Category Archives: Ancient Technology

Links: The Genius of Ancient Man Blog

CS4K-Genius-of-Ancient-ManOne of the most exciting things to learn about is just how smart and talented our earliest forefathers actually were.

I just started a book with my six year old on people around the world and right at the beginning they had the usual “people slowly developed from ape-like animals” story. They tell kids with all the confidence in the world how fire was accidentally discovered and then another accident inspired them to continue dropping their meat into the warming blaze.

It would be really interesting to see their sources for such statements.

With my older kids I’ve been reading about inventions that changed the world. They start out with the same kinds of stories. “Accidentally”, “perhaps” a million, or “approximately” 50,000 years ago, things like the wheel and cooking were discovered, revolutionizing the poor things’ lives.

Now, the dates they give starting at about 50,000 years ago are based on actual discoveries. To find out what’s going on and how trustworthy such statements are, check out my article on Carbon Dating. But these story lines also have to ignore a huge amount of discoveries we have made about our ancestors.

Farming terraces on the eastern side of the vi...

Chinese Farming Terraces

On this blog I collected some of the cool findings I ran into over the past few years. You can check them out under the categories Ancient Technology and Ancient Civilizations. My favorite posts are the ones on Farming Terraces and the Sewers from ancient times. Not only are they really cool, they also have nothing to do with idolatry!

Recently, I haven’t been adding any more articles to these categories. Not because I lost interest, but because I haven’t been running into any more discoveries, plus….

Another Creationist group is specializing in presenting these findings in a Christ-honoring light!

Last Autumn I was thrilled to buy a copy of the new book The Genius of Ancient Man published by Master Books, but I never bothered to tell you all about it because there was very little new info in it. It is, however, worth having in your family library for the worldview training alone and the pictures are cool.

So, when I found Jackson Hole Bible College was continuing their research and sharing with a blog I was ecstatic! This time my excitement has been justified. Every week or so the Alumni of the school post an article about some new place, artifact, or finding illustrating our forefather’s brain power.

Even better is the manner of presentation. They are careful to use credible sources, always have a couple good pictures, and best of all, they point people to Jesus. Some of the cultures and practices of the ancients were completely sold out to sin. That didn’t mean they lost their brain power right away, it meant everything they did was corrupted.

The Genius of Ancient Man blog provides us a safe environment to learn the truth about our past. They also continue to expand their worldview training. For example, they’ve recently posted about brain power not having to be connected to technology. This will be a relief to all of us who struggle to learn computer skills others already designed let alone create new things!

Squeeze Toy Alien guarding chemicals

(Photo credit: jepoirrier)

They’ve also just taken on the popular fascination with aliens. If you (or your kids) know someone interested in the new TV series, or who just feels drawn by this subject, these articles are for you. Ancient Aliens: Part One and Part Two.

You can easily sign up to receive updates about new posts on their blog and, if you’re on facebook, follow their page. It takes a while for the new articles to show up there, but it makes it super easy to share with your friends.

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deuteronomy 7:9

Ancient Watersystems: Dikes & Canals

Dutch Windmills, Kinderdijk, Netherlands - 3699

Dutch Windmills, Kinderdijk, Netherlands – 3699 (Photo credit: HereIsTom)

Having studied a bunch of the amazing things our first forefathers made got me wondering about the dikes in Holland. Turns out their dike system isn’t terribly ancient, although “Pliny the Elder” (about the time of Jesus) had this to say about the Dutch:

A miserable people is living there on high hills or rather on mounds erected by hand till from one’s own experience known level of the highest tide and on these mounds they have built their huts. Historia Naturalis

That doesn’t sound anything like the major systems they have today!

But, a number of other people groups used dikes in the early years after the Ark landed.

The Egyptians:

Nile

We all know they captured water from the yearly flooding of the Nile to irrigate their crops the whole year. Did you know a big part of this system included raised walls to form storage ponds and guide water to them?

I found a detailed and not too Evolutionary page where you can learn a lot about what they did and why it worked so well for 1,000s of years here: Egypt’s Nile Valley Basin Irrigation by Sandra Postel.  Remember. they say things happened before time started because they trust Carbon-14 Dating.

The Mesopotamians:

In Iraq, canals make the difference between lu...

The Grand Canal, north of Baghdad, modern irrigation in Mesopotamia

The Tigris and Euphrates get their water from high in the Turkish mountains. The reason the Nile has such “gentle” floods is because the melting waters from Africa’s mountains flow first into lakes (Victoria and Tana) before continuing down the river. Mesopotamia doesn’t have this protection system. Their floods were larger and more unpredictable, so the people had to come up with a system or move.

Being smart and hard workers, they built their own series of dikes, canals and even city walls to protect themselves and their crops from these floods.

The Mesopotamian floods washed in more than just water, too. All rivers carry tiny bits of rock, called silt, which brings fresh nutrients for the plants. But the Turkish mountains bring something else down, too- salt.

Early records from Lagaš or Lagash, not far from where the Tigris and Euphrates combine, tell an interesting story about this. At first they produced a lot of wheat, but within 400 years the ground was too salty to grow wheat at all!

Here’s where our thinking about the geological past comes in. If these rivers had been flowing in the same basic way (except during the worst of the “ice ages“), how did the salt build up so quickly in recorded history? I’m sure they can come up with a story, but I bet ours is simpler:

If those rivers had only been flowing from those mountains from the time the Ark landed, they didn’t have very long to start building salt deposits before people arrived!

China:

English: Mulanpo Irrigation System built in th...

Mulanpo Irrigation System built in the 11th century (Song Dynasty) in Putian, Fujian Province of China 中文: 建于11世纪(北宋)的福建莆田木兰陂水利工程 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found a page saying we know the earliest Chinese built irrigation systems, but gave no examples until about 250 BC. What IS cool about this “bamboo-based” irrigation system is how much better it survived a recent earthquake than modern technology did.

They also had a deep mountain shaft water system like the  Middle Easterners. Exciting stuff!

North America:

Of course, people didn’t settle so far from Babel for a while, but they brought a lot of knowledge with them when they did. Early Mexican and Native Americans built irrigation systems up to about a 1,000 years ago, but it’s not easy to find much about them. This webpage mentions both groups and their names if you want to learn more.

And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. Amos 9:5 

Ancient Technology: Presision Stonework Part 1

I’ve been reading through another of my new books, the hot-off-the-presses title: The Genius of Ancient Man.  I’m hoping to get some more ideas to add to my collection of posts because this topic is as big a thinking-changer as any.

So far, it seems that I’ve already at least touched on most of the types of things we find that tell us our earliest ancestors were the opposite of “primitive.”  That’s encouraging, but I want to know more!

This new book does a great job discussing how carefully Jesus’ followers need to handle this topic. Ignoring our ancestor’s achievements is unwise, but much of their lives were focused on idolatry that we detest. I’ve had to deal with this as well, so my favorite posts have been the stone spheres and farming terraces where there was little or no sign of devil worship involved.

This time I ran into something really cool about the stone work of early civilizations.  This article was published some years back in a paper that has no problem with smart ancients, but doesn’t believe in God either.  I didn’t see anything worrisome on the page, so go ahead and check out the link if you like stone work:

Ancient Precision Stone Cutting by Laura Lee

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that although we can make a good case for the explanation this article presents, that doesn’t force it to be the truth.  I once read a book that made a good case for the Last Czar’s daughter Anastasia having lived for many years after the fall of Russia.  Just a few years ago we found her remains with the rest of the murdered family, so the book was proved wrong.  It is equally possible to have another explanation for this rock cutting ability, but we know it must involve very high brain power!

WLA brooklynmuseum Statue of a Priest of Amun ...

Like others, this article points out just how high the quality of early stone work (in this case from Egypt) actually was.  They were capable of carving hard granite to a smooth polish.  This is not something that can be accurately done with stone chipping tools. I’m not going to cover all the likely tools the ancients would have needed to produce the stone work they left behind.  You’ll have to read the article for that, but there was one point that blew my mind.

There is a good possibility the ancients knew how to use lasers.  Well, not lasers like the pen you aren’t allowed to take to the movies, but focused sunlight.  Here’s the evidence:

  • We know the Egyptians, like the Incas long after, had the ability to polish granite to a high sheen in 3D
  • As late as the time of the Spanish invasion, the Incas started the national fire each year with the rays of the sun intensified by a huge golden disk. The only picture I could find of a surviving disk is made of silver, but it gives you the right idea (scroll down to the 2nd row of photos)
  • I’ve already mentionedmany ancient civilizations had these bowl-shaped disks that could have been used for astronomy.  What was to stop them from using these disks to carve and polish rock with the rays of the sun?House Altar wih Akhenaten, Nefertiti and Three...
  • The Laura Lee article points out that both the Egyptians and Incas lived in places where sunshine was a predictable thing.  They would have had ample opportunity to use it as a tool while they still remembered how.

We know that whatever technique these people used to do their incredible stone work was completely lost.  Today we don’t have any tools in our museums that could remotely explain their quality of workmanship.  But if the engineer’s ideas about using sunlight is accurate, we do have records of their tools having existed; they were cut in pieces and melted for their gold.

People have always been smart.  They also completely rebelled against God.  Without God’s help and protection there is nothing to stop our great-grandchildren from forever losing the technology we have slowly built up over the centuries as well.  Let us trust and honor the Giver of life who never vanishes or abandons us!

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. Proverbs 12-14

For more info, check out the Christian site: Ooparts & Ancient High Technology page 19

Michelangelo, Da Vinci and The Ancients

Last year my oldest two kids and I got to read a lovely book on Michelangelo by Diane Stanley.  I highly recommend her book both because of the depth of coverage for children, but also how deftly she avoids showing complete indecency so I didn’t have to keep holding my hands over particular portions!

Michelangelo's Pietà

Michelangelo’s Pietà (Photo credit: Sebastian Bergmann)

One of the things she pointed out was the find that led this brilliant artist beyond his early works to the full flower of his art.  This statue on the right was his first commissioned marble and shows how he already carefully observed the human body and the way cloth drapes.

His next work, the famous David statue, was also a masterpiece of copying the natural form in hard stone.  But both of these statues were very still; there was only a little life to, so his range of style was limited.

Laocoon Group, Vatican Museum, Rome

Laocoon Group, Vatican Museum, Rome (Photo credit: batigolix)

Then something amazing happened.  A farmer ran into some broken statuary on his farm and informed the Pope.  The Pope asked Michelangelo and another architect to check it out and they pieced together one of the greatest statuary figures we had in existence: the  Laocoön [lah-oh-koh-on] group.

This is a piece of art showing snakes killing a man and his sons for trying to warn the Trojans about the horse they had been offered by the Greeks.  It has been dated to some time shortly before the birth of Christ.  It was certainly made by 50BC and maybe as much as 200 years before if it is the Greek original and not a Roman copy.

The thing that impressed Michelangelo about this piece is the movement it shows.  Last year my kids and I studied an art book that talked about this.  You can see movement in a still painting or sculpture by imagining what would happen next if gravity took over.  This piece is chock full of movement.  It looks like a movie still caught in the middle of an action sequence.

From this time on Michelangelo’s work showed movement like that.  I’ve seen that there is a recent accusation claiming this piece is a forgery by Michelangelo himself trying to earn a quick buck (the farmer was paid handsomely for his find by the Pope).  There doesn’t seem to be enough proof to lay this claim to rest, but it seems very odd to me that Michelangelo’s style should change so dramatically after studying his own work!

The other thing I learned recently was that Leonardo Da Vinci also tried to copy the ancients.  Not

The Antikythera Mechanism was an analog comput...

artwork this time, but technology.

My very first post on the ancients mentioned the Antikythera Mechanism which is so complicated we are still trying to figure out what exactly they were using it for when it was sunk.

One of the interesting things that I ran into was that there is also a description of something simpler to use as an odometer.  We aren’t sure whether Vitruvius designed this machine shortly before Jesus’ birth, or if Archimedes had made it 200 years earlier!

Da Vinci Museum

Da Vinci Museum (Photo credit: claud334)

Da Vinci tried to copy this old idea and it worked: on paper.  But the secret of triangular gears had been lost.  It wasn’t until we remembered to use pointed gears like the ancients did that we could make a working device similar to the originals.

We have always been smart and talented.  Even our best minds have been blessed by the guidance of their forefathers.  Gears

If only we will use our abilities to praise and honor our Creator who gave us these powers in the first place!

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.  Proverbs 8:12

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  Psalm 107:8,15,21,31,

Quotes: Hezekiah’s Tunnel

we then entered hezekiah's tunnel from the gih...

To go with Ancient Technology in the Bible: Hezekiah’s Tunnel

From the Biblical Archeology Review quote from Ayreh Shimron,

“I think here is where we have to consider the possibility—perhaps even probability—that the Old Testament narrative regarding the threat that the Assyrian monarch Sennacherib made toward Jerusalem in the year 701 B.C.E. is historically correct.”

What?!  The Bible might have gotten the story right!  I’m shocked! :-D

Down the page quote from Ayreh Shimron,

“they also had a few things going for them. For example, simple oil levels, and a very efficient surveying instrument called a gromar that was used for surveying straight lines and simple angles, were already available at the time. The usage of the gromar is implied by the many 45 and 90 degree angles cut during execution of the tunnel.”

Well, we shall have to find out what a “Gromar” is and what it has to do with 45 and 90 degree angles soon!

I ran into a site with a number of skeptics claims from the last few centuries and the truths we have uncovered that show the Bible’s accuracy.

Like any “proof” these things will never convince those who don’t want the light to shine on them, but it gives us greater confidence in the reality of our Bible’s witness.

From Zionism Israel’s site,

“However, radiometric measurements by Amos Frumkin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his colleagues, reported in Nature vol 425, p 169, 2003 and summarized in New Scientist, proved rather conclusively that plant life disrupted by the tunnel (by C-14 dating) and stalactites and stalagmites that grew after completion of the tunnel (by uranium-thorium dating) originated about 700 BC.”

Why are these radio-metric dates accurate when we know so many aren’t?  This tunnel wasn’t dug until after the earth had finished calming down after the Flood.  It had been well over a 1,000 years since then and even the Ice Age was long gone, so the stalactites were growing at predictable rates.  There weren’t even any volcanoes around to throw off the dates!

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Psalm 19:7-10

Ancient Technology in the Bible: Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Hezekiah's Tunnel נקבת השילוח

Hezekiah’s Tunnel נקבת השילוח see the clear water he’s wading through?

And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? II Kings 20:20

When I was a girl I heard that they had found the “conduit” this verse talks about under the old city of Jerusalem.  My mom told me how they found a plaque at the point where the diggers had met in the middle.

Just a couple of years ago there was a lengthy article about this tunnel in the Biblical Archeology Review magazine (not run by Christians, but way cool anyway!).  Since I can’t mail you all copies of the article, this webpage  with responses from BAR (the important bits are the responses by Ayreh Shimron) which is pretty interesting and give you the basic idea.

One of the things I spotted on that page was that portions of the tunnel is “karstic.”  Three months ago my eyes would have glazed over and it would have been a mystery.  Now we know what Karst is, so we know what they’re talking about!

The rock in those sections is Limestone that the water had been wearing away.  This might have been how David had gotten into the city to take it long before.  Have a look at this verse:

And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter [a hollow water space], and smiteth the Jebusites,… he shall be chief and captain.
9  So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.  II Samuel 5:8a,9
If you blink (or yawn), you would miss that detail, but it’s interesting to know that there was already a waterway running through the hilltop of Jerusalem.

English: Hezekiah's Tunnel map עברית: מפת נקבת...

Hezekiah’s Tunnel map (blue line=tunnel, brown=elevation)

Now we come 300 years later and Hezekiah is trying to make sure his people will have water even if the Assyrians lay siege to the city.  So he has two groups of miners bring all the water from the spring of Gihon through the tunnel and down into a pool around the corner of the city.   One starting from the spring and the other starting at the pool of the Siloam (which was already fed by the old channel).

We still don’t understand all the details, but we can follow the path straight west where it was a good 50m [164ft] below ground level.  Besides having some effective tools to help guide them in the direction and level they wanted to dig in, there are people who think they probably used some sounds to guide them.

The theory goes like this.  People on the surface would tap at a point in front of the miners who would listen for the general direction they were to head in.  Shimron suggests this is why they decided to head back to a point closer to the surface to continue their diggings.

Things didn’t go perfectly for the diggers.  There are several points in the tunnel where they dug in one direction and then backed up about 2m [6ft] to continue in another direction.

Some people consider the extra length of the tunnel as proof that the miners weren’t too smart.  But we have yet to figure out how the two teams of diggers were able to meet with the precision that they showed at the join.

To honor this accomplishment, they carved a memorial that was found in 1880 by a boy exploring the tunnel.  Now this plaque has been removed and is at the Istanbul Archeological Museum, but it’s real!  Here’s the translation:

English: Siloam Inscription from Hezekiah's Tu...

Original Inscription at the Istanbul Archeological Museum (you can see why there are so many dots in the translation)

… the tunnel … and this is the story [the thing - "dvar"] of the tunnel while … the axes were against each other and while three cubits [were left] to cut? …the voice of a man … called to his fellow, for there was a through-passage ["Zedah"] in the rock, from the right … and on the day of the tunnel [being finished] the tone hewers struck [literally "hit"] each man towards his fellow, ax against [literally: "on"] ax, and the water went from the source to the pool for two hundred and a thousand cubits. and one hundred (?) cubits was the height over the head of the stone hewers.

BTW this tunnel ended at the Pool of Siloam that was only rediscovered with its original location and size  in 2005.

 He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.
So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?

This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. II Chronicles 32:3,4,30

For more, see the Quotes post.

Ancient Technology: Farming Terraces

The Banaue Rice Terraces in Luzon Island, Phil...

The Banaue Rice Terraces in Luzon Island, Philippines

I love mountains.  I also love stairs.  So, my first glimpse of mountains covered in rice terraces was thrilling!  Someday it would be really nice to visit some and experience them for myself (I may not have to travel so far, as you’ll see).

What I didn’t know s just how ancient these terraces are, and how common!

The most famous terraces are in the jungle of the northern Philippines.  My kids are just finishing up a missionary story about a lady who went to live in one of these valleys.  The people had been repairing and using their stone terraces for as far back as their memory went.  Our best guess is that they are 2 to 3 thousand years old.

Since I’ve run into some other terraces while studying other cultures, I decided to find out how old these terraces can be and how common they are around the world.  Here’s what I’ve found:

Terraces are a very efficient and reliable way to grow crops.  It is much simpler to divert mountain streams in times of low rain than to worry about flooding and drought. Terracing takes advantage of the warmer sunshine and air on the mountain sides.

Andenería en Moray (Perú)

Ancient terraces in Peru (we guess they were trying new techniques)

Have you ever grown a garden in a raised bed?  This takes advantage of the same conditions as a terrace.  You can control much more of the growing conditions with them.  The Incas even used different soils to grow different crops.  This is much easier in a small walled area.  There is even more on the Machu Picchu site, so please check it out.

These terraces are also the reason the mountain regions of Southeast Asia are able to support so many people.  I found a Water History page that starts out with an Evolutionary story of how they started working together in the first place.  We know that people have been forming societies since the very beginning.  The rest of the page is great at explaining the advantages these people have as well as the loss of individuality they suffer from being just one worker among many.

That’s the wonderful thing about following Jesus.  I am just a tiny part of His kingdom, but He is so big He cares about me more than I do!  What a great God to serve!

Just how many places did/do people use this kind of farming?  Have a look (I was completely blown away!):

English: Mountain of Ingushetia. Русский: Горн...

Mountain of Ingushetia showing ancient terracing (Russia, just north of Rep. of Georgia)

Although there are skeptics saying these terraces are all recent, that isn’t backed up by the facts.  As for how old these terraces could be, the paper on Malta says it all.  “Terrace construction methods have apparently changed little over time. It is only recently that some farmers have taken short-cuts and repaired terrace retaining walls with standard limestone building blocks.  Such repairs never last long.”

Our earliest ancestors were already very smart.  They were strong, cooperative (they were caring for their own family), and talented.  God’s Word predicts this kind of similarity beautifully.  He is trustworthy and cares for us!

Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 136:25,26

Ancient Irrigation: Oman’s Aflaj

English: Falaj in Misfah (Oman) Français : Fal...

Falaj in Misfah (Oman)

Yesterday I was reading the book Window on the World to my kids about the country of Oman.  Although this book is almost 20 years old, it still has a lot of good info on people that you don’t usually hear about.  Much to my surprise, I learned that this country is still using irrigation systems with complex tunnels that are 1,000s of years old!

It fit right in with my post on ancient sewer/water systems, so I had to find out more.  Today I spent a little time finding out more about them.  To understand the whole concept, Wikipedia has some good info and I like their long list of countries that have systems similar to Oman’s.  I found a really good Saudi page which says that Aflaj is the plural and Falaj is the singular Arabic name for these water systems.  If you want to study more about them, check out their page (I didn’t notice anything objectionable).   That page tells how the tunnels date back to before the time of King Sargon II of Assyria (c.727BC) since he mentions having destroyed some of them!

Yet again, we see that people way back were smart, strong and knew how to use the resources that God had given them!English: A cross section of a typical quanat.The Middle East wasn’t the only area to use these tunnels. Western China uses them, too.

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.  Proverbs 8:12-18

Ancient Civilization: The Paths of the Sea, Ocean Currents

English: Matthew Fontaine Maury, USN, after go...

Matthew Fontaine Maury

I really wanted to talk about this yesterday, but decided it would be best to get you up to speed on the world’s processes first.  This way you know what it was our mega great grandparents were using as they spread around the world after Babel.

If you look at almost any book that talking about the history of our understanding of ocean currents, you will read about how people didn’t know there even were ocean currents until the 1700s.  First Benjamin Franklin and then Matthew Fontaine Maury in the mid 1800s noticed that there were other things pushing ships around besides the wind bringing us into our enlightened modern age.

These were indeed great men who deserve honor for discovering something that had gotten lost over the years, at least in the West.  But, since I’ve been studying about our super smart ancestors this year, I knew that these men were surely not be the first to have noticed the ocean currents.

Here’s what I’ve found:

I’ve already covered the super early maps that sailors made before the ice caps had a chance to build up.  We have proof that these people were familiar with the Atlantic from the far north to Antarctica.  They would have run into all kinds of currents during all that traveling.  Be sure to follow the link to the Genesis Veracity Foundation website because  Mr. Nienhuis knows more about Ice Age civilizations and how advanced they were than any one I’ve ever run into.

What other evidence do we have that people used and/or understood ocean currents?  A couple of weeks ago I talked about how people from the far East made their way to the Americas to start civilizations like the Olmecs.  I found a whole conference sort of talking about this in Sitka, AK back in 2010.  You can tell right away that they are assuming these people were helpless dummies, but they do admit that they could have easily ended up crossing the Pacific with the help of currents.

Hippos_2One of the coolest things I ran into searching around for this info was that we know that the Phoenicians (you know, the Canaanite sailors) really got around.  I’m sure you’ve studied some about these great sailors of early history, but I bet you didn’t know this:

Turns out, we have found the leftovers of sailing ships, harbors built like the one in Tyre, bricks made to the same specs as back on the Mediterranean, evidence of mining and metal smelting, stone carvings, and (sadly) typical Phoenician altars to their god.  The website that talks about this isn’t interested in Creationism or aliens, they just want the truth about the greatness of the Phoenicians to be recognized for what it actually was.  Unfortunately for them, these truths fly in the face of the Evolutionary story that people long ago were stupid.

English: The Dutch ship De Eendracht attacks a...

The Dutch ship De Eendracht (top right) attacks a catamaran in the Southern Pacific.

The other people group who certainly knew about the Paths of the Sea are the Polynesians.  Although the history books will tell you that they all came from South East Asia in little boats, there are a lot of other evidences we have for just how great these sailor cultures were.  Their techniques for navigation remind me very much of what Mr. Nienhuis talks about having been in use across the world right after the Flood.  There is also evidence in the genetics and even the plants and animals of the Polynesian islands that a lot of things came from the Americas rather than straight from Taiwan and western points.

I also found a really long, Evolutionary thinking web page that is quite annoyed at the popular notion that the Polynesians came straight from the west.  Turns out their genetics show much closer connections with people from the Americas.  This site also has a really long page talking about all the evidences of Caucasians and other peoples being in the Americas and Pacific that aren’t supposed to have been there.  It has some scantily clad hula dancers among a lot of great pictures and lots of idols, but has tons of unpopular evidence for mingled people, giants and more (I’m going to file that page for future ideas).

Creation Ministries International has an article on Ancient mariners had current knowledge for even more.

God made people really smart; even when we fell into sin we didn’t lose our brainpower.  Our great grandparents weren’t apelike numbskulls, they were brilliant, talented heroes of old.  If only they had been willing to submit to their Creator as their father Noah was!

Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.  Jonah 1:14-16

Ancient Technology: Sewers?!!! Skara Brae and lots more

Since my computer wouldn’t let me post on Friday, I’m going to cover ancient civilizations and knowledge on Monday!  Besides Limestone, this is my favorite subject to study anyway! :-D

Skara Brae passageway near house 8.

Skara Brae passageway near house 8

My dad has an amazing library including a book I’ve just borrowed on Inventions.  They start way back in the “Stone Age” with needles, paint, pottery, boomerangs, and move on to more modern stuff like sewers.  When I saw that page I knew I had to cover it here (I hope to cover these others sometime, too).

The book mentioned that they had sewers in Scotland about 3,000 BC by secular dating, but nothing more.  So, I started a GoodSearch and found lots of stuff!

Scotland did indeed have homes with draining toilets almost as far back as people have lived there.  One of the northern Orkney Islands has a collection of buildings known as Skara Brae (don’t miss this link, it has some great pictures).  After living in the area long enough to have organic material (garbage) to insulate their homes with, the people built their homes completely of stone since there don’t seem to have been trees there (still aren’t any to this day).  Here’s what the website says about these people:

“The relics that he and his companions collected along the way were convincing proof that the site was indeed ‘Stone Age’—not a scrap of metal was found. In fact, it dates to what is known as the Neolithic period, when people first began to farm.”

So, they know how long ago this must have been because they didn’t have any metal (by the same reasoning it would mean that if I move somewhere without any electronics, I must have lived in the 19th Century).  But were these metal-less people stupid, almost-ape men?  Have a look at this:

“They normally had small cells built into the walls,  some of which were used for storage but there were a few with drains leading to  the outside which Childe believed to be lavatories. The drains from  the individual huts emptied into a sewer system which connected the entire  village.”

Orkney's Skara Brae

Orkney’s Skara Brae showing the dresser

All the regular houses also had something very much like a chest of drawers without the drawers.  We can only guess whether this was for storage, or some sort of ceremonial platform (although no idols were found!).  They also had some of those stone balls I wrote about the other week!  Cool.  The people who made these things were no dummies!

Eventually this village was abandoned for no reason that we can tell for sure.  It’s as good a guess as any that it had to do with the end of the Ice Age that Dancing from Genesis specializes in covering (be sure to check out his webpage on the Ice Age, too).

Let’s have a short look at other early drainage/sewer systems:

Well

Indus Valley ancient Well

The most famous early sewer system was in the Indus Valley of western India/eastern Pakistan.  They had a number of large cities with complex and well-designed wells and separate covered sewer systems.  They knew how water flows and how to use this to their advantage to have a clean and well-functioning cities as far back as human history goes.  This blog post has a bunch of great pictures and talks about this system.  They were no dummies either!

The Minoans of Crete had a complex water system in their labyrinth palace at Knossos with covered drains, pipes, baths and flushing toilets.  Lots of pictures can be found here at Sewer History.  This civilization reached its flower during the Ice Age as well.  Although this civilization is ranked later than the one in Scotland that is just because we have more ways to check, like known pottery styles and written histories.  I bet if the Scots had written stuff down or had the money to import pots from the Mediterranean they would date to more recent times, too.

Well, I’m getting long, so here are some more civilizations that had sewers in ancient times:

Babylonia Turkey, Iran, Israel (follow link to the next page for Israel)

Egypt

Mayans (they may have had fountains, too)

China  plus 900 year old drain saves city from flooding and really ancient metal pipes from near a pyramid that the website says were put in by aliens (rather than by really knowledgeable early people).

Arabia

The past two years my oldest kids and I have read through Usbourne’s Book of World History.  They did cover how the first cities in the Indus valley had good drainage systems, but they didn’t talk about proper sewers in civilizations until the Roman Empire.  I wonder why they left this stuff out?

And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah  Genesis 4:20-22

My starting sources online were these two pages:

Sewer History: Tracking down the roots of our sanitary sewers

A Brief History of Toilets by ar.colton

Quotes: Atlatl

Carved atlatl at the National Museum of Anthro...

Carved atlatl at the National Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City.

To go with the article Ancient Technology: Atlatl, Super Weapon

Quote from Atlatl.com, “The great innovation of Atlatl weights in the evolution of this technology bears the mark of true genius.”

Now that’s the right way to use the word Evolution!  It comes about by the application of intelligence.  In biology, Infinite Genius took no time at all to arrive at the best possible solution to the desired result.

Quote from Ingenium: Atlatl, “It seems that archaeologists had concluded that the atlatl really wasn’t a very good weapon. But when Bob started actually working with them he learned that by using a flexible dart instead of the rigid darts that the professional archaeologists had been using, the atlatl was revealed to be a very efficient weapon indeed.”

Once more we see that Evolutionary, ‘we’re the best there’s ever been,’ thinking turns out to be backwards.  The “primitives” were way smarter than Darwinian archeology gave them credit for.

Quotes from Dons Maps: Atlatl, “It launches projectiles at high speeds, kills at 40 metres and can even be fitted with a silencer. Kurt Kleiner reveals the surprising sophistication of a 25 000 year old weapon.”

Does it surprise you?  It doesn’t surprise me!  Check out what the same article says about modern engineers,

“he is one of a group of people who have been studying the mechanics of this primitive weapon and found it to be surprisingly sophisticated. Using modern engineering concepts and experimental techniques, they are rediscovering ancient construction methods that make subtle but important improvements to the weapon’s performance.”

I suppose this would have to be classified as “Paleo”mimicry?

Again from Dons Maps,

“According to archaeological evidence, the atlatl first made its appearance between 25 000 and 40 000 years ago in the region that today encompasses Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.”

But the World Atlatl site says that there is no proof of Atlatl use in Africa.  And Daryl Hrdlicka of the Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site says,

” While it was used extensively in North and South America, Australia, and Indonesia, the rest of the world seems to have missed it. Except for a few artifacts found in France, it’s not found in Europe; except for some Siberian Aleuts, it’s not found in Asia; and except for some references in Sumerian, it’s not found in Africa. These cultures seemed to go directly from spears to the bow.”

I think I’ll pass this on to my Ice Age collecting colleague, because many sites say the same thing as Dons Maps!

Also from Dons Maps,

“‘The physics and math is all in here,’ Perkins says, weighing an atlatl in his hand at a recent workshop on primitive technology held near Phoenix, Arizona. ‘It really impresses me, the ability of these ancient people to be able to do this. They certainly didn’t have calculus. Wave mechanics, they didn’t know that. But they knew intuitively.’”

Prove they didn’t know it! Which is easier, wave mechanics or earth wobble geometry? They knew how to measure the earth, build ocean going vessels and make accurate world maps, why not wave calculus?

I ran into a technical article on how precise you have to be in the size and length of dart points and shafts to keep your weapon effective.  Here is Bob Perkin’s closing statement, “A complete understanding  of this impressively complex weapon must be achieved before any single component can be properly analyzed. So long as it is thought of and referred  to a “spear thrower” that will never happen.”

This same guy had this to say about these people,

“I’ve made the study of atlatls and the technology they represent my life work.  Every time I think that I have learned or discovered nearly all there is to know about the physics of this most ancient of weapon systems, something new arises and I am humbled again by the obvious sophistication of the ancient mind.  Ancient people were every bit as intelligent as we are today. In fact H we were able to go back in time we would find a species as capable and intelligent as ourselves. Simply because we live in an age of super computers doesn’t mean that we possess the license to label primitive technology as crude or to claim that every idea we come up with today is original.”

Woo hoo! Whose Worldview is being proven accurate this time?

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?
Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.  Isaiah 45:9-12

Ancient Technology: Atlatl, Super Weapon

Poised to launch a dart from an atlatl

[pick your favorite pronunciation: at-lah-t'l, ott-lottle,  or atl-atl from the Aztec]

It’s been 200 years since your family returned to dry land and started repopulating the world.  The dragons, elephants, and other really big animals have been busy having babies as well.  Your clan is travelling to some pleasantly lonely location where you plan to settle down and name a city after yourself.  But for right now, you just want to find something tasty for supper and that mammoth over the ridge sure looks good.  So you pull out your trusty atlatl that Papa Noah himself helped you carve along with the dart your sweetheart fletched for you and call your strapping older boys to help catch some grub.

One of the many exciting things I learned about researching for this blog was the weapon I’m going to talk about today.  I’d never even heard of this thing before!  Yet, as I study this out, quite a few of our ancestors would be shocked that we could have so nearly forgotten what helped them survive and thrive after the Flood.

Paleolithic spear-thrower showing an Ibex.

Paleolithic spear-thrower showing an Ibex.

According to Evolutionary timelines, the Atlatl or Spear Thrower has been in use for 40,000 years with evidence dating to 25,000 years ago.  Basically, we have examples going as far back as we can find evidence of people living all around the world as it now is.  Here are some of the early examples of Spear Throwers:

I tried to find early samples from Africa because many sites will tell you that is where they were first used.  But I couldn’t find any.  Turns out some other people completely disagree with this assumption (see more in my Quotes article). Does this make them change their story to the public?  Not likely.

Atlatl Throw

Atlatl Throw (Photo credit: Kordite)

So why were our early forefathers so fond of this strange seeming thing?  Although the Atlatl comes in many forms and sizes, the thing they all share is leverage and spring action.  The actual flying part of the weapon is known as a “dart” although it is longer than an arrow and even more flexible.  A grown man using a reproduction Atlatl is capable of sending a dart accurately at speeds of 90mph [145kph] over distances of more than 656ft [200m].  The penetration into a target is far better than modern bullets, so they could strike deep into a large animal’s flesh.

Flexing Dart

Flexing Dart (Photo credit: Buzz Hoffman)

When early archeologists found some of these things, they tried recreating them using stiff spears as the flying weapon.  It was a miserable failure.  So, they figured they’d got it all wrong and kept trying different missiles, right?  No, being Evolutionary in their thinking, they figured these ancient people were numbskulls who couldn’t do any better and felt superior.  Finally in the 1980s a man named Bob Perkins figured out that they were using the wrong missile.  This guy has been studying more and more about how amazing these first weapons really were.

If you look at the links I’ve listed, you will see that the Atlatl comes in a lot of different versions.  One of the more interesting variations is the stone weight that was often strapped to it in the eastern US areas.   There are a number of theories about their purpose including, ” balance weights, sound silencers, performance enhancers, and…” the favorite catchall for unknown objects “charmstones.”  Personally, I like Atlatl Bob’s idea of them being silencers.

For lots more check out my Quotes of the Day.

The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.  Psalm 145:15-19

Evidence that people were hunting before forests had a chance to get tall:  New World fluted spearpoint

There are several modern manufacturers for the Atlatl, this one has some cool pictures and recreations.  Here’s a page to show you how to use yours.

Ancient Spheres: Quotes

English: Potbelly style colossal head original...

From Strange Attraction:  The Mystery of Magnetism on the Guatamalan magnetic sculptures, “One of them, for example, which is now in front of the little museum at La Democracia, Guatemala, bears a strong likeness to F.D.R., lorgnette eyeglasses and all.”

Shall I add this quote to my Ancient Optics post?

From Authentic Maya: Monte Alto “Of the collection of “fat boy” sculptures from Monte Alto on display in the town park of La Democracia, Guatemala and in front of its local museum, four of the heads and three of the bodies were found to have magnetic properties. All four of the heads have a north magnetic pole located in their right temples, while three of them have south magnetic poles below the right ear and the fourth (that in front of the museum) has a south magnetic pole in its left temple, Such a pattern of occurrence is unlikely to be a matter of chance, even in a sample size as small as four.”

Tell that to the biologists who see proof of a Designer every day!

From Science Daily: “The KU researcher said that scientists believe the stones were first created around 600 A.D., with most dating to after 1,000 A.D. but before the Spanish conquest.  “We date the spheres by pottery styles and radiocarbon dates associated with archeological deposits found with the stone spheres,” Hoopes said. “One of the problems with this methodology is that it tells you the latest use of the sphere but it doesn’t tell you when it was made. These objects can be used for centuries and are still sitting where they are after a thousand years. So it’s very difficult to say exactly when they were made.””

Well, is science wise enough to date them accurately, or isn’t it?  Make up your mind!

English: Rudston Monolith

Rudston Monolith, England

From Ancient Wisdom.UK “there are more than enough examples to show that stone itself was given a form of reverence in prehistory, and was likely seen as being endowed with ‘special’ qualities (as shown by the specific selection and transport of stone at Megaliths). Certainly other cultures appear to have become ‘besotted’ with stone carving such as the Easter Islanders, Egyptians, Mayans, and perhaps that is all
we see with carved petrospheres.”

Hmm, seems like the Bible has something to say about this:

And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Ex 20:25 

And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.  Deuteronomy 4:28 

And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.  Deuteronomy 28:64 

And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.  Ezekiel 20:32