Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:07 pm (PST)
The Lost Civilization Of Antarctica
ThothWeb - The Lost Civilisation of Antarctica
When we think of Antarctica, the place immediately
conjures up a image of a magnificent glacial wilderness at bottom of the
world.But could it be that long before it was claimed by the ice & snow,
Antarctica was once a temperate land filled with rivers & mountains &
where one of the earliest advanced civilisations once thrived? It may
be that such a civilisation,one forgotten by time and long hidden by
the ice, originally called Antarctica their home.While Antarctica remains
hidden beneath a two mile thick layer of ice we can only speculate at what
might be there, but there are a few pieces of evidence that point to such
a scenario as being a possibility, prompting the exodus of a people
that could no longer remain in their homeland.
One of the biggest clues
to suggest that our understanding of Antarctica may be incomplete is the
legendary Piri Re'is Map which was found in Constantinople in 1929.The map
is thought to have been drawn in the 15th century by an Admiral of the Ottoman
Navy, Admiral Piri Ibn Haji Memmed, known as Piri Reis.Notes made in the
maps margins sourced a set of around twenty maps dating back to time of Alexander
the Great as being the sources for the Piri Re'is.
What makes the map unique,besides its age and history,
is that it seems to show that the ancients knew a great deal more about the
shape and proximity of the continents than conven- tional history suggests
and that even more remarkably,it mapped Antarctica as a land mass.
For that to have been correct this info would've
had to have been obtained at a much earlier time than that of Alexander the
Great which was around 323BC, which suggests Alexanders maps were copies
of even older documents. Antarctica was officially unknown to the world until
1820, when the lieutenant of the Russian Imperial Fleet, Mikhail Petrovich
Lazarev discovered what appeared to be a new continent; yet this new continent
is clearly identifiable on the Piri Reis map, which is dated 1513. One of
the best-known & controversial features in the Piri Re'is map is the
Antarctic coastline, which it shows in extraordinary detail.The problem is
that not only does it show Antarctica before it was discovered, it seems
to represent the coast of the continent at a time efore it was covered
in glaciers; at a time when it was just a regular landmass like any other.
Information that confirmed the size & shape of the landmass in the Antarctic
was only gleaned in the twentieth century,many years after map was discovered
& even longer since it was drawn.
There is much disagreement
as to the last time Antarctica was free of ice with some experts suggesting
that it was as recent as around 6,000 years ago, while other geologists point
to ice cores that are 500,000 years old being recovered from Antarctica.Nevertheless,
cartographers and historians alike are baffled as to how the people responsible
for drawing up this map could have known that this land existed, but if Antarctica
was once free of ice it is fairly logical to assume that it was populated.
It is not surprising then, that the Piri Reis map
is one of the cornerstones of the growing body of evidence to support the
case for there having been an unknown pre Ice Age civilization living on
this land. One researcher who took an enormous amount of interest in the
map was historian and geographer, Prof Charles Hapgood. Hapgood, a respected
albeit controversial scholar in his own right, spent a great deal of time
studying the map & reached the conclusion that it was drawn by a civilization
with advanced seafaring & mapping skills had surveyed the entire Earth
in the ancient past.
In 1949, a combined British and Swedish expedition
conducted intensive seismic measurements of the South Pole through the ice
cap. When shown a copy of the Piri Re'is map for comparison, the commander
of the 8th Technical Investigation Squadron of the US Armed Force Strategic
Command, Colonel Harold Olmayer, is quoted as having said, the geographical
details of the bottom part of the map; the shore of Antarctica,correspond
with the results of the seismic measurements.
We cannot correlate these data with the supposed
level of geography in 1513. Thus confirming what many researchers already
thought; that the source map was far older than anything drawn up in the
last few hundred years.
Charles Hapgood also worked with another well known and ancient map that
supports the pre-glacial Antarctic theory; the Oronteus Finaeus Map, which
was found in the Library of Congress, Washington DC in 1960, but which dates
back to 1531. As with the Piri Re'is map, much of Antarctica appears
to be free of ice, with flowing rivers and mountain ranges being represented;
the presence of which has only recently been verified by modern technology.
According to the map, the centre of the land was without geographical features
which some believe points to the fact that it was already covered in ice
at the time the map was drawn.
In the early 1960s, Hapgood had the opportunity
to study the Oronteus Finaeus map alongside Doctor Richard Stratchen of the
Massachusetts Technology Institute (MIT). Both men concluded that the Oronteus
Finaeus map had indeed depicted Antarcticas coast at a time when it was free
Opponents of the idea that these ancient maps show an ice free Antarctica
counter that the Oronteus Finaeus Map fails to show the Amery Basin. In either
a partially or completely deglaciated Antarctica, this basin would have been
occupied by a 700 to 800 kilometers (430 to 490 miles) long bay and
would have been a major physiographic feature that would have
been mapped had the area been ice free. Even though
this basin forms a prominent bay along the coast of modern Antarctica, it
is missing from the Oronteus Finaeus Map.
What these criticisms fail to take into account
is the numerous transcriptions that might have occurred since the original
source map was drawn.If the map is indeed based on an original source map
that is between 6,000 and 500,000 years old,it is quite conceivable that
errors & omissions did occur as various copies of the map were made over
perhaps thousands of yrs.The fact Antarctica exists at all on these maps
was never explained, let alone the fact that features such as rivers &
mountains have been mapped on the land.
A third map of Antarctica,this time drawn by the
18th century French geographer Philippe Bauche, a member of the French Academy
of Science, was completed in 1737; well before the continent was discovered.This
map cast more confusion onto our preconception of ancient seafaring &
geographical knowledge, because it showed Antarctica as being divided in
2 by narrow band of water.
When the first seismic survey was undertaken in
1958, it confirmed that Antarctica as a land mass is divided in two by an
ancient waterway. Many geologists think that the last time that this was
obvious would have been not thousands of years ago, but millions of yrs ago.
The survey seems to confirm that the person who originally drew the map somehow
had knowledge that would not be common knowledge until the twentieth century,
yet the map was drawn some 200 years earlier, presumably from an even earlier
If Antarctica was ice free in the past,forming a
temperate and thus habitable environment, then it is highly likely &
perfectly logical that it would've been inhabited by people, given that every
other continent in the world was. There are many different theories as to
how often & how quickly these ice ages occur, but very little common
agreement.As the ice began to form, first in the centre of the continent
and then gradually moving out, that temperate climate would have been replaced
by a cold and hostile one where it would have become impossible to survive.
Any civilisation living there would have been faced with the choice between
remaining, and facing certain death through cold and starvation or migrating
as far away as possible from the encroaching ice. Without knowing how far
the ice would reach,the equator would probably have seemed like the safest
The Piri Re'is, Oronteus Finaeus, and Bauche maps
all seem to show a representation of Antarctica before it was lost beneath
the ice and snow, which according to some was around 6,000-10,000 years ago.Coincidentally,
this is the time when many think that the ancient Egyptian
& Sumerian civilizations appeared; civilisations that seemed to be able
to progress from nomadic tribesmen to a technologically advanced structured
society in a short period of time, forming organised and sophisticated cultures.
The big question is of course,is there any evidence to suggest that Egypt
was founded by seafaring migrants.Interestingly, in 1991, US and Egyptian
archaeologists working in Abidos, Egypt, discovered 14 large boats that belonged
to Pharaohs of First Dynasty. The boats were estimated to be at least 5,000
years old, each vessel being about 75 feet long & 7 to 10 feet wide at
the widest part, with narrowing prow & stern and a shallow draft.
Their believed to be the most ancient but also the
most advanced sailing vessels ever discovered in the world, and owed their
preservation to the dry Egyptian climate.Unlike other boats of that era,
they were made from planks of wood, rather than being carved from hollowed
out tree trunks, suggesting that the Egyptians had very advanced boat building
According to Dr Cheryl Ward, a nautical archaeologist at Florida State University:
In the ancient world,boats were the most complex machines produced.
If you couple that boat building expertise with an advanced geographical
knowledge of the Earth one that until recently exceeded modern understanding
& an advanced knowledge of maths and astronomy, which would have been
required to draw such detailed maps with such precision and navigate
the worlds oceans, then it is interesting to ponder upon the possibility
that Egypt was indeed founded by an established civilisation that was perhaps
forced to abandon their own continent and start anew.
Could it be that these boats or ones like them were
used to ferry refugees from a civilisation that was being destroyed by an
increasingly hostile climate, enabling them to forge a new civilisation in
Egypt, and indeed other parts of the world?
But if there really was a lost civilisation living on Antarctica, surely
some evidence for it must survive in Antarctica itself ? According to Congressional
investigators, a spy satellite image taken of Antarctica reportedly
revealed an anomalous structure two miles beneath the ice.
Details about the nature of the structure remain
scant,but clearly there is something there.
In addition, magnetic anomalies have been recorded and a substantial liquid
water lake, nicknamed Lake Vostok (after the Russian base), has been identified
beneath the ice.According to researchers from the enterprise mission, although
there are natural explanations to account for the magnetic anomalies,
such as the thickness of the Earths crust, an anomaly like this could also
be caused by an accumulation of metals; the kind you would get if you found
the ruins of an ancient, buried city. Until we are in a position to explore
the Antarctic region more thoroughly, the idea of a lost city hidden below
miles of ice sheets remains little more than a tantalising possibility.
It seems more than a bit odd that several ancient maps have recorded a continent
that no one at the time knew that it existed.The fact that they show the
Antarctic landmass without its icy covering is even more mysterious and doesnt
fit in with anything you will find in a text book about climate changes
or cartography, yet the indisputable fact is that these maps exist.
There is land below the ice of Antarctica, we have established that much,
all we need to ask now, is, was that land occupied and what happened to the
people who lived there when the climate changed ? Perhaps only time will