An non-traditional examination of pre-history.
The traditional view of human “civilization” is that it all stated in Sumer (Iran/Iraq) when writing was formalized and used to inscribe clay tablets. There is even a book I own titled “History Began At Sumer”. The author challenges this by pointing out a wide variety of evidence that humans before that point were just as intelligent as those that have come after, they just had lesser amounts of technology.
I have long objected to the assumption that the ancient ones were incompetent, or simple brutes, as the Neanderthals are usually portrayed. The biological evidence states that people who were indistinguishable from modern human existed no less that 25,000 years and probably as long ago as 100,000 years ago. One needs only to take a long look at the cave drawings from France to know that these were feeling and intelligent people. As the author states “we have built up our images of human history too exclusively from the experiences of privileged classes and populations.”
One of the most valuable parts of the book is the large number of references to sites and artifacts of interest. I added about 10 more books to my reading list. Of particular interest was the work of Schmandt-Besserat relating to the use of tokens as the predecessor to writing. I found it amazing that this was hardly ever mentioned before in any of the other works I have read. Just goes to show you how entrenched is the traditional view and how difficult it is to question it. But, the evidence related to the tokens is pretty convincing but I have yet to read the 2 books she wrote (They are out-of-print and expensive).
Wonder things to explore
Venus of Malta
Sleeping Lady of Hypogeum
Venus of Galgenberg
to name a few…..
The correlation with the work <b>Marshack</b> did is especially interesting. There are a number of counting artifacts that he did not examine and they all point to record keeping by the ancients. Most of these appear to be associated with lunar and solar cycles. It is hard not to find this absolutely convincing.
BTW – as an example…the Egyptians and Babylonians were aware of the precession of the equinoxes. Now that is an astronomical cycle that takes 26,000 years to complete. How long does one have to observer and record events in order to recognize the cycle? Certainly more than a few hundred years….
The book is a bit of a challenging read as it is heavy on documentation and analysis. Not for the casual reader, much too serious for that. It would be difficult for one who had never read anything else on tis topic. But, it is one of the best.
Not sure where I acquired this book – it is an “Uncorrected advance proof” of a book which was later released. There is a business card in the book from a book store in Eastsound, WA…if it came from there, it’s been in the library a long time. Funny how books find their way into my hands….