The magic of ancient engineering continues to amaze any among us with an open mind. No matter, it seems, how many times we revisit the pyramids of Egypt or the great megalithic construction sites, our wonder grows. The following films certainly do their part to advance the legend.
Dr. Carmen Boulter
The creative fire behind this series is provided by Dr. Carmen Boulter of the University of Calgary in Canada. She has had an unshakable passion for Egypt, traveling there 23 times since 1977. Through embassy support, approval from the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Minister of Defense, Carmen secured unprecedented access to sites and rare HD footage.
Many shows have been made about the pyramids; several have been reviewed in this magazine, and each provided its unique insight into these enigmatic structures of antiquity. This latest offering does not disappoint!
Described as a fascinating, new five-part series that explores the pyramid fields and temples in Egypt and megalithic sites around the world looking for clues to sophisticated technology in the ancient world, this production features interviews with geologists, physicists, archaeologists, engineers, and authors and asks the questions: Who were the ancients and what did they know? Could the pyramids be much older than traditional Egyptology would have us believe? Could it be that the ancients were more technologically advanced than we are today? Why do we have so little understanding of the ancient Egyptians?
The Band of Peace—This episode raises questions about the purpose of the pyramids, challenging the story traditional Egyptology tells. You will see rare footage of six distinct pyramid sites near the Great Pyramid with evidence of superior technology and sophisticated knowledge of science and the cosmos.
High Level Technology—Here is shown evidence that the Ancient Egyptians used high level technology to construct pyramids and temples. Scientists discuss the source of this power and its application in the ancient world. Our science is just beginning to grasp some things the ancients clearly understood.
Sacred Cosmology—Deciphering the meaning of strange symbols in Egyptian art gives insight into ancient knowledge of sacred cosmology. A new way of interpreting hieroglyphics is presented, indicating that the ancients had a sophisticated understanding of physics, biology, and celestial mechanics. The team goes on an expedition into the open desert in search of a remote site of extreme antiquity called Nabta Playa. Here, Neolithic stone circles were found marking the motion of the same stars as were tracked in pharaonic civilization. The possible connection is discussed.
The Empowered Human—This episode proposes that the pyramid builders were living in a Golden Age. They had more refined senses and experienced higher levels of consciousness, which gave them abilities superior to those we have today. The sacred feminine was honored and existed in balance with the masculine.
A New Chronology—After examining the evidence presented in the series, it seems clear the dates given by traditional Egyptology just don’t fit. Carefully considering cycles of time through gold, silver, bronze, and iron ages of Plato’s Great Year, a new chronology emerges that illuminates Ancient Egypt.
Among the thirteen interviewees are several who will be familiar to Atlantis Rising readers: Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, John Anthony West, Robert Schoch, John Major Jenkins, and Walter Cruttenden.
Noticeably absent, however, was another Atlantis Rising contributor, Christopher Dunn, author of the best selling book on the pyramids, The Giza Power Plant: Technologies of Ancient Egypt, even though the program appears to directly discuss at some length his theories. Dunn’s ideas about precision engineering as revealed in Egyptian artifacts was first made famous in Graham Hancock’s bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods. More recently, Atlantis Rising has reviewed Adventures Unlimited’s productions: Ancient Technology in Egypt and Ancient Technology in Peru and Bolivia where Christopher Dunn and David Hatcher Childress give on-site analyses of ancient technology. Dunn certainly has the credentials. He has an extensive background as a master craftsman, starting as an apprentice at an engineering company in his hometown of Manchester, England. His immediate reaction to the Giza Pyramid’s schematics was that this edifice was a gigantic machine. Discovering the purpose of this machine involved a process of reverse engineering that has taken over 24 years of research. In the process he has published over a dozen magazine articles. He has had his research referenced in a dozen books by various popular authors of alternative history. He has also appeared on the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Pax Television, and Lifetime Television discussing aspects of his book—one aspect being the precision of ancient Egyptian granite artifacts, which he believes is the smoking-gun evidence of civilization having existed in prehistory.
There’s a section in the DVD where it’s questioned: Why, in the Great Pyramid, are there no frescoes, no decoration at all? And Dr. Boulter states that, “Some people (not Christopher Dunn, just “some people”—hmmm?) have proposed the idea that the pyramids are actually energy machines and I liken that to you wouldn’t decorate the inside of your oven!”
The absent Dunn material notwithstanding, though, the series is brought to life through the magic of digital visual effects provided by Doug Thompson Media Design. Complementing interview footage, Thompson needed to visually portray facts, conjecture, and opinion using technology and his own imagination. “We tried to visually explain as simply as possible those concepts the average viewer might not have had an introduction to before,” Thompson explains. “But no matter how much one may agree or disagree with the ideas proposed in this series, one cannot help but come away with the notion that current mainstream interpretations of humanity’s past don’t very well explain certain anomalous artifacts that exist from human prehistory. We used advanced visual effects technologies to help bridge the gap.” The research-driven documentary lacked a script and required remote production and collaboration support. In place of a written script, he created his own visual storyboards and conceptual renderings for director Boulter’s approval. The long distance process—Dr. Boulter in Calgary, Canada, and Thompson in Oakland, California—required efficient communication to work through the details of the ideas that surfaced throughout the creative process.
The original score for this production is by Michael Damon, an award-winning composer whose film scoring credits include movies and a series of TV productions.
This DVD fits in the “great” category—great presentation; great scenery; great computer animation.
Those steeped in traditional Egyptology may quarrel with some of this DVD, but the majority of Atlantis Rising readers who are intrigued by alternative history will find it a welcome addition to their library.
DVD – 2 Disc Set – 222 minutes
STANDING WITH STONES: A Journey Through Megalithic Britain
Rupert Soskin and Michael Bott
This film is a unique travelogue in which presenter Rupert Soskin and director Michael Bott discover the wealth that is Megalithic Britain. They visit over 100 of the magnificent Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments scattered throughout these islands. There are about 1,000 stone circles in the British Isles. If you include megalithic monuments such as stone rows, long barrows, cairns, cists, standing stones, and others, the number runs to tens of thousands. Yet most people can only name one: Stonehenge.
More than two years in the making, this broadcast-standard documentary takes you from the tip of Cornwall to the Scottish Isles on an unforgettable journey through the landscape of our ancient past. On a scale never attempted before, over two hours of stunning photography reveals a landscape filled with enigma, mystery, and more than a few surprises.
So, why was this film made and who are Rupert Soskin and Michael Bott?
Soskin’s university education was in design, photography, and natural history. His work has been copiously printed in books, magazines, and wildlife publications. His love of the outdoors led him to train and qualify as an expedition leader and diver. His life-long interest in the natural world has led him to further his research into archaeology, anthropology, and evolutionary psychology. Standing with Stones fulfills an ambition to explore new insights into the lives of our distant ancestors.
Producer/Director, Michael Bott, was trained in the theater where for many years he was an actor working for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theater. Gradually over a period of years he made a shift into production and filmmaking, creating over 40 corporate videos. Other output includes Henry Lincoln’s Guide to Rennes-le-Chateau, Origins of the Da Vinci Code (both of which were reviewed in Atlantis Rising), and The Man Behind the Da Vinci Code. His fascination with standing stones began in early childhood when he was taken on a visit to the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire.
These two guys chose to “do it their way”—let them explain:
Michael: In the beginning, Rupert and I had all sorts of ideas about how this program could be produced. The obvious route was to obtain a broadcast commission from television, and this was the first avenue we pursued. We created a 10-minute pilot episode to test the idea (and ourselves). In making that short tester, we discovered two things. First, it was perfectly possible for two people alone on Dartmoore with a camera and microphone to make a very watchable and enjoyable television program. Second, making the program for television would mean that we would lose control of the idea and the nature of the film would radically change. It became clear that if this was to be made in the way we had conceived it, we would have to do it ourselves.
While we were not be able to afford cranes, planes, and helicopter shots, we were also not encumbered with the tyrannical planning and rigid scheduling that such gizmos would impose upon us. And this has been our blessing: that having chosen to make Standing with Stones, we were free to respond to and reflect upon the surprises experienced by two people when they visit these marvelous places with open minds. Even so, as we set off from the Rollright Stones into Wales, a small convoy of my driving our mobile office and accommodation (an 18 year old motorhome) and Rupert in his black Land Rover Freelander (the mechanized star of the show), little did we know just how surprising megaliths could be.
We learned that however much research we do and no matter how sure we were of what Rupert was going to say to the camera about the sites we visited, being there—standing with the stones—so often turned our preconceptions and plans on their head. This has been a joy and a wonder. Even with our enthusiasm—and the knowledge that this enthusiasm is shared by many others—we knew that making a film about stones presents a challenge. Stones don’t move. They’re not that exciting to look at. They don’t talk. They’re not sexy. But we needn’t have worried. What has astounded us—and we think will astound the viewers of Standing with Stones as well—is the sheer variety and richness of landscape and legend that they present to us. Moreover, they are full of surprises. The stones have taught us to go with the flow.
Rupert: Mike and I began talking about the project in 2000. The original concept was to make a series of short programs for television, visiting as many sites as possible in the time allowed.
We decided that rather than lose control of what we wanted to make, we would go it alone. Despite the limitations this inevitably imposed, not least of all the hand-to-mouth existence, it also gave us a freedom to work in our own way and at our own pace, developing ideas along the way as our understanding grew.
Obviously there was an enormous amount of preparation involved in the time spent between our trips and because of the distances we had to cover, the trips had to be fairly long. It would be pointless to drive 500 miles to a site, film, and go home. We decided the only way to manage the process was to divide the country up and hit the road for about a month at a time. We lived out of a camper van, lovingly called Winnie. It isn’t actually a Winnebago, but it was extremely comfortable and worked very well as a mobile office, mobile home, and shooting vehicle (Mike’s high, point-of-view shots were often filmed from the roof).
One of the aims of the film was to focus on a lot of the lesser known monuments, so although individually Mike and I had been exploring sites for many years, inevitably there were a number that were new to us, too. Being able to make direct comparisons is important for any degree of understanding of these sites so despite any amount of research, I only completed the script while on location. Days were spent filming and nights researching and writing. Mike then read over my script to make sure I wasn’t being an arse and to decide how he was going to handle and shoot it. I then did my best to remember what I had written. It worked most of the time, but we laughed a lot…Mike possibly more than I–and usually at my expense!
Rupert and Michael didn’t even pretend to have answers; they don’t claim to be experts, but they certainly make us aware that there’s much more than Stonehenge out there!
The Standing with Stones theme and incidental music was composed and arranged by Michael Bott.
Like their logo, this DVD is predictable (in the sense that it’s a bunch of fields and stones), yet impressive (beautiful photography of the British Isles and intimate shots of the stones)—a travelogue worth the trip for the armchair traveler!
DVD – 136 min. plus 224 min. of extras
David Hatcher Childress
When I was presented with this DVD for review, I thought, “Great!” because I’m always curious to see what he’s come up with this time. However, in this case, it’s nothing new, at least not to this reviewer. He presents a slide show to the Los Angeles Mufon group, which is a compilation of three of his DVDs that we’ve recently reviewed-Extraterrestrial Archaeology; Ancient Technology in Peru and Bolivia; and Mystery of the Olmecs. By this time, most of you have already acquired these based on these previous reviews. If you haven’t though, then Atlantis, Megaliths, Tesla, and ET Archeology would be a good start for you (and will prompt you to get the others after all, I’m sure). And for those of you who have, you still might want to include this one, as David does pull it all together with Tesla—still worth adding to your collection. There are questions from the audience at the end of this DVD that might be of interest, too.
David has a new DVD coming out—Ancient Technology in Mexico and the Southwest (another on-location in his Ancient Technology series) which wasn’t ready in time for review in this issue, though it will be in the catalog.
DVD – 108 min.