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How do we find our past?

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posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 06:23 PM
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Our past is mired by the inadequate understandings of anthropology. There are many anomalies in our own history, but to address these, we need to travel back into time, to over 2 MYA, to see where our origins as humanity began. The period before writing was developed is called pre-history, and this is where our journey begins.



The last Ice Age ended approximately 10,000 BCE. Even though humanity was still surviving, there is no written record record of what survival entailed. This was before we learned how to write.



We learned survival skills, and prospered. As we advanced into the Neolithic Age, we survived by using a Lunar Calendar, but didn't keep track of years. The Lunar Calendar told us when to plant crops, and when to harvest, but the aspect of lineal time was meaningless to our ancestors.



We tinkered with writing, and recording our thoughts. No doubt we had languages, and that we could speak to one another, but until writing was developed, which marks the beginning of recorded history, nobody really knows what occurred.

Writing development timeline. A good reference link.


Among many ancient societies, writing held a extremely special and important role. Often writing is so revered that myths and deities were drawn up to explain its divine origin.

In ancient Egypt, for example, the invention of writing is attributed to the god Thoth (Dhwty in Egyptian), who was not only the scribe and historian of the gods but also kept the calendar and invented art and science. In some Egyptian myths, Thoth is also portrayed as the creator of speech and possessing the power to transform speech into material objects. This ties in closely with the Egyptian belief that in order for a person to achieve immortality his or her name must be spoken or inscribed somewhere forever.

In Mesopotamia, among the Sumerians the god Enlil was the creator of writing. Later during Assyrian, and Babylonian periods, the god Nabu was credited as the inventor of writing and scribe of the gods. And similar to Thoth, Mesopotamian scribal gods also exhibit the power of creation via divine speech.
Among the Maya, the supreme deity Itzamna was a shaman and sorceror as well as the creator of the world. (In fact, the root of his name, "itz", can be roughly translated as "magical substance, usually secreted by some object, that sustains the gods"). Itzamna was also responsible for the creation of writing and time-keeping. Strangely enough, though, Itzamna isn't a scribal god. This duty falls on usually a pair of monkey gods as depicted on many Maya pots and is also preserved in the highland Maya epic "Popol Vuh". Still, in one rare case, the scribe is a "rabbit".

In China, the invention of writing was not attributed to a deity but instead to a ancient sage named Ts'ang Chieh, who was a minister in the court of the legendary Huang Ti (Yellow Emperor). While not divine, this invention occurred in mythological times, and served as a communication tool between heaven (realm of gods and ancestors) and earth (realm of humans), as demonstrated by the inscribed oracle bones used for divination during historical times.

Whether as a medium to communicate with the gods, or as a magical or supernatural power, writing cleared possesed a divine nature in these ancient cultures. Hence, writing became not only a way to extend memory but also a tool for the elite to justify their rule upon the common, illiterate people.

Source.

The pyramids were allegedly built around 3200 BCE, but that's the same period of time that hieroglyphs were invented. There's no written record of the pyramids being built. I find that to be odd. Are the building of the pyramids actually a pre-historic event? It could appear so.

The Solar Calendar was the next important innovation to make writing more important. Ancient civilizations began to record the years, with the Mayan developing their calendar around 5000 BCE. The Egyptian calendar dates back to 4,236 BCE, the Jewish calender to 3,761 BCE, the Chinese calendar to 2,357 BCE, and of course, our modern Gregorian calender dates to year 0. Isn't it odd that calendars pre-date written scripts? Shouldn't the two have mutually evolved?

I've always wondered about the aspects of "intervention" in our pre-historic past. Are the myths based in reality? Perhaps it's just our incomplete understanding our own past. Maybe someday, we'll know the answers.

Your thoughts?




posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 06:31 PM
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anyone knowing their past knows their future and anyone who knows him self knows both - ill tell you it aint at all like they tell it = his-story

www.youtube.com...



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 06:42 PM
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reply to post by alexagendajones
 


Here's your video direct.


Well along the theme of the OP. Not only do we not have a record of prehistory, but how much of our actual history has been altered over the years?



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 06:44 PM
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A fine summary Druid

A few comments:

I think you'll find that there are indications of religious 'thought' before 28,000 years ago, I'll list a few in the next post.

Your statement that the pyramids were first construction in 3200 BC isn't correct. The Saqqara style of pyramid was built in the around 2700 BC. So your contention that they are 'pre-historic' is not correct. Unless you are mixing Mesopotamian ziggurats into the equation; they did exist at that time and had evolved from earlier Ubaidian platforms.

Proto writing existed before the time of the evoluation of calendars - they probably did evolve together
edit on 11/12/11 by Hanslune because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 06:48 PM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


Well we don't have written records of our prehistory - but even then most of the records we have are accounting documents. Proto-writing evolved in Mesopotamia to keep track of things and the vast majority of documents deal with that - accounting for stuff.

Archaeology and other sciences can deduce a great deal of detail from the study of pre-historical remains - we are not completely blind.

Druid you might find this of interest, unfortunately the link is to a paid site but you may be able to find it a local University:

Religion and domestication

Rise of symbolism

You might want to consider if the style of the Neanderthal burial at Shanidar IV is a sign of religion, this would push back the 'invention' of relgion back to 50k

edit on 11/12/11 by Hanslune because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 07:02 PM
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reply to post by Hanslune
 


The link between the pyramids and pre-history is that there is no written records of them being built. No blue prints, no logistics, nothing. They just appeared someday in the past?.
Something as monumental should have some written record, aye?

I look forward to more of your insight.



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 07:12 PM
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Originally posted by Druid42
reply to post by Hanslune
 


The link between the pyramids and pre-history is that there is no written records of them being built. No blue prints, no logistics, nothing. They just appeared someday in the past?.
Something as monumental should have some written record, aye?

I look forward to more of your insight.



Not necessarily; can you point to any ancient monument were the construction is demonstrated in writing? On can note that the AE symbol of tomb was originally a rectangle - looking like a Mastaba and this was changed to a pyramid at the end of the 5th dynasty.

A good question to ask - what is the first documented construction in the ancient world?

They didn't 'just appear'; ziggurats evolved out of lower platforms, Egyptian pyramids from mastaba's then step pyramids then to pyramids



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 07:18 PM
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There are hieroglyphs that describe and show the cutting and transport of obelisks. Also of workers on the pyramids.
Inside the king's chamber of the "great" pyramid there is "graffiti" from the builders that say basically "(insert name) was here and helped build this".



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 07:22 PM
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Originally posted by Chamberf=6
There are hieroglyphs that describe and show the cutting and transport of obelisks. Also of workers on the pyramids.
Inside the king's chamber of the "great" pyramid there is "graffiti" from the builders that say basically "(insert name) was here and helped build this".


Very true but I suspect Druid wants a more detailed description! One Egyptologist suggested that showing the details of tomb being built might have been considered ill-advised or 'bad luck', however no true construction details have been found for any building until 'X'

I say 'X' as I don't know the answer to that and have asked the experts over at the hall of Ma'at



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 07:24 PM
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Originally posted by Druid42
reply to post by Hanslune
 


The link between the pyramids and pre-history is that there is no written records of them being built. No blue prints, no logistics, nothing. They just appeared someday in the past?.
Something as monumental should have some written record, aye?


Oh, there's lots of records of the loads of stone, work crews, work crews going on strike, food, worker cities, cemetery inscriptions of overseers, temples placed in front of them dedicated to the worship of the god-king they were for... plus 200 other pyramids (give or take a few). Sneferu, in fact, built at least three.

Egyptian culture is not the same as modern culture. If we start on a huge project, there's meetings and records, and writeups and so forth. In an age with low literacy and where jobs were taught by apprenticeship and where paper and writing tools had to be made by you -- by hand -- there was no such thing as Really Casual Writing (they would write on broken chips of stone or broken pot fragments (ostrika) if they wanted notes. There was no formal system of accounting.

Imhotep's contribution to pyramids appears to have been to enclose them in a walled structure and place certain buildings in the enclosure, including the shrine to the dead god-king. This practice begins with Sneferu and continues to the last of them.

Blueprints didn't exist until the 1700's, so there are no blueprints for MOST things. From the Great Wall of China, to the Iron Pagoda, to the Taj Mahjal, to almost all the buildings in this Wikipedia article there was no record/blueprint. There are diagrams of machines and machinery, drawings of buildings, but no real record of who constructed most of them and how long it took to build them and so forth.



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 07:32 PM
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reply to post by Byrd
 


The first suriving book on architecture is the Roman de architectura by Vitruvius and that is from the 1st century AD



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 07:56 PM
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So then, given your comments (everyone) so far, I guess it's safe to assume that verbal communication established itself early on in the pre-historical record, with many architectural feats being achieved throughout the ancient world being built by word of mouth alone?

The historical record, written history, has many gaps in it. So many ancient sites are difficult to explain in modern terms. Without a written record, it would appear that humankind simply "invented" structures to fit their religious beliefs, and that most of their beliefs did involve worship of gods and goddesses.

What part of their beliefs were attributed to actual deities? Is the belief in a deity a pre-requisite for building monumental structures? It appears so, but that's a part of the past I'd like to address more.



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 08:01 PM
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reply to post by Hanslune
 


So the first actually "surviving" book is from 1 CE? What about the Library of Alexandria? How many tomes of architecture were stored there?

How much was erased? Lost to conquest, destroyed by invaders, or burnt by religious zealots? These are questions we can only hope to know.



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 08:16 PM
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Originally posted by Druid42
reply to post by Hanslune
 


So the first actually "surviving" book is from 1 CE? What about the Library of Alexandria? How many tomes of architecture were stored there?

How much was erased? Lost to conquest, destroyed by invaders, or burnt by religious zealots? These are questions we can only hope to know.


There are bits and pieces from earlier Greek and Roman sources too. But that book was so useful (or lucky) that nearly a hundred copies survived. There was no catagory AFAIK for 'architecture' in the Libraries organization

The subject divisions first set forth by Callimachus in his Pinakes for the library were: rhetoric, law, epic, tragedy, comedy, lyric poetry, history, medicine, mathematics, natural science, astronomy, geometry, philology and miscellanies
edit on 11/12/11 by Hanslune because: Corrected the library list of subjects



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 09:21 PM
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I have been thinking deeply about our beginnings as what we are today.
Some say religious contemplation,some say practicality.

As the many hominid species left our birthplace in Africa,many of those species exhibited our basic fundamental tool making and societal attributes that exist in us ,as homo sapiens, today.

But H.S. survived and the rest did not.
Why?

Cause we were smarter and had the capacity to understand our world in a deeper sense.

This led to us recording our thoughts on a rock,than bark,leather,whatever.

So with this thinking and research I came across this site that delves into the evolution of religion.
A new science.
That would make sense,the evolution of religious thought.

evolution.binghamton.edu...


The evolution of religion and its possible adaptive function have been the subject of considerable recent investigation by a wide array of researchers with diverse theoretical and methodological approaches. Cognitive scientists and evolutionary psychologists have been prominent among these researchers (Atran 2002; Barrett 2000; Bering, in press; Boyer 2001; Bulbulia 2004, in press; Guthrie 1993; Kirkpatrick 1999; Mithen 1996, 1999). They have primarily studied religion in terms of beliefs, uncovering the psychological mechanisms that produce supernatural agents in all cultures. With the notable exceptions of Bering (in press) and Bulbulia (2004), these researchers have concluded that religion constitutes a by-product of cognitive adaptations selected for “more mundane” survival functions. Evolutionary anthropologists have also revitalized studies of religion over the past two decades (see Sosis and Alcorta 2003). In contrast to the cognitive scientists, however, these researchers have tended to focus on religious behaviors rather than beliefs.


Alcorta, C. & Sosis, R. (2005) Ritual, Emotion, and Sacred Symbols: The Evolution of Religion as an Adaptive Complex. Human Nature 16(4) 323-359.

That link to a pdf file can be found here.
evolution.binghamton.edu...
edit on 11-12-2011 by kdog1982 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 09:27 PM
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reply to post by kdog1982
 


Your post made me think of sir Robert Frasier's "The Golden Bough".

Excellent book that compiles worldwide religious, ritual, magick, belief, etc., systems and archetypes through history.



posted on Dec, 11 2011 @ 09:38 PM
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reply to post by Chamberf=6
 


I have never read that book, but yes it does look at the history of religion.
But,what I'm referring to is the creation of the belief,or religious thinking in early man.
Where did it start,what was the spark in all of the humans across the globe?

edit on 11-12-2011 by kdog1982 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2011 @ 07:13 AM
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reply to post by kdog1982
 


That's interesting. I think you are implying that evolution required us to believe in the supernatural. A belief in supreme beings helped to escalate the evolution of writing?

Every early civilization had their supreme beings, save the far east (China). China however, believe the deity was "within" everyone as an individual.

Did we have to believe, or was there something to believe?

That's something to ponder.



posted on Dec, 12 2011 @ 10:58 AM
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Originally posted by Druid42
So then, given your comments (everyone) so far, I guess it's safe to assume that verbal communication established itself early on in the pre-historical record, with many architectural feats being achieved throughout the ancient world being built by word of mouth alone?


Of course. Look at all the cultures which have no written language but have built sites and monuments.


The historical record, written history, has many gaps in it. So many ancient sites are difficult to explain in modern terms. Without a written record, it would appear that humankind simply "invented" structures to fit their religious beliefs, and that most of their beliefs did involve worship of gods and goddesses.

Archaeology and anthropology have come a long way from the 1800's, when they attempted to explain the sites based on what they thought they saw (Mayan/Incan sites suffered heavily from this.) Now they report "just the facts" (figure of a pottery female, looks similar to other Earth Mother figures, found broken in a kiln) instead of "figure of the proto-Gaia, worshiped throughout Europe, deity of fertility and childbirth and children" (I just made that last bit up from scraps of this and that... while slightly plausible, there is no evidence to support that description.)


What part of their beliefs were attributed to actual deities?

Who knows? We have no method of telling this at the present.


Is the belief in a deity a pre-requisite for building monumental structures?

Real answer: Nobody knows.

For instance, we don't know about the beliefs of the people who built the mound cities here in America. We don't know if the people who built Stonehenge (there were three cultures... different times) were animists (believed in spirits but not deities) or had multiple deities or a few deities or just one deity. We don't know about the beliefs of the people of Gobekli Tepe, either. Many huge structures larger than the ones for the gods were built for individual rulers (or rulers who declared themselves gods.)

We might assume it is, but there could be other reasons for building monumental structures (defense, calendars, impress-your-uppity-neighbors, etc.)

If this sounds dodgy, remember that in the academic field (since the 1950's or so) you can get your entire body of work discounted by everyone if you run off and make unsupported statements. Before then, everyone felt it was necessary to interpret objects ("that's a goat, so this bowl is sacrificial.") After the rise of anthropology (where people of the culture (like Hopi Indians) became part of the scholarly community (and said "your interpretation is stupid and centered in the White culture. Ask the Hopi what that symbol means instead of making up your own lame ideas"), anthropologists and archaeologists became VERY wary of building stories for objects.

Which is a good thing. More knowledge, less noise.



posted on Dec, 12 2011 @ 11:00 AM
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Originally posted by Chamberf=6
reply to post by kdog1982
 


Your post made me think of sir Robert Frasier's "The Golden Bough".

Excellent book that compiles worldwide religious, ritual, magick, belief, etc., systems and archetypes through history.


It is, but in rereading it (as an anthropologist, and 40 years after I first read it), I see a lot of flaws in it and flawed assumptions based on Inventive Interpretation. I am working on a reconsideration of some of the Greek gods as presented there, but that's time intensive and takes getting the original source material. He did have a lot of it, though... and it still remains a favorite book in spite of its problems.



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