Graham Hancock: Comet Wiped Out Ice Age Civilization, Egyptians May Have Worshiped Comet's Fragments
After publishing Atlantis: The Antediluvian World in 1882 and claiming that the ancient global civilization of Atlantis had been destroyed in the Biblical Flood, author Ignatius Donnelly needed material for a sequel. In his follow-up book, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel (1883), Donnelly tried to explain how the Flood could have occurred. To that end, he argued that ancient mythology captured a memory of the catastrophe that was the result of the impact of a large comet around 12,000 years ago: “the so-called Glacial Age really represents a collision of the earth with one of these wandering luminaries of space.” According to Donnelly, the destructive power of the comet caused massive floods, poisonous gases, and global fires before settling into a long glacial winter.
Donnelly, in turn, was essentially rewriting the argument made by the great scientist Sir Edmund Halley in 1694, in which the discoverer of the comet that bears his name. Halley speculated that the impact of a comet could have caused Noah’s Flood and destroyed the antediluvian world. He based this on the existence of fossils, which he though proved that a Flood had occurred:
That some such thing has happened, may be guessed, for that the Earth seems as if it were new made out of the Ruins of an old World, wherein appear such Animal Bodies as were before the Deluge, but by their own Nature and Defences from the Weather, have endured ever since, either petrified, or else entire in statu naturali.
Two years later, William Whiston published a book on the same theme, attributing to comets the major events and changes in earth’s history. Immanuel Velikovsky acknowledged Whiston as a source.
In 1995, Graham Hancock rewrote Donnelly’s Atlantis as Fingerprints of the Gods, changing very little of the original conceit except to add details from more recent fringe history. As Hancock moves toward publishing his latest sequel to Fingerprints, tentatively titled Magicians of the Gods, Hancock has once again turned to rewriting Donnelly to find a model.
Hancock has made reference to his belief that comet was responsible for destroying his lost civilization since the beginning of the year, but this week he published an article on his website (in two parts: here and here) laying out his reasoning in more detail. He begins by arguing that a comet hit the earth around 10,900 BCE, which scientists refer to as the supposed Younger Dryas Impact Event. This comet, in the generally accepted form of the impact theory, was responsible for devastating earth changes, including the extinction of the megafauna. Hancock recognizes that scientists are not in agreement that such a comet ever actually hit the earth; however, Hancock rejects the recent evidence against such an impact, arguing that “every attempt to refute the impact evidence has in turn been refuted and the case for the Younger Dryas comet is now so compelling that it is time to widen the debate.”
The argument is far from decided, but Hancock is right that there is new evidence. A study by David Meltzer et al. from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from May of this year found that the evidence for the Younger Dryas Impact is incorrect and that the supposed impact never occurred. After reviewing inconsistencies in the evidence and determining that the sites associated with the event were not contemporary with each other, the authors conclude: “There is no reason or compelling evidence to accept the claim that a cosmic impact occurred ∼12,800 y ago and caused the Younger Dryas.” But Hancock prefers an article published in the Journal of Geology in September by Charles R. Kinzie et al. that focused on the appearance of nanodiamonds (NDs) in the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) layer of sediment: “The large body of evidence now obtained about YDB NDs is strongly consistent with an origin by cosmic impact at ≈12,800 cal BP and is inconsistent with formation of YDB NDs by natural terrestrial processes, including wildfires, anthropogenesis, and/or influx of cosmic dust.”
Kinzie et al. also present an argument in favor of the claim that all of the Younger Dryas sites are contemporary with each other and therefore evidence of a comet impact.
Not being a geologist, I have no way to evaluate which of the two positions is correct. Nevertheless, I’m fairly certain that Hancock is wrong in his conclusions based on accepting the reality of this comet impact:
It is, I believe, the "smoking gun" that made us a species with amnesia and wiped out almost all traces of a former high civilisation of prehistoric antiquity. But there were survivors, who preserved at least some of the knowledge of the civilisation that had been destroyed with the intention of transmitting it to future generations, so it is not an accident that the first traces of the re-emergence of civilisation, in the form of the earliest known megalithic architecture and the re-promulgation of agricultural skills, occur at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey 11,500 years ago -- a date that coincides exactly with the end of the Younger Dryas and the return to a more congenial global environment. Everything we have been taught about the origins of civilisation occurs AFTER 11,500 years ago -- in other words AFTER the radical punctuation mark of the Younger Dryas.
Hancock’s logic is faulty. If we can recover evidence of the comet, then why not the civilization it squashed? How is it that the remains of Paleolithic culture survive in recoverable form but not the “lost” civilization of advanced science and technology? The Venus of Willendorf, for example, was made about 25,000 years ago and represents a page in the development of art and culture—despite having been made before the Younger Dryas. If it survived, how is it that not a single fragment of an advanced global civilization, nor any mark of its agriculture or industry, remains? No comet is that efficient.
Hancock, though, isn’t content to simply ascribe to the comet the remaking of the whole earth. He then wonders if the ancient Egyptians preserved a fragment of said comet for eight or nine thousand years and worshiped it as the primordial benben stone, the model for the pyramids and the place of creation: “I suggest it is worth re-opening this discussion to consider whether the mysterious object worshipped in the Mansion of the Phoenix in Heliopolis might in fact have been a fragment of the Younger Dryas comet that caused the global cataclysm of 12,800 years ago.” In 1989, Hancock’s onetime writing partner Robert Bauval argued that the stone was a meteorite, and Hancock would like to extend this to a comet, though it isn’t clear to me how a comet—typically composed mostly of ice and small bits of rock—would produce a recoverably large sacred rock after slamming into the earth.
12/12/2014 05:47:03 am
Hancock is currently writing a sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods, working title Magicians of the Gods.
12/12/2014 05:48:29 am
Just noticed reference to the sequel. Mea culpa
12/12/2014 10:04:05 am
Comyns Beaumont, "The Mysterious Comet: Or The Origin, Building Up, And Destruction Of Worlds, By Means Of Cometary Contacts" (London, Rider & co, 1932)
12/12/2014 06:00:46 am
I've read similar theories from Andrew Collins, though he suggests the Swiderian culture was what retained the pre-disaster knowledge, basically, I assume, because Swiderian culture was the new hotness in archeology the last time he bothered to look. As to Hancock, how, beyond the obvious infestation of hallucinatory substances, do you make the leap from "the Egyptians worshiped an object called the benben" to "it was a piece of the Younger Dryas comet." First, how would ancient Egyptians know that that's what it was? And second, as the benben was a symbol of creation and the mountains rising from the sea, why would they worship that with a rock from the sky? Even for Hancock, that's nutty.
12/12/2014 07:30:34 am
A pretty good chunk of Fingerprints was devoted to impossible Arctic plum trees and flash-frozen Siberian megafauna; I wonder how he's going to claim that a comet collision is responsible for all that, now that he no longer seems to believe in Crustal Displacement.
12/12/2014 08:07:23 am
Bauval's latest book flopped.
12/12/2014 08:30:31 am
The glass half full?
12/18/2014 01:02:27 am
It flopped because it was science fiction. No doubt this forthcoming book will have a film tie-in with one of your History channels, so it will do much better.
Duke of URL
12/13/2014 04:53:48 am
Maybe. I've read serious scholarly studies that hypothesize a VERY rapid (two-year) onset of an ice age being caused by a multiple strike of large comets/asteroids/meteors hitting us in the relatively near future. One big thing they worry about is the Pacific Ring of Fire getting completely activated.
12/13/2014 06:28:46 am
I don't doubt it, but the way Hancock describes it in his book makes the freezing of these animals sound like a more-or-less instantaneous effect, with warm-climate vegetation "...found, yet identifiable and undeteriorated, in their mouths...".
12/14/2014 12:07:27 am
>>>They were serious scholars, not lunatic catastrophists<<<
12/12/2014 08:42:09 am
We hope you are enjoying "Forbidden History", the announcer on the Yesterday Channel keeps repeating :)
12/12/2014 10:05:25 am
While I'm no expert in cosmic impacts, Kinzie's study, linked above, only identifies the culprit as an "impactor". Neither study says what this impactor was.
12/12/2014 03:12:54 pm
There may be reasons to lean towards a comet if we think that any impactor would have had to have low density (for instance, if the area of impact is thought to be large enough that a dense body of such a size would have caused a Permian-tier extinction event.)
12/12/2014 03:02:21 pm
"it isn’t clear to me how a comet—typically composed mostly of ice and small bits of rock—would produce a recoverably large sacred rock after slamming into the earth."
12/12/2014 03:09:24 pm
Have any of the fringe historians connected the black stone of the Ka'aba to the comet/meteorite they claim destroyed destroyed Atlantis?
12/12/2014 03:30:15 pm
It's been connected to Atlantis by multiple people. No one explicitly connecting it to the destruction of Atlantis comes to mind, though I would bet that someone has.
12/12/2014 04:18:04 pm
I believe their now missing but they use to worshiped both a red & white stone too.
Duke of URL
12/13/2014 04:55:06 am
12/12/2014 04:24:34 pm
Speaking of the Ka'aba, instead of making more shitty Bible movies, Hollywood should make a movie about the time the Black Stone stone got stolen by a bunch of crazy cultists and how it got returned.
Duke of URL
12/13/2014 04:48:21 am
"if the ancient Egyptians preserved a fragment of said comet for eight or nine thousand years and worshiped it as the primordial benben stone, the model for the pyramids and the place of creation" -- Not unbelievable; where did the Mohammedans get the meteoric rock they worship at Mecca from?
12/13/2014 06:08:19 am
The trouble is that the claim is that the comet destroyed all civilization except for the knowledge of a few survivors, and that these survivors somehow were able to recognize a fragment of comet as such after the destruction of the earth and half a world away from where it struck. That's a different proposition altogether from the known fact that ancient people saw (small) meteors fall and collected them, or found interest in the magnetic properties of chunks of meteoric iron.
12/13/2014 07:03:44 am
The meteoric rock hypothesis for the Black Stone has been generally discounted by modern scholarship. It shows no meteoric properties and for a time was considered most likely an agate or impactite from the Wabar region; glass formed by meteorite collisions.
Duke of URL
12/14/2014 09:46:49 am
Thanks for the info, Clint. I'd never heard of those other rocks.
12/13/2014 05:13:42 am
Just wanted to point out that Sir Edmund Halley didn't actually discover Halley's Comet. He was the first to realize that what had been considered a bunch of separate comets which had historically been seen at different times were in fact the same comet on different visits, which isn't quite the same thing as discovering the comet.
12/13/2014 05:46:42 am
the frames of the Bayeux tapestry shows a comet
12/14/2014 02:32:24 am
Göbekli Tepe in Southeastern Turkey reveals an advanced civilization dated to 9,000 to 10,000 BC, making it 11,000 to 12,000 years old. It's a massive complex with massive stone structures. Is this not evidence of a civilization with advanced mathematics, organization and architecture? These people were not goat herders. Why does main stream archaeology remain silent about this complex?
12/14/2014 03:45:57 am
"Why does main stream archaeology remain silent about this complex?"
12/14/2014 04:02:42 am
If I didn't know better... I'd suggest EP is a member of the vast conspiracy to post what I'm thinking before I can hit submit! Prove me wrong!
12/14/2014 04:09:37 am
Wouldn't the simplest explanation be that you're just the slowest of the bunch? :P
12/14/2014 04:28:36 am
Yup. Hence the 'know better' bit ;)
12/14/2014 04:00:20 am
In short, it doesn't:
12/14/2014 04:05:05 am
It's people like these assholes who try to suppress exploration of important archaeological sites, not "mainstream" archaeologists:
12/14/2014 05:51:47 am
You make many good points, but main stream archaeologists have not been swarming over the sight by the thousands for the last 20 years. A few yes, but not that many. The cutting of 16 foot stones weighing 10 tons with elaborate carvings of animals would have taken sophisticated people who understood math, geometry and architecture. These people were not goat herders. Ask any modern day stone mason if they could do it today with primitive tools not using math and geometry and no understanding of architecture. Not possible. Since it is a 22 acre temple complex with is 95% unexcavated, there is much more to be learned. Thanks for your comments.
12/14/2014 06:12:25 am
Contemporary masons don't work with primitive tools, so whether they would be able to do it is irrelevant.
12/14/2014 06:31:56 am
First, I'm quite certain I didn't say 'thousands' of anything.
12/14/2014 06:36:20 am
My comment was in response to Clint Knapp's comment, not to EP's comment. But any modern day stone mason would still tell you the stones could not have been cut and placed as they are without knowledge of math, geometry and architecture. If the Goat Herders had acquired those skills then they could do it. And yes, the construction would have spanned hundreds of years at least.
12/14/2014 08:12:00 am
Tom, I understand what you're saying, but I think you're trying to attribute knowledge to the builders of Gobekli Tepe that they most likely didn't have. Let me demonstrate how easy it is to determine a standard set of measurements for a stone block, without advanced mathematics.
12/14/2014 08:20:55 am
"Hallelujah 8-9-10! Hey, Tojo! Count yo men!" :D
12/14/2014 08:58:00 am
12/14/2014 09:00:27 am
12/14/2014 09:07:57 am
Yep. Popular WW2 song, if I remember correctly. Damned if I can remember a specific performer, though.
12/14/2014 10:10:38 am
Only Me, You make some good points. Thanks for your input.
12/14/2014 10:28:38 am
Tom Dietrich, could you list some of the mainstream academic literature you surveyed before jumping to the conclusion that mainstream archaeology is silent about Gobekli Tepe?
12/14/2014 11:29:30 am
So Hancock has really given up on Velikovsky's nonsense? That would be disheartening to some of the fringe folks I know who worship Hancock. It still amazes me that people cling to the belief in rapid crustal displacement.
12/14/2014 11:31:30 am
And thanks for the discussion on Gobekli Tepe. I'm fascinated with the place.
12/26/2014 03:07:34 am
12/2/2015 06:06:08 pm
This text was copied from me, without mentioning the source.
12/26/2014 03:21:47 am
5/4/2015 11:38:02 am
This author is guilty of the half-hearted accusations he flings at so called fringe scientists. There is an armada of impact evidence not related to either Collins or Hancock from institutions the world over. He has simple chosen a few that fit his world view - that's not science
9/16/2015 07:11:48 pm
Hi EP -
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