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Thoughts on prehistory

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posted on May, 30 2004 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by saturnine_sweet
Where do YOU think civilization started?

Have you read any of the basic anthropology books? The introductory texts go into this in great detail, including defining what "civilization" is and how we know when traces indicate some sort of culture. Anthropology by Peregrine, Ember, and Ember is an excellent source and goes over dating techniques and so forth.

Ember & Ember are probably some of the finest concurrent editors in the field.


if evolution is right, what were homo sapiens doing for all those years before the rise of civilization?

Artifacts and other evidence indicate that early hominids (homo erectus, homo heidelbergensis, and the australopithecenes) from which homo sapiens evolved did indeed have culture and a way of transmitting it to their children -- so the question is, at what point is it "civilization?"

If you go by the root word meaning, then it's when we first started living in a single location in groups larger than bands. There are some very ancient sites, including Neanderthal sites, that might fall under your definition.

Don't know if you're in a position to take some paleoanthropology courses from a nearby college or some cultural anthropology courses, but I bet you'd really enjoy the material and with a good prof (perhaps even an intro to archaeology course) you would find your interests satisfied -- but sharpened to explore some of the interesting problems in anthropology and archaeology.




posted on May, 30 2004 @ 03:37 PM
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I think perhaps you need to check your sources.


Originally posted by The Vagabond
The Carbon 14 hoax has made a huge mess of archaeology.

How so? Most material is NOT dated by C-14.


It's bad enough that we're finding Homo sapiens 3 miles beneath the surface of the Earth, but if you're creative enough you'll get past that.

I think you're going to have to be very creative to find evidence of anyone finding the remains of early h. sapiens or anything else three miles beneath the surface of the Earth. Archaeology/paleontology is done on material found on the surface. We don't hike out into the field and say "Hey! I bet there's something neat here! Let's start diging a HUGE hole in the ground and see what we can find if we dig down a few miles!"

There's a number of problems with this picture, including the issue of getting your poor shovelbums in and out of the hole (not to mention moving all the rock and dirt and what you do if you happen to dig into something of igneous origin (like granite.))

hypertextbook.com...


But when you know those remains are only 50,000 years old or less, and yet you get a date of over 12 million, there's really no telling where to go. Some say it means humans are really old. Others say it means nothing is really old. And neither side really knows how 3 miles worth of burial ever happened to something that is still intact. Shouldn't it be drilled up as oil after all that time? So anyway, dating Homo sapiens is ugly anyway, and I'm not automatically inclined to believe that anything is millions of years old.


I hope that someday you'll get a chance to go on an archaeology dig, or to take some courses on the topic. It will correct a lot of misinformation for you. Apparently you've been reading some very poor sources that know nothing about humans or hominids. They're bad sources to use in a discussion.



posted on May, 30 2004 @ 06:52 PM
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Byrd -
Yes, I am well aquainted with anthropology, including college material. However, current anthropology works on some big, unfounded assumptions. The largest is that the rise of civilization to modern times was (by and large) a straight trip up. That all humans/cultures predating modern times were less enlighten, less intelligent, etc. There are a large number of resources (Meaning real books, based on real research, and real science) that show some marked contradictions to a large portion of mainstream anthropology. Thus, here, on a message board full of people who are willing to explore things beyond the classroom, I ventured forth the question of "where do YOU think civilization started?" To get opinions, and thoughts. Not more textbooks. I have those on my shelf. Btw, that is not meant as being offensive, just...well, anyone who's been on this board long knows that's what they get from you.


As a point though, it is not good ettiquite to assume someone to be uneducated and in need of education. You do it all the time, and, to be honest, its rather offensive. To ask if I have studied, thats cool. To say hey, get an education, when i have one, that's not so cool.



posted on May, 30 2004 @ 07:04 PM
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byrd again -
While I am not sure what specific examples vagabond is referring to, he does have a valid point. Carbon 14 dating, sediment dating, etc, all works well if the overall models of several areas of science hold true. But if there is an error in geology as to how long certain geological processes take, or a wrong assumption concerning, as vagabond mention, past placement and movement of the earth's crust, or if there have been errors concerning the amount and frequency of radiation is the past, then all of the current dating method go arwy, because while they are all based on seperate sciences, they are cross-calibrated. The only truly concrete dates are those concerning times that are already recorded in known history. Before that, there are definate questions. It doesnt meant those method are wrong, but it does mean that they can be validly questioned. If someone can propose a model that is based on solid fact, but that does not line up with dates using current dating methods, yet can account for those discrepencies through possible method errors, it is certainly a plausible model acceptable for further research. Not something to replace the existing model immediately, but not something to be dismissed offhand, either, just because it doesnt jive with the current model.



posted on May, 30 2004 @ 07:21 PM
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Originally posted by saturnine_sweet
Byrd -
Yes, I am well aquainted with anthropology, including college material. However, current anthropology works on some big, unfounded assumptions. The largest is that the rise of civilization to modern times was (by and large) a straight trip up.

Then you missed the Kulturkreiss discussions and the dismissal of classic evolutionism (ala Boaz) and Levi-Strauss's material and the rise of structural functionalism? I don't think anyone's proposed straight-old Boazian style evolutionism since... geez... about 1930, if memory serves.

In any case, what I was mostly wondering about was how you were defining "civilization." It's pretty well covered in the texts and depending on how you defined it, the answer could be "started by Australopithecines." But I didn't want to presume -- you could have meant "the rise of transmission of cultural ideas" or "the rise of art" or "the rise of permanent habitations" or "the rise of cities" or... heck... you could have meant almost anything.

Butttttttttttttttt.... I didn't want to get into a long lecture. Just wanted to know what your concepts were.


As a point though, it is not good ettiquite to assume someone to be uneducated and in need of education. You do it all the time, and, to be honest, its rather offensive. To ask if I have studied, thats cool. To say hey, get an education, when i have one, that's not so cool.


Wasn't intending it to be offensive. I am, for example, very unsophisitcated in high energy physics and it would certainly be valid for someone to suggest textbooks and reading material for me. I merely wondered if you'd done any formal reading on the subject. It's an absolutly fascinating field, and a good prof can take a class in some lively and interesting directions.

Heck, the department head at UNT (University of North Texas) regularly has NeoPagans and UFOlogists and others to come talk to us in his classes.

[Edited on 30-5-2004 by Byrd]



posted on May, 30 2004 @ 07:26 PM
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Originally posted by saturnine_sweet
While I am not sure what specific examples vagabond is referring to, he does have a valid point. Carbon 14 dating, sediment dating, etc, all works well if the overall models of several areas of science hold true.

Actually, they only work within the range they are defined to work.... tree ring dating, for instance, doesn't work for dates in the 1 million years,etc range. Carbon 14 isn't reliable on very modern material.


But if there is an error in geology as to how long certain geological processes take, or a wrong assumption concerning, as vagabond mention, past placement and movement of the earth's crust, or if there have been errors concerning the amount and frequency of radiation is the past, then all of the current dating method go arwy, because while they are all based on seperate sciences, they are cross-calibrated. The only truly concrete dates are those concerning times that are already recorded in known history. Before that, there are definate questions. It doesnt meant those method are wrong, but it does mean that they can be validly questioned. If someone can propose a model that is based on solid fact, but that does not line up with dates using current dating methods, yet can account for those discrepencies through possible method errors, it is certainly a plausible model acceptable for further research.

Certainly, I'd agree -- which is why important and controversial finds are cross-checked by a number of methods and by more than one researcher. I was merely protesting the assumption that we date everything by C-14.



posted on May, 30 2004 @ 07:34 PM
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There is Nothing new that is Under the sun



posted on May, 30 2004 @ 07:51 PM
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Byrd -
thanks for the clarifications! nice to get an intelligent, helpful response from a moderater on this board for once. By saying a "straight trip up" I was referring to the assumption that the traits of civilization - society, art, science, etc - Are treated largely like say...a ladder. Evolution aside, because that's still got its own debate and such, my reference was more to the "new is bettter" train of thought, you could say. Too much is dismissed as "impossible" despite evidence, because it does not fit perfectly with the model. But the same can be said of any modern science, as that has become the trademark of modern science. Sadly so, since most of it was built on questioning accepted models, and working their problems, rather than simply working within accepted models. If this differs from your education, it's likely due to your prof than anything else, as I have spoken with a few different profs and recieved much the same response to anything out of model. Lucky you!

Just wanted to add that I am sorry if I miss a point here or there. Its been a while since I learned it, and its just been stagnating, so...sometimes things resurface a little fuzzy.


[Edited on 30-5-2004 by saturnine_sweet]



posted on May, 30 2004 @ 08:48 PM
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Originally posted by saturnine_sweet
By saying a "straight trip up" I was referring to the assumption that the traits of civilization - society, art, science, etc - Are treated largely like say...a ladder.


(nod) That theory in anthropology is known as "evolutionism" and was fostered by Franz Boaz and the other early anthropologists. Studies by Boaz' students soon made it clear that the theory was not only ethnocentric (as in "Western Civilization is Da Best!") but outright untrue. It was also (unfortunately) used to justify some racism/ethnocentrism back in those days.

It was, as I said, overturned, and later supplanted by Kulturkreisse (the notion that these progresses arise independently and in many areas) and other theories, including (lately) marxism (the notion that societies oppress certain groups (I'm REALLY glossing over this one!) and modernism (which basically says "everything is bunk" (and I'm REALLY really really glossing over this theory -- don't care for it).) Most anthropologists today are adherents to functionalism or structural functionalism, viewing society in "holistic" terms and defining social functions.

Edward T. Hall had some neat ideas on complexities of society (too deep to go into here, but they basically pointed out that social compexity does not automatically equal Western Society) and on how societies view things (for instance, time is viewed differently in cultures around the world. I wish I could condense his book into a few sentences, but there's just no way to do it justice. Hall's pretty much considered "old school" by now, but I think he's as influential in his own way as Meade or Levi-Strauss.

(gawrsh... lecture on da theories and da originals! My prof would be proud (he tried SO hard to hammer this stuff into my poor dense brain!) I'm sure it would amaze him that I remembered this stuff.)

Anyway... I like this resource for anthropology definitions:
www.anthrobase.com...



posted on May, 31 2004 @ 01:53 AM
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Actually what I was referring to covers all of those in general...I think we might both agree, if I could get this communicated batter...lol...you take any of those theories and they still amount to my point. Not the Boaz theory, but any of the influencal modern ones....they all view that the further you go back, the less sophisticated the people HAVE to be. These theories define it in slightly different manners, and I didnt actually remember the names of any of them, not a great one for names, but they all still have that same core assumption. They would rather say that certain cultural advancements came out of thin air rather than entertain the idea that they may have had a viable source. Indepenant development can account for some of this, but it is very thin explaining how various advancements all popped up near simultaniously in varied places, when for tens of thousands of years before that, they never arose, at least according to accepted models.
I know the given reason is that they didnt develop until the shift from hunter gatherers to settlements, but it seems as soon as they settled, all sorts of things just popped up. If these were inevitable advances when settlements were formed, you would think it would have happened before that at some point. Just some real big holes there, and I have developed an interest in finding information to maybe fill it in a little, if just in my mind and no other.



posted on May, 31 2004 @ 07:18 AM
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en.wikipedia.org... : Encylopedia entry on Charles Hapgood, who pioneered the crustal displacement idea. This confirms that Einstein corresponded with Hapgood and contributed the foreword to Hapgood's book.
www.flem-ath.com... : More on their correspondence
www.zetatalk.com... : Contains the actual foreword written by Einstein for "The Earth's Shifting Crust".

This is not an urban legend, but if it is indeed false, it is one of the most successful lies ever told by or about somebody who wasn't president.


As for the remains found miles under the earth, i have read about them, but I suppose i'll have to retract that statement since I can't find a link even after an hour looking. The best I can do is a skull found about 1500 feet down in Table Mountain, under a lava cap. nersp.nerdc.ufl.edu...
I am well aware that archaeologists don't just pick a spot and start digging to china. Fortunately we have miners to make blind stabs for us and occasionally turn something up. Coal mines often go miles into the earth. My grand father was a rough neck (oil driller) and told me about bringing up remains of strange jointed plants. I managed to find reference to those in my search for links, and if they were the same thing, then those were a few hundred thousand years old. I've also gotten permission to go through my grandfather's attic sometime to see if he still as a tooth a little smaller than a man's forearm which he believes to be from a shark. He says it came up when he was drilling over 20,000 feet down in Oklahoma. Obviously I'll provide pics if I do find this thing. The point at any rate is that archaeologists aren't the only ones digging.



posted on May, 31 2004 @ 01:06 PM
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Vagabond -
Nice proof there!

Just to add a litle spice, can we add what theories there are afloat that supply factors for dating discrepancies? In geology, I know there are some quesions as to whether various geological processes take as long as thought, or take place in the way they are thought to, and I will post some links on that in a bit, when I have more time to post. For c-14, there is the ancient a-bomb theory, as well as some theories on the effects of comet and or meteor impacts. I'll gather up some links on those, as well, if no one has some handy. What else is there?

As a note, not saying these are right or even close, just thought it would be good to entertain some different perspectives.



posted on Jun, 1 2004 @ 08:54 PM
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a few idears...

DNA can trace out migrations routes, as well as population as given times. DNA tells us that roughly 100,000 years ago, there were very few human beings on this planet. That coincides with a large Meteor strike about the same time. SOme estimates are less than 2 thousand worldwide. we came very close to being wiped out. DNA can trace HUman Beings about 110-130,000 years back. After that things get a bit fuzzy. DNA is a wonderfull tool.

I have trouble with the statement " the farther back we go, the less sophisticated people are"
In studying ancient peoples, there pops up again and again the question of how they were able to discover and invent, what we need computers for today; the mayan calculated star and planet movements, backwards in time over 500,000 years. The Mayan also calculated lunar eclipses, on the other side of the earth no less, for the next 1500 years. There is no explanation any astonomer i talked with could give me. we simply do not know.
The heaviest object lifted by modern humans with a crane was a part of the hoover dam. I believe it weighed about 400 tons.
The teahuanacu in Bolivia, were lifting 600 ton boulders, at 12,000 feet elevation. we do not know how this was accomplished, 2500 years ago.
There are Massive earthworks in Malta, utilizing advanced acoustics, that date back about 8000 years
The MOche INdians of Peru, used aedvanced hydrodynamics in the construction of their canals. We could not understand the construction until a Japanese scientist rebuilt the canal in a Lab, and tested through computers and flow rates. No matter how much the Volume of water flowed thru, the speed of water flowing never increased, or decreased. It remained constant. The MOche died out about 4500 years ago.

Peoples we do not know and cannot explain, were able to accomplish feats of engineering,astronomy, acoustics, hydrodanamics, and any other science we care to check, that leap past anything we are able to understand them capable of.
I believe one day we will recognize that our ancestors were a brilliant people.



posted on Jun, 1 2004 @ 09:10 PM
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What are your thoughts on WHAT you are, human perhaps. Human, Homo Sapiens, bio-organics
computer processors......WORDS. Being that no matter what one says, how you try and cope with the minds apparent need for some answer, closure or subliminal coping mechanism to questions without absolute answers, often called speculations of perception, (also bound by unknown absolutes)
who really knows anything at all anyway. Inevitably you will decided on some acceptable reason or rationale and thus from what is called: opinion. In the end you will have nothing more and they are weighed against everyone elses. Countenance or competition, who knows. Just decided to add my two cents.



posted on Jun, 2 2004 @ 12:00 PM
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Imagine that. I was just having a really good day, and it dawned on me that God might send a nihlist to reduce this very real and enjoyable world to nothing more than an ethereal riddle with no answer. And here you are. I wasn't expecting Him to send lucifer really, but I'm flattered.
I'll tell ya what Luke. Just post your IQ and I'll pretend to be impressed. If you've got a whole bunch of degrees make sure to tell me all about them too. I'll ask you lots of questions as if I was star-struck.

I hate to be a jerk, but if you want to show me how smart you are, you can start by posting something that touches on the subject of the thread. I used to talk like that a lot, and I was full of crap every time. Having been there, I can spot the trait a mile away.



posted on Jun, 2 2004 @ 12:29 PM
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Originally posted by saturnine_sweet
Byrd -
Yes, I am well aquainted with anthropology, including college material.


If you were well acquainted with anthropology, you wouldn't be asking some of these questions. Either you're lying or you're willfully ignorant.



posted on Jun, 3 2004 @ 01:31 AM
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I wouldn't call him ignorant under any circumstances. I don't understand the value of making an unsupported claim that Byrd (or anyone for that matter) must be a liar or an ignoramus, but that seems to be what you're doing. You haven't pointed out any aspect of Byrd's posts which is in error or shows a lack of knowledge, so the appearance, even to a less than objective observer, is that mud is being slung at Byrd for questioning something you believe in.
If Byrd's education level of education is a problem at all (which I don't really think it is) the more likely problem he faces is an excessive education (and loyalty to it). I say this because in a couple of recent threads he has discounted possibilities and claimed certain things to be debunked when in fact they remained possible, and in one case, the "debunked" source, was proven accurate. I have no problem with people thinking Byrd might be wrong (actually I encourge it) but I wouldn't call him ignorant.



posted on Jun, 3 2004 @ 08:14 AM
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Originally posted by The Vagabond
I wouldn't call him ignorant under any circumstances. I don't understand the value of making an unsupported claim that Byrd (or anyone for that matter) must be a liar or an ignoramus, but that seems to be what you're doing.

Err... actually, ElMariachi was questioning your understanding. That aside, thank you for the kind words about my own education/understanding. I'm also female, but that's a trivial point.

I have trouble with the statement " the farther back we go, the less sophisticated people are"


Actually, anyone who's studied ancient cultures (yes, that includes we anthropologists and archaeologists) would quibble with the statement, too. That's a very western-centric viewpoint, and simply not true.


In studying ancient peoples, there pops up again and again the question of how they were able to discover and invent, what we need computers for today; the mayan calculated star and planet movements, backwards in time over 500,000 years. The Mayan also calculated lunar eclipses, on the other side of the earth no less, for the next 1500 years. There is no explanation any astonomer i talked with could give me. we simply do not know.

This may be because they don't study archaeoastronomy. Knowledge in a field doesn't mean that you know how things were done by earlier humans -- just as a modern physician has no idea how trepanning was done (making holes in the head to relieve the pressure within a skull... an ancient technique done by Neanderthals and recorded on one of the ancient Egyptian papyri.)

We're lazy, we moderns. For instance, I have completely forgotten how to sit down and divide out a number to find its square root... and yet my ancestors could do this. I couldn't tame and shoe and harness a horse (I like them, but I couldn't do this) or even build a proper house or shelter, and the heavens help me if I had to go out and hunt down a buffalo or move a large object without mechanical assistance. At one point in my life, I could manually calculate fairly complex statistics (me and my calculator), but I've lost this and now I use SPSS.

I could not spin and weave to produce cloth (and I sure can't sew) and I couldn't make pots.

Man is a toolmaker, and as he develops quicker and more efficient ways of doing things he drops the old ways of doing things. It's not so much a question of intelligence but of the level of sophistication of tools.

Yes, with enough observations, you can figure out the orbits of the planets... the ancient tables of planets are thousands of years old.

We don't actually know how ideas arose in ancient cultures (and remember, not all cultures got the same technology/concepts/ideas at the same time.) One theory (Kulturkreisse) says that they arise spontaneously and you'll see them show up in several different areas (the technology for pottery, for instance) and spread from there. How things spread may depend more on the technology of communication than anything else.



posted on Jun, 3 2004 @ 12:56 PM
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Actually it wasn't aimed at me either.
I mistook the "Byrd-" for an attribution of the quote to you. The quote was actually from saturnine. It had nothing to do with me. Don't you just love it when not reading closely enough makes someone look far less intelligent than they really are? Thank Christ it's not ONLY me for a change.



posted on Jun, 3 2004 @ 02:01 PM
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Hello Byrd, nice to meet you.


Your examples are fair enough, but sewing clothes and saddling a horse are a far cry from calculating the position of the stars half a million years ago, or the analog computor that is 4000 years old. To this day the Mayan Calendar is off by 32 seconds. the only reason our calendar is more accurate is the use of atomic clocks to regulate time with.

Our Prehistory is missing something very important, and we (some scientists) are unwilling to accept circumstantial evidence (so far) of a highly advanced and developed Culture existed on this earth long ago. This Culture seems to have spread out and then disappeared. They left traces of themselves, but little more.
I am hopeful we find direct, solid evidence one day.





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