Fringe Writer Claims to Have Satellite Evidence of More Than 40 Ancient Monumental Statues in Antarctica
Here we go again. Yet another trove of fake artifacts purports to depict modern Grey aliens. This set comes from Mexico and is supposedly a cache of fragments of ancient Maya art. What a surprise that patterns on the fragments follow the contours of the broken rocks they are crudely carved into, just as if a modern hoaxer were trying to decorate the rocks. There isn’t much to say about the stones; they look fake and there is no evidence to suggest anything else. Needless to say, they aren’t being investigated by archaeologists but are instead in the hands of a radio personality and a YouTuber who are trying to monetize them. Good to know that if the aliens ever really do come, we’ll hear about it first for $4.99 as a member-exclusive video download.
Our main topic today is a stupid one. Self-described archaeoastronomer William James Veall claims to have proof that humans once colonized an ice-free Antarctica in ancient times. He wrote about it in a two-part Ancient Origins article (see here for part 1 and part 2). His evidence begins with Renaissance-era maps that depicted what he believes was an ice-free Antarctica, hundreds of years before Europeans discovered the continent, in images drawn from a lost prehistoric survey. We have seen many times before that these maps do not depict the real Antarctica but rather depict a hypothetical southern continent—Terra Australis—that geographers had speculated might exist since Greek times. We know this because the maps say so. Oronteus Finaeus, writing on the most famous of these maps, specifically said that the “continent” was a hypothetical projection (probably of Tierra del Fuego) — “The Southern Land recently discovered but not yet completely known.” He even announced that it was not based on any ancient map. When you read the legends on the maps, they clearly state that the southern continent is hypothetical, but since those legends are typically in Latin, fringe writers rarely care to bother.
Veall, in writing about this, makes a very strange claim: “…I decided to chance my luck and put to the test the statement made by the Greek geographer, cartographer and mathematician, Marinus of Tyre who in 400 BC reported he had knowledge of an ancient map depicting Antarctica free of ice.” Now that is a rather shocking claim!
Marinus of Tyre is one of the key sources for Ptolemy, but it is primarily through Ptolemy and al-Mas‘udi that we know anything of him at all since his geographical volume does not survive. Conventionally, the book is date to around 114 CE, not 400 BCE, since Marinus is believed to have lived from around 70 to 130 CE. Marinus was the first to coin the term Antarktos to refer to the polar region opposite to the Arctic, but he was referring to a region—not a continent—and no text survives in which he alleges to have a prehistoric map of the southern continent. So where did Veall get his faulty information? He seems to have misunderstood a passage in Charles Hapgood’s Maps of the Ancient Sea-Kings, his acknowledged source, in which Hapgood stated that Marinus used a Mercator projection and that he (Hapgood) believed that the original maps of Antarctica were made on that projection. Another writer who followed the same logic train to the same stupid end was Zecharia Sitchin, who in his book When Time Began wrongly distills Hapgood down into the following incorrect series of claims: (a) Mercator’s maps show Antarctica and (b) use the same projection that Marinus of Tyre used, so therefore (c) Mercator’s maps are copies of Marinus’ maps. Sitchin attributed the transmission of ancient maps from Marinus and Ptolemy to Mercator to the work of Oronteus Finaeus’s 1531 map. This is the same map on which Finaeus literally wrote that the southern chart was all new and the lands depicted were “known neither to Ptolemy, nor Eudoxus, nor Eratosthenes, or Macrobius, but which have lain in shadows up to the present day” (my trans.). It beats me how Veall got Marinus’ dates so wrong.
I will further confess to being dumbfounded as to how Veall could next claim that Aristotle personally told Marinus of Tyre about the existence of Antarctica before alleging a conspiracy to suppress Marinus’ source maps.
Apparently, it was Aristotle who told Marinus of the existence of a continent named 'Terra Australis' surrounding the South Pole. Marinus then marked the world map he was compiling from other ancient maps with this same title. But, most fascinating of all, his map showed Terra Australis (Antarctica) without the traditional ice shield. However, the ancient maps Marinus allegedly used mysteriously 'disappeared' so we have no way of verifying his story.
Even if the two men lived in the same century—which they did not—they did not live in the same country, but I think that Veall is vastly overstating the fact that Aristotle speculated in the Meteorologica 2.5 that “there must be a region bearing the same relation to the southern pole as the place we live in bears to our pole” (trans. E. W. Webster). This he seems to take for proof that Aristotle knew of the real Antarctica, even though Aristotle explicitly wrote that he though the southern continent to be the mirror image of the lands of Europe, Africa, and Asia, and not a tiny cap on the pole. I will repeat that there is no indication whatsoever that anyone knew anything about ice-free poles; that is entirely the speculative conclusion of Charles Hapgood, which Veall seems to mistake for an ancient truth.
The remainder of the article is so sad that I hesitate even to discuss it to avoid embarrassing Veall further. After examining satellite images of Antarctica blown up beyond their resolution, he imagines that he sees Picasso-like distorted human faces in the pixelated shapes, a clear case of pareidolia. He claims to be able to see 40 such faces. He alleges that one of the fictitious shapes is actually a monument marking the spot where the ancients fixed the South Pole, as recorded on Oronteus Finaeus’ 1531 map, the one that literally said it was not based on ancient maps. To this, Veall adds his imagined sighting by satellite of gigantic inscriptions in ancient alphabets, going back to Linear B, and he suggests that the Minoans colonized Antarctica around 1450 BCE, when somehow it was ice-free.
There’s more, including an Australian Aboriginal exploration, but, really, why bother?
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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