Pyramids in Wisconsin?

For decades there have been reports of geometric structures on the floor of Rock Lake in Wisconsin. And after decades of discussion, we still have a lot of fuzzy photos and disregard by most archaeologists.

Nearby, however, is the Aztalan State Park with remnants of mounds built by a Mississippian mound builder culture. Extensive earthworks were built. Did they build something in the lake when it was low? Why would they? Divers claim they found remains of stone pyramids — stone not being a prime material of mound builders. An Aztec outpost?

This is one of those tantalizing mysteries some people keep talking about, yet no convincing proof seems to come forward.

If there were claims of pryamids in any lake nearby me, I would like to know one way or the other if it were true.

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Looking for the Empire of Atlantis

Early this year, we learned of a possible location of Atlantis in Spain. For centuries, the elusive legend told to us by Plato has been studied, researched and ridiculed by countless people. Does Atlantis have any roots in history? It has become almost a taboo subject because so many people have incorporated it into their wild theories — everything from aliens to some super-advanced civilization flying planes and spaceships.

Gavin Menzies has now entered the fray with his new book, The Lost Empire of Atlantis. His main theory – Atlantis was based on the destroyed Minoan civilization – is not new. What is new is his detailed effort of showing the scope of this lost empire and why its destruction could very well be the basis for Atlantis.

It’s an intriguing idea. The destruction of the Minoans was part of a series of catastrophes that ended the bronze age. To some extent the turmoil of the times erased much of the past into myth. We know the ancients weren’t primitives and disasters did change the course of history more than once. And was it the Minoans that mined the “missing” copper in Michigan? Another age-old mystery.

We may never know the answers for sure, but history may surprise us yet and teach us a thing or two (like nature can reach out and nuke us anytime it wants).

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Easter Island, End of the World or Gateway to America?

For decades, the study of the settlement of the Americas has focused on entry through Alaska or, to a lesser extent, across the Atlantic. To look at the Pacific and its distant islands, it would seem ancient travel was “impossible.”

Yet we have known for decades that it is possible and did happen.

Most famously, the remote Easter Island is covered in hundreds of statues from a lost culture. Many other islands across the Pacific have ruins of structures, megaliths and statuary. Cultures who arrived in dugouts created all of this?

The diversity in American native cultures (especially South America) have led people to start re-examining the Pacific routes. We already know that certain foods and animals were introduced to the Americas this way. Now the attempt to discover who and how many of these people were there. Where did they come from? And how much of the legends of ancient America of travelers and light-skinned people are rooted in truth?

There are many studies of this out there, to start: Axis of the World traces peoples who crossed the Pacific, some possibly from India. The Statues that Walked zeros in on Easter Island, the possible remote last outpost of a dead civilization.

Are the Pacific ruins markers of a lost oceanic trail? Or are they remains of a destroyed Pacific civilization? Perhaps we will never know, but we do know something happened out there.

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

Scrolls, Yetis & Lost Islands

Not as interesting as the scrolls themselves, but the identity of the Dead Sea Scroll authors is “possibly solved.”

Then there are supposedly Yeti nests in Siberia. Of course, these are the same people who claimed to have found “‘indisputable proof’ of the Yeti” last month which some have suggested was hoaxed.

Lost islands off Australia. Nice to see there is still “lost” stuff out there to be found. There’s a lot of mystery out there in the Pacific, home of the legandary Lemuria (the Pacific version of Atlantis). Maybe we’ll look into this a little more later.

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Mythology: Fact and Fiction

If you have ever read the mythologies of past cultures, they are full of wondrous and unbelievable tales of long-lost races, battling gods and supernatural conflicts.

It is often said, however, that myth and legend have tidbits of truth. The problem is that many people will mine myth looking for something they supports their preconceived notion. Often those notions are reinterpreting the past through the glasses of the present.

There is a popular image of an Egyptian hieroglyph bandied about that supposedly depicts electricity in the ancient world. The images are often poor reproductions of the real thing. Close-up photos of the actual panels quickly shows the Egyptians aren’t holding light-bulbs connected to a power system. There are many mysteries in the past, but when researchers do such poor presentation in their “evidence,” scholars are quickly turned off even if there are other valid theories presented.

Uncovering the lost technologies and knowledge of the ancients is a popular, and valid, field of research, but it is pockmarked by the strange. Sure, even in the mainstream, theories come and go and acceptance of new ideas often goes through an inordinate level of scrutiny. But when people see spaceships and aliens in ancient carvings, is that what is really there, or are we seeing what we want to see?

Sometimes our skepticism makes us miss the trees in the forest. The Viking sagas and their tales of journeys to the new world were once thought myth. Not anymore. That doesn’t mean cyclops or ogres once existed, but the Troy of Homer’s Odyssey certainly did. How can we tell the difference? Compare an account of Columbus’ voyage next to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Most anyone will see the difference. Is it always that clear? Usually it is or you will at least be able to pull out the fantastical from the potentially real.

We shouldn’t accept every theory without reservation. By the same token, it would be a mistake to exclude all fantastic happenings from history simply because we don’t understand them.

Studying history, afterall, is a thinking enterprise.

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Atlantis Found?

Researchers announced today a possible location for the fabled Atlantis in Spain. This region, either off the coast or on land, has long been a frontrunner in Atlantis locations. Among others, E.M. Whishaw’s Atlantis in Spain argued for it in 1928. I haven’t read it, but I bet it will be selling out soon. As with any ancient legend, there’s probably bits of truth in it. Since so many fringe and mystical folks have co-opted Atlantis, many scholars won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. Perhaps in Spain the truth will finally be uncovered.

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Where was Jesus?

The Bible is silent on most of Jesus’ years before he began his ministry. Many theories, including more than a few strange ones, have been floated about the “missing years.” These include travels to just about everywhere in the world. Some apocryphal accounts claim to have details of his childhood, though they date long after his time (Anne Rice did conjure up an interesting novel that was in part based on these stories). One of the more plausible legends has Jesus visiting Britain with his “uncle” Joseph of Arimathea. Local legends claim Jesus was there, but the debate centers around how old those legends are and if they were created to attract pilgrims. Nevertheless, it is an interesting possibility. See Glyn S. Lewis’ book for more (even he wanders into some strange speculations at times).

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Did the Chinese Beat Columbus?

A few years back the book 1421 created a bit of a controversy in that it suggested the Chinese had discovered North America before Columbus. While people were arguing over the book’s details, others asked a simple question. Is it so hard to believe that an advanced empire with established seafaring skills couldn’t end up in the Americas? Many came out and supported the theory with their own evidences. It was almost like a taboo subject that scholars secretly pondered until 1421 changed things. Still, most don’t think it’s a slam-dunk case for Chinese visitors. Is it simply the resistance to new ideas? Or is the evidence not strong enough? In either case, another fascinating book on the subject is The Island of Seven Cities. It puts forth the case for a Chinese settlement in Canada. Perhaps there was.

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Lost in the Jungle

British explorer Percy Fawcett was one of the last of the era that inspired Hollywood’s swashbucklers like Indiana Jones. Fawcett also became one of the 20th Century’s most famous disappearances when he vanished into the Amazon jungle in 1925. He was searching for a lost city he named “City of Z.” Perhaps the fabled El Dorado, a lost Inca stronghold or an outpost of Atlantis refugees. He seemed to think he knew where it was. Eighty-five years later, the details of his demise are still unclear. The book The Lost City of Z has brought back this forgotten explorer back to life for modern readers. Exploration Fawcett is a reprint of Fawcett’s own journals from his adventures in South America up until his final trek. These are fascinating windows into the lost era of explorations and the wild and dangerous southern continent of those days.

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Lost Civilizations Under Persian Gulf

In the news are discoveries of civilizations that lived in areas now flooded by the Persian Gulf. This interesting for a number of reasons. One, finds in this region continue to show people were sophisticated early on. People didn’t start out dumb or animal-like. Two, past discoveries of settlements and dead rivers under the Persian Gulf have given rise to the possible location of the Garden of Eden. Others have seen the flooding of the Gulf as the source of the Noah and other flood accounts. But the flooding of the Gulf doesn’t seem catastrophic enough to be the source of those writings. We will take a look at a later date at some of those and draw out the history. For now consider that there were many millienia of history before scrolls, books and other records. We have only scratched the surface.

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