If you take the time to delve into the ancient history of humanity, one thing becomes clear: what we know is but a small taste of our species' lengthy story
Hello again dear readers, my apologies for the site being light on articles over the past months, but it's been a busy year and your friendly neighbourhood ranter hasn't been in a writing mood for a while.
There's been no shortage of things to rant about lately, from the United States officially cementing their banana republic status to a suspect drowning on a former president's grounds, from the blatant political machine that has been exposed as the FBI to the publicity circus for a fight between two of the wealthiest men on the planet in the hallowed Roman colosseum.
In fact, there may be too many things to rant about - at least for someone who rants part time and isn't paid for such things - as today's news cycle of unending stupidity and craziness is constantly managing to stretch the bounds of one's imagination.
Today however, the problems we find ourselves surrounded by shall be forgotten as we set our sights on the past. More specifically, the ancient past of those that walked the Earth before us.
I've always found ancient history to be an interesting subject, but over the past year it has become even more fascinating as my eyes have been opened to far more possibilities than I had previously thought existed and led me down one rabbit hole after another.
For such a broad topic I have plenty to share about, this article will be just the beginning of a series of pieces that together form a story of our ancient past and what we are yet to uncover, with today's piece focusing broadly on the topic and what got me so hooked on the pre-historic past.
My newfound interest in humanity's ancient past began courtesy of an episode of Joe Rogan's podcast, which so often acts as a portal for independent minds to be exposed to new ideas and intriguing avenues they may not have ever taken interest in otherwise.
The podcast that I'm referring to saw Rogan speak with Graham Hancock, an investigative journalist made famous for his "pseudoscientific" theories on ancient civilizations, and Randall Carlson, a geomythologist who has dedicated his career to studying geological phenomena and ancient cultures' accounts of those phenomena; the ideas and theories the two spoke of set off on an online journey of discovery for myself and many others.
Whether it be listening to previous podcasts featuring those men or others like them, finding Youtube videos exploring such subjects and the various theories that have circulated over the years, checking out scientific papers on historical sites, or reading "debunkings" and other related articles, that lone three-hour podcast has ended up stealing many more hours of my time over the past year.
What makes this subject in particular worth so much time, you ask?
Not only is our ancient past intriguing to me, but exploring the "science" behind what we're taught in schools and what is accepted as fact in media is, just like every other aspect of science nowadays, quite eye opening.
The scientific method is one of constant iteration, of constant refinement, whether old theories are solidified and fortified with new evidence, or those same theories fall apart and are restructured or replaced entirely. Just like in nature, science must evolve.
The problem is in how science is presented in everyday life, and how many theories, even those lacking substantial proof, are disseminated as if they are fact and defended rigorously by media members and academia.
This is something I have spoken about many times in past articles and this problem seems to envelop every area of study; it turns out, archaeology and geology are no different.
Many longstanding theories about our ancient ancestors persist and are taught to this day despite little or weak evidence to support them; theories that don't conform to mainstream views are ridiculed and have their speakers attacked rather than engaged in healthy debate; curiosity and critical thinking is often stifled by foolish appeals to authority.
Graham Hancock was largely the speaker that got me so interested in this subject, even though after researching I largely disagree with much of his theory and believe he is guilty of exactly what he (rightfully) accuses academia of doing.
Hancock is a great speaker and comes off extremely well in interviews and podcasts like the afforementioned one with Rogan, which makes pretty much anyone unfamiliar with the subjects he speaks of think he knows a great deal, and in some aspects, he does.
Hancock has written many books on his theories but is now most famous for his Netflix series Ancient Apocalypse, which is an interesting docu-series that lays out much of his primary thesis: that an advanced, globe-spanning ancient civilization once flourished but was wiped out roughly 12,000 years ago.
His series highlights a variety of fascinating ancient sites and certain questions that surround them; the problem is that Hancock does extensively what he accuses academia of doing, and that is of cherry-picking evidence that supports his conclusions, omitting things that might raise doubts about said conclusions, and by making logical leaps that on the surface may seem plausible but fall apart under scrutiny.
For an example, in one episode of the show he focuses on ancient temples found on the island of Malta.
Stone structures of course can't be definitively dated directly (carbon dating and other dating methods all require living material in order to work) as there is no way to tell when stone was originally quarried/cut/shaped etc., and so materials in and around sites are used to try and identify when stone structures were first constructed.
Due to this limitation, there are often many questions over the age of stone structures, particularly ones that have seen extensive use as often dating methods can indicate a time when the structures were used, but not necessarily exactly when they were first used.
The temples found on Malta are from various periods with some believed to have been built as early as 3600 BC, over 5600 years ago, with many of these temples being used for millennia.
Questioning the dating methods used for these temples would be one thing, but Hancock doesn't bring up any flaws with the dating itself (which in the case of the Maltese temples, is actually quite robust) - instead, he offers an alternative hypothesis that, at first, seems reasonable when he explains it.
His hypothesis is that all of the temples are set to align with Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. If you look at the temples, all are facing the same direction, but on slightly different angles; his theory is essentially that if you align their entrances exactly with the position of Sirius during the summer solstice, it gives you their accurate dating, which you can calculate using astronimical data.
The night sky was of course an important aspect of ancient cultures and ancient peoples' astronomical knowledge regularly astounds scientists to this day, but in this case, as is the case with many that use star/constellation alignments as evidence of something, it's making a mountain of a molehill.
Sirius is of course an important star in the night sky and has been throughout recorded history, as have been the solstices, so at face value his theory seems plausible if he were referring to a more precise aspect of or marking on these temples. Take a small viewport in the wall of such a structure for instance, one oriented so that your line of sight would line up perfectly with the star at a certain time.
In this case however, we aren't talking about a small viewport or marking - we're talking about an entire doorway several feet across. To take the exact center of a doorway, then draw a line out to where a star is located at a certain time, is applying a level of precision to an object that is frankly quite silly.
It's also completely ignoring the fact that the direction of these temple extrances have a logical, simple explanation that makes far more sense - that the builders would want to maximize the amount of light to enter the structure during the day, and thus would align the entrances with the rising sun.
Hancock's books and indeed the Netflix series are littered with ideas that sound good at first when you hear him explain it, but fail to survive any scrutiny - so why is he becoming more and more popular, and more people are believing his ideas?
That answer is simple - academia and the media.
Rather than highlighting the problems with Hancock's theories, mainstream academics (including entire organizations such as the Society for American Archaeology) and media outlets lash out at Hancock and attack his character rather than his ideas, which they've been doing for decades now.
Any proper responses (of which there are plenty) are drowned out thanks to media hit pieces that call Hancock racist (for instance this open letter from the afforementioned SAA, despite the fact Hancock doesn't mention race nor does he ever state what he believes the race of the ancient lost civilization he says exists is) or claim that his series is actually "dangerous".
Various major media outlets and scientific groups called for the Netflix show to be removed or at the very least to be reclassified as science fiction.
The response to ideas that they disagree with, even if those ideas are absurd, is to censor and slander, rather than debate and inform, and thus academia and the mainstream media inadvertently cause those ideas to gain traction.
I may not agree with most of Hancock's theories, but one thing he does throughout his program is highlight the fact that he's describing a theory - while he believes his theory is ultimately correct, he still presents it as a theory rather than fact, and that is a lot more than most can say when dealing with scientific theories being presented in media.
For an example of another show on the exact same service that didn't receive any media backlash or calls for censorship, one need only look at Netflix's Our Universe, which was released in the same month as Ancient Apocalypse.
The Morgan Freeman narrated documentary (it has some excellent visuals by the way, especially if you have a good 4K TV) is presented as fact just like virtually every other documentary.
It regularly presents theories as if proven fact without ever stating that they are theories or even presenting the notion that there are other theories out there that may contradict what they're stating, even when dealing with the dating of cosmological events that are constantly being revised and argued over.
This is par for the course for any documentary, yet very rarely is it called out, especially not from mainstream academic groups.
Remember An Inconvenient Truth, the "documentary" that followed Al Gore and his climate change tour, with supposedly accurate scientific predictions and data?
There weren't mainstream calls for that film to be censored, banned, or labelled science fiction, yet virtually every claim the movie makes has been proven laughably false and it was a pretty blatant propaganda project that was even shown in many schools across North America.
It's the confident and unquestionable authority with which many scientific theories are presented to the public that ends up undermining future breakthroughs and sowing distrust in science; when a theory that becomes engrained in people's consciousness gets proven wrong, people begin to question everything they were told. After all, if they were so confident about this and now they're saying it was completely incorrect, what else were they wrong about?
This inevitable distrust and backlash then fuels the cycle that engulfs modern science.
Mainstream academics and media, due to the backlash they wrought on themselves thanks to how they present information, then become wary of anything that goes against previous narratives. This leads to attacks and suppression of any dissent until the evidence becomes overwhelming and they're forced to change their position. When that day comes, which it always eventually does, they can claim science is "working" because they have updated their position accordingly, even if they knew far before that time that they were wrong and tried to bury anything that said otherwise.
This cycle leads to people having a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and makes it difficult for proper scientists to conduct their work, a problem that permeates every avenue of science.
All of this has been giving mainstream media and academics the benefit of the doubt, that they're simply trying to protect themselves from backlash or distrust in the future if their theories end up being wrong.
What happens just as often (or likely, even more so nowadays) is that mainstream narratives are started and/or maintained with malicious intent.
Certain narratives are financially lucrative for certain groups and what that does to an area of study is regularly devastating, but such a problem probably deserves a separate article of its own. For a few examples, take the tobacco companies' coverup of the harms of smoking, the sugar industry's influence on health studies, the current climate change racket, or more controversially, big pharma's history of pushing very poorly studied vaccinations over the past few decades.
Studies are now regularly pushed out with fabricated or erroneous data and make headlines, only to be quietly revised or retracted later, a practice that has increased astronimically in recent years - retractions in major scientific journals have gone from 40 in the entire year of 2000, to nearly 5500 last year, far outpacing the relatively small growth in annual papers published.
Getting back to Graham Hancock, while I don't agree with much of what he says, he does serve as a gateway into more careful thinkers such as Randall Carlson, and his belief that mythology and the writings/traditions passed down from ancient cultures can teach us a lot about our history is one that I and many others agree with. It's also a belief that is often dismissed too easily by academics.
Even the Bible, which is regularly ridiculed for containing rather implausible stories, is often rooted in historical events that can be backed up by records and even modern science.
For a great example of this, take Moses' parting of the Red Sea.
Essentially, in the Bible (keep in mind I'm no biblical expert), Moses leads his people away from pursuing Israelites until they reach the Red Sea, essentially giving them nowhere left to run.
Although it's often depicted as being basically instantaneous in popular media and thus in most people's imaginations, the Bible states a "strong easterly wind" throughout the night drove the sea back and uncovered dry land, parting the waters and effectively creating a land bridge which allowed Moses and his people to cross the sea safely in the morning.
This has of course been dismissed as a fairytale, yet in recent years it's been shown that not only is it possible for such a thing to happen (it's called a wind "setdown"), but such a phenomena has been observed in more recent times in both the Nile Delta and Lake Erie. Further analysis of the approximate area that Moses' story took place in and the time it supposedly occurred also shows that a wind setdown opening up such a land bridge would have been possible across the Red Sea.
Such a land bridge can be exposed for several hours which would allow people to cross such a feature, making the story in the Bible plausible even if the timing of things were exaggerrated (in Exodus 14 which contains this story, Moses and his following make it across the Red Sea just in time for the waters to come rushing back, swallowing up their pursuers).
Even if the rest of the story was entirely made up, the fact that it is grounded in a natural phenomenon highlights the importance of listening to the mythology of ancient peoples when it comes to gathering clues about our ancient past and what has happened over the hundreds of thousands of years homo sapiens have roamed the planet; dismissing such tales outright is just as foolish as taking every word of it as gospel.
It can also help to fill in the gaps in our knowledge - we may have a great understanding of the last few thousands of years, but as you peer further back more and more of the story is missing - what we have of "pre-history", or the times before written languages and record-keeping, is extremely limited.
Most archeological findings are made by accident, typically dug up either during new construction projects or during the planning phases of said projects. Despite this, we're constantly finding new sites that defy longstanding notions about our history, such as the massive ~11,500 year old Gobekli Tepe monolithic site in Turkey or the litany of ancient cities in the Amazon rainforest.
The vast majority of history is simply the victim of time - it takes special conditions and a lot of luck for an ancient site to remain for thousands of years in order for us to study today, let alone to survive tens of thousands of years, and that's without factoring in the loss of records, structures, and artifacts due to human activities like war and thievery.
The tendency for humans to settle along coastlines (which persists to this day) is also problematic for finding ancient human ruins and remains.
There are most certainly other civilizations that existed which we have yet to discover, and some that simply have no traces left to find.
What's perhaps most intriguing about the various mythologies and tales from ancient cultures that have survived to be told today is that so many different cultures seem to describe similar natural phenomena, and in particular many refer to an ancient apocalyptic event from which survivors passed their knowledge down from.
Many different peoples from around the world have a story regarding an incredible flood that "cleansed" the land and wiped out most life, from Native American tribes to Chinese and even Egyptian mythologies.
Floods of course occur all the time, and even with modern technologies can be absolutely devastating to an area. The fact that floods are written about isn't exactly surprising; what is surprising however, is just how many different cultures speak of such floods wiping out most life at once, something that other natural phenomena (including wildfires, volanic eruptions, etc.) don't seem to share.
The famous tale of Atlantis, which today is attributed to the Greeks thanks to Plato, is actually a retelling of an Egyptian story (Atlantis will be the topic of another part of this series in the future). According to the ancient Egyptians, Egyptians themselves are the descendants of survivors of a great flood which wiped out the highly advanced kingdom of Atlantis.
Similarly, the Sumerians, an advanced civilization that predated the Egyptians yet remain largely ignored by mainstream media and education systems, had their own tales of a great flood that wiped out civilizations. These stories served as source material for the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is thought by some to have possibly been the inspiration for the Biblical version.
The Bible of course tells the tale of the Great Flood and Noah's Ark, wherein a massive flood envelops the Earth and life must begin anew after the waters retreated.
Stories from ancient cultures across North and South America, Asia, and Africa echo the tales of a great flood, from which the survivors repopulated the world.
Why is this important?
Well, that is what we'll get into over the next several parts of this series.
Tales of an ancient apocalypse and flooding of biblical proportions may very well be more fact than myth, and a story that is far older than you'd think.
But before we do, we will explore the last "great" extinction event that is widely accepted and proven by scientific findings - the extinction event which marked the end of the dinosaurs.
It's an apocalyptic story which everyone is familiar with, but what you may not know is how the science that broke that revelation is leading us to a missing piece of humanity's past that up until now has been dismissed as fiction.
Click here to continue reading The Human Story, with Part Two: The Demise of the Dinosaurs now.