Ancient history


Verified Member
Aug 15, 2013
It seems that at least once a year archeologists or anthropologists stumble onto something that seems to challenge pre-existing consensus among their peers. I think we're now up to seven varieties of hominids they're calling "human" besides us homo sapiens sapiens. (I actually think there's an undiscovered ninth that produced a small group of fellas from a certain Pacific Island nation.)

I'm intrigued by all the structures around the globe that were put together with huge stones and no mortar, and the dating of some more recently discovered ancient sites. The most amazing to me is at a place in Lebanon called Baalbek. It features 3 stones that have come to be known as the Trilithon, each weighing approximately 750 tons (that's equal to two fully-loaded 747s or 7-10 loaded rail cars.) They form part of the foundation for a Roman structure that may or may not be considerably more recent construction than the Trilithon itself. (Roman building techniques and styles throughout their empire were quite different, and are quite different above the Trilithon.)

The real brain twister is the fact that these stones were mounted on the third level above ground! I look at these the way I look at really good "magic" tricks. How the hell did they do that?

A recent challenge to "conventional wisdom" regarding human history has developed at a place in Turkey called Gobekli Tepe, meaning "Potbelly hill" in Turkish. First discovered in modern times about 50 years ago, serious excavation didn't get underway until the mid '90s when a German archeologits took on the project. It turned out to be much larger and much older than first believed. Only about 20% of the site has been excavated -- or partially excavated -- but ground penetrating radar has shown it to be approximately 1000 feet in diameter. Its main feature is a series of circles composed of 20 foot solid stone pillars with T-shaped tops, some pillars showing intricate carvings of familiar and unfamiliar animals. Arguments about the age of the site have now quieted, with those who claimed it couldn't be 12,000 years old apparently surrendering to two modern methods of dating that have repeatedly yielded similar results.

The brain-twister here (if you can get past the fact that Man was supposed to be incapable of this 12,000 years ago) is that the entire site appears to have been intentionally buried a relatively short time after its completion (a few hundred years at most.) The burying process would have been far too extensive to have been completed in a short enough time to indicate it was done as the result of an emergency situation, but there could have been a belief in impending emergency of some kind.

The 10,000 BC date estimated for this site matches the re-evaluation of the age of the Sphinx performed by a geologist from (I think it is) Boston U. Robert Schoch claims the weathering shown on the Sphinx could only have been caused by water, not wind and sand. This would place the age of the Spinx no less than 12,000 years old to reflect the last time any substantial volume of water is thought to have been at the site.

Two sites in South America are particularly interesting to me. One site in Bolivia is divided by modern fences and given two names -- Pumapunku and Tiwanaku -- I don't know why. Anyway, these show some incredibly fine stonework that's hard to imagine accomplishing with primitive tools. The other site is Ollantaytambo in Peru. Located far up a mountain it shows an impressive set of terraces and water collection and drainage construction.

Impossible for me to imagine is what was involved in the creation of "The Wall of the Six Megaliths" at Ollantaytambo. These six andesite stones weigh an average of 75 tons each (a loaded boxcar) and are believed to have been quarried at a site on a nearby (2 1/2 miles) mountain. After separating them from bedrock, this would have involved bringing them down 1000 feet, across a river in the valley bottom, and up 1000 feet to their current location. Primitive tools and the absence of the wheel make me go "What the hell!"?

If you like being amazed, google some of these names.
Last edited: