Fingerprints of the Gods

Fingerprints Of The Gods Book Cover Fingerprints Of The Gods
Graham Hancock
Random House
January 25, 2011

This is in my Top 10 books. Hancock tags a lot of his posts on Facebook with "things keep getting older." He has made a career of challenging the orthodox thinking on the age of civilzation(s). (And the orthodox don't like being challenged).

This book gets into details about recent discoveries such as: ancient maps that indicate the ancients were capable of complex math well beyond out current thinking. He details the similarities and common characteristics of the myths of Osiris in Egypt and Viracocha in South America. He shows the pyramids at Giza form an exact terrestrial diagram of the three belt stars in the constellation of Orion.

Hancock feels that we are missing a big chunk of our history. He shows that Flood stories are shared by more than 500 different cultures and that all of them share the same symbolic motifs: the one good man, a warning from a god, and the seeds of all living things.

He think the Flood happened 15,000 or so years ago. It is a truly fascinating read.

In his day, Piri Reis was a well-known figure; his historical identity is firmly established. An admiral in the navy of the Ottoman Turks, he was involved, often on the winning side, in numerous sea battles around the mid-sixteenth century. He was, in addition, considered an expert on the lands of the Mediterranean, and was the author of a famous sailing book, the Kitabi Bahriye, which provided a comprehensive description of the coasts, harbours, currents, shallows, landing places, bays and straits of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Despite this illustrious career he fell foul of his masters and was beheaded in AD 1554 or 1555.19

Researchers at the Carnegie Institute in Washington DC were able to establish beyond any reasonable doubt that great rivers carrying fine-grained well-assorted sediments had indeed flowed in Antarctica until about 6000 years ago, as the Oronteus Finaeus Map showed.

The combined effect of the Piri Reis, Oronteus Finaeus, Mercator and Buache Maps is the strong, though disturbing, impression that Antarctica may have been continuously surveyed over a period of several thousands of years as the ice-cap gradually spread outwards from the interior, increasing its grip with every passing millennium but not engulfing all the coasts of the southern continent until around 4000

They remind us, moreover, that the making of really good maps requires at least three key ingredients: great journeys of discovery; first-class mathematical and cartographic skills; sophisticated chronometers.

This brilliant invention made it possible for cartographers to fix longitude precisely, something that the Sumerians, the Ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, and indeed all other known civilizations before the eighteenth century were supposedly unable to do. It is therefore surprising and unsettling to come across vastly older maps which give latitudes and longitudes with modern precision.

They show their true form only when seen from an altitude of several hundred feet. There is no elevation nearby that provides such a vantage point.

Important features of Machu Picchu possessed significant astronomical alignments. From these, through the use of detailed mathematical computations concerning star positions in the sky in previous millennia (which gradually alter down the epochs as the result of a phenomenon known as precession of the equinoxes), Muller concluded that the original layout of the site could only have been accomplished during ‘the era of 4000 BC to 2000 BC’.10

This would make it significantly older than the Great Pyramid of Egypt (assuming, of course, that one accepted the Great Pyramid’s own orthodox dating

The orthodox historical view is that the ruins cannot possibly be dated much earlier than AD 500.11 An alternative chronology also exists, however, which, although not accepted by the majority of scholars, seems more in tune with the scale of the geological upheavals that have occurred in this region. Based on the mathematical/astronomical calculations of Professor Arthur Posnansky of the University of La Paz, and of Professor Rolf Muller (who also challenged the official dating of Machu Picchu), it pushes the main phase of construction at Tiahuanaco back to 15,000 BC.

There are curious parallels here to the story of Osiris, the ancient Egyptian high god of death and resurrection. The fullest account of the original myth defining this mysterious figure is given by Plutarch4 and says that, after bringing the gifts of civilization to his people, teaching them all manner of useful skills, abolishing cannibalism and human sacrifice, and providing them with their first legal code, Osiris left Egypt and travelled about the world to spread the benefits of civilization to other nations as well.

At this point the goddess Isis, wife of Osiris, intervened. Using all the great magic for which she was renowned, she found the coffer and concealed it in a secret place. However, her evil brother Set, out hunting in the marshes, discovered the coffer, opened it and, in a mad fury, cut the royal corpse into fourteen pieces which he scattered throughout the land.

Osiris went through a process of stellar rebirth to become god of the dead and king of the underworld – from which place, legend had it, he occasionally returned to earth in the guise of a mortal man.5

Although there are huge differences between the traditions it is bizarre that Osiris in Egypt and Thunupa–Viracocha in South America should have had all of the following points in common: • both were great civilizers; • both were conspired against; • both were struck down; • both were sealed inside a container or vessel of some kind; • both were then cast into water; • both drifted away on a river; • both eventually reached the sea. Are such parallels to be dismissed as coincidences? or could there be some underlying connection?

Though the setting was unmistakably Andean, I found myself repeatedly overtaken by a sense of déjà vu from another place and another time. The reason was that the totora vessels of Suriqui were virtually identical, both in the method of construction and in finished appearance, to the beautiful craft fashioned from papyrus reeds in which the Pharaohs had sailed the Nile thousands of years previously.

No satisfactory explanation had ever been given for how such close and richly detailed similarities of boat design could occur in two such widely separated places.

In this, and in the fish-garbed figures, it seemed that there was a curious out-of-place echo of Mesopotamian myths, which spoke strangely, and at length, about amphibious beings, ‘endowed with reason’ who had visited the land of Sumer in remote prehistory. The leader of these beings was named Oannes

Hadn’t the Ancient Egyptians, for example, used a hieroglyph very like a cross (the ankh, or crux ansata) to symbolize life … the breath of life … eternal life itself?8 Had that symbol originated in Egypt, or had it perhaps occurred elsewhere, earlier still?

The earliest date ever found on a Mayan site corresponded to AD 228 of the Christian calendar.5 It therefore came as quite a jolt to the academic status quo when Stirling unearthed a stela at Tres Zapotes which bore an earlier date. Written in the familiar bar-and-dot calendrical code used by the Maya, it corresponded to 3 September 32 BC.6 What was shocking about this was that Tres Zapotes was not a Maya site – not in any way at all. It was entirely, exclusively, unambiguously Olmec. This suggested that the Olmecs, not the Maya, must have been the inventors of the calendar, and that the Olmecs, not the Maya, ought to be recognized as ‘the mother culture’ of Central America. Despite determined opposition from gangs of furious Mayanists the truth which Stirling’s spade had unearthed at Tres Zapotes gradually came out. The Olmecs were much, much older than the Maya. They’d been a smart, civilized, technologically advanced people and they did, indeed, appear to have invented the bar-and-dot system of calendrical notation, with the enigmatic starting date of 13 August 3114 BC, which predicted the end of the world in AD 2012.

Is it possible that the many similarities between the cultures of pre-Columbian Central America and Ancient Egypt could have stemmed from an as-yet-unidentified ‘third-party’ civilization that influenced both widely separated regions at a remote and early date?

Some radical researchers, who rejected the dogma concerning the isolation of the New World prior to 1492, had proposed what looked like a viable solution to the problem: the bearded, thin-featured individuals could have been Phoenicians from the Mediterranean who had sailed through the Pillars of Hercules and across the Atlantic Ocean as early as the second millennium BC.

The archaeological evidence suggested that rather than developing slowly and painfully, as is normal with human societies, the civilization of Ancient Egypt, like that of the Olmecs, emerged all at once and fully formed. Indeed, the period of transition from primitive to advanced society appears to have been so short that it makes no kind of historical sense. Technological skills that should have taken hundreds or even thousands of years to evolve were brought into use almost overnight – and with no apparent antecedents whatever.

What is remarkable is that there are no traces of evolution from simple to sophisticated, and the same is true of mathematics, medicine, astronomy and architecture and of Egypt’s amazingly rich and convoluted religio-mythological system (even the central content of such refined works as the Book of the Dead existed right at the start of the dynastic period).7

John Anthony West,

The answer to the mystery is of course obvious but, because it is repellent to the prevailing cast of modern thinking, it is seldom considered. Egyptian civilization was not a ‘development’, it was a legacy.8

Sumer, on the Lower Euphrates in Mesopotamia, is the most likely contender.

Egyptians and Sumerian people of Mesopotamia appear to have worshipped virtually identical lunar deities who were among the oldest in their respective pantheons (Thoth in the case of the Egyptians, Sin in the case of the Sumerians).

According to the eminent Egyptologist Sir E.A. Wallis Budge, ‘The similarity between the two gods is too close to be accidental … It would be wrong to say that the Egyptians borrowed from the Sumerians or the Sumerians from the Egyptians, but it may be submitted that the literati of both peoples borrowed their theological systems from some common but exceedingly ancient source.’13

For some curious reason that has not been explained, the Ancient Egyptians had a special liking and reverence for dwarves.1 So, too, did the civilized peoples of ancient Central America, right back to Olmec times.2 In both cases it was believed that dwarves were directly connected to the gods.3 And in both cases dwarves were favoured as dancers and were shown as such in works of art.4

Bearded men … Serpents … Crosses … How likely was it to be an accident that symbols as distinctive as these should repeat themselves in widely separated cultures and at different periods of history? Why were they so often built into the fabric of sophisticated works of art and architecture?

Similarly, the Maya knew the time taken by the moon to orbit the earth. Their estimate of this period was 29.528395 days – extremely close to the true figure of 29.530588 days computed by the finest modern methods.11 The Mayan priests also had in their possession very accurate tables for the prediction of solar and lunar eclipses and were aware that these could occur only within plus or minus eighteen days of the node (when the moon’s path crosses the apparent path of the sun).12 Finally, the Maya were remarkably accomplished mathematicians. They possessed an advanced technique of metrical calculation by means of a chequerboard device we ourselves have only discovered (or rediscovered?) in the last century.13 They also understood perfectly and used the abstract concept of zero14 and were acquainted with place numerations.

Yet neither ancient Greece with its great mathematicians, nor ancient Rome, had any inkling of either nought or place numeration. To write 1848 in Roman numerals requires eleven letters: MDCCCXLVIII. Yet the Maya had a system of place-value notation very much like our own at a time when the Romans were still using their clumsy method.

Unlike the Ancient Greeks, but like the Ancient Egyptians, the Maya understood that Venus was both ‘the morning star’ and ‘the evening star

All this should make clear that although the Maya believed themselves to be living in one Great Cycle that would surely come to a violent end they also knew that time was infinite and that it proceeded with its mysterious revolutions regardless of individual lives or civilizations. As Thompson summed up in his great study on the subject: In the Maya scheme the road over which time had marched stretched into a past so distant that the mind of man cannot comprehend its remoteness. Yet the Maya undauntedly retrod that road seeking its starting point. A fresh view, leading further backward, unfolded at every stage; the mellowed centuries blended into millennia, and they into tens of thousands of years, as those tireless inquirers explored deeper and still deeper into the eternity of the past. On a stela at Quiriga in Guatemala a date over 90 million years ago is computed; on another a date over 300 million years before that is given. These are actual computations, stating correctly day and month positions, and are comparable to calculations in our calendar giving the month positions on which Easter would have fallen at equivalent distances in the past. The brain reels at such astronomical figures.

Had recently demonstrated that the three world-famous pyramids on Egypt’s Giza plateau formed an exact terrestrial diagram of the three belt stars in the constellation of Orion.

The notion of pyramids as devices designed (presumably in some metaphysical sense) ‘to turn men into gods’ was, it seemed to me, too idiosyncratic and peculiar to have been arrived at independently in both Ancient Egypt and Mexico. So, too, was the idea of using the layout of sacred sites to incorporate a celestial plan.

The orthodox view is that Archimedes in the third century BC was the first man to calculate pi correctly at 3.14.8 Scholars do not accept that any of the mathematicians of the New World ever got anywhere near pi before the arrival of the Europeans in the sixteenth century. It is therefore disorienting to discover that the Great Pyramid at Giza (built more than 2000 years before the birth of Archimedes) and the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, which vastly predates the conquest, both incorporate the value of pi. They do so, moreover, in much the same way, and in a manner which leaves no doubt that the ancient builders on both sides of the Atlantic were thoroughly conversant with this transcendental number.

Is it possible that the shared idea expressed in the Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of the Sun could have to do with spheres, since these, like the pyramids, are three-dimensional objects (while circles, for example, have only two dimensions)? The desire to symbolize spheres in three-dimensional monuments with flat surfaces would explain why so much trouble was taken to ensure that both incorporated unmistakable pi relationships. Furthermore it seems likely that the intention of the builders of both of these monuments was not to symbolize spheres in general but to focus attention on one sphere in particular: the planet earth.

The Great Pyramid represents the northern hemisphere in a scale of 1:43,200.18

Not for the first time I felt myself confronted by the dizzying possibility that an entire episode in the story of mankind might have been forgotten.

The identical message was preserved in the Valley of Mexico, far away across the world from Mounts Ararat and Nisir. There, culturally and geographically isolated from Judaeo-Christian influences, long ages before the arrival of the Spaniards, stories were told of a great deluge.

According to Aztec mythology only two human beings survived: a man, Coxcoxtli, and his wife, Xochiquetzal, who had been forewarned of the cataclysm by a god. They escaped in a huge boat they had been instructed to build and came to ground on the peak of a tall mountain.

A related Central American tradition, that of the Mechoacanesecs, is in even more striking conformity with the story as we have it in Genesis and in the Mesopotamian sources. According to this tradition, the god Tezcatilpoca determined to destroy all mankind with a flood, saving only a certain Tezpi who embarked in a spacious vessel with his wife, his children and large numbers of animals and birds, as well as supplies of grains and seeds, the preservation of which were essential to the future subsistence of the human race. The vessel came to rest on an exposed mountain top after Tezcatilpoca had decreed that the waters of the flood should retire.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the Americas, among the Inuit of Alaska, there existed the tradition of a terrible flood, accompanied by an earthquake, which swept so rapidly over the face of the earth that only a few people managed to escape in their canoes or take refuge on the tops of the highest mountains, petrified with terror.

Farther north similar flood myths were recorded amongst the Hurons.22 And a legend of the Montagnais, belonging to the Algonquin family, related how Michabo, or the Great Hare, re-established the world after the flood with the help of a raven, an otter and a muskrat.23

Iroquois myth that ‘the sea and waters had at one time infringed upon the land, so that all human life was destroyed’. The Chickasaws asserted that the world had been destroyed by water ‘but that one family was saved and two animals of every kind’. The Sioux also spoke of a time when there was no dry land and when all men disappeared from existence.

Very widely indeed. More than 500 deluge legends are known around the world and, in a survey of 86 of these (20 Asiatic, 3 European, 7 African, 46 American and 10 from Australia and the Pacific), the specialist researcher Dr Richard Andree concluded that 62 were entirely independent of the Mesopotamian and Hebrew accounts.25

In similar fashion the oral traditions of Ancient Greece, collected and set down in writing by Hesiod in the eighth century BC, related that prior to the present creation there had been four earlier races of men on earth. Each of these was thought more advanced than the one that followed it. And each, at the appointed hour, had been ‘swallowed up’ in a geological cataclysm.

As the Hebrews looked back on Noah, so the Greeks of ancient historical times looked back upon Deucalion – as the ancestor of their nation and as the founder of numerous towns and temples.

Ancient Egyptian traditions also refer to a great flood. A funerary text discovered in the tomb of Pharaoh Seti I, for example, tells of the destruction of sinful humanity by a deluge.43 The reasons for this catastrophe are set out in Chapter CLXXV of the Book of the Dead, which attributes the following speech to the Moon God Thoth: They have fought fights, they have upheld strifes, they have done evil, they have created hostilities, they have made slaughter, they have caused trouble and oppression … [Therefore] I am going to blot out everything which I have made. This earth shall enter into the watery abyss by means of a raging flood, and will become even as it was in primeval time.44

The Bible, therefore, envisages two ages of the world, our own being the second and last. Elsewhere, in other cultures, different numbers of creations and destructions are recorded.

The bones of a whale have been found north of Lake Ontario, about 440 feet above sea level, a skeleton of another whale in Vermont, more than 500 feet above sea level, and another in the Montreal-Quebec area about 600 feet above sea level.48

It is not just that the same experiences are being recounted again and again; that, on its own, would be quite understandable since the Ice Age and its after-effects were global phenomena. More curious by far is the way in which the same symbolic motifs keep recurring: the one good man and his family, the warning given by a god, the seeds of all living things

saved, the survival ship, the enclosure against the cold, the trunk of a tree in which the pregenitors of future humanity hide themselves, the birds and other creatures released after the flood to find land … and so on.

There is no doubt that they are immensely old. Take the Mesopotamian flood story, versions of which have been found inscribed on tablets from the earliest strata of Sumerian history, around 3000 BC. These tablets, handed down from the dawn of the recorded past, leave no room for doubt that the tradition of a world-destroying flood was ancient even then, and therefore originated long before the dawn. We cannot say how long.

In theory, therefore, these stories could have been constructed at almost the same time as the emergence of our subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, perhaps as long 50,000 years ago. The geological evidence, however, suggests a more recent provenance, and we have identified the epoch 15,000–8000 BC as the most likely.

The Ice Age and its tumultuous demise were global phenomena. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that the cataclysm traditions of many different cultures, widely scattered around the globe, should be characterized by a high degree

What is surprising, however, is that the myths not only describe shared experiences but that they do so in what appears to be a shared symbolic language. The same ‘literary motifs’ keep cropping up again and again, the same stylistic ‘props’, the same recognizable characters, and the same plots.

In their brilliant and far-reaching study Hamlet’s Mill, Professors de Santillana and von Dechend present a formidable array of mythical and iconographic evidence to demonstrate the existence of a curious phenomenon. For some inexplicable reason, and at some unknown date, it seems that certain archaic myths from all over the world were ‘co-opted’ (no other word will really do) to serve as vehicles for a body of complex technical data concerning the precession of the equinoxes. The importance of this astonishing thesis, as one leading authority on ancient measurement has pointed out, is that it has fired the first salvo in what may prove to be ‘a Copernican revolution in current conceptions of the development of human culture.

What those arguments predominantly concern is the recurrent and persistent transmission of a ‘precessional message’ in a wide range of ancient myths. And, strangely enough, many of the key images and symbols that crop up in these myths – notably those that concern a ‘derangement of the heavens’ – are also to be found embedded in the ancient traditions of worldwide cataclysm reviewed in Chapters Twenty-four and Twenty-five.

This imagery transforms the luminous dome of the celestial sphere into a vast and intricate piece of machinery.

Yggdrasil ‘represents the world axis’ in the archaic scientific language they have identified: an axis which extends outwards (for a viewer in the northern hemisphere) to the North Pole of the celestial sphere:

This is why the mill always breaks, why the huge props always fly off the bin in one way or another, why the iron rivets burst, why the shaft-tree shivers. Precession of the equinoxes merits such imagery because, at widely separated intervals of time it does indeed change, or break, the stabilizing coordinates of the entire celestial sphere.

Sellers has been hailed for having drawn attention to the need to use astronomy, and more particularly precession, for the proper study of ancient Egypt and its religion.

Indeed, it was this lure we followed from the Mill of Amlodhi to the myth of Osiris in Egypt. Along the way, according to the design of the ancient sages (if Sellers, Santillana and von Dechend are right) we were first encouraged to build a clear mental picture of the celestial sphere. Second, we were provided with a mechanistic model so that we could visualize the great changes precession of the equinoxes periodically effects in all the coordinates of the sphere. Finally, after allowing the dog Sirius to open the way for us, we were given the figures to calculate precession more or less exactly.

Investigating this kind of material, one sometimes has the spooky sense of being manipulated by an ancient intelligence which has found a way to reach out to us across vast epochs of time, and for some reason has set us a puzzle to solve in the language of myth.

The ways between the two very different myths of Osiris and Amlodhi’s Mill (which nonetheless both seem to contain accurate scientific data about precession of the equinoxes) are kept open by another strange common factor. Family relationships are involved. Amlodhi/Amleth/Hamlet is always a son who revenges the murder of his father by entrapping and killing the murderer. The murderer, furthermore, is always the father’s own brother, i. e., Hamlet’s uncle.36 This is precisely the scenario of the Osiris myth. Osiris and Seth are brothers.37 Seth murders Osiris. Horus, the son of Osiris, then takes revenge upon his uncle.38 Another twist is that the Hamlet character often has some sort of incestuous relationship with his sister.39 In the case of Kullervo, the Finnish Hamlet, there is a poignant scene in which the hero, returning home after a long absence, meets a maiden in the woods, gathering berries. They lie together. Only later do they discover that they are brother and sister. The maiden drowns herself at once. Later, with ‘the black dog Musti’ padding along at his heels, Kullervo wanders into the forest and throws himself upon his sword.40 There are no suicides in the Egyptian myth of Osiris, but there is the incest of Osiris and his sister Isis. Out of their union is born Horus the avenger.

Much harder to explain is the peculiar but distinctive way the myths of cataclysm seem to bear the intelligent imprint of a guiding hand.1 Indeed the degree of convergence between such ancient stories is frequently remarkable enough to raise the suspicion that they must all have been ‘written’ by the same ‘

Several trigger factors must coincide, which is why not every shift from one astronomical age to another is implicated. Nevertheless, it is accepted that precession does have an impact on both glaciation and deglaciation, at widely separated intervals. The knowledge that it does so has only been established by our own science since the late 1970s.

Santillana and von Dechend, ‘It was not a foreign idea to the ancients that the mills of the gods grind slowly and that the result is usually pain.’5

An error of three arc minutes represents an infinitesimal deviation from true of less than 0.015 Per cent. In the opinion of structural engineers, with whom I had discussed the Great Pyramid, the need for such precision was impossible to understand. From their point of view as practical builders, the expense, difficulty and time spent achieving it would not have been justified by the apparent results: even if the base of the monument had been as much as two or three degrees out of true (an error of say 1 per cent) the difference to the naked eye would still have been too small to be noticeable. On the other hand the difference in the magnitude of the tasks required (to achieve accuracy within three minutes as opposed to three degrees) would have been immense.

With a displacement of around 40 tons, its design was particularly thought-provoking, incorporating, in the words of one expert, ‘all the sea-going ship’s characteristic properties, with prow and stern soaring upward, higher than in a Viking ship, to ride out the breakers and high seas, not to contend with the little ripples of the Nile.

But the pyramid builders had checked the accuracy of the setting out, and they had got it right, because the apex of the pyramid was poised exactly over the centre of the base, its angles and its corners were true, each block was in the correct place, and each course had been laid down level – in near-perfect symmetry and with near-perfect alignment to the cardinal points. Then, as though to demonstrate that such tours-de-force of technique were mere trifles, the ancient master-builders had gone on to play some clever mathematical games with the monument’s dimensions, presenting us, for example, as we saw in Chapter Twenty-three, with an accurate use of the transcendental number pi in the ratio of its height to its base perimeter.15 For some reason, too, it had taken their fancy to place the Great Pyramid almost exactly on the 30th parallel at latitude 29° 58ʹ 51˝. This, as a former astronomer royal of Scotland once observed, was ‘a sensible defalcation from 30°’, but not necessarily in error: For if the original designer had wished that men should see with their body, rather than their mental eyes, the pole of the sky from the foot of the Great Pyramid, at an altitude before them of 30°, he would have had to take account of the refraction of the atmosphere; and that would have necessitated the building standing not at 30° but at 29° 58ʹ 22˝.16

We need not reiterate here the many shortcomings of the ‘tombs and tombs only’ theory. However, these shortcomings were not limited to the Giza pyramids but applied to all the other Third and Fourth Dynasty Pyramids listed above. Not a single one of these monuments had ever been found to contain the body of a pharaoh, or any signs whatsoever of a royal burial.14 Some of them were not even equipped with sarcophagi, for example the Collapsed Pyramid at Meidum. The Pyramid of Sekhemkhet at Saqqara (first entered in 1954 by the Egyptian Antiquities Organization) did contain a sarcophagus – one, which had certainly remained sealed and undisturbed since its installation in the ‘tomb’.15 Grave robbers had never succeeded in finding their way to it, but when it was opened, it was empty.16

The reader may recall the significance of this angle. It was a key ingredient of the sophisticated and advanced formula by which the design of the Great Pyramid had been made to correspond precisely to the dynamics of spherical geometry. Thus the original height of the monument (481.3949 feet), and the perimeter of its base (3023.16 feet), stood in the same ratio to each other as did the radius of a sphere to its circumference. This ratio was 2pi (2 × 3.14) and to express it the builders had been obliged to specify the tricky and idiosyncratic angle of 52° for the pyramid’s sides (since any greater or lesser slope would have meant a different height-to-perimeter ratio).

In Chapter Twenty-three we saw that the so-called Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan in Mexico also expressed a knowledge and deliberate use of the transcendental number pi; in its case the height (233.5 feet) stood in a relationship of 4pi to the perimeter of its base (2932.76 feet).

The crux, therefore, was that the most remarkable monument of Ancient Egypt and the most remarkable monument of Ancient Mexico both incorporated pi relationships long before and far away from the official ‘discovery’ of this transcendental number by the Greeks.12 Moreover, the evidence invited the conclusion that something was being signalled by the use of pi – almost certainly the same thing in both cases.

There was a programmed feel about this whole process, as though it had been carefully prearranged. Not for the first time, I found myself willing to consider the possibility that the pyramid might have been designed as a gigantic challenge or learning machine – or, better still, as an interactive three-dimensional puzzle set down in the desert for humanity to solve.

Wasn’t it peculiar that at the supposed dawn of human civilization, more than 4500 years ago, the Ancient Egyptians had acquired what sounded like industrial-age drills packing a ton or more of punch and capable of slicing through hard stones like hot knives through butter?

Known as phi, the golden section was another irrational number like pi that could not be worked out arithmetically. Its value was the square root of 5 plus 1 divided by 2, equivalent to 1.61803.27 This proved to be the ‘limiting value of the ratio between successive numbers in the Fibonacci series – the series of numbers beginning 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 – in which each term is the sum of the two previous terms.’28

However, the real surprise revealed by Bauval’s astronomical calculations was this: despite the fact that some aspects of the Great Pyramid did relate astronomically to the Pyramid Age, the Giza monuments as a whole were so arranged as to provide a picture of the skies (which alter their appearance down the ages as a result of precession of the equinoxes) not as they had looked in the Fourth Dynasty around 2500 BC, but as they had looked – and only as they had looked – around the year 10,450 BC.8

John Anthony West, who argued that the specialists had missed it – not because they had failed to find it, but because they had found it and had failed to interpret it properly.9

He argued that these desert monuments showed many scientifically unmistakable signs of having been weathered by water, an erosive agent they could only have been exposed to in sufficient quantities during the damp ‘pluvial’ period that accompanied the end of the last Ice Age around the eleventh millennium BC.10 The implication of this peculiar and extremely distinctive pattern of ‘precipitation induced’ weathering, was that the Osireion, the Sphinx, and other associated structures were built before 10,000

Anubis, I reflected, had shared his duties as spirit guide and guardian of the secret writings with another god whose type and symbol had also been the jackal and whose name, Upuaut, literally meant Opener of the Ways.17 Both these canine deities had been linked since time immemorial with the ancient town of Abydos in upper Egypt, the original god of which, Khenti-Amentiu (the strangely named ‘Foremost of the Westerners’) had also been represented as a member of the dog family, usually lying recumbent on a black standard.18

Unlike Temple, I saw no urgent reason to attribute that inheritance to extra-terrestrials. To my mind the anomalous star knowledge the Heliopolitan priests had apparently possessed was more plausibly explained as the legacy of a lost human civilization which, against the current of history, had achieved a high level of technological advancement in remote antiquity.

The great enigma, therefore, is this: in such an early period, who could have possessed the necessary knowhow to observe and take note of the coincidence of the period of 365.25 days with the heliacal rising of Sirius – a coincidence described by the French mathematician R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz as ‘an entirely exceptional celestial phenomenon’?57 We cannot but admire the greatness of a science capable of discovering such a coincidence. The double star of Sirius was chosen because it was the only star that moves the needed distance and in the right direction against the background of the other stars. This fact, known four thousand years before our time and forgotten until our day, obviously demands an extraordinary and prolonged observation of the sky.58

There was, however, an alternative possibility which Budge failed to consider. Suppose that the task of the priests had been not only to copy material but to translate into hieroglyphs texts originally composed in another language altogether?

In short, like the pyramids at Giza, it seemed that the Pyramid Texts had burst upon the scene with no apparent antecedents, and had occupied centre-stage for approximately a hundred years before ‘ceasing operations’, never to be bettered.

Let us review these figures ‘uncritically’ and see what they add up to. Diodorus was writing in the first century BC. If we journey back from there for the 5000 years during which the ‘mortal kings’ supposedly ruled, we get to around 5100 BC. If we go even further back to the beginning of the age of ‘gods and heroes’, we find that we have arrived at 23,100 BC, when the world was still firmly in the grip of the last Ice Age.

Herodotus outlines these traditions of an immense prehistoric period of Egyptian civilization in Book II of his History. In the same document he also hands on to us, without comment, a peculiar nugget of information which had originated with the priests of Heliopolis: During this time, they said, there were four occasions when the sun rose out of his wonted place – twice rising where he now sets, and twice setting where he now rises.25

According to the French mathematician Schwaller de Lubicz, what Herodotus is transmitting to us (perhaps unwittingly) is a veiled and garbled reference to a period of time – that is, to the time that it takes for sunrise on the vernal equinox to precess against the stellar background through one and a half complete cycles of the zodiac.26

This takes us to 26,000 years before Herodotus.

If Schwaller’s interpretation is correct – and there is every reason to suppose it is – it suggests that the Greek historian’s priestly informants must have had access to accurate records of the precessional motion of the sun going back at least 39,000 years before their own era.

Isis, for example (wife and sister of Osiris and mother of Horus) carries a strong whiff of the science lab.

When West’s evidence was presented in 1992 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science it had been taken seriously enough to be publicly debated by the Chicago University Egyptologist Mark Lehner, director of the Giza Mapping Project, who – to the astonishment of almost everybody present – had been unable to come up with a convincing refutation. ‘When you say something as complex as the Sphinx dates to 9000 or 10,000 BC,’ Lehner had concluded: it implies, of course, that there was a very high civilization that was capable of producing the Sphinx at that period. The question an archaeologist has to ask, therefore, is this: if the Sphinx was made at that time then where is the rest of this civilization, where is the rest of this culture?15 Lehner, however, was missing the point. If the Sphinx did date to 9000 or 10,000 BC, the onus was not on West to produce other evidence for the existence of the civilization which produced it, but on Egyptologists and archaeologists to explain how they had got things so wrong, so consistently, for so long.

It was this sequence of events, or rather its implications, that West felt Egyptologists should have paid more attention to: ’There’s a discrepancy in the scenario that reads “building kind of rubbishy pyramids that are structurally unsound, suddenly building absolutely unbelievable pyramids that are structurally the most incredible things ever conceived of, and then immediately afterwards going back to structurally unsound pyramids.” It doesn’t make sense … The parallel scenario in, say, the auto-industry would be inventing and building the Model-T Ford, then suddenly inventing and building the ‘93 Porsche and making a few of those, then forgetting how to do that and going back to building Model-T Fords again … Civilizations don’t work this way.

John Anthony West ever since we had first started travelling in Egypt. His guide-book, The Traveller’s Key had been a brilliant and indispensable introduction to the mysteries of this ancient land, and we still carried it with us. At the same time his scholarly works, notably Serpent in the Sky, had opened our eyes to the revolutionary possibility that Egyptian civilization – with its manifold glimpses of high science apparently out of place in time – might not have developed entirely within the confines of the Nile Valley but might have been a legacy of some earlier, greater and as yet unidentified civilization ‘antedating dynastic Egypt, and all other known civilizations, by millennia

‘Once you’ve established that water was the agent that eroded the Sphinx the answer is almost childishly simple. It can be explained to anybody who reads the National Enquirer or the News of the World. It’s almost moronically simple … The Sphinx is supposed to have been built by Khafre around 2500 BC, but since the beginning of dynastic times – say 3000 BC onwards – there just hasn’t been enough rain on the Giza plateau to have caused the very extensive erosion that we see all over the Sphinx’s body. You really have to go back to before 10,000 BC to find a wet enough climate in Egypt to account for weathering of this type and on this scale. It therefore follows that the Sphinx must have been built before 10,000 BC and since it’s a massive, sophisticated work of art it also follows that it must have been built by a high civilization.

This weathering takes the distinctive form of a combination of deep vertical fissures and undulating, horizontal coves – ‘a classic textbook example,’ in Schoch’s words, ‘of what happens to a limestone structure when you have rain beating down on it for thousands of years … It’s clearly rain precipitation that produced these erosional features.’6

If my findings are in conflict with their theory about the rise of civilization then maybe its time for them to re-evaluate that theory. I’m not saying that the Sphinx was built by Atlanteans, or people from Mars, or extra-terrestrials. I’m just following the science where it leads me, and it leads me to conclude that the Sphinx was built much earlier than previously thought …’13

‘My conjecture is that the whole riddle is linked in some way to those legendary civilizations spoken of in all the mythologies of the world. You know – that there were great catastrophes, that a few people survived and went wandering around the earth and that a bit of knowledge was preserved here, a bit there … My hunch is that the Sphinx is linked to all that. If I were asked to place a bet I’d say that it predates the break-up of the last Ice Age and is probably older than 10000 BC, perhaps even older than 15,000 BC. My conviction – actually it’s more than a conviction – is that it’s vastly old.

Maybe it started out with a lion’s face as well as a lion’s body.

As you go into this you begin to realize that the more you learn the more complex everything becomes. For example, there may even have been an intermediate civilization, which actually would correspond to the Egyptian texts. They talk themselves about two long prior periods. In the first of these Egypt was supposedly ruled by the gods – the Neteru – and in the second it was ruled by the Shemsu Hor, the “Companions of Horus”. So, as I say, the problems just get more and more complicated. Fortunately, however, the bottom line stays simple. The bottom line is the Sphinx wasn’t built by Khafre. The geology proves that it’s a hell of a lot older

As you go into this you begin to realize that the more you learn the more complex everything becomes. For example, there may even have been an intermediate civilization, which actually would correspond to the Egyptian texts. They talk themselves about two long prior periods. In the first of these Egypt was supposedly ruled by the gods – the Neteru – and in the second it was ruled by the Shemsu Hor, the “Companions of Horus”. So, as I say, the problems just get more and more complicated. Fortunately, however, the bottom line stays simple. The bottom line is the Sphinx wasn’t built by Khafre. The geology proves that it’s a hell of a lot older

Analogously it’s like saying to Magellan … “Where are the other guys who’ve sailed round the world? Of course it’s still flat.” Or in 1838 when the first dinosaur bone was found they would have said, “Of course there’s no such thing as a giant extinct animal. Where’s the rest of the skeletons?

I asked John West why he thought that Egyptologists and archaeologists were so unwilling to consider that the Sphinx might be a clue to the existence of a forgotten episode in human history. ‘The reason, I think, is that they’re quite fixed in their ideas about the linear evolution of civilization. They find it hard to come to terms with the notion that there might have been people, more than 12,000 years ago, who were more sophisticated than we are today … The Sphinx, and the geology which proves its antiquity, and the fact that the technology that was involved in making it is in many ways almost beyond our own capacities, contradicts the belief that civilization and technology have evolved in a straightforward, linear way … Because even with the best modern technology we almost couldn’t carry out the various tasks that were involved in the project. The Sphinx itself, that’s not such a staggering feat. I mean if you get enough sculptors to cut the stone away they could carve a statue a mile long. The technology was involved in taking the stones, quarrying the stones, to free the Sphinx from its bedrock and then in moving those stones and using them to build the Valley Temple a couple of hundred feet away …’ This was news to me: ‘You mean that the 200-ton blocks in the Valley Temple walls were quarried right out of the Sphinx enclosure?’ ‘Yes, no doubt about it. Geologically they’re from the identical member of rock. They were quarried out, moved over to the site of the Temple – God knows how – and erected into forty-foot-high walls – again God knows how. I’m talking about the huge limestone core blocks, not the granite facing. I think that the granite was added much later, quite possibly by Khafre. But if you look at the limestone core blocks you’ll see that they bear the marks of exactly the same kind of precipitation-induced weathering that are found on the Sphinx. So the Sphinx and the core structure of the Valley Temple were made at the same time by the same people – whoever they may have been.

All that I know for sure on the basis of our work on the Sphinx is that a very, very high, sophisticated civilization capable of undertaking construction projects on a grand scale was present in Egypt in the very distant past. Then there was a lot of rain. Then, thousands of years later, in the same place, pharaonic civilization popped up already fully formed, apparently out of nowhere, with all its knowledge complete. That much we can be certain of. But whether or not the knowledge that Ancient Egypt possessed was the same as the knowledge that produced the Sphinx I really can’t say.’ ‘How about this,’ I speculated: ‘The civilization that produced the Sphinx wasn’t based here, at least not originally … It wasn’t in Egypt. It put the Sphinx here as some sort of a marker or outpost …’ ‘Perfectly possible. Could be that the Sphinx for that civilization was like, let’s say, what Abu Simbel [in Nubia] was for dynastic Egypt.’ ‘Then that civilization came to an end, was extinguished by some sort of massive catastrophe, and that’s when the legacy of high knowledge was handed on … Because they had the Sphinx here they knew about Egypt, they knew this place, they knew this country, they had a connection here. Maybe people survived the ending of that civilization. Maybe they came here.… Does that work for you?’ ‘Well, it’s a possibility. Again, going back into the mythologies and legends of the world, many of them tell of such a catastrophe and of the few people – the Noah story that’s prevalent through endless civilizations – who somehow or other retained and passed on knowledge. The big problem with all this, from my point of view, is the transmission process: how exactly the knowledge does get handed on during the thousands and thousands of years between the construction of the Sphinx and the flowering of dynastic Egypt. Theoretically you’re sort of stuck – aren’t you? – with this vast period in which the knowledge has to be transmitted. This is not easy to slough off. On the other hand we do know that those legends we’re referring to were passed on word for word over countless generations. And in fact oral transmission is a much surer means of transmission than written transmission, because the language may change but as long as whoever’s telling the story tells it true in whatever the language of the time is … it surfaces some 5000 years later in its original form. So maybe there are ways – in secret societies and religious cults, or through mythology, for example – that the knowledge could have been preserved and passed on before flowering again.

Perimeter of the Great Pyramid’s base is indeed 1:43,200 of the equatorial circumference of the earth. And as near as makes no difference, the height of the Great Pyramid above that base is indeed 1:43,200 of the polar radius of the earth. In other words, during all the centuries of darkness experienced by Western civilization when knowledge of our planet’s dimensions was lost to us, all we ever needed to do to rediscover that knowledge was to measure the height and base perimeter of the Great Pyramid and multiply by 43,200!

Herodotus, the earliest of these travellers, noted: The Egyptians were the first to discover the solar year, and to portion out its course into twelve parts … It was observation of the course of the stars which led them to adopt this division …31

Landlocked people do not as rule become astronomers; seafaring people do. Is it not possible that the maritime iconography of the Ancient Egyptians, the design of their ships, and also their splendid obsession with observing the stars, could have been part of an inheritance passed on to their ancestors by an unidentified seafaring, navigating race, in remote prehistory? It is really only such an archaic race, such a forgotten maritime civilization, that could have left its fingerprints behind in the form of maps which accurately depict the world as it looked before the end of the last Ice Age. It is really only such a civilization, steering its course by the stars ‘for ten thousand years’ that could have observed and accurately timed the phenomenon of equinoctial precession with the exactitude attested in the ancient myths. And, although hypothetical, it is only such a civilization that could have measured the earth with sufficient precision to have arrived at the dimensions scaled down in the Great Pyramid.

On a scale of 1:43,200 the Great Pyramid serves as a model, and map-projection, of the northern hemisphere of the earth. What absolutely excludes the possibility that this could be a coincidence is the fact that the scale involved is keyed in numerically to the rate of precession of the equinoxes – one of earth’s most characteristic planetary mechanisms.

It’s the precise configuration for 10,450 BC that we see on the Giza plateau – as though a master-architect came here in that epoch and decided to lay out a huge map on the ground using a mixture of natural and artificial features. He used the meridional course of the Nile Valley to depict the Milky Way, as it looked then. He built the three pyramids to represent the three stars, exactly as they looked then. And he put the three pyramids in exactly the same relationship to the Nile Valley as the three stars then had to the Milky Way. It was a very clever, very ambitious, very exact way to mark an epoch – to freeze a particular date into architecture if you like …10

The astronomical Age of Pisces began around the time of Christ.16 Readers must judge for themselves whether it is a coincidence that the principal symbol used for Christ by the very early Christians was not the cross but the fish.17

During the short history of mankind’s presence on this planet, I found that there was only one known and documented catastrophe that fitted the bill: the dramatic and deadly meltdown of the last Ice Age between 15000 and 8000 BC. Moreover, as was more obviously the case with architectural relics like Teotihuacan and the Egyptian pyramids, many of the relevant myths appeared to have been designed to serve as vehicles for encrypted scientific information, again an indication of what I was coming to think of as ‘the fingerprints of the gods

A detailed exposition of the earth-crust displacement theory is to be found in Rand and Rose Flem-Ath’s When the Sky Fell (published by Stoddart, Canada, 1995). As noted, this geological theory was formulated by Professor Charles Hapgood and supported by Albert Einstein. In brief, what it suggests is a complete slippage of our planet’s thirty-mile-thick lithosphere over its nearly 8000-mile-thick central core, forcing large parts of the western hemisphere southward towards the equator and thence towards the Antarctic Circle.

The overall movement is seen as having been in the region of 30 degrees (approximately 2000 miles) and as having been concentrated, in the main, between the years 14,500 BC and 12,500 BC – but with massive aftershocks on a planetary scale continuing at widely-separated intervals down to about 9500 BC.

According to the earth-crust displacement theory, large parts of Antarctica were positioned outside the Antarctic circle prior to 15,000 BC and thus could have been inhabited, with a climate and resources suitable for the development of civilization. A cataclysmic slippage of the crust then shifted the continent to the position it occupies today – dead centre within the Antarctic circle.

Most of us are aware that the continents in some way ‘float around’, relocate and change position on the earth’s surface. Common sense confirms this: if you take a look at a map of the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America it’s pretty obvious that these two landmasses were once joined. The time-scale according to which continental drift operates is, however, immense: continents can typically be expected to float apart (or together) at a rate of no more than 2000 miles every 200 million years or so: in other words, very, very slowly.