Saturday, May 21, 2005

Lost Civilizations, Part II

Okay, I trudged through a little more of Graham Hancock's Heaven's Mirror last night and am back to update y'all. When he gets into his imaginative use of astronomy (the three pyramids at Giza would have formed a mirror image of the belt of Orion on the morning of the Spring Equinox 10,500 years ago and Angkor in Cambodia looks kinda like the constellation Draco yada yada yada...) my eyes glaze over, but I found some slightly more convincing evidence that at least one of these sites covered in his book might date back to a much older civilization. It was the ancient site of Tiahuanaco in the Andes. Here are some excerpts from that interesting chapter:

"Tiahuanaco's biggest riddle concerns its age. The range of approximately 1500 BC through 900 AD considered by most achaeologists has been challenged on the grounds of the geology of the site, showing a relationship to Lake Titicaca that last prevailed more than 10,000 years ago. Above the serpants on the side of the Viracocha figure in the Semi-Subterranean temple there are representations of an animal species resembling Toxodon - a large hippo-like animal that became extinct in the Tiahunaco are more than 12,000 years ago. And on the eastern side of the Gateway of the Sun there is a representation of an elephant-like creature, perhaps the New World proboscid Cuvieronius, which also became extinct 12,000 years ago. "

He supplemented this with his usual astrological mumbo-jumbo and some bizarre and totally inconclusive tidbits:

"At the Puma Punku...there is a block that has been calculated to weigh 447 tonnes. Many others are in the range of 100 to 200 tonnes. The principal quarries were 60 kilometres away, where all Tiahuanco's andesite came from, and 15 kilometres away, where all its red sandstone came from."

"Another mystery is that spectographic analysis of one of the very few surviving clamps [used to join the megaliths] has shown it to consist of a most unusual alloy of 2.05 per cent arsenic, 95.15 per cent copper, 0.26 per cent iron, 0.84 per cent silicon and 1.70 per cent nickel. There is no source of nickel anwhere in Bolivia. Furthermore, the 'rarely encountered' alloy of arsenical nickel bronze would have required a [portable] smelter operating at extremely hight temperatures."

One of the problems of this book is that it tries to imply connections between just about every archeological mystery known to man. That makes it pretty incredible, even for someone like me. Still, I love a good mystery and this book is filled with 'em.

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