Saturday, May 24, 2014

This is why we need an open mind about our prehistoric history

The recent discovery of sauropod dinosaur fossils in South America were found not only in a location they were not expected to be found in, but from a time period they were not expected to be found in.  The evidence suggests the Leinkupal laticauda lived millions of years after it was thought to have gone extinct.

While this dinosaur still lived long before the time the last dinosaurs are typically said to have died off 65 million years ago, it's still proof that new discoveries can rewrite the history books.

But what about the history of human civilization?  We're basically taught that the first humans were hunter-gatherers and that they lived that way for much of history until some started to settle down as farmers.  And it was still a while after that before humans began engineering large cities.  I remember being taught about the "cradle of civilization" in the fertile crescent of the middle east when I was young.  It was said that was when writing first began, and history could be recorded.  That goes back over 6000 years.

But is the "cradle of civilization" really the cradle of civilization?  There is evidence that civilization existed long before the time of the first recorded civilizations in the middle east.  One of the best examples is Gobekli Tepe.

The site of Gobekli Tepe was discovered in 1963 but was not excavated until that 1990's.  Massive stone monuments with elaborate carvings of animals have been found at the site and dated to being at least 10,000 years old.

There is no written record of what the purpose of the site was, who built the site, or how they built the site.  But it was obviously built by skilled engineers and at some point appears to have been deliberately buried thousands of years before the rise of civilization in the fertile crescent.  It is thought only a small percentage of the site has even been excavated, but what they have found so far is proof enough that civilization existed thousands of years before the earliest recorded civilizations in the fertile crescent.

In 2001, it was announced the ruins of an ancient city were found underwater in the Gulf of Khambat in India.  The civilization found there was dated to being 9500 years old.  Whoever built the city obviously built it when the land it is own was above ground.  It is my feeling that there could be many civilizations that existed thousands of years ago prior to the Great Flood (or the end of the ice age) that are now underwater.  The ruins in Gulf of Khambat are just one example.  I elaborate more on my thoughts about lost civilizations and underwater archaeology here.

My feeling is that we need to be more open minded about our prehistoric history.  These are but two examples of prehistoric ingenuity (see more here).  While I am not a dogmatic creationist who believes the world is only 6000 years old, I also do not simply accept "scientific" dogmas about prehistory as fact.  I'm comfortable with my worldview being viscous and shaped by what is discovered instead of just being set in stone.  I don't try to make new discoveries fit into some long held beliefs.  If a new discovery fits with what is known historically, great.  But if it doesn't, then maybe it is time to rethink that part of history.  If a new discovery can rewrite when a dinosaur lived, then new discoveries should be able to rewrite how old civilization is.  And the discoveries at Gobekli Tepe and the Gulf of Khambat are evidence that human civilization existed thousands of years prior to the records of civilization that we have.

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