Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Collapse of Societies over History

The Seattle Weekly has a weekly page of book reviews called This Week's Reads

One of the books reviewed is
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

The reviewer, Rober Downey, notes that Diamond is also

the author of

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
which Downey describes to have "examined human nature and society in the light of the latest anthropological studies of people as apes"

Guns, Germs and Steel:The Fates of Human Societies - winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize - which, writes Downey, "asked and—amazingly—plausibly answered the question: 'Why did the phenomenon we call civilization develop just where it did, and why didn't it develop elsewhere?' "

Although Downey is not happy with Diamond's Collapse as compared to his previous books (perhaps Diamond was influenced by the title in his writing), the message of the book is interesting in concentrating on environment as one of the leading causes for the collapse of societies over history.

Americas Populated Only Since the Last Ice Age

The highly acclaimed Edge Foundation has 120 prominent minds commenting on John Brockman's question: "WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?"

JARED DIAMOND, Professor, biologist and geographer at UCLA and author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, believes that:

"[H]umans first reached the continents of North America, South America, and Australia only very recently, at or near the end of the last Ice Age."

Diamond also writes:

Every year, discoveries of many purportedly older sites are announced, then to be forgotten. As the supporting evidence dissolves or remains disputed, we're now in a steady state of new claims and vanishing old claims, like a hydra constantly sprouting new heads."

The reason, says Diamond, is:

"It makes better newspaper headlines to report "Wow!! New discovery overturns the established paradigm of American archaeology!!" than to report, "Ho hum, yet another reportedly paradigm-overturning discovery fails to hold up.""

We agree.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

El-Hosh Petroglyph Deciphered as Astronomy

El-Hosh, Egypt, is located south of Edfu and north of Aswan.

The petroglyph in question is found in an article in Antiquity entitled
"Dating Egypt's oldest 'art': AMS 14C age determinations of rock varnishes covering petroglyphs at El-Hosh (Upper Egypt)" by D. Huyge, A. Watchman, M. De Dapper & E. Marchi.

Those authors date the El-Hosh Upper Egypt rock drawings by the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) 14C Method to the 6th millennium BC and allege that this is the oldest recorded graphic activity in the Nile Valley.

This measurement is in our opinion false.

The researchers had various locations at El-Hosh at their disposal and obtained the following values for the sites based on only FOUR values out of FIFTEEN samples taken - the remainder not having resulted in sufficient material for analysis:

Abu Tanqurah Bahari, Locality 2, Panel 1 57553 6690 270 5900 (68%) 5300
Abu Tanqurah Bahari, Locality 7, Panel 1 60893 3740 300 2600 (68%) 1700
Gebelet Jussef, Locality 2, Panel 1 60892 2450 320 1000 (68%) 100
Abu Tanqurah Bahari, Locality 3, Panel 3 60891 2280 320 800 (68%) ad 50

Only ONE of the four, i.e. one of the total of FIFTEEN samples supports the ancient date alleged by the authors. The other three samples gave a maximum date of 2600 BC. Hence, the one deviant sample is definitely questionable and highly unreliable. This work can by no means be used to allege that the El-Hosh rock art is from 6000 BC.

Quite the contrary, we have been able to decipher one of the panels as astronomy ca. 3000 BC and can also categorically say that the phallic symbols visible on the petroglyph are phallic symbols. The fish-trapping devices alleged to be present by the authors of the article, do not exist. This should already have been clear since no fish are to be seen on the petroglyph.

Here is our decipherment:

The key to our decipherment was the lower left-hand figure, which we magnified in our graphics programs, and it clearly shows the head of a man holding two animals, one in each hand, as on the wall painting at Hierakonpolis, where this picture represents Sirius and Canis Major, based on our decipherment of it. See LexiLine.

The phallic symbols represent in one case Gemini and the rest are the Milky Way. We recall seeing a documentary film some years ago that there are Nubian tribes in this region of the Nile that still practice phallic worship, so that these will be the authors of this rock drawing, perhaps in concert with a megalithic surveyor.

The petroglyph has a unique 3-D perspective if one stares at it for a while, which allows the long dark "posts" to be identified as a fence, which we interpret as marking the Vernal Equinox ca. 3000 BC. At that time, Orion is to the left of that equinox line, and so the three dark shorter posts with a larger square-like object in front of them (the star theta with M42 and M43) are the three stars of Orion's Belt.

The head above Orion can only be Auriga. Taurus is shown to the right of the equinox line as a V-shape. Perseus is in an animal with a thin long neck.

Cassiopeia (Cepheus is also possible) is a large human head. The remainder of the identifications are speculative and provisional due to the poor quality of the petroglyph.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Caral - Norte Chico, Peru 3000 BC

ABC News in Australia carried the following story on
Thursday, January 6, 2005. 4:00pm (AEDT)

"US archaeologists accused of plagiarism

A Peruvian archaeologist has accused two US archaeologists of plagiarising her work on the Caral complex, recently determined to be the oldest site in the Americas.

The official news agency Andina reported Ruth Shady accused Chicago-area archaeologists Jonathan Haas and his wife Winifred Creamer before the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) with taking her work on Caral, Ms Shady told Andina.

Mr Haas and Ms Creamer may want to appear as the discoverers of the complex - one of the most important in the world due to its antiquity - or they might be seeking money for their "alleged" investigations, Ms Shady said.

Caral is located some 200 kilometres on the coast north of Lima.

It is part of several sites collectively known as the Norte Chico.

Researchers say the Norte Chico sites are 5,000 years old - much older than previously sites in the Americas and from the same period of the Egyptian pyramids.

Peru's National Institute of Culture (INC), headed by distinguished archaeologist Luis Lumbreras, said the institute is working on a formal document to submit to the SAA's ethics committee.

The report by Mr Haas - a curator at the Field Museum in Chicago, and Ms Creamer, a professor at Northern Illinois University - was published in December in the British journal Nature.

Recent work led by Ms Shady uncovered five 20-metre high terrace pyramids in Caral.

The site has been known for some 40 years, but only studied in detail over the past decade. -AFP"

I do not know the facts of the case and hence make no judgment on who is right or wrong here, as I am sure it will be resolved within the archaeological community.

This dispute, however, highlights the importance of the Norte Chico culture and Caral especially for ancient history. Obviously, if pyramids are first appearing at exactly the same time in Peru as they did in Egypt, then it is simply impossible that these are unrelated developments. Rather, the technology of the Old World has then clearly been brought to the New World by ancient seafarers, as I have always claimed.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Archaeology Blog from Johns Hopkins

Archaeology Blog from Johns Hopkins

As reported on January 15, 2005 at ResearchBuzz, archaeologists from Johns Hopkins University have set up a blog to follow up work and excavations in Egypt. The blog is named Hopkins in Egypt Today where it is written:

"The Supreme Council of Antiquities supervises all fieldwork research in Egypt and also monitors and preserves the ancient monuments. Dr. Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of the Supreme Council, directs and helps to guide the mission of the organization. We are honored to work with the Supreme Council. This web site is an educational one that aims to provide the viewer with the elements of archaeological work that include the progress of excavation. The daily results are crucial to an understanding of how field investigation takes place, since decisions must be made on the basis of ongoing work. The people involved in the work are also an essential feature and contribute profoundly to the final outcomes. It is to those participants in the excavation that this web site is dedicated."

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Words for Metals and "Metal"

At LexiLine we have a page devoted to the origin of the names of the metals.

Peter van der Krogt cites to that work at his interesting site devoted to Elementymology, i.e. to the origin of the names of the elements, including metals.

We recently sent him the following observations (with some small editing corrections here) based on our reading of his work:

Thank you for including our thoughts about the etymologies of metals
in your pages. We would prefer "futuristic" to the word "peculiar" but
they are your pages, so you must use what you feel to be accurate. We
are not sure, however, if departing from mainstream thought is
properly categorized as "peculiar", especially in linguistics. Most
mainstream linguists are still living in the 18th century and have
not caught up with the times. The Baltic languages are very archaic
(are the oldest still spoken Indo-European tongues) but since most
linguists do not speak them and are too lazy to learn them, they
ignore them, to the detriment of etymology.


We noticed that you have Turkish Kalay and Indo-Iranian k"alah as words for "tin". The Latvian term for "smith" is kalej(s) so that we surely have an ancient connection there.

Latvian also makes sense of Latin stannum since Latvian stien(is)
means "bar" or "ingot" which we see as related to Latvian stiep-, a
word applied to things that are "ductile, extensible, tensile", i.e.
capable of being stretched out. Latvian stiepam(s) or stie[n]am(s)
would mean literally "stretchable". In other words, the Latvian term
for "bar" or "ingot" is probably based on the molten "shapeable" form
of bars or ingots as ancient smiths formed them before they hardened
during the process of cooling.

Note that you can thus isolate three separate lines of etymology for
words naming tin:

1) one line of etymology based on naming the metal by the ductile
bars and ingots in molten form (Latvian stien-, Latin stannum – we
place Latvian first because it is simply more archaic than Latin)
2) one line of etymology based on the firing procedure in the oven
(Latvian alva, Slavic olovo), i.e. adding more air to the fire for
greater heat
3) one line of etymology based on "smithing" per se (Latvian kalej-, Turkish Kalay, Indo-Iranian k"alah)

The Hebrew term b-dil may be related to Latvian dzel(s) „iron" (see
dzel- at
That makes sense since the Greek comparable term kassiteros and
Arabic qaSdir are surely to be divided as a word into the enclitic
particle ka- plus sidero-, the Greek term for „iron". Since
Latvian ka- means as or like, then kassiteros would mean "like iron", "similar to iron".
Hence, the hypothetical *ka-tsvi?ra- looks pretty good from here. The
root of sidero- is surely found retained in e.g. German sieden
meaning "to boil", as the comparable term to latvian var- als meaning "to boil".

That pretty much takes care of the etymology of words for the metal TIN.
All are related to smithing, molting and boiling.


You explain northern Slavic Miedz or MED for Copper as being
corruptions from the German Schmied meaning „smith". This is rather
doubtful as the etymology for German Schmied viz. English Smith is
not even known beyond Old Norse smidhja.
Did some German linguist come up with that self-oriented explanation?

In Latvian MAT(et) means "to tarnish" as copper does, or to "deaden"
or "dull" metal, so that here you have a case of copper being named for that feature.

You probably also see Latvian MAT- in the root of the English word
METal, i.e. as named for those metals which "tarnish". The world "Metal" is
currently seen to stem from Greek metallon, and that word too is
surely rooted in MET- or MAT- "tarnish", which appplies to almost all metals
except those such as gold which we view to be "noble metals" and not really metals per se,
or as the Germans say Edelmetall.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Start of the Calendar - December 25, 3117 BC

In my work the alleged start of the Pharaonic Egyptian, Hindu (Vedic) and Maya calendar(s) is December 25, 3117 BC.

That date is based on many years of analysis of Pharaonic
Egpytian dynasties and other sources - e.g. Sumerian artifacts, or the Maya
and Hindu calendars, etc., which are currently and erroneously
thought to start in 3114 BC and 3012 BC respectively - see e.g.

as well as on the basis of a study of solar eclipses and on the way
the megaliths mark the sky at megalithic sties. Due to precession,
the sky "moves" - as seen from the earth - in a cycle of ca. 26,000
years, so that the positions of the solstices and equinoxes in the
sky of stars (as marked e.g. on the megaliths) also move. If a
solstice or equinox is marked on an ancient stone as taking place
within a given constellation, the date can be computed. There is a
lot of information at on this but for the
calendar in particular see:

This is complicated stuff. For now, my analysis must be considered
very speculative, until or unless it is confirmed down the road by
other researchers. The Maya scholars do not budge from their August
3114 BC date, but as I show at
they are clearly in error.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Fort Huachuca Eagle Rock Art near Tuscon Arizona marks Aquila

In the December 27, 2004 article "Tribal rock art offers clues to religious beliefs of old", Paul Allen of the Tucson Citizen writes about rock art on a mountain ledge near Fort Huachuca, about 70 miles southeast of Tuscon, Arizona, near the border to Mexico.

The article has a photo by Tanja Linton of one of four large eagles (each about 4 feet from wingtip to wingtip) painted on this rock face.

The rock face at Fort Huachuca also has a figure in a colored skirt and headdress painted on it, together with a large serpent extending ca. twelve feet across, with the serpent's head at the human figure's hand.

Based on our decipherment of Hueco Tanks near El Paso as marking Serpens Caput in the ancient survey of the Americas by astronomy (Hueca Tanks is also on the border to Mexico nearly due East of Fort Huachuca), Fort Huachuca then marks the stars of Aquila (the Eagle) and Serpens Cauda (the tail of the serpent) in this ancient survey.

Obviously, the four eagles mark the Eagle, Aquila, also perhaps representing each of the four major stars making up the diamond-shape of this stellar constellation.

The serpent at Fort Huachuca will surely mark Serpens Cauda.

The motif of eagle and serpent for this part of the heavens is also prevalent in the Old World. (See Richard Hinckley Allen, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning under "Aquila".)

Hueco Tanks Rock Art Serpens Caput at El Paso Texas

Hueco Tanks, located 32 miles northeast of El Paso, Texas, is a historic site with a lot of ancient painted rock art.

A photo of Hueco Tanks by Victor Calzada in a December 30, 2004 article by Diana Washington Valdez in the El Paso Times news online recently caught our attention.

As we have often noted, rock art drawings are generally not as old as the sculpted stones at those same rock art sites, upon which or near which the rock drawings are made by later generations, and from which the rock drawing motifs may originate. These sacred sites are generally extremely old.

Heuco Tanks

As seen at the above graphic, Hueco Tanks in our opinion marks the stars of Serpens Caput at the Autumn Equinox ca. 3117 BC, an interpretation which fits our previous decipherment of other sites in the USA as marking an ancient survey of America by astronomy. Serpens Caput was as yet missing from this astronomical picture, but fits in perfectly with the astronomy of the other deciphered sites.

Also identified at Hueco Tanks appears to be Ophiuchus as a man's head - a frequent ancient representation of Ophiuchus. The carving of the head is unmistakeable.

Next to the human head is a serpent's carved head, clearly seen when magnified, marking Serpens Caput.

To the left of Ophiuchus is a strange diamond-shaped rock which would seem totally out of place as a natural phenomenon, marking the diamond-shape of Aquila next to Ophiuchus. This must have been carved into that shape.

We are unable to identify the figure marking Hercules.

To the right of Serpens Caput appears to be a bear, marking Bootes and Ursa Major, the Great Bear.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Celestial Navigation in Ancient and Modern Times

Celestial Navigation in Ancient and Modern Times

Navigation by celestial objects in modern times is discussed at and at Henning Umland's A Short Guide to Celestial Navigation. In part, modern navigation is complicated mathematics.

Ancient celestial navigation had to be much more simple than that, but not that much is known about the navigation used in distant prehistoric periods.

The following is a seminal source for an understanding of ancient navigation:

Navigation in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean - Thesis by Danny Lee Davis of Texas A&M University (download .pdf - 21.58 MB (some pages unfortunately sloppily scanned). This is an absolutely new and essential work in this field, especially chapter V "Night-Time Navigation and Celestial Aids" and Chapter VI Ancient Navigational Systems: A Synthesis of the Evidence (p.186) in the Section "Imagining Ancient Systems of Navigation: A View from Antiquity: The Neolithic System".

Davis writes among other things about "star-path" sailing. This method of sailing steers directly by the stars, keeping the vessel directed toward a particular star and changing the star used as stars change their positions over time. Davis writes - correctly in our opinion - that this may explain the depiction of particular stars above the bows or sterns of ships on ancient reliefs.

Davis also writes about ancient navigation as follows:

"Crete is believed to have been colonized by migrant farmers from Anatolia as early as the eighth or seventh millennium B.C., although hunter-gatherers surely landed there earlier. Broodbank and Strasser have shown that the colonization of this island must have been deliberate and that a minimum number of people and livestock were required to sustain its initial population. From what we know of visibility and the limitations of paddled craft, this colonization and its maintenance are a further indication that a navigation system embracing celestial observation was in place this early. The colonization of many other Aegean island and Cyprus in the Final Neolithic serves also to indicate a high level of navigational confidence -- and one that must have entailed the usage of some system of reference for sailing at night, if only the circumpolar stars for orientation." (pp. 145-146)

Other sources of value are:

Traditional Navigation in the Western Pacific showing navigation by rising and setting stars.

Gary Agranat - Astronomy: Time and Navigation (links)

Peter Ifland, in The History of the Sextant discusses how the North Celestial Pole (currently the star Polaris) can be used to determined latitude and how the Arabs later used the kamal for this purpose, employing also their fingers (issabah) for measurement. Ifland also explains the concept of "shooting the stars". Take a look. Ifland is the author of
Taking the Stars: Celestial Navigation from Argonauts to Astronauts. More at Astronomy On-Line.

Peter Tyson, Secrets of Ancient Navigation

John Davis, Seaman's Secrets

Cogswell and Schi√łtz - Navigation in the Information Age, Potential Use of GIS for Sustainability and Self-Determination in Hawai'i

The Haven-Finding Art: A History of Navigation from Odysseus to Captain Cook, by E.G. R. Taylor, published by Hollis & Carter, London, for the Institute of Navigation. 1956. See also here.

A History of Nautical Astronomy, by Charles H. Cotter, William Clowes and Sons, London

Charles H. Cotter, The Complete Nautical Astronomer

Nick Strobel - Astronomy Notes, History of Astronomy

Heavenly Mathematics: Cultural Astronomy

The Mariners Museum

The Gilbertese Skydome. Polynesian and Micronesian Astronomy

The Etruscan Bronze Liver of Piacenza

Crichton E.M. Miller - Ancient Navigation

Ancient Navigation Techniques

Ancient Discovery Before Christ

Astronomy and Ancient Kansas Intaglios

Beccy Tanner at the The Wichita Eagle has a December 19, 2004 story entitled Figures carved into prairie are a story of ancient beliefs. The story is about ancient intaglios (figures or designs carved into surfaces) found in Kansas. These "ground drawings" in Kansas are drawn on trenches along hillsides and show figures of a serpent holding a ball in its mouth, then another serpent, a turtle, a duck and two caterpillars.

Kansas archaeologists and anthropologists see the figures as possibly marking the solstices and the stars and planets for ritual purposes.

Donald Blakeslee, professor of archaeology at Wichita State, compares the Kansas council circles to Stonehenge in England as sacred calendars the sun hits at certain points during the solstices.

"The native people in Mexico connect the caterpillars with meteors and meteor showers -- they have a celestial connection," Blakeslee said.

In other words, we know from that knowledge that the caterpillars mark portions of the sky in which annual major meteor showers occur (there are only a few of these). Knowing that, we have a good chance to put the rest of the intaglios into their proper astronomical places.

Possible dates for the caterpillars are then the meteor showers known as:

1. the Perseids, major meteor showers which peak around August 12 and at which time the caterpillars can be quite a nuisance in Kansas, or

2. the Lyrids, which appear in Spring

Some caterpillars appear twice a year (in Spring and Midsummer). Are the two intaglios of caterpillars next to each other or separated by other figures?

Without knowing the inter-related locations of the figures on the ground, their identification is guesswork on our part, but we think that at least one of the Kansas caterpillars could mark the Perseids. The Perseids appear in August but are found in the Perseid Radiant, which is at the top of the constellation of Perseus.

If the caterpillar is close to the duck, then the duck may mark the Pleiades (indeed, the duck marks the Pleiades (Latvian Pilites "ducks") clear back to the time of Lascaux, ca. 9000 BC - see Stars Stones and Scholars).

The turtle then would mark Orion - as it did for the Maya - see also here concerning the turtle as marking Orion on Native American medicine wheels.

One serpent figure would then be Hydra.

The serpent holding a ball in its mouth could mark the center of heaven, but this would depend on the location of this serpent with respect to the other figures. Again, I do not have a plan of the figures on the ground. Otherwise, I could make the identifications with certainty.

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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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