William delves into the mysteries of the cosmos, which includes all things human, as we are part of the cosmos.
Wonders of the Ancient World
The world contains many mysteries that make many scratch their heads in wonderment as to how it was done in a more primitive era, as some of these ancient technological wonders can't be duplicated even today—and others are considered to be way ahead of their time. Hints of their origins are also found in sacred writings and carry over technological items into acknowledged ancient cultures like the Greeks and their use of hydraulics and steam or the ancient Egyptian dynasties and their magnificent pyramids. But it does not end here.
Recently, a bronze clockwork was dredged up from the depth of the Mediterranean Sea that turns out to have been a working mechanical clockwork orrery with all the known planets of the time. It shows no signs of being a work in process, but an object that has been perfected and even mass produced; yet is the only example we have of an object like this described in the literature of the time. As we advance in our understanding, we uncover some of the mysteries, but there are far more that remain unsolved. As an example, we have solved the mystery of the statues of Easter Island, which are massive and heavy. Perhaps some of what we learned from there applies to more ancient mysteries elsewhere.
There are items such as a non-rusting iron pillar in India that long predates modern culture and Indian civilization itself that is one of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth. Not only that, the Vedas and Egyptian hieroglyphs contains descriptions of devices that can be construed as planes, jets, helicopters, rockets, and nuclear weapons. This is somewhat vindicated in the plethora of ancient small fetishes that look like contemporary jets. The thirteen crystal skulls that are carved out of single large crystal chunks of silicon dioxide, otherwise known as quartz, are a challenge to the imagination considering that this is one of the hardest substances around. They are all perfect in craving and smoothness and ancient, coming from a time when it is thought that people were no more advanced than being able to manufacture Clovis points. The region once known as Persia unearthed an item now called the Bhagdad battery and it dates from a time when it is thought that no one knew anything about electrical energy beyond lightning in thunderstorms. There are fossilized remains of what looks like a battery, parts of a laser and other electrical equipment in places where they should not exist at all. The Nazca Lines of Peru were a mystery until a German archaeoastronomer solved the mystery; that is except the date of manufacture, which is apparently ancient due to the natural reduction of iron oxide in this dry and hot mountainous region.
The magnificent high mountain structures at Macchu Pichu are a mystery of construction due to the massive interlocking stones and their extreme location high in the Andes. How did they get there? How were they so tightly fit together that not even a sliver of metal can fit between stones that weigh up to eighteen tons? And then there is Stonehenge. This raises even more questions. This one is so old that archaeoastronomers have been able to determine that it was built in a time when the axial tilt of the Earth was different than it is now. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean there exist artificial islands called Nan Madol, made up from cross laid basalt columns. These massive columns are extremely heavy and challenge our imagination as to how they got there, as no basalt in the area and they were manipulated into place to form an artificial archipelago that has become overgrown with natural flora and fauna. Numerous metallic artifacts of sophisticated alloys that we have just been able to duplicate recently are found in many regions. There are numerous underwater sites, like off the coasts of Japan (1) and India as well that challenge our understanding of history with their mute mystery. Just who left these artifacts and what does it do to our understanding of history? What follows is a selection of some of the interesting finds which are but a few of what exists that tantalize us to this day.
Greek hydraulics and steam existed more than 2,000 years before they caught on in Britain in the late 18th century. The Greeks even invented a steam turbine 2,400 years before Britain and were just one step from developing a full-fledged steam engine. Though the Greeks did not use steam to drive anything other than toys and demonstrations, they nonetheless were aware that it could serve as a means of propulsion. However, this was not shared with the population as a whole and remained the plaything of the Greek court. A massive temple built to the goddess Diana erected at an impact site had hydraulically activated massive doors that appeared to open on their own to worshipers to reveal the massive image of the goddess inside. Hydraulics was usually used for irrigation in the hilly and mountainous terrain of Greece. Information about hydraulics comes from written accounts and from myth, particularly the myths of Heracles (Hercules). The stopping of floods and the cleaning of the Augean stables are some of the mythic sources of being able to control massive amounts of water.
Pyramids of Egypt
Egyptian dynasties that were obsessed with sky watching, built their magnificent pyramids. The oldest of them were constructed in the 4th dynastic period and contain such massive blocks like the granite plug, which cannot even be budged by modern technology. Further, the layout of the main pyramids as a group is patterned after Orion. It is conceded that great surveying skills were needed to map out and construct the whole complex. Also, there is an eighty-ton obelisk still on its side that they would have erected were it not cracked. How they were to move and stand it up are still much of a mystery. The obelisk still lies on its side in the quarry where it was carved.
The great Giza plateau of Egypt is a testament to humanities obsession with events celestial. A lot of research has gone into this area since the times of Napoleon. The Pyramids, viewed from the air, map out an almost exact duplicate of the principal stars of the constellation of Orion. Furthermore, the great pyramid in its day marked the passage of Sirius and Alpha Draconis. The descending passage was completed when alpha Draconis was visible at the lower end and looking up and directly north to the star. In the year 2004, Polaris will be visible from the bottom of the descending passage. The intervening time of 4,144 years between the two alignments is recapitulated in the number of pyramid inches from the outer casing surface, now stripped away, to the bottom of the descending passage where it angles to the level. How these ancient civilizations could move and assemble such massive structures as well as accurately align them is still a hotly debated subject.
Pyramids are not limited to Egypt. In central Mexico is Teotihuacan, an abandoned massive city of pyramids that housed a large population 1,500 years ago. The pyramids rival those of Egypt in size and serve the same purpose, especially in astronomical observations. A worldwide disaster caused starvation and abandonment of the city. It remains mostly intact because it was never reinhabited. Both the Aztecs and Maya built pyramid cities. Though not as large as Egyptian or Teotihuacan, they served the same astronomical purposes. The Egyptians also used pyramids for burial purposes, whereas the Aztecs and Maya practiced human sacrifice.
The Antikythera Mechanism: A Working Mechanical Clockwork Orrery
"More than a hundred years ago an extraordinary mechanism was found by sponge divers at the bottom of the sea near the island of Antikythera. It astonished the whole international community of experts on the ancient world. Was it an astrolabe? Was it an orrery or an astronomical clock or something else? For decades, scientific investigation failed to yield much light and relied more on imagination than the facts. However, research over the last half-century has begun to reveal its secrets. It dates from around the 1st century B.C. and is the most sophisticated mechanism known from the ancient world. Nothing as complex is known for the next thousand years. The Antikythera Mechanism is now understood to be dedicated to astronomical phenomena and operates as a complex mechanical "computer" which tracks the cycles of the Solar System."(2)
The Antikythera mechanism is remarkable that it appears to be a finished and refined product rather than a work in progress. It is described in Roman and Greek literature, but was regarded as a myth until the discovery of one a century ago. It is a fine clockwork mechanism that shows signs of highly accurate machining that were regarded as a development of 19th-century technology. Using the original, a modern-day counterpart was manufactured and tested and found to be highly accurate for what it does. This one device shows that there was a skill level that existed in ancient times that was lost over the following centuries only to be painstakingly rediscovered with the advent of the Renaissance and the industrial revolution. As the Antikythera mechanism is now known to be a real ancient device, it makes many people wonder what else existed by way of mechanical devices that we read about in world myths, such as in the Vedas.
Antikythera Mechanism: An Ancient Orrery
Easter Island Statues
Easter Island is the home of antique statue gods that were erected shortly before the arrival of European seagoing explorers. The single island is dotted with massive stone statues of elongated and stylized faces, some full trunk statues and others with mysterious hats or head-dress. It is now known with meticulous research that these were carved from the central extinct volcanic flanks, separated from the rock be heating and pouring water to crack the rock and then rolled to the shoreline on the felled trunks of palm trees. They were then erected by sheer brute force and plenty of rope. They were erected facing the sea. The building campaign had been so obsessive that it destroyed the local ecology that has not since recovered fully, centuries later. After the land was denuded and the fishing dried up, people began to starve and this is recorded in carved emaciated fetishes and the late statues. There are even signs of a rebellion against the building program during its final days. The arriving Europeans found the remnant of an emaciated and diseased population on an ecologically ruined island that recounted the story of their recent past. It stands as a mute testament as to what ecological destruction can do and we should not ignore the warning.
Non-Rusting Iron Pillar in India
There exists an iron pillar in India that does not rust like all other iron and steel made now with the exception of stainless steel. For the longest time, the mystery perplexed scientists who wondered how such an item could exist from a more primitive past. The pillar is thought to be at least 1,600 years old, possibly older. Recently, experts at the Indian Institute of Technology have solved the mystery behind the iron pillar in Delhi, which has never corroded despite the capital city's copious amounts of Monsoon derived rain. Metallurgists at Kanpur Indian Institute of Technology have discovered a thin layer of misawite over the entire surface, a compound of iron, oxygen, phosphorus, and hydrogen, which has kept the cast iron pillar from rusting through as does contemporary iron. According to the scientists, the protective film developed within three years after the erecting of the pillar and has been accumulating ever since. After 1,600 years, the film has grown to about two hundred microns thick, according to the Indian Institute of Technology. The protective film was formed catalytically by the presence of high amounts of phosphorus in the iron, which differs from modern iron containing little phosphorus. The combination of iron, phosphorus, hydrogen, and oxygen on the surface protected the iron underneath when the misawite formed (3). We could use this technology today and duplicate it to create long-lasting iron parts that do not corrode. This would be a very environmentally sound approach. It may not have been the intent of the makers of the pillar, but we could intentionally do it now based on the reversed engineering from the Kanpur Indian Institute of Technology.
Stonehenge is a megalithic monument on the Salisbury Plain in Southern England, composed mainly of thirty upright stones called sarsens. Each stone is over ten feet tall and weigh up to 26 tons and are arranged in a circle, with thirty, six-ton lintels perched horizontally atop the sarsens in a continuous circle. There are gaps in the lintels as some have fallen off. There is also an inner circle composed of similar stones, also constructed in post and lintel fashion. In the 1940s and 1950s, Richard John Copland Atkinson proposed that construction occurred in five distinct phases, which he labeled Stonehenge I, II, IIIa, IIIb, and IIIc. This sequence has recently been revised in Archaeological Report (9). Constructed without the use of draft animals and shaped by stone tools, Stonehenge was erected many miles from the quarry from which the stones came. It has recently been discovered that the stones were floated by boat, suggesting that some of the stones came from further away as one was found sunken in a shallow natural harbor with wood under it. From there they were moved overland by means unknown. It is an amazing feat of engineering, and many stories, both old ones and more recent, frequently name Merlin the magician as this engineer. This is due largely to Giraldus Cambrensis, a historian of the 12th century, who wrote a book titled "The History and Topography of Ireland". Giraldus Cambrensis called Stonehenge "The Giant's Dance," because he had heard stories that giants brought the stones from Africa to Ireland, and built the monument by some accounts near the castle of O'Meara. Later, Giraldus Cambrensis said, Aurelius Ambrosius, King of the Britons, had Merlin bring the stones to Britain.
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However, the archaeological evidence at Stonehenge simply does not support an Arthurian date of construction. The archaeology points to a construction date between 5,000 and 3,000 years ago Stonehenge is angled such that on the equinoxes and the solstices, the sun rising over the horizon appears to be perfectly placed between gaps in the megaliths. Further, crucial alignments with some stones suggest that it was built when the axial tilt of the Earth was greater than it is now. This points to a time much more distant in the past than the time of Aurelius Ambrosius. This is doubtless not an accident and probably contributed to the stories of its mysterious origins.
Gerald Hawkins, a Professor of Astronomy, concluded that Stonehenge was a sophisticated astronomical observatory designed to predict eclipses as well as the equinoxes and solstices (10). The positioning of the stones provides a wealth of information, as does the choice of the site itself. Recent experiments with a complete Styrofoam replica were done and vindicated a lot of ideas, particularly about the summer solstice. Using an artificial sun, they vindicated other points as well. If you can see the alignment, general relationship, and the use of these stones then you will know the reason for the construction. The author, and other astronomers discovered the 56-year cycle of eclipses by decoding Stonehenge! Someone in the deep past was already aware of them.
Ancient Fetishes of Planes and Jets
For as long as there have been people, there has been a desire to fly like birds. The mythology around the world abounds with people flying by various means and flying creatures of all kinds that are not birds. In 1898, a peculiar six-inch wooden object was found in a tomb at Saqqara, Egypt. The object was dated to about 200 BCE. It had a body like a fuselage, seven-inch wings that curve downward slightly, a fixed rudder and a tail. It has the appearance of a modern light plane like a Cessna or a glider. It is not known if it was ever put to the test to see if it could fly like wooden toy airplane models of today.
Even more controversial than the wooden model airplane are enigmatic carvings found in the temple of Abydos in Egypt. The original panel was discovered when a newer one over it crumbled, fell away and revealed the one underneath that had the bas-relief carvings that looked like profiles of helicopters and airplanes. Some of the shapes are unfamiliar and cause some to think of UFOs. A small golden object discovered in Central America and estimated to be 1,000 years old, could easily be mistaken for a model of a delta-winged aircraft, like an F18 or Tomcat. Detractors say that the photos and even the carvings have been altered to convey the impression of aircraft, but this does little to all the other discoveries that are amazing enough without aircraft. (12)
The Crystal Skulls
Skulls are humanity’s foremost symbol of death, used right up to contemporary times, and are a recurrent, powerful icon in the visual arts of all cultures over the planet. Thirteen crystal skulls of apparently ancient origin have been found in parts of Mexico, Central America and South America, which comprise one of the most curious and mysterious archaeological finds of 20th Century. They were found near the ancient ruins of the Maya and Aztec civilizations with some evidence linking the skulls with the pre-existing Olmecs and the Incas in Peru. They are a mystery as profound as the Pyramids of Egypt, the Nazca Lines of Peru, or Stonehenge in Britain. Some of these skulls are believed to be between 5,000 to 36,000 years old. Even if they are just 5,000 years old, this is well in advance of civilizations that could work with such material. Today we would use lasers to sculpt such material. Quartz crystal is not nearly as easily worked as obsidian, which is the material we find in abundance and in common use in all of these areas. Many indigenous peoples speak of their remarkable magical and healing power, but nobody really knows where they came from or what they were originally used for (4). Most of them are sequestered in museums today. There may be more in existence that are either hidden or still undiscovered and lost. Part of the problem is the destruction of these later cultures by the Conquistadors in the 15th and 16th centuries, taking with the destruction a lot of knowledge.