A few weeks ago astronomer Stuart Robbins interviewed me for his informative Exposing PseudoAstronomy podcast. Here is Part 1 of that interview. I’ll let you all know when Part 2 appears. The topic was the bogus use of ancient texts by Zecharia Sitchin and others to support their pseudo-astronomy.
Ah, the archeo-pundit media. To quote Time Bandits, one of my favorite college-years movies, “You are so mercifully free from the ravages of intelligence.”
A BBC reporter published this clueless piece today: “Newport Man’s Theory Turns Pyramid Building on its Head.” The big idea? The pyramid was built from the inside out.
Yes, you read that correctly. This is only news if (like the BBC) you’ve never heard of Jean-Pierre Houdin, or never watched the National Geographic special on this now famous French architect’s internal ramp theory about how the Great Pyramid was built, or never sat through my Egyptology class. Honestly, National Geographic wrote about this nearly seven years ago, as did Archaeology magazine.
So no, this guy from Newport isn’t on to anything ground-breaking. He’s behind the curve. But at least his restoration work is lending (more) support to Houdin’s earlier theory.
For information on Houdin and his theory, see the links and books below.
YouTube index (a few videos on the idea)
The Em-Hotep blog has written a great deal on Houdin and the internal ramp theory
Books and Videos:
The Live Science blog reported recently that Jiang Li, an engineer at the University of Science and Technology Beijing, has successfully translated an ancient Chinese document that reveals how stones in excess of 300 tons were moved over 70 miles without the wheel to build the famous Forbidden City.
Better sit down: the ancient document doesn’t credit aliens. Nor does it credit nephilim or talk about levitation.
From the article:
Vast numbers of huge stones were mined and transported there for its construction in the 15th and 16th centuries. The heaviest of these giant boulders, aptly named the Large Stone Carving, now weighs more than 220 tons (200 metric tons) but once weighed more than 330 tons (300 metric tons).
The ancient document Li translated revealed that workers dug wells every 1,600 feet (500 meters) or so to get water to pour on the ice to lubricate it. This made the ice even more slippery and, therefore, easier upon which to slide rocks.
The researchers calculated that a workforce of fewer than 50 men could haul a 123-ton stone on a sledge over lubricated ice from the quarry to the Forbidden City. In contrast, pulling the same load over bare ground would have required more than 1,500 men.
I’ll bet this won’t be part of the Ancient Aliens series. Just a guess. You just can’t make money telling people the truth.
Just read this very interesting article – it’s about how ancient Roman glass makers ground up silver and gold to the size of 50 nano-meters in diameter (less than 1000th the size of a grain of table salt) to produce a goblet that appears green when lit from the front and red when lit from behind.
No word on which extraterrestrial race gave the Romans this technology. I’m sure the news will be appearing on a future Ancient Aliens episode. They just have to do more “research” to figure out the alien connection since humans just couldn’t do this sort of thing.
Many PaleoBabble readers have no doubt heard of the stone spheres of Costa Rica. In addition to the debunking of the “Nuremberg UFO” engraving I posted about a few days ago, Frank Johnson of the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog also has a worthwhile piece on these stone spheres. Hope you’re sitting down: aliens didn’t make them.
As Johnson notes in his post, ancient alien theorists not only don’t have a firm grasp of the obvious (like hammer marks still visible on the stones – thanks for that advanced technology, ET), they’re just plain irritated that he would dare dispute amazing “proof” like this for ancient alien contact. I’m sure they’ll soon realize that’s a poor strategy. Why not just film another Ancient Aliens episode and make up different evidence? I’m just saying.
As is so often the case, mainstream scholars are not curled up in the fetal position, rendered dumbstruck by the shocking evidence for alien causation offered by the likes of Erich “I’m the reincarnation of P.T. Barnum” von Daniken. Johnson introduces readers to anthropology Professor John Hoopes. As Johnson notes, “Hoopes has not only examined the Costa Rican giant stone balls, he has a Website explaining them and the errors in many of the claims.”
At any rate, if you haven’t read a thoughtful treatment of the stones spheres, the post is recommended.
I was just sent the image below from a friend who asked for my opinion.
I often get pictures like this that people think “prove” certain ideas about ancient alien influence on world civilizations. Asinine. Pardon my yawn.
Let me summarize what this proves:
All ancient cultures believed the gods lived where humans did not and could not – mountains, the depths of the sea, the waters above the sky, below the earth, etc. They also believed the gods lived in the best possible places – hence also the luxuriant garden idea, known best in arid cultures where finding an oasis was a big deal.
Taking the “gods live on mountains” idea, to localize a deity so that you can worship it and offer sacrifice, in return for blessing and barter, you’d build the deity a vacation home – in the shape of a mountain, like his or her real home. A home away from home.
That’s the title of a new, freely accessible scholarly paper on the Antikythera mechanism you can find here. Here’s the abstract:
The Antikythera Mechanism is a fragmentarily preserved Hellenistic astronomical machine with bronze gearwheels, made about the second century B.C. In 2005, new data were gathered leading to considerably enhanced knowledge of its functions and the inscriptions on its exterior. However, much of the front of the instrument has remained uncertain due to loss of evidence. We report progress in reading a passage of one inscription that appears to describe the front of the Mechanism as a representation of a Greek geocentric cosmology, portraying the stars, Sun, Moon, and all five planets known in antiquity. Complementing this, we propose a new mechanical reconstruction of planetary gearwork in the Mechanism, incorporating an economical design closely analogous to the previously identified lunar anomaly mechanism, and accounting for much unresolved physical evidence.
For all those ancient aliens enthusiasts out there, please note the line about the five planets known in antiquity. The Gadarene rush among some in of that ilk to label the mechanism as proof of high (read: alien) technology in the ancient world would of course be proven wrong by this analysis. We’d have another case (just like Sumerian and Babylonian astrolabes and astronomical texts, contra Zecharia Sitchin) where the “aliens” presumably behind this technology only knew about five planets in our solar system.
Amazing how consistent that is. Why? Because we’re talking about human naked eye astronomy, not alien knowledge.
A few days Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) posted a link online to an article entitled, “Extraterrestrial Elements in Egyptian Equipment.” Ancient astronaut believers (and Giorgio Tsoukalos’ hairdresser) no doubt saw the title and got pretty excited about the possibilities.
Sounds startling, doesn’t it? The word “elements” conjures up mental imagery about physics, metallurgy, and “space age” technological knowledge on the part of the Egyptians. It’s nice titling if you want to generate hits online. At least someone working at BAR isn’t a crusty field archaeologist in their seventies. But when you actually read the article you’ll find out it’s about iron beads.
You read that correctly. Beads.
The focus of the essay is about the extraterrestrial source of the iron in certain Egyptian beads. No, the iron didn’t come from a UFO crash, or alien gods trading advanced material in exchange for . . . something. Rather, the iron came from meteorites.
Rocks that the Egyptians saw fall from space, not intelligent visitors from space. But still interesting.
I can second Jason Colavito’s thoughts on Aaron Adair’s recent post on the very human technology used to move the trilithon stones at Baalbek (and other such stones at other locations). It’s a very good post and, for critical thinkers at least, lays to rest the myths about alien participation at Baalbek.
Those readers who have watched the three-hour documentary debunking the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens series know that part of the documentary is devoted to debunking an extraterrestrial explanation for the statues at Rapa Nui – Easter Island. I came across this short piece on the statues that contributes to dispensing with the nonsense as well.