Baalbek, situated in the Bekka Valley in Lebanon, undoubtedly presents us with what I consider to be one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world. It was the site of a most impressive Roman temple complex dedicated to Jupiter. However, the very name Baalbek suggests an earlier connection with the Caananite/Phoenician god Baal.
Velikovsky(i) and others have supported the idea that Baakbek was in fact the location of the biblical Dan, recorded as the most northern city of ancient Israel.
One commentator has suggested a link with Indian yogis!(t)
Although the Roman remains are still impressive, it is some blocks in the lower and presumably earlier courses(d), that have continued to stump archaeologists, three of which are of cut limestone and are estimated to weigh up to 800 tons(c). (compare with content of link(k))
An article(q) by Gian J. Quasara regarding this strange masonry is worth a read.
Even more disturbing is a block still lying in a nearby quarry, where it was cut, and which has been calculated to exceed 1000 tons and named The Stone of the Pregnant Woman. Another block, in the same quarry, was only discovered in the 1990’s and is thought to be even heavier at 1200 tons(g).
Hugh Newman, a self-described ‘megalithomaniac’(r), has produced a paper(s) on the enormous Baalbek monoliths, in which he cites Graham Hancock speculatively dating the Baalbek megaliths at 12,000 years or more old.
In March 2014, it was widely reported(e) that even heavier megaliths had been identified on Siberia’s Mount Shoria. However, the images I have seen suggest to me a natural origin(f). A short video clip is available(j).
We do not know how such huge objects were made or moved in ancient times. I often think that the bigger question is why did they bother to cut such large blocks! An online article(b) tells how the ingenuity of our ancestors produced the most powerful hand crane in history which multiplied the force of its operator 632 times. However, just because we do not yet know precisely how the Baalbek blocks were manipulated, does not justify wild claims that they were moved by high-tech Atlanteans or extraterrestrials. I may not know how stage magicians saw ladies in half, but that does not compel me to label them Atlantean or alien.
The most persistent question relating to all megalithic structures is “how did they manage to build them using such large heavy rocks and blocks”? Many ingenious solutions are on offer, but perhaps the most remarkable is that proposed by W. T. Wallington who has demonstrated that using basic materials, which were available to the Egyptians, one individual can manipulate a 4500kg stone block. His website includes a remarkable video clip of his method. A review(n) of this video is worth a read. Another or comparable technology may have been used by Edward Leedskainin when he single-handedly built Coral Castle in Florida City(o). What is certain is that Leedskainin had no help from intergalactic visitors.
December 2014 found the latest estimate for the weight of the largest dressed stone found at Baalbek calculated to be 1650 tons(h).It is clear that some explanation is required, hopefully, something better than the implication of extraterrestrial intervention. I would like to think that if we had alien visitors that their technology would be in advance of the ‘stone’ age. Surely they would have something better to produce than enormous foundation stones, which to my puny mind does not smack of the best that a civilisation capable of travelling across the cosmos would have to offer! I find the claims of Graham Hancock or Erich von Dániken equally unconvincing in this instance.
A sober well-referenced article outlining the arguments in favour of identifying the megaliths as Roman is available online(k) as well as supportive blogs from Frank Dörnenburg(m).
A UNESCO sponsored hitech survey of the Baalbek site as part of a Risk Preparedness Strategy is now proposed so that the most appropriate remedial action can be taken in the event of natural deterioration or even war damage(l).
Brian Foerster’s website(p) has some remarkable images of the Baalbek masonry.
(a) http://www.eridu.co.uk/Author/Mysteries_of_the_World/Baalbek/baalbek2.html (7 parts) (link broken June 2018) See: Archive 3414
*(k) http://ancientaliensdebunked.com/references-and-transcripts/baalbek/ (link broken May 2018) See: Archive 2653*
(m) http://www.ramtops.co.uk/baalbek.html (offline October 2017) *See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170711050921/http://www.ramtops.co.uk/baalbek.html*
Zecharia Sitchin (1920-2010) was born in Russia and grew up in Palestine where he studied ancient Semitic languages and became one of the few to master the reading of the cuneiform writing of the Sumerians. After studying at the London School of Economics he took up a career in journalism. There are some questions regarding his academic credentials that are briefly explored by Frank Dörnenburg(g).
Then Sitchin began to develop his theory of ancient astronauts visiting earth in the past from the planet Nibiru (Planet X) and their colonisation of territory in what is now part of Iraq and the genetic manipulation of humans there. He based his theories on his interpretation of Sumerian cuneiform tablets. He also claimed that Nibiru had an orbit that took it to the outer reaches of the solar system and would return soon.
The late Alan F. Alford was initially an enthusiastic supporter of Sitchin’s ancient astronaut ideas, but later recanted(k).
Understandably, his ideas provoked a storm of controversy that lasted until his death and after. For my part I cannot understand how a race capable of space travel did not teach the Sumerian ancestors a writing system better than cuneiform and a medium better than clay tablets. Furthermore, the idea that the climate of a planet with such an unusual orbit could support the development of an advanced race capable of surviving the consequent extremes of temperature, is something I also find hard to comprehend.
Ian Lawton, the British researcher, wrote a rebuttal of Sitchin’s theories ten years ago(a). Further refutation came from Dörnenburg as well as on the the PaleoBabble website(b) of Michael S. Heiser(e), a scholar in the fields of biblical studies and the ancient Near East.
In late 2017 and early 2018 a two-part article(i)(j) by two young researchers, Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer added further criticism of Sitchin’s linguistic capabilities. In March 13th 2018, Clyde Winters also published on the same website a further refutation of Sitchin’s ‘ancient astronaut’ interpretation of the Sumerian seals.
Jason Colavito has also drawn attention(c) to the probability that Sitchin drew on the work of the British Assyriologist, George Smith (1840-1876), but distorted Smith’s conclusions in order to bolster his own theories.
Sitchin did not address the question of Atlantis directly until 2004, when he devoted a chapter of The Earth Chronicles Expeditions, where he considered the Minoan Hypothesis and found it wanting. He did not propose any specific location but suggested that there was a possible transatlantic connection. In the same chapter three, he discusses at some length the Phaistos Disk and a possible association with Atlantis! However, his broader views did find favour with a number of fringe Atlantis commentators such as the late Rob Solarion, Andrews and Zeitlmair.
Another follower of Sitchin, Thomas Ashmore, has suggested that some of the Annunaki ‘gods’ were exiled to Scandanavia where their deeds were preserved in Norse mythology(d).
Some of Sitchin’s books are available as pdf files in both English and Spanish(f) and in 2015 Sitchin’s niece, Janet Sitchin included some previously unpublished material of uncle’s in The Annunaki Chronicles. A rather negative review(h) was offered by essayist Noel Rooney.
(a) http://www.ianlawton.com/mesindex.htm (offline Nov. 2015)
(d) Nexus, Dec 2013/Jan 2014, (p.41)
(g) http://doernenburg.alien.de/alternativ/pyramide/pyr06_e.php (link broken May 2018) See Archive 2909
(h) Fortean Times FT342, July 2016 (p.59)
*(k) http://www.eridu.co.uk (link broken July 2018)*
In 1992 together with his geologist wife Edith, also now deceased, he published a work describing two cometary collisions in the 11th and 8th millennia BC. This is available online in German with the Introduction in English(d). Frank Dörnenburg has written a highly critical review (in German) of this book, concluding with the comments – Alles in allem habe ich mit ein wenig Internetsuche und Schulstoff die Basisbeweise des Buches aushebeln können, und diese nicht auf Fehler sondern unzweideutige Manipulationen der Autoren zurückführen können. “All in all I have with a little Internet search and schoolwork can nullify the basic proofs of the book, and this can not be reduced to unambiguous error but manipulation of the authors. Ich kann Autoren die bei so etwas derart dreist zu Werke gehen nicht trauen, und jeden Beleg nachzuprüfen ob sie wenigstens da die Wahrheit gesagt haben, dafür ist mir meine Zeit zu schade. I can authors with something so brazenly works will not be trusted, and verify each document if they have at least as telling the truth, but my time is too precious.” (Google translator)
With a mass of technical data they also claim that there was an earlier impact around 11000 BC when a comet struck the northern hemisphere in fragments.
Wikipedia offers an interesting critical review(b) of the Tollmanns’ theory, while the Golden Age Project established by Christian O’Brien presents a more sympathetic assessment(c).
These Late-Glacial impacts are suggested as the cause of the ‘Debacle’ flood in Ontario and the ‘Spokane Flood’ in the Columbia Basin. The Tollmans then claim that a second cometary impact occurred in 7552 BC that broke into seven pieces, one of which fell in the Atlantic. They maintain that the consequences of this event were the Flood of Noah and the Holocene Extinctions.
The Tollmanns backed up their claim with the results from field studies around the Köfels crater in the Austrian Tyrol. In 2008 two British researchers, Alan Bond & Mark Hempsell, controversially proposed that the Köfels impact was caused by an asteroid that was recorded on an Assyrian cuneiform tablet, which itself is a copy of an earlier Sumerian document dated to 3123 BC. It is also suggested that the same event was responsible for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Towards the end of his life Tollman appears to have become somewhat irrational, for example, on the basis of the prophecies of Nostradamus as well as a local ‘prophet’, Alois Irlmaier, together with the solar eclipse of August 11, 1999,and other signs, he predicted a global catastrophe for August 1999 and retreated to a bunkered existence, fearing the impending destruction(f).
Over ten years later other scientists claimed that a field of craters around Lake Chiemsee, in southeast Bavaria, was caused by fragments from a huge comet that broke up in the atmosphere(a). It should be noted that Lake Chiemsee is only about 50 km from the Köfels crater. Artefacts, including coins, seem to have been strongly heated on one side. This fact, together with Roman reports of stones falling from the skies and dendrochronology has suggested a date of around 200BC for the event.
(f) http://www.beobachter.ch/justiz-behoerde/buerger-verwaltung/artikel/alexander-tollmann-die-endzeitangst-ist-begruendet/ (offline May 2017 – see Archive 2968)
See Also: Asteroids and Comets, Emilio Spedicato
Extraterrestrial visitors have been suggested by a few of the more imaginative and sometimes unscrupulous authors and their publishers, as the source of an advanced civilisation in the past, remembered today as Atlantis. Martin Brady makes such a claim in a brief paper available online(h).
However, Professor Emilio Spedicato may have added some degree of respectability to the concept when he wrote(a) “There are significant indications in worldwide traditions that intelligent people from planets within a few hundred light years from Earth visited our planet and intelligently interacted with our biosphere”. He went on to claim that around 5500 BC some of these visitors landed in the Hunza valley of Pakistan where they engaged in a little genetic engineering which led to the ‘creation’ of Adam and Eve!
It should be noted that Plato’s account does not relate any technology beyond that of a Late Bronze Age society, whereas any civilisation founded by alien astronauts should present some evidence of technologies equal to if not more advanced than that of our present day capabilities. Bill Hanson and Bert Thurlings are some of the more recent promoters of this idea of an alien origin for Atlantis.
Hanson has been joined by the German researcher, Dieter Bremer (1952- ), who claims(b) that the winged disks found in Sumerian art represent a space station, which crashed! Bremer also provides a spirited defence of The Manna Machine by George Sassoon and Rodney Dale, combined with some bizarre theories regarding Christ. Incredibly, Bremer was invited to deliver a paper to the 2011 Atlantis Conference on the concentric circles of Plato’s Atlantean capital. He has published two books on his view of Atlantis[1022/3]. A more rational review of The Manna Machine is offered by Frank Dörnenburg(i).
The late Flying Eagle (1920-2007) and his partner Whispering Wind specified the planet Xylanthia(f) in the Sirius star system as the original home of a visitor who fell in love with an earthling and later became known as Poseidon!
The History Channel series entitled Ancient Aliens(d), now in its third season, has been heavily criticised on the Bad Archaeology website(c) and elsewhere. October 2011 saw another claim that the Maya had contact with extraterrestrials and that a documentary providing evidence is planned(e).
A sceptical review of extraterrestrial visitations was published in the 26th January 2014 edition of Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch(g).
I feel compelled to include a quote from the Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson who wrote “The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that they have never tried to contact us.”
(g) http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/science/2014/01/26/no-evidence-of-aliens-helping-ancient-cultures.html (link broken June 2018) See: Archive 2098)