Was There a Prehistoric Civilization in Antarctica?
After WW II, scientists started to pay attention to the issue of supposedly once-existing civilization in Antarctica. The hypothesis is confirmed by some medieval maps and researches of paleogeologists and glaciologists.
December 12, 2002
In January 1820, lieutenant of Russian Empire Fleet, Mikhail Lazarev discovered the new continent. In the beginning of 20th century, a Russian encyclopaedia, while adducing approximate square of south pole continent, reported it was insufficiently explored and there was no flora and fauna. The author of the article also noticed the
In about 20 years, the Istanbul National Museum director, Khalil Edkhem was sorting out the library of Byzantine emperors in the old sultan palace. He found an ancient map made on gazelle skin there. On the map, there was the West and South Africa shores and the northern shore of Antarctica. Khalil could not believe his own eyes: the shore of the Queen Mod Land, to the south from 70th parallel was free of ice. The ancient cartographer had marked a mountain chain there. The name of the cartographer was known: the admiral of the Ottoman Empire fleet, Piri Reis, who lived in the first half of 16th century.
The map authenticity was without doubt. Some graphology examinations of the notes on the margin confirmed they belonged to the admiral.
In 1949, the united expedition of Britain and Sweden carried out an intensive seismic prospecting of the South Pole continent through the ice cap. According to the commander of 8th technical investigation squadron of the US Armed Force Strategic Command, colonel Harold Olmayer from July 6, 1960, geographical details of the bottom part of the map (the Antarctica shore) correspond with the results of the seismic prospecting. We cannot correlate these data with the supposed level of geography in 1513.
In his notes on the map margin, made in the early 16th century, Piri Reis explained he was not responsible for the cartography and that the map was based on some earlier sources. Some of these earlier sources belong to his contemporaries (for example, to Christopher Columbus), while others could be dated with 4th century B. C. Not later, because one of these sources belonged to Alexander of Macedonia, who lived namely in this epoch.
Of course, professional historians specialized in ancient history could say: This is only one more operational hypothesis. And what about documentary and, which is desirable, trust-worthy sources? The opinion of the Turkish admiral, notes on the margin You know, it is too disputable!
So, I would like to present the position of the already late science historian, professor of Keene College in New Hampshire, USA, Charles H. Hapgood. Already in the late 1959, he found in Washington Congress Library a map made up by Orontheus Phynius in 1531. Orontheus Phynius pictured Antarctica with mountains and rivers, without glaciers. The relief of the continent central part was not marked, which, according to Hapgood, could mean that there had been ice cap in that area.
In the early 1960s, the map of Phynius was studied by the Massachusetts Technology Institute doctor Richard Stratchen together with Hapgood. Both scientists concluded that Phynius had really pictured the Antarctica shores free of ice. The shore counters and characteristic features of the relief are really close to the information about the covered with ice surface of the continent, which was mapped in 1958 by specialists from different countries.
Apropos, Gerard Cremer, known in the world as Mercator, also trusted the Orontheus evidence. He included the Phynius map into his atlas, where there were several Antarctica maps of Mercator himself. There is one interesting feature: in the Mercator map made in 1569, the west shore of South America is pictured less accurately, than in the earlier map of Mercator from 1538. The reasons of this contradiction are following: while working at the earlier map, the cartographer of 16th century proceeded from ancient sources which were not kept till our time, and while working at the later map, he proceeded from observations of first Spanish investigators of South America. The mistake of Gerard Mercator could be excused. In 16th century, there were no precise methods to measure longitude: as a rule, the error could have made hundreds of kilometres!
And, finally, Philippe Boiche, full member of French Academy of Science. In 1737, he published his map of Antarctica. Boiche presented the precise Antarctica picture of the time when the continent was free of ice. In his map, the under-ice topography of the continent is presented about which our civilization (which is supposed to be born not earlier than in fourth millenium B. C.) had no clear idea till 1958. Moreover, basing on now-lost sources, the French academician pictured in the middle of the South Pole continent a water space dividing it in two sub-continents which were situated to the west and to the east from the line, where now Trans-Antarctic Mountains are marked. According to the investigation in the framework of International Geophysical Year (1958), Antarctic which is pictured as one continent in up-to-date maps is in fact an archipelago of big islands covered with 1.5-kilometre ice.
Medieval maps show Antarctica without ice cap or partially covered with ice. The precision of the 16th century cartographer estimations is very high and even surprising as for some positions. Their data surpasses technical possibilities even of the late Middle Ages (for example, determination of the modern relief longitude to within one minute). This level of engineering was reached by humankind at least in the late 18th century, while in some questions even in the 20th.
B. Scientists cannot comment on the very high scientific level of medieval cartography. Information about almost 2000-year-old firstprimary sources are supposed to be not well-founded. While the position of todays cartographers based upon scientific estimations in the field of natural history is supposed to be incompetent.
C. Orthodox geology agrees with such statement of the question, while saying the age of the Antarctica ice cap could be estimated at least as 25 million of years. However, recently this estimation was reduced to 6 million. Though, even such amendment has already got an academic character.
Therefore, we should notice following feature of the Reis map: the shore of the continent was free of ice. In the Phynius map made in 18 years after the Reis map, there is an ice cap around South Pole within the limits of 80th and somewhere of 75th parallel. 200 years later, academician Boiche pictured Antarctica without glaciers.
The conclusion is obvious: we can see the process of glaciation of the southern continent.
In 1949, the admiral Baird expedition carried boring of Ross Sea in three spots, where Orontheus Phynius marked river-beds. In the cuts, fine-grained layers were found, obviously brought to the sea with rivers, whose sources situated in temperate latitudes (i.e. free of glaciers).
While using nuclear dating method of doctor U. Oury from Karnegy Institute in Washington, scientists found out precisely that the Antarctica rivers which were sources of fine-dyspersated deposits were flowing, as shown in the Phynius map, about 6,000 years ago. In about 4000 year B. C., sediments of glacial type started to accumulate on the bottom of Ross Sea. Kernels show that before it, there was a long warm period.
Therefore, the maps of Reis, Phynius, Mercator present Antarctica of the time, when ancient Egyptian and Shumer civilizations were newborn. This point of view is excluded by almost all professional historians and could be regarded as an operating hypothesis which cannot be verified. Any historian would say that there were no civilization of the kind in the late 5th millenium B. C. While according to doctor Jacob Hock from Illinois University, the deposits in-question could be 6 to 12 thousand years old. Therefore, this question should be considered by paleontologists whose activity is out of the framework of historic science.
In September 1991, US and Egyptian archaeologists discovered at a distance of 13 km from Nile River, in Abidos, 12 big boats which belonged to Pharaohs of First Dynasty. The age of the boats is about 5,000 years. They are supposed to be the most ancient vessels in the world, the leader of the expedition, D. OConnor from Pennsylvania University says. So far, the find is estimated to be aimed for religious rites.
According to Herodotus, ancient Egyptians had observed stars within more than 10,000 years. This statement of the father of history is supposed to be esoteric and, therefore, not true. Though, land nations seldom born astronomers. The fact that ancient Egyptians were interested in astronomy may witness that they inherited some knowledge from unknown civilization of navigators.
Apropos, workers of US technical intelligence determined the projection centre of the Piri Reis map whose data belongs to 4000 year B. C. The projection centre was supposedly situated near to todays Cairo. At that time, according to most of historians, all then-existing nations were on a very low level of development.
A. Between 5th and 10th milleniums B. C., there was a civilization on Earth which possessed great knowledge in the field of navigation, cartography, and astronomy, which was not lower than that one from 18th century.
B. This civilization preceded our civilization and it was not an extraterrestrial one. Its age could be several thousands years, while its situation was probably in the northern shore of the most southern continent, or archipelago Antarctica, where there was a temperate climate. Later, this civilization may have resettled to the north-east of Africa.
The reason of the civilization death is the glaciation of Antarctica the process which started not earlier than in 10th millenium B. C. It cannot be excluded that there were also large-scale floods, which were too regular and cause long-term local deluges (this is confirmed by archaeologists). These disasters could have destroy most of the objects of the civilization material culture. While some fragments could be found in the future under the thickness of ice. Though, it could be assumed that the survivors from Antarctica kept and handed over some knowledge to ancient Egyptians and probably to the Shumer.
So, after some expanded archaeologist investigation which at long last reaches Antarctica, human kind could be surprised with its results.
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