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Mysterious carvings and evidence of human sacrifice uncovered in ancient city (nationalgeographic.com)
53 points by undefined1 on Sept 20, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 32 comments



Unknown city / fortress of similar magnitude to the Great Pyramid, constructed maybe 200 years later, built by no one knows who to defend against ... no one knows who else; a half millennium before civilization was thought to have started in China. Obviously this is not the first thing they built.

It gets increasingly easy to believe in other undiscovered civilizations.

Insisting there aren't any is now the extraordinary claim that needs extraordinary evidence.


It is the same magnitude than the Great Pyramid BUT using a mountain for most of its volume.

It is one thing to create a pyramid as a solid, and something completely different as a "skin" to a mountain.

If fact there are pyramids in Egypt that were created as a skin over mountains too. They did not last though as people stole the stones for their houses(leaving just the mountain), like they did with the Great Pyramid too, which had a very beautiful white limestone and granite skin.


The assertion in the publications is that the "mountain" involved was constructed.

The publications may be in error, but it would take evidence to say.


Correction, there is a core hill with terraced construction. OTOH, miles and miles of concentric perimeter walls.


At this point, the evidence overwhelmingly points to the idea that we don't have any idea about our actual history. I'm not a fan of Graham Hancock, but his and a few others' work really did get some things right.


No, there is a (more or less) steady increase of urban/social complexity from Gobekli Tepe to Vinca, Maykop and Eridu. Shimao fits quite well into the picture if one accepts a concentric multiwave expansion of 'civilization' with metallurgy as one of its hallmarks. The ever growing center region of course being between Mesopotamia and the Black Sea. It will be most interesting if indeed a sign system similar to the Anau seal will show up.

Even before Shimao there was strong evidence that metallurgy was introduced into China from the steppe via Erlitou. Shimao just sits in the right place.


To suggest anything "steady" between the end of GT c. 9000 BP and Vinca c. 7700 bp requires willful ignorance of the magnitude of 1300 years.

And to suggest Shimao is somehow unsurprising flies in the face of a century of sinology, which offers no hint of any large-scale organization anywhere in China, never mind there. Erlitou postdates Shimao by four centuries.


How does your view make sense of things like the 40,000 year old stone bracelet made using drill tools? Link: https://www.archaeology.org/news/3270-150507-siberia-denisov...

Personally, I wish more mainstream archaeologists would be brave enough to say "we don't really know", instead of fitting everything into the Ancient Near East Civilizations theory.


Bracelets and more generally art are part of the (Epi)Paleolithic package since at least 70000BC South Africa.

Claiming that these were truly made by Denisovians or similarly Neanderthals requires much more evidence in my opinion, especially since those finds coincide with the arrival of modern humans


I see that you missed the point about the bracelet. The point was about its method of manufacture, which does not show up anywhere else for tens of millennia.

Are you claiming it was planted?

Denial is good for turf defense, but not so good for truth.


It's not about denial, it's about integrating it into the existing framework of knowledge instead of creating a complete new theory.

Very interesting discovery in any case, at the very least shifting the dates a bit (as always). Maybe you are right and homo sapiens did learn these arts from Denisovan people. Do Denisovans have a history which leads to this developmental stage?

Because 'we' do and delicate stone workings are part of our skillset earlier than this find:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_historic_invention...

Wikipedia may need an update though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drill#History

Summary: Not planted, but maybe traded (for women?)


Delicate stone workings is one thing, rotary machine tools is wholly another.

Tens of millennia is not "a bit". Tens of millennia is "Holy Shit", or you are just not paying attention.


Pretending does not provide insight.


I'm not familiar with Hancock, but he seems like some kind of pseudoacheologist? What did he get right compared to actual historians and archeologist?


He is journalist who gets around. He has wacky ideas but keeps his eyes open, so sees things, and isn't afraid to say what he sees. "Pseudo" is just namecalling. There is only correct and wrong. "Real" archaeologists are, also, often wrong, often because they are afraid to say what is right in front of them.


Thank you for articulating this comment. As I said before, I am really not a fan of some of Graham's out-there ideas, but actual archaeologists have been wrong time after time, and most people don't realize that it is not a hard science. This crowd of scientists (and their supporters) like to hand wave people like Graham away by labeling them with the "pseudo" moniker, as if nothing he says has any value. Throwing the baby with the bath water.


> actual archaeologists have been wrong time after time

Of course, that is the nature of science and research. My question is, what is it Graham has been right about where archeologist have been wrong?


Any honest historian will admit Göbekli Tepe is the most astonishing find in a century. Hancock has been talking for decades about an expectation to find constructions exactly that old, i.e. coincident with major sea level rise. Similarly, major early civilization in the Americas. Similarly, a continental-scale catastrophe in the Americas in near pre-history. Similarly, miles of construction under 60+ ft of water off India.

His methods are not respected and the ideas are often not, initially, his own ("journalist", remember), but he does get around, and his "pseudo-science" has an uncanny way of becoming ordinary science.

His ideas (sudden pole shifts, comets synchronized to earth's rotational precession) are often very, very wrong, but science is equipped to handle wrong.


Göbekli Tepe was discovered by actual archeologists as far as I know.


It was discovered by locals, dug up by archaeologists, and predicted by literally no one but Hancock.


He predicted Göbekli Tepe would be there before it was found? That is amazing.


He predicted megalithic construction dating to the Holocene boundary. He didn't say where.

Revisionism insisting that GT was not absolutely astonishing to historians and archaeoligists is properly met with derision.

Of course, we don't know where else it will turn up, although India or Pakistan would be a good bet, and northwestern South America, by his expectations.


> they are afraid to say what is right in front of them.

So what is it the archeologist see which they don't dare say?


Anywhere it would start a turf war, where the other side is well dug in.

An example is Egyptian early history, where disagreeing with the head of antiquities in Egypt could interfere with your access to sites. Thus, although the evidence for who did what and when, in the case of the oldest constructions, is very, very thin, it is risky to suggest alternative scenarios. Notably, surface luminance testing has been done to a very limited degree, suggesting the big pyramids might be 500 years older than is assumed, but tests have not since been followed up.

Similarly, early Chinese history, where there is an official government timeline that differs from evidence, and being seen to disagree could even interfere with crossing the border, which would make it hard to remain a sinologist.

Probably any young archaeologist could identify a dozen other examples. People like to pat themselves on the back when somebody is finally vindicated decades after their career has been blighted, but for each such case there have to be several that die with their evidence just forgotten.


You can't provide evidence for or against the existence of undiscovered civilizations. The only thing you can do is to discover them.

But common sense tell us we only have remains of a microscopic fraction of human activity through history. There is so much we will never know about the past.


Tons of stuff is being rediscovered these days thanks to LiDAR. If you can get past some of the gimmicky stuff (and have Disney+) There's a National Geographic documentary called Ancient China From Above that gets into this in the third episode. A neat thing I learned watching this is that the Chinese flood myth may have some evidence to back it up in the form of an earthquake dam in the Jishi Gorge dated to 1920 BCE that would have flooded the yellow river valley.


Never mind the mysterious carvings and click-bait 'human sacrifice' headlines - this is a well-done story about an important site ... a 4500-year-old city in northern China (2000 years before the Great Wall) which was heavily fortified (6 miles of fortified walls 8 feet thick), which lasted 500 years and was apparently ended by climate change.

"Shimao is now the largest known Neolithic settlement in China—its 1,000-acre expanse is about 25 percent bigger than New York City’s Central Park—with art and technology that came from the northern steppe and would influence future Chinese dynasties.... Many artifacts found at Shimao could only have come from distant lands. "


There’s nothing click-bait about the “human sacrifice” title. Below excerpt taken from the article. They have even shared photographs of the skulls found of the sacrificed humans, along with with more vivid description of the ritual which is best if read directly from the article.

>>Grisly discovery

The most grisly discovery came underneath the city’s eastern wall: 80 human skulls clustered in six pits—with no skeletons attached. (The two pits closest to the East Gate, the city’s principal entrance, contained exactly 24 skulls each.) The skulls’ number and placement suggest a ritual beheading during the laying of the wall’s foundation—the earliest known example of human sacrifice in Chinese history. Forensic scientists determined that almost all of the victims were young girls, most likely prisoners who belonged to a rival group.


Looks Mesoamerican.


There are similarities to the patterns on ancient bronze vessels.

Notice the patterns on the handle

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/HouMuWuD...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_ritual_bronzes


I thought so too! I wonder if this will be discussed. Would love to know what I'm looking at


The stone carvings resemble the patterns used by Liangzhu culture. For example the one carved on a jade Cong (see the video below).

https://youtu.be/jxZIw_QfGjY?t=281

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liangzhu_culture

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cong_(vessel)




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