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A curious thread of clues and evidence connects the world’s oldest stone circles at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark, and Plato’s account of the lost civilization of Atlantis. In this exclusive extract from his new book Magicians of the Gods (the sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods), Graham Hancock investigates.
The Biblical story of the Deluge can be summarised as follows:
We released a podcast about this subject that we did with Graham, check it out below.
Mount Ararat rises to 5,137 meters (16,853 feet) and geologists assure us, on the basis of excellent science, that no part of it has ever been covered by oceanic flood waters since it began to take shape as a mountain near the end of the early Miocene some sixteen million years ago. The presence of anatomically modern humans in the world has not yet been traced back further than two hundred thousand years, and even the last common ancestor with the chimpanzee – a creature that was very far from being in any sense ‘human’ – takes us back barely six million years, so the notion of a boat with humans on board being washed up on Mount Ararat would appear to be a chronological impossibility.
Nonetheless, it is intriguing that the story of the Deluge as given in the Old Testament makes specific and deliberate mention of ‘the mountains of Ararat’ (the ‘Mount’ does in fact have twin peaks) which, in Biblical times, were understood as being part of the ‘Kingdom of Ararat,’[ix] which in turn cannot be separated from the historic land of Urartu, conquered by the Assyrian King Shalmaneser in the late second millennium BC.[x] Due to the limited archaeology that has been undertaken in the region, historians confess that ‘the origins of Urartu’ must remain obscure’[xi] but the earliest known settlements and the beginnings of agriculture in the region have been traced back to ‘approximately 10,000 to 9000 BC’[xii] – in other words precisely to the period that a mysterious, highly sophisticated megalithic site, at least 6,000 years older than any other megalithic site so far discovered anywhere on earth, was created at a place now known as Gobekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey. Used for unknown purposes for just over a thousand years, Gobekli Tepe was then carefully, deliberately, and meticulously buried beneath an artificial hill where it remained untouched and unseen by any subsequent culture until the late Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute began his now world-famous excavations there in the second half of the 1990’s.
Moreover this whole area, Mount Ararat and Gobekli Tepe very much included, formed the heartland of historic Armenia, the direct descendant of the Biblical Kingdom of Ararat whose inhabitants saw – and still today see – themselves as ‘the Peoples of Ararat.’[xiii] Written in the fifth century AD, Moses Khorenatsi’s influential History of the Armenians attributed the founding of the nation to the patriarch Haik, who, it was said, was the great-great-great-grandson of Noah himself and thus in the close lineage of the flood survivors who emerged from the Ark.[xiv] Indeed it is because of Haik that even in the twenty-first century Armenians still refer to themselves as Hai, and to their land as Haiastan.[xv] They see it simply as a tragedy of history that so much of this land, again including Gobekli Tepe and Mount Ararat, is now in the possession of the Republic of Turkey following the Armenian genocide of 1915-1923 in which more than one million ethnic Armenians are believed to have been killed by Turkish forces.[xvi]
Nationalistic feelings still run high in the communities of the Armenian diaspora scattered around the world and in the tiny rump of historic Armenia that forms the Armenian Republic today. These tensions have not left the world-famous 11,600-year old megalithic site of Gobekli Tepe untouched, and many Armenians are outraged that Turkey claims this uniquely important place as its own heritage as though the ancient Armenian connection did not even exist. A few minutes search on the internet using the keyword ‘Portasar,’ the former Armenian name of Gobekli Tepe, will confirm this. I’ll give a single example here, a Youtube video titled ‘Turkey Presents Armenian Portasar as Turkish Gobekli Tepe.’[xvii] Amongst the comments, fairly typical of the remarks made by many viewers, we read:
In the same vein, though now entirely within the borders of Turkey, Mount Ararat remains a potent symbol of Armenian nationalism. A landscape of Mount Ararat, with the flood waters receding and Noah’s Ark at the summit, dominates the coat of arms of the Republic of Armenia while the mountain itself – so near and yet so far – looms over the Armenian capital city Yerevan, a haunting and ever present reminder that:
‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’[xix]
Thus there are many ways in which the story of Noah’s Ark bearing the survivors of a terrible global flood – and of a world made anew after a cataclysm – is still a living force in the region of Gobekli Tepe where the great stone circles began to be put in place in 9600 BC. This date, scientists agree, marks the end of the Ice Age. As Professor Klaus Schmidt, the discoverer of Gobekli Tepe, asked me rhetorically when I interviewed him at the site in 2013:
There’s something else about that date too. A global flood, nominated by geologists as “Meltwater Pulse 1 B,” occurred around 9600 BC as the remnant ice caps in North America and northern Europe collapsed simultaneously amidst worldwide global warming. Cesare Emiliani, Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami, carried out isotopic analysis of deep-sea sediments[xx]that produced striking evidence of cataclysmic global flooding ‘between 12,000 and 11,000 years ago.’[xxi]
So although the floods at the end of the Ice Age could never have carried Noah and his Ark thousands of feet above present sea level to the slopes of Mount Ararat, they were indeed global in their extent and would have had devastating consequences for humans living at that time. Mountainous regions such as the Ararat range would have been natural places of refuge – natural places to bring ‘the seeds of all life’ and to start again. Therefore while the Noah story cannot be literally true in every detail we must consider the possibility that it is true in its essence, i.e. that it does record the construction of an ‘Ark,’ in which seeds of useful plants and breeding pairs of animals were perhaps preserved by people who already knew agriculture and who possessed architectural skills, who survived the terminal Ice Age floods, who migrated to the lands between Mount Ararat and Gobekli Tepe and who subsequently disseminated agricultural and architectural knowledge to the indigenous hunter-gatherers of that region.
The sudden and indeed completely unprecedented appearance of giant stone circles at Gobekli Tepe, which surely could only have been conceived and implemented by people with extensive prior experience of megalithic architecture, and the simultaneous ‘invention’ of agriculture in the exact same locale, are, in my view, highly suggestive of this possibility. Then, too, there is the haunting sense that Gobekli Tepe itself constitutes a kind of ‘Ark’ frozen and memorialized in stone, for the iconography of its reliefs and sculptures is not only all about animals but also – in a number of intriguing images that show women with exposed genitalia[xxii] and males with erect penises[xxiii] – about human fertility. Imagery of the latter sort, including a figure that Karl Luckert, Professor of the History of Religions at Missouri State University, interprets as a classic ‘Earth Mother,’[xxiv] call to mind God’s command to Moses and his family to ‘be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.’[xxv] Meanwhile, where else but in Noah’s Ark can we find a menagerie as eclectic as the one portrayed on the megaliths of Gobekli Tepe – a menagerie that includes spiders, scorpions and snakes (‘every creeping thing of the earth’), birds and cattle (‘fowls after their kind, and cattle after their kind’), and foxes, felines, goats, sheep, gazelles, boars, bears, etc, etc (in short – as Genesis 6: 20 has it, ‘every kind of animal and every kind of creature’)? Likewise we read in the Bible that Noah sacrificed some of the animals and birds that he had just saved from the flood as an offering to God. At Gobekli Tepe archaeologists have found the butchered bones of many of the animal species depicted on the megalithic pillars.[xxvi]
A final touch. With the date of its foundation set at 9600 BC (‘exactly 9600 BC as Klaus Schmidt was at pains to point out to me), Gobekli Tepe also invites us to reopen the cold case of Atlantis which archaeologists have long ridiculed, pouring scorn and derision on anyone daring to utter the much reviled ‘A’ word. It is a fact, however, that the Greek philosopher Plato, whose dialogues Timaeus and Critiascontain the earliest surviving mention of the fabled sunken kingdom, gives us a very definite date for the the deluge that submerged Atlantis. Plato’s source for the story was an oral tradition that had been passed down in his family line from his ancestor, the Greek lawmaker Solon (638 BC to 558 BC). Solon visited Egypt around the year 600 BC where priests at the Temple of Neith at Sais in the Delta told him the story of Atlantis, and informed him that its destruction had occurred “nine thousand years ago.”[xxvii]
Needless to say, nine thousand years before 600 BC is “exactly 9600 BC”!
The Greeks could not have known of Gobekli Tepe (let alone that it was mysteriously founded at the very moment Atlantis was said to have died). Moreover they had no access to the Greenland ice cores dating the end of the Ice Age to 9620 BC, just twenty years before the foundation of Gobekli Tepe, nor to modern scientific knowledge about the rapidly rising sea levels that occurred in this period, notably Meltwater Pulse 1 B. With all this in mind, therefore, the date Plato gives can no longer be dismissed as just something he “made up” (as archaeologists like to claim) but deserves to be considered seriously as a truthful report that has the power to sweep back the veils that hide our past.
Listen to our first podcast episode featuring Graham Hancock where we ask him all about Magicians of the Gods and more…
[i] Genesis 6: 7
[ii] Genesis 6: 8-21
[iii] Genesis 6: 19-20
[iv] Genesis 8: 3
[v] Genesis 8: 4
[vi] Genesis 8: 13-17
[vii] Genesis 8: 20-21
[viii] Genesis 9: 1-7
[ix] For example see Jeremiah 51: 27; also Isaiah 37: 38; 2 Kings 19:37
[x] Armen Asher and Teryl Minasian Asher, The Peoples of Ararat, Booksurge, 2009, p.241
[xi] Charles Burney and David Marshall Lang, The Peoples of the Hills: Ancient Ararat and the Caucasus, Phoenix Press, London, 1971, p. 127. See also Amelie Kurht, The Ancient Near East, Routledge, London and New York,, 1995, Vol II, p. 550: ‘Archaeologically, the second millennium of the region is something of a blank at present.’
[xii] Ibid, p.17
[xiii] Armen Asher and Teryl Minasian Asher, The Peoples of Ararat, op.cit
[xiv] Moses Khorenatsi, History of the Armenians, Caravan Books, Ann Arbor, 2006, p.p, 72 and 82ff. Haik, also spelled Hayk, is said to be the son of Torgomah [T’orgom], who was the son of Tiras [T’iras], who was the son of Gomer [Gamer], who was the son of Noah’s son Japheth [Yapeth].
[xv] Arra S. Avakian and Ara John Movsesian, Armenia: A Journey Through History, The Electric Press, California, 1998-2008, p. 47. See also Armen Asher and Teryl Minasian Asher, The Peoples of Ararat, op.cit., p. 284-285
[xix] The quotation is from William Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun, 1951.
[xx] Cesare Emiliani held a Ph.D from the University of Chicago where he pioneered the isotopic analysis of deep-sea sediments as a way to study the Earth’s past climates. He then moved to the University of Miami where he continued his isotopic studies and led several expeditions at sea. He was the recipient of the Vega Medal from Sweden and the Agassiz medal from the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
[xxi] Emiliani, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 41 (1978), p.159, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam
[xxii] E.g. see Karl W. Luckert, Stone Age Religion at Gobekli Tepe, Triplehood, 2013, p. 101
[xxiii] Joris Peters and Klaus Schmidt, ‘Animals in the symbolic world of Pre-Pottery Neolithic Gobekli Tepe, south-eastern Turkey: a preliminary assessment,’ Anthropozoologica, 2004, 39 (1), pp. 204-205
[xxiv] Karl W. Luckert, Stone Age Religion at Gobekli Tepe, op.cit., pp 100-102
[xxv] Genesis 9: 1
[xxvi] Joris Peters and Klaus Schmidt, ‘Animals in the symbolic world of Pre-Pottery Neolithic Gobekli Tepe’, op.cit., pp 206-208
[xxvii] Plato, Timaeus and Critis op.cit, p. 36.
Graham Hancock’s multi-million bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods remains an astonishing, deeply controversial, wide-ranging investigation of the mysteries of our past and the evidence for Earth’s lost civilization. Twenty years on, Hancock returns with Magicians of the Gods, the sequel to his seminal work filled with completely new, scientific and archaeological evidence, which has only recently come to light…
Near the end of the last Ice Age 12,800 years ago, a giant comet that had entered the solar system from deep space thousands of years earlier, broke into multiple fragments. Some of these struck the Earth causing a global cataclysm on a scale unseen since the extinction of the dinosaurs. At least eight of the fragments hit the North American ice cap, while further fragments hit the northern European ice cap. The impacts, from comet fragments a mile wide approaching at more than 60,000 miles an hour, generated huge amounts of heat which instantly liquidized millions of square kilometers of ice, destabilizing the Earth’s crust and causing the global Deluge that is remembered in myths all around the world. A second series of impacts, equally devastating, causing further cataclysmic flooding, occurred 11,600 years ago, the exact date that Plato gives for the destruction and submergence of Atlantis.
The evidence revealed in this book shows beyond reasonable doubt that an advanced civilization that flourished during the Ice Age was destroyed in the global cataclysms between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago. But there were survivors – known to later cultures by names such as ‘the Sages’, ‘the Magicians’, ‘the Shining Ones’, and ‘the Mystery Teachers of Heaven’. They travelled the world in their great ships doing all in their power to keep the spark of civilization burning. They settled at key locations – Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, Baalbek in the Lebanon, Giza in Egypt, ancient Sumer, Mexico, Peru and across the Pacific where a huge pyramid has recently been discovered in Indonesia. Everywhere they went these ‘Magicians of the Gods‘ brought with them the memory of a time when mankind had fallen out of harmony with the universe and paid a heavy price. A memory and a warning to the future…
For the comet that wrought such destruction between 12,800 and 11,600 years may not be done with us yet. Astronomers believe that a 20-mile wide ‘dark’ fragment of the original giant comet remains hidden within its debris stream and threatens the Earth. An astronomical message encoded at Gobekli Tepe, and in the Sphinx and the pyramids of Egypt, warns that the ‘Great Return’ will occur in our time…
More here: http://grahamhancock.com/magicians/