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Tag Archives: William Corliss
There are two main questions about the general approaches in archaeology which have haunted me for years and so far have seemingly not been tackled or even considered. These questions are:
1.) How old – under physically traceable conditions – may things be?
The current approach in archaeology is to excavate something – pottery, metal-artifacts, wood-structures, stone-structures, etc – and then to date it. The common conclusions of archaeologists seem to go into the direction, that if there is no pottery, metal, etc. found before a certain date, then there certainly had not been any pottery, metal-artifacts before this time. This common conclusion completely ignores the fact that all matter has certain limits of preservation. In practice this means that metal-objects under ideal circumstances can only survive a certain period of time – being gold the most stable and iron one of the most quickly vanishing materials amongst metals. The same is the case with ceramics, bones and all other material evidence of lost cultures and civilizations. Together with physicists, geologists and experts from material sciences authoritative and reliable tables should be developed for each material, each type of soil and climate on how long the preserved material could possibly sustain.
One of the revolutionary consequences of these tables would be to measure the actual findings according to those tables and find out whether the respective earliest findings come close to the maximum duration period of a material or not. If they come close to this maximum duration period, then this could be a strong indicator (embedded in other factors) that the use and production of such a material could go back further in time.
2.) How deep?
The second alternative approach would largely involve Earth-sciences such as geology, meteorology, chronology and geophysics, etc. It would provide charts for climatological and geographical distinct regions with pre-fabricated data for archeologists on ‘what to expect’. The outcome would be charts for every region where you could derive the average depth of buried structures against a time-scale. It thus would make visible to the archeologist how deep he would have to dig to come to a layer on the same timescale of – let’s say the Old Kingdom of Egypt.
Furthermore, this would give a better overview, where enough sediments had possibly accumulated to find potentially intact structures – e.g. at river-deltas. On the other hand certain areas of low sedimentation could be pointed out, where the probability to find remains – from an earth-science viewpoint – is low or even non existent. Furthermore, if there are no findings at e.g. a certain river-delta area, and earth-sciences state that all structures before 2000 BC have to lie beneath, let’s say, 30 m depth – then subsequently, if nobody has dug so deeply, it can not be said that there is no trace of any civilization or human settlement.
The point of all this is, that there is still very little awareness of how different the sedimentation and erosion areas on this planet are. There are vast regions with lots of erosion, but no sedimentation, and vice versa areas like deltas where you have relatively little erosion but huge amounts of sediments piled upon each other. I know that these areas sometimes are interleaved and hardly to trace. In practice, it might be a long way to get all the data and present it in a useful way. But the approach as such would raise the awareness of these issues, which I think have been considered poorly until now.
These approaches are unusual because they apply a reverse way of current thinking. However, these alternative approaches might support a different view on today’s archeological quest for the distant past and mankind’s 95% of total history that is still called “pre-history”. I am aware that similar charts as those proposed under the second point are already used by archeologists. But this is rather the exception than the rule and seems not to be done systematically. Therefore a much closer work-relationship between earth-scientists and archeology should be promoted and emphasized. Robert Schoch, who as a geologist has provided many new and different insights into the structures of the Giza-plateau, is a good example of how archeology could be enriched massively through the increased involvement of natural sciences.
Ooparts – Out of Place Artifacts
There is a potential third request to archaeology: I would wish someone put up an Oopart-Database. ‘Ooopart’ is a widely used term in the alternative history movement and means “out of place artifacts”. Many authors who promote alternative views on history and especially pre-history again and again refer to a canon of different out of place artifacts which has almost become an established source – though mostly without going to the very source of their origins. Ooparts are archeological findings that do not fit the established timeline. Examples are the (not so much debated) Antikythera Mechanism, petrified human footprints side to side with those of dinosaurs or the famous Baghdad batteries. A lot has been done to catalogize these strange phenomena by William Corliss through the collection of potential ooparts by studying dozens of scientific journals and books. He published these findings as collections of short abstracts and citations through the “Project Sourcebook”. With this he stepped onto the path of the famous Charles Fort and tried to provide a selected and referenced source of inspiration for those who can not stop believing that there is something fundamentally flawed with today’s sciences – or simply that some major corrections have to be made.
However, Corliss started publishing those thematically arranged Sourcebooks from the 1970-ies onwards and though he seems to continue, the outlook of his books has not changed much. The next step, I believe, has to be made. To transfer this huge amount of knowledge into an online database and make it not only more easily accessible, but also editable in a wiki-web way. Public discussions and input should be possible to enrich and specify the listed phenomena. Such a database could do a lot to increase the credibility of alternative sciences, since – if wisely managed and maintained – could provide a verified fundament of facts, that up to this point is not really available and easily accessible.
If in a second step universities or single scientists could be convinced to crosscheck and peer review the database and to critically examine some of the key-ooparts, the way to more credibility for the whole group of alternative scientist would be paved. These key-ooparts would be determined through a rating system and thus would receive more attention in the verification process. (–> research communities
Verification here means the step by step research on the source and credibility of the respective artefact – and should also come up with a ranking of the relevance as oopart. “Relevance” in this context means, whether it is very far from ‘conventional’ science and would stimulate a paradigm-change, or if could be more easily matched with accepted views, by just modifying the current thesis. This has been done before by Corliss and so far it made much sense in his books.
Another benefit from such a database would be that – once established and well known – it could be used in references by alternative science authors. This would spare many readers, who are already accustomed to the specific subject, to again and again read similar sermons about an already well known oopart. Therefore a database would work as a reference tool and coordinate system in which theories could be much more easily placed. At least one step in the process from thesis to conclusion could be outsourced by authors and would save page-volume and many expensive pictures and/or sketches. At the same time the amount of evidence (to which authors refer) could be significantly enlarged.
Since I am not a natural scientist, I can not get deeply involved with the first two points. However, the oopart database is a matter of heart to me and I have been considering for quite some years to start something like that. Therefore any feedback on this matter is much welcome. If somebody even finds the idea so attractive to get involved, I would really consider starting it. So please, let me know what you think!
Here is the link to one paper as example, how point 2 could be implemented: Jean-Daniel Stanley: “Submergence and burial of ancient coastal sites on the subsiding Nile delta margin, Egypt”
ReMetrix – Maps to illustrate the type and depth of sediment covering the bottom of a waterbody.