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.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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