In 2003, British author and investigative journalist Graham Hancock published a book that caused huge controversy in the academic world. ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ delved into the mysteries surrounding human origins and asked us to question whether modern-day archaeologists and geologists have got it all wrong: human civilization first flourished during the Ice Age, and it was wiped out by a cataclysmic event such as a massive comet. The impact devastated Earth, causing huge explosions and seismic activity. This in turn melted the ice caps and caused the Great Flood: the one that forms a key part the culture and mythology of ancient people from all over the globe. Is this purely coincidence, or was the legend based on a real event?
Hancock has argued that ancient settlements in Egypt, Peru, Mexico, Mesopotamia, Indonesia and elsewhere were simply remnants of this first culture, which the Egyptians called Zep Tepi, the ‘Homeland of the primeval ones’. The theory is that Egypt, like the others, has its roots in this lost world. Their great cities were built by survivors of the catastrophe and their descendants in the image of a much older and advanced civilization, now buried deep beneath the Ocean.
This, Hancock postulated, is why civilizations located in all continent of the world chose to build pyramid structures, why all used hieroglyphs (often with exactly the same animal-human hybrid characters), why all had advanced mathematical and astronomical knowledge, and why they all mummified their dead, to name just a few mysterious similarities that the current belief system can’t account for.
Despite Hancock’s water-tight research making these claims difficult to dispute, the author was fiercely attacked by the establishment and portrayed as a quack pseudo-scientist by the mainstream press. New Scientist was among the magazines that criticized his theories, but ten years later they were forced to make an interesting U-turn. In 2013, New Scientist’s front cover used Hancock’s own words to concede: ‘Civilization is older and more mysterious than we thought.’ It was a retraction the author found quite amusing.
I was lucky enough to meet Graham Hancock at a lecture he gave at Bradford University, England, as part of his ‘Magicians Of The Gods’ UK book tour this month. It’s billed as the sequel to ‘Fingerprints Of The Gods,’ and builds on the evidence documented over a decade ago. Hancock’s presentation was compelling and persuasive, and is so extensive it would be impossible to summarize in this article.
The most fascinating update to his research is the inclusion of the mysterious ‘sanctuary’ of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, the oldest work of monumental architecture anywhere in the world. The site, which translates as ‘pot-bellied hill’, consists of enormous T- shaped megalithic pillars which are around 12,000 years old. That’s 6,000 years older than the Pyramids of Giza or the sacred Stonehenge in England, which both belong to the phase of human evolution known as Neolithic, or ‘New Stone Age’. Gobekli Tepe, on the other hand, belongs to a period called the Upper Paleolithic, or ‘Old Stone Age.’
So here’s the mystery: at this particular point in human history, we were supposedly primitive hunter-gatherers, living nomadically in small bands . As Hancock points out, mainstream science would have us believe that human beings were, at this time, ‘incapable of tasks requiring long-term planning, complex division of labour and high-level management skills.’ Since the stone circles at Gobekli Tepe demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of mathematics and stone masonry (not to mention the procession of the equinoxes), what we think we know about our past clearly isn’t true.
And there’s something else that adds weight to Hancock’s theory: What is known as ‘Pillar 43’ even makes reference to the now-famous date of December 21st 2012 as the beginning of a new age of man; the start of a window of opportunity humans have to seize- to either spiritually evolve, or perish. Pillar 43, therefore, is exactly in line with the Mayan calendar, yet the South American civilization was thousands of years younger than its Turkish counterpart. Isn’t this too much of a coincidence to be mathematically probable? Surely it’s more logical to believe that Gobekli Tepe was, in fact, mother of all these cultures?
Klaus Schmidt of The German Archeological Institute, responsible for excavating the site in Eastern Turkey until his death in 2014, told Hancock he believed without a doubt that the people of Gobekli Tepe invented both agriculture and architecture, two achievements that set human beings apart from other species. Schmidt believed Gobekli Tepe was an “institution”, and stated: “It was a place where people came together. It was undoubtedly a platform for the distribution of knowledge and innovation.”
The location of this ancient site wasn’t accidental, either. Like the great pyramids of Egypt, stones at Gobekli Tepe were laid to perfectly align with specific star systems. They are, therefore, undeniable evidence of an advanced civilization with a highly developed knowledge of mathematics, architecture and astronomy. The settlers also had the capability to move giant stones up to 6 meters high and weighing up to 20 tonnes, suggesting they had evolved way beyond the stage of making flint tools, hunting effectively, and knowing which berries were safe to eat. Clearly, the story of human development is missing a vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle.
Even more intriguingly, Gobekli Tepe was deliberately buried. Hancock says the entire site was manually covered with sand, which would have been a ridiculously laborious and time-consuming task, bearing in mind the hill measures 300m (984ft) in diameter, and is 15m (49ft) tall. Who ordered this, and why? What secrets might Gobekli Tepe hold that posed such a threat to the later civilizations? Or was Gobekli Tepe was buried to preserve it and keep it safe from harm? Hancock suggests the fact it has not been contaminated means it can be accurately carbon-dated, unlike some other sites.
Hancock’s doubt over the accuracy of current mainstream archaeological and geological knowledge is based on the fact that our method of dating stone is fundamentally flawed. Unlike bone, wood or cave art, stone is impossible to carbon date. Instead, scientists arrive at their conclusions by carbon-testing organic materials in and around the site in question. Hancock argues that this methodology is occasionally inefficient and potentially inaccurate: material can be contaminated after being exposed to newer civilizations, and the method does not account for the fact that ancient structures are quite often built on the footprints of much older sites.
The author visited Easter Island for example, where mysterious, giant heads stand gazing out to sea. Legend has it that the first settlers on Easter Island were from a sunken city. Some of the stone figures, called Moai, are buried as deep as 30 feet below the earth. Mainstream science tells us this is due to soil build-up over time, but other experts claim that if we apply this theory, the statues must be thousands of years older than we currently believe. Hancock argues that Easter island’s strange stone men are a good example of the limitations of carbon dating in our quest to unlock humanity’s past.
His research trips took him from Gobekli Tepe to the mysterious pyramid of Gunung Panam in Java, Indonesia, which is also 12,000 years old. He has made numerous trips to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and has explored the Mexican pyramids of the Sun and Moon, the Andean temples of Tianhuanaco, and many more ancient monuments such as Baalbec in Lebanon. Hancock’s book also delves into the mystery of the gigantic stones deposited (by ancient icebergs, perhaps?) in Boulder Park, Washington State, as well as looking at clues that Dry Falls was created in the aftermath of a devastating global deluge- one that Hollywood can’t even imagine.
Mainstream science will have to revise a few century-old assumptions. In September, an apparently man-made pyramid was identified by sonar at a depth of approximately 40 metres (130 feet) under water off the Azores islands.
Also, a gigantic monolith was recently found near the island of Sicily, at the bottom of the Mediterranean sea. It is at least 9,000 years old. Another fascinating discovery of underground monoliths at Stonehenge adds more layers of intrigue. Are we looking at evidence of a great civilization which spawned all ancient cultures? Could the legend of Atlantis be true after all? Did some of its people settle in Gobekli Tepe and pass on knowledge of a shared culture that went on to form the basis for those later seen in South America, the Middle East and the Far East?
Plato certainly believed that Atlantis existed. The Greek philosopher had been told an anecdote about the great civilization, whose corruption was said to be its downfall. He claimed that after the Great Flood, these ‘first people’ wandered the Earth looking to re-settle and re-build what they had lost (“Mankind had to begin again like children, with no memory of what went before”). Plato’s notes give dates for the fall of Atlantis, which would date its destruction at exactly the time of the end of the Younger Dryas – some 11,600 years ago. If Plato was indeed inventing the story for political purposes, as skeptics have claimed, it is another unlikely ‘coincidence’ that fits perfectly with Hancock’s theory.
Mainstream science may scoff at the idea of lost civilizations under the sea, yet the theory is perfectly logical. Scientific ‘truth’ is absolute in the 21st century, and that is problematic. Left-brain rationalism and the decline of religion have given rise to a modern-day situation in which scientists (and scientists alone) have the authority to tell us what we should and should not believe. Only peer-reviewed, approved papers from scientists who toe the establishment line (and don’t do anything too maverick) have the right to dictate what is real, what is possible, what is deserving or undeserving of further investigation. In this respect they are the new priests, revered and respected in the same way the Church once was.
Richard Dawkins is a perfect example of a scientist who is so infuriatingly rigid in his opinions that he ultimately exhibits the same irrational, dogmatic behaviour as those religious individuals he is so hell-bent on condemning. Dawkins’s atheism is as unshakeable and as zealous as the equivalent faith of any God-fearing person. His certainty that he is correct is just as irrational as the certainty exhibited by a radical Christian or Muslim: because the fact is that we cannot prove one way or another if God exists. We simply don’t have the answers. Yet Dawkins’s elevated status as a scientist allows him to present his opinions as absolute truth. To question the authority of these post-modern priests in lab coats is seen as herecy, and this is why Hancock’s quest for the beginnings of human origins (and the uncomfortable questions he has asked along the way) have been so fiercely attacked.
Yet judging by the vast body of evidence the researcher has put forth in two fascinating books, we can safely say- despite what current archaeologists, Egyptologists and geologists think they know- that the origins of human civilization are still shrouded in mystery. In fact, as Terence Mckenna once quipped, “nobody really knows jack shit about what’s going on.”
Keeping an open mind is vital to an inquisitive mind and critical thinking, which is why Hancock’s research is so important. If you find this topic interesting, you can buy Hancock’s new book and read new updates on his investigations here.