Over at Graham Hancock’s message board, author of the month Michael MacRae has decided to offer a lengthy “rebuttal” to my criticism of his claim that Odysseus and a band of Mycenaeans circumnavigated the earth in 1600 BCE. You can read my original post, his criticism, and my response in the thread linked here.
I also want to discuss Andrew Collins’s latest claims about the origins of the Turkish site of Göbekli Tepe, the oldest known stone temple in the world. Collins has made much of the site, trying to connect it to—and I’m not sure how else to put it—ancestral white spiritual supermen from the Aryan homeland in the Caucasus Mountains. He comes to this in a roundabout way and never actually says this; in fact, he would probably deny that this is the underlying storyline behind his many claims. Collins suggests that carvings at Göbekli Tepe resemble other incredibly old sites around the world, such as Gunung Padang in Indonesia—claimed by Indonesian propagandists to be 9,000 years old or older, but said by Western archaeologists to be relatively recent in date—because of a global seeding of world cultures by the survivors of Sundaland, now the Indonesian archipelago, which Collins suspects had a lost, Mu-like civilization. He says the builders of Göbekli Tepe might be survivors of the drowning of Sundaland at the end of the Ice Age. But, unsatisfied with this answer, he instead looks toward the Anunnaki. (But of course.)
Even though the Anunnaki play very little role in Mesopotamian lore except as a sort of Greek chorus of whiny gods, Collins calls them a “power elite” and suggests that they are a mythologized remnant of a lost race, though he would be the last person to make explicit the fact that his lost race hails from central Europe, is tall with angular features, and conquered the Caucasus Mountains to make it their base of power.
He traces the “power elite” of world history back to an obscure Stone Age culture known to archaeologists as the Swiderian culture (11,000-8,200 BCE), which occupied what is now Poland. Collins provides an illustration of the Swiderians as tall, sharp-featured Caucasians, and he alleges that at the end of the last Ice Age they migrated to Armenia and the Caucasus region, where they influenced the development of Göbekli Tepe due to their superior spiritual beliefs, which identified the netherworld with the constellation of Cygnus. This goes against more mainstream views, which, if I understand them correctly, tie the Swiderians to later cultures in Russia and Scandinavia and is based on a comparison the late Klaus Schmidt, the excavator of Göbekli Tepe, made between Swiderian hunting techniques and those of Anatolia.
While Collins stays far away from an explicit discussion of the Victorian racial hierarchies that underlie his claims, he does point out that the post-Swiderians were also “the earliest post-Ice Age inhabitants of Northern Europe, their post-Swiderian descendants perhaps being the carriers of cosmological beliefs that persist even today among indigenous peoples of Finland and Scandinavia.” In other words, Collins sees culture as diffusing from Europe to the rest of the world, from a central European homeland and associated with “Northern Europe” as its last remaining expression of pure ancient belief.
To this he also ties in the Solutreans, whom he sees as the pioneers of global commerce, based on Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley’s flawed Solutrean origin hypothesis for Clovis culture in North America. Thus, for Collins, the Solutreans were “the original sea-kings of the Atlantic Ocean,” whose use of relief carving is precedent for Göbekli Tepe despite separation in time and space.
The bottom line remains the same: Andrew Collins has appropriated Göbekli Tepe for Europe and Western Civilization and restored the hierarchy of civilizations beloved of the Victorians.
6/10/2015 04:52:01 am
Why is it that 90%+ of the fringers have a deep Nazi streak in them?
6/10/2015 03:48:48 pm
"Why is it that 90%+ of the fringers have a deep Nazi streak in them?" Jason's actually touched on that before.
6/10/2015 05:25:42 am
"Swiderians as tall, sharp," How "tall" we talking?
6/10/2015 05:31:36 am
About seven feet tall. At least that's what Collins like to imply, by quoting a particular legitimate anthropologist who believes that archaic Homo sapiens (or Homo heildelbergensis) went through a stage of being routinely that tall. As far as I can tell that archeologist has never published anything about his giant theory, but I could be wrong.
6/10/2015 05:39:43 am
I know this is a minor thing, but I think we should use the term "Swiderian culture" when talking about the actual anthropological finds. Only Collins uses the term "Swiderians," and if we use it we legitimize his belief that the Swiderian culture represents some sort of separate country or race (or species, to take Collins to the extreme). I just worry about letting the pseudoscientific people define the dialogue.
6/10/2015 10:09:23 am
Good point. I've made the change.
6/10/2015 08:34:28 am
Anyone else notice that Collins said Hancock's newest book was published in September of this year?
6/10/2015 08:41:40 am
claimed by Indonesian propagandists to be 9,000 years old or older, but said my Western archaeologists to be relatively recent in date
6/10/2015 10:09:59 am
I'm beginning to question whether autocorrect catches more typos than it creates. I've fixed them. Thanks.
6/10/2015 10:47:05 am
But are not modern Europeans and Central Asians from the same group of modern humans? There seems to be a huge gap in terms of modern humans coming out of Africa, splitting up into different groups and then this "jump" into modern ethnicities/tribes. I always thought the view was you had a few "tribes" out of Africa that then expanded to different regions of Eurasia...giving the various "races". Didn't the same people who built gobekli had the same origin "tribe" than Europeans? Or is this whole subject ridiculous, as you had multiple waves of modern humans coming out of Africa and populating Eurasia and interacting with the previous waves? Is there even a "race" of aryans or semites? What the heck does that even mean?
6/10/2015 11:14:02 am
As amazingly early as the site is, Göbekli Tepe was still a lot later than the original migration out of Africa- closer in time to us than to that migration. So, by that time, one would consider these separate groups.
6/11/2015 08:55:11 am
Well this is just pathetic. And I have to agree with the comment above about the "nazi streak" nearly all of these people seem to have, it seems like the great majority of fringe theories are thin veils for some kind of Himmler-Blavatsky nordicist agenda.
6/11/2015 12:49:42 pm
You say: "ancestral white spiritual supermen from the Aryan homeland in the Caucasus Mountains." Collins writes no such thing. Seems that someone here is just trying to get sued for libel.
6/11/2015 01:07:35 pm
I guess you missed the very next sentence: "He comes to this in a roundabout way and never actually says this; in fact, he would probably deny that this is the underlying storyline behind his many claims."
6/14/2015 02:39:54 am
Gobekli Tepe certainly doesn't need the Anunnaki, magical Aryans, an implausible transcontinental lost civilization, or anything other than what it already is, really, to be fascinating and important.
9/16/2015 11:01:01 am
It makes perfect sense the Swiderian culture moved south for a more hospitable climate during the Younger Dryas, why not?
6/10/2016 07:10:22 am
Whilst I believe that Collins' ideas about Swiderians are far fetched and stretch circumstantial speculation and supposition to destruction point, I think it is just as far fetched and actually more disturbing to try and link this to Nazi racial theories. Nazi theories of race had a specific end game of promoting the superiority and racial purity of modern white Germanic peoples, Collins' is nowhere near that. He's actually going in a different direction towards a mingling of different cultures in the late Paleolithic early Mesolithic eras. He's pulled the Swiderians out of the bag because they're a relatively advanced culture for that period and there are some (admittedly extremely flimsy and speculative) stylistic comparisons that might be drawn between them and the culture that built Göbekli Tepe if we allow a very big dose of imagination.
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