View Full Version : Lost Civilisations


Knight-Dragon
Oct 20, 2001, 10:54 PM
Another weird thought came to me last night. Let's have a thread on lost civilisations! But no "aliens from other space helping a human tribe grew and were worshipped as gods" stuff pls. Only serious discussion on lost human civilisations.

Over the last century, a lot of lost civilisations had been discovered and became a part and parcel of our history books. Civilisations like the Maya and the Sumerians were virtually unknown till their discovery by archaeologists and explorers. Also lately Russian scientists had found remains of an early unknown civilisation in Central Asia, purportedly with its own system of writing even!

Of course, then there's the greatest lost civilisation mystery of all times, Atlantis. It was supposedly the primal civilisation of mankind and was destroyed around 9600 BC due to "human wickedness". I think it was more like a natural disaster. There had been many books written on it and it had been located in virtually every corner of the world (usually dependant upon the nationality of the writer). :)

My personal favorite was pre-Ice Age Antartica. Charles Hapgood in his book "The Maps of the Ancient Sea-kings" makes a compelling case based on an scientific analysis of all the incredibly detailed and accurate portolan (?) maps in the past few centuries and used by navigators of the Age of Exploration. E.g. the Piris Reis map of the 16th century even showed the shoreline of Antartica reasonably accurately (incl rivers and lakes) centuries before those locales could be verified by sonar sounding of the Antartic ice-shell.

What do you think? Any further inputs/opinions, not just on Atlantis but also incl other lost civilisations?

joespaniel
Oct 20, 2001, 11:00 PM
I've seen several shows about this on Discovery, TLC etc.

One theory was that it was the Aztecs. Another guy found a dig in Central America that he thinks was Atlantis.

Ask Huitz if he can translate Atlantis in Aztec. It actualy can mean something, I forgot what it was though.

Knight-Dragon
Oct 20, 2001, 11:14 PM
The Aztec believed they came from the "White Continent" which they called Aztlan or something. Sounds a lot like Atlantis. But they actually came fr northern Mexico and I think, they took over that belief from locals e.g. Toltecs who had a more advanced civilisation.
I think that that White Continent could actually be the Antartican ice-shelf. After the Ice Age began and ice began to bury the Atlantean homeland (over a few decades), the people began fleeing to the nearest landmass i.e. South America. They were already advanced navigators. So they settled there all the way to the Mexico valley and became ancestors of some of the present day Indians in that region.
Also explained why Mayas had some astounding scientific, mathematically and astronomical knowledge considering they were in the middle of a tropical jungle.

Magnus
Oct 21, 2001, 01:49 AM
I did a thesis on this very subject - my research placed 'Atlantis' as the ancient Minoan civilization on Crete, and the volcano on the Island of Thera. I do believe that Plato's story was meant to be allegorical anyway, but if he truly did have a historical reference, I think it was Crete.

Graeme the mad
Oct 21, 2001, 10:35 AM
I believe Atlantis was crete hjowever the Peris Rese maps, the similarities between all languages (not just in structure but in phonetics) and the Common occurence of a fllod myth which is practiacally the same in every culture in the world are things which we need answers to

Magnus
Oct 21, 2001, 12:03 PM
I recently watched a documentary that the 'great flood' could have been the flooding of the Black Sea with sea water around 5,000 BC or so. Apparently, what we now know as the Black Sea was like the Caspian, but fresh water, and only like half the size it is now, neolithic people had settled along its fertile shores, then the land that contained the sea at the Bosporus, broke, and a huge tidal wave of salt water rushed in and filled the area to the dimensions it is now. Oral tradition carried the story of the flood to Sumer as part of the tale of Gilgamesh, and then became Noah's story when word traveled to Palestine.

Sodak
Oct 21, 2001, 08:45 PM
Ahem... the Maya were never a lost civilization. In fact, they are still there today, I bought some mangos from them not too long ago. ;) The Maya resisted the Spanish conquistadors longer than any other amerindian people, even remaining autonomous until 1901 in the Yucatan! Their glory days ended at the hands of the spanish in about 1670. Their mathematical and calendrical accomplishments were truly phenomenal, tho I don't see what living in a tropical forest has to do with it. :confused:

The Hittites are a good example of a civ lost to the realm of legend. Only a century ago was their existence confirmed. It turns out they were a powerful people that had a huge influence in their world, but that traces of them were just not found.

I think the idea of advanced peoples originating in Antarctica is a bunch of hooey. Antarctica has been completely inhospitable to humans for almost eternity. Anybody who goes there does so temporarily. The Piris Reis map, considering the date and source, would have been made up. any resemblance to what the coastline was like 15000 years ago is pure coincidence. Many maps of the ancient world filled in the blank parts with imagination, not observation.

Magnus hits the nail on the head regarding Atlantis. It's the Cretans, particulary the city on Thira that got blown up around 1700bc. The evidence for this is overwhelming - both archaeological and linguistic. Other theories may point to real accomplishments by other peoples, but the Atlantean story is almost surely about the Cretans.

Regarding the commonality of flood stories: Magnus again hits upon the lead idea behind a historical flood, new as this idea is. Other good ideas have come up, particularly a real flooding of mesopotamia. Parts are so flat that a few feet of rainfall could leave standing water from horizon to horizon - something easily molded into a world cleansing flood in story.

Aside from the reality of these possibilities is the allegorical flood. Most civilizations of old had/have stories regarding the changes in society. These are depicted as the world ending figuratively, told as a tangible event. For example, most amerindian tribes share a concept of there being 4 or 5 worlds, each overturned cataclysmically to begin the next. One ends in fire, the next in flood. What this means is not that the world actually ended, but it symbolizes a turning point in how society worked. The old ways were 'destroyed', as it were, to make way for the new.

Sodak
Oct 21, 2001, 09:03 PM
When dealing with ancient civilizations or even simple tribes, there are a number of things that are almost universal. Everybody everywhere (with few exceptions) had knowledge of astronomy. Calendars require astronomy, and almost everybody had one. Astronomy is how people could keep accurate track of when certain plants produced fruit, when the grasses somewhere were ripe for the grazing, when the deer could be hunted in a certain place, when crops could be planted or harvested, how to navigate, etc. It was a very practical knowledge. What is cool about it all is the similarities make it seem like the first "shared tech" of reality. Did everybody discover it independently, or is it so old that everybody had time to learn it before the historical period?

There is an almost universal attributing the god of knowledge or intelligence (greek "fire") to the planet saturn. This is because saturn is the base element in the heavens upon which time can be kept for long periods. When people noticed that saturn and jupiter meet in the sky every 20 years, each time a bit farther around the horizon, they discovered the procession of time. After the 41st meeting, they are at the same place in the sky as at the first meeting of the cycle. Obviously this was first discovered by people observing, recording, and passing on the knowledge of how the heavens change as the year goes by, generation after generation. Upon this base, other cyclical patterns are built, which leads to the identification of constellations, planets, dark clouds, etc. These were universally given identities in the realm of the gods - either as gods or other characters or the backdrops against which the gods performed their deeds. Myth was used to record major events, using these characters to record the time of whatever occurence the people found important. Instead of going on for another 20 posts, I'll end it here and hope I've conveyed something of interest! :o

Constellations keep track of where the sun rises and sets at the solstices. Ever heard the term "age of aquarius?" This winter solstice, go look in which constellation the sun rises that morning.

To make a long story short, common themes to stories - in particular myth - can actually be expected. The flood story does not defy this.

Alcibiaties of Athenae
Oct 23, 2001, 11:09 PM
Originally posted by Magnus
I did a thesis on this very subject - my research placed 'Atlantis' as the ancient Minoan civilization on Crete, and the volcano on the Island of Thera. I do believe that Plato's story was meant to be allegorical anyway, but if he truly did have a historical reference, I think it was Crete. This is the correct answer, as far as is known.

Atlantis is mentioned in Plato's work, and there were several translation errors from the anciet Greek, that get the size wrong and the location wrong, as well as the date of it's demise, which should have been roughly 1200 BC.
He says they fell 900 years earlier (not the mis-translated 9,000 years), which fits the time frame, and give the size as 800,000 sqaure miles, when it's size should be 80,000 square miles, which fits Thera exactly.
Solon was mistranslated again (Plato was quoting Solon's work) when he said Atlantis was "greater than" Libya and asia in size, which should read "In between" (in Greek, these are very similar).
It was also siad Atlantis was beyound the pillars of Hercules (assumed to be straits of Gibralter), but there is also a place on Crete called the "pillars of Hurcules" near Iraklion.
His (Plato's) discription of Atlantis matches EXACTLY the island of Thera (modern day Santorini, which has extensive ruins burried under vocanic ash) in shape.

It is postulated that the "sea people" who invaded Eygpt and the levant after the eruption of Thera were the atlantians trying for a new home.

Since we STILL can't read Linear "A" (there more advanced langauge, found on both Thera and Crete), this is still all theroy.

It is Geologically impossible for Atlantis to have been a continent in the Atlantic, and nearly impossible to have been beneath the ice of Anartica.

Of course, none of this can be proven.

Cunobelin Of Hippo
Oct 23, 2001, 11:51 PM
My French teacher is completely convinced that Atlantis was located off the coast of Spain and France, because the people there speak a different language then what everyone around them does. :crazyeyes: This was the subject of a 45 minute impromputu history lesson today.

But she's nuts ;)

Huitzilopochtli
Oct 24, 2001, 01:28 AM
There is no known translation for atlantis in nahuatl (the aztec language) yet many thoeries,although unbased theories, point to Aztlan as atlantis this mythical place where the aztecs began thier epic migration towards the signal that their god Huitzilopochtli was to give them to found their city-state namely Tenochtitlan . Aztlan means the "white land" not to be translated as the "white continent" and it's origin is almost certinally mythical.

I agree that if some regard to atlantis is to be found it probably is the Minoan civilization, there is really no basis to even suspect that Plato had any news of the "new world" or it's inhabitants.

joespaniel
Oct 24, 2001, 09:14 AM
Thanks for clearing that up, bub.

From Plato's own description, Atlantis was supposed to lie beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, thus somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, I presume.

However, I dont place much faith in any theory, except its interesting to speculate. I dont think it existed at all. It probably is a moral 'tale'.

Sodak
Oct 24, 2001, 12:40 PM
As AofA points out, the actual pillars of H are on Crete. Gibraltar got the name only much later. Also, the mistranslations are a key - not to mention the proximity to the historian in question. The archaeological evidence on Thira, Crete, and the turkish coast of the Aegean makes it very clear that these people were very advanced for their time.

CofH, your french teacher is en peu feu, methinks. She was probably talking about Basque (Euskara). That it is unrelated to anything is fairly clear, altho it has been linked to some Caucasus languages and Chinese by some unique grammatical structures. In other words, it's not related to anything known. However, the real explanation is just that the Basque were there before even the Celtic occupations of europe, and have kept their own language thru an incredible amount of exposure to other, usually more powerful civs. :crazyeyes indeed...

Huitzilopochtli, I don't know Nahuatl, but am familiar with basic Mayan language. "White" is often a tag attributed to the supernatural or spiritual. If similar, a white land would very likely be the otherworld, the land of the spirits or a real world equivalent. Is this what the Nahuatl implies? Leave it to the europeans to interpret it as skin color or snow.

Yoda Power
Oct 12, 2002, 03:42 AM
I am pretty sure it is Thera, though i sow a program once on discovery with some guy that think it´s one of these pre-incan civs(i dont remmeber the name right now) but i think thats :crazyeye: . To Alcibiaties of Athenae mistranslation is a big problem, just take that with the red sea and moses in the bible.

Ribannah
Oct 12, 2002, 06:57 AM
Originally posted by Knight-Dragon
Of course, then there's the greatest lost civilisation mystery of all times, Atlantis. It was supposedly the primal civilisation of mankind and was destroyed around 9600 BC due to "human wickedness". ...
My personal favorite was pre-Ice Age Antartica.
Unfortunately this beautiful thought has been disproven by drilling results. :mad:
Originally posted by Knight-Dragon
The Aztec believed they came from the "White Continent"
Which is quite correct since they came from NE Siberia.
"Aztlan" sounds a lot like "Asia", too.

Sultan Bhargash
Oct 17, 2002, 09:22 PM
Here is a lost Civilization few people realize: the Sahara desert was a fertile grassland up till about 8000 years ago or so, and people lived there in great concentration. THis is probably the birthplace of Egyptian/Semitic language family as well as of a mythos that became Egyptian gods at one end of the sahara and the proto-Yoruba pantheon that inspired western hemisphere voodoo syncretisms. I also believe this was the actual "Garden Of Eden" which became a desert in legends of "the fall".

Knight-Dragon
Oct 17, 2002, 09:51 PM
Originally posted by Ribannah
Which is quite correct since they came from NE Siberia.
"Aztlan" sounds a lot like "Asia", too. IIRC, the name Asia came fr the Romans (or maybe the Greeks) who named Anatolia, Asia Minor. Later the name was applied to the rest of the landmass. Nobody in the eastern 2/3s of Asia refers to themselves as Asians. ;)

Richard III
Oct 17, 2002, 10:27 PM
Originally posted by Magnus
I did a thesis on this very subject - my research placed 'Atlantis' as the ancient Minoan civilization on Crete, and the volcano on the Island of Thera. I do believe that Plato's story was meant to be allegorical anyway, but if he truly did have a historical reference, I think it was Crete.

Wow! That expands considerably on what we know about Magnus in the present-day world.

Anyway, until I read this, I was about to say I voted "yes" but that Atlantis wasn't a big deal: that it was something modest in the Aegean or nearby. So, :goodjob: ditto.

R.III

joespaniel
Oct 18, 2002, 07:06 AM
Wow, I forgot all about this thread! I'm glad it was dug back up.

I never read AoA's post the first time. Sounds plausible.

As for universal great flood lore, could that have come from melting glaciers at the end of the ice age? I would imagine there was far reaching effects.

joespaniel
Oct 18, 2002, 07:09 AM
What are some other "true" lost civilizations?

HotDog Fish
Oct 18, 2002, 06:50 PM
Actually most scientist beleive that Aztlan is actually just Southern Texas because Aztlan is actually translated to 'Place of the Herons' and they left the area around 1100 AD

€ønqui$tadør
Oct 19, 2002, 08:32 PM
the most convincing theory i've come across was the one about Thera/Santorini, an island 75 miles north of Crete in the Aegean Sea, both islands of which belong to Greece.

it's really interesting because they've done excavations that dated the civilisation as about when Atlantis existed, and the physical topography (an island inside an island, volcanic envt, springs) match Plato's accounts.

but then the civilisation that existed there was actually a splinter of the Minoan civilisation in Crete, and if it's true, Plato must have blown the whole story out of proportion.

Ehecatl Atzin
Oct 20, 2002, 10:22 PM
Originally posted by HotDog Fish
Actually most scientist beleive that Aztlan is actually just Southern Texas because Aztlan is actually translated to 'Place of the Herons' and they left the area around 1100 AD

Southern Texas? Most historians believe Aztlan is located in the mexican state of Nayarit, some even place the location on the island of Mexcaltitlan. Clavijero believed it was in northern California, Boturini believed it was an asian province, others think it is in the valley of Mexico and Eduard Seller thinks it's a mythical place and therefore unexistent. Considering the aztecs destroyed their historical records and virtually rewrote history, Aztlan is quite unlikely a real place.

Ehecatl Atzin

HotDog Fish
Oct 21, 2002, 05:59 PM
Well around that area I mean, my knowledge on Souther mid-west geography is limited. Well it's not like the Aztecs had much to work with in historical recording seeing as they had no REAL language. Even though they came up with colourful pictopgraphs and glyphs. According to surving glyphs the Aztecs came from a place called Chicomoztoc or Seven Caverns in a cave in the hill Colhuatepec. The setting was mythic; other tribes including the Toltecs claimed to be from this place of origin. So almost nobody is sure where they're from except NOT from central Mexico after wandering the desert

bigfatron
Oct 22, 2002, 07:08 AM
Originally posted by Sodak
CofH, your french teacher is en peu feu, methinks. She was probably talking about Basque (Euskara). That it is unrelated to anything is fairly clear, altho it has been linked to some Caucasus languages and Chinese by some unique grammatical structures. In other words, it's not related to anything known.

I had understood that Basque was used as the basis for the eventual transalation of Etruscan script about 40 years ago, and that the language is believed to be a long time-base derivative of Etruscan, not too incredible since this was one of the dominant trading languages in the region prior to the Roman supremacy, and Etruria had established a number of distant trading colonies (as had Phoenicia, Carthage and various Greek city-states).

Re Thera/Santorini, it certainly doesn't have a land area of 800,000 sq miles, or even 80,000 - more like 80, even prior to the explosion which roughly halved the area of the island!

Agree with the many mentions on here, Thera/Crete was almost certainly the basis for the Atlantean legend.

'Lost' civilizations: Pre-Mongol India had some very groovy local civilisations that got trashed by the Mongols. I'd love to know more about them.

Oh, and does medieval Languedoc count?

erez87
Oct 22, 2002, 01:58 PM
anyone talked about the 10 lost tribes of israel? they still count as lost...
and by the mithose i know, atlantis was on a big continent (where today it's the atlantice ocean) and posidon destroied it...

Ehecatl Atzin
Oct 22, 2002, 03:07 PM
Originally posted by HotDog Fish
...seeing as they had no REAL language. Even though they came up with colourful pictopgraphs and glyphs..

Not a real language?? please define language. I do believe nahuatl is a language, it is spoken and written by more than a million people in central Mexico. That is like saying chinese is not a real language just beacuse it doesn't use our roman symbols.

Ehecatl Atzin

HotDog Fish
Oct 22, 2002, 07:28 PM
Well ok it was a spoke lanuage, a quite eloquent one but it was pictographicly written! Sorry, it was a typo and didn't realize!! I mean't their written language was well, lacking but it's a very nice language to hear, I beleive the name of the language is translated to 'Beautiful speech' but I've lent one of my friends my resources on Meso-American civlizations so I'm sorry for any hard feelings! But the Aztecs did have documentation and according to some love beauracracy as much as they loved war

Knight-Dragon
Oct 22, 2002, 10:14 PM
Originally posted by bigfatron
I had understood that Basque was used as the basis for the eventual transalation of Etruscan script about 40 years ago, and that the language is believed to be a long time-base derivative of Etruscan, not too incredible since this was one of the dominant trading languages in the region prior to the Roman supremacy, and Etruria had established a number of distant trading colonies (as had Phoenicia, Carthage and various Greek city-states).My understanding is that Basque is the only remaining 'living' native language in Europe before all the Celtic, Roman, Carthaginian etc invasions of Western Europe. Plus the Etruscans seem to have come fr Asia Minor or the Levant.

'Lost' civilizations: Pre-Mongol India had some very groovy local civilisations that got trashed by the Mongols. I'd love to know more about them.The Mongols never conquer India although they did raid it frequently for loot. Its their 'descendants' who conquered it i.e. the Mughals. Babur was as much Central Asian as he was Mongol or Turkish I think.

The largest kingdom in the area was the Islamic Delhi Sultanate at the time the Mongols came, established 2-3 centuries prior by invaders fr the Afghanistan area. South India has always been splited betw a few native kingdoms, ever since the demise of the last continent-encompassing Indian empire of Harsha.

Knight-Dragon
Oct 22, 2002, 10:19 PM
Originally posted by erez87
anyone talked about the 10 lost tribes of israel? they still count as lost...There had been lots of really wild theories over the years. Among the best I'd read, some writer believed the Lost Tribes were resettled by the Babylonians (or was it Assyrians?) in the eastern edge of their empire (in W Persia). They eventually made their way eastwards into Afghanistan and became the Pashtuns. The writer tried to point out similiarities betw present-day Pashtun customs and ancient Jewish habits like 10 tribes of Pashtun, similar common first names etc. Seemed like these Lost Tribes picked up a fair amt of aggressiveness during their trek. Really interesting conception....

Personally I believe the Lost Tribes are still in N Iraq today and had been assimilated into the local populace thousands of yrs ago..... The region is still prone to having many ancient tribes with equally ancient unique customs and practises. Maybe someday we can identify one of these as among the descendant of the Lost Tribes.

D.Shaffer
Oct 23, 2002, 08:00 AM
Originally posted by Knight-Dragon
Also explained why Mayas had some astounding scientific, mathematically and astronomical knowledge considering they were in the middle of a tropical jungle. GRRR. I'm sorry, but this is one of the things that push my buttons. WHY does there need to be some outside culture that has to teach them? Doesnt it ever occur to people that, just maybe, they managed to discover it on their own..much like all the European/Asian cultures who developed astronomy/math? People arent stupid, not even in 'the middle of the jungle', and are quite capable of noticing repeat patterns. (Nevermind the fact that the ancient mayans had agriculture and cleared the land around their cities, so they're not exactly 'in the middle of the jungle' anyways.) It's an arrogant assumption from the old days where any culture HAD to be inferious to a European one and thus there must be a 'lost' European connection because those 'primitives' over their couldnt have developed it on their own. Bah.

Knight-Dragon
Oct 23, 2002, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by D.Shaffer
GRRR. I'm sorry, but this is one of the things that push my buttons. WHY does there need to be some outside culture that has to teach them? Doesnt it ever occur to people that, just maybe, they managed to discover it on their own..much like all the European/Asian cultures who developed astronomy/math? People arent stupid, not even in 'the middle of the jungle', and are quite capable of noticing repeat patterns. (Nevermind the fact that the ancient mayans had agriculture and cleared the land around their cities, so they're not exactly 'in the middle of the jungle' anyways.) It's an arrogant assumption from the old days where any culture HAD to be inferious to a European one and thus there must be a 'lost' European connection because those 'primitives' over their couldnt have developed it on their own. Bah. If you had read my one year old post properly, you'll see that I'm implying : -

1) some of the American Indians (Maya etc) might be descendants of fleeing Atlanteans

2) never say anything about Atlanteans being Europeans or fr Europe/Asia.

3) the advanced knowledge of the Mayas were probably a part of their heritage.

Also, the Aztecs and Incas themselves had legends of foreigners arriving fr the sea to teach them.

I've never subcribed to the notion of European/White superior culture - I'm Chinese. :p

D.Shaffer
Oct 23, 2002, 04:38 PM
Originally posted by Knight-Dragon
2) never say anything about Atlanteans being Europeans or fr Europe/Asia. I'm sorry, but for me, when you say it 'explains', that tends to imply that they WOULDNT have discovered it without outside help, especially when the rest of the statement implies that they shouldnt have this knowledge for whatever reason (IE: In the middle of the jungle). Whether that outside help be long-lost Europeans, the lost tribes of Isreal, Atlanteans, or aliens, it still seems disrespectful to suggest that this, rather then independent discovery, is the reason they had such high levels of knowledge in certain areas.

And while I didnt mean to single you out in particular, I STILL see it happening when people, for example, 'KNOW for a FACT' that the US Government has alien technology since it would be 'impossible' for us to develop Stealth technology without it.

Knight-Dragon
Oct 23, 2002, 11:10 PM
I live in the tropics myself. The way I see it, the Maya have no need of such advanced astronomical knowledge. Unlike in the case of the Egyptians, Babylonians etc who needed to estimate their planting season, those in the tropics can do their agriculture all year long. The Mayas are very unique in this regard, being the only people in a tropical environment to develop a major civilisation, as opposed to the majority of those who started along major riverways. Nobody in SE Asia or tropical Africa can compare.

So why would they develop such an advanced level of astronomical knowledge? I'd say their ancestors developed it elsewhere and brought it there, to tropical Meso-America. But it's just my pet theory and unproven. :crazyeye:

Ribannah
Oct 24, 2002, 05:30 AM
Probably because at the time their territory was not so tropical.
It only became jungle land after the climate changed, that's when they abandoned their cities.

Sultan Bhargash
Dec 08, 2002, 02:36 AM
Originally posted by Knight-Dragon

So why would they develop such an advanced level of astronomical knowledge? I'd say their ancestors developed it elsewhere and brought it there, to tropical Meso-America. But it's just my pet theory and unproven. :crazyeye:

The development of advanced astronomical knowledge isn't always dependant on other earmarks of civilization.

Worship of the stars, navigation by the stars, divination by the stars can all spur that kind of knowledge along.

Many subSaharan African groups got quite intricate knowledge of the stars without a practical purpose for it.

With no television, and half of each day in darkness at the equator, watching the progression of the stars becomes a major event. The Mayans developed a complex calendar (and did indeed have planting seasons, it is n't exactly a case of food growing year round, you still have to plant and sow at certain times) and began assigning astrological significance to days/stars/etc.