Return to Antikythera
For the first time in over a century, one of the most mysterious underwater archaeological sites in the world is getting some serious reexamination. An out-of-the-way Greek island is the site of one of the most amazing discoveries in history, the so-called Antikythera device, a sophisticated virtual computer found in 1900 by sponge divers in the ruins of an ancient Greek shipwreck. The amazing capabilities of the more than 2,000-year-old device were not fully appreciated for over half a century, and the site where it was found was not even revisited until 1976. Not much has happened since then, but in the autumn of 2014 a team of archaeologists, equipped with state-of-the-art underwater gear, including a small submarine, returned with the aim of thoroughly photographing and mapping the entire area and seeing what else might be found.
Exploration was led by Theotokis Theodoulou and Aggeliki Simossi of the Greek Department of Underwater Antiquities, and Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Over 50,000 photos were taken and many priceless, newly discovered artifacts brought to the surface but, as far as we can tell, no further examples of advanced ancient technology. Nevertheless, look for breathless television documentaries coming soon to a TV set near you.
Indonesian Cave Art, 39,000 Years Old
The idea that humans like us, with the ability to create tools and art, first appeared only about 40,000 years ago is being challenged as never before. According to an October story in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, advanced harpoon tips from the Congo, sophisticated cave paintings from Indonesia, rock paintings from Australia, etc., are all part of a growing body of evidence causing the entire timeline of human development to be seriously questioned. It has suddenly become respectable to argue that humans like us may have been around for at least a 100,000 years—maybe much longer.
In fact, the skillfully created harpoon tips from Africa are more than 90,000 years old. Hand stencils on the walls of Indonesian caves are 40 to 50 thousand years old—every bit as old as their amazing counterparts in European caves at Lascaux, and Chauvet, indicating that the original development of such skill goes much further back in human history than the professors once believed possible.
In Plato’s story of Atlantis, the Greek lawgiver Solon was told by the Egyptian priests at Sais that civilization has risen and fallen many times. Now the theoretical timeline of human development has become so extended that it is possible to allow for such long-term developments as civilization, not just once, but possibly multiple times.
Pre-Clovis Americans in Oregon
The arrival date of the earliest Americans is still hotly debated in archaeological circles, but advocates for the Clovis horizon theory have taken another serious blow. Human waste found in Oregon’s Paisley caves has now been firmly dated by scientists at the University of Oregon to 14,300 years ago, more than a thousand years before Clovis settlements in New Mexico, once believed to be the oldest. Moreover, it has also been shown that the diet of the Paisley community included aromatic herbs which would have required some time to develop, an indication that this community had been around for a long time.
The remote Paisley site, which, it is believed, was once a grassy plain with a lake, has now been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was first excavated in 1938, but its explosive implications for the debate over human origins in the Americas have come to light only in recent years.
From Chile’s Monte Verde, to Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay; from Mexico’s Hueyatlaco to California’s Calico, many archaeological sites have produced a great deal of evidence challenging the conventional point of view. It is clear now that humans have been roving the Americas for many millennia longer than the academic establishment would have us believe. From Arthur Poznansky to Augustus LePlongeon, many once derided researchers may, it appears, deserve some serious reconsideration.