Archaeoastronomy is a relatively new scientific discipline, which as the name implies combines archaeology and astronomy, particularly in the study of ancient megalithic monuments and their possible alignment with various celestial bodies.
Arguably the most famous example is Stonehenge, but our globe is littered with ancient monuments incorporating solar, lunar or astral alignments. Not all are as impressive or accessible as Stonehenge, Callanish or Newgrange but in remote places such as Nabta Playa or Fajada Butte (see Hadingham[1308.152]).
The subject was initially considered by some to be a ‘fringe’ topic, but in 1999 Clive Ruggles was appointed Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester(a) and is the author of the encyclopedic Ancient Astronomy.
The University of Maryland has had a Center for Archaeoastronomy since 1978(c).
The subject has never been central to Atlantis studies, but has hovered in the background, with writers such a Egerton Sykes(b) and Graham Hancock who employed aspects of the discipline in their publications.
Giulio Magli (1964- ) is an Italian archaeaostronomer with a website in English(e) dedicated to the application of the discipline in Egypt. In 2013, Magli proposed that aspects of the Göbleki Tepe site are related to the recent appearance of Sirius in the night sky around 9300 BC(f) . Andrew Collins and Rodney Hale argue against this interpretation(g) , which is perhaps understandable as they support a linkage with the Cygnus constellation. A 2004 paper by Magli, on precessional effects in ancient astronomy(h) , has recently been applied by Lenie Reedijk to her contention that the Maltese temples were oriented to Sirius.
A further application of the discipline was employed by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis who used it to interpret the carved symbols at Göbekli Tepe. In a 2017 paper(d) they concluded that the pillars there were used to record meteor showers and cometary encounters. They believe that one such encounter involved the explosion or impact of part of Encke’s Comet around 13,000 years ago, which triggered the Younger Dryas Event that kick-started the Neolithic Revolution.*Scientists who have worked on the site responded critically (i), which in turn evoked further comments from Sweatman and Tsikritsis(j).*
Sweatman later expanded their theory in his book Prehistory Decoded .
Archaeoastronomy is one of only a few dozen words with four consecutive vowels.
(j) https://www.academia.edu/33931844/MORE_THAN_A_VULTURE_A_RESPONSE_TO_SWEATMAN_AND_TSIKRITSIS (See end of paper)*
Pseudoarchaeology is described in Wikipedia as referring to interpretations of the past from outside of the archaeological science community, which reject the accepted datagathering and analytical methods of the discipline(a). In recent times it appears to have been used as a derogatory epithet and frequently applied to successful authors such as Graham Hancock or Andrew Collins, I suspect sometimes with a tinge of jealousy.
However, there are many independent researchers who think that they can replace evidence with assertion, reason with rant or commonsense with nonsense.
The abandonment of the scientific method as most pseudoarchaeologists have done is just foolish. A recent article(b) on the subject is worth a look.
Randall Carlson is an architect, geomythologist and catastrophist. He is the founder of Sacred Geometry International(a). Carlson also features in Graham Hancock‘s newest book, The Magicians of the Gods. Hancock’s book apparently focuses on the cometary impact in the 11th millennium BC, proposed by Richard Firestone et al nearly a decade ago.
(b) See Archive 2720
Gunung Padang is a megalithic site on the Indonesian island of Java, which was first surveyed in 1914 by the Dutch colonial authorities and published as Rapporten van de Oudheidkundige Dienst (Report of the Department of Antiquities). A post-war Australian investigation concluded that the site was much older than previously believed. Now, with presidential support, local archaeologists are carrying out an extensive investigation of the site.
The site has recently been claimed as part of Atlantis. A few years ago the late Arysio dos Santos was the leading proponent of Sundaland, which included Indonesia, as Atlantis. Now Danny Hilman Natawidjaja an Indonesian geologist has made a similar claim in his Kindle ebook, Plato Never Lied: Atlantis Is in Indonesia. In it Gunung Padang plays an important role. Mount Padang has also been claimed as the world’s oldest pyramid!
Nevertheless, a recent (May 2017) assault on Natawidjaja’s theories in an open letter(i) from Rebecca Bradley has laid bare the weaknesses in his claims.
Andrew Collins has now added an article(h). to his website that examines the preliminary claim that the lower levels at the site could be 12,000 years older than Gobekli Tepe. If confirmed, it will undoubtedly require some rewriting of history books. Do not lose sight of the fact that radiocarbon dating has limitations, being accurate for up to around 6,000 years with increasing unreliability up to perhaps 50,000 BC after which it is generally useless.
We now (Nov. ’14) have a report(e) that some type of ‘electrical device’ has been discovered at the site ‘made out of gold and copper and seems to resemble a primitive electrical capacitator.’ Until further information is available this claim must be treated with caution.
There are, however, dissenting voices as reported by journalist, Michael Bachelard(g), such as vulcanologist Sutikno Bronto, who says “Gunung Padang is simply the neck of a nearby volcano, not an ancient pyramid.Danny Hilman is not a vulcanologist. I am.” As for the carbon-dated cement between the stones, on which Hilman relies for his claims about the age of the site, Sutikno believes it is simply the byproduct of a natural weathering process, ”not man-made”. Other sceptics are even tougher. One archaeologist, who does not wish to be named since the President took such an interest, says the presidential taskforce is deluding itself. ”In the Pawon cave in Padalarang [about 45 kilometres from Gunung Padang], we found some human bones and tools made of bones about 9500 years ago, or about 7000 BCE. So, if at 7000 BCE our technology was only producing tools of bones, how can people from 20,000 BCE obtain the technology to build a pyramid?” the archaeologist asks.
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) See: Archive 2653
*(s) See: Archive 3409*
Dan Crisp is the author of a paper(a) on the Graham Hancock website in which he endeavours to indicate the location of Atlantis. Based on a number of assumptions he concluded that “the kingdoms of Atlantis stretched from southern Spain, at the Pillars of Heracles, northwards along the continental shelf, skirting around the British Isles, as far as Scandinavia; with the great plain and capital city on the Celtic Shelf.”
As I find it difficult to subscribe to all of his assumptions, I cannot agree with his conclusion. However, Crisp should be applauded for his logical approach to the Atlantis problem*but, his interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis location clues must be challenged.*
George G. M. James (1893-1956) a professor of ancient Greek, was born in British Guiana and lectured at a number of North American universities. He gained widespread notoriety with his 1954 book, Stolen Legacy(a), in which he claimed that “the term Greek philosophy is in fact wrong because there is no such philosophy. The Greeks did not have a natural ability necessary for the development of philosophy. The Greek philosophy was not invented by Greeks but by the Blacks of Northern Africa, the Egyptians”. His ‘chip-on-the-shoulder’ afrocentrism pervades his book, often sinking into downright racism.
Our interest in James stems from his claim[858.109] that both Republic and Timaeus were stolen by Plato and quotes the 3rd century AD biographer, Diogenes Laërtius (8.85), in support of his contention. Although he touches on the authorship of Timaeus he does not refer to the Atlantis passages.
James’ unorthodoxy is not confined to a criticism of the origins of Greek philosophy, but elsewhere claims that the pyramids were built around 10,000 BC, predating the claims of Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval by decades.
Geodesy is usually defined as the measurement and mapping of the Earth. As a science it is traced back to Pythagoras (6th cent. BC), who was thought to be the first to propose the sphericity of the Earth. Later, Eratosthenes (276 BC– 195 BC) was one of the earliest to attempt to determine the dimensions of our Earth and succeeded with remarkable accuracy.
A controversial aspect of modern geodesy is the claim that many ancient sites were deliberately established at locations that had specific geodetic relationship to each other and/or the dimensions of the Earth. For example(a) in ancient Egypt, from Giza to the Equator is 1/12th the circumference of the Earth, Amarna to the Equator is 1/13th, Luxor 1/14th and Philae 1/15th! Graham Hancock in his Heaven’s Mirror pointed to similar relationships around the globe suggesting a possible world grid. This idea of a world grid has a number of supporters, but is often classified as a ‘fringe’ interest due to the attempt by some to link gridlines with UFOs and their use of the grid as a power source(w).
Possibly related features may be the ley lines identified by Alfred Watkins in Britain(c)(g), the Alesia alignments in France discovered by Xavier Guichard(b) or the Heilige Linien of Germany claimed by Wilhelm Teudt(aa).
Heinz Kaminski had claimed to have discovered a megalithic grid system that stretched from Stonehenge across Europe with an east-west and north-south orientation and referred to as the Stonehenge/Wormbach System(h).
‘The Way of Virachoca’ in the Andes which runs through Tiwanaku and is oriented exactly 45° west of true north and runs for over 1000 miles, has been studied by Maria Scholten d’Ebneth in the 1970’s and expanded on by a number of Spanish speaking commentators and is now the subject of an article by Dave Truman(x).
In 1973, three Russians, engineers Valery Makarov and Vyacheslav Morozov along with Nikolay Goncharov, an artist, published in Russian an article with the eye-catching title of Is the Earth a Giant Crystal? (y) This was probably the earliest presentation of an earth grid based on ancient historical sites. A brief history of the earth grid theories that emerged around this time is available online(z). There is now a Russian geodesy website with an English translation(ab).
David Hatcher Childress published his Anti-Gravity and the World Grid in 1993, with the modest claim that he “proves that the earth is surrounded by an intricate electronic grid network offering free energy.” Obviously, Childress’ understanding of ‘proof’ is different to mine, as the only proof required is the production of some of this free energy, which he has not done.
Tom Brooks has entered the fray with a study of 1500 prehistoric sites and his conclusion that the inhabitants of ancient Britain had a designed a navigation system based on a grid of isosceles triangles(i). Brooks has gone a step further and speculatively claimed that the accuracy of this geometry-based system could only have been designed through “extraterrestrial intervention”(r). This concept is explored more fully in his latest book, Seeing Around Corners: Geometry in Stone Age Britain and in a series of video clips(s). A more critical view of Brooks’ ideas is also available on the Internet(j).
Some years ago a former employee of a NASA sub-contractor, Maurice Chatelain claimed that within a 450-mile radius of the Aegean island of Delos that 13 mystical sites, when connected by straight lines formed a perfect Maltese Cross(u)!
Others such as Livio Stecchini(d) and Jim Alison(e) using geodetic calculations have identified São Tomé and Cape Verde respectively as the location of Atlantis. I must also include Hugo Kennes, a Belgian researcher with a passionate interest in global grids and sacred geometry(l)(p). Kennes has also informed me of a new Facebook group(q) deal with all aspects of the subject, as well as another(v) that includes submerged cities and other features.
Anyone interested in pursuing a study of this subject might like to look over James Q. Jacobs’ archaeogeodesy website(f) as well as the BioGeometry website (m).
If you have pursued all the links so far, you can pamper yourself further with a paper(k) by William Becker and Beth Hagens(n). Another researcher in this field is Dan Shaw whose website(o) give a good overview of the subject.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix added his weight to the debate with his 1998 paper entitled The Mapmakers from the Ice Age(t).
*A global network of sacred sites was also put forward by Rand Flem-Ath & Colin Wilson in The Atlantis Blueprint . This book was intended as a sequel to When the Sky Fell , but generally wandered off into other areas after the first couple of chapters.*
I am somewhat sceptical about certain aspects of geodesy, particularly some of the claims of a world grid. However, it does raise many questions that require further study. In this connection, I would recommend John Sase’s Curious Alignments  as a good starting point.
* (i) http://www.prehistoric-geometry.co.uk/ (offline 2016) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20160628154229/http://www.prehistoric-geometry.co.uk/*
(m) http://www.biogeometry.org/page34.html (offline May 2017)
(r) http://www.prehistoric-geometry.co.uk/ [See (i)]
broad terms the books are an intense study of the origin of the mythology of the Great Flood as well as the history of measure. Chapters 13 & 14 of Deluge are devoted to the story of Atlantis. Both books can be read online(a).While dealing with specifics such as, the etymology of Atlantis, Orichalcum and the Pillars of Heracles, I think the authors unusual conclusion is best expressed in their own words;
“It is found then, that Plato’s Atlantis ultimately is no more than another rendition of the ‘Great Flood’ mythology, in this case utilised by him to illustrate his importance in lawgiving. If the Ten Commandmentswere given to Adam and Eve instead of Moses then there would be a direct Biblical comparison. In essence, the story of Atlantis reinforces the analysis of the flood and creation legends as outlined in Deluge as in addition to the celestial events described therein, there is the devastation caused by known flood events at Sundaland to which his description decidedly points, some 11,000 years ago. This approximate date is dictated not merely by Plato’s ‘9,000 years’ for Atlantis’s demise, but also his depiction of its City and its central mound [the World Mountain supporting the axis of the heavens] as symbolically representing the constellation of Hercules when Tau Hercules was the Pole Star.”
Silvertsen and Redman were guest authors on Graham Hancock’s website with a paper(b) entitled Science versus Religion.
*(a) http://www.completelynovel.com/readers/harry-sivertsen (offline July 2017)*
Zarathustra (Greek Zoroaster) was the founder of Zoroastrianism, the pre-Islamic religion of Iran and arguably established the first monotheistic faith. Aspects of its basic tenets are to be found within today’s Abrahamic religions and is claimed to have even influenced aspects of popular culture, such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones(a).
Zarathustra is generally accepted to have preached in the 7th century BC, but this is disputed, as is the question of whether the name refers to one or a number of people. Mary Settegast quotes the Iranologist, Wilhelm Geiger (1856-1943), who supported the view of a number of classical Greek writers who believed that Zarathustra lived 6,000 years before the death of Plato. Geiger quotes an ancient commentary that suggests that Zarathustra was ‘Greek or one of those who came forth from the Continent on the other side of the great sea’, which he speculates might have been Atlantis.
*Graham Hancock has referred to Zarathustra at length in his Magicians of the Gods, while an extensive internet article(b) discusses details of Hancock’s opinions as well as highlighting the range of dates attributed to Zarathustra in the following excerpt; “Exactly how old Zoroastrianism is has not yet been satisfactorily established by scholars, since even the lifetime of its prophet Zarathustra (better known as Zoroaster) is uncertain. Indeed, as Columbia University’s authoritative Encyclopedia Iranica admits: ‘Controversy over Zarathustra’s date has been an embarrassment of long standing to Zoroastrian studies.’
The Greek historians were amongst the first to address themselves to the matter. Plutarch, for example, tells us that Zoroaster ‘lived 5,000 years before the Trojan War’ (itself a matter of uncertain historicity but generally put at around 1300 BC, thus 5,000 plus 1,300 = 6300 BC). A similar chronology is given by Diogenes Laertius, who relates that Zoroaster lived ‘6,000 years before Xerxes’ Greek campaign’ (i.e. around 6480 BC). More recent scholars have proposed dates as far apart as 1750 BC and ‘258 years before Alexander’ (i.e. around 588 BC). Whatever the truth of the matter, it is agreed that Zoroaster himself borrowed from much earlier traditions and that Zoroastrianism, therefore, like many other religions, has roots that extend very far back into prehistory.”*