What are the Dead Sea Scrolls And Why Do They Matter?
The Dead Sea Scrolls are the world’s oldest known biblical manuscripts. In 1947 scrolls and scroll fragments dating from 150 BC were discovered in a cave by local Bedouin teenagers. They were tending goats near the ancient settlement of Qumran. One of the boys threw a rock into a hole in the cliff and heard the sound of pottery breaking. He and his friends gained access to the interior of the cave which housed many clay jars, containing leather and papyrus scrolls.
The collection was purchased by an antiquities dealer, who ended up selling them to various people and institutions. Once it was realized the items were more than 2000 years old, word of the discovery began to travel fast. Bedouin treasure hunters and archaeologists unearthed tens of thousands of additional scroll fragments from 10 nearby caves. Almost 900 scrolls have now been found.
They Matter Because They Contain Actual History
Many of the scrolls have since been translated and include fragments from every book of the Old Testament except for the book of Esther. The consistency between the later versions of the Old Testament and these scrolls written a thousand years earlier is striking. Some of the knowledge in the scrolls is validated by recently excavated archaeological sites and reinforces the belief that the Old Testament contains an actual history of events, and is not purely myth or metaphor.
For instance, the book of Isaiah talks about the Assyrian Palaces, not discovered until 1840. Isaiah gives a number of historical facts relating to the Assyrians that remarkably confirm the accuracy of Isaiah.
Does that mean the rest of the Old Testament is also a history? Could the stories of the creation of man, the garden of Eden, the great flood, the Nephilm and the Ark of the Covenant also be true?
Who Wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls?
It is believed by most scholars that the scrolls were written by a group of Essene’s living in Qumran. However, new research suggests many of the Dead Sea Scrolls may have originated elsewhere and were written by multiple Jewish groups, some fleeing the circa-A.D. 70 Roman siege that destroyed the legendary Temple in Jerusalem. Could the scrolls could in fact be the lost treasure of the Temple of Jerusalem? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Since the discovery of the initial ten caves, twenty more caves have been found, most unexcavated. In fact they are at risk of being looted and robbed by treasure hunters. It is possible that the newly found caves contain more scrolls, coins, treasure, and artifacts that are historically significant.
Archaeologist Dr. Aaron Judkins is heading to Qumran in December 2016 to excavate a new cave as part of a team approved by the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
“The discovery of a new cave at Qumran holds promise of being a ancient repository that could contain treasures such as artifacts, coins, and scroll jars with scrolls. Only an excavation to discover what lies beneath the sands of time will enable us to solve this mystery. The Israeli authorities have granted us a permit to excavate at Qumran, the famous site of the community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is an extraordinary opportunity for me to work with lead archaeologist Dr. Randall Price & archaeologist Bruce Hall…This world renowned site is historically famous, and is where the majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls (or DSS) were discovered in 1947 in Qumran. The dig has been given a narrow window from the end of December 2016 into the first weeks of January 2017.”
Judkins is known as the “Maverick Archaeologist”, a nickname he earned for his unconventional thinking and questing for historical truth. Most recently he worked on an expedition and documentary about Noah and the Ark. He has also spent time researching the elongated skulls of Peru and Bolivia, pursuing his passion of forbidden archaeology. He is currently raising funds to support his participation in the Dead Sea Cave project. Judkins’ fundraising pagecontains numerous updates and videos about what has been found in the area, and what he hopes to accomplish.
It will be interesting to follow his journey and see what is buried beneath the sands of time. Click “learn more” below to watch his video about the Dead Sea Cave Project!
This article first appeared on grahamhancock.com and is written by Micheal Tellinger.
The history of southern Africa is one of the great untold stories of the world. It has remained a guarded mystery by traditional knowledge keepers and African shaman for thousands of years. But in 2003 everything changed with the accidental and serendipitous discovery of an ancient stone calendar that caused a chain reaction of events, which led us to decoding one of the greatest missing pieces regarding our human origins and the activity of the Anunnaki on planet Earth.
Many history books and scholars have told us that the first civilisation on Earth emerged in a land called Sumer, some 6000 years ago. This Sumerian civilisation left behind a detailed account of human activity in millions of clay tablets that continue to reveal critical human behaviour and outlines the relationship between the Anunna gods and the people of Sumer.
But our archaeological discoveries that began in 2003 suggest that the Sumerians may have inherited much of their knowledge from a civilisation that emerged many thousands of years earlier in southern Africa, already thought to be the cradle of humankind. These discoveries also suggest that the same deities, who have become known as the Anunnaki through the works of Zecharia Sitchin and many others, were also very active in the lives of the people of southern Africa, more than 200,000 years ago.
In 2003, a strange arrangement of large stones that were neatly planted at the edge of a cliff near the town of Kaapschehoop, South Africa, was spotted by Johan Heine from his aeroplane. After returning to the spot the next day to see the site on the ground, he instantly realised that this was no ordinary, nor natural arrangement of monoliths, and so began a process of measurements and calculations that lasted several years. His meticulous analysis clearly shows that this was an ancient calendar that is aligned with the movements of the sun, solstices and equinoxes, and that we can still mark every day of the year by the movement of the shadows cast on the flat surface of the calendar stone at the centre of the site.
But as it is with many ancient sites, including Stonehenge, the calendar aspect is not the main purpose of this structure, but merely a crucial feature built into the site. We have discovered deeper and more mysterious functions that only became apparent after many electronic and scientific measurements several years later.
Through its alignment with the stars and the movement of the sun, this African Stonehenge that I named ‘Adam’s Calendar’ has for the first time created a link to the countless other stone ruins in southern Africa, and suggests that these ruins are much older than we initially thought and forces us to start rethinking the activity by early humans in the so-called “Cradle of Humankind”.
The discovery of this calendar site was nothing new to Johan Heine, who had already spent at least 15 years photographing mysterious circular stone structures scattered throughout the mountains and valleys of southern Africa. These circular stone ruins have become affectionately known as the “stone circles” and they lie scattered in large clusters throughout the entire sub-continent that includes South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and parts of Mozambique. The complex that links Nelspruit, Waterval Boven, Machadodorp, Carolina, Badplaas, Dullstroom and Lydenburg, and has a radius of approximately 60 kilometres, covering an area larger then modern-day Los Angeles, has emerged as the largest and most mysterious ancient city on Earth.
The discovery of a bird statue that resembles Horus carved out of dolerite, a small sphinx about 1,5 metres long carved out of the same dolerite rock, a petroglyph of a winged disk, many carvings of Sumerian crosses in circles and an ankh in a radiating circle suggest that the prototype Sumerian and Egyptian civilisations had their origins in southern Africa thousands of years before they emerged in the north.
After meeting Johan Heine in early 2007, he invited me, along with a large group of the most senior scholars in the field of archaeology, history and geology from several South African universities, to experience the spectacular vista of the ruins from a helicopter, an event that spanned an entire weekend. Though this was an incredible opportunity of a birds-eye-view of the stone circles, on the day of the event, I was the only one to arrive. And so, I alone gained new perspective and became the one that carried the torch of future research and investigation.
Six years of research by a group of independent scientists and explorers has delivered what may be the crucial missing elements in our understanding of the lives and development of early modern humans. Our discoveries have been noted in two books – Adam’s Calendar and African Temples of The Anunnaki and will be updated in the soon to be released The Lost City of ENKI. But the research has also shown that these stone settlements represent the most mysterious and misunderstood structures found to date. It points to a civilisation that lived at the southern tip of Africa, mining gold for more than 200,000 years, and then completely and suddenly vanished from the radar. We may be looking at the activities of the oldest civilisation on Earth.
Little did I know that when I named the newly discovered stone calendar “Adam’s Calendar” how close to the truth I would be. This was only revealed to me by the preeminent Zulu Shaman Credo Mutwa some 2 years later, when he told me that he was initiated at the site in 1937 as a young shaman, and that this site is known to African knowledge keepers as Inzalo Ye Langa, or “Birthplace of The Sun”, where “heaven mated with mother earth” and where humanity was created by the gods.
But Credo went even further in his detailed explanation of the deep significance of the site when he explained that it was not just any god of the ancient times that created humanity, but specifically a deity that is know in Zulu as “Enkai”, the same deity know as ENKI in the Sumerian texts. This throws a whole new spin on our understanding of the Anunnaki on Earth and the “fingerprints” they left not only on ancient stone ruins but also the genetic manipulation and creation of the human race. These fingerprints have now been very clearly exposed in our genetic makeup by the brilliant work of William Brown, a molecular biologist and geneticist of the highest order who is part of the research team of Nassim Haramein’s Resonance Project Research Foundation, on the island of Kauai.
Out of Synch Alignments
After surveying Adam’s Calendar, it turned out that the north, south, east, west alignment is out by 3 degrees – 17 minutes – 43 sec in an anti-clockwise direction. This may be a critical discovery regarding turbulent times in antiquity because it irrefutably proves that the earth’s north-south alignment today, is not where it was when the calendar was constructed. It irrefutably proves that our planet has undergone a crustal displacement, or something along those lines, taking the north-south pole alignment with it. The theory of Crustal Shift or Crustal Displacement was proposed by scientist Charles Hapgood and strongly supported by Albert Einstein. Adam’s Calendar gives us the geophysical proof that such events did actually occur. What we do not know however at this stage, is when this shift happened.
Mysterious ancient ruins of southern Africa.
Until I started my research in 2007, it was generally accepted by scholars that there are about 20,000 ancient stone ruins scattered throughout the mountains of southern Africa. Modern historians have been speculating about the origins of these ruins, often calling them “cattle kraal of little historic importance”. The truth of the matter is that closer scientific inspection paints a completely different and astonishing new picture about the ancient history of these stone ruins. The scientific reality is that we actually know very little about these spectacular ancient ruins and it is a great tragedy that thousands have already been destroyed, and continue to be destroyed through sheer ignorance by power lines, forestry, municipalities, farmers and new housing developments.
After my personal explorations on foot and by air over the ruins, I confidently estimated the number of ancient stone ruins to be well over 100,000. This figure was confirmed by Prof. Revil Mason in January 2009. But after doing an extensive count on Google Earth and other aerial photographs I concluded that there are at least a staggering 10 million of these circular ruins. The mystery deepened when I found out that they have no doors or entrances in their original form and therefore could not have been dwellings. They were all originally connected by what we now call channels – (which our history books call roads that tribes drove their cattle on) – and are also surrounded and connected to an ongoing grid of agricultural terraces that cover more than 450,000 square kilometres. This clearly points to a vast vanished civilisation who grew crops on a gigantic scale.
This immediately poses a huge problem for archaeologists, anthropologists and historians because the accepted history of this part of the planet does not at any time in our past place anywhere nearly enough people here to have built this number of structures. It gets even more complex when you realise that these were not just isolated structures left behind by migrating hunter-gatherers, but a giant complex of circular structures all connected by the strange channels and suspended in a never-ending web of agricultural terraces. If we were to assume that these were dwellings, it would suggest a population of at least 10 million people – which is unimaginable to most of us today.
Ancient Gold Fields
It is important to note that the mysterious ruins of southern Africa, which include Great Zimbabwe and millions of similar ruins in that country, also extend into neighbouring areas like Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique. But why were these ancient people here in the first place? What were they doing?
The past 200 years has seen a number of explorers write in great detail about these ruins, but their findings have been largely forgotten and their books are out of print. Most of these early explorers write about thousands of ancient mine shafts found in close proximity to these ruins. In fact, most of these mines have been described as gold mines, copper, tin and iron mines. In my personal experience and research I have found at least 25 ancient mine shafts in gold-rich areas and been told about dozens more by farmers all over South Africa. Ancient mines covered by 30 metres of soil have been reported by at least 2 miners in the ‘30’s in the province of Limpopo and more than 75,000 mines have been reported by geological companies in Mpumalanga. It seems that gold mining has been going on here for a lot longer than most of us ever imagined.
Ann Kritzinger, a geologist from University of Zimbabwe has shown in several papers that many of the ruins in Zimbabwe were most likely for the purpose of extracting and purifying gold – and were not slave pits, animal pits or grain pits as is often suggested by ignorant scholars.
The presence of Dravidian gold miners is shown in great detail by Dr Cyril Hromnik in his astonishing book “Indo Africa” 1981 – showing in great detail the exploits of the MaKomati people – Hindu Dravidians – who were here in southern Africa mining gold as far back as 2000 years ago and probably even further back in time.
Sumeria and Abantu
The links to the Sumerian civilisation in southern Africa simply cannot be ignored or erased. They can even be traced with etymology in the names and origins of indigenous people. The most obvious evidence are the mysterious origins of the word “Abantu”, the name commonly used to describe black South Africans. According to Credo Mutwa, the name is derived from the Sumerian goddess Antu. “Abantu” simply means the children or people of Antu.
Energy Generation – Ancient knowledge
Extensive electronic measurements in 2011 have shown that the circular stone ruins are in fact energy generating devices, using the natural sound that emanates from the surface of the Earth, creating electromagnetic fields as a result of the sound amplification. The shape of the circular ruins are all very specific and unique because each circle represents the cymatic pattern of the sound energy as it appears on the surface of the earth at that point. This energy was amplified by a simple understanding of harmonics and utilised in the same way that we generate LASER and SASER beam technology today. Giant magnetron-shaped structures suggest that this was well understood by the ancients. I have measured these spectacular energies and electromagnetic waves and therefore do not hesitate to make these claims. Some of the sound frequencies go into the extremely high Giga hertz levels (over 380 Giga hertz) which are unheard of on Earth today in any normal application.
The fact that these circles are all connected by the stone channels makes it very clear to any scientist who works with electricity or energy that the stone circle complex is a giant energy generating grid that was most likely used in the mining and processing of gold on a scale unimaginable to us today.
Dating of The Ruins And Artefacts
This is a critical aspect of my research and there are several methods that I have had to resort to because we cannot use carbon dating to establish the age of stone. Neither can we assume that pottery or other artefacts found in the ruins were left behind by the architects. The many tools and artefacts that I have collected for my small museum in Waterval Boven are very unique and very mysterious – all made out of stone. They all seem to display strong acoustic properties and I call them “stones that ring like bells”. This was the realisation that led me to discover that sound played a critical role in the building of the ruins and the use of the energies that they create. One of the most obvious techniques I use in determining the possible age of the tools, is the patina growth that forms on the rock. The kind of patina or skin that grows on these artefacts, grows at a very slow rate that is estimated to be about one thousand years per microscopic layer. In other words, by the time that the patina is visible to the naked eye, it is already a few thousand years old. Most of the artefacts in my collection are completely covered in patina several millimetres thick, suggesting that these ancient tools must be well over 100,000 years old or even substantially older.
In conclusion, we are standing at the threshold of a brand new discovery that will expose great surprises and unveil a great hidden part of human history. My book UBUNTU Contributionism – A Blueprint For Human Prosperity was released in September 2013 and I am completing the follow up to African Temples of The Anunnaki that will contain all the latest discoveries and conclusions I have reached regarding the vanished civilisations of southern Africa to date.
An aerial view of the calendar site perched on the edge of the Transvaal escarpment consisting of black reef quartzite. The tree on the right is the north marker – the tree on the left marks south. All the monoliths that make up the circular calendar structure are dolerite. We do not know where the dolerite comes from. Note the sculptured pointed monolith closest to the edge. This is one of the 3 fallen monoliths that aligns with the rise of Orion’s belt.
Johan Heine shows us the shadow that moves from left to right of the calendar stone, allowing us to mark the days of the year, from the summer solstice on the left edge, to the winter solstice on the right edge.
A close-up view of the Adam’s Calendar, showing that the north-south line dissects the two central calendar stones. The tree in the centre is where the north marker stone is located.
This monolith at Adam’s Calendar was removed from its original position in 1994 where it stood looking at the sunrise on the equinox over the large central monoliths. It now serves as a plaque stand at the entrance to the nature reserve.
Although it is badly eroded, the original circular form of the calendar site can still be seen on this satellite image, with the 2 main monoliths at its centre. The north-south deviation can also be immediately seen as the north marker slants slightly to the left of 12 o’clock. It was measure do be 3 degrees, 17 minutes and 43 sec.
One of the many mysterious ancient stone ruins that seems to have a greater purpose in its design. The Phi factor of 1,618 seems to be well used in this and other structures’ dimensions.
A small section of the ancient energy grid that stretches more than 450,000 km square linked by the ancient channels that can be clearly seen from the air. This kind detail is not at all visible to observers on the ground.
Ancient terraces surround large complex structures and cover more than 450,000 km square.
For more information about my research and presentations please see my website
Michael Tellinger is a scientist, researcher, and regular guest on more than 200 radio shows in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe, such as Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and the Shirley Maclaine Show. In March 2011 he hosted the Megalithomania Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, featuring Graham Hancock, Andrew Collins, and Robert Temple. He lives in South Africa.
A rectangular wall found more than 100 years ago in Texas, may be an antediluvian remnant.
Most people living in Rockwall Texas do not even know that their city is named after an ancient Rock Wall City complete with the skull of a giant that was found while some people were digging a well looking for a water a long time ago. The Wall is an almost perfect rectangle 4 miles wide and 7 miles encompassing more than 20 square miles long with most of the wall being buried. The top of the wall at all outcroppings found to date have a uniform elevation of 550 ft. above mean sea level. Most Rockwall residents do not know about this wall. Of the early settlers, there were three Newcomers, T.U. Wade, B.F. Boydston and a Mr. Stevenson that had arrived to establish a farming community. In 1852, T.U. Wade and his family began building their house on the east side of the east fork of the Trinity River valley near the western edge of the present townsite of Rockwall which is just north of today’s Highway 66.
In the process of digging the homestead well, Mr. Wade hit a stone formation. Further digging and investigation discovered a “rock wall” below the surface which ran at an extended length. Before digging the well, they dug a shaft through a cross section of this larger wall, but the stones were wet and so heavy, after about thirty feet, they abandoned the work of drawing the stones out of the shaft.
They directed the remainder of the shaft to the outside of the wall to complete a well. At about thirty- five feet down they discovered an almost perfect square opening through the wall, which has been referred to as a “window.”
The opening was two feet square, in a two foot section of the wall. The total depth of the shaft was forty-two feet, but they did not find the bottom of the structure.
At the time, Stevenson, Boydston and Wade were at odds with each other, each wanting to name the town after themselves. On the discovery of the “rock wall” they decided to name the town Rockwall and resolve their differences.
The following is information gathered from Mary Pattie (Wade) Gibson, granddaughter of T.U. Wade, founder of the wall at the Rockwall County Historical Foundation. She described the additional digging her grandfather and other men did at the homesite.
In this description were cubicles or rooms constructed of stone which you could walk through and would reach a corridor which seemed to run in a direction into the hill that the town square sits above.
She told of an incident in 1906 of two unidentified men digging out the corridor which had apparently been filled with erosion. Their intent was to reach a room or cavity under the town which would be full of gold, apparently derived in part from Indian legend.
The ceiling of the corridor had steep slopes (describing a Gothic type arched ceiling, much like the Mayans built), and the further into the corridor the two men excavated the steeper the slope of the ceiling became, consequently, the men fearful of a structural failure abandoned their search for gold.
Mary Pattie Gibson also spoke that her grandfather’s exploration of the wall, discovered on the outside, the wall went straight down. On the inside she described the wall going down to about forty feet, curves inward and becomes much thicker.
This sounded like a buttress effect that has been used to support high standing structures and implies direction and transfer of liveloads.
Additional information provided by the daughter of the late Mr. Deweese, an early settler of Rockwall, who described a doorway with a diagonal shaped stone in the wall at the Wade residence on Highway 66. This portion of the wall was open to visitors from 1936 until the late 1940’s, and was consequently back filled because of dangerous structural conditions.
In 1949, a Mr. Sanders of Fort Worth, Texas, did an excavation of the wall. From this excavation four large stones were brought up with the largest weighing approximately two tons. On these stones were found inscriptions with what appear to be pictographs.
These extremely dense stones have been underground, therefore erosion has not been the cause of the designs on them, Moreover, there are no other stones or portions of the wall with inscriptions or diagrams that have been discovered to date. (J. Glenn, 1950)
There are other reports of doorways or windows found in the wall through the past 100 years such as reported in the Dallas Morning News, 5 November 1967 by Frank X. Tolbert, “Back in the 1920’s, T.H. Meredith said a well was dug on his farm just east of the town of Rockwall, and Mr. Meredith declared that the digging went along side a masonry wall which seemed to have an arch over a doorway or window.” Metal rings were found at the site which were composed of Tin, Titanium and Iron, embedded in the rock. You can see it in the photo at left, just above the pick axe.
Quotes from scientists who are presently involved with or have inspected the excavation and research to date of effort to expose the “Rockwall”:
“The exposed wall is quite spectacular to see first hand and determining its origin, genesis and age invokes a number of exciting research opportunities that can certainly advance our understanding of this type of phenomena.
The most important fact, however, is the point that geologists actually do not know the precise processes that created this feature; and, therefore, a systematic and detailed study of a section of the wall has the potential to expand our knowledge and reveal new data not considered heretofore”
Randall Moir Ph.D Archaeologist – Dallas, Texas.
“It is good when examples like Rockwall appear that test our abilities and cause us to question basic Newtonian Mechanistic assumptions that have not been modified for over 150 years. Physics had to abandon this approach at the turn of this century, opting instead for relativity and quantum mechanics in order to further their understanding of matter and the universe.
These two theories are currently undergoing radical revision behind the scenes because of new discoveries that do not fit that paradigm. We would do well to embrace the new physics to help us explain things that we have swept beneath the rug for too long before we lose all credibility.”
Greyfriars excavation, Oxford, England (Courtesy Oxford Archaeology)
An excavation in Oxford, England, conducted by Oxford Archaeology in advance of the expansion of a shopping center, has turned up a large number of leather and wood objects dating to the fourteenth century, when the site was occupied by buildings associated with the Greyfriars religious order. The artifacts were unusually well preserved because they were buried beneath the water table. Among the finds are around 100 leather shoes, a leather bag, a leather money purse, and a wooden bowl.
“Somebody seems to have been saving up worn-out shoes,” says Ben Ford, the excavation’s project manager. “Maybe it was a cobbler working at the friary.”*
Credit: Written By Daniel Weiss Contributor – Archaeology Magazine
Bones of a prehistoric woman discovered in a burial site in the Hilazon cave in northern Israel. (Naftali Hilger)
Well-preserved burial site sheds new light on the prevalence of ritual practice in prehistoric human society
Adorned with tortoise shells, gazelle horns and a human foot, the 12,000-year-old grave of a woman unearthed in northern Israel is shedding new light on the prevalence of ritual practice in prehistoric society.
Israeli and American archaeologists, who discovered the well-preserved burial site in the Hilazon Tachtit Cave in the Galilee, suspect the body belonged to a female shaman who lived during the the late Natufian era (10,800-9,500 BCE)
Fragments of chalk and limestone along with a leopard’s pelvis, a forearm of a wild boar and an eagle’s wing were also among the unusual objects discovered surrounding the remains of the woman.
The team of archaeologists — led by Hebrew University’s Prof. Leore Grosman and Prof. Natalie Munro of Connecticut University — were able to speculatively reenact the woman’s funeral ceremony that took place as human societies began to shift from hunter gatherers to agriculture-based communities.
“One of the earliest funeral banquets ever to be discovered reveals a pre-planned, carefully constructed event that reflects social changes at the beginning of the transition to agriculture in the Natufian period,” a statement from the Hebrew University this week said of the discovery.
The cave — home to at least 28 other graves — was first discovered in 2006, though Grosman and Munro were only recently able to sequence the order of the funeral ritual.
“We’ve assigned the event to stages based on field notes, digitized maps, stones, architecture and artifact frequency distributions and concentrations,” Grosman said.
Grosman noted the wide range of activities required to preparation for the ritual, including the collection of various materials and animal slaughter.
“The significant pre-planning implies that there was a defined ‘to do’ list, and a working plan of ritual actions and their order,” he said.
The statement said the discovery was unprecedented, since the study of ancient burial rituals has up until now only been possible after humans began to bury their dead in archaeologically visible locations.
The Natufian period (15,000-11,500 years ago) in the southern Levant marks an increase in the frequency and concentration of human burials.
“The remnants of a ritual event at this site provide a rare opportunity to reconstruct the dynamics of ritual performance at a time when funerary ritual was becoming an increasingly important social mediator at a crucial juncture deep in human history,” the researchers said.
According to Grosman and Munro, the unprecedented scale and extent of social change in the Natufian era make the period central to current debates regarding the origin and significance of social and ritual engagement in the prehistoric agricultural transition.*
The Controversial Legacy of Arthur Posnansky, The Half-Forgotten Pioneer of Andean Archaeology.
By Dave Truman
Arthur Posnansky enjoys a rather ambiguous status in contemporary Bolivian archaeology. On the one hand, he is hailed as the father of the South American nation’s archaeological pedagogy. On the other, many of his findings are ignored and his theories dismissed. There are cultural reasons for this curious ambiguity. Although Posnansky was born in Austria, he spent most of his life in Bolivia studying the remains of Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco) and the surrounding Altiplano of the High Andes. For this reason, he is almost universally held in high esteem by present-day Bolivians. The implications of what he found, however – after over fifty years of excavations and analysis – do not sit easily with the current archaeological consensus concerning Andean pre-history.
The essential difference between that consensus and Posnanky’s work centers on when Tiwanaku rose to prominence as a sophisticated culture. Contemporary archaeologists consider Tiwanaku to have flourished some time after 1,500 BC until around 500 AD. In doing so, they have drawn almost exclusively on two methodologies: radio carbon 14 dating and obsidian hydration dating. Posnansky dated Tiwanaku to around 15,000 BC by measuring the astronomical correlation of one of the site’s temples. However, he had found much to corroborate this early date in geological evidence and from the numerous physical excavations he had undertaken. Most of this work is simply ignored today because it raises awkward questions about whether these methods should used as the sole arbiters of the age of a given site. This is especially so in the Andes, where the prevailing geological and climactic conditions raise questions about their limitations.
Geology versus archaeology
In fact, geological studies conducted on the Altiplano in the 1980s are far closer to Posnansky’s dating than the archaeological consensus, indicating a human presence of around eleven thousand years. Human occupation there followed the initial shrinking of a great lake, called Tauca, which was formed at the end of the transitions from the Pleistocene to the present Holocene era. These early occupants were hunter-gatherers, by which it is often inferred that they were the “primitive” predecessors of the people who built Tiwanaku. We have, however, no hard evidence of this and their hunter-gathering lifestyle may equally have resulted from the aftermath of catastrophe as much as any innate “primal” qualities they may have had.
Posnanky’s own geological studies indicated that there had been two principal periods of flooding on the altiplano. One was largely of salt water, whilst the other had consisted of fresh. He concluded that the source of the salt water had been the Pacific, whereas the fresh water had originated from melting glaciers. He hypothesised that sea water had become trapped on the altiplano when the Andes had risen rapidly duirng the Pleistocene. Posnansky was not, of course, aware of more recent evidence indicating a sequence of catastrophic changes that had engendered the Younger Dryas. His careful observations of Andean geology, however, were remarkably prescient of those of geologists later in the 20th century, who had started to call into question the exclusivity of uniformatarianism to describe the way that the Andes had formed.
Excavations in Pleistocene strata
Posnansky’s most intriguing findings were from the excavations he made on the altiplano at Tiwanaku and on the shores of present-day Lake Titikaka. Although he was an engineer by profession, he was one of the first to have excavated Tiwanaku systematically. He makes several references in his Tihuanacu, Cradle of American Man, to how previous excavators and treasure hunters had destroyed so much valuable evidence. In the altiplano’s alluvial mud, Posnansky discovered, mixed up with human bones, the remains of species of fish and aquatic fauna that are still living today in Titikaka’s waters. This he took to be definitive proof that Tiwanaku had been flooded at least once in its long history.
The original Kalasasaya
Rebuilt wall of Kalasasaya
When Posnansky excavated beneath Tiwanaku’s Akapana Pyramid, he found a strange-looking skull, along with fragments of a human skeleton. He described the skull as being “fosilised,” “deformed.” and of great antiquity. This was because it was discovered deep beneath the Pyramid. He identified its geological stratum as being the same as one in which a toxodon’s skull had been found. Toxodons had lived in South America until the final warming that had marked the end of the Younger Dryas, between about 9,500 BC and 9,000 BC. Current evidence indicates that toxodons preferred drier environments, suggesting that the stratum in question may have dated from earlier than very end of the Pleistocene.
Skull of a Toxodon
Relief carvings of mega-fauna?
Posnansky identified what he thought may have been relief carvings of Pleistocene animals on the walls and many stone gateways of Tiwanaku. He wondered if some of the carvings – now generally considered to be stylized representations of pumas – might actually have depicted memories of a genus of Pleistocene cats called Smilodon, which had preyed on camelids in western South America. In doing so, he posed a question that modern researchers overlook; why do only some of Tiwanaku’s representations of felines display unusually large canine teeth? It is widely accepted that the puma played a central role in shamanism at Tiwanaku, so the answer to this question may be ethnographic, rather than zoological. Even if the answer, however, is that they are not stylized portrayals of sabre-toothed cats, its investigation would generate a line of inquiry that could enrich our knowledge of this enigmatic site.
Skull of a Smilodon
The taboo of astronomical dating
If he is remembered at all today, Arthur Posnansky is famous for the polemic that surrounds his astronomical dating of Tiwanaku at 15,000 BC. It is not just that this date is far too early to fit the conventional paradigm, but it implies the possession of a sophisticated understanding of the heavens amongst those who constructed Tiwanaku. This challenges many current assumptions about the intellectual and technological capabilities of the Pleistocene inhabitants of the Andes. Above all, Posnansky employed a methodology of astronomical dating pioneered by Sir Norman Lockyer that is still viewed with suspicion in some quarters.
Lockyer’s method measured the angle of the sun’s azimuth on significant dates at sites in Egypt and Greece and then calculated the age of their construction by reference to changes in the Earth’s axial tilt over time. Posnansky used the same basic methodology, measuring the deviation in the position of the eastern cornerstones of Tiwanaku’s Kalasasaya Temple from the azimuth of solstice sunrises in his own time. The resultant date of 15,000 BC raised such furor among some archaeologists that a team of astronomers was dispatched from Germany to Bolivia. They worked for three months to re-calculate the date. In the end, they dated the site at 9,300 BC. Posnansky’s critics persisted in urging them to reduce the site’s age still further, which they refused to do.
Cornerstone of the Kalasasaya
Subsequent astronomical dating undertaken by Professor Neil Steede, yielding a date of 10,000 BC, was confirmed by Doctor Oswaldo Rivera in 1996. These dating exercises have benefited from the use of accurate computerized data, especially the Astronomical Alamanac. This gives much more reliable values for the changes in the Earth’s axial tilt over time than Lockyer or Posnansky ever had. Dr Rivera’s work measured the deviation of the angles of solstitial sunrises and sunsets. He did this by taking measurements from all four of the Kalasasaya’s corner megaliths, This rendered it extremely improbable that the differences between the contemporary solstitial azimuths and the positioning of the cornerstones were simply inaccuracies on the part of any putative builders in a later epoch. He concluded that all four cornerstones had been positioned accurately somewhere around 10,000 BC. Dr Rivera resigned from his post as Director of the Bolivian National Institute of Archaeology shortly after this announcement.
The value and limitations of different dating methods
There is a natural tendency for people to select evidence that supports their world-view and ignore any that may question it. In Andean archaeology, it seems that radio C14 and obsidian hydration
dating have been seized upon in order to support the relatively late emergence of civic society. Recent findings – using those same dating methods – have now demonstrated the existence of sophisticated urban life on Peru’s coast at 2,600 BC and in the Andes from at least 3,500 BC. The elevation, climate changes and geological history of the altiplano are capable of producing conditions that accentuate limitations in these dating methods. This has been coupled with a failure to define precisely what is being measured, Neither method can tell us when a stone was worked or set in place, even if it may tell us the last time someone lit a fire nearby, or when a blade was discarded there.
Posnansky’s approach to his life’s work was what we may call today multidisciplinary, but it was not that of a dabbling amateur. He embraced many different sources of evidence and investigated them rigorously. If some of Posnanky’s conclusions and hypotheses are found to be mistaken, they are still worthy of our attention. Even if they do not provide definitive answers, they may at least allow us to ask more pertinent questions about what sorts of people inhabited the Andes at the end of the Pleistocene.
1 Buero Rojo, Hugo, Buero Rojo, Sonia, El Imperio del Sol: Titicaca, El Lago Sagrado de los Incas,
Tiwanaku, Cusco, Machupicchu, Editorial Hispania, La Paz, 1987, p101.
2 El Imperio del Sol, p87.
3 Posnanasky, Arthur, Tiahuanacu, La Cuna del Hombre Americano, Augustin, Publ., New York and
Minister of Education, La Paz, Bolivia, p23, Archivo y Biblioteca Nacionales de Bolivia,
Alan Sutton is a free diver in Tanzania. He frequently dives near Mafia Island, the least known, southernmost island, off the Tanzanian coast. While out diving one day he spotted what appeared to be a reef and approached it. He thought it looked like a wall and decided to return to further investigate.
Flying over by helicopter Alan could see what appeared to be large blocks of rock, and a wall that stretched approximately four kilometers. This was highly unusual as the geology of the islands of the area is all sand. There are no natural rock or reef formations nearby.
Could this be the legendary lost city of Rhapta? Rhapta is mentioned in chapter 16 of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea; dated to 50 AD; which describes Rhapta as the southern most trading post of Azania.
Or might it be something else entirely?
Sutton returned to the site during a low spring tide, which is the only time the ruins are partially above water. What they found was astonishing. Thousands of rectangular and oblong cut stone blocks, forming foundations and a wall, stretching into the distance.
Stone Blocks. Photo credit: Alan Sutton and Hannah Jane
The blocks are completely encrusted in sea life and Sutton believes that they must be hundreds of years old. The city appears to have been extremely well constructed and unlike any other archaeological ruins in Tanzania. The topmost part of the ruins lie under five meters of water during high tide. Some of the foundations are ten meters underwater. It must have been built when sea level was lower. Local fisherman who fish around the area every day say that long ago, before the sea came in, people used to live there. While there are accounts of a lost Portuguese fort in these waters, this site does not logically fit that description.
We are more inclined to postulate the site may be thousands of years old and was built by an antediluvian civilization. The wall itself is made of gigantic megalithic stone blocks from an unknown quarry that could be at least 37 kilometers away on the mainland.
It will be amazing to find out the measurements of the blocks and what type of rock they are.
Photo credit: Alan Sutton and Hannah Jane
Photo credit: Alan Sutton and Hannah Jane
Photo Credit: Allan Sutton
Photo Credit: Alan Sutton
Photo credit: Alan Sutton and Hannah Jane
Archaeologists have yet to visit the site. Ancient Explorers will keep you updated as we learn more.
Written by Camara Cassin.
All photo and video credits to Alan Sutton and Hannah Jane.
A well known Egyptologist named Nicholas Reeves may have found Nefertiti’s resting place in two hidden chambers in King Tut’s tomb. His preliminary radar scans of the monument have found “two open spaces, with signs of metal and organic matter” behind the tombs western and northern walls.
His theory is that undiscovered chambers lie behind the tomb and likely contain the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, one of Egypt’s most famous figures. The theory has prompted new exploration and it has been extensively scanned by radar.
When he presented his theory at the the Egyptian conference May 8-9, 2016 he was met with disdain and denial.
“In all my career… I have never come across any discoveries in Egypt due to radar scans.” Zahi Hawass said. He further suggested the team should go take their radar somewhere else, and practice on other monuments known to have hidden chambers.
But what Hawass said isn’t accurate. In 2000 Reeves’ team found an undisturbed funerary chamber (KV63) using ground-penetrating radar in the Valley of the Kings.
Tomb found in GPR study in 2000.
The Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anani, said he would continue to allow scans of the tomb but that they wouldn’t be allowed to do any physical exploration until he was “100 percent sure there is a cavity behind the wall.”
The thing is that Nicholas Reeves isn’t just some archaeologist off the street. He is the Director of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project and the Senior Egyptologist with the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition. He graduated with honors and received his PhD 31 years ago for his thesis on tomb robbery and mummy caching. He has previously been the Curator of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at The British Museum.
In other words – Reeves is highly qualified and yet the Egyptian Antiquities department is blocking him.
Could it be because Egypt doesn’t want anyone to know what is behind that wall? Nefertiti and her entire family are known for their elongated skulls.
A new discovery, one so public, would be impossible to cover up. DNA evidence taken from a mummy carries a lot of weight. Many have theorized that both Tutankhamun parents, Akhenaten and Nefertiti, are ancient aliens, or a lost human species.
Akhenaten and Nefertiti shown with daughters. All have elongated skulls.
Nefertiti ruled alongside her husband during the 18th dynasty. Following Akhenaten’s death around 1336 BC Nefertiti ruled independently for 14 years. She was known to be a shrewd military commander as well as a beautiful, graceful woman. She became Tutankhamen’s guardian and gained further power by marrying him to one of her daughters.
Mystery and intrigue surround her disappearance, because the queen simply vanished from the world scene after the 14th year. While her tomb has never been found she is said to have been buried with military weapons of gold that lay beside her mirror, fan, and jewels.
In closing Nicholas Reeves said “I was looking for the evidence that would tell me that my initial reading was wrong, but I didn’t find any evidence to suggest that. I just found more and more indicators that there is something extra going on in Tutankhamun’s tomb.”
We can only hope that enough pressure is put on Egypt to allow him to find out.