Göbekli Tepe

Location of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey

Location of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey

Original Image

Where they have found 12,000 year old giant carved stones that look like they make a structure.

Well that’s got to unsettle some things…

I’m watching the ‘ol history chanel as I wait for my DSL to stop playing Yo-Yo and they have this story about a place in Turkey, Göbekli Tepe, which just happens to have monumental stone structures complete with carvings of animals and figures and all…

But “Standard Theory” says civilization began in about 5000 BP (or 3000 BC) with the Egyptians / Babylonians. This place is from 12000 BP (10,000 BC). Ouch, that’s gonna leave a mark…

This article has a nice write up and some good pictures. Those are mightly finely worked stones…

http://www.archaeology.org/0811/abstracts/turkey.html

Though the article is generally well done, they foul it up in the end with the typical wild ass speculation masquerading as science where they launch into fantasies about religion and ceremonies. I really do wish Archeology would learn to just stick to “the facts, mam, just the facts”. You have some stones, very nicely carved, that indicate some fairly advanced social organization and technical stone working skills. They have decent artwork on them. They are 12,000 years old. After that, you are just making ‘stuff’ up. Please don’t.

It could just as easily be a place and the king had a thing for animal sculptures (as we’ve seen in some Roman ruins) or a merchant with some money was showing off to his friends. Heck, it could even have been an old zoo with each animal having it’s image on the rock post that held the (now decayed) rope nets keeping it in (rather like I’ve seen at some of OUR zoos…). In the absence of any information, ALL speculation is possible, but NONE of it is valid. So of course it’s a ritual religeous site… in their eyes.

Before the discovery of Göbekli Tepe, archaeologists believed that societies in the early Neolithic were organized into small bands of hunter-gatherers and that the first complex religious practices were developed by groups that had already mastered agriculture. Scholars thought that the earliest monumental architecture was possible only after agriculture provided Neolithic people with food surpluses, freeing them from a constant focus on day-to-day survival. A site of unbelievable artistry and intricate detail, Göbekli Tepe has turned this theory on its head.

Schmidt believes the people who created these massive and enigmatic structures came from great distances. It seems certain that once pilgrims reached Göbekli Tepe, they made animal sacrifices. Schmidt and his team have found the bones of wild animals, including gazelles, red deer, boars, goats, sheep, and oxen, plus a dozen different bird species, such as vultures and ducks, scattered around the site. Most of these animals are depicted in the sculptures and reliefs at the site.

There is still much that we don’t understand about religious practices at Göbekli Tepe, Schmidt cautions. But broadly speaking, the animal images “probably illustrate stories of hunter-gatherer religion and beliefs,” he says, “though we don’t know at the moment.” The sculptors of Göbekli Tepe may have simply wanted to depict the animals they saw, or perhaps create symbolic representations of the animals to use in rituals to ensure hunting success.

Or maybe it was an exotic food store and they served “take out” for the local rich folks…

Look, if I find burnt bones of an animal, most likely it was LUNCH, not a religeous experience… These folks need to go to a tail gate party BBQ some time… preferably in The South were things like ‘gator and ‘possum are not though of as things in the zoo…

OK, other than that standing gripe of mine about Modern Archaeology; it’s really quite an interesting find.

The start of civilization has been moved way back, to over double (and how far over, we don’t know, as they already had stone cutting well worked out when this was built.) It is also now placed back at the point of the beginning of the Holocene. This means that the potential for more ‘civilization’ to be found under the 400 foot or so of water that rose during the glacier melt is much much higher.

There is a wiki on it, though it doesn’t add much and has no pictures:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Göbekli_Tepe

The Smithsonian picks up the religion and temple meme, but has some very nice pictures:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/gobekli-tepe.html

Aside from a general indication that “settled science” often becomes very unsettled rather suddenly, this has other more interesting implications. There is a site off of India with an apparent city on the bottom of the ocean from about this age (or a bit earlier). They are now more likely to be funded for exploration as it’s no longer “impossible” to have civilization that old. There is a site in Egypt below the level of the ornately heiroglyphic stones that has bare flat stones. These OUGHT to be about 10,000 years old per depth, but that has been brushed off by Egyptologists as impossible as there “was no civilization then”. They are now up for reinterpretation as depth defined in age at pre-Pharnoic age civilization. The list goes on.

There is nothing like an existence proof to shake up some ‘settle science’. Now if they could just find a sign at Göbekli Tepe saying “Osterich Leg 20 silver pieces, side of zebra 30 pieces” ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Science Bits, Stonehenge and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Göbekli Tepe

  1. Jeff Alberts says:

    I like their definitive pronouncements:

    Schmidt points to the great stone rings, one of them 65 feet across. “This is the first human-built holy place,” he says.

    There is no way to prove that. First KNOWN, I can accept, but to say first with no qualification has no basis in reality.

  2. Jason Calley says:

    I see no reason why relatively high populations and cultural levels cannot take place in the absence of traditional agriculture. We moderns tend to think of agriculture in exclusively annual terms. In other words, we think of farmers plowing and tilling, planting a crop such as barley or corn or potatoes, harvesting in autumn and then starting the cycle again next spring. Well, that’s just us…

    I suspect that the really ancient civilizations — the ones we can hardly even tell existed! — were based on a much older system of arbor culture, that is, tree crops, and the production of foods by trees, bushes and perennials. There are still traces of such practices in scattered locations such as Malta and Carpathia. Tree cropping lends itself to mountainous or hilly regions much better than annuals. The main advantage of annual crop planting is that when settling a new region, you can have food production in one year, whereas tree cropping may take five or ten years to stabilize.

    Ancient civilizations before development of plows and hoes and draft animals? Sure.

  3. George says:

    I feel pretty strongly that most of the evidence of early civilization lies under water. What are now the Adriatic Sea and the Persian Gulf would have been wide, flat, fertile valleys watered by large rivers. I would bet a cheeseburger and a coke that there are some pretty significant cities buried under sediments in those locations.

  4. George says:

    Well, meant to say that those places would have been wide, flat, fertile valleys back before the beginning of the current interglacial.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, here’s a link to the India site that’s submerged:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_archaeology_in_the_Gulf_of_Cambay

    @Jeff Alberts:

    Exactly right! They “don’t know what they don’t know”…

    Also that definative “holy place” just irkes me. I suspect there have been atheists as long as there have been people, so to do the reflexive religion thing is just so wrong. We’ve got a couple of thousand years of Christian and Muslim indoctrination into the notion that religion dominates. That did not exist then.

    The older druid and pegan beliefs were much more akin to “Stuff happens” than any religion “old man in the sky” mumbo jumbo and I’m pretty darned sure the first guy to shoot a deer wasn’t thinking about the Deer God when he ate it.

    They ought to be saying “We’ve found the oldest site of human culture so far, and we don’t know at all what was its purpose.”

    If these folks dug up a football stadium today and found coins and chicken bones under the stands, they would call it a great religious festival with the giving of alms and bird sacrifices! (Though in that case they might be right ;-) but I really want to hear them explaining the central importance of the Great God Budweizer with his many altars!)

    @Jason Calley:

    I have a mini-orchard around my home. I’ll take a bunch of trees over repeated plough and till any day. I get fruit beyond my capacity to eat by doing NOTHING.

    Were I living in a civilization of my own design, everyone would have a small ‘victory garden’ and a medium sized personal orchard. What evidence for this would exist after 10,000 years? Nothing. Would 2 goats inside the fence show in the record either? Not unless I piled up the bones somewhere instead of letting them rot and putting the compost back out…

    There is nothing at all to prevent a ‘garden civilization’ from being a success. Now plop that down next to a river with fish and a forest with some deer, add a grassy medow of barley (that I can’t kill out of my yard… we call it ‘foxtail’ here and it’s a weed) and you can very easily have all the culture and civilization you want, no plough needed.

    And, more to your point, I’m slowly adding more orchard and reducing the garden. Right now I’m trying to get an Avocado to size for bearing. One of those will feed a family and then some…

    I’m still looking for a decent link to the Egyptian site with the oversized bare surfaced megalithic construction. Stratigraphy makes it about 10,000 years old, but the Egyptologists hand wave that away with a ‘no civilization then… must be something else’. I *think* it was near the Sphynx, but I’m not sure… Oddly, the Sphynx wiki page has this interesting note:

    “The oldest known sphinx was found in Gobekli Tepe, Turkey and was dated to 9,500 B.C.”

    Makes you wanna go “hmmmm”…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphinx

  6. Myrddin Seren says:

    Admittedly limited experience suggests archeologists are not a little ‘careerist’.

    Just the facts don’t make for an academic peak.

    Theories and staunch defence thereof seem the go, even when the facts on the ground suggest the interpretation can be challenged. No retreat, no surrender.

    I witnessed a presentation by an Australian archeological group operating in Israel.

    They glossed over the fact that the Romans built a port at Caesarea by constructing concrete caissons, floating them into position and sinking them with divers – a Roman ‘mulberry’ harbour – and then launched into a heated controversy about who bult a particular, non-descript brick wall !

    Wood, trees, hello ?

  7. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. There are multiple examples of very ancient megalithic structures in Egypt, I think. Are you thinking of the Osireion, or perhaps of the megalithic portions of the Temple complex near the Sphinx?

    Also, the Maltese megalithic temples are stunning.

    Turns out that megalithic structures run all through the Black Sea area and on over to Japan. Even a few here in the US.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    The Osireion looks a lot like what I’m remembering:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osireion

    Large monolithic, no hieroglyphs. Below an existing clearly Egyptian temple.

    The one I’m remembering, I don’t remember the ‘full of water’ part, but it could be that I’m just not remembering the whole story (it was a couple of decades back and I wasn’t as interested in it then, as now…)

    There were two competing explanations. Bulit before pharonic Egypt, and then built upon later. Built by pharonic Egypt in a peculiar style.

    There was similar style and structure near the Sphynx that IIRC was found later. So the sphynx temple is not the one I can’t remember clearly, but confirmation of it.

    Didn’t know there were megaliths in Malta. Have to look into that…

    To me it looks like it’s pretty clear that there was some kind of ice-age civilization, that the melt had catastrophic impact on it, and after some chaos, Egypt and Babylon got a reset and restart done.

    Then there is that story of Solon, visiting Egypt when they were building the pyramids, returning with descriptions of them using leveraged machines to move the stones and the Egyptian “priest” saying, roughly, “Solon, oh Solon, you greeks are such children, having no history nor science that is truely old and hoary with age. Many have been the destructions of mankind”… That sure sounds like someone clearly stating ‘we are just the latest in a series of civilizations”.

    Sometimes I really want to cry about what was lost in the burning of the Library of Alexandria…

    And now we’re finding the stones of those “hoary with age” places…

    At any rate, if it’s not The Osireion it’s someplace a lot like it, though perhaps a bit dryer ;-)

  9. Greg. Cavanagh says:

    I remember when these stones were uncovered a couple years back. It was well discussed on the Christian boards. It was somehow decided (and I’m not sure if it was the archaeologists or not) that these were the remnants of a sect called The Children of Eden.

    Surprisingly this sect was mentioned in the bible under the Second book of Kings “19:11Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? 19:12Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar?”

    It is believed that they were basically druids worshiping nature (as seen on the stones). They didn’t want the Assyrians destroying their temple utterly, so buried it all. Which accounts for their preservation to date.

  10. Jeff Alberts says:

    @EM

    Definitely take a look at this for a little fun: http://www.amazon.com/Motel-Mysteries-David-Macaulay/dp/0395284252/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    It’s a book my dad gave me when I was a kid in the 70s. It’s a satire of modern archaeology, from the perspective of people 2000 years into the future, and they interpret our society, and get everything utterly wrong.

  11. Now, the oldest city in the world is CARAL, in Peru, South America, 120 km. north of the Capital of Peru, Lima:
    http://www.caralperu.gob.pe/civilizacion/intro.html
    http://www.arqueologiadelperu.com.ar/caral.htm

    Though, an expedition of the Duke University found a sunken city under the sea:

  12. preceding Stonehenge ????….Come on!, in “Stonehenge Decoded”, it was (if I remember well) astronomically dated to about 8,000 years BC.
    In archeology it is evident, like in the other branches of “post normal science”, the lack of interdisciplinary work.
    Every time we hear an archeologist we are inevitably reminding the opinions of an art critic, saying a lot of gibberish and a chemically pure product of the wildest and “cool”imagination, only possible in conceited sons and daugthers of mommy and daddy.

  13. MichaelM says:

    Fascinating thread – that’s why I check here all the time.

    Chiefio, have you heard about Robert M. Schoch’s work on redating the Sphinx? He believes he found evidence of water erosion on the ‘base’ which could move it’s creation back to the last time that region was rainy.

    Also, looking at the Sphinx I’ve always thought that the human face is ridiculously out of proportion and probably a replacement for something else. Graham Hancock and others suggest that if indeed the sphinx is from ca. 10,000 BC then it would face toward the sun which rose in the constellation LEO during that period. Thus it could have simply had a lion’s head and be tied to the ‘age of Leo’ that constellation having more significance in that age.

    Neways, you may have posted on this before, just wanted to chime in on ancient civilizations.

    _Michael

  14. Pascvaks says:

    I’ll bet anything that they were Celts. We all know the Celts were the ones who invented and did everything first. Don’t we? Everybody on the planet has some of them Ol’Magic Celtic genes, just look at the faces in
    a St Paddy’s Day parade.

    Anyway, it is a shame that people who should know better make SWAG’s about things like this. The “Scientific Wild Assed Guess” is THE Scientific Method of the current Modern Era. Wonder how that happened? Bet ‘Federal Funding’ had a lot to do with it.

    The estimated age of these artifacts doesn’t surprise me. I’ve thought for sometime that the end of glacial periods every ~110K years are the most destructive periods in human history. In a far distant second place comes the end of interglacials; one of which should be coming up soon. The “Atlantis” and “Noah” legends all seem to point to something big and I tend to guess it had much to do with the last Big Thaw ~14.5K years ago (aka The Last Great Global Warming Event).

    I still think the Scorpion King was Irish.

  15. oldtimer says:

    Cave paintings go back around 40,000 years. In South Africa an archeologist has uneathed lumps of yellow ochre (in their thousands) some with inscribed patterns on them. He says they are c60-70,000 years old and are the earliest known man made patterns.

  16. @Pascvaks
    The “Atlantis” and “Noah” legends all seem to point to something big and I tend to guess it had much to do with the last Big Thaw ~14.5K years ago (aka The Last Great Global Warming Event).
    About 12,000 years ago it was the Aquarius era:
    http://www.josephinewall.co.uk/zodiac/aquarius.html
    represented (what a coincidence!) by a girl pouring down a jug full of water. and as I have pointed out many times:
    CR are mainly (90%) composed of PROTONS, and these are not a shower of little pebbles, as the current “flintstones” universe believers may suppose, but HYDROGEN NUCLEII, so having the ability of reacting with ozone and oxygen to form WATER.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/30/icecube-spies-unexplained-pattern-of-cosmic-rays/#comment-444400

    Ask the Aussies or the Pakistanis :-)

  17. Pascvaks

    I’ll bet anything that they were Celts. We all know the Celts were the ones who invented and did everything first. Don’t we?
    May be you are right (provided you are not a disguised Viking). But in Rene Guenon’s book “Symbols of the Sacred Science” it is said that you were the inheritors of Atlantis or the Hyperboreans, and having as their symbol the wild boar.
    Anyway, we are living in “interesting times” when these things begin to emerge from the depths of the genetic memory of past humanity, and this is for a reason. It’s time to get back to the essential.

  18. @E.M.Smith
    In a series of expeditions between 1991 and 1993 led by John Anthony West, and independent Egyptologist, scientific investigators conducted geological and seismic surveys around the Great Sphinx of Egypt. The chief geologist was Dr. Robert Schoch, Professor of Geology at Boston University, and the chief seismologist was Thomas Dobecki from the highly-respected Houston consulting firm, McBride-Ratclif & Associates.

    (II) The team’s conclusions were as follows:

    A. Geology, The pattern of erosion on the Sphinx indicates that it was carved at the end of the last Ice Age, when heavy rains fell in the eastern Sahara – perhaps more than 12,000 years ago This contrasts starkly with the ‘orthodox’ Egyptological dating for the Sphinx of around 4,500 years ago.

    B. Seismography. The seismic survey indicated the existence of several unexplored tunnels and cavities in the bedrock beneath the Sphinx, including a large rectangular chamber at a depth of some 25 feet beneath the monuments front paws
    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/egipto/esp_esfinge_1c.htm

  19. Jeff Alberts says:

    @Adolfo Giurfa

    But Stonehenge was built in stages, most likely by disconnected groups of people over different epochs. The largest stones which make it so striking a much younger, younger than the great pyramids.

  20. Jeff Wood says:

    Fascinating. In Scotland we have a lot of these standing stones, carefully left alone by farmers.

    The stones are much weathered (we get a lot of weather here) and I have often wondered what might have been carved or painted on them way back when. This find gives a clue.

  21. Jeff Alberts

    BTW, I would like to know where to find the “second” stonehenge supposedly built at the antipodes of the original, intended to observe and study from both hemispheres the events happening then.

  22. PhilJourdan says:

    Typo Alert – “the facts, mam, must the facts”.

    Shouldn’t that be just?

    What this place and others prove to us is how much we still do not know about the earth and early man. Like you, I do wish they would “stick to the facts”, but enjoy reading about new revelations like this in any event.

  23. @PhilJourdan : enjoy reading about new revelations like this in any event.
    Precisely!: Revelation: These “interesting times” are the times for that.
    Apocalypse (Greek: Ἀποκάλυψις Apokálypsis; “lifting of the veil” or “revelation”) is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted.

  24. Jason Calley says:

    Pascvaks says: “I still think the Scorpion King was Irish.”

    Maybe the other way around. You know, the old Irish legends say that an Egyptian Princess, “Princess Scota,” and her retinue were early founders of the Irish people.

    More seriously, I have long wondered what the relationship of the Celts and the ancient Egyptians was. The Celts were spread all through Europe and Iberia and down into North Africa, right next door to the Egyptians. Consider also that there were two great religious centers of the time: Karnak in Egypt and Carnac in Celtic Britanny.

  25. @Jason Calley
    Al that it is very important, but it is History and so, in a certain way anecdotal, what it is really important is to recover the “Symbols of the Sacred Science” (Rene Guenon). Knowledge it is not hidden or prohibited, it is just veiled by our arrogance and conceit…..so they say.
    Revelation happens when some contents in our DNA memories arise from oblivion and come up to conscience: Of course we need to have the right data and experience in the mind to correctly interpret that reminiscence from the past. It just suddenly arranges the pieces of a previously existing puzzle (question. If no question, no answer).
    Try this: http://www.giurfa.com/unified_field.mht

  26. George says:

    There is a program that NASA has called World Wind. If you get the “legacy” version of that program, there is another fellow that makes a sea level plugin. You can then drop the sea levels down to where they were during the last glacial period and see what things looked like. Florida, for example, is just huge. So is Australia. Indonesia becomes almost one complete land mass. The free plugin allows you drop sea levels only to the minimum depth they were during the last glacial.

    The fellow that produces the plugin also produces a pay version that allows you do change sea levels in 10 meter increments. It should be here this week. What I am interested in is the period particularly during Meltwater Pulse 1A when sea levels were rising some 44mm/year.

    If you look at the areas that were dry land that are now under water, you can see that it must have caused havoc as entire populations must have had to migrate over a relatively short period of time (few generations) into completely different areas.

    Also, areas of Egypt such as Alexandria looked completely different and the Nile delta was much bigger.

  27. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. I share your interest in possibility of an ancient civilization in the 10k to 15k BP era. Oddly — or maybe not so oddly — more than a few of my acquaintances over the years (at least the brightest and most creative!) have leaned toward the hypothosis of such a lost civilization. Certainly there are enough bits and odd scraps found around the world that one is tempted to make a pattern of them. Often, older temples, Greek, Roman, Inca, seem to sit atop far older sites, sites with massive cut stones, larger than the Romans or Incas could hamndle. Look at Baalbek and its base stones. Look at Sacsahuaman. Look at the docks aof Tiahuanaco and the ancient shorelines of Titicaca. By the way, here is an interesting site from a British gentleman: http://www.peter-thomson.co.uk/index.html He has some interesting ideas regarding a technological Ice Age civilization, as well as several other science topics.

    Also, if you have never read the World History of Herodotus, you might discover some absolutely marvelous info about the Egyptians. I found it best to do the same style read-through reserved for the Old Testament, you know, jump over all the geneologies and lists of kings and cut to the interesting parts. He claimed a much older history for Egypt, and also wrote quite a bit about a gigantic series of rooms and passages running below the Pyramids. Another good Egyptian lead from Herodotus is his reports about the ancient manmade Egyptian Lake Maoris. http://books.google.com/books?id=3ZQ2AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA14&lpg=PA14&dq=egyptian+lake+maoris&source=bl&ots=hhOXcI2WOS&sig=keWeZYyblyD6zB5CSX19RW5cdWs&hl=en#v=onepage&q=egyptian%20lake%20maoris&f=false
    The lake was over 400 miles in circumference and a major fishery for Egypt. The excess flow of the Nile was channeled into the lake during half the year, and then drawn back again for irrigation during the other half. Brilliant engineering. It was reported to have two enormous pyramids in the center of the lake, but as far as I have been able to find out, they are now lost. They might actually still be there, buried in silt. Or maybe Herodotus was wrong (but I doubt it!)

    Anyway, like you, I think that there are not just a few missing pages from history, but whole volumes — with a major hole in our knowledge right around the ending of the last Ice Age.

  28. @George
    There is a program that NASA has called World Wind.
    Imaginative those guys!. Are they competing to get the Nobel Prize in Literature?
    Some geologists would describe to them quite a different panorama.
    Nice play!

  29. BTW: Do you remember I.Velikovsky’s “World in Collision”?
    He was anathematized in his time.
    Behind this “need” of revisiting History is the real need of rediscovering the laws that explain and govern the universe and ourselves. This is what there is behind: Our urgent need to know. As the Delphi oracle says:
    γνωθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seautón = “know thyself”

  30. Dennis says:

    It also seemingly moves the use of metal tools back pretty substantially, as I suspect the carving and dressing of these stones was not accomplished with fire-hardened sticks or flint tools. This kind of goes along with the discovery of 14,000 year old human teeth in Isreal. My goodness! is it possible the high-foreheads don’t really know what they’re talking about in all of their pronouncements.

    E.M.

    I share your frustration with the theories of some Archeologists. I worked with a number of them. In one case one posited that a location was an ancient Indian campsite because of the occurrance of a pile river rocks on top of a 2000+ foot ridge. Because the rocks were round (unlike those on the ridge) he surmised that the Indians carried them up from the river below and because they were scorched, their purpose had been for a fire ring. I could see a number of problems with the theory: 1. Did the Indians build rock firerings like today’s camper’s. Why would they?, 2. Why would round river rocks be so important as to pack them up a 2000′ ridge, 3) could the scorching have been a lot more recent, and, 4) since we were near an old fire lookout site and right on the trail up from the mainline along the river, didn’t it seem possible that the old packers used the rocks as a quick pack balance mechanism as they still do today? He reminded me pretty quickly that I was a forester, not an Archeologist, and I should stick to what I know. —-So I did.

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jeff Alberts:

    The link you gave has a ‘top product’ promo tag, don’t know if it will matter over time, but doing a ‘to author and back’ cycle gave a slightly different link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Motel-Mysteries-David-Macaulay/dp/0395284252/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1294421951&sr=1-9

    Looks like a great book! Looking at other stuff by that author he has a bunch of stuff that would interest me… This one, where he designs a “Roman” city the way the Romans did looks particularly interesting:

    http://www.amazon.com/City-Story-Roman-Planning-Construction/dp/0395349222/ref=pd_sim_b_4

    “City charts the planning and building of an imaginary Roman city, ‘Verbonia.’ Macaulay focuses on the achievement of efficient and rational city planning. His brilliantly individualistic drawings capture the essential quality of the Roman character, the ability to organize.” — Review

    I think I’m going to like that guy ;-)

    This ought to give a list of all his books:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&sort=relevancerank&search-alias=books&field-author=David%20Macaulay

    Thanks for the pointer, I likely would not have found it on my own…

    @Adolfo:

    I’d known about the site on land, the finding in 6000 feet of water is a bit startling, though. (They do mention that the land is sinking there, so depth is not a direct indicator of age, but needs calibration…) Still, that’s a long time….

    On the Caral posting: I’m very happy to see at least some folks willing to say “who knows, could be anything”

    Ser constructores de colosales edificios con forma de pirámide distingue a la gente de Caral de los demás pueblos de su tiempo en los andes. La pirámide en los andes es un edificio de grandes proporciones usado por los curacas (gobernantes) como el centro de sus actividades, ya sean religiosas, políticas o económicas. Era el símbolo y centro del poder. Allí se realizaron las ceremonias que garantizarían el orden establecido en fechas señaladas por un calendario ceremonial que emulaba el ritmo de la naturaleza.

    The bold bit, provided my Spanish is not too horrid, says

    “The pyramid in the Andes is an edifice of grand proportions, used by the chiefs (goverment / rulers) as a center of their activities, be they religious, political, or economic.”

    The thing that this makes particularly interesting is that we have Caral at about 5000 YBP ( 3000 BC) and predating the Egyptians.

    Caral es la ciudad más antigua del Perú (más de 5000 años desde el presente) y cede de la primera civilización andina que forjó las bases de una organización social propia y singular, que junto a Mesopotamia, Egipto, india, China y Mesoamérica son los focos originarios de cultura en el mund

    and we’ve got something off shore even older…

    Then in Turkey we’ve got a very well preserved site from 12,000 years BP. There has been organized civilized life on this planet for far longer than the ‘start of civilization’ that the Egyptologists push.

    I would also assert that there was likely some form of writing before them as well. Hieroglyphics did not just spring fully formed from the ground…

    If our society expired today, how much of our paper, CDs, DVDs, Magnetic Tapes, etc. would survive 100 years on the surface and 5000 years in the mud?

    Writing on unfired clay tablets was arround long before the fired tablets we found in Babylon. (That we only have preserved becaue the building burned down, firing them).

    What we really have is a record of the earliest writing in carved stone and fired clay, and that’s a very narrow slice.

    (Folks have used all sorts of things for writing, including knots in a tapestry. Cloth can be writing… The oldest books in india are written on leaves. Not the kind of thing that suvives in a mud pile. They claim to be about 10,000 years old, per the ‘owners’. That’s now got more potential to it…)

    At any rate, we’ve got a lot longer history of civilization than just Egypt.

    @Michael M:

    I’ve seen Schoch (on TV) at the Sphynx giving his spiel. It’s convincing to me. He looks at the erosion of the ‘pit’ it sits in and basically says “Water did this, it’s classic erosional features” and “When was there that much water? 10,000 years ago…”. I’m pretty sure his is right.

    Per the head: Yeah, it just shouts “Re Cut”. I fugure it was a giant Cat, and in the pharonic era someone had it recut to look sort of like him.

    That the nearby temple also has the ‘unadorned’ megalithic structure (and the Egyptians put hieroglyphs on anything that didn’t move…) also suggest they are older and on the order of 10,000 BC or so.

    @Pascvaks:

    “I’ll bet anything that they were Celts.”…
    “I still think the Scorpion King was Irish.”

    Well, someone pointed out on an earlier thread that Phonecian meant “red head” (though I’ve not finished tracking down that thread back to a genetic basis) and this link on Sicily:

    http://www.bestofsicily.com/genetics.htm

    has some interesting things to say. It includes a nice map showing the movements of peoples (and thus their genes and cultures) over time. Notice that a lot of folks originate in Turkey and The Middle East and migrate toward Spain (and they then migrate on to Ireland, then Scotland, then Canada, New York, and California… presently moving on to Texas, Phoenix, and Florida ;-)

    I’ve bolded some bits:

    Sicilian Haplogroups
    Haplogroups reflect the most ancient genetic influences, dating to at least 8,000 years ago. […]

    Haplogroup M173, associated with the descendants of the first waves of humans into Europe (often seen as a branch of the Cro-Magnon haplogroup M343, or R1b), is widespread in Sicily and indeed across Europe, where many English (including some 70% of Englishmen in southern England) and French share it. Today it is most prevalent (90%) among the Spanish and Irish. M173 originated about 30,000 years ago. In effect, some 80% of western Europeans living today are in this haplogroup. […]

    In Sicily one of the most interesting haplogroups to geneticists is the much more recent M172 (also called J2), probably introduced about 8,000 BC with the introducton of agriculture to a native people sometimes referred to as the “Proto-Sicanians.”

    So I I read that, the first wave covered most of Europe and included all the traditionally Celtic areas. It was a gentic marker of dominance from 30,000 to about 10,000 YBP. Then a new marker shows up that shows additional movements.

    About that time, “something bad happens” and we get this Turkish site burried / abandoned. The next wave of genetic markers dates from after that event.

    At least 21% of Sicilians carry the marker for this haplotype (probably about 19% throughout Europe), and no more than 10% of people in regions such as Spain, but it is very frequent in the Middle East, Ethiopia and particularly the Caucasus region of west-central Asia (where it reaches 90%), and is present among some central-Europeans and north-Africans.

    So, to me, it looks like you might well be right! The “proto-celts” with their M173 were chased out (or abandoned) the area as the M172 folks moved in right after this site is abandoned. Though, interestingly, there is some connection to Ireland still:

    It has been plausibly suggested that M172 may be associated with the arrival of neolithic farmers from the Fertile Crescent who were the probable predecessors of the Indo-European society which later emerged in western Asia, a “hypothetical” society whose culture and language greatly influenced prehistoric peoples from India to Ireland. The language of Sicily’s Sicanians does not seem to have had Indo-European roots, though the issue is far from conclusive.

    […]
    Lines bearing haplotype M172 could have arrived in Sicily with various waves of colonisers from the South and East –Elymians (probably from Anatolia), Phoenicians (and Carthaginians), Greeks, Byzantines and Arabs among them –but possibly from some Romans and (in the late 1400s) Albanians as well. (These observations, like those about M173, are only intended as generalities.)

    Then those same “new folks” moved on from Turkey into Sicily (and again, the dating implies these folks are from after the Gobekli Tepe construction… that implies the first group built it… that first group having the genetic markers of the Celts…)

    I note that Sicily presently has markers for both Phonecians and the Celtic / Germanic types (though some of that will be recent arrivals). The “j” group is a very mixed type (including some Spanish and Carthaginian with the Greeks, Romans, et.al.). R1b is the “German, Roman, Norman, Spanish” basket, while “I” and “I2a” mark folks from Turkey. (Oddly, the Vikings also have an “I” type, but it’s “I1” and “I2b”… hmmm…)

    Sicily’s population-genetic distribution is somewhat similar (though by no means identical) to mainland Italy’s. If only approximately the proportions are: J Group (J1, J2, etc.) 35%, R Group (primarily R1b) 25%, I Group 15%, K Group 10%, H Group 10%, Others 5%.

    So we’ve got a load of “around nearby waters” along with some markers for that “middle of Europe” group. Then a bit of mixed Turkey / Vikings and the K/H Arab-N.Africa mix.

    Looks like the history of invasions over time…

    BTW, found this an interesting note, too:

    Along female lines, Sicilians’ descent from the “Seven Daughters of Eve” seems to be distributed fairly equally, but much more data must be collected in this area. These factors (and scholarly studies) all point to the island’s multi-peopling as the main cause of its genetic diversity.

    There is a link to an article that claims to trace mitochondrial DNA back to 7 “Daughters of Eve”.

    http://www.bestofsicily.com/genetics.htm#daughters

    including a map of their ‘locations’. The thing to remember about both Y and mitochondrial DNA is that it is subject to loss over time while the rest of that ancestral DNA is preserved. So, for example, I got my Mothers mitochondria (as do we all) but my children do not. They get THEIR mothers mitochondria. At any time when there is a batch of “all boys”, by definition, that Mother will NOT have her mitocondrial DNA passed on. Over time, the smallest concentration becomes extinct as the ‘loss’ events are a larger percentage. This does not mean that the ancestral mother has had no offspring, only that the mitochondria didn’t make it. The same thing is true for the Y chromosome. One batch of “all girls” and that gene line from that father is lost. BUT, all the rest of his DNA continues. So these studies that find “one Adam” or “one Eve” or these “7 Daughters of Eve” all are making a small polite lie for dramatic effect. There could easily have been 100000 other “Eves” around at the same time, and their DNA surviving to today, but with loss of the mitochondria…

    At any rate, it’s an interesting map.

    They then go one to an interesting ‘caution’:

    Ethno-Regional Origins
    Attempts to ascertain Sicilian “ethnic” origins should be undertaken with caution because haplogroups do not correspond precisely to medieval or modern conceptions of nationality. At best, they are approximate. For example, J2 is identified with Greeks but also with some Germans.

    Speaking very broadly, the most frequent Y haplogroups of the world’s most conquered island may be correlated most probably (albeit imprecisely) to the following peoples:
    • J1 – Arabs, Berbers, Carthaginians, Jews,
    • J2 – Greeks, Romans, Jews, Spaniards,
    • R1b – Germans, Normans, Longobards, Aragonese, Spaniards, Romans,
    • I1 & I2b – Vikings and Normans,
    • I & I2a – Elymians,
    • G – Arabs and Elymians,
    • N – Vikings and Normans,
    • E1b1b – Arabs and Berbers,
    • K – Arabs, Greeks, Berbers, Carthaginians,
    • H – Arabs,
    • T – Phoenicians, Carthaginians.

  32. @E.M.Smith: Come on!, so your are all “Mafiosi” now…. :-)

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adolfo:

    http://www.newzealand.com/travel/media/features/naturesustainable-tourism/05_mar_04_nature_stonehenge_storyangle.cfm

    is a ‘remake’ of Stonehenge… but there is an older one

    http://www.everythingiselectric.com/new-zealand/waitapu-valley-solar-observatory.html

    that is likely what you are looking for.

    @Jason Calley:

    You are just bound and determined that I get nothing productive done today (and maybe tomorrow) at all, now arn’t you? 8-) Looks like facinating stuff to read…

  34. Jason Calley says:

    E.M. says: “You are just bound and determined that I get nothing productive done today (and maybe tomorrow) at all, now arn’t you? 8-) Looks like facinating stuff to read…”

    Consider it a very poor and only partial repayment for the many hours that I have spent reading and attempting to digest what you have written. Pardon me if I am brief and blunt in my praise, but you have one of the most interesting, thought provoking and extraordinarily bright minds that I have ever run across.

    That is the simple truth of it.

    Thank you. :)

  35. @E.M.Smith:
    The neolithic culture is something to think about:
    Here I found a good link
    http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/megalithicdatabase.htm

  36. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley: “Blush!”… Well, I try…

    @Adolfo:

    Well, if you have any Spanish ancestry then the Celtic Thread includes You Too! “Cerveza” and “Mujer” are celtic words… reminders that prior to a Latin invasion the Iberian peninsula was a Celtic land.

    While there were some migrations over land as well, they have a large Germanic / Slavic component (especially in later years). The Irish (being on an Island) were a maritime people. They came from Spain from the coastal areas where other maritime peoples landed from further east. They have a legend of “Noahe” and arrival in boats after a flood…

    So add in the Phoenicians wandering around via boat and it’s not hard to think maybe checking the islands in between makes sense. (It’s away too easy to show a Celtic path across mainland Europe as it is simply pointing at France and the Celtic invasions of the Roman Empire from time to time… so you will find Celtic Footprints all over the place from more recent times… if you want to reach back before that, you need somewhere that was Roman Dominated from sometime BC onward.)

    Oh, and you DO know about The Gangs OF New York?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0217505/

    See, the “Mafia” of New York started out Irish. Only later did the Italians arrive and get “indoctrinated”. The “Saint Valentines Day” massacre was the moment when the “New Keds” (the Irish) whacked the “old guys” (the Irish) and took ascendency.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Valentine's_Day_massacre

    That was also when Old Man Kennedy (as in JFK’s family…) was making his millions in the illegal booze business during prohibition. (This has interesting implications for the later “double cross” of JFK of the Italian Mafia in the Bay of Pigs fiasco when once again an Irish Mafioso Family lied to an Italian Mafioso Family and “failed to deliver”… once can speculate enlessly about the end result of that little moment…)

    But the point? Well, the point is that the Irish in America were the FIRST Mafia… So to say the Mafia were Celtic is an accurate historical truth for one moment in time… (I don’t know if the Italians had a “Mafia” history prior to their landing in America and joining up with the Irish… yet another loose end of history I’ve never explored…)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Mob

    At any rate, choosing Sicily was not a deliberate act, just a Random Act Of Google that found an island in the middle of the Mediterranean with a decent genetic study that looked like a reasonable match for what I wanted. You could likely repeat the exercise with Corsica, Malta, Crete, Gibraltar, etc. with interesting results. Oh, and inspection of the language and genetic map of the Iberian Peninsula is also enlightening. Phoenician around the edges, Celtic inland, Arabian southern overlay in parts, a bit of leftover Germanic from when the Goths went through on their way from the Steppes of Asia to North Africa / Carthage…

    I’m reminded of that earlier thread about the English language and how it looked to have a semitic base merged with a Indo-European overlay. Then here we have a semitic people (Phoenicians) mixing with Indo-European speaking Celts in Iberia and the result wanders off to Ireland, Britain, Scotland, and on up into the Brittany coast of France….

    So, look to your Spanish ancestors on the other side of the Atlantic, then note your Celtic cousins in Ireland / Scotland / France / Brittain… Then look back at where THEY came from as the big chunk of ice melted and uncovered Scotland and Northern Europe. The eye ends up over near the Balkans and Turkey… Where the Hittites (indoeuropean speakers) were living next to the Phoenicians (semitic speakers). That is, in Anatolia, where this monument was found…

    So, as the ice melts, could a bunch of folks from that area have spread out to the west into the new lands and abandoned the places that were becoming ‘less like home’, taking with them their language, culture, and genetic markers? Some going by boat (handy when the waters rise) and visiting islands on the way?

    (And don’t forget those folks in Celtic Plaid found as what, about 4000 year old mummies? in China. The ones with red beards…) Connect a line from there to Spain / Ireland and it goes right next to where?…. Just saying…

    So, like it or not Adolfo, if you’ve got Spanish ancestors, you are likely at least partly a Celt and with roots that go WAY back… and have relatives in the Mafia ;-)

    Sidebar: My DSL has died again. It had been stable for one day (though only at 300 kb) and has gone belly up again. I’ve just blown $100 on a new Motorola “Does everything” top end DSL router with the “approved by AT&T” sticker on it. We’ll see if that fixes it.

    I’ve used AT&T as a professional, and at that level with the pro access numbers, you get smart techs on the first call, so I know they have them. At the “consumer” level, it’s all ‘run around” and “shuck and jive”. It’s “their way or the highway” and if you don’t have Their Approved Box they just show you the door (i.e. say “It must be your box, go away.” While doing NOTHING useful to figure out what it really is). So while I don’t think it’s the Zoom modem, I’m willing to chuck $100 down the toilet just to dodge 10 hours (or days) on the phone with AT&T “pseudo-Tech Support for Consumers” endlessly telling them I can’t use their web site as it’s the internet connection is down and no I’m not using The One Box they think exists in the world… and being told I can’t talk to the cluefull guys in the commercial support side…

    At any rate, I’m up one Butter Croissant and a Mocha Grande at Starbucks and it’s probably time to sign off for a couple of hours and see if I can get my DSL to live again (or at least migrate it onto the Motorola box so calling AT&T will do something other than get “What? Not the moto box? Can’t help you. Click…”)

  37. kuhnkat says:

    Here is a site I like.

    http://s8int.com/water1.html

    This page starts their underwater collection. Going to the main page has a lot of other interesting Out Of Place Artifacts. If you are not religious you will need to skip over those parts (not too many) and also ignore the consensus science assumptions from the articles referenced (they mostly use outside reports of reputable investigators). Under all of that are some interesting facts.

    The first page is a discovery off the western end of Cuba that they now have some decent radar mapping of. Still lots of work to do.

  38. Interesting Connections says:

    Speaking of shaking, we just had an earthquake here in San Mateo and I seem to recall one a couple of weeks ago in Mountain View. They were minor, however.

  39. George says:

    Just had a little shaker on the Calaveras fault. I felt it sitting on my couch near Cupertino. Looks like about halfway between Morgan Hill and San Jose from the map, no size posted yet.

  40. George says:

    Initial report is an M4.4

  41. Verity Jones says:

    On reading the post initially I found myself thinking that perhaps the king was a gourmand whose subjects wishing to gain favour brought him exotic species to enjoy, but then the comments and discussions have taken a few turns around the world. You never know what you are going to read here – that is what makes it so interesting.

  42. Verity Jones says:

    On DSL, we’ve just discovered that our cable ADSL, really is A (Assymetric). So much so that I can receive high quality webcam on voip, but end up with interference and a bad delay to the other party even if I use a low quality webcam. The service provider is a cable TV company and (typical entertainment thinking) imagined demand for internet would be all about downloading movies and one-way traffic other than telephone. They’re system is not coping with the two way, but apparently they’re “onto it”.

  43. George says:

    I used to have service from the local cable company, but AT&T recently installed their U-verse service in my area (cable TV and Internet and phone if you want it but I kept my “wired” phone) and I switched. It seems to work well and I don’t have the problems I had with either AT&T DSL or with that other company.

  44. Duster says:

    Just to make sure the skeptical archaeologists get a bit of a hearing here, there are a lot of us who will tell that we can’t ask what language a rock speaks. While DNA has certainly contributed some information to the fray, it has offered considerable confusion, and worse, many users of data from DNA studies miss some really critical points. Most importantly, MtDNA is maternal line only. While it might look like a “who cares” kind of observation, the fact is widely acknowledged that the evidence seems pretty clear that a single maternal line arising sometime between 150 kya and 250 kya seems to have crowded out every other line – thus the so-called “mitochondrial Eve” idea. The whole problem with this is that there are skeletal traits, especially in Asia, that quite definitely predate MtDNA Eve. In effect, it would seem that male and female lines might have been evolving independently. Think about that for a moment, or better yet several moments. A lot of archaeologists have been painted as being unreasonably resistant to the simpler MtDNA ideas, but that simply isn’t so. At present no hypothesis adequately accommodates ALL of the available data.

    When you start kicking around the Neolithic – with or without pots – sometimes it is worth recalling just what a hash the media filter makes of communication elsewhere. The “oh, wow” factor in those Turkish rocks lies in the *work* that went into them. They are fully formed monoliths, transported, shaped, carved and erected. That means that either through cooperation or coercion enough rock workers put in sufficient labour time to create the monument. The odds are then that the workers were probably supported by another subset of the population that collected and prepared the food. This could have involved anything from one of these completed seasonally to a serious and coordinated effort that completed the whole thing in some much shorter time frame.

    A thing to keep in mind is that “the oldest” is always a transitory record, much like temperature maxima and minima. Not so long ago the two oldest Neolithic sites in Europe were on Malta and on an island in the far north of Scotland. The longer the history the less frequently new record levels are set. The period in question is at the end of the last glacial epoch. Lots of very strange things were going on then. Environments were changing so quickly that the differences may have been visible from season to season. The sea levels definitely were changing perceptibly. Forests and grasslands were also in the process of emigration. Human populations were scrambling to adapt through all kinds of wild ideas, some of which, like animal husbandry and horticulture are still with us, and others are not. You can expect that the population supported the same mix of pragmatists, authoritarians and fruitcakes that it does now. We are just stuck wondering what kind of mind it was that created what we find.

  45. pyromancer76 says:

    I agree with Jason Smith, E.M., “Pardon me if I am brief and blunt in my praise, but you have one of the most interesting, thought provoking and extraordinarily bright minds that I have ever run across.”

    I will add: and the most wonderful energy level and willingness to share your knowledge. (Take your laptop to ER? Wow! Great use of time while supporting family.) So glad I “found you” on WUWT. Few blogs take so much of my time as Chiefio and few are so rewarding in the study, or listening, or following the many links. ( Do you think it is the Celtic Irish in my background — or maybe there is some Neanderthal? A relative with an independent income and a passion for geneology has traced our family back to 12th C Ireland and sometime around then or the next century British attacks sent this “noble” family packing for Switzerland. They returned some time later, but not to such a lofty position. Could look it up but the records are inaccessible at present — remodel!)

    One of my “professions” is psychoanalysis. Freud understood that the more we research the depths of the mind, the more we find mind (body-mind), or thoughts and feelings, that help to define who we are from the earliest times in our lives (this is not a deterministic argument). Infant research similarly enables us to understand that fetuses/infants are active interpreters of their experience, beginning in the womb and expanding with phenominal rapidity. (Yes, I have lots of data.). My point is that when the science permits us to extend our reference points and to ask new questions of the data, we usually find that the past was not so “dumb” — neither our infancy nor our human ancestors.

    I am interested in applying this awakening to more ancient data of history (first “civilizations”) to the last two interglacials and especially impact events as cause of flood, fire, and volcanic activity that affected our ancestors (e.g., probably the Younger-Dryas cooling). The amazing astronomical intelligence that has been with us for centuries (your essay on the Mayans as one example, and the Celts) may have come from desperate necessity, not just the amazing evolution of the human brain. (Another reason for mere hints, tantalizing data, suggesting earlier sophisticated humans –even if not a complex civilization — is our human penchant for totalitarian control and often complete destruction of our competitors. We humans seem to have an innate antipathy to others’ histories. I think our American founders were, as a group, more cognizant of that human “evil” as any other leaders, a fact for which we should be eternally grateful.

    I am noticing that more and more others are “finding you”, E.M.; you must feel gratified as the number of comments continues to increase. One of the delights of Chiefio is that your replies to our comments often become completely new posts in their own right. One of these days you will run out of time. I’m sure it won’t be soon with your mind and energy, but we (I am taking some liberties here) will not feel miffed if you do not reply to us each time.

  46. @E.M.Smith
    Well, about the roots: I am proud that one of my last names is linked to Pythagoras, as he was the Pita of the Agora, the guy who used to talk a lot at the square (kind of a Greek Blog of the time), while Giurfa comes from Genova, Italy, (Liguria Region) but as it is pronounced: ioorpha, it has the same consonance as the name of the woman who liberated Damascus.
    As for the Mafia it means “MORTE A I FRANCESI” (Death to the frenchmen.who have invaded Sicily).
    Anyway, our DNA memory, “collective conscious”, as called by C.G.Jung, rather a call from the Stars (“Siamo figli delle stelle”, we are sons of the stars) tries to wake up us from the slumber of our daily “activities”to make us realize the truths inherited by us to rediscover the eternal laws which govern the universe.
    Try to read what I have recently found:
    http://www.giurfa.com/unified_field.mht
    http://www.giurfa.com/unified_field_explained_9.pdf
    and
    http://www.giurfa.com/unified_field.xls

    Thanks for this magnificent blog.

  47. Jeff Alberts says:

    @EM

    You probably know this already, but… AT&T isn’t the AT&T of old. It’s SBC, who bought AT&T a few years back, and decided to keep the more recognized name. They went straight to hell in a handbasket.

    I worked for Cingular back in 2006 (that’s twenty-oh-six, not this idiotic “two thousand and six”). We were then bought by SBC/AT&T, and I got laid off.

  48. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jeff Alberts:

    Don’t get me started….

    I had Pac Bell hang FIBRE on my house. My own chunk of glass… then just a couple of weeks before rollout to my neighborhood, SBC bought them. Fibre rollout / project on hold… then a few years later completely cancelled. That fibre hung there for about a decade before they finally took it down.

    I refused to buy anything from them until I finally gave in just a couple of months ago and got DSL… (but only after trying every other source for DSL. I don’t have cable to the house, we’ve got satellite – I suppose they could string a cable but the cable TV company isn’t that much better than AT&T anyway…)

    Over a decade (or 2?) on 56 kb when I was supposed to be on 10 Mb.

    Yeah, I’ve got a beef… (though it seems not as big as yours.)

    I’ve dealt with every single telco in the region (on a professional level as Director of I.T. and as consultant designing and installing telco / communications solutions) and SBC / AT&T were the worst. (But I’m going to be quiet about it now or I’ll bust a gusset… )

  49. George says:

    well, there is an alternative in the area. You might want to see if these people are available in your neighborhood:

    http://www.speakeasy.net/

    Enter your address and phone number and see of they are available. They also offer voip phone so you can ditch at&t completely if you want.

    Covad bought Speakeasy some time back. I don’t know how they are today, but they were one of the more clueful ISPs in the area not so long ago.

  50. E.M.Smith says:

    @George:

    Thanks. They say service is available. Unfortunately AT&T owns the poles / wire, so generally my experience has been that I call the local “alternative” and find out that I can get their service (over AT&T wires) IFF I have an AT&T phone (that’s the tariff law here) and since I don’t have an AT&T phone I have a choice of AT&T… (Basically AT&T is guaranteed ONE of the services over their wires if you have both a phone and network).

    I’ve been through that with 2 or 3 other “providers”. (Earthlink and DSL Extreme IIRC)

    So unless they provide the service ‘through the air’ I must have SOME account with AT&T… (thus my living on dial up for a couple of decades). I’d have gone with Satellite, but they required a Windoz PC as your ‘router’ and I was unenthused…

    At any rate, I’m going to try the Moto box first and see if that takes care of it. For now, I’m back at 56 kb dial up or Starbucks…

    (Even if I bought a leased line, it would be provisioned by AT&T… aren’t monopolies fun…. )

  51. P.G. Sharrow says:

    At home we are on a very long wire, pinged 110,000 feet, 32kb on a good day. But we had satellite with Direct for over 10 years. Very nice people to work with. So we got Hughes.net satellite for internet service. Very good service, cheapest rate gives us a bit less then 1megbit of the 100megbit possible. There is an bandwidth limit as well as an amount per day limit on the base package. I’ve had PAC Bell telephone -> SBC -> ATT for 25 years and It just gets worse.
    Believe it or not In Chico, Comcast is even worse then ATT! After a year on Comcast we begged to get off and put our Business connections on ATT. At least we had the option as both run to our building.
    I wonder if your flaky DSL is effected by the EMF spikes from the micro quake swarms in your area. pg

  52. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Our satellite modem runs direct to a smart router that gives us wire connection to our main boxes and local WIFI for laptops. living in the middle of 20 acres with spread out buildings makes for a bit of complications. I set up a 1,200 watt, old computer UPS to power all my electronics for surge protection and provide backup power WHEN PG&E goes down. The ups is hooked up to 10,000 watts of batteries so I have 2 to 4 days of light, TV and internet without using the generator. Next I need to add solar panels to charge the batteries.

  53. George says:

    While AT&T would provide the physical wire, Covad has their own DSLAM in the AT&T CO so the actual copper wire would be the only thing AT&t would be responsible for with the Speakeasy solution. The data would cross-connect directly to Covad’s gear inside the CO. All the electronics would be owned by Covad.

    There is also a wireless provider:

    http://www.etheric.net/

    They claim to cover up in your neck of the woods.

  54. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow: Interesting about the DirecTV into a router. Every time I’ve looked at it, they say “into a PC”. I’d be quite happy with SAT into a router…

    Also an interesting idea about the router and Quake EMF. I’ll have to see if wrapping it in a tin foil hat makes it happy ;-)

    If it’s a ‘quake in the next day or two detector’, I’m keeping it!

    @George:

    It’s not a question of equipment it’s a question of regulations. The regulatory tariff says that I can’t buy non-AT&T service over their wires (even if it’s available from a dozen providers) as long as my telephone is with someone other than AT&T. My telephone is with someone other than AT&T…

    I can:

    1) Suck it up and take AT&T DSL (which is what I did).

    2) Swap my existing telephone to AT&T and then buy DSL from someone else (DSLExtreme was my first choice). Chose not to do this one as I like my existing telephone company and I’d still end up with an AT&T account. (In retrospect this was probably an error and I’d have been better off letting AT&T do the phone as they probably wouldn’t screw it up as much and I wouldn’t care if they did).

    3) Shut off the home phone and see if THEN I can get non-AT&T DSL (which I’m likely to do if this Moto fix doesn’t fix as we only use the phone for backup 56 kb dial up at this point… oh, and to put a phone number on forms that no one ever answers ;-) and we don’t mind if they give it to junk callers.)

    Again: It is not a question of “Can other companies provide physically separate equipment and service”. It is a question of “Does the LAW let them do that if I have a non-AT&T telephone already?”; and the answer to that is “NO.”

    I’d really like to truncate this Off Topic discussion at this point. While it’s been interesting and the options are helpful to know about, all I’m doing is admiring the problem instead of putting time into configuring the box I bought today (that has a good chance of fixing things and must be done in any case anyway).

    IFF that fails AND the phone support at AT&T fails AND escalation fails, then and only then, do I need to look at ‘swap providers’. I’m locked into this one for one contract period anyway… so I pretty much have to prove they can’t make it go before I can get out of the contract.

  55. E.M.Smith says:

    And now I’m going to violate my own admonition to move back On Topic…

    I went in to shut down the DSL box (that I’d plugged in early in the day pre quake to see if it was going to work and it didn’t at that time; nor just immediately post quake) and now all on its own (having been ignored all day) it has made a connection and is working it’s way back up the speed ladder…

    Sheesh….

    Could it really be that it’s a quake detector?…. Nah… maybe? Couldn’t be… Unless?…

    So I guess I’ll wait a day or two before I put the Moto box in service. Just to see what happens…

    (I really hate intermittent failures, especially when the configs haven’t changed and the hardware seems fine some of the time…)

    But I could see EMF from a quake puting ‘volts’ in all that mesh of wire spread all over the city and causing senstive little electronics to get a bit confused, leading to a ‘retrain’ and connection drop.

    Somehow I feel a few hours researching quake electrical signatures, frequencies, powers, etc. coming on…

    (Posted via my ‘now working’ DSL…)

  56. E.M.Smith
    Could it really be that it’s a quake detector?….
    Read this:

    And for a portable Quake detector:
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gravity-meter/id358324984?mt=8

  57. oldtimer says:

    Re connection speeds, you have my sympathy. I get much better with my UK ISP, BT. They are in the process of rolling out a very high speed broadband (called Infinity) which I now subscribe to. I am supposed to allow 10 days to allow time for things to settle down but couldn`t wait to run a few tests using speedtest.net (recommended by the installation engineer). Downloads from a local server (c15 miles away) produced 34 Mbps.

    Speedtest allows you to select other servers around the globe. Out of curiosity connecting to a Palo Alto server I got a 157ms ping and 6.24Mbps download. Sydney Australia needed a 351ms ping and produced 1.43Mbps download.

  58. Jeff Alberts says:

    With DSL, you have to be fairly close to a central office. So a problem elsewhere isn’t going to affect you much, unless it’s affecting trunk lines all over the place (which means they’d be getting LOTS of complaints.)

    More likely you’ve got a piece of equipment on the verge of failure in the local central office.

    That, or the cleaning crew is unplugging a router to plug in the vacuum cleaner…

  59. Jeff Alberts says:

    @George

    How good is the wireless stuff these days? I haven’t looked into it for a while, but when I did the speeds were nothing to jump up and down about (and the didn’t reach my area anyway).

  60. Jeff Alberts says:

    @P.G. Sharrow

    We get a lot of microquakes in my neck of the woods (Whidbey Island, WA) and I haven’t noticed any problem with the cable. Maybe the telco copper is more susceptible, don’t know.

  61. George says:

    “How good is the wireless stuff these days?”

    Quite good and getting better. The problem is spectrum. It is becoming very crowded. One can get a unit for a point to point wireless connection that will handle about 200 Megabits/sec for about $100 in hardware at each end and work over a distance of 20km.

    Many people in rural areas are now using Verizon 3G as their internet connection as Verizon has been amazing in their 3G coverage in rural areas and they are now rolling out their 4G stuff.

    But in the case of that one wireless provider I posted the link to, they have been good at acquiring a lot of quality locations for their transmitters. Some friends of mine in Santa Cruz county use them and are quite happy to have them as their only alternatives were either dialup or the combination satellite/dialup (dialup up, satellite down) from providers such as Hughes. I have not personally used their service so I can’t vouch for it one way or the other from personal experience. Friends who do use it like it but the comparison is skewed because they have no other broadband available.

    In my area, there are three mechanisms for wired “broadband”. You can get DSL over the phone wire, you can use Comcast cable, and you have the new AT&T U-verse which uses a mechanism called FTTN (Fiber to the Node). They run fiberoptic to a box in the neighborhood and the last block or two is copper, what amounts to ethernet, to the home. In most cases they need to replace the “drop” to the house with a new cable that can handle the higher bandwidth signal (think of it like replacing a Cat 3 link with a Cat 5 link, which is pretty darned close to what they actually do).

    I am aware of the FTTH (fiber to the home) project E.M. Smith posted about. One acquaintance of mine was a pilot customer of that service. He loved it. He hated it when they discontinued the pilot.

    Get fiber to the house if you can get it. The only one I know of currently providing it nationally is the Verizon FiOS product and that is not currently available in my area.

    I think that in the long run, Verizon will win out over AT&T but that is just my “gut” talking. AT&T seems a bit “lumbering” while Verizon seems more “nimble” to me in adopting/deploying new technologies and doing so the “right” way. And it was obvious even when comparing the difference in service between when I was a Bell Atlantic customer and when I was a SBC (formerly Pacific Bell) customer. Bell Atlantic seemed much better to work with and I never had a problem with them. I had nothing but problems with SBC every time I had to interact with them.

  62. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    I have researched the ancients, and have traveled through Turkey, looking at the remains of the ancients, as well as Israel and Egypt. Those of ancient and great Sumer (where Iraq is now) had the first known written language, and clay tablets from that era are great in number. Then, circa 3500 to 4000 BC, they had codified law, judges and professional jurors, base 60 math, could and did calculate cubic roots and square roots, and other marvelous things.

    Architects have no training in civil engineering, and have no expertise in chemistry or physics. They are imaginative folk, who make up grand tales, and are hung up with religious concepts.

    Prior to and well prior to Columbus, in South America and Mesoamerica there were great empires, much larger than any empires of the then Europeans.

    “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” by Charles Mann should be read by anyone interested in the history of the Americas.

    As to the subject of this article, It sure looks to me as if the planet is getting a whole lot more geologically active than the 20th Century was. This century is starting off with a bang. It will be most interesting to see if this activity continues. And a colder planet if it does so.

  63. Duster says:

    Laurence M. Sheehan, PE

    Architects have no training in civil engineering, and have no expertise in chemistry or physics. They are imaginative folk, who make up grand tales, and are hung up with religious concepts. …

    Actually, I think you are thinking of archaeologists rather than architects. Architects design buildings. But it really rather rash to generalize because many of us not only have geological, chemistry, and mathematical training, we actually use them all. There are unfortunately an embarrassing number who do wander in from fields like English or Creative Writing here in the US. In Europe archaeology is derivative from entirely different disciplines such as classics, art history, and if the focus is on the Middle East, both in the US and in Europe many archaeologists are from religious studies.

    You will often see archaeologists panned for not buying into vague assertions about the “ancients” but that has a great deal to do with discipline skepticism. Before jumping into the ring with claims about terminal Pleistocene civilizations, it would be nice to have actual evidence in hand. Otherwise, the whole thing might have as much going for it as AGW – that is to say nothing to speak of. Evidence is evidence, data is data, it doesn’t matter what field you work in. Passionate belief is simply faith and that has a very, very limited place in anything called “science.”

  64. Jerry Franke says:

    Too many archaeologists tend to think that all hunter-gatherer cultures lack the resources to build more than temporary camps or to plan any further ahead than their next meal. A locale rich in game animals and edible plant varieties could result in the cultural stratification and specialization normally associated with early agricultural settlements.

    Since reading this post, I ran across an article in the Guardian relating to the discovery of a 7,000 year old assemblage of heavy timbers on the banks of the Thames River in London. In that article, Gustav Milne, a highly respected archaeologist couldn’t resist the temptation to insert the possibility that the structure may have had a spiritual connection.

    The article also suggested that such a large engineering project was inconsistent with a hunter-gatherer society. Being on the bank of a river, I would have leaned strongly toward speculating that it was likely a terminus for a ferry. But then again, those Celts surely couldn’t have built anything practical like a ferry across the Thames.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jan/06/ancient-timbers-mi6-headquarters

  65. mrpkw says:

    Charred animal bones at a “cookout” or “tailgating” would suggest overcooking.

  66. E.M.Smith says:

    @mrpkw:

    Or what I’ve often Done… Once the meat is gone,pitch the empty in the fire so as not to attract ants, flies.bugs, bears, …

    FWIW, reading on to “page 2” of that Smithsonian page (I finally got the time…) says it WAS a cookout!

    On the day I visit, a bespectacled Belgian man sits at one end of a long table in front of a pile of bones. Joris Peters, an archaeozoologist from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, specializes in the analysis of animal remains. Since 1998, he has examined more than 100,000 bone fragments from Gobekli Tepe. Peters has often found cut marks and splintered edges on them—signs that the animals from which they came were butchered and cooked. The bones, stored in dozens of plastic crates stacked in a storeroom at the house, are the best clue to how people who created Gobekli Tepe lived. Peters has identified tens of thousands of gazelle bones, which make up more than 60 percent of the total, plus those of other wild game such as boar, sheep and red deer. He’s also found bones of a dozen different bird species, including vultures, cranes, ducks and geese. “The first year, we went through 15,000 pieces of animal bone, all of them wild. It was pretty clear we were dealing with a hunter-gatherer site,” Peters says. “It’s been the same every year since.” The abundant remnants of wild game indicate that the people who lived here had not yet domesticated animals or farmed.

    Though I note that these folks havn’t see the farms in Texas with gazelle, zebra, “wild” boar, osterich, and several other species on them….

    Folks didn’t just one day wake up and decide Sheep were the ideal animals to pen. They would have started with a wider palet and then focused in on what proved more workable….

    So I think what he OUGHT to have said is” “and not yet domesticated the animals we presently have domesticated..”

    I just new it was “Tailgate Party On The Ridge! BYOB!” ;-)

  67. E.M.Smith says:

    On page 3:

    Still, archaeologists have their theories—evidence, perhaps, of the irresistible human urge to explain the unexplainable. The surprising lack of evidence that people lived right there, researchers say, argues against its use as a settlement or even a place where, for instance, clan leaders gathered. Hodder is fascinated that Gobekli Tepe’s pillar carvings are dominated not by edible prey like deer and cattle but by menacing creatures such as lions, spiders, snakes and scorpions. “It’s a scary, fantastic world of nasty-looking beasts,” he muses. While later cultures were more concerned with farming and fertility, he suggests, perhaps these hunters were trying to master their fears by building this complex, which is a good distance from where they lived.

    I’d have figured it was a Boy Scouts Hunter Gathering spot and you were put on a team with predator names like “Bengals” and “Lions” and “Scorpion Kings” or “Bears” and “Falcons” (or even “Seahawks” if an expansion happend at some point ;-) and told to assemble at your post. Everyone is then sent out for 2 days. When you all return everyone shares in the “spoils” in the after game party.

    The diggers at this spot also need a bit more exposure to hunter culture. There isn’t a lot of “fear” to be overcome (other than fear of missing a shot and being laughed at). As a kid I used to play with black widow spiders (knowing they were deadly) and we’d go out looking for rattle snakes. (You can still see folks do that in Texas…. Oh, and after they catch them what do they do?… That’s right, they all gather back at the snake pavilion and show them off while having a load of cooked meat… Some things never change.)

    http://www.rattlesnakeroundup.net/main/modules/page/

    http://www.texasbbqforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2824

    http://www.sizzlersranch.com/rattlesnake-meat

    Master their fears my ass. While I’m on this: They also need to visit a Chinese or Southeast Asian street market / restaurant area. If it moves, it’s on the menu. If it doesn’t move, it means you got there too late for the fresh stuff… Spiders and scorpions included….

    Snakes are called LUNCH.
    Spiders and scorpions are called APPETIZERS.
    Lions are called DELUX WARRIOR’S DINNER PLATE.

    Do I have to teach these guys everything ;-)

    (I really would have expected them to have a bit more exposure to comparative cultural anthropology…. heck, just google “eat scorpion” and you get 2,700.000 hits including pictures. It isn’t exactly a secret …. they need to get out more often.)

    Oh, and you don’t HUNT next to the huts where you make noise and scare all the game away. Of course the hunting is all done somewhere away from where they all lived. Sheesh. Besides, any spilled blood or ‘trimmings’ left behind are going to attract scavengers and you don’t want them hanging around the huts and kids.

    Geeze, you’d think these guys never shot a critter in their life…

  68. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “I’d have figured it was a Boy Scouts Hunter Gathering spot and you were put on a team with predator names like “Bengals” and “Lions” and “Scorpion Kings” or “Bears” and “Falcons” (or even “Seahawks” if an expansion happend at some point ;-) and told to assemble at your post. Everyone is then sent out for 2 days. When you all return everyone shares in the “spoils” in the after game party.”

    That makes good sense and is supported by what I have seen at hunting camps. I am reminded of a dream I had a few decades ago. And NO, I am not saying that dreams reflect past lives or that they are in any sense documents serving as evidence of the past. They certainly ARE a way to get the mind to consider ideas that we discard during waking life. That said…

    I dreamed that I was working on one of the massive contruction projects of ancient Egypt. I was not the king, not an official or even an overseer — I was one of the thousands of grunts pulling a rope so that we could sledge a huge stone into place. The interesting part is that we (the grunts) were just ordinary workers who had a few weeks off because the planting, growing and harvesting seasons had some slack in them. We were divided up in teams, (with each team being a few hundred people) and the various teams were competing to see who could haul the most stone. The feeling I had at the time was that this was like an ancient version of a football game. Our team hauled while various people cheered us on. The other teams did the same thing. At the end of the day or the end of the project, whichever team was winner had bragging rights. Simple, very much like sports fans today going around puff-chested because “their team” moved the pigskin better. Anyway, in my dream, we were not slaves, we were not performing a religious rite. Heck, we were not even getting extra pay. It was a contest, and a big social event, and great fun! I seem to remember that we wore different colored headbands to signify which team we were in.

    As I say, I do NOT claim there is any paranormal data here, just a possibility I had not considered before, having been educated with the usual pictures of slave gangs hauling Egyptian stone. I still think that massive public works done as sport makes sense.

  69. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    IMHO, the dream state is where your subconcious mind is free to do the Data Base Maintenance it was prevented from doing all day. Things get moved to proper long term storage locations, integrated and cross filed with other memories and with the best fit associations made. All automatic. But it can find much more interesting “connections” as the “interference” from the more active ‘trained” part of the brain is out of the way.

    I will sometimes actively use a state called “twilight” to good effect in that way. Drop to 1/2 asleep (light hypnotic state) and “let imagination run”. The hard bit is staying just enough to remember it, but not so much as to suppress it. On rare occasions I can (slightly) direct toward a goal…

    I think this is a common skil. I first tried it after reading about folks like Edison who “napped” and got ideas and others who did ‘directed dreaming”….

    You probably already know this, but there is some precident for your idea. Easter Island. The different clans were in competition to see who could make the biggest and most numberous large stone heads.

  70. Jason Calley says:

    @E.M. “IMHO, the dream state is where your subconcious mind is free to do the Data Base Maintenance it was prevented from doing all day. Things get moved to proper long term storage locations, integrated and cross filed with other memories and with the best fit associations made. ”

    Yes, I agree. Having done observation of the twilight state, “hypnogogia” I think it is called, I have come to the same conclusion. One of the things I noticed is that the images seen during that transition to sleep, and later during true sleep, seem to follow a reverse time sequence. In other words, the initial twighlight images most often include objects and scenes from late in the day, just before bedtime. A bit later, I start to observe images and incidents from earlier in the day. Later in the sleep cycle I see images from previous days and as the night goes on, I see a larger number of older images and incidents. To me, this seems to be part of the process of integrating recent experiences with the progressively older ones. First you archive the day, then you integrate that file in the older folder, then that folder is re-correlated with even older data — and so on.

    By the way, conscious dreaming, that is, dreaming while being aware that you are in a dream is great fun. Since you can manipulate dreams when you become aware of them, I usually go straight to flying. I like flying! :)

    Hope that doesn’t screw up my file defragging!

  71. E.M.Smith says:

    In database terms, it’s following a reverse linked list or following the “back pointers”.

    At least, that’s what it seems like to me.

    Yes, I like flying too ;-) One of my strongest and most persistent memories is a set of ‘flying dreams’ from when I was quite young… it’s now linked to jumping from an airplane when somewhat older and “flying” down a mountain on skiis only occasionally hitting mogal tops in a near-whiteout at Heavenly Valley (they shut the lift from too much wind and blowing snow. I was the last guy off the lift. Could see nothing below my knees to ankles most of the top 1/2 of the mountain (and I was on a chair to the very top !)

    It was a magical moment. I just visualized where I thought the bumps ought to be and flew…. Lasted about 1/4 of the mountain, then I did a spectacular “crash and burn”. The next 1/4 was good, but not as ‘perfect’… It was a God Like experience. “In the moment” and nothing else was real. Full adrenaline, completely at peace, and frantically using every muscle I had. Yet contemplative and meditative. Just bizarre. I’ve spent many a day trying to return to that moment…

  72. @E.M.Smith:
    Have to read Carlos Castaneda’s “The Art of Dreaming” :-)

  73. cementafriend says:

    Chiefio, I missed this post.
    You have some very interesting material. I wish I had time to follow it all and of course I wish I had your discipline in the stock market. My mind interfers with buy -sell decisions eg I did not expect the sudden fall in price of this stock, I missed the sell signal and now maybe it will not fall further or the sell signal is no longer there etc.
    Anyway back to the post. I discovered Gobekli Tepe a couple of years ago when I was preparing a presentation on the history of construction materials. The temple columns were made of limestone/marble which has a low hardness and could be readily shaped with stone tools. In my presentation I rated limestone and lime made from limestone as the oldest constuction materials. Also in Turkey at Catal Huyuk excavations have exposed polished concrete floors dated to around 7000BC. The concrete floor was a made with lime and possibly volcanic ash and limestone aggrgate giving an artificial hard limestone which could be polished with smooth rock such as quartz.

    Catal Huyuk also had the first metal production which was lead about 7000BC. Galena (lead sulfide) is often found in limestone deposits and lead probably was found accidently when burning limestone to lime. The next metal to be produce was silver, then copper. Bronze (copper& tin or antimony)was first made in Turkey and then Iron.

    Another, separate issue is that the pyramids in Eygpt were not made of blocks cut in some far away quarry and conveyed by slaves but were cast in place formed up artificial limestone blocks made from nearby soft marl. The binder material was a wet mixture of Kaolin and wood ash reacted with sodium hydroxide which was made in turn from Natrium (sodium carbonate) reacted with lime. The formula was invented by Imhotep and can be found on the Irtysen Stele in the Louvre.

  74. Jason Calley says:

    @ cementafriend

    I find the possibilities of geopolymers to be darned interesting. Are you aware of some formulation based on commonly available chemicals that I might be able to try at home? Something like “Get 100 grams of NaOH, mix with a liter of water and 500 grams of sharp masonry sand…” I am hoping that someone has developed a home made formula.

    Thanks!

  75. cementafriend says:

    Sorry, I can not help but I suggest that you look at the website http://www.geopolymer.org/ . Dr Davidovits has replicated the Eygptian artificial stones including that of the pyramids. It seems that you can buy the formula (and materials) to try it out youself see http://www.geopolymer.org/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=2&zenid=8423e40d600e96a739334a350fa81ae8 .
    A number of Universities are doing research on it. I believe I have read that someone at Melbourne University was doing research work on brown coal ash (very earthy material with high Al2O3 in the composition) and NaOH.

    If one was to do some basic research I would be looking at the formula for the pyramids say some agricultural lime(stone) (you maybe able to buy it at a garden centre or ask some farmers), some (hydrated) lime which you can get at a hardware or garden centre, NaCO3 (this is baking soda but you maybe able to get it in bulk from a swimming pool chemicals supplier) and some kaolin clay (pottery materials supplier). Depending on the quality of the Ag Lime you may not need much kaolin. Low quality Ag Lime has probably sufficient clay.

  76. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Cementafriend; I used a vulcanic clay and ash mixed with mortar lime to make the below grade walls of my green house. I tried several different techniques and mixes to see how it would work. Mixed it in a cement mixer with stucko paddles. and poured. Ramming it worked the best for hard solid walls. 5 to 1 mix, this cured very slowly. Subsituted cement for lime up to 1 lime, 1 cement per 10 “soil”, this gave 24 hour cure that would stand without the form. After 1 hour aging out of the mixer this mix could be shaped like modeling clay, very nice stuff to play with. The creation of rammed blocks and walls is a very old technique. pg

  77. E.M.Smith says:

    Lime is just limestone cooked. Portland cement started life as cooked volcanic ash. Bulk baking soda is available from Costco ;-) (well, it’s a pretty big box, more than enough to play with) and baked in the oven becomes “washing soda” sodium carbonate.

    The big problem I see for the “cement based stones” is that the processes depend on materials make by cooking rocks. I think that’s going to take a mountain of fuel to make a pyramid… Might be easier to just move the rocks whole…

    Then again, if they had a handy volcano near by like the Romans did, maybe they could get it cooked for free ;-)

  78. cementafriend says:

    Not sure what you mean by volcanic clay. Roman cement was a mixture of volcanic ash (high in active silica or with some calcium silicate) and lime (CaO). I think volcanic ash from Santorini in Greece is used as a cement extender/replacement.
    Unfortunately some geologists describe clay in terms of size rather than its mineral composition (eg kaolin). I have advocated that the term for clay size (less than 20micron) should be dropped.
    Lime will react with clay minerals but it gives low strength. This is OK for road stabilisation when there is a higher strength pavement above.
    I know some people want to built houses with rammed earth. I would suggest getting advice about strength and durability.

    Geopolymers is a different situation because the aim is to create a dense matrix artificial rock different but comparable in strength to concrete.

  79. cementafriend says:

    Chiefio, I think some researchers have been persauded by the dreaded AGW -CO2 scam that lime and cement are bad.
    In actual fact concrete as a buiding material has a lower energy content in terms of strength and durability than other material including wood. The use of blast furnace slag (only other use is as an aggregate) as a cement extender (35% replacement for all purposes, 60% replacement for slow strength growth -dams etc, and upto 90% very slow growth eg mine backfill) reduces the cost and energy use.
    NaOH can be made by electrolysis but that is expensive and that does not replace CO2 unless electricity is generated in a Nuclear Power Station. NaOH is more cheaply made from NaCO3 (where available) and lime.

    I think geopolymers have a place now for specific purposes and may have wider application in future but the decisions should be based on price and quality rather than political issues with CO2. China is producing over one billion tonnes of cement per year.

    Chiefio it may interest you that cement production is a precursor of economic growth. Japan and South Korea had a production of one tonne per capita per annum during their strong growth phase. China is there now but India still has a way to go to get on the steep part of the curve.

  80. E.M.Smith says:

    Sorry, I was using “clay” in the size sense as you noted.

    I’m not of the ‘cement is bad’ camp. Just noting that there are not a lot of trees in Egypt for making cement in 2000 BC.

    I’ve also pointed out to the “cement is bad” folks that over time the cement re-absorbes the CO2 driven out in cooking the lime. Basically “cement self recycles its CO2”. It just takes a few decades…

    Yeah, cement is pretty much directly cyclical with economic growth / business cycles. Electricity, cement, steel, (now, aluminum too), oil, coal. The basics…

  81. Jason Calley says:

    @ cementafriend

    Thanks for the information! I will look at the site you recommend.

    By the way, pretty much that same reaction was patented as a way to make (drum roll please …..)

    Paper!

    Way back about 70 years ago.
    http://www.rexresearch.com/articles/hauser.htm

  82. gabo says:

    has anyone noticed that the the two T’s at the center of at least one of the 12 T’s circles, are oriented to the east?
    Wonder if this circles had an astronomical purpose

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