Its Official Stone-age Europeans ‘were the first to set foot on North America’ 19,000 to 26,000 years ago! – Archaeologists Find Pre-Clovis Projectile Points in Texas

Despite general resistance, representatives of tribes in the US recently gave their blessing for DNA analysis of the remains of a Stone Age child. Research conducted on the boy’s genes indicate that Native Americans have European roots.

Stone-age Europeans ‘were the first to set foot on North America’

Stone-age Europeans were the first to set foot on North America, beating American Indians by some 10,000 years, new archaeological evidence suggests.

In a discovery that could rewrite the history of the Americas, archaeologists have found a number of stone tools dating back between 19,000 and 26,000 years, and bearing remarkable similarities to those made in Europe.

All of the ancient implements were discovered along the north-east coast of the USA.

The tools could reassert the long dismissed and discredited claim that Europeans in the form of Christopher Columbus and his crew were the first to discover the New World.

Previous discoveries of tools have only been dated back to 15,000 years ago and prompted many archaeologists and historians to question claims that stone-age man managed to migrate to North America.

But the striking resemblance in the way the primitive American tools were made to European ones dating from the same period now suggests a remarkable migration took place.

Adding to the weight of evidence is fresh analysis of stone knife unearthed in the US in 1971 that revealed it was made of French flint.

Professor Dennis Stanford from Washington’s Smithsonian Institution, and Professor Bruce Bradley from Exeter University believe that the ancient Europeans travelled to North America across an Atlantic frozen over by the Ice Age.

During the height of the Ice Age, ice covered some three million square miles of the North Atlantic, providing a solid bridge between the two continents. Plentiful numbers of seal, penguins, seabirds and the now extinct great auk on the edge of the ice shelf could have provided the stone-age nomads with enough food to sustain them on their 1,500-mile walk.

Once again, the so-called “extremists” were right. In a discovery that could rewrite the history of the Americas, archaeologists have found a number of stone tools dating back between 19,000 and 26,000 years, and bearing remarkable similarities to those made in Europe. All of the ancient implements were discovered along the north-east coast of the USA. The tools could reassert the long dismissed and discredited claim that Europeans in the form of Christopher Columbus and his crew were the first to discover the New World. Previous discoveries of tools have only been dated back to 15,000 years ago and prompted many archaeologists and historians to question claims that stone-age man managed to migrate to North America. But the striking resemblance in the way the primitive American tools were made to European ones dating from the same period now suggests a remarkable migration took place.

At the Gault archaeological site in central Texas, archaeologists have unearthed a projectile point technology never previously seen in North America, which they date to be 16,000-20,000 years old. The findings, published in the journal Science Advances, suggest humans occupied the North American continent prior to Clovis — considered the first culture to use projectile points to hunt on the continent, and dated to around 11,000 years ago.

Stone tool assemblage recovered from the Gault site, Texas: (A to D, F, and L) bifaces; (E) blade core; (G) quartz projectile point; (H and I) projectile points; (K) projectile point tip; (M, V, and W) blade; (N) unifacial tool; (O and T) gravers; (P) discoidal biface; (Q) end scraper; (R to U) modified flake tools; (X and Y) lanceolate projectile points. Image credit: N. Velchoff / Gault School of Archaeological Research.

Stone tool assemblage recovered from the Gault site, Texas: (A to D, F, and L) bifaces; (E) blade core; (G) quartz projectile point; (H and I) projectile points; (K) projectile point tip; (M, V, and W) blade; (N) unifacial tool; (O and T) gravers; (P) discoidal biface; (Q) end scraper; (R to U) modified flake tools; (X and Y) lanceolate projectile points. Image credit: N. Velchoff / Gault School of Archaeological Research.

For decades, scientists believed the Western Hemisphere was settled by humans roughly 13,500 years ago, a theory based largely upon the widespread distribution of Clovis artifacts dated to that time.

In recent years, though, archaeological evidence has increasingly called into question the idea of ‘Clovis First.’

Now, Texas State University researcher Thomas Williams and colleagues, working at the Gault site northwest of Austin, has dated a significant assemblage of stone artifacts to 16,000-20,000 years of age, pushing back the timeline of the first human inhabitants of North America far before Clovis.

“Clovis artifacts are distinctive prehistoric stone tools so named because they were initially found near Clovis, New Mexico, in the 1920s but have since been identified throughout North and South America,” Dr. Williams said.

“The Gault projectile points are unique. We haven’t found anything else like them.”

“Combine that with the ages and the fact that it underlies a Clovis component and the Gault site provides a fantastic opportunity to study the earliest human occupants in the Americas.”

The presence of Clovis technology at the Gault site is well-documented.

Excavations below the Clovis deposits revealed well-stratified sediments containing artifacts — called Gault Assemblage — distinctly different from Clovis.

The finds include small projectile point technology, biface stone tools, blade-and-core tools, and flake tools.

Dr. Williams and co-authors compared Gault artifacts to Clovis tools and found that the blade-and-core traditions, in particular, are similar to Clovis blade-and-cores (meaning they continued into the time of Clovis), but biface traditions underwent significant changes in the Clovis level.

Ancient Americans were Europeans.

“Meanwhile, the early projectile point technology is ‘unrelated’ to Clovis at all,” they noted.

Based on optically stimulated luminescence dating, the Gault Assemblage sediment samples are approximately 16,000-20,000 years old.

“The Gault site, which encompasses a valley at the intersection of the Edwards Plateau and Blackland Prairie, would have had great appeal to early human arrivals,” the researchers said.

“Reliable springs provided ample water for both humans and wild game during drought, and high-quality chert (flint) outcroppings were valuable for use in crafting tools and projectile points.”

“Significantly, the Gault site excavation provides evidence pushing back earliest human habitation of North America by at least 2,500 years,” they said.

“Within a wider context, this evidence suggests that Clovis technology spread across an already well-established, indigenous population.”

_____

Thomas J. Williams et al. 2018. Evidence of an early projectile point technology in North America at the Gault Site, Texas, USA. Science Advances 4 (7): eaar5954; doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aar5954

Europeans Have been traveling to North America for tens of thousands of years, History is far more complex than we are led to believe.

America May Have Been Discovered By Stone Age Hunters from Europe 17,000 Years Ago

There are many arguments over which  humans discovered America first, but typically they really mean which group of people discovered a North America already populated by Native Americans. There is another level of debate, this one about the first human settlements that arrived in America thousands of years ago, during the Ice Age. Known as the Solutrean hypothesis, this theory was proposed in 1998 by Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution and Bruce Bradley from University of Exeter. They believe that Europeans were the original settlers in the Americas.

This theory of settlement contradicts the long-held position that the continent was originally populated by Asian peoples, who accessed America by way of a land bridge near the Bering straights or on the Pacific coast. Now researchers are concluding that such travel in the Alaska region may not have been possible. And new evidence is indicating that the Solutrean hypothesis may be right after all.

The Solutrean culture existed 21,000 to 17,000 years ago, during the Ice Age. These hunters lived in Europe and may have migrated to North America by boat as they followed the pack ice of the north Atlantic Ocean. The ocean was frozen for thousands of years. The hypothesis began with discovery of Clovis technology in the Americas.

If correct, then Europeans discovered America 10,000 years before the Siberian-originating people who evolved into the Native Americans arrived on the continent.

Archeologists have made a startling array of discoveries of stone tools that were made in the European style of the time. These tools date to 19,000 to 26,000 years, and were found at six different places along the American coast. One site was established in Pennsylvania and a second in virginia. Dr Darrin Lowery of the University of Delaware found three sites on the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland. The sixth site is on the seabed 60 miles out from the Virginia coast. It was discovered by scallop fisherman who were dredging in the area.

These deceptively simple tools and discoveries have turned out to be the biggest archeological finds in decades, with the potential to upend everything we knew about the way humans spread throughout the world.

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History Department of Anthropology crurator Dr. Dennis Stanford sitting in front of several Clovis Points

The first group of stone age tools were discovered about 15,000 years ago, a long time after Stone Age Europeans called Solutreans from France and Iberia had already stopped making the tools. So although the tools were similar in type, archeologists rejected a connection between the US and Europe.

Now older tools have been discovered that date to between 26,000 and 19,000 years ago, which makes them contemporary with the western European tools that are almost identical.

In addition, a chemical analysis of a Solutrean-style stone knife found in Virginia in 1971 proved to be made from French flint.

Professor Stanford and Professor Bruce Bradley say the discoveries support their hypothesis that that Stone Age people from Western Europe came to North America in the  midst of the Ice Age. They believe people walked and/or traveled by boat as they followed the edge of the frozen Atlantic. Hunters at the time would have subsisted by hunting seal and other life that survived the harsh conditions. The professors have written a new book – Across Atlantic Ice – which is available now.

At the height of the Ice Age, there were three million square miles of ice in the North Atlantic. The ice lasted for most of the year and sometimes all year. The seasonally shifting zone provided good opportunities for game and fish, however, especially in the places where the ice ended and the open ocean began. Hunters of the era would have access to sea birds, fish, migrating seals and some now-extinct species such as the great auk, a penguin-like sea bird.

Skeptics didn’t believe that humans from the Stone Age could’ve made the long journey from Europe to America. It was a 1,200 mile trip across treacherous conditions. However, evidence is starting to indicate humans were indeed capable of such a migration.

Archaeologists are beginning digs in six new sites across in Tennessee, Maryland and even Texas, which many believe will produce more evidence in favor of the Solutreans. As Bradley and Stanford point out, the predominant theory of Siberian migration fails because there is no evidence of human activity in north-east Siberia or Alaska up to about 15,500 years ago. No tools or other material from Asia has been discovered to from before 19,000 years ago.

If the Solutrean European hypothesis is correct, it means that the Stone Age humans managed to make the transition in a relatively narrow window of just 4,500 years. Asian-originating Indians who are believed to have entered the Americas by accessing the Bering Straits or along the Aleutian Islands chain would’ve had 15,000 years to make the move. Most of the 15,000 year period provided for a much better climate to migrate, and would theoretically sustain more migration by a larger number of people.

It is therefore possible that the Solutrean Native Americans had actually been absorbed or eradicated by the Siberian Natives.

Genetic markers are providing more evidence to support the Solutreans. Genetic markers for Stone Age Europeans is found in small quantities in American Indian DNA. Tests on DNA extracted from 8000 year old skeletons which were discovered in Florida contain a high level of genetic markers pointing to Europeans. Among more isolated Native American groups whose languages seem totally unrelated to Asian-originating American  Indian people.

There are still great archeological finds to come, since most evidence from the Stone Age scene is buried under the ocean. After the ice melted, the rising waterways submerged up to 100 miles of land, which is now under the water. So far one underwater site has been discovered because of the scallop fishermen. This summer it will be excavated, although it is unknown whether researchers will deploy mini submarines with cameras and arms, or send deep divers to the ocean floor.

http://igcritic.com/culture/facts/america-may-have-been-discovered-by-stone-age-hunters-from-europe-17000-years-ago/

Stone-age Europeans were the first to set foot on North America, beating American Indians by some 10,000 years, new archaeological evidence suggests.

by Matthew Day

In a discovery that could rewrite the history of the Americas, archaeologists have found a number of stone tools dating back between 19,000 and 26,000 years, and bearing remarkable similarities to those made in Europe.

All of the ancient implements were discovered along the north-east coast of the USA.

The tools could reassert the long dismissed and discredited claim that Europeans in the form of Christopher Columbus and his crew were the first to discover the New World.

Previous discoveries of tools have only been dated back to 15,000 years ago and prompted many archaeologists and historians to question claims that stone-age man managed to migrate to North America.

But the striking resemblance in the way the primitive American tools were made to European ones dating from the same period now suggests a remarkable migration took place.

Adding to the weight of evidence is fresh analysis of stone knife unearthed in the US in 1971 that revealed it was made of French flint.

Professor Dennis Stanford from Washington’s Smithsonian Institution, and Professor Bruce Bradley from Exeter University believe that the ancient Europeans travelled to North America across an Atlantic frozen over by the Ice Age.

During the height of the Ice Age, ice covered some three million square miles of the North Atlantic, providing a solid bridge between the two continents. Plentiful numbers of seal, penguins, seabirds and the now extinct great auk on the edge of the ice shelf could have provided the stone-age nomads with enough food to sustain them on their 1,500-mile walk.

“Across Atlantic Ice”, a book by professors Stanford and Bradley presenting the case for the trans-Atlantic trek, is to be published soon.

Source

Researchers Shows: Humans Did Not Evolve From a Single Population in Africa, and Stone tools 2.1 million years old unearthed in China

Rewriting the story of humanity’s origins: Fossil records suggest our ancestors evolved right across Africa and not just in one region

  • Experts found humans were not fully formed when they spread across the world
  • Primitive skulls and bones of homo sapiens do not show a linear progression 
  • Instead the development is much more patchy from primitive to modern  
  • It took hundreds of thousands of years before all humans began to look as we do 

A new study says the fossil record does not support humans being fully formed when they spread across the world. Left: African skull from around 300,000 years ago Right: Skull from the Levant dating from around 95,000 years ago

Primitive skulls and bones of homo sapiens do not show a linear progression from primitive to modern.

Instead the development is much more patchy – showing that it took hundreds of thousands of years before all humans began to look as we do today.

Studies of the DNA of modern day Africans – the most genetically diverse continent on Earth – paints a similar picture.

It shows human populations across the continent are so different they must have been separated for huge chunks of time.

Scientists now suggest there must have been, multiple areas where different groups of humans developed different physical features.

These early bands of early humans then interbred over millennia. Only then did modern humans as we know them develop.

The fossil record suggests early homo sapiens were a patchwork quilt of different groups.

Dr Eleanor Scerri, an archaeologist at Oxford University, who led the international research, told The Guardian: ‘This single origin, single population view has stuck in people’s mind … but the way we’ve been thinking about it is too simplistic.’

The spread of humans led to local adaptation and development of unique primitive technologies. This image shows Middle Stone Age cultural artefacts from northern and southern Africa

The spread of humans led to local adaptation and development of unique primitive technologies. This image shows Middle Stone Age cultural artefacts from northern and southern Africa

Modern humans have small, slender faces, large round braincases, and chins.

If these features only evolved in one group of humans, we might expect to see a series of skulls going from larger to smaller faces, and gradually bigger, rounder braincases.

The fossil picture is much more complicated.

For example, skulls dating to 300,000 years ago found at Jebel Irhoud in Morocco – have small faces like modern humans.

But instead of a spherical braincase, theirs is long and elongated.

Meanwhile early human fossils dating more recently to 160,000 years ago – at Herto in Ethiopia – had big ‘robust’ faces – unlike us – but with ‘globular’ braincases like ours.

Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum and Dr Scerri have put forward the case in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

The authors said early humans were largely kept apart by a combination of diverse habitats and shifting environmental boundaries, such as forests and deserts.

Many of the most inhospitable regions in Africa today, such as the Sahara, were once wet and green, with interwoven networks of lakes and rivers, and abundant wildlife.

Designers used the fossils to recreate what they think the first Homo sapiens across Africa looked like 300,000 years ago. But the new research suggests early humans had a huge variation in the sizes and shapes of their heads

Designers used the fossils to recreate what they think the first Homo sapiens across Africa looked like 300,000 years ago. But the new research suggests early humans had a huge variation in the sizes and shapes of their heads

Similarly, some tropical regions that are humid and green today were once arid.

The shifting nature of these habitable zones meant human populations would have gone through many cycles of isolation.

This led to local adaptation and the development of unique primitive technologies – stone tools – and genetic makeup.

Professor Stringer pioneered the idea one big human population developed in Africa and spread worldwide – but now concedes this does not fit the facts.

He said when we look at human bones over the last 300,000 years ‘we see a complex mix of archaic and modern features in different places and at different times.

‘We do see a continental-wide trend towards the modern human form, but some archaic features are present until remarkably recently.’

When it comes to the development of stone tools, the pattern is also mixed.

Sometimes sophisticated tools appear further back in the fossil record, while cruder ones appear more recently – suggesting innovations occurred at different spots on the map at different times.

Prof Chris Stringer added: ‘Although I am one of the researchers who originally helped to develop the view that our species, Homo sapiens, had originated in Africa, I have increasingly come to the realisation that our African origin was a complex process.

‘The great diversity of African fossils between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago suggests that multiple lineages existed on the African continent at that time.’

This artist's impression shows the patchwork of diverse fossils, artefacts and environments across Africa indicate that our species emerged from the interactions between a set of interlinked populations living across the continent, whose connectivity changed through time

This artist’s impression shows the patchwork of diverse fossils, artefacts and environments across Africa indicate that our species emerged from the interactions between a set of interlinked populations living across the continent, whose connectivity changed through time

Dr Scerri, said the stone tools discovered across Africa also don’t show a clear progression from crude to sophisticated.

She added that while there ‘is a continental-wide trend’ to greater sophistication over time, she said: ‘this ‘modernization’ clearly doesn’t originate in one region or occur at one time period.’

Professor Mark Thomas said the genetic patterns found in modern day Africans also support the idea.

He said: ‘It is difficult to reconcile the genetic patterns we see in living Africans, and in the DNA extracted from the bones of Africans who lived over the last 10,000 years, with there being one ancestral human population.’

Dr Scerri said: ‘The evolution of human populations in Africa was multi-regional. Our ancestry was multi-ethnic. And the evolution of our material culture was, well, multi-cultural.’

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT HUMANKIND’S JOURNEY OUT OF AFRICA?

The traditional view

The traditional ‘Out of Africa’ model suggests that modern humans evolved in Africa and then left in a single wave around 60,000 years ago.

The model often holds once modern humans left the continent, a brief period of interbreeding with Neanderthals occurred.

This explains why individuals of European and Asian heritage today still have ancient human DNA.

There are many theories as to what drove the downfall of the Neanderthals.

Experts have suggested that early humans may have carried tropical diseases with them from Africa that wiped out their ape-like cousins.

Others claim that plummeting temperatures due to climate change wiped out the Neanderthals.

The predominant theory is that early humans killed off the Neanderthal through competition for food and habitat.

How the story is changing in light of new research

Recent findings suggest that the ‘Out of Africa’ theory does not tell the full story of our ancestors.

Instead, multiple, smaller movements of humans out of Africa beginning 120,000 years ago were then followed by a major migration 60,000 years ago.

Most of our DNA is made up of this latter group, but the earlier migrations, also known as ‘dispersals’, are still evident.

This explains recent studies of early human remains which have been found in the far reaches of Asia dating back further than 60,000 years.

For example, H. sapiens remains have been found at multiple sites in southern and central China that have been dated to between 70,000 and 120,000 years ago.

Other recent finds show that modern humans reached Southeast Asia and Australia prior to 60,000 years ago.

Based on these studies, humans could not have come in a single wave from Africa around this time, studies have found.

Instead, the origin of man suggests that modern humans developed in multiple regions around the world.

The theory claims that groups of a pre-human ancestors made their way out of Africa and spread across parts of Europe and the Middle East.

From here the species developed into modern humans in several places at once.

The argument is by a new analysis of a 260,000-year-old skull found in Dali County in China’s Shaanxi Province.

The skull suggests that early humans migrated to Asia, where they evolved modern human traits and then moved back to Africa.

By

When it comes to the origins of our species, Homo sapiens, most scholars have accepted that we originated in Africa around 300,000 years ago, likely from a single population.

However, research published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution has challenged this view, suggesting that our ancestors were scattered across the entire African continent and did not stem from a specific region.

This fractured evolution meant that our species was both physically and culturally diverse right from the very beginning, according to an interdisciplinary group of researchers led by Eleanor Scerri, an archaeologist from the University of Oxford and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

For the study, the team combined approaches from various disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology and genetics, in addition to reconstructing Africa’s past climate, to build a picture of how modern humans have evolved over the last 300,000 years.

They found that not only were Homo sapiens scattered across Africa when we emerged as a species, but these populations were also largely kept apart due to a combination of physical barriers, such as forests and deserts, leading to diversification.

However, these environments often shifted over time, spurring migrations which created some contact opportunities. This may have meant that populations could have gone through cycles of cultural and genetic mixing before becoming isolated again.

This new model of human evolution better explains the available genetic, fossil and archaeological evidence, the researchers said.

For example, this model can explain why human bone fossils from the last 300,000 years vary significantly, with a mix of archaic and modern features appearing in different places and at different times.

“In the fossil record, we see a mosaic-like, continental-wide trend toward the modern human form, and the fact that these features appear at different places at different times tells us that these populations were not well connected,” Scerri, said in a statement.

The archaeological evidence also lends weight to the new hypothesis.

“Stone tools and other artifacts—usually referred to as material culture—have remarkably clustered distributions in space and through time,” Scerri said. “While there is a continental-wide trend toward more sophisticated material culture, this ‘modernization’ clearly doesn’t originate in one region or occur at one time period.”

Evolutionary changes are seen between the skull bones of two different Homo sapiens. New findings suggest that modern humans evolved in populations that were scattered across the African continent. Philipp Gunz, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Evolutionary changes are seen between the skull bones of two different Homo sapiens. New findings suggest that modern humans evolved in populations that were scattered across the African continent. Philipp Gunz, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Finally, the team’s analysis of the available genetic data indicates that the single origin model is insufficient, according to Mark Thomas, a geneticist from University College London and co-author of the study.

“It is difficult to reconcile the genetic patterns we see in living Africans, and in the DNA extracted from the bones of Africans who lived over the last 10,000 years, with there being one ancestral human population,” he said. “We see indications of reduced connectivity very deep in the past, some very old genetic lineages, and levels of overall diversity that a single population would struggle to maintain.”

The new research highlights how the evolution of modern humans in Africa was a multiregional, multiethnic and multicultural phenomenon, Scerri concluded.

A homo sapiens skull on display at the Sirindhorn Museum of Nature and Science in Thailand. Credit: Shutterstock

Early Humans Probably Didn’t Evolve from a Single Population in Africa

Homo sapiens are incredibly diverse — we live in wildly different societies, follow different rules and love and fear different gods.

Despite that awesome diversity, mounting evidence suggests the first humans were even more different from one another than we are today.

In a new commentary published online on Wednesday (July 11) in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, an interdisciplinary group that includes geneticists, bioanthropologists, and archaeologists argues that we didn’t evolve from a single population in a single region of Africa, but rather from separate populations across Africa that fully mixed only much later. [Image Gallery: Our Closest Human Ancestor]

Evidence is showing that “human ancestors were already scattered across Africa,” said Eleanor Scerri, a research fellow at Oxford University and lead author of the paper. And the combination of behavioral and physical and cognitive features that define us today started to slowly emerge within the occasional mixing of these different ancestral groups,” she added. (Scerri is also a research associate for the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.)

To draw this conclusion, Scerri and her team not only looked at the available fossil evidence, but also at genetic, archaeological and paleoenvironmental data.

About half a million years ago, Neanderthals and Homo sapiens began to diverge from a common ancestor, according to Scerri. But only around 300,000 years ago did early people actually begin to have features that made them look like humans, she said.

Even then, “all the fossils between 300,000 years ago and about 100,000 years ago don’t really look like anyone living today,” Scerri told Live Science. The features that define us today, such as a small face, prominent chins, a globular skull and small teeth, were indeed present back then, but not all in a single person, she said.

“These features tend to be distributed across the early fossils in different combinations with different, what we call, more primitive or archaic features that we don’t see in anyone living today,” Scerri said. So, someone in Eastern Africa may have had the small teeth, whereas someone in southern Africa may have had a globular skull while the rest of their features remained primitive.

And these groups remained separate for a long time, because the dense forests and deserts in Africa served as formidable barriers, according to Scerri. But with the occasional mixing of different groups, between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago, fossils that combine all the modern features in a single individual begin to appear, Scerri said.

“Which means, of course, that evolution probably progressed at a different speed and tempo in different regions of Africa as different groups came into contact with each other at different times,” Scerri said. Though it’s not clear when most humans on the planet had these modern features, by about 12,000 years ago, when hunting and gathering gradually shifted to agriculture, archaic features such as an elongated head and large robust faces had all but disappeared in humans, Scerri said. (In any case, these archaic features, it should be noted, don’t correspond to how “culturally backward” a culture was, Scerri added.)

Ancient tools also buttress this theory, Scerri said.

For about two million years, hominins made “somewhat crude” handheld tools like hand axes or large cutting tools, Scerri said. About 300,000 years ago, “there’s really an explosion of different and specialized stone tool forms,” she added. These tools, that often used different bindings, different glues, and different designs, took hold in different places across the continent.

“I think there are just a handful of people who are really, really strong proponents of the idea that modern people came from one very restricted region,” said Becky Ackermann, a biological anthropologist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa who was not an author of the commentary. So “I don’t think the conclusions themselves were particularly novel.” [Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans]

However, “it’s good to see [these ideas] being considered in kind of a holistic way,” she added.

“Who was arguing the contrary?” said Jon Marks, a professor of anthropology at University of North Carolina, Charlotte, who was also not part of the study. Though the findings didn’t come as a shock to Marks, he thinks they point to an important problem in the field — we might be using the wrong metaphors to describe evolution, namely, Darwin’s branching tree.

“What we’re seeing is a tree is not necessarily the most appropriate metaphor to apply to recent human ancestry,” Marks told Live Science. The more appropriate metaphors would be something that branches and then comes back together, rather than branches on a tree, he said.

These could include the roots of a tree, braided streams or capillary systems, he said.

Originally published on Live Science.

 

Stone tools 2.1 million years old unearthed in China suggest human kin left Africa earlier than thought

Stone tools recovered from an excavation in China suggest that our evolutionary forerunners trekked out of Africa earlier than we had thought.

Until now, the oldest evidence of human-like creatures outside Africa came from 1.8-million-year-old artifacts and skulls found in the Georgian town of Dmanisi. The new find pushes that back by at least 250,000 years. There have been other claims of even older fossil discoveries, the study authors said, but those remain unproven.

“There may be older evidence in places like India and Pakistan, but so far … the evidence is not strong enough to convince most of the research community,” said study co-author Robin Dennell of Exeter University in England. “With this type of claim, for an early human presence in a region, the evidence has to be absolutely water-tight and bomb-proof.”

“It’s absolutely a new story,” said archaeologist Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, who did not participate in the study. “It means that early humans were getting out of Africa way earlier than we ever realized.”

That exit came long before our own species, Homo sapiens, even appeared. The researchers believe the tools were made by another member of the Homo evolutionary group. “Our discovery means that it is necessary now to reconsider the timing of when early humans left Africa,” Dennell said.

Hominins — humans and their extinct predecessors and relatives — are believed to have emerged in Africa more than 6 million years ago. They are thought to have left the continent in several migration waves starting about 2 million years ago.

The first migrants were likely members of the species Homo erectus (“upright man”) or Homo ergaster (“working man”) — extinct predecessors of Homo sapiens (“wise man”), which first emerged about 300,000 years ago in Africa.

The oldest known African fossil attributed to a member of the Homo family is a 2.8-million-year-old jawbone from Ethiopia.

The items found in China include several chipped rocks, fragments and hammer stones. The 96 artifacts — mainly flakes made with rudimentary hammers, and likely used for cutting meat and other food — were dug up from 17 layers of sediment in an area known as the Loess Plateau, north of the Qinling Mountains, which divide the north and south of China.

The youngest layer where tools were found was 1.26 million years old, and the oldest 2.12 million years, according to the study published in Wednesday’s journal Nature. The layers were used to date the tools, which are of a type known to have been manufactured by Homo species in Africa since at least 3.3 million years ago.

So far, no hominin bones have been found.

The team used paleomagnetism — minerals that show how the Earth’s magnetic field was oriented when they formed — to date the sediment layers, and so the artifacts found within them. The dates of geomagnetic reversals, when north and south flipped, are well known to scientists, and the movements of the magnetic poles and the continents can narrow down a date.

“We were very excited,” said Zhaoyu Zhu, a professor at the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, who led the fieldwork. “One of my colleagues suddenly noticed a stone embedded in a steep outcrop. After a short while, more artifacts were found — one after another.”

The tools were distributed throughout layers of dirt, suggesting that our unidentified ancient relatives came back to the same site over and over, possibly following animals to hunt. Researchers also found bones of pigs and deer, but were not able to provide proof that the tools were used for hunting.

Some experts not involved in the research think that the findings need to be considered with caution. “I am skeptical,” said Geoffrey Pope, an anthropologist from William Paterson University in New Jersey. “I suspect this discovery will change very little.”

The problem, he said, is that sometimes nature can shape stones in a way that they look as if they were manufactured by hand. Scientists know, for example, that rocks smashed together in a stream can acquire sharp edges.

But Sonia Harmand, an archaeologist at Stony Brook University in New York who studies stone tools, disagreed.

“This could be, frankly, one of the most important (archaeological) sites in the world,” Harmand said.

Asia’s mysterious role in the early origins of humanity

Bizarre fossils from China are revealing our species’ Asian origins and rewriting the story of human evolution

skull

Detlev van Ravenswaay/Getty

DECEMBER 1941. Japan has just entered the second world war. China, already fighting its neighbour, is in the firing line. At the Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Hu Chengzhi carefully packs two wooden crates with the world’s most precious anthropological artefacts. Peking Man – in reality some 200 fossilised teeth and bones, including six skulls – is to be shipped to the US for safekeeping. This is the last anyone ever sees of him.

At the time, the Peking Man remains were the oldest known fossils belonging to human ancestors. Their discovery in the 1920s and 30s caused a sensation, triggering declarations that the cradle of humanity had been found. But just a few decades later, all eyes had turned to Africa. A slew of discoveries there left little doubt that it was our true ancestral home. As far as human evolution was concerned, Asia was out of the picture.

Not any more. The last decade has seen the discovery of new Asian fossils, among others by Chinese palaeoanthropologists with a renewed interest in their heritage. As key moments in our past are rewritten, the spotlight is once more turning east.

Ancient Sparta: The First Self-Conscious Ethnostate? Part 1-3: Educating Citizen Soldiers

If in Athens we have ethnopolitical aspects, insofar as the democracy was tempered by Hellenic virtue, in Sparta we have a State wholly dedicated to systematic organization of the society according to a biopolitical ideal. Sparta’s mixed system of government and fiercely communitarian and hierarchical customs were supposed to have been created by the semi-legendary lawgiver Lycurgus, who perhaps lived in the ninth century B.C. Virtually nothing can be said for certain about his life. Lycurgus was, in later ages, rumored to have traveled to Egypt, Ionia, Crete, and even India, where “he talked with the Gymnosophists,”[1] before establishing Sparta’s constitution. What is clear, in any case, is that the basic law and way of life attributed to Lycurgus, and credited for Sparta’s success, were emphatically biopolitical.

Spartan law and culture were obsessed with systematically ensuring good breeding, martial education, and group unity. Spartan ethics and law considered that what was good was whatever was good for the community. During a debate as to whether a commander had abused his authority, the Spartan king Agesilaus argued: “The point to be examined . . . is simply this: has this action been good or bad for Sparta?”[2] Kevin MacDonald has argued that the law instituted by Lycurgus – featuring in-group altruism, relative egalitarianism, separation from and unity in the face of out-groups, specialization in warfare, and communally-determined in-group eugenics – qualifies as a genuine “altruistic group evolutionary strategy.”[3]

Few forms of government have so drawn the admiration of both liberals and ‘totalitarians’ as that of Sparta. Many republicans, both ancient and modern, have been impressed by the Spartans’ ‘mixed’ system of government, with its combination of monarchic, aristocratic, and democratic elements, as conducive to social unity, stability, and the rule of law. The Founding Fathers of the United States sought to emulate the stability of Sparta’s constitution and saw in it a precursor to their own system of checks and balances. Thinkers of a more communitarian bent, such as Rousseau and Hitler, have for their part admired the city for its rigorous organization in service of the community.

The Spartan citizen body was made up of landowning males past the age of 30 who had completed their arduous military training and education. These Spartiates, known as Homoioi (roughly meaning ‘Equals’ or ‘Peers’) made up an uncertain, but no doubt small, percentage of the country’s population. The Helots, Sparta’s large population of agricultural serfs, provided the citizens with the leisure to specialize in military training. These slaves were fellow Greek-speakers although, as non-Dorian Achaeans, there was a certain degree of ethnic difference from the Spartiates. So-called ‘Peripherals’ (perioikoi), foreign residents engaging in various skilled crafts at the service of the Spartans, appear to have regularly accumulated around the Spartan State.

Sparta was presided over by two relatively-weak kings, from two distinct royal families, who served as priests, generals, and occasionally judges. The Ephors, five powerful magistrates elected by all citizens for a non-renewable one-year term, were responsible for implementing decrees and had judicial powers to supervise and prosecute others, including the kings. The most powerful body was the Gerousia, a council made up of the two kings and 28 elders over the age of 60, who were elected for life. The Gerousia set the political agenda, debated issues, and presented the decisions open to the Assembly. The Assembly of Spartan citizens did not propose legislation but could only decide on whatever was presented by the Gerousia. Through these institutions, the Spartan regime sought to reconcile the values of authority, stability, law, aristocracy, seniority, and community. When asked why he did not institute a democracy, Lycurgus is supposed to have answered: “Make your own household a democracy first.”[4]

Spartan society was systematically organized by the regime to achieve social unity and martial prowess. Practically, among the elite Spartiate body of citizens, this meant the encouragement of births, the communal education of children according to an austere and militaristic way of life and living perpetually together through common meals and training. Failure to live up to the city’s demanding standards was harshly punished. Citizenship was not an automatic right, but had to be earned, by passing one’s educational training and paying one’s duties to the mess hall. According to Xenophon, Lycurgus “gave an equal share in the state to all law-abiding citizens, without regard for physical or financial deficiencies. But Lycurgus made it clear that if anyone should shirk the effort required to keep his laws, then he would no longer be considered one of the Equals.”[5]

Following such customs was in Sparta a sacred duty. Not only were Sparta’s institutions and customs attributed to the wise Lycurgus, but these were said to have been approved by Apollo himself. This was significant as the Spartans appear to have been exceptionally pious, regularly engaging in common rituals and sacrifices. Herodotus says that for the Spartans “divine matters took precedence over human ones” (Herodotus, 5.63). Once again, we find religious piety being central to the foundations of custom and the enforcement of group norms. Xenophon also highlights the importance of Spartan religious practice in warfare, saying of their meticulous rituals while on campaign: “if you witnessed this you would think that militarily others are amateurs, whereas Spartans alone are real masters of the craft of war.”[6] Both Xenophon and Plutarch believed that the joint and pious fulfillment of ritual inspires confidence in men before battle.[7]

Spartan politics began with the rearing of children and their education in the martial and communitarian values of their society. Lycurgus is said to have “regarded the upbringing of children as the greatest and noblest responsibility of the legislator.”[8] Young men and women performed sporting events in the nude, so as to encourage both physical fitness and marriages. Lycurgus was emphatic that there was a civic duty to ensure that the next generation of citizens be not only be produced but be the healthiest and best possible. Plutarch reports this while drawing a direct analogy with heredity in animals:

First and foremost Lycurgus considered children to belong not privately to their fathers, but jointly to the city, so that he wanted citizens produced not from random partners, but from the best. Moreover he observed a good deal of stupidity and humbug in others’ rules on these matters. Such people have their bitches and mares mounted by the finest dogs and stallions whose owners they can prevail upon for a favor or fee. But their wives they lock up and guard, claiming the right to produce their children exclusively, though they may be imbeciles, or past their prime, or diseased. They forget that where children are born of poor stock, the first to suffer from their poor condition are those who possess and rear them, while the same applies conversely to the good qualities of those from sound stock.[9]

Past a certain age, single men were severely stigmatized. Lycurgus also believed that “the production of children was the most important duty of free women,” thereby making a fundamental contribution to the society which sustained their freedom.[10] Spartan women were not sedentary and trapped in the family home, as most Greek women were. As their husbands were training constantly away from home, Spartan women were unusual in managing their own households, often becoming wealthy in their own right. These women were discouraged from overeating and encouraged to participate in sports such as wrestling and javelin-throwing on health grounds:

Thereby their children in embryo would make a strong start in strong bodies and would develop better, while the women themselves would also bear their pregnancies with vigor and would meet the challenge of a childbirth in a successful, relaxed way.[11]

It was apparently considered shameful for men to be seen with their wives at Sparta, resulting in sex occurring irregularly while the sex drive remained strong. There was another primitive eugenic rationale behind these measures: young, healthy, active, lustful parents were believed to produce healthier and stronger children. “Puny and deformed” newborns were to thrown into an abyss (or, perhaps more likely, killed through exposure) “considering it better both for itself and the state that the child should die if right from its birth it was poorly endowed for health or strength.”[12]

Lycurgus is supposed to have banned dowries and make-up: “So that none should be left unmarried because of poverty nor any pursued for their wealth, but that each man should study the girl’s character and make his choice on the basis of her good qualities.”[13] His concern with biological quality was so extreme he apparently even allowed for a bizarre official practice of ‘eugenic cuckoldry’ whereby an elderly husband could have children by introducing his wife to “any man whose physique and personality he admired.”[14] Conversely a wifeless man could, if “eager to have remarkable children,” have them “by any fertile and well-bred woman who came to his attention, subject to her husband’s consent.” Plutarch claims that by this measure the Spartans succeeded in “planting in fruitful soil, so to speak, and producing fine children who would be linked to fine ancestors by blood and family.”[15] These measures—so foreign to the contemporary mores of the West—were eugenic and natalist in their objectives. They also emphasize Spartans’ supreme subjection of their personal and familial interests to the public good, ideally up to and including access to their wives! Xenophon, an eyewitness source, claims that by these methods, Sparta gained “men whose size and strength are . . . superior.”[16]

There was an enormous emphasis in Sparta, as in no other Greek city, on the truly systematic education and training of the citizens in order to shape a culture conducive to the public good. Spartan education was communal and austere. The children were taken from their families at age seven and would not complete their training until they were 29. At that point, if the young man had succeeded in this agoge training, he would be made a full citizen. Whereas wealthy Athenians might have a private slave tutor for their children, Spartan children had a single Trainer-in-Chief (a paidomus, literally a “boy-herdsman”) and any citizen could discipline them.

Young Spartans would go barefoot, have a single cloak to wear all year in hot or cold, and would be given a limited amount of food, measures all aimed at making them tougher. Youths were expected to steal from or even murder Helots. The Spartans in general appear to have treated their Helots with extreme cruelty, from humiliation through making them drunk to regular ritualized murder—evidently aimed at keeping this class firmly separate and subservient. Plutarch himself concedes that “there is nothing to match either the freedom of the free man at Sparta or the slavery of the slave.”[17] Montesquieu later would sum up the conflicted feelings of many classical liberals concerning Sparta, saying: “Lycurgus, combining larceny with the spirit of justice, the harshest slavery with extreme liberty, the most atrocious sentiments with the greatest moderation, gave stability to his city.”[18]

We must imagine Sparta as an ordered, hierarchical, and pious state characterized by constant ritual and training, a cross between a military-athletic camp and a monastery. Plutarch says:

Spartiates’ training extended into adulthood, for no one was permitted to live as he pleased. Instead, just as in a camp, so in the city, they followed a prescribed lifestyle and devoted themselves to communal concerns. They viewed themselves absolutely as part of their country, rather than as individuals, and so unless assigned a particular job they would always be observing the boys and giving them useful piece of instruction, or learning themselves from their elders.[19]

Concerning adolescents, Lycurgus “gave orders that even in the streets they should keep both hands inside their cloaks, should proceed in silence, and should not let their gaze wander in any direction, but fix their eyes on the ground before them.”[20] Young adults were encouraged to be competitive in music, sports, and “manly gallantry.”[21] According to Xenophon, this education succeeded: “The result has been that respect and obedience in combination are found to a high degree at Sparta . . . [the system] turns out men who are more disciplined, more respectful, and (when required) more self-controlled.”[22] By his laws, Lycurgus was said to have “done away with prudery, sheltered upbringing, and effeminacy of any kind.”[23]

Go to Part 2.


[1]     Literally “naked wise men,” which is what the Greeks called the Hindu and perhaps Buddhist ascetics they found in India. Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus, 4.

[2]     Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.32

[3]     Kevin MacDonald, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy, with Diaspora Peoples (Lincoln, Nebraska: Writers Club, 2002), pp. 8-35, 394-95. Editor’s note: I first got the group strategy idea by writing a chapter on the Spartans for my 1988 book, Social and Personality Development: An Evolutionary Synthesis. 

[4]     Plutarch, Lycurgus, 19.

[5]     Xenophon, Spartan Constitution, 10.

[6]     Xenophon, Constitution, 13.

[7]      The later Greco-Roman writer Polybius went so far as to argue that Rome’s extreme religiosity was what made her constitution “so markedly superior” to other states (Polybius, 6.56). See Guillaume Durocher, “Religious Piety in Sparta & Rome,” Counter-Currents.com, January 18, 2018.

[8]     Plutarch, Lycurgus, 14.

[9]     Ibid., 15.

[10]   Xenophon, Constitution, 1.

[11]   Plutarch, Lycurgus, 14.

[12]   Ibid., 16.

[13]   Plutarch, Sayings of the Spartans, “Lycurgus,” 15.

[14]   Xenophon, Constitution, 1.

[15]   Plutarch, Lycurgus, 15.

[16]   Xenophon, Constitution, 1.

[17]   Plutarch, Lycurgus, 28.

[18]   Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, 4.6.

[19]   Plutarch, Lycurgus, 24.

[20]   Xenophon, Constitution, 3.

[21]   Ibid., 4.

[22]   Ibid., 2.

[23]   Plutarch, Lycurgus, 14.

There is a sense in which all life for Spartan citizens was communal and hierarchical. Even once one had completed the agoge, Spartiates would eat together in common mess halls, again creating common feeling. The ages were mixed, so that the older could teach the young, and citizens were expected to discuss noble deeds. In the gymnasium, the oldest man would supervise, and citizens were expected to train regularly. Xenophon claims that “it would certainly not be easy for anyone to find men healthier or more physically apt than Spartiates.”[1]

Lycurgus reputedly had accompanied his basic law with a land reform giving each of those in the small citizen class an equal property, although economic inequality gradually accumulated over time. A positive consequence of the Spartans’ systematically communal lifestyle was an extremely high degree of trust among citizens. They shared each other’s hunting dogs and horses, the latter being extremely valuable property in those days. Citizens even trusted others to beat their own children if they had done wrong, for “there was a sense in which everyone regarded himself as father, tutor, and commander of each boy.”[2]

The entire society was oriented towards inculcating martial valor and unity. Cowards were severely stigmatized—so much so that they could be beaten freely—and “the citizens considered an honorable death preferable to a life of disgrace.”[3] Citizens were banned from working and instead “all their time was taken up by choral dances, festivals, feasts, hunting expeditions, physical exercise, and conversation.”[4] At the same time, the society’s general frugality meant “there was . . . no need to amass wealth (with all the work and concentration that this entails), since riches were emphatically neither envied nor esteemed.”[5] Music played a large role in Spartan society and their songs dealt with military heroism, sacrifice for Sparta, and the shaming of cowards. The result was an intensely communal ethos:

Altogether [Lycurgus] accustomed citizens to have no desire for a private life, nor knowledge of one, but rather to be like bees, always attached to the community, swarming together around their leader, and almost ecstatic with fervent ambition to devote themselves entirely to their country.[6]

The supreme values of this society are suggested even by their burial practices: “Those who buried a dead person were not permitted to inscribe the name on a grave except in the cases of a man who had died on campaign or a woman who had died in labor.”[7] The dead were buried within the city, so as to habituate the young to their sight.

Sparta was an exceptionally xenophobic society, sharply controlling population movements of both citizens and foreigners so to maintain their unique customs. Xenophon says that “expulsions of foreigners used to occur and absence abroad was not permitted, so that citizens should not be infected by lax habits caught from foreigners.”[8] Iron bars, worthless outside of Sparta, were the only legal currency in the State. Plutarch claims this also led to great benefits: “it was impossible to buy any shoddy foreign goods, and no cargo of merchandise would enter the harbors, no teacher of rhetoric trod Laconian soil, no begging seer, no pimp, no maker of gold or silver ornaments.”[9]

Plutarch says Sparta’s values of patriotism and sacrifice were apparently so ingrained that Spartan women were among their fiercest enforcers. A mother reputedly handed her son a shield as he was leaving for battle saying: “Son, either with this or on this.”[10] There are many stories of Spartan mothers rejoicing that their son died in battle or conversely, if he had returned by fleeing as a coward, killing him herself. Plutarch says:ntly so ingrained in the society that Spartan women were among their fiercest enforcers. As he left to fight and die at Thermopylae, Leonidas is supposed to have told his wife “to marry good men and bear good children.”[12] When Xerxes proposed making Leonidas tyrant of Greece, he is supposed to have responded: “For me, it is better to die for Greece than to be monarch of the people of my race.”[13]

The Spartans were famous for their brief ‘Laconic’ sayings and sharp wit. Plato claimed that the “distinctive kind of Spartan wisdom” was found in “their pithy, memorable sayings” (Protagoras, 343c), which can be recalled easily and thus be borne in mind in our daily lives. Laconic brevity also reflected the Spartan concern with doing well rather than merely speaking or speculating like the verbose Athenians. Lycurgus is supposed to have forbidden his laws from being written because “the guiding principles of most importance for the happiness and excellence of a state would remain securely fixed if they were embedded in citizens’ character and training.”[14] When asked why the Spartans kept their laws on bravery unwritten, a Spartan king is said to have replied: “it’s better for [the youth] to get used to acts of bravery rather than to study written documents.”[15]

A number of Spartan sayings have come down to us, although their precise attributions to various historical figures are probably unreliable. The Spartans, like the Cynic philosopher Diogenes, came to be idealized across the ancient world as an example of perfect virtue and would then tend to be credited with proverbs reflecting this. Nonetheless, the Sayings of the Spartans collected by Plutarch do give us a feeling for the Spartan spirit, as in the following sample:

When asked how anyone could rule the citizens safely without having a bodyguard, [King Agasicles] said: “By ruling them in the way that fathers do their sons.” (Agasicles, 2)

[King Agesilaus] watched a mouse being pulled from its hole by a small boy. When the mouse turned round, bit the hand of its captor and escaped, he pointed this out to those present and said: “When the tiniest creature defends itself like this against aggressors, what ought men to do, do you reckon?” (Agesilaus, 9).

When somebody asked what gain the laws of Lycurgus had brought to Sparta, he  said: “Contempt for pleasures.” (Agesilaus, 20)

To the man who was amazed at how modest his clothes and his meals were, and those of the other Spartans as well, he  said: “Freedom is what we reap from this way of life, my friend. (Agesilaus, 20).

When somebody else asked why Sparta lacked fortification walls, he pointed to the citizens under arms and said: “These are the Spartans’ walls.” (Agesilaus, 29)

As [King Agis] was passing through the Corinthians’ walls and observed their height and strength and great extent, he said: “What women live in this place?” (Agis son of Archidamus, 6)

When asked how one should remain a free man, he said: “By despising death.” (Agis son of Archidamus, 18)

When somebody said that [the philosopher Xenocrates] was a wise man and one of those who search for virtue, [King] Eudamidas said: “And when will he make use of it if he is still searching for it?” (Eudamidas son of Archidamus, 1)

To the stranger who was claiming that among his own citizens he was called a friend of Sparta [King Theopompus] said: “It would be better for you to be called a friend of your fellow citizens rather than a friend of Sparta.” (Theopompus, 2)

When a Persian inquired what type of constitution met with his greatest approval, he said: “Whichever gives brave men and cowards their due.” (Lysander, 11)

When someone was asking why they made the poet Tyrtaeus [an Athenian, whose poems provide some of the only surviving Spartan literature] a citizen, [Panthoidas] said: “So that a foreigner should never be seen as our leader.” (Panthoidas, 3)

When amongst the spoils some people were amazed at the extravagance of the Persians’ clothing, he said: “Better for them to be men of great worth rather than to have possessions of great worth.” (Panthoidas, 5)

When [Governor Pedaritus] observed some effeminate person being nonetheless praised by the citizens for his fairness, he said: “Men who are like women should not be praised nor should women who are like men, unless some necessity forces the woman.” (Pedaritus, 2)

When someone asked [King Charillus] which type of government he considered the best, he said: “The one in which the largest number of citizens are willing to compete with each other in excellence and without civil concord.” (Charillus, 4)

Go to Part 3.


[1]  Xenophon, Constitution, 5.

[2]  Plutarch, Lycurgus, 17.

[3]  Xenophon, Constitution, 9.

[4]  Plutarch, Lycurgus, 24.

[5]        Ibid.

[6]  Ibid., 25.

[7]  Ibid., 27.

[8]        Xenophon, Constitution, 14.

[9]  Plutarch, Lycurgus, 9.

[10] Plutarch, Sayings of Spartan Women, 16.

[11] Plutarch, Lycurgus, 14.

[12] Plutarch, Sayings of the Spartans, “Leonidas,” 2.

[13]      Ibid., 10. Interestingly, many of Plutarch’s Sayings of the Spartans – which may have in fact been attributed in later years – contain expressions of pan-Hellenic patriotism, sentiments generally at odds with the more narrowly self-interested realities of Spartan foreign policy.

[14] Plutarch, Lycurgus, 13.

[15] Plutarch, Sayings of the Spartans, “Zeuxidamus,” 1.

 

The Virtuous Circle of Spartan Power: Discipline Through Lordship

The defining fact of Spartan life was the hard-won conquest of neighboring Messenia in the eighth century and the enslavement of its population as Helots. This victory had launched the virtuous circle of Spartan power. The subjugated Helots provided the Spartan citizen-soldiers with both the leisure and the imperative need to dedicate themselves to martial prowess in the face of a constant threat of rebellion at home. The entire social organization of Sparta came to reflect this state of affairs. Thucydides noted: “most Spartan institutions have always been designed with a view to security against the Helots.”[1]

The system instituted by Lycurgus proved remarkably successful for centuries. The organization and training of the—at their height—around 8,000 Spartan citizen-soldiers to suppress the Helots also translated into international military power, which in turn allowed Sparta to secure allies and thus yet more military power in the Peloponnese. Xenophon opens his account of the Spartan regime saying: “Sparta, despite having one of the lowest populations, had nonetheless clearly become the most powerful and most famous state in Greece.”[2] The unsentimental Thucydides says of Sparta: ‟its system of good order is very ancient and it has never been subject to tyrants. The Spartan constitution has remained unchanged for somewhat over 400 years . . . a source of strength, enabling their political intervention in other states” (Thu., 1.18). Indeed, Sparta was hailed for her lack of civil wars among citizens, a common cause of grief in the Greek world, and for having intervened to liberate other Greek cities from tyrants. Sparta’s oligarchic government seems to have been better than Athens at securing consenting allies among fellow-Greek city-states. The Spartans seem to have been better able at developing stable interpersonal ties with foreign elites,[3]  whereas the Athenian democracy tended to a chauvinism serving her own citizens alone without regard for its imperial subjects. Thucydides has Pericles boast that Athens did not use undependable foreign allies in war but only Athenian residents, implying that Sparta in contrast had the assistance more-or-less consenting allies.[4]

The great successes of Spartan social organization came at a heavy price. The city was devoid of material culture, leaving precious few artifacts in the archaeological record. Even during its heyday, Thucydides observed that Spartan architecture was so unimpressive in comparison with Athens, that “if the city of Sparta were to become deserted, with only the temples and the foundations of buildings left to view, I imagine that with the passage of time future generations would find it very hard to credit its reputed power (Thu., 1.10). Alexander Hamilton wrote that “Sparta was little better than a well-regulated camp.”[5] Sparta is unlikely to have had much intellectual culture either. If there were any Spartan dramatists and philosophers, there is virtually nothing that survives of them. There is little to suggest there was any Spartan equivalent of Athens’ extraordinary theatrical and philosophical achievement, notwithstanding the idealizations and ironic paradoxes of the philosophers.[6] Indeed, the Spartans were said to be “the least intellectual of men” (Aristotle, Rhetoric, 1398b).[7]

Sparta was basically a caste society. Besides the solidary elite citizen body of Spartiates, there were also “fallen” Spartans who had lost their citizenship for reasons of poverty or dishonor, “neo-citizens” who had been naturalized (especially in the later years) to have more soldiers, the working Peripherals who gravitating around the city, and finally the Helots. This appears to have been, somewhat like ancient and medieval India, a largely static society. It was certainly a closed society in which, besides the rigid social order, foreigners were restricted from entry and regularly evicted to prevent the Spartans from being infected with foreign cultural influence. Furthermore, it appears that Sparta’s power in the Peloponnese was based on its ability to retard urban development abroad: rival cities were broken up into villages and placed under the government of Spartan-friendly landowners.[8] Sparta has an air of stagnation, and while the appearance of eternity typically impressed the Ancients, we Moderns tend to feel that that which does not grow is already doomed. At the same time, living in a time of perpetual economic growth leading to cultural collapse and ecological exhaustion, the Spartan ideal and long-lasting success of a socio-political steady-state perhaps has a new relevance for our time.

By the yardstick of individual freedom, the ledger is perhaps not quite as much in Athens’ favor as one might expect. In every premodern economy, the precious leisure necessary for culture and civic life is necessarily the purview of a select few. Athens no doubt afforded more scope for individual merit, freedom, and political participation to a greater share of the population on the whole. But one also should not forget that democratic Athens itself was based on chattel slavery, subject colonies, and house-bound women. In the Spartan empire, notwithstanding the hard lives of the Helots, women and allied states were generally freer than those of Athens. Furthermore, those who have tasted the monastic life may also suspect that the highly-regimented Spartan lifestyle—the constant training in community life, athletics, and self-restraint—may have offered citizens certain deep satisfactions not available with the liberal lifestyle.

Ironically, Sparta’s greatest failing was precisely in the biological and specifically in the demographic sphere. Sparta, somewhat miraculously, defeated Athens in the Peloponnesian War but fell within decades due to the failure to maintain the population of citizen-soldiers. As Kevin MacDonald observes:

It would appear that the system devised by the Israelite lawgiver [Moses] was in some sense a better strategy for maintaining long-term ethnic coherence than that designed by the Spartan lawgiver, since the Israelite strategy, arguably, continues today (see [The Culture of Critique], ch. 8). The Spartan system was an excellent defensive system, but was ill equipped to administer an empire, and there were no provisions, such as the hereditary Israelite priestly class, that would have allowed it to survive being militarily conquered – a contingency that was all but inevitable in the ancient world and that certainly continues to some extent today.[9]

For MacDonald, “while the group strategy of the ancient Spartans was successful for a significant period, it was ultimately a failure.”[10] In marked contrast with the Jews, who were able to survive through fanatical adherence to a dogmatic ethnocentric religion, the Spartans proved completely incapable of maintaining their identity and group evolutionary strategy in the absence of a supportive sovereign State. In this, the Spartans were sadly typical of Western peoples. There is furthermore little reason to believe that Sparta’s primitive eugenic measures had much positive effect.

We would be wrong to downplay the Spartan achievement however. The other Greeks were greatly impressed by those four centuries of Spartan order and power which were so great a factor in their international affairs. Polybius, a later Hellenistic historian who documented the rise of Rome, gave a balanced summary of the greatness and limits of Sparta through a useful comparison with the Roman Republic. He remarked that “the constitution so framed by Lycurgus preserved independence in Sparta longer than anywhere else in recorded history” (Polybius, 6.10). Furthermore:

The Lycurgan system is designed for the secure maintenance of the status quo and the preservation of autonomy. Those who believe that this is what a state is for must agree that there is not and never has been a better system or constitution than that of the Spartans. But if one has greater ambitions that that – if one thinks that it is a finer and nobler thing to be a world-class leader, with an extensive dominion and empire, the center and focal point of everyone’s world – then one must admit that the Spartan constitution is deficient and the Roman constitution is superior and more dynamic. (Polybius, 6.50)

There is no doubt that there is a tendency to “slouching” in human history: every new generation balks at the unexplained disciplines and traditional rigors inherited from the past. If this rebelling against the past is done for the sake of comfort and pleasure, as opposed to replacing a tradition with new practices because they are more conducive to the public good, we call this decadence. In Sparta alone, the citizens were able to maintain a fearsome degree of virtue, by the authority held by the elders, by the systematic education and training of the citizens, and by the threat posed by the Helots.

The constitution of Lycurgus – with its stability, mixing of elitism and democracy, sovereignty, lawfulness, training, social unity, and sacrifice for the common good – may serve a model for all nations that truly wish to fight to determine their own destiny and adhere to values. The example of Sparta, like Prussia in the modern era, also shows that smallness is no reason for defeatism, that all nations have, with effort, a chance at achieving freedom and greatness. No wonder that the law of Lycurgus and the sacrifice of Leonidas’ 300 Spartans have inspired philosophers and statesmen throughout the ages, even in the face of terrible odds. Given the challenges facing Western and European nations in the twenty-first century – consider the sheer scale of the rising foreign superpowers, ecological threats, and demographic collapse – the Spartan experience in building a lawful, holistic, and biopolitical martial republic may yet help inspire our renewal.


Bibliography

Aristotle (trans. H. C. Lawson-Tancred), The Art of Rhetoric (London: Penguin, 1991).

Cartledge, Paul, Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History, 1300 to 362 BC (New York: Routledge, 2002).

Herodotus (trans. Robin Waterfield), The Histories (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).

MacDonald, Kevin, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy, with Diaspora Peoples (Lincoln, Nebraska: Writers Club, 2002).

Plato (ed. John M. Cooper), Complete Works, (Indianapolis, Indian: Hackett, 1997).

Plutarch (trans. Richard Talbert and Ian Scott-Kilvert), On Sparta (London: Penguin, 2005), includes Plutarch’s Life of Lycurgus, Sayings of Spartans, and Sayings of Spartan Women, and Xenophon’s Spartan Constitution.

Polybius (trans. Robin Waterfield), The Histories (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Xenophon (trans. Rex Warner), A History of My Times [Hellenica] (London: Penguin, 1979).

Thucydides (trans. Martin Hammond), The Peloponnesian War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).


[1]  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 4.80. Translation from Paul Cartledge, Sparta and Lakonia: A Regional History, 1300 to 362 BC (New York: Routledge, 2002), Annex 4, p. 299. The passage is somewhat ambiguous. Cartledge also provides an alternative translation: “as far as the Helots are concerned, most Spartan institutions have always been designed with a view to security.”

[2]  Xenophon, Spartan Constitution, 1.

[3]        The Old Oligarch observes:

 For oligarchic cities it is necessary to keep to alliances and oaths. If they do not abide by agreements or if injustice is done, there are the names of the few who made the agreement. But whatever agreements the populace makes can be repudiated by referring the blame to the one who spoke or took the vote, while the others declare that they were absent or did not approve of the agreement made in the full assembly. (The Constitution of the Athenians, 2.18)

[4]        Pericles says: “The Spartans do not invade our land on their own, but they have all their allies with them” (Thu., 2.39). Earlier, Pericles had argued that the Spartans’ need for their allies’ agreement to take decisions would paralyze them:

 In a single pitched battle the Peloponnesians and their allies are capable of resisting the whole of Greece, but they are incapable of maintaining a war against an opposition which differs from them in kind: as long, that is, that they continue without a central deliberative forum, for lack of which they cannot take any immediate decisive action, and as long as all the various tribal groups in a miscellaneous confederacy have equal votes, so each promotes its own concern – a system unlikely to produce any effective results. (Thucydides, 1.141)

This can be taken as an early argument for sovereign central government rather than divided confederal government. Perhaps the need to convince their allies was partly responsible for the supposed timidity and slowness of Spartan foreign policy (Thu., 8.96).

[5]        Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 6.

[6]        Plutarch states that “some . . . claim that devotion to the intellect is more characteristic of Spartans than love of physical exercise” (Lycurgus, 20) and, in a beautiful rhetorical flourish, concludes his Life saying:

 Lycurgus . . . brought into the light of day, not paper theories, but a functioning constitution which is quite unmatched. To those who suspect that it is impracticable for a theoretical structure to be centered upon a Sage, he has exhibited his whole city practicing philosophy” (Lycurgus, 31).

Such passages in Plutarch must be considered idealizations and inspiring exhortations to political philosophy, rather than realistic history.

In his Protagoras, Plato has Socrates ironically claim that “the Spartans have the best education in philosophy and debate” (342e). This is no place for a full commentary on this dialogue. However, given the context, it seems Plato is making a paradoxical and humorous comment praising certain Spartan virtues – namely discretion, Laconic wit, remembrance of wise sayings – as integral to the practice of philosophy. One of the great challenges in studying ancient Greek literature, is determining whether a text is ironic or is making some kind of in-joke. Herodotus, Socrates, Plato, and Xenophon certainly often appealed to ironic humor.

[7]  Whereas Aristotle is here quoting someone else, he was more generally one of the few ancient philosophers to be broadly critical of Sparta, having come of age after its collapse after the Battle of Leuctra. At the same time, Aristotle did admire the communitarian ambitions of the Spartan educational system.

[8]  Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.7.

[9]  MacDonald, PSDA, p. 395.

[10] MacDonald, PSDA, p. 8.

 

What Was The Sphinx And What Is Wrong With Its Body And Head?

AncientPages.com – There has never been a satisfactory answer to what the Sphinx actually is or was. Anyone who goes to Giza can see for himself or herself that there is something ‘wrong’ with the Sphinx. It only takes an instant. The body is gigantic and the head is just a pimple.

The Egyptians never did anything like that, they were always meticulous about proportions in their art.

So how is it that we have this monster with a tiny head sitting there in the sand, then?
There are several other things wrong with the Sphinx. They are:

  • The back is flat. Who ever saw a lion with a flat back, no big chest, and no mane?
  • The Sphinx is sitting in a deep hole in the ground. Why is that? Why is it not sitting somewhere high up so that it can show off?
  • There is a ruined temple right in front of the Sphinx, with a wall practically up against its nose, and no door in that wall. Why obstruct the view of the Sphinx from the front like that? And if the temple was for worshipping the Sphinx, why is there no access from the temple to the Sphinx, so that you can’t even get to it?
  • The pit in which the Sphinx sits seems to be deeply eroded, as if by flows of water. What caused all that? It looks as if water has poured down the sides. On the other hand, there are no such vertical erosion patterns on the Sphinx itself, which instead has clear horizontal erosion patterns. How can these two different patterns at right angles to each other be reconciled? And what could possibly have caused either of them?

None of this makes any sense if you think about it. Of course, many people don’t think. They just gawp and move on, their brains in neutral.

But when my wife Olivia and I first saw the Sphinx many years ago, we just stood there in astonishment and both agreed that the whole thing was wrong, wrong, wrong.
So now after many years of work, we think we have found some answers.

Naturally, any new idea about anything that ‘everybody knows’ makes conventionally thinking people enraged, and (2) makes anti-establishment people delighted. No prizes for guessing which side I’m on.

Let me first declare my position on what has become something of an entrenched notion amongst my fellow anti-Establishmentarians.

I do not believe that the Sphinx is 12,500 years old. Nor do I believe in ‘ancient rain’.

I do believe that the Sphinx is older than conventionally believed. But I do not believe it is thousands of years older, or anything of that kind.

I do believe there is water erosion at the Sphinx site, but I do not believe it had anything to do with ‘ancient rain’, nor do I believe there was anything there to be eroded at the time any ‘ancient rain’ fell.

So what is the answer, then?

Sphinx Island & Moat

The water of the Nile in those days, at the time of inundation once a year (which no longer happens because of the Aswan dam), came right up to the edge of the Sphinx Temple, where there are even quays in front. So what I believe happened was that the water of the Nile was let into the Sphinx Pit, which I now call the Sphinx Moat, by some simple water-raising devices, led along the narrow channel between the Sphinx Temple and the Valley Temple (the two structures in front of the Sphinx), and its flow was controlled by a series of sluices and water gates.


The signs of these sluices and gates, with their many bolt holes and so forth, no longer exist, because new stones and cement have been laid over them. But not to worry! I took plenty of photographs of them before they disappeared, and those are all reproduced in our book. Everyone can then see it all very clearly.

The reason why the temple wall is in front of the Sphinx is to act as the fourth barrier to the water. The reason why there is no door in the wall is that it would have let the water out.

The horizontal erosion on the side of the Sphinx (where it is not covered by ‘restoration stones’) is because the Sphinx was sitting in the middle of a moat filled with water. The vertical erosion on the sides of the pit, especially the south side, is because of the continual dredging of the Moat due to the windblown sand accumulating there. Every time the Moat was dredged, water poured down in torrents onto the sides, leading to vertical erosion, accentuated by the natural cavities in the limestone bedrock.

So I think the Sphinx was, amongst other things, an island!

This immediately solves the puzzle of the evidence recorded by the fifth century BCE Greek historian Herodotus, who said that King Cheops let water in from the Nile to surround an island at Giza. Here it is!

Whose Head is on the Sphinx?

So we have got an island. Now what do we do with it? And why is King Cheops’s head the size of a pimple on the front of this large flat-backed lion, surrounded by water? What’s going on?

But wait! Who says that is King Cheops’s head? Some say it is King Chephren’s head, but if you have ever seen Chephren’s head on that huge statue in the Cairo Museum, you know they look nothing alike at all, since Chephren has a long face and the Sphinx has a round face, just for starters, and there’s plenty else that’s not the same too.

At this point of my wonderings, I began to feel really uncomfortable. I generally know when something doesn’t fit. I may not know what does fit, but I more often know what does not.

And that face is neither Cheops (not that we know what he really looked like anyway, as the only likeness of him that survives is a three inch-high ivory statuette, which could be your Uncle Tony or even your Auntie Madge for that matter) nor old Chephren Long-Face. So who is it?

It was at this point that I discovered one of those forgotten sources which keep falling into my lap, and in this case it was an article written by a German archaeologist named Ludwig Borchardt long before the Sphinx was excavated, when only its head and neck were sticking above the sand.

Borchardt used to go and stand there and look at it. In those days, you could look the Sphinx in the eye and he wouldn’t even flinch, in fact he smiled back. Nowadays, he’s very stuck up, with his head high above us if we stand at his feet, so you can’t make out the details of his head all that well.

Borchardt got to thinking. He noticed that the Sphinx was wearing eye-paint stripes (no comment, pharaohs have the right to do what they like as consenting adults in the privacy of their own Sphinx Pits), and he knew that those were not worn in the period known as the Old Kingdom, when Cheops and Chephren lived. He noticed the details of the stripe patterns in the strange headdress worn by the Sphinx. The face had to be that of a pharaoh, since this headdress was the sacred religious headdress of the pharaoh known as a nemes. But Borchardt, who was head of the German Institute at Cairo and therefore knew a thing or two, realised that those stripe patterns were also not used in the Old Kingdom.

He started to do some research on nemes headdresses, and he discovered that those particular stripe patterns were only used in the Middle Kingdom period, hundreds of years later than Cheops and Chephren. He wrote this all up in technical form and published it in a distinguished scholarly periodical (in German of course, but I have translated it and it appears as an appendix to our book), and concluded that the Sphinx had been carved in the Middle Kingdom Period, not in the Old Kingdom period.

But everybody laughed at poor old Borchardt. Who ever heard of such a thing? The Middle Kingdom! Borchardt must have gone crazy! And then the Sphinx was excavated in 1926, and finally completely excavated in 1936, and it was perfectly clear to everyone that the Sphinx was much older than the Middle Kingdom. But everybody forgot that Borchardt had never seen the Sphinx’s body at the time he wrote the article, he was only talking about the head.

So I have reopened the case and concluded that the head was recarved in the Middle Kingdom, just as Borchardt said, and what is more, I believe I can even identify precisely which pharaoh’s face that is. Of course, to find that out, you really need to see the book.

However, it is all very well identifying the face on the Sphinx. Some people might be satisfied just doing that. But no, it’s like watching a film noir without knowing the ending. Even if you know whodunnit, you still want to know the motive.

“Everybody knows” Herd Mentality

So what was the Sphinx before it had that guy’s face carved on it? Well, to figure that one out you have to try to figure out what the Sphinx was before that pharaoh got his chisels on it. This draws one’s attention to the flat back. “Everybody knows” that the Sphinx has the body of a lion. As soon as I hear that “everybody knows” something, I know that it must be wrong. I have a pathologically anti-herd mentality. All you have to do is tell me “everybody knows” something, and I will instantly disbelieve it. That is because crowds are always wrong. Crowds have about as much sense as a mollusc.

I started from the premise that the Sphinx was not a lion at all. Millions of people see it every year, from all over the world, and they all “know” that it is a lion. So that means that it cannot possibly be one. They “know” it is a lion because they have been told that it is a lion. The Germans were told that Hitler was their saviour and so they “knew” it, the Russians all “knew” that Stalin was like a gentle father, who would look after them. Yes, everybody, or at least everybody they knew, “knew” these things. And people also all once “knew” that the Earth was flat, and that the Sun went round the Earth. Those things were all “known.” But were they true?

If it wasn’t a lion, what was it? Well, it had to be an animal with a straight back, with no huge chest, and no mane. It also had to be an animal that crouched like that with its legs stuck out in front of it. (There is no use looking too closely at the paws, as they are completely covered in restoration stones, and have been shaped to look like “what everybody knows,” in order to re-confirm the consensus falsehood which everybody has agreed to believe in.)

Anubis – Guardian of the Necropolis

The Sphinx is crouching there at the entrance to the Necropolis like a guardian. Well, there it is! It is a guard dog! The ancient Egyptians had a god called Anubis, who was a crouching wild dog, generally referred to as a jackal (although strictly speaking there were no jackals in Egypt, and Anubis was really a wild dog species which is now extinct).

Anubis was the guardian of the Necropolis, the guardian of the dead, and he was often depicted in the precise position of the Sphinx – and famously in a statue found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun as well – so that his image is familiar to almost anyone who has ever had an interest in ancient Egypt.

In Figure 1 I show the drawing I commissioned which shows how the recarved head of the Sphinx was carved out of the neck stump which remained on the Sphinx after the original statue was mutilated by the rampaging mobs who smashed up everything they could on the Giza Plateau during the period of chaos known as the First Intermediate Period, between 2200 and 2000 BCE.

It was the easiest thing in the world to knock the ears and nose off the Sphinx when the Sphinx was Anubis. You couldn’t put them back because the Sphinx was carved out of the solid bedrock, and the pieces must have been smashed to bits anyway. So the later exhibitionist pharaoh could even tell himself he was doing a pious act and ‘restoring’ the statue by flaunting himself, just as, say, Madonna helps the world, doesn’t she? Tom Cruise is also saving the world, remember? Yes, we all know that all celebrities are getting their pictures in the papers only for noble causes, and it has nothing to do with wanting people to look at them, or with such a low thing as vanity.

Speaking of movie stars, the Sphinx is now so botoxed and has had so much plastic surgery from crazy ‘restoration’ (which is all shown in great detail in our book) that he could easily get a lead part in a blockbuster. But his ‘nose job’ didn’t go so well, as it is still missing. It was hacked off in the 13th century by a fanatical imam named Sheikh Mohammed, who wished to purge Egypt of non-Islamic influences. He got as far as the nose, at least. (The story that the nose was shot off by Napoleon’s soldiers is false.)

So now we have a crouching Anubis as an island, surrounded by a little lake. And at last we have something which students of the ancient texts can suddenly recognise. For the most ancient surviving Egyptian texts, known as the Pyramid Texts, often speak of a sacred place associated with the Giza Necropolis called Jackal Lake. And here it is!

Now we are getting somewhere. It is all beginning to make sense. In our book we gather together the many ancient texts which refer to Anubis guarding the Necropolis, situated at Giza, being beside a causeway, and being very large. We also reproduce Fourth Dynasty Giza tomb reliefs showing a giant Anubis, which may be intended as actual depictions of the Sphinx.

Secret Chamber Beneath the Sphinx

Most people who are intrigued by Egyptian mysteries have been wondering for a long time whether there might be any secret chamber beneath the Sphinx. I have crawled around inside the Sphinx, and I describe the tunnel which exists in the rear portion of the Sphinx’s body, as well as the vertical tunnel carved out of the bedrock beneath the Sphinx’s rump, and reproduce photos of these. In Figure 2 you see a photo which Olivia took of me with my head sticking out of the Sphinx’s ass, which perhaps proves how well I know him.

Then an amazing thing happened. I came across a passage in one of the old books which I collect, in this case one published in 1715, which described a chamber beneath the Sphinx and gave an eyewitness account of it! I was astounded. The book referred to earlier accounts of this chamber, but neglected to say who had written them or when they had been published. Slight problem! How was I to find these books?

If you went into the British Library and told a librarian you needed a book published before 1715 which described a chamber beneath the Sphinx, you would be told to come back when you had the author’s name or the title of the book. All I had to go on was ‘a book mentioning the Sphinx before 1715’, so how did I do it?

That is where my special abilities come in, which enable me to obtain information which others seem not able to obtain. I am what you might call an information retrieval expert, and I do not need to know anything about the field in order to obtain its ‘concealed’ information. There is no such thing as concealed or destroyed information: it is all there in Information Space if you have access.

Everyone knows about the emails which people think they have deleted from our computers, but which can be recovered by computer data recovery experts (as part of a criminal investigation, for instance). Well, there is a higher version of that, which enables all information which has ever existed in any material form to be accessed from the wholly non-material realm of Information Space.

A book that verifies the existence of secret underground chambers beneath the Sphinx and demonstrates its origins as the Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis

• Includes an anthology of eyewitness accounts from early travelers who explored the secret chambers before they were sealed in 1926

• Reveals that the Sphinx was originally carved as a monumental crouching Anubis, the Egyptian jackal god of the necropolis

Shrouded in mystery for centuries, the Sphinx of Giza has frustrated many who have attempted to discover its original purpose. Accounts exist of the Sphinx as an oracle, as a king’s burial chamber, and as a temple for initiation into the Hermetic Mysteries. Egyptologists have argued for decades about whether there are secret chambers underneath the Sphinx, why the head-to-body ratio is out of proportion, and whose face adorns it.

In The Sphinx Mystery, Robert Temple addresses the many mysteries of the Sphinx. He presents eyewitness accounts, published over a period of 281 years, of people who saw the secret chambers and even went inside them before they were sealed in 1926–accounts that had been forgotten until the author rediscovered them. He also describes his own exploration of a tunnel at the rear of the Sphinx, perhaps used for obtaining sacred divinatory dreams.

Robert Temple reveals that the Sphinx was originally a monumental Anubis, the Egyptian jackal god, and that its face is that of a Middle Kingdom Pharaoh, Amenemhet II, which was a later re-carving. In addition, he provides photographic evidence of ancient sluice gate traces to demonstrate that, during the Old Kingdom, the Sphinx as Anubis sat surrounded by a moat filled with water–called Jackal Lake in the ancient Pyramid Texts–where religious ceremonies were held. He also provides evidence that the exact size and position of the Sphinx were geometrically determined in relation to the pyramids of Cheops and Chephren and that it was part of a pharaonic resurrection cult. Read more

Unfortunately, I have never met anyone who seems to be able to access this material methodically and systematically. Most human beings can access it in a feeble and flickering fashion, by means of what is called ‘intuition’ or ‘hunches’. Perhaps it is just as well that proper access to all this information is limited. After all, the purpose of our being here in the material world is to see how we cope without information. That is why people like myself find it so difficult to communicate what we know when we somehow, in a way we do not understand, acquire information from Information Space. It is mostly not intended for circulation, and maybe I should not even be doing it. When I reveal such information to people, they never believe me anyway, so I generally do not bother.

I cannot explain how I access it. I seem to ‘see through matter’ in some way which is difficult to describe, and I see the Information behind it on the other side. Matter becomes increasingly transparent to me every day anyway, and I no longer believe in it. On only one occasion was I so desperate that I ‘raped’ Information Space. That was when our beloved dog Kim was mistakenly locked in a room with a digital security code. Because she was old and ill and needed water, and might otherwise die before I could get someone with the code to come, I ‘accessed’ the numerical code, punched it in, the door opened, and I released her. I didn’t do it instantly. I first made two or three hysterical wrong attempts and wasted precious minutes through being over-stressed. I made myself try to remain calm and then got it right. This meant that I actually had to access the whole number of several digits, none of which was known to me. Really, we are not supposed to do this sort of thing, but my dog was more important to me than protocol.

Also important to me is a Larger Dog, the Sphinx! I feel almost as affectionate towards him as I did… well, no, that would not be fair to Kim. But I also like the Dog Star. In fact, I am a sucker for dogs, I really am. I am not a cat person, even though I am a great fan of the original version of the film ‘Cat People’ (1942). Watch it sometime! See my review of it on my website.

I was eventually able to find 281 years’ worth of published eyewitness accounts of the chamber beneath the Sphinx, including detailed information about exactly where it was, its size, and the fact that it contained the remains of a wooden coffin. Because the chamber was described as having hieroglyphics on the walls, I am certain that it was what archaeologists call ‘an intruded burial’, but it must have been a royal one, as a shaft was carefully constructed and a chamber cut in one of the most important monuments in Egypt, within the sacred precincts of the royal Necropolis. The shaft was sealed with cement by Émile Baraize in 1926.

A century earlier, Henry Salt also sealed some openings and passages elsewhere at the Sphinx, and was sharply criticised for it by the French Count de Forbin. All of this is described in full detail in our book. So, yes, there is a ‘secret chamber’ beneath the Sphinx. And the information in our book proves this beyond all possibility of doubt. But no, it is not original and does not date from the time of the Sphinx’s carving. Also, it is empty, so there is no gold or treasure. But if we could just read what it says on the walls!
Another thing I was able to demonstrate is that the Sphinx and the three Giza pyramids were part of a single unified design concept of the Giza Plateau. The position and size of the Sphinx is determined precisely in relation to the three pyramids, in a manner never before noticed. This is shown and explained at great length in the book, and it is not really possible to summarise that material, as it is too lengthy and detailed for a brief description. I can say, however, that it was part of a resurrection cult.

In the process of explaining this in detail, I even have occasion to explain the true nature of those bizarre reliefs in a crypt at Denderah which have excited a great deal of speculation, the ones with the ‘lightbulbs’, although they are 2,500 years more recent, and their only connection is through the symbolism.

I hope everybody will get a lot out of looking through our book, and, who knows, maybe even reading it. Stranger things have happened.

Written by: Robert Temple – New Dawn

This article has been republished with permission of New Dawn Magazine

Copyright © New Dawn If you appreciated this article, please consider a digital subscription to New Dawn.

There is a whole chapter of White history we are missing.

 

Did Aryan Giants Build the European Megaliths?

The medieval Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus insisted that giants must have once existed, because only they, with their awesome strength and superhuman capabilities, could have built the dolmens, menhirs, massive walls, and other structures that are strewn across Western Europe. The idea of a vast megalithic culture that once dominated much of Europe in the remote past is taken up by the author Paul Dunbavin in his book Atlantis of the West. For Dunbavin, the megalithic structures of Europe are not just simple creations built by a Stone Age culture, but the sophisticated handiwork of an advanced and ancient race, possibly the Atlanteans. (Indeed, Britain was once named Albion, after a Titan king of Atlantis.) Dunbavin believes that Atlantis lies beneath the Irish Sea and was submerged in 3100 BCE when a comet struck Earth, causing the Earth’s crust to shift and thus shrinking some of the existing landmasses, including those in and around ancient Europe (Dunbavin 2003).

Located on a rocky promontory near Sissian in Armenia is the profoundly ancient site of Zorats Karer, also known as Karahunj, which has been dubbed the Armenian Stonehenge. It dates to approximately 7600–4500 BCE, and as such, is probably the oldest stone circle in Europe. The rocks of this circle are quite large and extremely heavy. Extensive research carried out by Paris Herouni and Elma Parsamyan of the Biurakan Observatory has led them to conclude that the site was dedicated to the Armenian sun god Ari in that some of the stones mirror the brightest star of the Cygnus constellation—Deneb.
Tellingly, some old Armenian folktales tell of a distant epoch when the sun god Ari ordered a fallen race of giants to move the immense blocks of stone to the site and construct it. (Note the similarity between the name of the sun god Ari and “Aryan” and also the correlation with the Aryan sun god myths).

The question of whether Zorats Karer could be the oldest observatory of its kind in Europe, if not the world, was taken up by Oxford astrophysicist Mihran Vardanyan. He agrees that this site was no doubt an ancient observatory, but also suggests that it may well have been an ancient necropolis:
The most commonly accepted theory about the meaning of Karahunj is that it is an ancient burial ground, or necropolis—a place to act as a bridge between the earth and the heavens in the cyclical journey of the soul involving life, death and rebirth. The necropolis thesis is certainly true for after our initial investigations of the central circle, it is clear the site was aligned to the sun, most likely aligned to the moon and—what is really exciting, possibly even some stars or planets—owing to the placement of small holes drilled through the monoliths and aimed at the horizon. It is these holes which makes this exceptional megalithic site unique out of all similar European sites. (Vardanyan 2011)

In December 2010, the popular History channel documentary series Ancient Aliens featured Zorats Karer on episode 14, “Unexplained Structures.” The show linked Herouni and Parsamyan’s Deneb theory with the discovery of three hundred exoplanets by NASA’s Kepler planet-finding satellite within the Cygnus constellation (History 2010). This connection, without a doubt, is truly sensational and demands further investigation.

One of the most ancient and archaeologically significant megalithic sites in the world is Baalbek, where the bones of what may be ancient giants have been found. Baalbek lies approximately eighty-six kilometers northeast of the city of Beirut in eastern Lebanon. This most enigmatic of holy places is one of the Near East’s most important Roman and pre-Roman temple sites of study by historians and archaeologists. In 1898, a German expedition there claimed to have discovered no evidence of occupation prior to the Roman period, despite other claims suggesting a very ancient habitation of the site.

Recent archaeological finds have supported the latter idea, for in a deep trench at the edge of the Jupiter temple platform, Neolithic artifacts were discovered, along with the skeletons of three individuals of giant stature! Pottery dating to the Seleucid era (323–64 BCE) as well as Roman era remains (64 BCE–312 CE) were also discovered.

During both the Seleucid and Roman occupations, the town surrounding the immense religious monument was known as Heliopolis, the “City of the Sun,” and the sun god Jupiter was the focal point of the shrine. (The Roman god Jupiter had overtaken and supplanted the Greek god Zeus, and replaced the earlier god Baal, who incidentally shared some common characteristics with Zeus and, subsequently, Jupiter.)

Archaeologists now agree that Baalbek is more than nine thousand years old, with continual settlement dating from the Neolithic Age to the Roman Iron Age. Surrounding the site are massive walls built with twenty-four monoliths, weighing some three hundred tons each. The tallest wall, on the western flank of the temple site, contains what is known as the trilithon, a row of three stones, each 19 meters long, 4.3 meters high, and 3.6 meters broad, cut from solid limestone. Each stone weighs approximately eight hundred tons. Even with today’s technology, moving them into place would be a tremendous architectural accomplishment indeed.

According to David Hatcher Childress (2000): “Large numbers of pilgrims came from Mesopotamia as well as the Nile Valley to the Temple of Ba’al-Astarte. The site is mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Kings. There is a vast underground network of passages beneath the acropolis. Their function is unknown, but they were possibly used to shelter pilgrims, probably at a later period.”

How then was Baalbek constructed? Ancient Arab writings explain that the first stages of Baalbek, including the trilithon and other massive stone blocks, were built following the Great Flood at the mandate of King Nimrod, by a “tribe of giants” (Childress 2000). Again, we see the same giant motif, lending credence to the race of giants theory. How could so many disparate cultures in so many isolated locations all around the world arrive at the same supposition: giants were responsible for building the great megalithic monuments of prehistory? Another significant megalithic site needs little introduction. We are referring, of course, to the glorious Stonehenge, perhaps the most famous megalithic structure in the world.

One fascinating story concerning Stonehenge is a twelfth-century account written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his work Historia Regum Britanniae, also known as The History of the Kings of Britain. Geoffrey maintained that the rocks of Stonehenge were healing rocks that had been imported from Africa and that they had immense curative properties. Collectively called the Giant’s dance, Stonehenge had, according to Geoffrey, originally been constructed on Mount Killaraus in Ireland.

The fifth-century Arthur-like figure Ambrosius Aurelius, at the behest of Merlin, designated Stonehenge to be instead a monument for the knights who perished fighting off Saxon incursions. Thus, the king dispatched Merlin, Uther Pendragon, and fifteen thousand knights to Ireland to capture the monument and bring it back to Britain. The knights slew seven thousand Irish warriors, but were unable to move the rocks with ropes and brute force. Then something very strange happened. Using the power of sound, Merlin dismantled the stones and transported them through a dimensional rift directly to Salisbury, where they were reassembled using levitation. Ambrosius Aurelius then died and was buried within Stonehenge, which is also known as the “Giants’ Ring of Stonehenge.”

Until recently there has been no accurate method for pinpointing when the stones were quarried and erected. However, a new dating method known as chlorine-23 has now been developed. Recent attempts at using this new method on Stonehenge have revealed that the monument, far from being only 4,500 years old as is maintained by current academia, in actual fact dates to 25,000 BCE.

Mainstream scientists have rejected these figures and, subsequently, do not consider this method of dating to be reliable. However, the method is deemed to be highly accurate. (Except when it contradicts what the establishment wants to believe as opposed to what the facts clearly point to!) In rebuttal, established academicians claim that the proponents of chlorine-23 themselves are merely seeing what they want to believe, in a total reversal of the truth!

http://www.renegadetribune.com/aryan-giants-build-european-megaliths/

Sweden: 8,000-Year-Old Skulls on Spikes Dug-Up From the Bottom of a Lake

Andrew Anglin

Daily Stormer
February 14, 2018

We should remember that we evolved through blood and violence. Always, we should remember the people who died – and killed – to bring us to this point.

And in that we must understand that we have a duty to do the same to secure future generations.

RT:

Archaeologists digging at the bottom of a former lake in Sweden have discovered an ancient burial site containing 8,000-year-old human skulls mounted on wooden stakes.

The gruesome find at the Kanaljorden site in the town of Motala in the central Sweden has left researchers baffled as, according to a study published in the journal Antiquity, it the challenges modern “understanding of the handling of the dead during the European Mesolithicera.”

The skulls showed signs of blunt force trauma that was “probably the result of interpersonal violence,” the study read. However, some injuries show signs of healing, meaning that blunt force trauma is not necessarily what killed them.

Some 11 adults, only one of which had a jawbone, were found at the ancient burial site. While it was difficult for researchers to determine their sex, at least three were female and six or seven were males. Interestingly, the injuries differed according to sex. Men tended to have truma on the top or front of their head, while women were injured at the back of their heads. Also unearthed was the entire skeleton of an infant who was likely stillborn or died shortly after birth, the researchers said.

Remains of wooden stakes were recovered from two of the skulls, “indicating that they had been mounted.” One of the stakes had broken. The other was at about 1.5ft (47cm) in length. Astonishingly, a piece of brain tissue was also recovered from the skull impaled with the broken stake. This suggests that the skull was cast into the lake soon after death where it was preserved.

History has always been bloody.

It has always required sacrifice of men. And those who refused to fight died. Those who fought often died as well, but they died with honor.

We as individuals are members of an unbroken line, going back to the beginning of life itself. And we have a duty.

And it is in fulfilling that duty that we fulfill ourselves.