Underwater Pyramid: What is the Galilee Anomaly?

Recently, a team of researchers discovered a giant underwater pyramid beneath the Sea of Galilee. What is the Galilee Anomaly?

What is the Galilee Anomaly?

Well, it looks like we’ve got another Baltic Anomaly on our hands. Here are the details. During the summer of 2003, a sonar survey captured an image of a large cone-shaped structure in the southwest part of the Sea of Galilee. Almost ten years later, divers finally investigated the strange underwater pyramid.

They found “a conical stone pile built of large, natural, unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders” at a depth of 220 meters. The underwater pyramid rises 10 meters off the seafloor with a diameter of 70 meters. Incidentally, the individual boulders show no signs of human activity.

“Close inspection by scuba diving revealed that the structure is made of basalt boulders up to 1 m long with no apparent construction pattern. The boulders have natural faces with no signs of cutting or chiselling. Similarly, we did not find any sign of arrangement or walls that delineate this structure.” ~ Yitzhak Paz, Moshe Reshef, Zvi Ben-Avraham, Shmuel Marco, Gideon Tibor, and Dani Nadel, A Submerged Monumental Structure in the Sea of Galilee, Israel

Underwater Pyramid: Manmade or Artificial?

Although the boulders show no signs of being worked, the team is convinced this underwater pyramid is a manmade structure. The reason? It appears unnatural and other basalt boulders were not found in the area.

“The shape and composition of the submerged structure does not resemble any natural feature. We therefore conclude that it is man-made and might be termed a cairn. The boulders had to be transported at least a few hundred metres from the nearest basalt outcrop.” ~ Yitzhak Paz, Moshe Reshef, Zvi Ben-Avraham, Shmuel Marco, Gideon Tibor, and Dani Nadel, A Submerged Monumental Structure in the Sea of Galilee, Israel

They think the structure was built on dry land, possibly more than 4,000 years ago. This would match up with other megalithic architecture in the area. But while those ones were spared, the Galilee Anomaly was eventually washed over by the Sea of Galilee. Incidentally, the structure is located a mile north of the ancient city of Khirbet Kerak.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The Galilee Anomaly, as I like it call it, is an exciting discovery. But I’m not fully convinced this underwater pyramid is manmade. Just because it appears unnatural doesn’t mean it is unnatural. I’ve touched on this in a previous article, namely how people tend to think certain angles, shapes, and rock formations can’t exist in nature.

“After all, right angles don’t exist in nature right? Wrong. The right angle, contrary to popular opinion, does exist in nature. It’s not some secret invention of mankind. It is just as likely to appear in nature as any other angle. However, nature shows no bias toward the right angle while mankind, on the other hand, makes extensive use of it. Thus, when we see right angles in nature, we’re inclined to immediately suspect artificial origin.” ~ David Meyer, The Baltic Anomaly: Is it Natural…or Artificial?

Also, the team has yet to conduct a full search of the underwater pyramid. There may yet be signs of a basalt outcropping in the area. Until the team conducts a full archaeological excavation, it will be impossible to know for sure.

Did Ancient Mariners use Sunstones to Navigate?

According to ancient Icelandic texts, a mysterious object known as a sunstone could locate the sun in a clouded-over sky. Such an object might explain how ancient mariners like the Vikings traveled across the oceans with otherwise rudimentary technology. But did sunstones actually exist? Or were they merely allegorical references?

Recently, researchers discovered a slab of mineral in a 16th century shipwreck. This mineral, known as Iceland Spar, might just be the mythical sunstone. Here’s more from Raphael Satter at the Associated Press (posted at R&D Mag):

A rough, whitish block recovered from an Elizabethan shipwreck may be a sunstone, the fabled crystal believed by some to have helped Vikings and other medieval seafarers navigate the high seas, researchers say.

In a paper published earlier this week, a Franco-British group argued that the Alderney Crystal—a chunk of Icelandic calcite found amid a 16th century wreck at the bottom of the English Channel—worked as a kind of solar compass, allowing sailors to determine the position of the sun even when it was hidden by heavy cloud, masked by fog, or below the horizon.

That’s because of a property known as birefringence, which splits light beams in a way that can reveal the direction of their source with a high degree of accuracy. Vikings may not have grasped the physics behind the phenomenon, but that wouldn’t present a problem.

“You don’t have to understand how it works,” said Albert Le Floch, of the University in Rennes in western France. “Using it is basically easy.”

(See the rest at R&D Mag)

The Lost World of Mauritia?

We still don’t know much about what Earth looked like millions of years ago. But underwater lost worlds are popping up with increased frequency these days. The latest example is Mauritia. Unfortunately, I’m skeptical…very skeptical.

The Lost World of Mauritia?

Millions of years ago, Mauritia supposedly split off from Madagascar and made its way east, thanks to plate tectonics and sea-floor spreading. Eventually, this lost world sank to the bottom of the ocean. Now, a group of scientists claim to have found evidence for it. Unfortunately, the evidence is incredibly skimpy, consisting of twenty grains of zircons found in the sand on the island of Mauritius as well as an unusually thick sea-floor crust in the Indian Ocean.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Twenty grains of zircons? That’s it? Good lord. Supposedly, these zircons were gathered from remote beaches, which reduces the possibility they were carried there by tourists. Plus, the odds of them being blown over from Madagascar are considered unlikely. But let’s be honest…what’s the more likely scenario? That the zircons originated from a sunken lost world? Or that they were inadvertently brought to Mauritius by folks from Madagascar or elsewhere?

Here’s more from Sid Perkins at Nature:

The drowned remnants of an ancient microcontinent may lie scattered beneath the waters between Madagascar and India, a new study suggests.

Evidence for the long-lost land comes from Mauritius, a volcanic island about 900 kilometres east of Madagascar. The oldest basalts on the island date to about 8.9 million years ago, says Bjørn Jamtveit, a geologist at the University of Oslo. Yet grain-by-grain analyses of beach sand that Jamtveit and his colleagues collected at two sites on the Mauritian coast revealed around 20 zircons — tiny crystals of zirconium silicate that are exceedingly resistant to erosion or chemical change — that were far older…

(See the rest at Nature)

Remnants of Lost City located in Peru?

Peru, like much of Central and South America, is a veritable treasure trove of lost history. This latest discovery is a lost temple located within the ruins at El Paraiso. However, it’s estimated to be 5,000 years old, making it 1,000 years older than the rest of the ruins. So, it appears to be from a lost city. Here’s more from BBC News:

Archaeologists in Peru say they have discovered a temple at the ancient site of El Paraiso, near the capital, Lima. Entry to the rectangular structure, estimated to be up to 5,000 years old, was via a narrow passageway, they say. At its centre, the archaeologists from Peru’s Ministry of Culture found a hearth which they believe was used to burn ceremonial offerings.

With 10 ruins, El Paraiso is one of the biggest archaeological sites in central Peru. The archaeologists found the structure, measuring 6.82m by 8.04m (22ft by 26ft), in the right wing of the main pyramid…

(See the rest at BBC News)

Protolanguages: Decoding Words from the Past?

Protolanguages are hypothetical ancestors of modern languages. For example, modern Maya, as well as other ancient Mesoamerican scripts (Olmec, Zapotec, Classic Maya to name a few) are believed to have descended from an original language called Proto-Mayan (see chart). Needless to say, decoding protolanguages is a massive undertaking. Here’s more on a new computer system which appears to do the job quickly and with decent accuracy from the University of British Columbia:

University of British Columbia and Berkeley researchers have used a sophisticated new computer system to quickly reconstruct protolanguages – the rudimentary ancient tongues from which modern languages evolved.

The results, which are 85 per cent accurate when compared to the painstaking manual reconstructions performed by linguists, will be published next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We’re hopeful our tool will revolutionize historical linguistics much the same way that statistical analysis and computer power revolutionized the study of evolutionary biology,” says UBC Assistant Prof. of Statistics Alexandre Bouchard-Côté, lead author of the study…

(See the rest at University of British Columbia)

Mound Builders: Fastest Builders in the Americas?

New research suggests the Mississippian culture, aka the Mound Builders, built at least one of their giant earthen mounds in just 90 days and maybe even as quickly as 30 days. An astonishing feat from a collective point of view. But can you imagine being one of the poor workers who had to carry the dirt? Like many other civilizations, the Mound Builders probably collapsed due to excessive centralization. Here’s more from Phys.org:

Nominated early this year for recognition on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which includes such famous cultural sites as the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu and Stonehenge, the earthen works at Poverty Point, La., have been described as one of the world’s greatest feats of construction by an archaic civilization of hunters and gatherers.

Now, new research in the current issue of the journal Geoarchaeology, offers compelling evidence that one of the massive earthen mounds at Poverty Point was constructed in less than 90 days, and perhaps as quickly as 30 days—an incredible accomplishment for what was thought to be a loosely organized society consisting of small, widely scattered bands of foragers.

“What’s extraordinary about these findings is that it provides some of the first evidence that early American hunter-gatherers were not as simplistic as we’ve tended to imagine,” says study co-author T.R. Kidder, PhD, professor and chair of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.  “Our findings go against what has long been considered the academic consensus on hunter-gather societies—that they lack the political organization necessary to bring together so many people to complete a labor-intensive project in such a short period.”

(See the rest at Phys.org)

The Lost Treasure of Machu Picchu?

A secret treasure trove of gold, silver, and ancient knowledge buried beneath the ancient city of Machu Picchu? Yes, please. Here’s more from Heritage Daily:

Thierry Jamin and his team think they have realized an extraordinary archaeological discovery in the Inca city discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. This discovery was made possible thanks to the testimony of a French engineer who lives in Barcelona-Spain, David Crespy. In 2010, while he was visiting the lost city, David Crespy noticed the presence of a strange “shelter” located in the heart of the city, at the bottom of one of the main buildings…

In order to confirm the existence of cavities in the basement of the building, in December 2011 Thierry and his team submit an official request to the Ministry of Culture in Lima, to perform a geophysical survey with the help of electromagnetic (EM) conductivity instruments. This license was granted a few months later.

Realized between April 9th and April 12th 2012, the electromagnetic survey not only confirmed the presence of an underground room but several! Just Behind the famous entrance, a staircase was also discovered. The two main paths seem to lead to specific chambers, including to the main squared one. The different techniques used by the French researcher(s), (Molecular Frequencies Discriminator) allowed them to highlight the presence of important archaeological material, including deposits of metal and a large quantity of gold and silver!

Thierry Jamin is now preparing the next step: the opening of the entrance sealed by the Incas more than five centuries ago. On May 22nd 2012, he officially submitted a request for authorization to the Peruvian authorities which would allow his team to proceed with the opening of the burial chambers.

December 21, 2012: Doomsday? Or just another Day?

On December 21, 2012, the Maya Long Count Calendar will reach an end. What happens next? The 2012 Doomsday? Or will it be just another day?

The 2012 Doomsday Phenomenon

We’ve talked about the 2012 Doomsday phenomenon before, but here’s a quick background. According to the Maya codice Popol Vuh, we’re currently living in the fourth world of creation. After the first three worlds failed, the Maya gods created the current version of mankind.

Now, the Classic Maya civilization used something called the Long Count Calendar. As best as we can determine, each date was described using five separate numbers. The largest number they used was a b’ak’tun, which was equivalent to 144,000 days, or roughly 394 years.

Each of the previous Maya worlds supposedly lasted 13 b’ak’tuns, or a grand total of 5,126 years. Some scholars have attempted to match up the Gregorian calendar with the Long Count calendar. They think the current world of creation started on August 11, 3114 BC. The end of the 13th b’ak’tun (and thus, the end of the fourth world of creation) is supposed to take place on December 21, 2012. Some consider this to be the 2012 Doomsday.

What’s New?

Several months ago, archaeologists Marcello A. Canuto and Tomás Barrientos were excavating a building at “Site Q” in Guatemala which had been seemingly stripped by treasure hunters. They unearthed 22 carved stones. And when added with other stones recovered from the black market, they were able to piece together 264 hieroglyphs.

Dr. David Stuart deciphered the text and found it covered about 200 years of history at “Site Q.” One portion of text commemorated a visit in 696 AD by a Maya king named Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’.

The ancient text refers to Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ as the “13 K’atun lord.” But what does this mean? Well, each b’ak’tun is made up of 20 k’atun, which are equivalent to about 20 years apiece.

In 692 AD, the 13th k’atun cycle of the 9th b’ak’tun came to an end. Based on the text, it appears Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ was king at that time. It was a fairly significant date. But not nearly as significant as, say, the end of the 13th b’ak’tun cycle.

Canuto and Barrientos theorize that Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ decided to connect these two dates via the number “13.” If true, it seems safe to assume he viewed the end of the 13th b’ak’tun cycle (and thus, the so-called 2012 Doomsday) as something to be revered, not feared.

“This new evidence suggests that the 13 Bak’tun date was an important calendrical event that would have been celebrated by the ancient Maya; however, they make no apocalyptic prophecies whatsoever regarding the date.” ~ Marcello A. Canuto, Maya archaeologists unearth new 2012 monument

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Truthfully, this new evidence appears pretty flimsy. We can’t know for sure why Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ called himself the “13 K’atun lord.” Maybe all rulers referred to themselves in this fashion. So, while the text itself is a tremendous archaeological find, we’re not sure it tells us much about how the Classic Mayas would’ve felt about the 2012 Doomsday theories. The Mayas were fascinated by time. According to the available evidence, they seem to have viewed it as a continuous cycle of worlds. However, there’s no evidence they saw December 21, 2012 as the ultimate doomsday. In fact, researchers have discovered references to post-2012 dates on several ancient Maya ruins.

“Recently, archaeologists discovered some very old Mayan astronomical tables at the Xultun ruins (well, they actually stumbled on them while chasing off treasure hunters). They discovered four long numbers on a wall which appear to reference a date 7,000 years past 813 AD.” ~ David Meyer, The Mayan Doomsday Prophecy?

All in all, the Classic Maya civilization was highly advanced for its time. But there’s no reason to believe they were capable of predicting anything. After all, if they were such great prophets, then how come they never saw the ending of their own civilization?

“And maybe the most important question to ask was voiced to me by Bill Saturno, discoverer of the San Bartolo murals. If the Maya were such skilled prophets, how could they have missed the Conquest? “Didn’t see that one coming, did they?” The single most devastating disaster to befall the peoples of the Americas of all time, and not a word about it in the entire corpus of Mayan prophetic literature.” ~ Mark Van Stone, 2012 FAQ

The Walking Statues of Easter Island?

Easter Island is famous for its 887 giant statues, also called mo‘ai. But how did ancient people move these multi-ton sculptures from where they were built to their present locations? Well, according to legend, they didn’t do anything. Instead, the statues “walked.”

Background on Easter Island’s Moai

The heaviest statue on Easter Island weighs 86 tons. It was carved from compressed volcanic ash (called tuff) sometime between 1250 and 1500. It can be found at Ahu Tongariki, a stone platform on the island’s southern coast. It’s located about a kilometer from the stone quarry at Rano Raraku. So, this begs the question. How did ancient people move 86 tons of tuff from the quarry to the platform without modern equipment?

Many modern researchers believe moving the statues required deforestation. In other words, chieftains forced the islanders to cut down palm trees to serve as sleds, rollers, and/or levers. This deforestation supposedly destabilized Easter Island’s ecosystem. The result was diminished resources, famine, war, and ultimately, depopulation.

Did Easter Island Moai “Walk”?

The question of why civilizations collapse is a fascinating topic. And Easter Island, from a certain point of view, appears to provide an explanation…resource exploitation. Thus, environment-based researchers like Jared Diamond like to compare the Easter Island situation to the present world, suggesting the need for government-led climate intervention. Incidentally, we tend to have a very different theory about why civilizations collapse…excessive centralization.

Unfortunately, this determination to tie Easter Island’s history to our own future may have kept researchers from exploring other scenarios. Thus, a new theory on the statues has caused massive waves among academics. Archaeologist Carl Lipo and anthropologist Terry Hunt believe the statues moved via a very different mechanism…they “walked.”

In other words, the statues were lifted into a vertical position (or perhaps carved in that manner) and then rocked down roads using ropes. As you can see in this film, only eighteen people and three ropes were needed to maneuver a 10-foot tall, 5-ton replica of an Easter Island statue down a road.

Of course, this is just 5 tons. But Lipo and Hunt believe it’s scalable

“With the physics of the taller statue, you have greater leverage. It almost gets to the point where you would have to do it that way.” ~ Carl Lipo, Archaeologist

Dozens of fallen statues lie near the roads leading out of the main quarry. It’s possible they fell due to broken ropes or human error. They couldn’t be lifted again so they were abandoned.This theory threatens to overturn decades of research. Ancient Easter Islanders have long been viewed in somewhat derogatory fashion. Supposedly, they destroyed an island paradise because they couldn’t stop themselves from building and carrying their statues across the island.But this new theory would’ve required far less manpower and resources. In fact, it might’ve been seen as somewhat of a sport.

“You’re actually putting a lot of your effort into the process of moving a statue rather than fighting. Moving the moai was a little bit like playing a football game.” ~ Terry Hunt, Anthropologist

Why did Easter Island Collapse?

Also, Lipo and Hunt believe Easter Island was never a paradise. Instead, they think it was a rather difficult place to live. And indeed, archaeological evidence increasingly shows that the natives were “resourceful engineers” who learned to work with Easter Island’s limited resources. For example, they pulverized rock and used it as mulch to help grow crops in demineralized soil.

There is more at stake here than just how the statues were moved. Jared Diamond and others have attempted to use Easter Island in order to support their theories of ecocide. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Diamond took exception to Lipo’s and Hunt’s work.

“The islanders did inadvertently destroy the environmental underpinnings of their society. They did so, not because they were especially evil or deprived of foresight, but because they were ordinary people, living in a fragile environment, and subject to the usual human problems of clashes between group interests, clashes between individual and group interests, selfishness, and limited ability to predict the future. Does that remind you of any problems that we ourselves face today? That’s why we find Easter’s story so gripping, and why it may offer us lessons.” ~ Jared Diamond, ‘The Myths of Easter Island’ – Jared Diamond responds

Lipo and Hunt retorted by pointing out the many gaps in the current theories surrounding Easter Island.

“An important role of scholarship is to examine long-held myths and see if they hold up under modern scientific tests. The original Easter Island thesis, in any of its iterations, including Diamond’s, does not. Let us point out that we didn’t go to Easter Island to tear down Diamond’s thesis. We went there to support it by filling in the missing archeological data. It was only when we convinced ourselves that any iteration of that original story, including Diamond’s, had no archeological evidence to support it and much to contract it that we began to see where the research was leading us.” ~ Carl Lipo & Terry Hunt, ‘The Easter Island Ecocide Never Happened’ – response to Jared Diamond

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The debate over Easter Island is far from over. In fact, it’s just heating up. In many ways, it reminds me of the hotly-contested debate over what killed the dinosaurs (a debate that continues even today). But this, in our opinion, is a good thing. Comfortable theories and assumptions need to be shaken up from time to time.Lipo and Hunt’s statue-walking exhibition doesn’t really prove anything. But it shows that  “walking” via ropes and manpower was a possible method of transportation. Interestingly enough, it also fits with oral legends saying the statues “walked” down the roads to their present positions.If correct, what does this say about the ecocide theory? Well, not much in our opinion. The truth is, we’ve never bought into Diamond’s attempts to tie the past to the future. What happened on Easter Island hundreds of years ago has very little relevance to the present. In other words, we think “history has absolutely no predictive power.”

“The notion of a law of historical change is self-contradictory. History is a sequence of phenomena that are characterized by their singularity. Those features which an event has in common with other events are not historical.” ~ Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History

The Forgotten Walls of China?

The Great Wall of China isn’t really a single wall. Instead, it’s a catchall term to describe the many fortifications built in China over the last ~2,700 years. Recently, archaeologists finished a 5-year project to map these structures. What are the Forgotten Great Walls of China?

The Forgotten Great Walls of China?

China’s first walls sprouted up around the 7th century BC, probably to keep Mongol invaders at bay. Many additional walls have been built over the years and some of them have been linked together. The wall most commonly associated with “The Great Wall of China” is actually a series of structures which were restored during the Ming Dynasty.

Recently, China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping completed a 5-year archaeological survey of China. Back in 2009, surveyors had estimated the total length of the Great Wall of China at about 5,500 miles. Now, Xinhua, China’s government-owned news agency, is reporting the completion of the survey. The wall’s total length has been updated…to 13,170.6956 miles!

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

That’s a lot of walls. But don’t get too excited. Most of these “forgotten” structures are gone. Only the remnants remain. Even the famed Ming Dynasty wall is just a shell of its former self. Only 8.2% of it still stands. And 75% of its surviving sections are extremely dilapidated. Also, some of the walls run parallel to each other. And many of them aren’t so much walls as “earthworks or ditches.”

Interestingly enough, the 13,170 mile figure might still be low. China’s borders have shifted dramatically over the centuries. Back in March, we reported on the discovery of a “lost” section of the Great Wall of China in the Gobi Desert…outside of China’s current borders. Are there more walls out there, waiting to be found? Only time will tell.