths, latrines, plumbing and sewers. They had a written script. They appeared to have no religion or at least no temples or churches of any kind. Their cities appear to be extremely utilitarian—the useful was the good and what most has the right to exist is the most useful to society. Evidently, religion didn't rank too highly in their scheme of things. But they made exquisite jewelry and obviously had trade going in far-off places. We have not begun to decipher their writings. We know nothing of their history, beliefs, customs, language, science, etc. We don't even know what happened to them. For some reason, these cities were abandoned between 1800 BCE and 1700 BCE. Many artifacts and parts of the cities are still being excavated and will for years to come. We have not scratched the surface with these ancient Indus River Valley civilizations.

Indus1

Indus 2

Indus 3

Indus 4

Indus 5

Indus 6


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 11:28 AM

All over the earth at one time, there were all those huge stone edifices that seemed to involve ritual and the heavens. People had the ability to cut and shape enormous stones and then stack them somehow and fit them so close together that a piece of paper cannot be fit between edgewise and they've stood for thousands of years without mortar to hold them together. The newer ones still function as well as they did when they were new. Others are so ancient that they no longer apply.

There seemed to be a global stone-working culture heavily into astronomy. They had techniques for cutting and moving enormous stones that we don't have today. They had to be experts at surveying land. Even so, how anyone could create something like the Sun Dagger is mind-boggling. Surveying itself requires mathematical knowledge not to mention employing a type of masonry that requires knowing how large to cut each stone and how to shape it. Many of the stones fit into the walls are not regularly shaped but cut and notched seemingly without pattern (often shaped in such a way that the center gravity should have caused the stone to split) and yet mesh tightly and perfectly with the surrounding stones where no two are cut alike and with nothing to hold them together and yet these walls still stand today come flood, severe sun-baking drought or earthquake. They were quite obviously built to last. How did they transport these enormous stones sometimes 200 miles or more then stack them to precision fit? Clearly, they had some kind of lifting techniques we lack today.

After all, we really don't know how Edward Leedskalnin built his Coral Castle down in sunny Florida. He appears to have carved and moved 1100 tons of coral rock by himself. A man just over 5 foot tall and weighing 100 lbs who charged a dime for admission appears to have built an incredible habitat and did it by himself as far as anyone knows and did it in no more than 28 years—driven by nothing more than his love for a girl in his home country who never saw nor visited it in her life. No one is sure how he fashioned a nine-ton gate that is balanced so perfectly that it will turn easily if pressed with a finger. Several of the sculptures at Coral Castle have astronomical significance as well. Incredibly, he not only designed and built it but after completing it he MOVED it to another location. Again, no one knows how. He was seen transporting some of the stones with a tractor but he was never seen loading or unloading the stones. No one in the area reported being hired by Leedskalnin to assist in rebuilding Coral Castle, no one saw any other workmen assisting him. He simply somehow reassembled it all over again. Did he somehow figure out something the rest of us have long forgotten and will we ever again rediscover it?


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 11:36 AM

I guess it depends on your definition of 'advanced'. Yes, some early cultures made fascinating carvings, mounds and experimented with surgery 'of sorts'....but if they HAD a truly advanced civilization, we'd expect to find more that stone carvings and skulls with holes.

There is NO real hard evidence of large scale semi-technological civilizations way back beyond 20,000 years ago...merely fascinating examples of what some cultures were drawing on rocks 5,000 to 20,000 years ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 11:49 AM

You should read up as well, if you have not already, on the medical and astronomical center established at Monte Alban in the hills above Oaxaca.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 11:52 AM

Most of this is beyond my expertise. However. The links between prehistoric Japan and Korea are very strong. For cultural and political reasons, the Japanese discourage research on this topic. The earliest variety of Japanese rice seems to have originated in Korea and the bones of it's farmers show links to Korea.

Given enough time, no culture or race is isolated or 'pure'. There are always outside influences.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Tweed
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 12:05 PM

Hmmm..are we really able to call ourselves civilized? I think it hasn't really come to pass. Too many stupid and barbarous things still happening out there in the world and mostly done by "civilized" folks.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: bobad
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 12:26 PM

Man's creativity and ingenuity is unbounded. There are numerous contemporary examples of what can be accomplished by one individual given time, energy and inclination:

Simon Rodia's Watts Towers

Nit Wit Ridge

Hole N' The Rock

The Damanhurian Temple

There most likely was a time in evolutionary history when the balance between humans and food source was such that living was relatively easy and afforded humans much time to express their interpretations of the natural world in creative ways. The above links demonstrate what one person is capable of making by using nothing but time, creativity and simple tools, it is not difficult to project what whole communities of people could produce from the same motivators.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: alanabit
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 12:44 PM

I have always liked Mahatma Ghandi's response to the question, "What do you think of Western civilisation?"

"I think it would be a good idea."


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Tweed
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 12:49 PM

Hawr!! Good one.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Brendy
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 01:21 PM

Mao was asked the question as to what the effects were of The French Revolution.

Apparently he sai "It's too early to tell"

A nice bit of reading, there, 282RA.
Thanks

B.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 01:48 PM

"How old is civilization?"
Depends on where you are - in the US it appears to have arrived and departed.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Tweed
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 02:07 PM

Yaz, and like the preacher in dylan's Hezekiah Jones said, "There's a lotta good ways for a man to be wicked!"


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 02:11 PM

I demur. Despite its rough and limbic aspects there is a core consciousness in the American mind that does not sleep in its quest for better solutions to the equations of civilized existence and better broad survival across the spectrum of life. You may be disabused of this idea if you spend too much time watching television or reading cheap papers.

But the ground truth is that the deep hidden waters still run.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Bert
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 02:38 PM

Somewhat over eleven thousand years.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 03:53 PM

So much depends on one's definition of 'civilization.' The word, in the sense of culture and technology, wasn't coined until about 1770.
Webster's Collegiate definition 1a. A relatively high level of cultural and technological development: specif: the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained. In the eastern Asia region, written records made as long as 4000 years ago have been preserved. I don't know when the written records started, but perhaps a good deal earlier than this- I would have to read some of the up-to date studies.

Some of the cultures enumerated by 282RA would qualify as civilizations under the definition given above since they kept written records- many of the civilizations of the Middle East and Asia, north Africa, the Maya, Aztec, etc. of Central America.
Others may have kept written records which have been lost.
The ancestral pueblo Indians (Anasazi) certainly kept records of important seasonal changes in the stars and planets- astronomical observations- that helped to determine planting times, etc. The Anasazi of present-day Arizona-New Mexico left these records in the disposition of stone buildings, etc., whose alignment is accurate.

25000 square miles (282RA above) may seem like a large area to city-dwelling Europeans, but in the American southwest and elsewhere it is small, only about 150x150 miles. Even carrying goods, 150 miles could be covered in a week. Turquoise from the vicinity of Santa Fe was transported in quantity to the Aztecs in the Valley of Mexico, obsidian from the Pacific northwest was used in the southwest, etc. Parrot feathers and Pacific Coast shells were known to the Anasazi. There were tribes that specialized in trading; e. g., one that wintered in Texas traded to the far northwest in summer. Even superficial anthropological studies indicate certain goods were transported long distances.
The Anasazi kept records mostly orally, but should they be considered uncivilized because they did not develop an extensive written language? This is why anthropologists speak more of 'cultures' and do not firmly delimit 'civilizations.'
Are factories needed to lead a cultured, civilized life? Certainly not.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 04:03 PM

"...others we know surprisingly little about, e.g. America from 1900-1913."

Oh, I don't know. I'm sure some Americans know a fair about about that period.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 04:17 PM

I believe humanity has great potential, but as to being civilized, we're still working on it.

And we have a long way to go yet. We need to work a whole lot harder on it because lots of folks are just sloughing off. Less vision that the average kumquat.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 05:12 PM

It's not so hard to believe in the sophistication of our remote ancestors when you consider that most of their artifacts were probably made of wood, and the wood simply hasn't survived; it rotted. We only know about the artifacts that were made out of stone, metal, or pottery.

If you wanted to make, say, an astrolabe or sextant, it would be much easier to make one out of wood than metal.

Writing, too: we assume that writing was invented around 3000 BCE because we have stone and/or pottery tablets dating from then. But if the earliest writing was on wood, it could have been much earlier.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 05:22 PM

Three and two thirds weeks.

D.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 09:26 PM

thanks for posting those links & stories. I'd heard of some of them but others are new.

And to answer your question, I dunno as it depends on the definition of civilization.

Early British settlers in Australia believed the Aboriginal inhabitants were not civilized as they had no buildings or agriculture, in fact that's why the British came to Botany Bay. It was Terra Nullius (empty land!) - no one (civilized) lived there so it was the perfect place for a new settlement. This view has been upset in recent years.

Google search on Terra Nullius

Strangely enough explorers later found some agriculture (in Western Australia) & 8000 year old stone buildings (in Victoria)

8000 year old stone buildings

Overview of Australian Archaeology

Book provides revisionist view of Australian prehistory

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 09:36 PM

Who mapped the world first and when? Certainly our accepted histories in this area are a bit selective, shall we say.

Below is the famous Piri Reis map showing the Patagonia area of South America on the left while Western Africa is clearly discernible on the right.

Piri Reis Map

Regardless, the map is a genuine puzzle for Westerners because it clearly depicts two things that shouldn't be there: the Straits of Magellan and a part of Antarctica. Magellan supposedly discovered the straits in 1520 relying on his copy of the Piri Reis map. The trouble is, this map was drawn up in 1513 and it is a copy of a much older map—now lost. Westerners should be asking how Spain discovered the straits using a map upon which the straits were already depicted. Magellan didn't discover the Straits--he verified them. But nary a word of this in our history books.

The next image is the Fine map drawn by Oronteus Finaeus in 1531 which depicts Antarctica. Antarctica wasn't officially discovered until 1819!!

Oronteus Finnaeus Map

Now some skeptics dismiss the Fine map by saying that older maps often depicted a "counter-land" in the bottoms of their maps which they labeled "Antarcticus." But this "land" was nothing more than an affectation of cartographers to offset all the land north of the equator by drawing in a non-existent land to give the map more visual balance. It mattered little since no one knew much of what lay south of the equator at that time anyway. Having looked at maps with a counter-land on it, I would agree that many of these maps were merely showing some cartographer's fancy regardless of why he did it. Below, a Ptolemaic map showing the counter-land

Counterland

I think the difference here is obvious. The counter-land is clearly not what Oronteus Finaeus was depicting with his map in 1531. He is showing Antarctica as a land mass and it looks surprising like our modern data. Moreover, the counter-land was always shown as nothing more than a huge snow-covered mass taking up the entire bottom of an atlas but Finaeus shows the mass correctly oriented with the approach of the southern tip of South America unmistakably visible. No other map of the counter-land comes close to being this accurate. While Menzies might have chalked it up to the 1421 Chinese expedition, this is unlikely since Antarctica was covered with ice by that time. Fine's map shows the land mass as essentially bereft of ice—the last time this happened was about 6000 years ago. If Fine was only showing counter-land why would he give it its own projection as though it were a real land mass? That makes no sense since the counter-land was clearly only for aesthetic décor.

I have a friend who is adamant skeptic. He dismisses the Fine map as the counter-land in spite of my objections but he stands on shaky ground concerning the Piri Reis map (he thinks the dates of the map and Magellan's discovery are reversed, which is absurd on the face of it) but even he admits flat out that he cannot explain the following map drawn up in 1507 by Martin Waldseemuller:

Waldseemuller 1507 Map

The problem with this map is that it depicts the Isthmus of Panama six years before Balboa supposedly discovered in 1513. Indeed, the map depicts the Pacific off the Western coast of the Americas before any Western explorer could have seen it. The large map is not what I'm talking about. The isthmus is seen in the small atlas in the upper right center and is drawn with shocking accuracy:

Waldseemuller blow-up

By comparison, take a look at Sebastian Münster's 1544 map of the New World showing a far less accurate rendering despite the passage of 37 years a subsequent voyages that should have refined our knowledge rather than obscure it even more (the large island he labels "Zipangu" off the western coast of the Americas is Japan who had only had their first contact with Westerners the year before).

Munster Map

Obviously, Münster's map was based almost entirely on what the explorer's had discovered up to that time. So what was Waldseemuller's map based on?

This map issue also applies even more to celestial ones. Who drew the first maps of the heavens and when? Who fashioned the first constellation images? Were these maps too passed down secretly the way the terrestrial maps were that were copied by Magellan and Waldseemuller?

There are a lot of things that need to be explained about our history:

·        In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, he makes reference to Mars having two moons with the inner one orbiting Mars twice in a Martian day. This was 150 years before astronomers discovered that Mars did indeed have two moons with the inner one orbiting Mars twice in a Martian day. This is something not predicted by celestial mechanics and so Swift could not have independently calculated it himself. So where did Swift get this information that seems far too accurate to have been guesswork?

·        Why did Europeans not study the Crab nebula nova of 1054? The Chinese did. The Japanese did. The Anasazi even drew it on the ceilings of caves. What did Europeans write of the nova? Not a blessed word. Nothing. They wrote nothing of an earlier nova in 1006 that the Chinese had written about. In fact, the Chinese were writing about novas as early as 185 CE. Europeans wouldn't mention novas until 1572 when Tycho Brahe witnessed one. Kepler witnessed another in 1604. But why did European astronomers ignore the 1054 nova? There is only one explanation: Europeans were not yet writing histories or journals or engaging in anything resembling a scientific method in the 11th century. It causes us to question exactly when the Dark Ages occurred, when Charlemagne actually ruled, when literacy came about in Europe. Apparently, much later than we thought.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Bert
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 10:10 PM

...we're still working on it...

Ah! well said Don.

I was taught at school that the word 'Civilisation' meant living in a city. Google Jericho (not the bloody TV series).

As for mentions of The New World in earlier times, the orb of Plato shows The Antipodes about where South America is and Ptolemy's Geography mentions an estuary right where the St Lawrence Seaway is.

So the New world was known, but forgotten.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Sorcha
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 10:38 PM

I find all this stuff fascinating in the extreme but I have no answers, theories or anything else. I'm pretty sure it wasn't Chariots of the Gods tho.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Bert
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 11:42 PM

You're right Sorkie, Chariots of the Gods is a load of old codswallop. If there had been a visitation from outer space in the past then if we found anything then it would have been the fixings, The nuts and bolts or the rivets that held things together


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 25 Dec 07 - 11:46 PM

The Kangnido map of Korea from 1402, although supposedly drawn up from the notes and logs of a 1386 expedition. Painted on silk, the map depicts China, Korea, Japan, India, Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and part of Europe. A product of the Mongol Empire, the map is now preserved at Ryukoku University in Japan although no one is sure when the map arrived in Japan. According to Menzies, if the map is corrected for longitude, it is quite accurate. While not an example of an advanced culture from the past with mysteriously accurate data, it does demonstrate that other nations were exploring the globe quite avidly before Europeans were yet capable of it.

Kangnido Map


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 04:01 AM

"You may be disabused of this idea if you spend too much time watching television or reading cheap papers."
Don't have to; just watch the news regularly.
"Special rendition", "collateral damage", unrestricted imprisonment without trial, - you've even re-invented the language to excuse your behaviour.
I'm afraid I go along with Norman Mailer when he suggested that the US was now a fascist country.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: GUEST,albert
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 04:55 AM

There is a very good book called Timewalking which I have somewhere about the house which goes into a great deal of detail about the settlement of the Earth by our forefathers.I can't recall it's author but it is well worth looking out.
One of the points which I think is made in the book is that for at least a quarter of a million years early man accumulated the knowledge about his surroundings,the natural world,foodstuffs,geography and technical and social skills that were necessary for the more settled lifestyles that were to follow.
albert


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 05:07 AM

So much imagination!
The Piri Reis map is well dissected in the article by Dutch, Univ. Wisconsin, Green Bay:
Piri Reis pseudoscience

It shows nothing credible below the bulge of Brazil.
All of the claims by 282RA have been discredited, hence the lack of mention in the history books.

The Waldseemuller map's depiction of a separation of the Americas from Asia was based on "Mundus Novus," attrib. Vespucci, published, among others, by the Waldseemuller group. This book showed that the Americas could not be connected to Asia. Again, much imagination has to be brought into play to arrive at the fanciful reading of the map by 282RA.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 07:55 AM

I think we have a general view that civilised means we are kind and decent, or some such thing. I think it originally meant societies with public buildings and public life. The really occurs sometimes after farming had for some people replaced hunting and gathering.

When farming generated enough excess to enable trading buildings and organisation were needed that is what was meant by "civilisation" - civic life.

282RA mixes a lot of more or less established facts with a lot of speculation and not much evidence. It's a shame really because the growing story of what some of us have been up to since we left Africa is the most important and exciting story I have ever read.

The Ascent of Man (I Know) by Jacob Brownoski is a great starter but each year or so more and more date about DNA, language, artifacts etc tell the story of how we spread across the planet and what we did as we went.

Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamnod and Out of Eden (The Peopling of the world) by Stephen Oppenheimer are excellent recent summaries of our journey. Stone Age cultures certainly created some amazing things but they are us, they are not some less developed ape like creature.

When extraordinary claims are made extraordinary evidence is needed if the claims are to be accepted. So far the picture is being revealed by the careful accumulation of evidence from artifacts, language and DNA and it raelly is amazing.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: GUEST,282RA
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 10:49 AM

The Piri Reis map does not Brazil at all! It shows Patagonia in Argentina! It is out of scale but it is not the issue. Your article sets up a straw man. But the author himself is unaware of what the map shows.

As for the rest of your post, you resort to the tiresome "read this book and it will explain" garbage. No. YOU explain it. What does Jared Diamond's book have to do with this discussion? I have read that one.

If you want to say that this or that is wrong then explain how it is wrong. Don't say it's wrong and say, "Just read this book." If you have a case to make then make it. Right now your case is: "You're wrong because I say so."

Please explain specifically what is wrong and why. We can prove everything is wrong with sweeping generalities.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 11:05 AM

Link Re Piri Reis, corrected.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 12:05 PM

First of all, the link given is an anti-ancient astronaut rant. That's fine. I don't believe in ancient astronauts (or aliens or UFOs, I don't even believe there is humanoid life on any other planet because the odds are greatly against it). Secondly, the link is a refutation of claims of a Cairo projection--none of which I care about.

But the article also seem unaware that the map only shows a portion of South America called Patagonia. In the link below, the projecting hump jutting out into the Atlantic is the same hump seen on the Piri Reis map.

Patagonia

That it is out of scale with Africa is not an issue and has nothing to do with my post. What I am saying is that there can be no doubt that what is being shown is Patagonia and that what we see at the bottom are the Straits of Megellan and part of Antarctica--there's nothing else it could be. Neither the Straits nor the Antarctic continent was known by Europeans or anyone else that we know of at that time.

I'm NOT saying the map is perfect. Christ, it's a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy and so on. It would be accurate by only a miracle. But it was all they had at that time. The subtle racism of the article is also apparent. The author is surprised that the map is Turkish. Everyone knows Turks are Muslims and Muslims are stupid compared to Europeans therefore the map is not believable. A very low blow. Besides, no one is saying Turks made the original. We don't know who made the original and that is my whole point.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 12:10 PM

>>The Waldseemuller map's depiction of a separation of the Americas from Asia was based on "Mundus Novus," attrib. Vespucci, published, among others, by the Waldseemuller group. This book showed that the Americas could not be connected to Asia. Again, much imagination has to be brought into play to arrive at the fanciful reading of the map by 282RA.<<

What is it that you think I am saying??

You've explained nothing here. I said Waldseemuller had to have gotten his info from others since the Isthmus of Panama and the Pacific off the western coast of the Americas was unknown to Europe until 1513 when Balboa discovered it.

Your response is to say, "He got it from Vespucci" as though that explains anything. HOW DID VESPUCCI KNOW?? "This book showed that the Americas could not be connected to Asia." WHERE DID THEY GET THE INFORMATION?? That wasn't known until 1513!! Get it now?


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 12:22 PM

>>282RA mixes a lot of more or less established facts with a lot of speculation and not much evidence. It's a shame really because the growing story of what some of us have been up to since we left Africa is the most important and exciting story I have ever read.<<

>>When extraordinary claims are made extraordinary evidence is needed if the claims are to be accepted. So far the picture is being revealed by the careful accumulation of evidence from artifacts, language and DNA and it raelly is amazing.<<

WHAT "extraordinary claims" did I make? Specifically, WHAT are you taking issue with? How do you expect a detailed response if you say, "282RA makes too many wild claims without much evidence therefore he's wrong, just read these books." WHAT do you specifically disagree with?? And, more importantly, WHY?

I caught this same flak on the post about the Ica stones. One poster's reasoned response was, "Hardly a year goes by when some idiot doesn't drag this up even though it's been disproven." The implication is that 282RA is an obvious idiot because he dares to question that the stones were disproven. Part of the reason just might be because THEY WERE NEVER DISPROVEN! The scientific community doesn't accept them as genuine because the subject matter is fantastic and because scientific analysis is inconclusive. THAT I can accept. That von Daniken got fooled by a provably fake one and therefore pronounced them all to be fakes is not evidence of anything and yet that was thrown in my face as inarguable evidence of fakery using as evidence a man they otherwise wouldn't give tyhe time of day to.

I don't mind debating this, in fact, I enjoy it because it's funny to watch debunkers squirm. So the debunkers' response is to level utterly general, non-specific allegations of disagreement with what I'm saying for the purpose then eliminating any chance of my coming back with specific responses.

You're supposed to be skeptics. You could at least put on an act of objectivity.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 12:42 PM

282 RA,

I think the point I tried to make was that study of who we are, where we have been and what we have done is a detailed part of academic study. Study based on the collection and analysis of evidence from many sources which is published and open to peer review. Peer Review enables all those with an interest and expertise to examine and challenge hypotheses as they are generated.

When somebody suggests that people had maps that show Antarctica, and that it was hot, we are entitled to some pretty detailed and strong evidence because all the other evidence points to a 19C first discovery of an Antarctica covered in ice.

Your evidence is neither detailed nor strong.

Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 01:02 PM

How old is civilization? Clearly, not old enough. I think the more pressing question is, "How old is civilization going to GET?"

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 01:19 PM

282RA:

I don't think it shows Patagonia very well. It appears to assert that the coast of South America blends into the landmass of Antarctica -- or else that there is some unknown, assumed massif at the bottom of the world for balance.

In the link which I corrected, above, the analysis of why the map is not a good one seems to be quite detailed and specific.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 01:53 PM

What pray is BCE? surely you mean BC.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 01:58 PM

True enough but Before the Common Era is common usage


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 02:28 PM

Thanks, Amos, for helping the computer-feeble with the link to the Piri Reis map.

The development of 'western civilization' is outlined in Stearns, "World Civilizations: The Global Experience," online:
Stearns World Civilizations

It lacks an up-to-date survey of Asian cultures. The Chinese were farming some 8000 years ago; by 6000 years ago characters for a written language were created. Bronze smelting in China is dated back to some 4000 years ago. Records of the Shang Dynasty date back to 1600 years BC.

A good beginning site for ancient archaeology, with many links, is:

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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 02:33 PM

I think Q wanted to say, "A good beginning site for ancient archaeology, with many links, is:

Asian archaeology

.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 02:36 PM

How did this get cut off? The Mudcat bogey, perhaps?
Asian archaeology
Many useful links here to interesting subjects on different civilizations.

The history of world cultures is a fascinating subject that does not need to be embellished with speculative fantasies.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 02:38 PM

You beat me to it, Amos. Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 02:49 PM

Q: The flaw was an incomplete quotes pair.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 04:39 PM

>>I think the point I tried to make was that study of who we are, where we have been and what we have done is a detailed part of academic study. Study based on the collection and analysis of evidence from many sources which is published and open to peer review. Peer Review enables all those with an interest and expertise to examine and challenge hypotheses as they are generated.<<

I'm not writing a frigging Ph.D. thesis, for god's sake. I'm pointing out some anomalies in our histories that aren't explained very well or aren't explained at all.

>>When somebody suggests that people had maps that show Antarctica, and that it was hot, we are entitled to some pretty detailed and strong evidence because all the other evidence points to a 19C first discovery of an Antarctica covered in ice.<<

I mentioned two maps: one which looks like part of Antarctica is showing and other that is Antarctica and it has its own projection and looks surprisingly like the actual Antarctica which is pretty good considering they had no idea if anything was really there. The Fine map is clearly not depicting a counterland since counterlands were only for decor. Therefore, it is a perfectly fair question to ask how Fine came by the information from which he made his map and where he got it from. Your answer appears to be that he was just funning around but it certainly doesn't look to me like he was funning around. Nor is the Fine map the only one to show Antarctica bereft of ice. The Buache map does also and it also shows Antarctica as fragmented which it actually is according to geological data. These maps DESERVE some consideration. Your scientific method consists of "Nobody could have done it so it isn't so." There's something more to it than that.

>>Your evidence is neither detailed nor strong.<<

You seem to think I'm presenting some air-tight case that can't be argued with when, in fact, I am presenting items that don't fit comfortably into our histories and bear serious investigation into their origins. If you dont find it compelling, that's fine. But your reasons are amazingly dismissive: "It couldn't happen because it doesn't fit our histories so it didn't happen and your evidence that it did is flimsy." It's not much evidence surely but it is enough to merit a serious investigation. The data for those maps came from somewhere and it wasn't a contemporary source, so what is it? Not that people like you could ever be expected to conduct a porper investigation into it since you've obviously already made up your mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 04:59 PM

>>I don't think it shows Patagonia very well.<<

Quite the contrary, it shows Patagonia amazingly well considering how corrupted it is. If not, then perhaps you could tell me what it is showing. Don't say the coast of Brazil. It looks FAR more like Patagonia than the coast of Brazil.

>>It appears to assert that the coast of South America blends into the landmass of Antarctica -- or else that there is some unknown, assumed massif at the bottom of the world for balance.<<

It's not blended in. It's showing what looks to be pack ice. The Sandwich Islands appear there too although they are not at the right longitude but, again, this map is a copy of a copy, etc, so obviously mistakes will get made. After all, we don't know what kind of chronometers if any that the original voyagers had. You seem to dismiss it because it's not perfect. Christ, Megellan USED a copy of it to find the straits (which demonstrates that it IS showing those straits). Obviously, it worked well enough. The question is, who did the original and when?

>>In the link which I corrected, above, the analysis of why the map is not a good one seems to be quite detailed and specific.<<

It's detailed but it's a waste of time. The map depicts Patagonia and it is being shown way out of scale with Africa. What more proof do you need that it's not an accurate map?? Slam dunk. But then I'm just an embellishing fool, so what do I know?


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: 282RA
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 05:05 PM

>>The Chinese were farming some 8000 years ago; by 6000 years ago characters for a written language were created. Bronze smelting in China is dated back to some 4000 years ago. Records of the Shang Dynasty date back to 1600 years BC.<<

But they couldn't have been making maps or anything. That would be nothing more than speculative embellishment. They left that to the white man because obviously they weren't smart enough to do it themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: How old is civilization?
From: Captain Ginger
Date: 26 Dec 07 - 05:16 PM

Amos, if all your countrymen were like you then there would be considerable cause for hope. However...


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