Interesting new stuff from the field of archeology coming from Ireland
One of the nice things about living in the same neighborhood as NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab is that we get NASA TV on our local cable. It shows all kinds of neat live feeds from other planets and has lots of documentaries on scientific goings on. I have been watching a series on recent goings on in Ireland, where an enterprising scientist has combined an MRI, a WI-FI uplink, and a GPS, and installed these gadgets on what looks like a pogo stick. The fellow and his friends then take thousands of feet of rope, and cover big chunks of Ireland with nice little 10x10 grids made from this rope.
Once the grid has been constructed, they sit back and relax as their grunting grad students drag these devices into the center of each grid box, place it approximatly in the center and fire it, until each box in the grid has been covered. The MRI scan is instantly sent to a super computer, which uses the GPS co-ords to assemble the magnetic images into maps which reveal how the place looked thousands of years ago, among other things.
In the process of doing this, they discovered something amazing in the part of Ireland where a number of ancient "mound" burial grounds exist - namely that an huge city existed in this area during the Bronze Age, probably from 2500 BC to 1000 BC. Since the area is one of the few areas of Northern Europe where gold artifacts from this same period have been found, a new theory of this historical period is emerging that impacts all kinds of mysteries from this period, which is one of the murkiest periods of human history - mysteries like Atlantis, The Great Flood, the rise of Greece and Rome, the city of Troy, and even more particularly, the Stonehenge monuments of England.
These other areas are being drawn in because these MRI studies are being impacted by a second area where computers are being brought to bear - the study of tree rings found in ancient stumps that have been retrieved from Irish peat bogs. Computers are used to analyze thousands of these ring samples and carbon dating data of when the stumps existed, and from this massive amount of data that in the past was only understandable by a few experts, they are deducing an extremely accurate Eurasian climate model that goes back some 7,300 years.
What they have found is that from 2000 BC until 1260 BC the planet underwent a period of extremely good agricultural weather, in fact it must of been a Golden Age of Humanity, where crops were abundant for agricultural societies and game and wild fruits and grains were plentiful for hunter-gathers, population was low in relation to resources, all meaning that societies were more fixed in place and not as appt to wander over great distances in search of sustenance, and the necessity of resorting to violence to meet the needs of life was very low.
The implication of this is that Europe and Asia Minor may have had far more advanced agricultural civilizations then we have currently given them credit for, one of which was a nation-state whose capital was in Ireland. In other words, instead of human history being one of continual advancement from primitive to modern people, it may be one where very advanced societies were replaced by more primitive ones.
During the bronze Age this Irish nation most likely controlled the British Isles and the coast of France, where mound burial sites and Stonehenge-like structures are currently found, and which these MRIs show this city was obsessed with. This society was based on some type of religion that was fixiated with spots on the earth, around which they built circular structures and oriented towards celestial objects. These spots seemed to be some type of place where spirits rose from the earth and took their place in the heavens above, including human spirits, which were cremated in these structures and apparently sent into the heavens in the process.
Stonehenge, in the past thought to be the work of locals, may actually have been a national project of this nation, which would explain why stones from hundreds of miles away were used to construct the temple in that particular spot - a spot that may have been the fundamental equivalent of Jeruselum to these people. We may have been vastly underestimating the civilization that undertook this project.
The climatology data would also explain another archeaological mystery from this period in the same area -which is the lack of weapons found among artifacts from this period - this may have been a society that lived in peace for quite a long time, and if visited by ancient Greek mariners would explain the Atlantian legend of a peaceful island kingdom ruled by wise rulers - a kingdom of fat, well fed people who had no outside enemies due to geographic isolation, that existed beyond the Pillars of Hercules (currently known as Gibralta).
But then the tree rings tell the end of the tale - in 1260 BC some type of cataclysmic event befell the earth, most likely some type of massive volcanic eruption. The earth was plunged into a mini-Ice Age. Crop failures occurred for a period of eighteen years, a failure that would result in genocidal damage on ancient argicultural societies. In addition, it would lock up moisture in the temperate latitudes in the form of pack ice in the Anatolian mountains that feed the great rivers of the Middle East, and in the Alps, leaving only the Nile Valley of Egypt with adequate river flows since the Nile is fed by mountain ranges located on the Equator. For eighteen years the world was turned into a cold, dry and barren wasteland.
Sociologically, this climate change would mean that wandering peoples who were more adept at the use of weapons would rise as the dominate people, which might explain the destruction of advanced civilizations throughout Europe, plunging them into a Dark Age where the memory of these peoples, the Trojans, Cretans, these Atlantian Irish, would be lost as happened to us in our own Dark Age. In addition, at the end of this mini-Ice Age, the quick massive ice melt would have caused devastating floods all over the ancient world, further wiping out fixed settlements and established societies. So in essence, what is emerging is a "unified theory" of what exactly happened to this planet in the Bronze Age - and it is emerging as a story that confirms the Book of Genisis - paradise lost. Very interesting stuff.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address