Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Ph.D.: Are Doctoral Dissertations a Waste of Time? PhDs as Cheap Labor: The Economist Analyzes The Disposable Academic

A recent article at the Economist, Doctoral degrees: The disposable academic, alerts us to the fact that:
"PhD students are cheap, highly motivated and disposable labour."
That knowledge was confirmed already 10 years ago by Chris M. Golde and Timothy M. Dore in At Cross Purposes: What the experiences of today's doctoral students reveal about doctoral education.

There is no doubt: the value of PhD programs and dissertations is questionable and greatly in need of reform.

What has happened to the academic doctorate in our day in age, and is "doctoral research" largely a waste of time?

After all, the more progressive professional doctorates dispensed with the need for research dissertations years ago. Is there any supportable value in terms of academic efficiency to superfluous doctorates copiously and subserviently footnoted to alleged authorities or are they merely drone theses that ultimately simply wind up in the archives, read only by exam referees? As James Frank Dobie (1888–1964) wrote:
"The average Ph.D. thesis is nothing but a transference of bones from one graveyard to another."
One of the problems is that the historical development of "academic" university degrees is understood by few, and surely not by many Ph.Ds, some of whom ignorantly even tout the superiority of research doctorates to law degrees, showing that human stupidity may be infinite, ala Einstein, who quipped:
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."
We might as an academic "refreshment" consider that the word "doctor" is rooted historically in the Latin docere, meaning "to teach".

Indeed, doctorates as university degrees all started with the law:
"In Europe the first academic degrees were law degrees, and the law degrees were doctorates. The foundations of the first universities were the glossators of the 11th century, which were schools of law [in a specific sense]. The first university, that of Bologna, was founded as a school of law by four famous legal scholars in the 12th century who were students of the glossator school in that city [The Four Doctors of Bologna: Bulgarus, Martinus Gosia, Jacobus de Boragine and Hugo de Porta Ravennate -- see also Glossators, with a connection to ecclesiatical usages, such as Canon Law, the law of the Church].
Furthermore, as things progressed:
"The naming of degrees eventually became linked with the subjects studied. Scholars in the faculties of arts or grammar became known as "master", but those in theology, medicine, and law were known as "doctor". As study in the arts or in grammar was a necessary prerequisite to study in subjects such as theology, medicine and law, the degree of doctor assumed a higher status than the master degree. This led to the modern hierarchy in which the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), which in its present form as a degree based on research and dissertation is a development from 18th and 19th Century German universities, is a more advanced degree than the Master of Arts (M.A.). The practice of using the term doctor for Ph.Ds developed within German universities and spread across the academic world."
Law led, the rest followed. Nothing has changed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

African Megaliths, Canoes & Seafaring

Catherine Acholonu informed me about a canoe excavated in Nigeria dated to ca. 7700 years ago. See Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Cultural Sensitization and Exhibition on the 8000 Years Old Dufuna Canoe, at http://www.nigerianmuseums.org/dufuna.htm.

Nigeria is of course rightly proud of this archaeological discovery, showing a high level of culture in the Neolithic era.

However, I remain extremely skeptical about "seafaring" Africans (outside of Pharaonic Egyptian culture) in the megalithic era ca. 3000 BC.

Yes, dugout canoes of tree logs are surely an ancient basic water travel technology found throughout the world -- also in Nigeria, but dugouts are still quite an extended technological distance from the kind of boats found at Abydos in Egypt.

I have nothing personal against dugouts. Estonia was the last European country to continue to build them, and my ancestors come from the border region of Estonia and Latvia.

However, the Baltic peoples -- as opposed to the Scandinavians -- never seem to have gotten much beyond that stage, I think because it was not necessary for them economically. The only ancient peoples in the Baltic who continued to build primitive boats clear into the modern era were the Livs viz. Livonians (relatives of the Finns) and they used them for fishing.

Scandinavian seafaring on the other hand has culminated in the world's largest ferries traveling e.g. between Kiel, Germany and Oslo, Norway:
"Color Line's Kiel-Oslo ships (and the world's largest ferries) COLOR FANTASY and COLOR MAGIC...."
http://maritimematters.com/2011/06/poesia-of-the-north-atlantic-part-one/.
The megaliths in Senegambia, Nigeria and even Bouar to some degree are near a major river by which the subsequent megalithic area was accessed by the megalith makers, so my argument.

In Senegal and Gambia, this was the Gambia River.
In Nigeria it was the Cross River.
For the Central African Republic it was the Sanaga River, the next large river south of the Cross River.
"The Sanaga River is a river of South Province, Cameroon, Centre Province, Cameroon, and West Province, Cameroon.... The Sanaga River forms a boundary between two tropical moist forest ecoregions. The Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests lie to the north between the Sanaga River and the Cross River of Nigeria, and the Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests extend south of the river through southwestern Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Cabinda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo."
Jaap van der Waarde, Integrated River Basin Management of the Sanaga River, Cameroon writes at http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/IRBM Sanaga.pdf:
"The Sanaga River is the largest river in Cameroon.... It flows for 918 km from its source on the Adamawa Plateau.... The main tributaries in Adamawa are the Lom to the South and the Djerem to the North."
The Electricity Development Corporation, Republic of Cameroon, in Lom Pangar Hydroelectric Project: Environmental and social assessment (ESA), Executive summary, March 2011 writes:
"Lom originates at the foot of Ngaou Ndal [Ngaou "mountain" and Ndal "throne", Mont Ngaoui in Google - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Ngaoui] in the Central African Republic at the south-eastern boundary of the Adamaoua, around elevation 1,200 m, 70 km east of Meiganga...."
Mont Ngaoui is only ca. 100 km (60 miles) as the crow flies from Bouar, Central African Republic, where we find the megaliths marking the center of Africa in the ancient land survey system.

I do not know to what degree such rivers were anciently navigable by flat boats like those found at Abydos (as was the case for the more modern ancient Vikings, such boats were surely pulled along the shore in areas where not navigable). It remains a speculation that the ancient megalith makers navigated these rivers to get close to locations which they required for their land survey. However, it seems significant to me, as in the above quotation from the Wikipedia that the Sanaga River and Cross River are the major dividing rivers for these two tropical African ecoregions, and it is near these rivers that we find the Nigerian and Central African megaliths.

In any event, we are not going to resolve the issue of origins now, and surely much more research will be required until some element of certainty surfaces as to who the originators of megalithic culture actually were. If things were certain, there would be no need of discussion.

Africa, Ancient Megaliths and Seafaring Surveyors

I have been corresponding briefly with Professor Catherine Acholonu (see http://www.carcafriculture.org/), who nominated the Nigeria megaliths to the WMF [World Monuments Fund] and who suggested the corrected date of ca. 4500 BC for them based upon her finding of "two Pre-Cuneiform letters of Sumer on the monoliths, namely the letters KI and SHI."

I have not seen the megaliths in question so I must reserve judgment about them for the time being, but it is all very interesting in terms of megalithic origins.

Here is what I wrote about her important work on the Nigerian megaliths and their possible origin:

Africa, Ancient Megaliths and Seafaring Surveyors

I am in accord with the "out of Africa" hypothesis for initial human migration to other parts of the world -- see my posting at http://humanmigrations.blogspot.com/2009/03/human-migrations-and-principles-of.html but that was much earlier than the megaliths, as the initial human migration "out of Africa" appears to have started ca. 60000 BC or so, if I understand DNA studies correctly.

A megalithic origin in or near the heart of Africa, on the other hand, is unlikely because those peoples in the megalithic era lacked the seafaring technology necessary to transfer that technology across water to other countries. Evidence for ancient seaworthy boat-building is not found in regions such as Senegambia, Nigeria or the Central African Republic, where megaliths have been found. We do have such evidence in Africa, albeit in Egypt, as discussed below.

One group that is a candidate for being the ancient surveyor seafarers in question is mythical Jason and his Argonauts, who were so-called Minyans by origin -- more on this below.

In days before writing, people encompassed their history in oral accounts which later became myths and legends. Hence, it is possible that the legend of the Argonauts dates back to a true quite ancient event.

Legend also relates that the names of the Argonauts were subsequently inscribed in the stars of the heavens (e.g. Hercules), because the Argonauts used these stars for navigation, and, as I allege in Stars Stones and Scholars, also used those same stars to triangulate their land surveys of Earth (the full extent of such land survey(s) can be debated -- it may have been limited only to Europe and Africa originally).

The Book of Enoch relates as follows http://ftp.fortunaty.net/com/sacred-texts/bib/boe/boe064.htm:
"CHAPTER LXI of the Book of Enoch: Angels go off to measure Paradise:

1. And I saw in those days how long cords were given to those angels, and they took to themselves wings and flew, and they went towards the north.

2. And I asked the angel, saying unto him: 'Why have those (angels) taken these cords and gone off?' And he said unto me: 'They have gone to measure.'"
"Paradise" of course was the "heaven" of stars and Enoch gives us clear evidence that they were measuring land by cords (as in ancient Egypt) and "flew" , i.e. perhaps a bad translation for sailed by the wind and/or rowed on the waters.

In Hebrew the word Minyan means "counter", "numberer" so that the Minyans conceivably took their name as the "counting" viz. "numbering" surveyors.

A current mainstream theory is that the Minyans originally came from Greece (Boeotia), but it is not really clear to this day where the Proto-Greeks originally came from, what their relation to e.g. the seafaring Phoenicians was, and one could even suggest that the argonautic Minyans may have came from pre-dynastic viz. early dynastic Pharaonic Egypt and/or the far North (Scandinavia), or even from the Ancient Near East.

I am thinking here particularly of the ships, the so-called "royal boats" (14 thus far) found buried at Abydos and dated to ca. 3000 BC (See http://www.abc.se/~pa/mar/abydos.htm). Such a great number of boats buried royally -- as if in honor of a common event -- might indicate that the Abydos royal boats were the boats that returned from the Minyan survey expedition. See here for more about Egypt and ancient shipbuilding: http://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=24&sub=364&cat_name=Ancient+Egypt&subcat_name=Naval.

Even assuming that the ancient seafaring land surveyors came from predynastic or early dynastic Pharaonic Egypt, i.e. Africa, the culture to which these seafarers originally belonged is thereby not necessarily clear. Ancient seafaring keeps being pushed further and further back by the archaeologists -- see http://www.archaeology.org/9703/etc/specialreport.html.

One argument against the ancient seafaring surveyors coming from early dynastic Pharaonic Egypt is that there does not appear to be the presence of writing carved in stone on these megaliths, which one would expect from a literate culture or civilization. When writing is found today, it is painted on the stone, and that is surely a later development on original, older megaliths. Hence, if the ancient seafaring surveyors came from Egypt, then it could only have been in an era where ancient writing was not yet discovered or perhaps was only in its scribal infancy.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Newly Discovered Nigeria Megaliths Confirm Ancient Earth Survey

The substance of this posting was first posted at LexiLine yestserday, among other things pointing out that:

the recently surfaced Nigeria Ikom megaliths are at ca. 6 degrees latitude, i.e. the same ca. 6 degrees of latitude as the megaliths of Bouar, Central African Republic.

THIS IS ANOTHER CONFIRMATION OF MY ANCIENT LAND SURVEY HYPOTHESIS.

As someone who during college days worked in the field for the Nebraska State Surveyors Office, I have some experience in land survey.


Archaeologists, unfortunately, know next to nothing about land survey, and are often incompetent to judge these matters, which has kept them from understanding the megaliths.

In my book, Stars Stones and Scholars, based on the evidence I had collected up to its publication -- evidence I continue to collect -- I allege a land survey of the Earth was performed in ca. 3000 BC by ancient seafarers (who also moved somewhat land inwards along rivers and seas, if needed), and they sighted and sited their "marker stones", the ancient megaliths, by astronomy. Later surveys are also possible, of course, and can not be excluded.

Part of the ancient alleged land survey in ca. 3000 BC includes not only Europe, but also Africa, and in
Stars Stones and Scholars I specifically mention the megaliths of Axum, Gambia, Senegal, and the Central African Republic.

See the maps of Europe and Africa and the ancient land survey at
http://www.megaliths.net/africa.htm.

At the time that I wrote
Stars Stones and Scholars, I was unaware of any megaliths in Nigeria.

I came upon the Nigeria megaliths just a few days ago in seeking to answer a reader's private email question about megalithic radiocarbon dating of the Gambia and Senegal megaliths.

Here are my resulting thoughts on the African megaliths:

Original radiocarbon dating by Nicholas David in 1982 of the Bouar megalithic site in the Central African Republic (ca. 6 degrees latitude) gave inter alia dates of ca. 3140 and 3110 BC (before Christ, plus or minus 90 years), as then reported by Etienne Zangato (for which I am VERY THANKFUL) in Etude du megalithisme en Repubique centrafricaine Nouvelles decouvertes de monumnets a chambre dans le secteur de Ndio, originally found at www.bondy.ird.fr/pleins_textes/pleins_textes_4/sci_hum/10006239.pdf (no longer found at that URL)

Zangato has, however, published another article which is now found at éditions monique mergoil viz.
http://www.editions-monique-mergoil.com/index.html?menu=57509a&bchercher_auteur=113071
as ZANGATO Etienne - Les Occupations néolithiques dans le Nord-Ouest de la République Centrafricaine, (Préf. Ch. Bonnet), 2000, 124 p., 70 fig., 35 tabl.

Here is the abstract of the article, which I have just ordered online (28,00 € plus 6,00 € postage) but have not yet read (from éditions monique mergoil ):

"Following on from the publication in 1999, by the same author, of the results of 12 years of archaeological research in the Bouar region in the north-west of the Central African Republic, this volume comprises an archaeological study of Neolithic sites, both buried and surface. The period is characterized by a lithic industry producing waste flakes and struck tools in quartz and quartz sandstones, predominantly arrow heads, scrapers and other implements. This industry is associated with coiled and decorated ceramics demonstrating a wide range of manufacturing techniques. This material culture remained virtually unchanged between 5100 and 2700 BP, but between 2750 and 2700 BP a number of polished axes and megalithic monuments of a non-funerary nature made their appearance.

The abundance of data and of archaeological structures in the Bouar region, as well as the wide variety of ceramics dating to these phases, makes this volume rich in detailed information about a time when Neolithic societies in Central Africa were moving from a pre-megalithic phase (5090 to 2920 BP) to a megalithic one (2920-2750 BP)."
As one can see, Zangato chooses to call the period in Bouar starting 5090 BP (before the present) as "pre-megalithic". This is an assessment with which I disagree strongly, since there is radiocarbon material at Bouar to indicate that this period was by no means "pre-megalithic" but in fact "megalithic", just as the megalithic culture in Europe in the same era. Of course, megaliths that we see today may ALSO be copies or restorations of older more original stones, or one may be carving later in time on the surface of original "older" stones. It is also conceivable that stones have been moved for one reason or another, as we also find in Europe. However, one can not simply ignore the older radiocarbon dates, otherwise the evidence of the older radiocarbon data is ultimately shoved under the rug over time and lost.

As I have previously written online about the standing stones of Senegal and Gambia at
http://www.megaliths.net/africa.htm ,
"Many of the stones [of Gambia and Senegal] appear to be of more recent origin than the original megaliths in Senegal and Gambia, or they have been moved or restored from original positions."
As written online at the Wikipedia under "Stone circle ":
"Dates and archaeology of European Megalithic stone circles
All experts agree that stone circles are of pre-Christian date, but beyond that stone circles have proven difficult to date accurately. Radiocarbon dating has produced a wide range of dates at different sites. This is at least partly due to an inadequacy of materials suitable for radiocarbon dating that can be reliably obtained from the sites. The diversity of radiocarbon evidence may also suggest that stone circles were constructed over a very long period, or were sometimes reconstructed at later dates. It is often not clear when building started. A further obstacle to dating is that there are generally no other archaeological artifacts associated with the stone circles. 'Traditional' archaeological artifacts, such as pottery shards, bones, etc., are not often found at the sites, and when found are frequently of a later date than the associated stone circle."
A similar case in point are now the recently discovered megaliths of Ikom, Cross River State, in Southern Nigeria (at ca. 6 degrees latitude, as at Bouar). AFP writes (see also Megalithic.co.uk ):
"[T]he first archeologists to study the monoliths in a neighbouring village used carbon dating to put their age at around 2000 years.
More recent studies, [the chief] said, also using carbon dating, have estimated the age of the stones at Alok at 4500 years - that is roughly as old as the Egyptian pyramids....
WMF [World Monuments Fund] says the stones date from 2000 BC, but it is not clear whether the Fund is using a number supplied by the Nigerian government or whether it has dated the stones independently."
It is quite clear to me as someone who has been in the field to survey land, that finding extensive megalithic sites in Africa -- in Nigeria and in the Central African Republic -- at virtually the same latitude is arguably not chance, and that the original megaliths at both sites stem from the same megalithic era, i.e. what I claim to be ca. 3000 BC. That local tribes have continued a megalithic tradition in both regions since that era appears to be obvious, but says nothing about megalithic era origins.

How do the two sites, Ikom and Bouar, now relate in terms of survey to the Senegal and Gambia (Senegambia) megaliths? I am looking into that.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Critical Thinking Often Lacking in Academic Disciplines Outside Legal Education

At the New York Times discussion of "The Case Against Law School", former dean and former provost, Professor Geoffrey R. Stone of the University of Chicago in Learning to Think Like a Lawyer lists five "experiences [that] legal education can offer that are invaluable for future lawyers".

In our opinion, the first of these is by far the most important. As Stone writes:
"First, and most important, it can teach students to “think like a lawyer.” As any lawyer will tell you, this is critical. The practice of law demands a rigorous, self-critical (and critical), creative and empathic (how will my opponent and the judge see this issue?) mind-set. In general, legal education does this brilliantly. This is at the very core of a legal education."
There is a very good reason that people trained in the law have historically dominated and still do dominate leadership positions in society. "Thinking like a lawyer" is one of the principal causes.

Indeed, one problem with modern multinational corporations is that lawyers are being named CEOs less and less, and are being replaced by business "tradesmen", who know their trade but do not know how to ask the right questions. The current world economy shows it -- as it is suffering badly.

People who study the law are not like those who study the humanities or other professions, where the essence of learning is the learning of a trade. You can teach a seal to balance a ball, but not how to successfully resolve human conflict.

The only real way to measure the effectiveness of legal education is by the SUBSEQUENT societal effectiveness of those who were subjected to that education. Law-trained effectiveness puts many other professions in the shadows in terms of measurable performance. There is a reason why so many lawyers earn millions of dollars a year and many other professions earn far less. It is not chance.

Indeed, outside of the law schools and outside of business courses using "the case method", your average university graduate earns his degree in other academic disciplines sort of like a an apprentice in a handicraft. He or she is taught "what the truth is" in that profession. Critical thinking is rare on the average classroom agenda. University exams test knowledge of facts, not the ability to think on one's feet.

Outside of law school education, students learn to regurgitate the accepted state of knowledge in a given field. The better they do it, the higher they rise on the career ladder. They learn to quote the leading authorities of their day according to whatever school of thought happens to prevail at the time in their field, and, after graduation, they don their professional caps and pass on the system they have learned to the next generation. Errors in knowledge are thus subject to the domino effect. I face this ignorance continuously in my studies on the history of civilization, where the historical disciplines involved (Archaeology, Linguistics, Egyptology, Biblical Studies, Assyriology) are dreadfully marked by stong deficits in the capacity for critical thinking. People there tend to be interested in TELLING YOU what the history was, rather than trying to find out what really happened.

In my view, all this discussion about the sense of law school education is therefore superfluous. The real problems are elsewhere.

Law school education and especially the Socratic method of dialogue -- whatever their defects -- are for the most part breathtakingly effective in producing agile minds prepared for the stressful intellectual demands of the modern world. Perhaps law school education can be improved - everything can - but it is far ahead of the game when compared to other academic disciplines.

Where legal education in my opinion should INSTEAD start to become active is by offering special Socratic dialogue-type courses at law schools for ALL the OTHER professions, thus giving college graduates other than lawyers a chance to come out of their universities with some capacity for independent critical thought rather than being robots that repeat like parrots whatever their professors, parents, role models, celebrity idols, or other supposed "authorities" have taught them.

Twenty bishops swearing on a Bible do not make a fact true, if it is false. Children of Republicans become Republicans, usually. Children of Democrats become Democrats, usually. This has nothing to do with the viability of their political dogmas. Rather, political views are largely "inherited". "Critical thinking" about politics has nothing to do with it.

The same is true for religious beliefs, where it is a rare man or woman who has a religious belief system that diverges significantly from what mama and papa taught them. Children for the most part are not taught critical thinking by their parents -- quite the contrary -- they are taught obedience. Families are seldom democracies. Christians become Christians. Jews become Jews. Muslims become Muslims. I have, by the way, great respect for some modern Buddhists I know in the West because they at least CHOSE their religion during their lifetime, and focus thereby on doing GOOD WORKS, rather than on proselytizing and burdening their fellows with THEIR BELIEF system. A belief is the absence of proof. If we had evidence for religious dogmas, belief would be unnecessary. And yet, all sorts of economic "beliefs" guide most of the discussions one hears or reads about political and economic problems. People are merely just repeating what they have heard and what they agree with. That does not make it "true".

For example, many people have "opinions" about taxes and the economy, especially methods of government financing -- even though most people almost always know far less about those subjects than they do about their favorite college or professional athletic teams or players. This does not however keep from them mixing into the discussion and even basing their political voting decisions on insufficient knowledge.

Unfortunately, there are also a good many people in Congress who know not much more than what has been ladled into them by people not knowing much more than the Congressmen/women do about the subjects in question. One could have a great time asking Congressional representatives to explain modern institutions to us, e.g. the Federal Reserve System or the International Monetary Fund. Just ask your Senator: explain that to me please. The classic example here is the late Arizona Senator Ted Stevens who hilariously but seriously -- and totally erroneously -- described the Internet as "a series of tubes". It was too funny for words, except that Stevens, the longest-serving Republican Senator in history, held Congressional seniority positions putting him in charge of Internet regulation. When a country like the USA is in the economic difficulty in which it currently finds itself, it is not without reason. You can not have the blind leading the blind.

Indeed, many people spend some of their leisure time -- we erroneously call this "entertainment" -- listening to and applauding people who have no other real talent other than that they think and/or utter opinions like their audience. NOT TOO CRITICAL, that kind of thinking, or living. A man of intellectual power, by contrast, constantly himself challenges what he knows, "knowing" full well that such a critical path is the only path of true human progress. "Yes men" are a dime a dozen, but that is the way most of the world operates. Nodding is approved.

Try this experiment the next time YOU listen to someone in Congress. Take what they say sentence by sentence and ask: how does he or she know that what they are saying is true? where did they get it? what is the evidence? where is the proof? how has it been checked? who did the checking? what empirical data supports it? who says????? do that with ALL the political parties, not just YOUR favorite. Blind tests with sports fans show that fans as referees call close plays in favor of "their favorite team" 2 to 1 on both sides of the same play. Where e.g. a Husker Big Red fan will see an Oklahoma Sooner personal foul, the Sooner fan will see a Husker foul -- on the same play! It is the same in Congressional partisanship, also in lawmaking, you better believe it. That is why we have a U.S. Supreme Court -- to keep everybody honest.

Someone who has properly assimilated a legal education asks the tough and self-critical questions -- but that may not even be a majority of law school graduates, judging by what we see among JDs in politics. Much of the rest of world BELIEVES what it wants to believe, regardless. Unfortunately, that is no solution for concrete problems.

That is why critical thinkers ultimately always run the show. They are the only ones RATIONALLY examining contemporary issues as problems to be solved, not as battles of political dogma. To obtain that skill status, a legal education via the Socratic Method is a great help.

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America


Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
,
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    ,
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.

    -----

    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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