Ancient Sites

History of a Cursed Island

Fan of the show The Curse of Oak Island? Randall Sullivan has released the definitive history of the island spanning from the original discovery of the “Money Pit,” to the latest efforts on the television show. Even if you watch the show, you know only a fraction of the island’s history. Sullivan explores the decades of digs, and the endless theories of who visited the island, including many fanciful tales whipped up in fertile imaginations. However, the island sits at a crossroads of the old seafarers, and many unexplained artifacts have been found. Who would go to such effort, and why, to hide something presumably a great value? Would gold warrant elaborate traps and tunnels? Was it already found or perhaps never there?

Maybe it will remain an unsolved mystery, or perhaps someday history will be changed.

oakis

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Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, artifacts, History | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ancient Aliens? No, our Ancestors Weren’t Dumb.

Ancient Aliens is one of those infuriating shows to those who have studied ancient history. The premise of the show is that the ancients weren’t smart enough to build structures like the pyramids. So, in one of the most disconnected lines of reasoning ever, they must have had help from aliens.

The fact is, the ancients were smart. They had the same brains we have. The more we learn about them, the more we have realized this.

Because something is difficult to do, doesn’t make it impossible. We are so enamored with our electronic technology, we forget that humans used math and brain power, combined with physical strength, for many millennia.

To listen to some of the “experts” on Ancient Aliens, it’s as if they haven’t been to these sites, or if they have, they had blindfolds on. One of the funniest moments is when one is showing how perfect a block has been carved (supposedly beyond the ability of the ancients), but the camera shows his square revealing the block is far from perfect. That’s only one of many head-scratching moments revealed in this documentary, Ancient Aliens Debunked.

To be certain, there are many mysteries to be solved from ancient times. Much has been lost and every day we learn something new. The ancients left us much to learn in their structures, stories, and myths. Over the years, I have written here about those things, and integrated them into my books. Our ancestors left us history, knowledge, and warnings, to ponder.

Not aliens.

Categories: Ancient Sites, Critical Thinking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Who Came to Ancient America?

Unlike many “reality” shows, the History Channel series, The Curse of Oak Island, has a real dose of history behind its premise. If you can bear with the typical reality show style editing and pacing, you will be rewarded with clues to the island’s history. However, as they say, there is much more to the story.

This region of the North Atlantic seems to hold many more secrets beyond what Oak Island may hold. Paul Chiasson writes in The Island of Seven Cities and Written in Ruins of evidence pointing to Chinese visitors to Cape Brenton Island. Mysterious ruins and Chinese words in native languages are among the clues.

Graeme Davis’ Vikings in America attempts to unravel the scope of Viking excursions into the Americas. No one questions they were here, only the extent and impact of their travels.

In Irresistible North, Andrea Di Robilant tracks down the legendary Zeno brothers of Venice. Did they make it to the New World?

And finally, no ancient mysteries would be complete without throwing the Knights Templars into the mix. In Templars in America, Tim Wallace-Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins trace a globe trotting mystery that may have crossed paths with the Zeno brothers and followed the trail first blazed by the Vikings.

So, are you ready for some exploring?

curse

Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, Forgotten Places, History, Legend, Mysteries | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Cities & Deadly Jungles

The search for lost cities is what movies are made of — and many of the films were inspired by real life. A number of authors have set out following the trails and clues left by others in search of what may still be lost. The latest is thriller writer Douglas Preston‘s book  The Lost City of the Monkey God.

Rumors of the White City hidden in the impenetrable jungles of Honduras have persisted for centuries. Preston joined a team of explorers and archaeologists, using a combination new technology and old-fashioned fight-your-way-through-the-jungle, to search for lost ruins.

Indeed, they find a lost city and indications of others. This a true story of adventure into a land of deadly animals and diseases, cartels and fixers, and forgotten histories that may still hold messages for modern man.

As Preston and the authors below have shown us, there is still much of our past to be uncovered. And there are still adventures to be had.

Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, Forgotten Places, History, Native Americans | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turn Right, and Meet Me in the Lost World

In my review of travel adventure books, we have searched for Sheba and explorers of the New World. We have also disappeared into the jungles of Latin America on the trail of lost cities. Now we will return to uncovering the ancient world.

Mark Adams set a benchmark for travel adventure lit with his Turn Right at Machu Picchu. This fish-out-of-water follows the trail of legendary explorer Hiram Bingham who brought Machu Picchu, the hidden Inca mountain refuge, to the world’s attention. A perfect combination of Adams’ travails and history — every bit a page turner as a novel.

Adams followed this adventure up with Meet Me in Atlantis. Here he tries to hunt down the true experts of the legendary lost city, among a field known for, how should I put it, fringe thinkers. His hunt leads to many possibilities, and even though not as much adventuring as his first book, it is a refreshing change to the libraries full of bizarre Atlantis speculations.

Now we turn to David RobertsThe Lost World of the Old Ones where he continues his many years of hiking off-trail into the Southwest. Readers will be amazed at how much lies undiscovered and unknown about the civilizations that once populated these states. Roberts chronicles the politics, history and conflicting visions that have attempted to preserve the past — not always successfully. A fascinating and entertaining account that will remind people that United States has its own lost civilization still waiting for discovery

mcpic

Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, artifacts, History, Native Americans, Prehistory | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Arabia to the New World

Most people love some sort of fiction whether it film, television or books. Yet, there are adventures to be had in the real world amidst all of its chaos and strife. We already took a look at some fantastic travels into Latin America where the ancient world still hides. Here are some more tales of authors who went on their own adventures to explore lost histories of our past:

Few love stories can claim to have endured centuries, but that of Solomon and Sheba has done just that. Nicholas Clapp set out in Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen to uncover the truth to what is only briefly mentioned in biblical chronicles and some other sources. Traveling through unstable Yemen in Arabia, to ancient sites in Ethiopia and to the Jerusalem, the city of Solomon, he uncovers clues to the lost empire of Sheba that tantalize us with potentially much more hidden in the sands.

Legend has it that Venetian brother Antonio and Nicolo Zeno arrive in North America a hundred years before Columbus. Is it only a legend? Andrea di Robilant tracks them across Europe and to the fringes of the New World to uncover the truth in Irresistable North. Given a recent, new discovery of vikings, should we not take a little closer look at the Zenos?

The Zenos may not be the only ones to beat Columbus as Paul Chiasson writes in The Island of Seven Cities. Ruins on Cape Brenton in northeast Canada, not all that far from Viking sites, could be the remains of a Chinese outpost. If this wasn’t interesting enough, the Zeno brothers had mentioned encountering some sort of non-native settlement in the region. Vikings or Chinese or one of these intermixed with natives?

I’m thinking real life adventures like these beat television any day. So where do you want to go?

Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Documents, Ancient Sites, Bible, History | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What the Vikings Can Teach Us

We’re all taught that Columbus “discovered” the New World in 1492, with the caveat that the Vikings arrived centuries earlier circa 1000 A.D. This is always added as a bit of a footnote, as if it’s not all that important. Sure, it didn’t have the impact of the Spanish-backed Columbus voyages, but the Viking voyages have always been begrudgingly admitted to existing. Even before ruins were found in the 1960s, the Viking Sagas and other accounts were largely written off as myth. Even after the finds, the story went like this, “Yes, they came here, probably over a couple centuries, but these infamous explorers never did much of anything.” Doesn’t really make much sense, does it? Why the reluctance to give the Vikings their due? In light of the discovery of a new Viking site in Canada, perhaps our prejudices in studying our own history need re-examined. Continue reading

Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, Critical Thinking, Native Americans | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Choose Your Adventure

The busyness of the Christmas season has become nearly a tradition itself. Many are bogged down in the Retail Apocalypse right to the last hours of Christmas Eve. Stores will do anything to get in you in the door and our leaders will smile at the minor economic bump and run and hide when it’s erased with post-holiday debt. Nevertheless, perhaps you’re like me and try to carve some time out of these weeks to tone it down a bit. Perhaps you’d like to go on an adventure? Disappear into the jungles searching for lost cities like Indiana Jones?

No, seriously, you can for only a few dollars.

In The Lost City of Z, you can follow the trail of legendary explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925, he disappeared into the Amazon looking for the fabled city. When you’re done, head to Honduras in Jungleland and search for Ciudad Blanca — perhaps the fabled El Dorado. Then head back down south and follow the footsteps of Hiram Bingham and explore Machu Picchu in Cradle of Gold.

So take a breath, turn the lights down, and vanish into another world.

Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, artifacts, Books, Forgotten Places, History, Mysteries, Native Americans | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fire of Exploration

Exploring the final frontier has never been easy. For decades, in fits an spurts, we have explored the Solar System and established manned outposts in orbit. We even reached the Moon, which has been so long ago now, that it seems a dream.  We can probably blame the tortoise pace of space exploration on it being largely controlled by the government and their ever changing, and short-sighted, whims. In recent years, private companies have taken up the torch. As witnessed by this week’s crash of the spacecraft Galactic, exploration on the edge of frontiers is still fraught with danger.

It always has been and always will be.

When the New World was being rediscovered by Europeans from 1492 on, it was much the same. Driven by politics, economics and the innate desire of humans to explore, not all went well. The early voyages were often about finding wealth and conquering lands. Later, though, it would be about building a better life, improving the human condition. The powerful desire to improve the existence of one’s family and future descendents has long been entwined with that frontier spirit. It’s often difficult to tell them apart. Interestingly enough, we would later learn that 1492 wasn’t the first rediscovery of what would later be named the Americas.

In 1000 A.D., the Vikings arrived in North America. It seemed almost inevitable that these quintessential seafarers and explorers would do just that. For centuries the sagas and rumors attesting to their arrival was largely discarded as myth. Then archaeological remains of a settlement were found in Canada in 1960.  Still, the idea of pre-Columbus explorers was seen as unlikely and supposed accounts quickly dismissed.

This was for two reasons: One, the level of required verified evidence is high. Is it too high? The Viking sagas told of exploring America, but were dismissed as legend. Even now, the extent of their exploration is unknown, but it is admitted that they voyaged to the coast for decades, if not longer. Only one settlement? These legendary warriors never ventured far from the beaches?

Two, early attempts to dismiss all natives as not much more than primitive cavemen saw many people ascribe anything of sophistication to foreign visitors. We now know the New World was replete with civilization and we know they arrived here longer ago than originally thought, through multiple paths. That paradigm shift has led many to wonder: Is it reasonable to think that people here for so long remained isolated from the rest world? A world that had many accomplished seafarers?  After all, didn’t the natives make it here at one point? Does any civilization live in isolation for over 10,000 years?

Of course, there are those who consider any suggestion of diffusion racist. They are driven by those who have, or still do, see natives as inferior. The other side of the coin are those who believe it did happen, repeatedly, and assert that it’s racist to say it couldn’t have happened.

So much for academic inquiry.

To be certain, the field has been full of fringe writers pushing many a bizarre theory or those motivated by ideology. Not all are so driven. Many are simply looking for the facts, some of which have always hidden in plain sight.

Sometimes it was intention, other times apparent chance, but in either case exploration burned in the souls of many men and women. What resulted wasn’t always good, but the overall condition of man usually improved. Does the fire of exploration still kindle? Are we too busy to see past tomorrow, buried in our televisions and self-created busyness?

Time will tell if humans will quit ignoring the calls to be something greater than what is pushed upon them. Modern steps into space are part of a long legacy that reaches back millennia. The crash of the Galactic won’t extinguish the flame.

It reminds us there are still those in which the fire still burns.

naex spcex

Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, Books, History, Native Americans | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Raising Giza

The pyramids of Giza. The last of the Seven Wonders of the World. They have spawned endless speculation into the methods of their construction and purpose. Much of it bizarre: Aliens built it. It’s a power plant. A weapon. Vault of lost knowledge.

This all makes for a lot of absurd — I mean interesting — speculation. And occasional fun fiction. In this case, though, fact is far more interesting.

In The Secret of the Great Pyramid, Egyptologist Bob Brier chronicles the quest of architect Jean-Pierre Houdin to unlock the secret of the Great Pyramids assembly. Rather than resorting to stargates and levitation, Houdin looked at it with an eye honed by design and engineering: Moving and raising blocks is physics. No advanced math is needed. No spaceships either. That doesn’t mean it was easy.

Realize that Egyptians wrote about nearly everything, except how they built pyramids, which adds even more to their mystique. Brier recounts their history, which began with others before those at Giza. A bit of science, a bit of trial and error. Eventually it was perfected. I won’t reveal the details here, but it seems we may have long been looking for an answer too complicated. Sometimes simple is all that is needed.

Perhaps most fascinating is that pyramids came early in Egyptian history rather than later. We continue to learn that the ancients were quite intelligent. Too often we look back and down on those who have faded into history — “chronological snobbery” C.S. Lewis called it. They were smart, just had a different level of technology and knowledge base. Discoveries continue to show that mankind’s intelligence existed very early, if not from the beginning.

Our modern nations have existed for an eye-blink in time. Will we approach the longevity of ancient empires? Or will we be crushed under the weight of our misplaced stones?

So perhaps the pyramids carry a message after all.

pyr

Categories: Ancient Sites, History, Origins of Man, Prehistory | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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