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The age of the Universe One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day 2 Peter 3: While the Bible never explicitly states the age of the Earth, many Bible scholars attempted to deduce it using the dates and ages of its characters. While there were problems with this approach — the chronology becomes confused after King Solomon — several attempts nonetheless came up with strikingly similar figures. The most famous, however, was the Ussher chronology, put forward in by the Archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher.
With almost comical precision, it claimed that the first moment of creation was in the evening of 22 October, BC. Scientists point out that all of these dates would mean that the planet came into existence a full thousand years after the domestication of the guinea pig. Radio dating using lead ores suggests the Earth is around 4. If the Ussher date was correct, we would only be able to see stars 6, light years away, or about six per cent of the way across our own galaxy.
Creation and evolution So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. While not all clergy were opposed to the theory of evolution, some were furious. The argument rages to this day, although the weight of evidence is overwhelmingly in favour and very few biologists now question the basic idea of evolution.
This is characteristic of the oldest architecture in Egypt. I should even say that we may call it the most ancient stone building in Egypt. Curious indeed, and well worth investigating further; something Naville hoped to do the following season. Unfortunately, the First World War intervened and no archaeology could be undertaken in Egypt for several years. As a result, it was not until that the Egypt Exploration Fund was able to send out another mission, which was led not by Naville but by a young Egyptologist named Henry Frankfort.
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Later to enjoy great prestige and influence as professor of Pre-Classical Antiquity at the University of London, Frankfort spent several consecutive digging seasons re-clearing and thoroughly excavating the Osireion between and The reader will recall the lemming behaviour which led to a dramatic change of scholarly opinion about the antiquity of the Sphinx and the Valley Temple due to the discovery of a few statues and a single cartouche which seemed to imply some sort of connection with Khafre.
By , it had been beamed forward in time to the reign of Seti I-around BC-whose cenotaph it was now believed to be. Within a decade, the standard Egyptological texts began to print the attribution to Seti I as though it were a fact, verifiable by experience or observation. The only facts are that certain inscriptions and decorations left by Seti appear in an otherwise completely anonymous structure.
One plausible explanation is that the structure must have been built by Seti, as Frankfort proposed. What are the merits of these mutually contradictory propositions which identify the Osireion as a the oldest building in Egypt, and b a relatively late New Kingdom structure? Proposition b -that it is the cenotaph of Seti I-is the only attribution accepted by Egyptologists. On close inspection, however, it rests on the circumstantial evidence of the cartouches and inscriptions which prove nothing.
And another awkward little matter has also been overlooked. It was made for the celebration of the mysteries of Osiris, and so far is unique among all the surviving buildings of Egypt. It is clearly early, for the great blocks of which it is built are of the style of the Old Kingdom; the simplicity of the actual building also points to it being of that early date. The decoration was added by Seti I, who in that way laid claim to the building, but seeing how often a Pharaoh claimed the work of his predecessors by putting his name on it, this fact does not carry much weight.
It is the style of the building, the type of the masonry, the tooling of the stone, and not the name of a king, which date a building in Egypt. Indeed it is not just a matter of the Nineteenth Dynasty. This handful of supposedly Old Kingdom structures, built out of giant megaliths, seems to belong in a unique category. They resemble one another much more than they resemble any other known style of architecture and in all cases there are question-marks over their identity.
Before leaving Abydos, there was one other puzzle that I wanted to remind myself of. It lay buried in the desert, about a kilometre north-west of the Osireion, across sands littered with the rolling, cluttered tumuli of ancient graveyards. Out among these cemeteries, many of which dated back to early dynastic and pre-dynastic times, the jackal gods Anubis and Upuaut had traditionally reigned supreme.
Openers of the way, guardians of the spirits of the dead, I knew that they had played a central role in the mysteries of Osiris that had been enacted each year at Abydos-apparently throughout the span of Ancient Egyptian history. It seemed to me that there was a sense in which they guarded the mysteries still. For what was the Osireion if was not a huge, unsolved mystery that deserved closer scrutiny than it has received from the scholars whose job it is to look into these matters?
And what was the burial in the desert of twelve high-prowed, seagoing ships if not also a mystery that cried out, loudly, for solution? It was the burial place of those ships I was now crossing the cemeteries of the jackal gods to see:. The Guardian, London, 21 December A fleet of year-old royal ships has been found buried eight miles from the Nile.
The boats were buried in the shadow of a gigantic mud-brick enclosure, thought to have been the mortuary temple of a Second Dynasty pharaoh named Khasekhemwy, who had ruled Egypt in the twenty-seventh century BC. The boat graves are not likely to be earlier than this and may in fact have been built for Djer, but this remains to be proven.
A sudden strong gust of wind blew across the desert, scattering sheets of sand. I took refuge for a while in the lee of the looming walls of the Khasekhemwy enclosure, close to the point where the University of Pennsylvania archaeologists had, for legitimate security reasons, reburied the twelve mysterious boats they had stumbled on in They had hoped to return in to continue the excavations, but there had been various hitches and, in , the dig was still being postponed.
These boulders could not have been there naturally or by accident; their placement seems deliberate, not random. Like the foot ocean-going vessel found buried beside the Great Pyramid at Giza see Chapter Thirty-three , one thing was immediately clear about the Abydos boats-they were of an advanced design capable of riding out the most powerful waves and the worst weather of the open seas.
Moreover I knew that the earliest wall paintings found in the Nile Valley, dating back perhaps as much as years before the burial of the Abydos fleet to around BC showed the same long, sleek, high-prowed vessels in action. Could an experienced race of ancient seafarers have become involved with the indigenous inhabitants of the Nile Valley at some indeterminate period before the official beginning of history at around BC? Nevertheless that symbolism did not solve the problem posed by the high level of technological achievement of the buried ships; such evolved and sophisticated designs called for a long period of development.
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Such seafarers could have been expected to be navigators who would have known how to set a course by the stars and who would perhaps also have developed the skills necessary to draw up accurate maps and charts of the oceans they had traversed. Might they also have been architects and stonemasons whose characteristic medium had been polygonal, megalithic blocks like those of the Valley Temple and the Osireion? And might they have been associated in some way with the legendary gods of the First Time, said to have brought to Egypt not only civilization and astronomy and architecture, and the knowledge of mathematics and writing, but a host of other useful skills and gifts, by far the most notable and the most significant of which had been the gift of agriculture?
There is evidence of an astonishingly early period of agricultural advance and experimentation in the Nile Valley at about the end of the last Ice Age in the northern hemisphere. By Graham Hancock Like a Thief in the Night There are certain structures in the world, certain ideas, certain intellectual treasures, that are truly mysterious.
I am beginning to suspect that the human race may have placed itself in grave jeopardy by failing to consider the implications of these mysteries. We have the ability, unique in the animal kingdom, to learn from the experiences of our predecessors. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for example, two generations have grown to adulthood in awareness of the horrific destruction that nuclear weapons unleash.
Our children will be aware of this too, without experiencing it directly, and they will pass it on to their children. Theoretically, therefore, the knowledge of what atom bombs do has become part of the permanent historical legacy of mankind.
Whether we choose to benefit from that legacy or not is up to us. Nevertheless the knowledge is there, should we wish to use it, because it has been preserved and transmitted in written records, in film archives, in allegorical paintings, in war memorials, and so on. Not all testimony from the past is accorded the same stature as the records of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In particular, references to human experiences prior to the invention of writing around years ago have been omitted in their entirety and myth has become a synonym for delusion.
Suppose that a tremendous cataclysm were to overtake the earth today, obliterating the achievements of our civilization and wiping out almost all of us. Under such circumstances, ten or twelve thousand years from now with all written records and film archives long since destroyed what testimony might our descendants still preserve concerning the events at the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of the Christian era? The flames of the Brahmastra-charged missiles mingled with each other and surrounded by fiery arrows they covered the earth, heaven and space between and increased the conflagration like the fire and the Sun at the end of the world … All beings who were scorched by the Brahmastras, and saw the terrible fire of their missiles, felt that it was the fire of Pralaya [the cataclysm] that burns down the world.
And what of the Enola Gay which carried the Hiroshima bomb? How might our descendants remember that strange aircraft and the squadrons of others like it that swarmed through the skies of planet earth during the twentieth century of the Christian era? If they did, would they perhaps speak of such wonders in mythical terms a little like these:. All these quotations have been taken from the Bhagavata Puranu and from the Mahabaratha , two drops in the ocean of the ancient wisdom literature of the Indian subcontinent. And such images are replicated in many other archaic traditions.
To give one example as we saw in Chapter Forty-two , the Pyramid Texts are replete with anachronistic images of flight:. The King is a flame, moving before the wind to the end of the sky and to the end of the earth … the King travels the air and traverses the earth … there is brought to him a way of ascent to the sky …. Is it possible that the constant references in archaic literatures to something like aviation could be valid historical testimony concerning the achievements of a forgotten and remote technological age?
We will never know unless we try to find out. No doubt many are unhistorical, but at the end of the investigation that underlies this book, I am certain that many others are not …. Of course there would at first be much panic and despair. Nevertheless — if there were sufficient advance warning — steps would be taken to ensure that there would be some survivors and that some of what was most valuable in our high scientific knowledge would be preserved for the benefit of future generations.
They also were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and their order. Likewise, when the Oxford astronomer John Greaves visited Egypt in the seventeenth century he collected ancient local traditions which attributed the construction of the three Giza pyramids to a mythical antediluvian king:. The occasion of this was because he saw in his sleep that the whole earth was turned over, with the inhabitants of it lying upon their faces and the stars falling down and striking one another with a terrible noise … And he awaked with great feare, and assembled the chief priests of all the provinces of Egypt … He related the whole matter to them and they took the altitude of the stars, and made their prognostication, and they foretold of a deluge.
The king said, will it come to our country? They answered yes, and will destroy it. And there remained a certain number of years to come, and he commanded in the mean space to build the Pyramids … And he engraved in these Pyramids all things that were told by wise men, as also all profound sciences — the science of Astrology, and of Arithmeticke, and of Geometry, and of Physicke.
All this may be interpreted by him that knowes their characters and language …. Taken at face value, the message of both of these myths seems crystal clear: Could this be so? And what are we to make of other strange traditions that have come to us from the dark vault of prehistory? What are we to make, for example, of the Popol Vuh , which speaks in veiled language about a great secret of the human past: The secret of what happened was never entirely forgotten because a record of those distant First Times was preserved, until the coming of the Spaniards, in the sacred texts of the original Popol Vuh.
On the other side of the world, among the myths and traditions of the Indian subcontinent, there are further tantalizing suggestions of hidden secrets. Strangely enough, it was the City of the Sun in Egypt, Innu, known by the Greeks as Heliopolis — which was regarded throughout the dynastic period as the source and centre of the high wisdom handed down to mortal men from the fabled First Time of the gods. It was at Heliopolis that the Pyramid Texts were collated, and it was the Heliopolitan priesthood — or rather the Heliopolitan cult — that had custody of the monuments of the Giza necropolis.
We start by preparing for the worst. We assume that there will be survivors but that they will be blasted back into the Stone Age by the cataclysm. Realizing that it may take ten or twelve thousand years for a civilization as advanced as our own to rise again like a phoenix from the ashes, one of our top priorities is to find a way to communicate with that postulated future civilization.
At the least we would want to say to them: How would we do that? How would we express, say, AD of the Christian era in a language universal enough to be worked out and understood twelve thousand years hence by a civilization that would know nothing of the Christian or of any of the other eras by which we express chronology? From the predictability of this motion it follows that if we can find a way to declare: The only drawback to this scheme would evident if a civilization equivalent to our own failed to arise within 12, or even 20, years of the cataclysm, but took much longer — perhaps as much as 30, years.
The Sagittarian archaeologists would not only have to use their wits to work out the meaning of the message i. Alternatively we could do as the builders of the Giza pyramids appear to have done and lay out our monuments in a pattern on the ground reflecting exactly the pattern of the stars in the sky in our time. There would be several other options and combinations of options open to us, depending on our circumstances, on the level of technology available to us, on the extent of the early warning we were given, and on which chronological facts we wanted to transmit.
Suppose, for example, that there was not time to make proper preparations prior to the catastrophe. Whether as the result of an asteroid strike or an earth-crust displacement or some other cosmic or geological cause, let us assume:. As they banded together — at first to survive, later to teach and to share ideas — they might take on something of the manner and belief systems of a religious cult, developing a clear sense of mission and of shared identity. No doubt they would make use of powerful and easily recognizable symbols to strengthen and express this sense of common purpose: I suspect, if the situation were bad enough after the cataclysm, that many of the civilizers would fail, or meet with only limited success.
But let us suppose that one small group had the skill and dedication sufficient to create a lasting and stable beach-head, perhaps in a region which had suffered relatively little damage in the disaster. Then let us suppose that some other unexpected disaster were to occur — an aftershock or series of aftershocks from the original catastrophe perhaps — and the beach-head was almost totally annihilated.
What might happen next? What might be salvaged from this wreckage of a wisdom cult which had itself been salvaged from a greater wreck? If the circumstances were right it seems possible that the essence of the cult might survive, carried forward by a nucleus of determined men and women. I suspect, too, with the proper motivation and indoctrination techniques, plus a means of recruiting new members from among the half-savage local inhabitants, that such a cult might perpetuate itself almost indefinitely.
This could happen, however, only if its members like the Jews awaiting the Messiah were prepared to bide their time, for thousands and thousands of years, until they felt confident that the moment had come to declare themselves. If they did that, and if their sacred objective were indeed to preserve and transmit knowledge to some evolved future civilization, it is easy to imagine how the cult members might be described in terms similar to those used for the Egyptian wisdom god Thoth who was said to have.
Is it necessary to suppose that all the information they were purported to contain should have been transmitted in book form? What about the new understanding that is dawning concerning the geological antiquity of the Sphinx at Giza? What about the questions raised by the gigantic blocks used in the construction of the Valley and Mortuary Temples?
What about the secrets now being teased, one by one, from the astronomical alignments and dimensions and concealed chambers of the pyramids? Of course the parallel for this last category is once again to be found in Egypt. I would seriously propose as a hypothesis for further testing that a scientific wisdom cult, made up of the survivors of a great, lost, maritime civilization, could perhaps have established itself in the Nile Valley as early as the fourteenth millennium BC.
Later, however, beaten down by the huge floods and other disturbances of the earth which took place in the eleventh millennium BC, the cult would have been obliged to cut its losses and withdraw until the turmoil of the Ice Age was over — never knowing whether its message would survive the subsequent dark epochs.
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Under such circumstances, the hypothesis suggests that a huge and ambitious building project would have been one way cult members could preserve and transmit scientific information into the future independently of their physical survival. The hypothesis proposes that this is what the enigmatic structures on the Giza plateau are all about:.
The hypothesis resolves the anomaly of the missing years by supposing the star shafts to be merely the later work of the same long-lived cult that originally laid out the Giza ground-plan in 10, BC. What remains to be guessed at are the motives of the pyramid builders, who were presumably the same people as the mysterious cartographers who mapped the globe at the end of the last Ice Age in the northern hemisphere.
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If so, we might also ask why these highly civilized and technically accomplished architects and navigators were obsessed with charting the gradual glaciation of the enigmatic southern continent of Antarctica from the fourteenth millennium BC — when Hapgood calculates that the source map referred to by Phillipe Buache was drawn up — down to about the end of the fifth millennium BC? Could they have been making a permanent cartographical record of the slow obliteration of their homeland? And could their overwhelming desire to transmit a message to the future through a variety of different media — myths, maps, buildings, calendar systems, mathematical harmonies — have been connected to the cataclysms and earth changes that caused this loss?
The possession of a conscious, articulated history is one of the faculties that distinguishes human beings from animals. Unlike rats, say, or sheep, or cows, or pheasants, we have a past which is separate from ourselves. We therefore have the opportunity, as I have said, to learn from the experiences of our predecessors. At this stage in a continuing investigation, my instinct is that we may have put ourselves in danger by closing our ears for so long to the disturbing ancestral voices which reach us in the form of myths.
This is more an intuitive than a rational feeling, but it is by no means unreasonable. My research has filled me with respect for the logical thinking, high science, deep psychological insights, and vast cosmo-graphical knowledge of the ancient geniuses who composed those myths, and who, I am now fully persuaded, descended from the same lost civilization that produced the map-makers, pyramid builders, navigators, astronomers and earth-measurers whose fingerprints we have been following across the continents and oceans of the earth.