Ancient Apocalypse IV - Written in Stone - With Jens Notroff
In this episode, we continue to look into Graham Hancock's new Netflix show, Ancient Apocalypse. Join Fredrik, who uses his background in archaeology and a bit of skepticism to look deeper into the claims presented in the show. Is Hancock on to something we missed, or are there better explanations?
This is the final chapter of our Ancient Apocalypse saga. We have looked at Hancock's origin and spent time at several different sites in episodes 31 and 32.
In this episode, we revisit the infamous Bimini Road in the Bahamas. This site has long been touted as evidence of everything from extraterrestrial visitation to Graham Hancock's lost civilization. But is there any evidence to support these claims? We critically examine the site and its history, separating fact from fiction.
We then delve into the world of old maps, including Piri Reis's map of the world, which has been the subject of much speculation and controversy. Is there any evidence suggesting that this map proves advanced ancient civilizations existed? We examine the claims and see where the evidence sets the course.
Later, we're joined by archaeologist Jens Notroff, an expert on Göbekli Tepe, an archaeological site that has been the subject of many pseudoscientific theories. Jens shares his knowledge and insights about the site, bringing you the latest research. He has also been involved in the project Tepe Telegrams.
Finally, we explore the archeoastronomy claims made by Martin Sweatman and presented by Graham Hancock. Are these claims based on solid evidence or mere speculation? We examine the evidence and present a critical analysis.
In this episode:
Bimini Road (2:33)
Piri Reis Map and Oronteus Finaeus (11:50)
Göbekli Tepe (20:32)
Interview with Jens Notroff (21:09)
Göbekli Tepe - The stellar connection (44:32)
Sources, resources and further reading suggestions
Hi, hello, and välkommen to Digging Up Ancient Aliens. I'm Fredrik, and I use my archaeology background to examine strange claims you encounter on the telly. This episode is our last chapter in the Ancient Apocalypse saga. We started this journey by exploring where Graham Hancock got some of his inspiration for his writing. After this, we have visited sites Hancock claims are evidence of an advanced Ice Age civilization. It's not gone so well for Hancocks' ideas when we have looked deeper into the places and the myths he has declared to be evidence for his ideas. If you start here, don't worry; you can see them out of order, but I recommend returning to episode 30 and starting from the beginning.
And this is episode 33, and we have some fun things to discuss. First, we head out to the Bahamas and visit Bimini Road. Again! We looked at the site with Hancock in episode 10 when we watched Ancient Aliens' "Underwater worlds." We then get into old maps, especially Piri Reis's map of the world, and learn that things are not always what they seem.
Later we're visited by Jens Notroff, who has worked on Göbekli Tepe and will share his knowledge about the site with us after we close this out by looking at the archaeoastronomical claims by Martin Sweatman that Graham Hancock presented in his show.
Remember that you can find sources, resources, and reading suggestions on our website, diggingupancientaliens.com. There you also find contact info if you notice any mistakes or have any suggestions. And if you like the podcast, I would appreciate it if you left one of those fancy five-star reviews I've heard so much about.
Now that we have finished our preparations let's dig into the episode.
Bimini is a tropical paradise in the heart of the Bahamas, not more than a skip and a jump from Miami. This small island may be pint-sized, but it packs a punch when it comes to natural beauty.
Imagine diving into the crystal-clear, turquoise waters and swimming among schools of vibrant fish and graceful sea turtles, or lounging on one of Bimini's pristine beaches, feeling the soft sand between your toes and listening to the gentle waves lapping at the shore. It's pure bliss!
But Bimini is more than just a pretty face. The island has a rich history and culture, and you can explore the fascinating remnants of its rum-running past, with distilleries and bootlegger's caves dotting the landscape. The Bimini Museum is also a must-see, with exhibits celebrating the island's unique heritage.
But are we here for rum and beaches? Sadly not, our drinks served in coconuts with little umbrellas has to wait for another time. We're here due to the geological feature called Bimini Road. A formation that Hancock regards to be evidence of his ancient lost civilization in episode three, "ghosts of a drowned world." There's some lamenting about archaeologists who do not want to do research; therefore, no scientific study has occurred at Bimini Road.
But how did this row of rocks become a thesis for the location of part of Atlantis? I'll give you a hint; the origin is one of our usual suspects. Can you guess who? If you thought it was Edgar Cayce, great job! Edgar Cayce, or the sleeping prophet, a by now familiar name to us and if not the creator, is the inspiration of the Bimini Road.
Edgar did speak on Atlantis and Bimini islands a couple of times. If you go online and find information regarding Bimini Road, you'll most likely stumble upon one of Edgar Cayce's supposed reading that goes as follow.
"A portion of the temples may yet be discovered under the slime of ages and sea water near Bimini... Expect it in '68 or '69 - not so far away."
If you go and start digging around in this quote, you will learn that the first part is from a "vision" in 1933. Cayce is here talking about where blueprints for the Atlantean power sources will be found. These blueprints are stored (Cayce, 1968) in three locations that are Egypt, Yucutan, and quote "in the sunken portion of Atlantis, or Poseidia, where a portion of the temples may yet be discovered under the slime of ages of sea water—near what is known as Bimini, off the coast of Florida."
As for the second part of the quote, we don't find it until 1938 (prophecy 958-3), but as a date for when the first parts of Atlantis will rise again. "And Poseidia will be among the first portions of Atlantis to rise again. Expect it in sixty-eight and sixty-nine ('68 and' 69); not so far away!"
The 68 and 69 dates were added to the quote later to make his claim more accurate. You see, supporters of Cayce did, for lack of a better word, discover the Bimini road in 1968. So to get the master right, they declared the discovery and the prophecy connected (Card, 2018).
The team who found the rocks and Hancock all agree that these can't be natural. Nature can't create these types of structures. If there's something nature is good at, it's creating incredible shapes (Feder, 2020), something all new archaeologists learn during their first excavation. What we're looking at and what Hancock claims in the show is wrong is Beachrock. A distinctive and rapidly-forming type of rock that develops near the intertidal level. The secret to its formation lies in the regular tidal fluxes that force calcium-carbonate-rich waters through the sand (Shinn, 2004; 2009). Scientists believe that the combination of evaporation and off-gassing of carbon dioxide helps trigger the precipitation of calcium carbonate.
Over time, tiny aragonite crystals form between the sand grains. These crystals act like glue (Shinn, 2004; 2009), gradually uniting the grains to create a hardened limestone. The result is a stunning and unique rock that we know as beachrock. I also want to point out that these pillow-formed stones are found in other locations. James Randi pointed out that these can be found in Australia in 1981.
This process does not need much time to form. We have examples of human skeleton remains and World War II artifacts embedded within this type of rock (Shinn, 2004). Several different tests have been carried out on the site. For example, Shinn and Tompkins took 17 core drillings (McKusick and Shinn, 1980), and when analyzed, they revealed that these blocks have identical strata. We would not expect this in quarried blocks since they come from different places in a quarry. But we know this is something we would expect if they were natural formations (McKusick and Shinn, 1980).
The great thing about limestone is that it incorporates organic material; due to this, we can use C14 to date the rock. Or rather, we can date the organic material within the stone. And it has been done, several samples were taken from the Bimini stones. The oldest date found was from around 3510 BP (Calvert, Introne, and Stipp, 1979). So the rocks were not even formed when Atlantis was supposed to have been destroyed. Something Hancock leaves out in his discussion. But we're not done here. Another big issue for Hancocks' theory is that the Atlantic ocean does not have room for a sunken continent (Feder, 2020). Our understanding of the movement of the tectonic plates indicated that a continent couldn't have been submerged in the Atlantic.
With all these things in mind, it's strange that Hancock claims that "mainstream" science refuses to investigate Bimini road. As we have just discussed, scientists have looked into the claims from the start. But when nothing was there, we stopped spending time and money on it. I don't know if Graham is aware of these tests and investigations, but if he wants people to take him seriously, he should finance new tests. If the second round of tests shows different results than the initial, we might want to open the investigation again. But as the evidence are right now, it's solid as a rock that it's nothing more than. Well. Rocks.
Piri Reis Map
Maybe one of the more strange segments throughout is found in the same episode as Bimini Road. While on a boat in the clear Bahamian waters, Hancock brings up a copy of one of Piri Reis's maps. Piri Reis, or Ahmed Muhiddin Piri, was an admiral within the Ottoman fleet and cartographer who lived between 1465 and 1553 CE. While have done some of the most detailed maps of the Mediterranean (Brotton, 1997) of his time, he is most famous for his world map. Originally this map was in four parts, and sadly, we only have pieces of the South West map surviving until our days and fragments of the North West. On this map, Piri Reis lists his sources as follows.
"No such map exists in our age. Your humble servant is its author and brought it into being. It is based mainly on twenty charts and mappa mundi, one of which is drawn in the time of Alexander the Great, and is known to the Arabs as Caferiye [dja 'grafiye]. This map is the result of comparison with eight such [dja 'grafiye] maps, one Arab map of India, four new Portuguese maps drawn according to the geometrical methods of India and China, and also the map of the western lands drawn by Columbus; such that this map of the seven seas is as accurate and reliable as the latter map of this region." - Piri Reis 1513
So far in the story, both Hancock and I would agree. But Graham has some, well, rather exciting ideas on how we should interpret the map. First, Graham commits a fairly common mistake. The island he points out as Cuba is not, in fact, Cuba. So when he says, "Efforts have been made to explain it as a badly drawn map of Cuba. And that just doesn't fly for me because you can't get it wrong." He is correct, and if we read what name Piri wrote on the island, we note that it's called Hispaniola (Mcintosh, 2000). Today part of the Dominican Republic and the location of the first Spanish colonization attempt La Isabela.
If you look at it, you'll note that the island is facing the wrong direction compared to modern maps. The east coast has become the north coast. It's not uncommon that some landmasses were turned on old maps. For example, we see Greenland twisted about 90 degrees more than once (Mcintosh, 2000). Hispaniola might be rotated because Columbus thought the island was Cipango (Mcintosh, 2000) when he first arrived in the New World. If we look at maps from the era, such as Behaim Globe, Bordone, and Isularium, Piri Reis match pretty well with their renditions of Cipango or Japan as we know it.
But where is Cuba? Columbus and other explorers thought today's Cuba was part of the mainland (Mcintosh, 2000). So we find it above Panama; so much for the eerily accurate map. Piri Reis has marked this place as Cabo y Punta Ornofay (Mcintosh, 2000); today, this area is close to Rio San Juan. So it's pretty clear that Piri based this map segment on Columbus's idea that this was a large landmass that went far up north. Alright, so the map may not be as accurate as depicted in popular media, but how about the idea that Piri Reis has drawn the Bimini Road on the map?
Hancock claims that on the island, we now know depicts Hispaniola, a row of blocks can't be mountains. Graham's reason for this is that Piri Reis supposedly drew mountains differently. Since it's not a mountain range, it must be Bimini Road. Except, Piri Reis drew other maps. Take, for example, his book with Mediterranean maps Kitâb-ı Bahriye. In it, we find maps of Crete, Sicily, and other locations with mountains, which look the same as on the world map.
So it seems as if there was not much luck with Hancock's claims about the northern part of the map. But how about the fact it depicts Antarctica? Does mainstream science have some clever explanation for that? As a matter of fact, we do. First of all, if what we see is not part of South America, did the cartographers just skip everything south of Brazil until they hit Antarctica? If that were the case, would it not be more logical that there would be a gap between Brazil, which we can see, and Antarctica? If we were to straighten the curled-up part, it would be a better match for Argentina and the Falklands than Antarctica (Feagans, 2017). We should not forget the explanations Piri wrote about the different areas. Looking a bit closer, we see that a part of "Antarctica" is described as follows (Mcintosh, 2000).
"This country is barren. Everything is desolate and in ruins and it is said that large serpents are found here. For this reason the Portuguese infidels did not land on these shores and these shores are also said to be very hot." - Piri Reis - 1513.
About the small island, it's claimed that "These islands are not inhabited, but spices are plentiful." Not really how we would describe Antarctica, right? You might now yell, "stop, what about the other map from Oronteus Finaeus?" The 1531 map is one of those cases where if you read what the creator wrote on the map, the mystery disappears. For the landmass, some suggest is a snowless Antarctica it's written: "The Southern Land recently discovered but not yet completely known." (Colavito, 2014). And if we read the longer legend at the bottom, we learn that Finaeus did not base this map on other older maps, but these are brand new (Colavito, 2014). The land area that Finaeus calls "Terra Australis" is most likely Tierra Del Fuego, discovered ten years earlier in 1520. But the idea of a southern landmass had already been theorized by Ptolemy around the second century CE. So when the news about Tierra Del Fuego reached Finaeus, he wrote it in as this theorized landmass but added that it still needs to be adequately explored.
Hancock's claims regarding Bimini Road and the Piri Reis map seem highly unlikely with a better understanding of the sites. Like sandcastles, they crumbled and were washed away by the waves of knowledge. But let's leave the sandy beaches and our coconut drinks for now. We will head east and investigate a site that Hancock speculate is a warning, a warning from the past.
Welcome to the Urfa Province in southwest Turkey. In this semi-arid Mediterranean landscape, located in the steep hills beneath the Taurus Mountains, we find an extraordinary site. Göbekli Tepe, possibly one of the oldest Megalithic construction. I could have talked about the site, but I decided we should bring an absolute ringer. So without further ado, let me introduce you to my next guest.
Interview with Jens Notroff
And then I want to welcome Jens Notroff to the show. Welcome, Jens.
Hi, and thanks for having me.
Would you mind maybe introducing yourself a little bit to the audience that might not be too familiar with your work previously?
Yes, of course. My name is Jens, Jens Nostroff; I am an archeologist currently working or for some time already working at the German Archeological Institute in Berlin. And I was many, many years; I think more than 12 or 14 years, involved in the excavations at Pre-Pottery Neolithic Göbekli Tepe, which probably is familiar to some of your viewers. And we were directing excavations and working at the site together with the local museum in Çayönü.
You have been involved in the Tepe Telegrams. It's a sort of blog, as I have come to understand it. Would you maybe mind share a little bit about that project and how it came to be?
Yeah, that's quite an interesting question because there was a point when the site of Göbekli Tepe reached some recognition in the media. And there was a lot of popular media reporting about it, and a lot of people were interested in the archeology of this site and the finds. And we soon noticed that the actual academic work, that the actual research results were pretty much almost invisible in the public discussion of the site, and a lot of the narrators that were floating around were dominated by now, let's say, distorted, distorted ideas about this site or plain wrong information about the excavations and the finds until a point where it really. Yeah.
Pretty much dove into pseudo-archeology, so really, the factually, totally wrong kind of information floating around and being multiplied and the discussion and before. Okay, something's going bad if the actual research data which is available. Which is there is pretty much not noticed in this whole discussion, and that was the idea to make it much more accessible than academic journals or conferences. And to have this kind of online repository of information with basic information about the site and with our ongoing research and ongoing excavations, just to offer a small glimpse into the state of research and work. And it worked, and in the end, the blog. The format was a blog form. It was well received and read.
And when we talk about Göbekli Tepe, what do we really refer to then? Is it religious sites or.
Yeah, hitting, hitting the hotspot right away.
Well, if we rewind a little bit, what is Göbekli Tepe, and when was it discovered?
Oh yeah yeah, let's maybe let's start this way and the site is already known as a Neolithic site since a survey in the 1960s, a joint survey by the University of Chicago and Istanbul. And the report about this was published a bit later in the eighties. And they had noted that among many Neolithic sites in the region, some of them had already been excavated, for example, the famous Çayönü.
But there's no small amount of. Göbekli Tepe was noteworthy because a lot of Flint stone tools of Flint stone debris were lying around. And those it was under it. And this list, but more or less forgotten because there was nothing else significantly to be observed at first glance. Then in the 1990s and 1994, I think Klaus Schmidt, the former project leader of the Göbekli Tepe excavations, was on this list and had a survey list in hand visiting the area, visiting some of the places noted on this list. He also went to go back to Tepe, and he had the advantage, but he previously worked on another site nearby at Nevali Çori.
There for the first time, these characteristic T-shaped pillars were discovered of the smaller kind. Never literary dates a bit later when you tip, it's also a Neolithic site, but it resembles more what we also found at the temple. The smaller structures, the smaller pillars of a height of two meters, about two meters or less. And with this knowledge, he was able to recognize that some of these stones, small stone parts sticking out of the surface that could tip up where indeed worked. Stones much resembling the tops of these T-shaped pillars. And, of course, this quiet is his interest, his attraction.
And that's how excavation work started. Bear, together with the local museum in Çayönü, offer the next biggest city and is funded by the German Research Foundation and in a year ends up in a large-scale research project at the Orient Department and the Istanbul Department of the German Archeological Institute.
And the dating of the site, what they set data to currently, and how has this date been concluded? What evidence do they have for it currently?
So currently, the site dates to the pre-pottery Neolithic, which is the 10th millennium B.C., basically pre-pottery, Neolithic phases A, and B. So this is the chronological or the relative chronological background. We are moving in. These results are, first of all, of course, achieved by dating the material culture through the typical archeological method to compare and analogies which are very typical stone tools like projectile points and arrowheads, but also blades and knives, and they all are without a question, a dating to the pre-pottery in their culture because we know these tools from many, many other sites since the the the whole cultural complex was defined in the 1950s by Kathleen Kenyon.
But of course, this is not the only basis of the chronology at of we also did some other tests and some other methods where we used to obtain data for or for the finds and features, for example, most famously a radiocarbon dating where are some pieces of charcoal found in the wall cluster of some of the walls of Göbekli Temple, which dates to the 10th Millennium B.C. and at least give us a date when this wall plaster was applied to to the wall. Other dates are coming from inside the wall, from the mortar between and beyond the wall. So there are some reliable radiocarbon dates that definitely support the already achieved archeological dating.
And do we know of for about how long the site was in use, especially the more temple-like area? I think the.
Yeah, I mean, since we're covering our pre-pottery in Neolithic phases A and B, there is some used time visible there, but it's not quite clear. At least, that was my latest state of knowledge. Of course, work is going on, and with all the other sites around being excavated, this picture is suddenly changing over time. But what I wanted to say is that it's not quite clear if there was a constant occupation, constant use of this site, or if there was recurring use.
People were coming back, repairing sites, and reusing sites. So overall, these later structures, we certainly have used them going well into the eighth millennium B.C. So it's quite a long time of use of people being present at the sites the site.
This is, usually, if we go back to these more fringe ideas, presented as something that there broke archeology. Why is this notion often repeated on how Göbekli Tepe broke or revolutionized ideas within archeology?
Yeah, I'm aware of these narratives that force us to rethink and rewrite our previous image of hunter-gatherers, which might have to do with the distorted idea of what we thought about hunter-gatherers previously. I think a lot of the discussion being repeated is drawing from a very, very old concept of the Neolithic, and it's not reflecting the last 50 years of ongoing research where I mean, Göbekli Tepe, in the beginning, seemed like a special outlier, but it was not totally unexpected.
We knew about the monumental architecture related to the pre-pottery Neolithic from the excavations at Jericho; for example, this famous tower is already quite an impressive monument. We already knew about the need of repeated gatherings of mobile groups to exchange information, strengthen social cohesion, and so on from his historical analogies, ethnographic analogies, and also from the archeological record.
If you're looking at the native sites, for example, where there are similar ideas we already discussed. So Göbekli tempers seemed so special also to archeologists because it was this strong focus on monumental architecture, which was all banned and which was a huge site compared to two other sites of the period when we are looking at the settlements.
We already knew from Çayönü, for example, which has a very distinct architecture as well, and also occasionally these special purpose buildings, but not in this massive, massive focus of this large number of special purpose buildings. So this was quite interesting. But meantime, with a lot of other sites in the area and excavation, this image also is getting quite sharper. And it shows us that this is a very specific phenomenon of the local culture. So Göbekli Tepe is not an outlier; it's not an exception. It's part of a number of larger sites in the very region, probably a verified finding by looking at the other parts of the material of culture and the iconography architecture. So we may cover an area of almost 200 kilometers in the surroundings covering this communication zone of this community if you would like to put it like this.
And do we know anything about how they construct? When did they use stones that were available locally, or were they imported? Have we found any tools?
In the lucky situation where the quarries are right next to the actual mounds or the rock plateau surrounding the mound of Göbekli Tepe. And this is where the quarries are situated as well. And they know this because we, for one, found that the negative shapes where stones were removed. We also found a situation where there were half-finished or the remains of finished T-pillars there lying around, and a lot of tools were lying around as well.
So we know which tools they use as well. And we are so sure that we found the quarries because there are some unfinished T-pillars still in the quarries as they were broken. At some point. And those are not used anymore, not transported like 300 meters of what it is to to the mound. So we know where the stone is coming from. We know the tools. So there's really no big mystery about how they made it.
Of course, we cannot say for sure how they were moving, going from A to B, because we were not there. But we see that very clear the past. There are there's a lot of sediment, for example, on the rock plateau as well, which must have come from somewhere. So the idea that they may be used soil or something to get kind of a path, there is something we might discuss about ideas. That's the thing in archeology, we don't know the truth, but we can offer possible scenarios and explanations. And we are fair enough to admit that we don't know something. Maybe this is what makes the real research data less sexy even than these absolute narratives coming from other actors.
Yeah, it's hard to compete with levitation guns and whatever the Ancient Aliens have proposed for moving these blocks. But do you know what sort of materials? Is it tuff? I know that Turkey is usually quite volcanic.
There is a volcanic stone around basalt mostly, which was used for vessels in particular and for grinding stones. The pillars themselves are made from limestone local limestone, which is, and this is also quite a nice explanation or a nice contribution to how they actually crafted this place. The limestone there is naturally appearing in layers of banks.
So as always, a bank of limestone of a certain thickness. And if you want to cut such a raw pillar from the stone, you basically just follow these banks and remove these banks of stones. The limestone is rather soft. It's easily worked with a flint stone, for sure. I tried this. I can personally, personally confirm this is possible. So it's there's no magic needed to cut the local limestone, but the available tools at the time.
Do we know what alignments it might have? I know that Hancock talked a lot about astronomical alignments within site. Are we are aware of any? Or how is the, or has it been any, studies archeoastronomy for this site?
This definitely is is a topic we also we've also looking into and something I personally wouldn't exclude because if there's a possibility where it is a relation to people serving the sky, of course, that would be an interesting observation. And we know from other sites like famously, for example, Stonehenge that there are certain concepts integrated in the architecture as well.
The thing about Göbekli Tepe is that to my knowledge, so far there is no convincing evidence to link any astronomical phenomenon to the alignment of the pillars and all the things discussed so far and be addressed. They basically usually address these things on the blog as well. They are not convincing because they either are drawing from a very small number of samples, basically cherry-picking just a few examples and explaining these, but leaving out the total arrest, which then would remain unexplained and was relying on rather anecdotal data or they are not keeping in mind that what we are seeing at Göbekli Tepe is just the last part of a very long activity at this.
We know for sure that there was a lot of rebuilding and rearranging activity happening all the time and the pillars were reused, but at other enclosures, at other buildings, some pillars are now obviously standing and the wrong in the wrong place. Compared to their original position. Some are turned around; some are reworked, all the reliefs are erased, and new reliefs are added.
So if there was a certain meaning to the arrangement of the pillars, it was changed multiple times. And this makes it very difficult for me to project a certain concept into the layout. And we should not forget that a lot of the building historical research done on the site suggests that these buildings they're subterranean and probably likely roofed. So this again makes a direct, direct connection of the pillars and something happening in the sky rather difficult, in my opinion.
Why was the site abandoned? Do we know if there was any? I know Handcock brings up that it was ritually buried. Is this true, or do we know? Since you bring up that there's half finished piece as well? So is that sudden abandonment, or was it a planned abandonment?
Now we're touching on the topic, which makes it difficult to be conclusive here because this is an ongoing excavation, so the colleagues are still working on the site but still excavated new finds and features. Of course, over time, this new finds our interpretation may change as well. And it did here. So too. I know that in the beginning, one of the ideas we were discussing was that maybe the burial of the enclosures was part of their construction concept from the very beginning, that it was the idea already to bury these buildings.
This is an idea coming basically from the huge 5.5 meter high pillars being found in very shallow pedestals. And we really had a difficult time imagining how these pillars might have stood upright for such a long time if there was no kind of backfilling, supporting, supporting the pillars. Meanwhile, further excavation and further building research and the discussion of maybe a roof putting pressure from above on these pillars or maybe wooden constructions supporting the pillars as well. And there's a lot more, more dynamic in the discussion of how these backfilling events happened, actually. I mean, they were backfilled in the end because we are now excavating them. So the sediment must have come from somewhere. The filling of this these buildings seemed very homogeneous. In the first process of excavation, there was a lot of rubble from the quarries.
There were a lot of stone tools, a lot of bones, remains of meals, and actually a lot of hunted animals. This is, by the way, why we know where the economy of the people, active advocate type of hunter-gatherers, all the animals and plants found so far there or the remains of animals and plants are strictly wild species, hunted species.
But to return to the filling events, we now, with a lot of stratigraphic analysis and building history, building historical analysis, we now have a much, much more differentiated picture available of what happened there. And this research is still in progress and not finished. This seems as of yet that we have to think of both intentional backfilling events at some point and also natural filling events, for example, by earthquakes or erosion.
And these two events may well be linked together as well, because maybe if the site was not in for a certain time and then an earthquake happened, some things were toppled over, walls were collapsing, and people were returning. They may have just cleaned it, but not removed all the rubble. So this is where we have these natural and artificial filling events that may go well, hand and hand.
And also over a longer time than we maybe originally thought. But again, this is book and research, and I don't want to take away any information from the colleagues still working there still coming up with this interpretation falls is.
No and that's something important to keep in mind with archaeology, it's a science like much else and information change as new research is conducted.
And we're happy to admit this. So this idea, but it's a secret archeology, legal dogma. And we want to defend this dogma of forever. It's ridiculous because if it's one thing constantly changing in archeology, it's our idea of what these finds may represent. And we're happy to get new ideas and to get a step further, to get another puzzle piece for the picture. So yeah.
Yeah. That's the whole idea with science, and why many of us got into it from the start to learn new things. It's not that we want to sit and read the same book over and over until we retire, but Jens, I will let you go. Is there anywhere listeners or viewers can go to read more from you?
I definitely recommend having a look at the Teppe Telegrams blog, but we'll be relaunched. Oh, it has been relaunched after a break over the pandemic when onsite was also limited. So colleagues have been working a lot with the science. But now I'm expecting that the blog will show new information and inform about ongoing work in research. And maybe I think there's also a lot of further literature collected and what people would like to read or to find further information as an FAQ about the site. So I think this would be the first resource I suggest to visit for. So that also the idea is discussed what the site actually is, which is not easy.
It's probably not a temple or ritual site or only a ritual site, as has been discussed in a lot of formats. But we would like to call the social have a meeting place for people because this notion of ritual versus profane is a very, very modern distinction and does not have at all to be applied to the prehistoric people using the site as well.
Yeah, yeah. Religion can be a communal sense, so to say, as we see in the other culture, you can have a social gathering combined with basically ritual services at the same time. Jens, thank you so much for your time.
Thank you for inviting me.
Thank you so much for your time, Jens! His website and project links can be found in the show notes.
Göbekli Tepe - The stellar connection
Something we didn't bring up in this talk was the ideas of Martin Sweatman, who appears in the show. Or Dr. Sweatman, who is by day doing Chemical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. But by night, he is researching archeoastronomy at Göbekli Tepe. His idea is that the builders of Göbekli Tepe did carve astronomical constellations on the pillars at the site as a message to future generations. Sweatman (2017) claims that on one pillar, we see depicted constellations like Gemini, Scorpio, Virgio, Piecies, and other Greek constellations. These constellations, Sweatman (2017) claims line up with the equinoxes as they were 10 950 BCE. Why is this important? It's the supposed date for the meteoric strike in the Younger Dryas Impact hypothesis, a large part of Hancock's theory for why his super civilization disappeared. But Göbekli Tepe was not constructed until Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (Notroff, Dietrich, and Schmidt, 2014) or, at the earliest, 9600 BCE. Sweatman has just handwaved away any criticism explaining this 1000-plus-year gap with "oral traditions."
But as you might have noted, I did say that Sweatman did use the Greek constellations. These are more or less the same we use today, but their origin is not Greek. The greeks imported most of these constellations from Mesopotamia, specifically the Babylonians (Hoffmann, 2021). There were some changes, so they didn't just copy-paste; they changed it a little so the teacher would not notice. I think we all know Aries, Latin for a ram, and what the Greeks called this constellation; the Babylonians referred to it as "Hired worker" (Hoffmann, 2021). There's quite a difference between a ram and a worker. We see this in other signs; Gemini is in Greece twins, but among the Babylonians, they were two sets of twins, a crook, or in some cases, "The true Shepard of Anu" (Hoffmann, 2017; 2021). Pieces are two fishes in Greece, but the Babylonians called it a swallow. Virgio was among the Babylonians described as a furrow, the trench in a plowed field, while, as we know, the Greeks referred to it as a maiden. Sure, there are similarities, like the Scorpio, who is the same in both cultures (Hoffmann, 2017; 2021).
The Babylonian constellations go back some time; the earliest accounts we find in a document called MUL-APIN (Hoffmann, 2021; Hunger and Steele, 2018). While the oldest clay tablet we have preserved is from around 700 BCE, it's argued that the text goes back to around 1300-1000 BCE (Hunger and Steele, 2018). This is a compendium covering Babylonian astronomy and astrology. Note here that while these constellations go back some 3000 years, it's far from the 10 000 BCE date suggested by Sweatman. Even if we use the 9600 BCE, we know construction probably started at Göbekli Tepe; it's 8000 years between that and the earliest assumed account in Babylonian sources. That it would remain unchanged for so long is nearly impossible.
Sweatman and his co-author Tsikritsis, another chemical engineer, claim a depiction of a frog, an ibex, and a bird are representations of Vigrio, Gemini, and Pisces (Sweatman and Tsikritsis, 2017). The reasoning was that they feel that these symbols represented the depictions of the as the constellations would have looked like at 10 000 BCE. But as you note this does not match the babylonian sources or the greek sources. They do not really explain this difference, instead Sweatman claim it’s probable and this is what they see in their reconstructions of the night sky at this time. So they have done a Rorschach test and declared it evidence.
Sweatman and Tsikritsis claim they are statistically 99% correct. How they arrived at this statistical conclusion is dubious at best, especially when he does not present any archeological remains to support this. As Rebecca Bradley put it (2018), they assume that the carvings are astrological grouping without testing the evidence for that assumption.
It's not strange that Sweatman was invited; he has previously written on Hancocks' blog and is part of the YDI crowd. While he might be a decent Chemical Engineer, he is quite a lousy archaeologist. Sometimes intelligent people can be their worst enemy since they think they can't be fooled. Unfortunately for Sweatman, he managed to trick himself quite well.
Here we will close the Hancock saga for now. Maybe we will return one day and have another look at Hancocks' ideas. There are things we've left out, and we have a whole bibliography to go through. Feel free to reach out and let me know if you want more content like this. There's a lot of pseudoarchaeology we can look at and discuss. But next time, we will be back with Giorgio and the gang to dig after those ancient aliens once again.
But till then, remember to leave a positive review anywhere you can, such as iTunes, Spotify, or to your friend at the trench. I would also recommend visiting diggingupancientaliens.com to find more info about me and the podcast. You can also find me on most social media sites, and if you have comments, corrections, suggestions, or just want to write an email in all caps, you can find my contact info on the website.
You will find all the sources and resources used to create this podcast on our website. You will often also find further reading suggestions if you want to learn more about the subjects we bring up.
Sandra Marteleur created the intro music, and our outro is by the band called Trallskruv, who sings their song "tin foil hat." Links to both these artists will be found in the show notes.
Until next time, keep shoveling that science!
Sources, resources, and further reading suggestions
Bradley, R. (2018). Gobekli Tepe, Part 4: Animals and Astronomy. [online] The Lateral Truth. Available at: https://skepticink.com/lateraltruth/2018/11/18/gobekli-tepe-part-4-animals-astronomy/.
Brotton, J. (1997). Trading territories: mapping the early modern world. London: Reaktion Books.
Calvert, P.M., Introne, D.S. and Stipp, J.J. (1979). University of Miami Radiocarbon Dates XIV. Radiocarbon, [online] 21(1), p.107112. doi:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200004239.
Card, J.J. (2018). Spooky archaeology: myth and the science of the past. Albuquerque: University Of New Mexico Press.
Cayce, E.E. (1968). Edgar Cayce on Atlantis. New York: Warner Books.
Colavito, J. (2014). Oronteus Finaeus Antarctica Map. [online] Jason Colavito. Available at: https://www.jasoncolavito.com/oronteus-finaeus-antarctica-map.html.
Feagans, C. (2017). Piri Reis Map and Claims of Antarctica. [online] Archaeology Review. Available at: https://ahotcupofjoe.net/2017/02/piri-reis-map-claims-antarctica/.
Feder, K.L. (2020). Frauds, myths, and mysteries: science and pseudoscience in archaeology. 10th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Harrison, W. (1971). Atlantis Undiscovered — Bimini, Bahamas. Nature, 230(5292), pp.287–289. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/230287a0.
Hoffmann, S.M. (2017). History of Constellations as popularization of uranometry, in: Wolfschmidt, Gudrun: Nuncius Hamburgensis Bd. 41, Hamburg, tredition Verlag
Hoffmann, S.M. (2021). Reconstruction of ancient constellations in the Planetarium Dome. The Planetarian, [online] 50(2), pp.12–20. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/61188994/Reconstruction_of_ancient_constellations_in_the_Planetarium_Dome.
Hunger, H. and Steele, J. (2018). The Babylonian Astronomical Compendium MUL.APIN. Milton Park: Routledge.
Mcintosh, G.C. (2000). The Piri Reis map of 1513. Athens: University Of Georgia Press.
McKusick, M. and Shinn, E.A. (1980). Bahamian Atlantis reconsidered. Nature, 287(5777), pp.11–12. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/287011a0.
Notroff, J., Dietrich, O., Dietrich, L., Tvetmarken, C., Kinzel, M., Breuers, J., Sönmez, D. and Clare, L. (2017). More than a vulture: A response to Sweatman and Tsikritsis. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, 17, pp.57–74. doi:https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.581724.
Notroff, J. Dietrich, O., and Schmidt, K. (2014) Building Monuments – Creating Communities. Early monumental architecture at Pre-Pottery Neolithic Göbekli Tepe. In: Osborne , J. F. (ed.) Approaching Monumentality in Archaeology. IMEA Proceedings Volume 3, SUNY Press: Albany, 83-105.
Quack, J.F. (2018). Astronomy in Ancient Egypt. Oxford Handbook of Science and Medicine in the Classical World, pp.60–70. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199734146.013.64.
Randi, J. (1981). Atlantean road: The Bimini beach-rock. SKEPTICAL INQUIRER 5(3). Spring: 42-43.
Shinn, E.A. (2004). A Geologist’s Adventures with Bimini Beachrock and Atlantis True Believers. Skeptical Iqnquire, pp.38–44.
Shinn, E.A. (2009). The Mystique of Beachrock. Perspectives in Carbonate Geology: A Tribute to the Career of Robert Nathan Ginsburg, pp.19–28. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444312065.ch2.
Symons, S.L., Cockcroft, R., Bettencourt, J. and Koykka, C., 2013. Ancient Egyptian Astronomy. [Online database] Available at: <http://aea.physics.mcmaster.ca/>.
Sweatman, MB & Tsikritsis, D (2017), 'Decoding Gobekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?', Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 233-250. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.400780
“Folie hatt” by Trallskruv
Lily of the woods by Sandra Marteleur