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Buried Beneath The Sand, The Ziggurat Of Jiroft May Be Largest And Oldest Of Its Kind In The World

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Buried Beneath the Sand, The Ziggurat of Jiroft May be Largest and Oldest of its Kind in the World
Photo Credit: (CC by SA 3.0 / David Revoy - Blender Foundation)

The Ziggurat of Jiroft, known also as the Konar Sandal Ziggurat, is an ancient monument located in Jiroft in the southern Iranian province of Kerman, a place that some say is Iran’s cradle of civilization. This ziggurat was discovered in 2002, and it has been reported that it is the second ziggurat to be found in Iran, the first being the Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat. According to some sources, the Ziggurat of Jiroft is the largest and oldest structure of its kind in the world.

The excavation at Jiroft’s Konar Sandal (Wikimapia)

The word ziggurat may be translated as ‘temple-tower’, and is a structure consisting of several levels, the topmost of which was probably a high temple. Ziggurats are most commonly associated with the Mesopotamian civilization, which today roughly corresponds to most of Iraq plus Kuwait, and the eastern parts of Syria. Nevertheless, some of these monumental structures have also been found in the western part of Iran. One of the ways of distinguishing between Mesopotamian and Iranian ziggurats is the way these buildings were accessed. It has been pointed out that in the former; the structures were accessed by an external flight of stairs. On the other hand, the ziggurats in Iran were accessed by ramps.

In Iran, the best known ziggurat is Choga Zanbil, which is located along the River Dez in the southwestern Khuzestan province. This ziggurat was discovered in 1936, and was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. It has been dated to around 1250 B.C., and until 2002, it was the only ziggurat known to have survived in Iran.

Ziggurat of Choga Zanbil, Iran (Sebastià Giralt / flickr)

Two mounds have been excavated in Jiroft, a town 230 km to the south of Kermna, the capital of the Kerman province. These two mounds are separated by a couple of kilometres from each other, and have been designated as sites ‘A’ and ‘B’. The excavation of site B revealed a two-storey citadel with a base covering an area of 13.5 hectares. Surrounding this structure were the remains of a wall 10.5 m in thickness. These findings suggest that the structure had once been a fortified building.

At site ‘A’, on the other hand, a ziggurat-like structure, which consists of two levels, was unearthed. This structure has been measured to be 17m in height, 300m in both length and width at the base, and 150m on each side of the second level. This huge structure covered almost the whole of the mound. As this monument structurally resembles the ziggurats of Mesopotamia, it has been suggested that buried beneath the sand may be the oldest and largest ziggurat in the world.

Excavations at the Jiroft mound (wikipamia)

It has been suggested that the ziggurat unearthed in Jiroft dates to around 2200 B.C. By comparison, the oldest ziggurat in Mesopotamia, the ziggurat of Ur, is regarded as having been built around 2100 B.C. by Ur-Nammu. Some have also hypothesised that the ziggurat of Jiroft was built by the Aratta, a legendary Bronze Age kingdom whose existence has been attested in Sumerian texts. The precise location of this civilization, however, is unclear. For instance, whilst some scholars believe that Aratta was situated in what is today Jiroft, others have suggested that this legendary kingdom was located in Azerbaijan, Baluchistan or on the Gulf.

Stone vessel, Jiroft, architectural decoration. After Majidzadeh, 2003, p. 71, no. 71. (Encyclopaedia Iranica)

Apart from the location of Aratta, the age of the ziggurat has also been questioned. So far, the dating of the monument has been based on two small fragments that may be written inscriptions. Undisturbed material for radiocarbon dating, however, has yet to be found. It appears that the great mound in Jiroft has many more secrets to reveal.

This article (Buried Beneath The Sand, The Ziggurat Of Jiroft May Be Largest And Oldest Of Its Kind In The World) was originally created for Ancient Origins and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Archeology

Long-Lost Runestone From Viking Monument Recovered In Sweden

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Long-Lost Runestone From Viking Monument Recovered In Sweden
Photo Credit: Annika Knarrström/Arkeologerna

Performing excavations in an area where new sewer lines are currently being installed, Swedish archaeologists have announced a remarkable and borderline miraculous find. While digging in half-frozen soil near the city of Ystad in December 2020 AD, they unearthed a large oblong-shaped runestone that featured an intricate carving of a powerful, ferocious wolf, which is known as Fenris (or Fenrir) in Norse mythology.

The discovery was shocking, in part because it was unexpected and in part because of what it represented. The rocky relic was quickly identified as one of the stones used to construct the Hunnestad Monument, a famous vertical and horizontal assemblage of image-bearing and inscribed runestones that had once stood just a few miles away, northwest of Ystad. The runestone had not been seen by anyone since the 18th century AD, when the once magnificent Hunnestad Monument was destroyed by an unappreciative and uncomprehending landowner.

Archaeologist Axel Krogh Hansen at the statue that was found during the excavation in front of a sewer line. (Image: Annika Knarrstreöm / Arkeologerna)
How A Super Famous Runestone Became Part Of A Bridge

It feels unbelievable, because it was a completely normal excavation monitoring,” exclaimed Axel Krogh Hansen, an archaeologist from Sweden’s National Historical Museums. “We found some porcelain fragments and bricks in the lower layers from the 18th century, and I joked a bit with the others that ‘now we have to be a little careful so we do not get rune or image stone,’ and then suddenly we have a carved stone right in front of us.” 

Incredibly, it seems that the newly recovered runestone was removed from the Hunnestad Monument and used as a foundation stone for a bridge constructed over a nearby river sometime in the distant past. This is the fourth stone (of the original eight) from the monument to be recovered; the other three are currently on display at the Kulturen Museum in Lund, where the new stone may soon be headed.

This is a fun, fantastic find, which we did not think would happen,” said Magnus Kallstrom, a rune expert from Sweden’s National Heritage Board. “This will give us a lot of new knowledge, in several areas, about art, religious history, and archaeology.”

The unique image stone has been missing since the 18th century. (Image: Annika Knarrström / Arkeologerna)
Reconstructing The Hunnestad Monument

Even though it was dismantled in the 18th century, the Hunnestad Monument remains one of Scandinavia’s most celebrated Viking-era monuments. Its enduring status was assured by the intricate drawings of Ole Worm, a Danish explorer and lover of antiquities who visited the Hunnestad site in 1643. 

The monument was constructed on an estate called Marsvinshome, which is located near the southern coast of Sweden, approximately seven miles (12 kilometres) from Ystad. Despite its location on Swedish territory, the estate was originally owned by Danish royalty and featured a magnificent castle (built in the 17th century AD) that still stands to this day. The Hunnestad Monument appears to have been constructed sometime between the 10th and 14th centuries AD, which means it had likely been standing for a few hundred years when it was sketched by Ole Worm.

The famous drawing of the Hunnestad Monument by Ole Worm (Ole Worm (1588-1654) / Public domain)

As revealed by Worm, the Hunnestad Monument was comprised of eight large, heavy stones in total. Five stood in a horizontal row, while three others were laid side-by-side on the ground before the standing stones. Five of the eight stones featured intricately carved images, and two of these also included runic inscriptions. 

Tragically, the monument was dismantled by a Swedish count named Erik Ruuth in the 1780s AD, who owned the Marsvinshome estate at that time. The disposition of some of the stones remains a mystery even to this day, but fortunately three of the image stones (including the two inscribed with runic symbols) were found inside Marsvinshome Castle in 1814. 

As the deciphered runic inscriptions make clear, the monument was constructed by two sons (Ásbjôrn and Tumi) of a man named Gunni Hand. Their purpose was to honour the memory of their fallen brothers, who were called Hróir and Leikfrøðr. Unfortunately, at some later date Tumi also passed away, and Ásbjôrn then inscribed and raised the eighth and final stone to memorialize him as well.

In keeping with the theme of honouring the dead, the three non-inscribed stones feature pictures of animals and animal-human hybrids. The imagery relates to important themes in Norse mythology, specifically to the process of transformation involved in completing the passage from earth to other realms, in the afterlife or elsewhere. 

It was a common practice in Viking culture to honour the dead by raising inscribed stone monuments. This, of course, is not far removed from the modern practice of erecting engraved headstones above the resting places of those who have passed on. In this instance, however, there is no evidence to suggest that any of Gunni Hand’s sons were interred at this location.

Runestone DR283 from the Hunnestad Monument depicts what is likely a member of the Varangian Guard. (Hedning / CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Varangian Guard Runestone

The most intriguing monument image was found on the stone inscribed in honour of Hróir and Leikfrøðr, which, likely, was the first stone put in place. The image features a man standing tall and proud, wearing a long coat and pointed helmet and wielding a sharp axe. 

The garb and the weapon suggest this individual may have belonged to the Varangian Guard, an elite squad of bodyguards and soldiers who were attached to the Byzantine Army during the same timeframe in which the Hunnestad Monument was built. The Varangian Guard was comprised primarily of hired Viking mercenaries from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland, who were sought after because of their reputation as fierce and indefatigable warriors.

Some Varangian Guard units were deployed exclusively to protect the reigning Byzantine emperor, while others were assigned battlefield duties during warfare. It was considered a high honour to be selected for and serve in the Varangian Guard, and the prestige was enhanced even more by the high pay associated with such a position.

Since no further details are provided in the Hunnestad inscriptions, it is impossible to ascertain the identity of the individual in the image. He may have represented one or both of Gunni Hand’s fallen sons, or perhaps he was Gunni Hand himself. Either way, the existence of the monument and its apparent connection to the Varangian Guard reveals the exalted status of the Hand family, who may very well have been descendants of Danish royal blood lines.

Runestone DR282 from the Hunnestad Monument, currently on display at Kulturen Museum, Sweden. (Hedning / CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Final Piece Of The Puzzle?

As of now, only one of the original image stones from the Hunnestad Monument remains undiscovered (the three other stones were un-carved and un-inscribed and thus impossible to identify). Since this most recently recovered stone was salvaged for bridge construction, perhaps the missing image stone was taken for the same purpose. If so, continued excavations in the Ystad area may soon turn up another amazing find, which would allow archaeologists and historians to complete the Hunnestad Monument puzzle. 

This article (Long-Lost Runestone From Viking Monument Recovered In Sweden) was originally created for Ancient Origins and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Hidden In The Landscape: The Unique Architectural Heritage Of Icelandic Turf Houses

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Hidden In The Landscape: The Unique Architectural Heritage Of Icelandic Turf Houses
https://visionpic.net/photo/icelandic-turf-houses/

Turf houses are a distinctive type of dwelling found in Iceland with origins dating back to the 9th century AD, which are attributed to the country’s Nordic settlers. The development of turf houses in Iceland took into consideration the island’s local climate, as well as the available building materials. Turf houses continued to be widely used until the middle of the 20th century. Today, few turf houses remain in Iceland and they are regarded as an architectural heritage of the country, being nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status in 2011.

A turf house in Bakkagerði. (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Unique Construction Used the Natural Materials of the Region

The turf houses of Iceland originate in the long-house tradition of the Norse. During the 9th century AD, the Vikings settled in Iceland, and brought their architectural traditions along with them. Over the centuries these structures were adapted to suit the Icelandic climate, and the natural resources available on the island.

In the Norse homeland of Scandinavia, long-houses were typically constructed with timber, preferably oak, which is native to the region. In Iceland, however, dwarf birch was much more readily available, and therefore was used to construct the frames of the turf houses. Additionally, the island has an abundance of lava rocks, as a result of eruptions. These were used for the construction of turf houses.

Earth covered building in Sænautasel (Saenautasel) in Iceland. (Image: Chris73/ CC BY-SA 3.0 )

The most distinct building material for these Icelandic structures is the turf itself. In Europe, turf was harvested in blocks from bogs, and used for construction purposes. This building technique has been in use since the Iron Age. In other parts of Northern Europe, turf was used by the poorer classes, though in Iceland both the rich and the poor exploited this natural resource. Thus walls and roofs of the Icelandic turf houses were made using this material. The houses of the rich had wooden frames on which the turf would be placed. The turf served as a natural heat insulator and provided protection for its inhabitants from the harsh northern climate. The turf needed replaced from time to time, depending on the regional frost and thaw patterns. In some places, for instance, the turf could last for as long as 20 years, whereas in others, up to 70 years.

‘Torfhaus’ Grass roofed hut in Iceland. (Image: piviso.com)
The Extreme Survival of Turf Houses

Up to the middle of the 20th century, turf houses were the norm in Iceland. A number of these turf houses still survive to this day with the oldest existing example of such a structure being the Keldur at Rangárvellir, on the southern border of the Icelandic highlands. Keldur consists of a dwelling house with a number of outbuildings. During the 12th and 13th centuries, Keldur was home to the Oddi clan, one of the powerful families in Iceland during the Free State era. Keldur has been rebuilt many times over the centuries. The current turf house there was rebuilt after the devastating earthquakes of 1896 and 1912. Keldur was acquired by the National Museum of Iceland in 1942 as part of the National Historic Buildings Collection and is opened to the public between June and August.

Earth covered turf homes in Keldur, Iceland. These were built in 1193 and are supposedly the oldest buildings in Iceland. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Modern Materials Take Hold – Spotlight on Preservation

Around the middle of the 1960s the last inhabitants of Iceland’s turf houses began moving out. These traditional structures had been gradually falling out of favour among Icelanders since the beginning of the 20th century. In the country’s capital of Reykjavik, for instance, concrete became the preferred building material when the city was rebuilt after being raised by fires in 1915. Three years later, Iceland obtained its independence from Denmark. A nationalistic campaign was launched to clear the country of its traditional buildings, including turf houses, in favour of modern ones. In more recent times, however, the boost of tourism in Iceland has brought the turf houses under the spotlight and has raised questions about their preservation. In 2011, the Turf House Tradition was nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status, an indication of the Icelandic government’s efforts to boost the status of these traditional buildings.

This article (Hidden in the Landscape: The Unique Architectural Heritage of Icelandic Turf Houses) was originally created for Ancient Origins and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Karahan Tepe Is Probably Older Than Gobekli Tepe

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Archaeologists work at the historical site of Karahantepe, Şanlıurfa, southeastern Turkey, Nov. 27, 2020. (DHA Photo)
Archaeologists work at the historical site of Karahantepe, Şanlıurfa, southeastern Turkey, Nov. 27, 2020. (DHA Photo)

Paul SeaburnGuest Writer

Google “World’s oldest temple” (go ahead, we’ll wait) and the #1 answer is the famous Göbekli Tepe (Göbeklitepe) in southern Turkey, believed to have been built 11,000–12,000 years ago as a place to worship the dog star, Sirius. Loaded with T-shaped carved stone pillars, it predates Stonehenge by 6,000 years and puts Utah’s sole monolith to shame. Unfortunately for fans of the Göbekli Tepe, it may soon be knocked down to #2 with the announcement that the Karahan Tepe or Karahantepe in Turkey’s southeastern Şanlıurfa province contains hundreds of statues and artifacts that initially appear to predate Göbekli Tepe. Can Göbekli Tepe fans demand a recount?

“Life in Göbeklitepe is not only limited to a period of ‘T’-shaped stones. It reflects a much longer process; there is a settlement of 700 to 800 years. It is certain that Karahantepe is somewhere in this period. It may cover a longer period of time or it may begin before. The excavations here will reveal all these, but at least we can say that this process coincides with a significant time period, a contemporary period. This means 11,500 years before today.”

Professor Necmi Karul of the Prehistory Department at the İstanbul University is the leader of the “Göbeklitepe Culture and Karahantepe Excavations” project and explains in Hurriyet Daily News that while the site was initially discovered in 1997, surveys did not start until 2018 and excavations didn’t begin until September 2019. The surveys found at least 250 T-shaped Neolithic-era obelisks were found. The obelisks appeared to be similar to those at Göbekli Tepe and the excavations are proving it.

“The excavation program continues in Karahantepe in an intensive and rapid manner. There are more years of work, but we will have reached an older excavation center. This is 12 thousand years old, the other will be much older. It will probably become a priority place than Göbeklitepe. It will be our new focus of attention.”

Archaeologists work at the historical site of Karahantepe, Şanlıurfa, southeastern Turkey, Nov. 27, 2020. (DHA Photo)

Speaking at the 10th International Resort Tourism Congress this week, Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy excitedly delivered the news, saying the discovery “will make a sound in the world!” That would certainly be the case in both of the minister’s departments. Göbekli Tepe has been regarded as the world’s oldest temple since its discovery and its monoliths and artifacts continue to be intensely studied — as will those at Karahantepe. The fame and publicity has resulted in Göbekli Tepe becoming a major tourist attraction for Turkey, and, while Karahantepe might take some of that away, together they should increase the total number of visitors and tourist dollars for the country.

“This year we have found very important finds highlighting the human symbolism. We discovered sculptures and new buildings. The statue head is quite interesting. The statue head, 50 cm in diameter, is carved into the bedrock. Again, we found structures carved into the bedrock around it. “

Archaeologists work at the historical site of Karahantepe, Şanlıurfa, southeastern Turkey, Nov. 27, 2020. (DHA Photo)

Karul points out that, while both Göbekli Tepe and Karahan Tepe are loaded with T-shaped columns, the statues are different, with Göbekli Tepe having more animal representations while Karahan Tepe has more humans. That could mean the two sites, while similar, were separated by more than their 35 km (21.7 mile) distance. So far, the tools found at Karahan Tepe indicate it was a hunter and gatherer community.

Get your algorithm read, Google. There’s a new oldest temple in town.

Some Further Reading, If You’re Curious…
Recommended Articles by Paul Seaburn
About the Author

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as “The Tonight Show”, “Politically Incorrect” and an award-winning children’s program. He’s been published in “The New York Times” and “Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humour. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humour to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn’t always have to be serious.

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Archeology

Ancient Anomalous Human Skeletons: Humanity Could Be Much Older Than We Think

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Ancient Anomalous Human Skeletons: Humanity Could be Much Older Than We Think
Image Credit: CCD

J.P. Robinson, Guest Writer

There are many reported human skeletal finds which are in discordance with current evolutionary beliefs dating back to anomalously ancient geological periods in the distant past, way before it is accepted that human beings ever existed.

One intriguing report surfaced in an American journal called The Geologist dated December 1862:

“In Macoupin County, Illinois, the bones of a man were recently found on a coal-bed capped with two feet of slate rock, ninety feet below the surface of the earth. . . The bones, when found, were covered with a crust or coating of hard glossy matter, as black as coal itself, but when scraped away left the bones white and natural.”

The coal in which the remains were found have been dated at between 320 and 286 million years old, which, despite a lack of supporting evidence and little information on the discovery, is certainly worthy of inclusion here.

Representational image. “The bones of a man were recently found on a coal-bed capped with two feet of slate rock, ninety feet below the surface of the earth…” (CC0)
The Foxhall Jaw

A better documented account of an anomalous find is of a human jaw discovered at Foxhall, England, in 1855 which was dug out of a quarry at a level of sixteen feet (4.88 meters) under ground level, dating the specimen to at least 2.5 million years old. American physician Robert H. Collyer described the Foxhall jaw as ‘the oldest relic of human existence’. The problem with this particular fossil was its modern appearance. A more apelike mandible would have been more acceptable despite its great antiquity, but many dissenters disbelieved the authenticity of the bone ‘probably because the shape of the jaw was not primitive’, according to paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn.

The Foxhall jaw is anatomically modern yet was discovered in strata dating back more than 2.5 million years. (Author provided)
Buenos Aires Skull

A fully modern human skull was found in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in an Early Pliocene formation, revealing the presence of modern humans in South America between 1 and 1.5 million years ago. But once more, the modern appearance of the skull doesn’t fit with conventional thinking on human origins so was discounted on these grounds alone. Here we see a clear example of dating by morphology, and a distinct disregard of all other data, no matter how credible. The thinking is simple; if it looks modern – it must be modern. No modern humans could possibly have existed that far back in time so it must be ruled out.

This ‘modern’ human skull found in Buenos Aires could be 1.5 million years old. (Author provided)

This approach employs illogical thinking if one considers that the skull was found in a Pre-Ensenadean stratum, which, according to present geological calculations, dates back up to 1.5 million years. The scientific data, as with a plethora of cases worldwide, does not match the final analogy, and instead of pursuing the matter further until a satisfactory scientific conclusion is arrived upon, the discovery has slipped unsurprisingly into anonymity.

The Clichy Skeleton

In a quarry on the Avenue de Clichy, Paris, parts of a human skull were discovered along with a femur, tibia, and some foot bones by Eugene Bertrand in 1868. The layer in which the Clichy skeleton was dug out from would make the fossils approximately 330,000 years old.

It wasn’t until Neanderthals became accepted as the Pleistocene ancestors of modern humans that French anthropologists were forced to drop the Clichy skeleton from the human evolutionary line, as a modern type of human could not predate their allegedly older Neanderthal relatives. Neanderthals are conventionally understood to have existed from 30,000 to 150,000 years ago, and the Clichy skeleton which dated at over 300,000 years ago was simply not an acceptable find despite the evidence to support its authenticity.

Comparison of Modern Human and Neanderthal skulls from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. (DrMikeBaxter/ CC BY SA 2.0)
The Ipswich Skeleton

In 1911, another anatomically modern human skeleton was discovered beneath a layer of glacial boulder clay near the town of Ipswich, in England, by J. Reid Moir. Found at a depth of about 4.5 feet (1.37 meters) between a layer of clay and glacial sands, the skeleton could be as much as 400,000 years old.

Naturally, the modern appearance of the skeleton was the cause of strong opposition, but if the find had of been Neanderthal-like, there would have been no questions raised over its position in the glacial sediments. As Scottish anatomist and anthropologist, Sir Arthur Keith explained, “Under the presumption that the modern type of man is also modern in origin, a degree of high antiquity is denied to such specimens.

British archaeologist J. Reid Moir. (Author provided)

The deposits in which the Ipswich skeleton was excavated from were recorded by the British Geological Survey as an intact layer of glacial boulder clay which had been laid down between the onset of the Anglian glaciation and the Hoxnian glaciations, a period that stretched between 330,000 and 400,000 years ago. Some authorities have even put the beginning of the Mindel glaciation (which is equivalent to that of the Anglian) at around 600,000 years ago, which could potentially allow the Ipswich skeleton to also date back that far.

The Castenedolo Bones

Situated in the southern slopes of the Alps, at Castenedolo, six miles (9.66 km) southeast of Brescia, lays a low hill called the Colle de Vento, where millions of years ago during the Pliocene period, layers of mollusks and coral were deposited by a warm sea washing in.

In 1860, Professor Giuseppe Ragazzoni travelled to Castenedolo to gather fossil shells in the Pliocene strata exposed in a pit at the base of the Colle de Vento. Reporting on his finds there Ragazzoni wrote:

“Searching along the bank of coral for shells, there came into my hand the top portion of a cranium, completely filled with pieces of coral cemented with blue-green clay characteristics of that formation. Astonished, I continued the search, and in addition to the top portion of the cranium I found other bones of the thorax and limbs, which quite apparently belonged to an individual of the human species.”

Modern human skull found at Castenedolo, Italy. (Author provided)

Once more, negative reactions ensued by both geologists and scientists who were unwilling to accept the Pliocene age offered by Ragazzoni for the skeletal remains. It was explained away by an insistence that the bones, due to their clearly modern characteristics, must have come from a recent burial and somehow or other found themselves among the Pliocene strata. If in doubt, simply explain it away with logical thinking, even if you ignore the facts within plain sight and filter out the parts which do not fit.

Ragazzoni was understandably not pleased with the reception he received and the disregard given to his legitimate discovery of an anomalously ancient human skeleton, so he kept his eye on the site where he had found the relics once the land was sold to Carlo Germani in 1875, (on the advice of Ragazzoni, who had advised that the phosphate-rich clay could be sold to farmers as fertilizer).

Many more discoveries followed from 1879, as Germani kept his word and informed the professor immediately upon finding more bones in the pit. Jaw fragments, teeth, backbone, ribs, arms, legs and feet were all dug out of the Pliocene formation which modern geologists have placed at around 3-4 million years old.

Representational image of various human bones in a pit. (CC0)

‘All of them were completely covered with and penetrated by the clay and small fragments of coral and shells, which removed any suspicion that the bones were those of persons buried in graves, and on the contrary confirmed the fact of their transport by the waves of the sea’, said Ragazzoni.

And on February 16, 1880, Germani informed Ragazzoni that a complete skeleton had been discovered, enveloped in a mass of blue-green clay, remains which turned out to be that of an anatomically modern human female.

The complete skeleton was found in the middle of the layer of blue clay. . . The stratum of the blue clay, which is over 1 metre thick, has preserved its uniform stratification, and does not show any sign of disturbance” wrote Ragazzoni, adding, “The skeleton was very likely deposited in a kind of marine mud and not buried at a later time.”

Example of a grave and skeleton at a maritime museum. (Marlene Oostryck/CC BY 3.0)

After personally examining the Castenedolo skeletons at the Technical Institute of Brescia in 1883, Professor Giuseppe Sergi, an anatomist from the University of Rome, was convinced that they represented the remains of humans who had lived during the Pliocene period of the Tertiary.

Writing of his disdain towards the naysayers within the scientific community Sergi commented, “The tendency to reject, by reason of theoretical preconceptions, any discoveries that can demonstrate a human presence in the Tertiary is, I believe, a kind of scientific prejudice. Natural science should be stripped of this prejudice.”

Anomalous Skeletons Have Their Place Too!

Unfortunately, this prejudice which continues to this day, shows no signs of abating, as Professor Sergi recognized back in the 19th century, ‘By means of a despotic scientific prejudice, call it what you will, every discovery of human remains in the Pliocene has been discredited.’

So why does its modern appearance override the other factors? It doesn’t seem to be a very scientific approach to disregard an archaeological find simply because it does not conform to contemporary evolutionary theses. The examples cited in this article are only a small selection which has been rescued from obscurity by vigilant researchers, but how many more cases have suffered similar dismissal due to their anomalistic circumstances ?

Representational image of human skulls. How many more cases have suffered similar dismissal due to their anomalistic circumstances? (CC0)

If science continues to sweep unusual discoveries under the carpet, how are we supposed to progress as a species if we are intent on denying data which contradicts our rigid paradigms? It would appear that the knowledge filter has been in place for some time, much to the detriment of humankind and our quest to illuminate our foggy, mysterious ancient past.

Of course we cannot be sure of the validity of the anomalous finds mentioned above, but by ignoring the sheer volume of cases which question current scientific paradigms regarding the evolution of man, we are being denied the whole story – which can only be detrimental to the ongoing study of human evolution .

Top Image: Representational image of human skeletons. The discovery of anomalous skeletons suggests humanity may be older than we think.

This article was taken from the chapter ‘Bones and Stones’ in The Myth of Man by J.P. Robinson.

Some Further Reading, If You’re Curious…
References
  • Robinson, J.P. 2018. The Myth of Man, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Keith, Arthur, 1928. The Antiquity of Man, Vol. 1, Williams and Norgate Ltd., London
  • Ragazzoni, Giuseppe 1880   La collina di Castenedolo, solto il rapporto antropologico, geologico ed agronomico
  • Sergi, Giuseppe, 1884. L’uomo terziario in Lombardia Archivio per L’Antropologia e la Etnologia

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