Reconsidering Human Origin

While the age of information progresses at an ever-increasing speed, we Homo sapiens are faced with extraordinary challenges individually and as the reigning species on this planet. More than ever before, new discoveries in the scientific fields of archeology, astronomy, anthropology, geology, and genetics are challenging scientific theories that have served to shape and form our fundamental beliefs about who we are and how we arrived at our present position. Most jeopardized is the famous theory of human evolution of Charles Darwin, the 19th century British naturalist who has shaped scientific and academic thought for the past century and a half.

The Ascendancy of Darwinism

In 1859 Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, a seminal work in which he theorized that simple life forms developed into more complex ones through gradual, ascending steps. These steps were the basis of evolution and were controlled by “the survival of the fittest,” which Darwin referred to as the “Theory of Natural Selection.” Through this process, a species improved or evolved by adapting to environmental pressures in order to survive. To most people it was known simply as “The Theory of Evolution.”

Shortly after publication, Darwin’s theory rapidly gained the support of some intellectuals and educators, but many critics rejected some of its controversial ideas. Among the detractors were fundamentalist Christians whose “creationist” views Darwin’s theory flatly contradicted. However, while believers in the Biblical creationist model landed a few crippling blows to the evolutionists, their own acceptance of the Biblical explanation of creation was based primarily on faith, not science. For the most part, proponents of human evolution found nonscientific, religious beliefs to be of little relevance in discussions of human origin, regardless of whether the particular views represented Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or any other brand of faith.

Over the years, some of these critics’ more scientifically based attacks on Darwinism raised quite a few pertinent issues, causing Darwinism’s supporters to be saddled with the burden of proof—something they have yet to produce. Still, the evolutionists’ camp, increasingly thought by many as a faith-based religion of its own sort, managed to dominate most facets of education under the banner of “righteous science.” The media and most educational systems in Europe and America presented evolution to the public and students as though it were fact. A conjunctive theory of cultural evolution also permeated our society so deeply that anthropology, paleontology, botany, and many other sciences based most of their findings on it. Cultural evolution even became the basic theory for rationalizing almost every dietary trend from raw foods and vegan diets to high-protein and low-carbohydrate diets.

One compelling reason for Darwinism’s powerful hold over scientific and cultural thought has to do with the larger cultural context. The formative years of academic studies in human history were marked by the prevalence of racism and Eurocentric attitudes. Today, while these social conditions have markedly improved, many of the concepts they influenced continue to endure. In most universities throughout the world, students are still taught the theory of African genesis: that we evolved from the trees of the African savanna from ape to primitive African savage, and that all prehistoric peoples, whether simple hunter-gatherers or agricultural peoples, were evolving savages who eventually culminated into modern-day Homo sapiens, the epitome of creation.

Although the term “savage” is no longer used to describe the often-brilliant peoples of prehistory, only recently have our ancestors acquired the true recognition they deserve. Yet, because of early biased viewpoints that defined our textbook perspectives of human prehistory, it is still often difficult for many to perceive our ancient ancestors in any other way than as primitives, who evolved to the point of becoming “civilized” only around 10,000 years ago. For many, this colorless viewpoint still prevails today.

Dogma and Heresy

While there is a wealth of information compiled over the last century on hunter-gatherers, supposedly the forebears of agriculture, confining agricultural peoples to the stone-age ancestry of the Neolithic period has led to much confusion—for there is a vast amount of evidence that suggests otherwise. Our limited perspective is especially confounding when we attempt to study dietary traditions. Undoubtedly, there have been stone-age peoples, but to say the majority of human history belongs to a period defined as “stone age” wherein all peoples are primitives may very well be focusing in blindly on but one part of a far greater, more extensive story.

Evolutionists often point to the spurious fossil records as evidence that mutation and natural selection can prove how evolution happens. Examples include the transitions of single-celled organisms to fish, fish into amphibians, amphibians into reptiles, and so on to mammals—even though these particular models are no longer considered valid.

You may recall the grade school history book image of a series of creatures emerging through an evolutionary process into a man. Many people are unaware that most scientists no longer recognize this model as valid, although it can indeed still be found in many history books. Furthermore, while most people are aware that there is a “missing link” between the ancestral apes of chimpanzees and humans, and may even be aware that the search for this elusive link is ongoing, few realize that there are many such “missing” evolutionary transitions for animals and plants in the fossil record. These transitions, said to be the results of mutations or natural selections, simply do not show up in the fossil record with any kind of consistency.

This is rather strange: According to theory, there should be an abundance of transitional fossils revealing the transformational steps from one species to another. Instead, what the record shows us is fully formed species that seem to suddenly appear, remain consistent in makeup over long periods, and then eventually disappear. With the exception of a few species, such as sharks and crocodiles that continue to live as they were, living creatures are replaced by what appear to be entirely new and different species. This is true for both prehistoric animals and non-flowering plants, which are supposed to have evolved into flowering plants about 100 million years ago. Here, too, we find a lack of intermediaries between the two types of plants.

Is it possible that this highly influential theory, one that so confidently explains who we are and where we come from, could be seriously flawed? With new players, including the proponents of the “intelligent design,” “lost continent,” and “intervention” theories in the human-origin field, the heated debate on evolution is rapidly coming to a boil. Never before in its short history has this theory faced such intense scrutiny as it is facing today, as the dedicated research of diverse groups of scholars and historians is bringing about a genuine revolution in how we think and what we believe about human origin. Indeed, many believe that these new researchers are armed to the hilt with more evidence against the theory of evolution than those who support it have for its defense. Wielding such compelling evidence, many of these “alternative” historians claim a greater antiquity for civilization than most evolutionists are willing to acknowledge.

Unfortunately, the lengths to which some evolutionists have gone to discredit alternative historians have been at times extreme. For the professional whose work is either directly or indirectly linked to the study of human origin, it is becoming clear that to challenge the theory of evolution is an extremely bold and politically incorrect position to take. Thus, despite the fact that freethinking and open-mindedness are the quintessence of genuine scientific inquiry, the theory of evolution nevertheless has a habit of closing the door to archeological and anthropological finds that do not fit into its ideology. Just as faith is the foundation of religious belief, the need for scientific certainty compels evolutionists to their strong attachments to conventional theory.

Consequently, to challenge the theory of evolution is to be branded a “creationist.” Because the debate has been presented by the media as an either/or issue, with evolutionism and creationism the only two sides of the debate, most believe this is all there is to it—though indeed, nothing could be further from the truth. When the “creationist” label does not conveniently fit the alternative theory in question, the accusation of “pseudo-science” is leveled against the offending alternative historian. However, with increased public awareness and access to new discoveries, the tired ramblings of accepted dogma will continue to be challenged by stimulating, open dialog among those wishing to discuss the highly plausible alternate theories. This article is offered as an introduction and basis for this sort of open-minded inquiry.

Myth or History?

An increasing amount of evidence during the past decade has suggested a history of humankind extending far beyond the accepted textbook timelines. The idea of anatomically correct humans (Homo sapiens) into deep antiquity—civilized, agriculturally-based humans with an understanding of astronomy, geometry, architecture and other more sophisticated sciences—existing so far back in time as to coexist with early hunter-gatherers and other primates is not easy for orthodox historians to accept. To say that the broad acceptance of this idea would have a powerful impact on the scientific certainty of human evolution is a grand understatement. Indeed its effect on evolutionary theory would be earthshaking—not to mention the effect it could have on some organized religions.

For anyone seeking to cut through the confusion as to what to believe about human evolution, I recommend reading Forbidden Archeology by Cremo and Thompson; Shattering the Myths of Darwinism by Richard Milton; and Evolution, Creationism and other Modern Myths by Vine Deloria, Jr. These three books are scholarly works that put human evolution in its rightful place: as a theory in serious need of reconsideration.

Alternative historians have paved the way toward a new understanding of human origins that incorporates the early and current research of orthodox anthropology, paleontology and archeology with other scientific disciplines (e.g., archeoastronomy, engineering, mathematics). Even the written and oral traditions, myths and legends of traditional peoples throughout the world are being openly researched and analyzed for further insights. Fifty years ago, many of these methods were not considered acceptable (let alone standard) methodologies for approaching the study of human origins; today they are proving to be of tremendous assistance in reevaluating early discoveries and aiding in the interpretation of new ones.

A famous case in point illustrates the potential validity of historical records previously regarded as “pure imagination.” Over a hundred years ago, a seven-year-old boy named Heinrich Schliemann, enamored by pictures of the mythological city of Troy, determined that one day he would find the lost city. In 1873, Schliemann discovered the site of Homer’s Ilium right in the location where it was said to have been, a discovery that moved Troy from the realm of myth to that of historical reality.

Apollonius of Rhodes wrote the famous Argonauta, which tells a story about the Greek hero Jason, who made his legendary voyage in search of a “golden fleece” some 3,500 years ago. The story has long been thought to be but one of many Greek myths. However, excavations in some of the areas mentioned in the story have confirmed that the myth was indeed based on real people and real places. Myths and legends, when researched methodically and extensively, have also revealed hidden meanings associated with astronomical and geological events.

Our true history may be just beginning to unfold. With the advent of satellite imaging, NASA has recently discovered lost civilizations in Cambodia, South America, and India. Man-made megalithic structures have also been found off the coasts of Japan and Malta. A recent discovery off the coast of Cuba reveals what appears to be a complex of temples and other structures resembling Mayan architecture. Because of their 2,000-foot depth, these ruins are believed to have sunk around 50,000 years ago! Are these the remains of some of the world’s most ancient civilizations?

One would think that archeologists would be doing cartwheels through the hallowed halls of academia when informed of so many new and exciting discoveries, but such is not the case. Most of the research on these and other mysterious discoveries is being conducted by independent scientists, journalists, and other curious individuals intent getting some answers to long asked questions. If, and when some of these new discoveries prove accurate through current methods of dating technology, this will be further confirmation that human beings were building sophisticated cities and temples 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.

And where there is civilization, there is agriculture.

“Stone Age” Technology

If we accept the theories of human and cultural evolution, our species was not evolved enough to practice agriculture until around 10,000 years ago, and there would have been no large-scale agriculture until around 5,000 years ago, with the advent of the Sumerian culture, often dubbed the “first great civilization” or the “cradle of civilization.”

But recent discoveries of other sites yielding evidence of ancient civilizations contemporaneous with Sumerian (or even earlier) have altered the picture. The highly advanced cities of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization of ancient India, for example, are likely to have preceded the Sumerians and measure an extraordinary 300,000 square miles—many times larger than the Sumerian ruins! (Even Egypt’s 15,000-square-mile area pales in comparison.) Other sites of pre-Sumerian civilizations may exist near the pre-Incan site of the Sachsyuaman fortress, above Cuzco, Peru. No one knows who these megalithic builders were or how they worked, but they possessed a technology that allowed them to cut and fit 400-ton stones into complex, megalithic puzzles. Attempts to fix the date of another ancient site, Tiawanaku, have yielded varying results, ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 years ago. The ruin’s upward displacement, however, suggest that it must be at least many thousands of years old.

At the rate new discoveries are being made, there will probably be many more findings pre-dating Sumerian, perhaps by thousands or even tens of thousands of years. When and where, then, did civilization really begin? In trying to answer this question, we must remember that archeology, paleontology, and anthropology still operate from guidelines designed to fit the scientific dogma of Darwinism, which still today comprises a Procrustes’ bed to which all new evidence is forced to fit—even when the evidence itself may contradict it. Thus release of this information to the public may be delayed by years, and we have to understand that we have only begun to uncover the many secrets of our planet’s history—and our own.

To orthodox historians, the idea of technologically advanced civilizations having existed in deep antiquity is generally regarded as unacceptable because (it is said) there is no proof in the form of technological artifacts. However, this is often a tortuously slanted argument. For example, the detailed machining techniques used on some of the interior blocks of the Great Pyramid and other architectural examples in Egypt clearly exhibit highly technical knowledge—yet the actual machinery to produce these techniques has not yet been found, so even with evidence of the use of advanced technology in remote times, some historians still want to see the actual technological artifacts that produced this evidence.

This seems a fair enough request, if they would join the alternative historians and put their time, energy, and resources into looking for these missing artifacts. Indeed, it would seem to be a matter of scientific principle that they would do so. Yet, something holds them back. Perhaps it is sheer intellectual inertia, or resistance to the difficulties involved in having to adapt any discoveries of ancient technology to the cultural evolution model. At any rate, a likely place to start would be around some of the newly discovered anomalous, man-made structures located under the sea. These submerged cities are likely to hold evidence for the true origins of agriculture as well.

One fact of the times strongly supports such a search: the proliferation and availability of modern scientific technologies. When the politically correct theories on human origin were first formed, a little over a 150 years ago, they were supported by a relatively few scientific fields of study with a limited range of technical methods. Today, with so many scientific disciplines, specialties and technologies at our disposal, it is an especially apt time for re-examining the existing theories to see if they really are worth keeping intact, or in need of significant overhauling.

For example, even minimal research into the mathematical, astronomical, and engineering feats of the great pyramid of Cheops in Egypt, supposedly built a few thousand years ago, reveals an architectural masterpiece that required the stacking of one million stone blocks weighing 2.5 to 200 tons (with some interior blocks weighing up to 200 tons) to a great height with a mathematical precision unequaled anywhere in the world. Yet, to apply orthodox theory, one would have to believe that the people who built it were primitive men, using stone tools and a jury-rigged apparatus of ropes and logs!

Their purpose in building this great structure is believed to have been to create a tomb for a deceased pharaoh whose life was based in a polytheistic cult obsessed with superstitions concerning the afterlife. The evolution theory lacks even common sense in this case, yet it is still promoted by orthodox historians. Not only is it irresponsible for professional scientists to promote such an unsubstantiated theory, it is also an insult to human intelligence. If certain scientific disciplines are to claim a monopoly on historical knowledge, then in all fairness, these disciplines should be able to demonstrate how and why their theories are valid.

Even with modern technology, it is unlikely we could reproduce this masterpiece with such mathematical precision. It is interesting that orthodox scholars so often make meticulous demands for proof of advanced technology in antiquity—yet in instances such as this one, their own theories either ignore the current evidence or explain it away, often with absurd explanations.

Bones, art, megaliths, pyramids, and other anomalous structures from remote periods are among the clues found around the world pointing to human occupation lost in the mists of time. Some of these examples are so old that the dates we have been given for them are tenuous at best. The attempt to fit ancient buildings into a time frame of the past 5,000 years is futile when one realizes how clearly evident it is that many of these have been built and rebuilt over previously abandoned structures. One could argue that the famous Sphinx of Egypt, even with an update of 10,000 years ago, does not exceed the orthodox timeline for the onset of agriculture. Common sense suggests that the civilization with the technology and technicians to build the Sphinx must have already been in place well before construction began. How long before? We do not know—but we do know with certainty that these architects were not hunter-gatherers living in “stone-age” conditions!

Egypt is only one of the mysterious ancient civilizations for which the infancy of its art, writing, sculpture, and architecture has yet to be found. These ideas and artifices of civilization had to have had their origins stretching back in time well before suddenly appearing, despite the fact that the evolutionary increments of development are lacking in archeological strata.

In fact, the occurrence of knowledge being won, then lost, then rediscovered “for the first time” is far from uncommon even in our documented history. Columbus’s discoveries of America and Galileo’s pronouncement that the earth was round are two such examples. It is firmly established historical fact that Columbus was not the first to discover America, and the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, and Chinese knew that the earth was round long before Galileo’s time.

Our Agricultural Origins: The Orthodox View

While metallurgy, language, and writing each played a role, agriculture is regarded as perhaps the most influential factor in forming civilization after primate man began to stand erect and walked out of the plains of Africa. Let us take a brief look at the orthodox view of the origin of agriculture and review it from some alternative perspectives. The following timeline incorporates modifications by historians in order to accommodate recent discoveries that deviate from the original theory.

100,000 years ago: Modern humans appear and migrate out of Africa.

60,000 years ago: Humans increase migrations, build simple boats, and begin sea travel.

40,000 years ago: Humans arrive in Australia. Some hunter-gatherers begin to proto-farm. Cave art appears.

30,000 years ago: Humans arrive in the Pacific Islands.

13,000 years ago: Humans walk across the land bridge (Beringia) from Eurasia to America and consume local fauna to extinction, often called the “Pleistocene overkill.”

12,000 to 11,000 years ago: The Neolithic revolution begins.

10,000 years ago: (now pushed back another 10,000 years): Signs of plant and animal domestication appear in the fertile river valleys of modern-day Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. The ice age ends.

5,500 years ago: Architecture, language development, writing, metallurgy, science, and religion appear.

According to this general outline, starting roughly 10,000 years ago, with the glacial ice melting and flooding much of the lowlands, hordes of people headed to higher ground in search of food and shelter. In so doing they had to acclimate themselves to less space and were forced to practice agriculture full time in order to sustain their growing populations.

As farming increased, so did population density and with it the need for more farming, ultimately leading to permanent settlements with communities working together to produce enough food to sustain them through cold winters. While they were reluctant to give up their nomadic lifestyles, converting to agriculture from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle gave these people a sense of security that helped to regulate their lives, eventually enabling them to develop the resources to create civilizations.

Meanwhile, other peoples continued to migrate, consuming and eventually causing mass extinctions of much of the fauna in many locations. As their populations continued to increase, they too were forced to settle and farm.

There are eight areas recognized as the world’s original agricultural regions: China, Papua New Guinea, South America, Middle Asia, Ethiopia, the Near East, the Mediterranean, and India.

Uncertainties in the Theory

This outlines the generally accepted theory; however, additions to this theory are ongoing—and not all historians accept the theory. Viewpoints on any number of issues vary among scholars.

Although this outline begins 100,000 years ago, conservative estimates are that it took hominids some four million years to evolve into modern humans. During most of that time, our ancestral “cousins” were dependent on wild plants and animals for food. Out of such an ancestry, why did some of us, modern Homo sapiens, later become farmers?

Some experts suggest that certain qualities inherent in human behavior were conducive to domestication, namely sedantism, proto-domestication (recognition of species predisposed to domestication), and wealth accumulation. The deliberate planting of stored seed stock is also an action ascribed to our species and not typically found in lower primates. Finally, high population density could be a factor that encourages agricultural development. Yet, in spite of numerous attempts to produce a model using all these factors to show how agriculture started, these ideas have proven inconsistent and have left experts in disagreement.

For example, to name population density as a cause for the invention of agriculture raises more questions than answers. Early peoples would have had other options for dealing with their situation. We wonder why our early ancestors did not kill newborn females in order to maintain population growth, as some modern hunter-gatherers have been known to do. On the other hand, why did they not simply procure greater amounts of abundant wild foods to accommodate their population increase? How do we explain that most proto-agricultural hunter-gatherer groups and many farming communities are sparsely populated?

Alternative historians cite the contrasting lifestyles in Central America, the Yangtze basin, coastal Scandinavia, and the archaic American Southwest to illustrate the inconsistency of the population-density idea. Specifically in America, domestication occurred long after a major climatic change but well before any significant change in population growth. Available evidence also suggests that increasing population only complicates social structure, rather than promoting more agriculture. Yet in spite of these holes in the population-increase hypothesis, some orthodox historians still claim population density is one factor that caused early hunter-gatherers to first begin farming.

The proto-domestication hypothesis postulates two types of hunter-gatherers: the common hunter-gatherers, whose life has changed little; and the proto-farmer hunter-gatherers, who managed their plants, developed more complex agricultural practices, and eventually became full-fledged farmers. This idea conveniently also supports the cultural evolution theory, with its scenario of Paleolithic proto-farmers harvesting large quantities of wild grasses as staple foods.

At present, though, sedantism, proto-domestication, wealth accumulation and population density are all generally recognized as being natural influences on rather than causes of our agricultural origins.

Migration and colonization are prevalent in the historical and ethnohistorical records, but this type of evidence is presently unpopular in archaeology, although they are ideas that are cautiously being reviewed by some scholars. Where rapid changes in material culture, burial customs, and settlement systems coincide with the evidence of exogenous domesticated flora and fauna, archeologists need to reconsider worldwide prehistoric migrations. A recognized example of this exists in southern Scandinavia, where it is evident that agriculture spread through colonization leading to indigenous adoption and other types of innovation. Some anthropologists suggest that something beyond a natural or biological influence must have motivated early hunter-gatherers to turn to farming, especially in areas where resources were already abundant.

The fact remains that we do not know if agriculture led to the origin of civilization or if the process toward civilization was already well underway by settled hunter-gatherers when agriculture began. Updates, revisions, and contrary evidence are all needed to eventually arrive at some definitive answers. There are many “whys” yet to be answered; because of this, the field is wide open for other theories from anyone who cares to submit them.

The Re-emergence of Agriculture: Alternative Theories

Experts are uncertain about what actually happened to humans before and during the ice age. The many old bones and stone artifacts have held some interesting surprises concerning this period. In an attempt to reconcile some of the perplexing evidence found in strata layers, alternative historians have developed two very important theories that are rapidly gaining acceptance by many historians. These theories are known as catastrophism and cultural diffusionism.


The theory of catastrophism suggests that several global catastrophes occurred at different periods in the remote past, forming geological features of the earth suddenly rather than gradually, through the evolutionary process.

Many historians acknowledge that catastrophic events occurred around 3,200 years ago, though some suggest that it was not on a global scale. However, these events clearly affected many areas of the world. What caused them is still a point of contention among some experts; others point to the likelihood of a comet or other celestial body falling to earth and resulting in volcanic disruption with accompanying tidal waves. Geographic evidence supports this idea.

Current research also indicates that similar catastrophic events occurred about 11,500 years ago and earlier, but on a worldwide scale. For example, most scientists accept that a cometary impact was quite possibly what caused the demise of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. If a small comet or large asteroid shower pelted the earth during the last 50,000 years, such an event could easily have set off a chain reaction of storms, floods, or any number of other destructive natural phenomena.

Over 200 myths and legends from around the world attest to these types of natural disasters. Many climate adjustments occurred from 17,000 to 5,000 years ago. The earth became extremely cold around 12,000 years ago and sea levels rose by 325 feet. Any surviving coastal civilizations would naturally have moved to higher ground.

It stands to reason that before crops can be harvested, agricultural tools have to be developed. The grinding of grains also requires at least a rudimentary stone technology. Most agricultural technology occurs during the upper Paleolithic periods, but in the case of the Levant and other instances, such tool development extends as far back as the middle Paleolithic period. Indeed, evidence of early agriculture, documented by William Corliss, has been found dating 26,000 BC (Solomon Islands); 16,000 to 20,000 BC (Indonesia); around 16,000 BC (Thailand), and 15,000 to 16,000 BC (Egypt). This evidence usually takes the form of tools accompanied by plant parts or residues.

Around the world, many examples of tools required for gathering and processing cereals have been found that predate the beginnings of domestication. There are likely many more examples remaining to be discovered, but ruins of civilization earlier than these dates would be covered in thick layers of sediment or submerged thousands of feet beneath the sea. Reflecting upon these dates, it seems apparent that natural disasters brought a severe halt to agriculture, later to be resumed in conjunction with each flourishing civilization.

The upper Paleolithic period is more richly evidenced with human remnants as compared to the later lower and middle Paleolithic periods, where only the most durable items (such as stone tools) can be found, many earlier examples of which are unrecognizable as to their actual function. Plant matter decomposes over time under the influences of natural forces and, therefore, is lacking in the two earlier Paleolithic phases.

In 1901, a mammoth elephant was found in Siberia, frozen upright with food still in its mouth. Further examination revealed buttercups and other spring plants in its stomach. This could have happened only if the climate had dramatically shifted in a very short time.

It would take some very astute humans to survive the aftermath of the sort of cataclysmic events that have occurred numerous times during the earth’s long history. These disruptions permanently destroyed some species and often left harsh and brutal environments. Any human survivors would have had to carry the burden of responsibility for reestablishing civilization. Caves conceivably became shelter for these enduring survivors, who left some of their sophisticated artwork, unusual artifacts, and precious seeds as proof of their tenancy. Some of these cave dwellers; unable to reestablish their agricultural practices due to severe weather, would have been forced to revert to a hunter-gatherer-scavenger lifestyle. Other prepared survivors may have set sail to foreign lands with whatever tools of civilization they were able to salvage.

Legends of primitive peoples who survived the cataclysm tell about welcoming the “culture bearers” who arrived by sea or descended from high mountain peaks. According to written and oral traditions, many primitive peoples were relieved and grateful to have the leadership and direction from these multi-racial people from afar.

In these instances, the “culture bearers” came in peace, taught agriculture, and helped organize civilization. The indigenous peoples were so enamored by the extraordinary scientific abilities of these strangers that they not surprisingly revered them as “Gods.” (Unfortunately, we also have stories of the European colonial conquests for at least the last 500 years where the “culture bearers” came only to rob, rape, murder, and dominate the lives of indigenous peoples to the point of cultural destruction, including the loss of health and traditional knowledge.)

Eventually, the civilized survivors of an ancient world would again share the planet with surviving hunter-gatherers and hominids of various types. Those who had reverted to a nomadic lifestyle after several generations of extreme difficulties may have suffered a kind of amnesia, having lost the urge to re-create civilization. However, many of these nomadic peoples preserved stories of how their ancestors once lived in great cities with monumental buildings plated in gold and silver, before the world was destroyed by fire and water, in a time when the days were warm and sunny, where grazing livestock and flowing fields of golden grain provided nourishment.

The ancient civilizations of Sumer and Egypt represent just two of the most recent examples of such fallen civilizations rebuilt by ancient survivors of far older civilizations that have yet to be discovered.

Catastrophism, along with its increasing amount of documented evidence, sheds light on many of the questions previously unanswered in the historical records. It is a theory well supported by scientific discoveries, and both oral and written traditions, that helps to explain the many unusual artifacts unearthed from the past that simply do not fit the orthodox timelines or cultural model. It also gives credence to the idea that agricultural practices existed in our remote past.

Cultural Diffusionism

The theory of cultural diffusionism describes the cross-cultural exchange between primitive and advanced civilizations before, during and after what is termed the “agricultural revolution.”

Recent findings of cocaine and tobacco, both believed to have originated in the New World, in Egyptian mummies mark the exchange of goods between the old and new worlds during the times of the Pharaohs. This is one of the few publicly announced discoveries that show ancient peoples were communicating and trading across vast distances. I have personally examined numerous stele, stone statues, and carvings throughout South and Central America and Asia depicting Africans, bearded Semitics, and Asians, all of which had to be thousands of years old.

Sweet potatoes have been found in Southeast Asia as well as Africa; to this day, we are not certain of their origin. Amaranth, a pseudo-cereal used extensively throughout South America, is the same domesticated species used by some of the most remote Tibetan tribes, who have used the grain long before any outsiders came to visit. Peanuts have a long history in both Peru and China; cacao exists in Mexico and India…the list goes on. All of these common intercontinental crops are documented to have existed well before the 1500s.

An abundance of historical literature expresses world travel and trade in ancient times. In addition to artifacts and agricultural products, strong evidence for diffusionism exists in many social and cultural practices, linguistics and genetic markers.

One of the most popular legends of culture bearers comes from the Sumerian culture from around 3,500 B.C. Numerous cuneiform tablets have been excavated from what is now modern-day Iraq. These tablets reveal a detailed account of culture bearers introducing agriculture and civilization to the Sumerians. This early example of colonization became popular among lay people through the Earth Chronicles of Zecharia Sitchen. However, scholars of Sumerian history criticize Sitchen’s work because of the author’s premise that these Sumerian culture bearers came from another planet.

Whether one reads Sitchen, Kramer, Jacobsen, O’Brien or other historians of Sumerian culture, the stories carry a similar theme of colonizers from somewhere else—whether they are postulated as having come from outer space, a sunken continent or evolved hunter-gatherers is beside the point. The fact that they came bearing the already-established gifts of agriculture and civilization is what is significant. The supporting evidence for some of these stories indicates that they have more substance than mere exaggerated myths. The “culture bearers from elsewhere” subject is repeated with slight variations in legends from the Mayans, Incas, Babylonians, Egyptians, Chinese, Indians, and other ancient cultures.

In tracing these legends, with their themes of floods and transplanted agriculture, we find that some of the stories could be relatively recent, while others may stretch back into Paleolithic times or further. Some of these legendary events could reasonably have occurred as long as 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.

After surviving the devastating effects of ice, floods, and other environmental extremes, many ancient civilized peoples, through their tenacious will to continue, became heroes or gods, the culture bearers of the past.

According to legends, men and women of cultural and racial diversity and various statures arrived from the four corners of the earth, descending from mountaintops or arriving by sea to bring the seeds of civilization. They taught the primitive peoples agriculture and created laws. They taught biodiversity so people could work in harmony with the land instead of merely living off it. They abolished cannibalism and human sacrifice. Grain was a new food for many; for others, it was a re-introduction of a food that had been missing for generations. Today, grain universally symbolizes the most sacred food of our ancestors and is used as a tribute to those who brought us from the darkness of primitivism to the light of civilization.

If legendary timelines are accurate, then orthodox timelines need to be re-evaluated to acknowledge that man was an agriculturalist for more than just the past 10,000 years of his 200,000-year hunter-gatherer existence. Orthodox theories have recently begun to incorporate the idea that some early Paleolithic peoples were proto-farmers before the currently defined timeline, as discarding the abundance of this new evidence would make rational scientific thinking appear hypocritical. However, modifying existing beliefs to conform to the evidence without really changing them significantly or genuinely entertaining other possibilities is unfortunately the norm.

In other words, in order to address the issue of agriculture in civilization existing before the accepted 10,000- to 12,000-year period, it is easy to keep with conventional theories by saying:

“At the beginning of the upper Paleolithic period, around 40,000 years ago, there were some primitive peoples in various parts of the world who were managing animals and plants to such an extent that we can consider them the earliest of agriculturists (proto-agriculturists)…”

As opposed to saying:

“Based on all the existing evidence, including research from other countries and historical traditions, from 50,000 to 40,000 years ago until 10,000 years ago, we have evidence of extraordinary cave artworks, delicate medical operations (cranial surgeries and amputations), astronomical notations, ceramic artifacts, textile and basketry weaving, grinding stones, and writing. All of these are earmarks of civilization, once thought impossible before 10,000 years ago.”

This latter approach would leave historians faced with having to explain who on earth these people could have been, how they evolved or if they evolved at all, where they came from, and why they developed all these striking earmarks of civilization when the majority of the ancient world’s population of hunter-gatherers never even came close to establishing civilizations until quite recently? Even then, they did so only because of the influence of already-established civilizations—why not as a process of natural evolution?

In the last ten years, an extraordinary amount of evidence has surfaced that points to cultural diffusion having been practiced in remote times, helping to introduce new foods between civilizations throughout the world. If a group of people specialized in a certain food, herb, or spice, it was often traded or sold to another culture, sometimes thousands of miles away, thus increasing the range and variety of available foods for these people. Archeological discoveries of ancient stone statues and carvings thousands of years old revealing many different racial types have been found in areas once thought to be isolated from the outside world until more recent times. Myths and legends exist in almost all traditional cultures regarding the origin of various foods brought from afar in times long past. How long this has been going on no one knows for sure, but it has been going on longer than the 10,000 years of our accepted history of civilized agricultural peoples.

In just the last five years, we have been forced to reevaluate our beliefs about the simple-minded primitive Neanderthals and other early hominids. Although there are no indications of large civilizations and agricultural practice among them, they apparently were not the stereotypical club-bearing cavemen portrayed in our history books. New findings of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man reveal advancement well beyond what was originally thought. Both had larger brains than Homo sapiens and equal time to evolve, yet both died off and neither ever reached the level of sophistication of modern Homo sapiens. The overall pattern revealed by current discoveries shows civilized human activities extending continually further back into prehistory. Yet with some exceptions, most of these discoveries are still somehow “managed” by keeping them well within the confines of the cultural evolution paradigm.

An Unfinished Puzzle

Agricultural history has been based largely on the study of bones that remain in strata for thousands of years without breaking down. It is perfectly natural to assume, based on a scanty fossil record, that our Paleo ancestors consumed large quantities of meat along with the gathering of wild plants. After all, that is what we find with some modern hunter-gatherers.

Because there is little evidence in the way of preserved plant matter dating from earlier than 12,000 years ago, it is often assumed that before that time, all plants consumed by our forbearers were wild roots, leaves, fruits and wild grasses. After all, the assumption goes, human beings had not yet evolved to the point of agricultural necessity, having existed up to that point in varying states of primitiveness.

The human affair with agriculture and the currently accepted theory for its origin can be likened to a large puzzle: a few of the pieces fit nicely into place—and all others are forced into the remaining empty spots, whether or not they actually fit. The puzzle is far from complete. At this juncture, there is no proof that all humans on planet earth were primitive hunter-gatherers-scavengers before 10,000 or even 20,000 years ago, and there is plenty of evidence that evolved agricultural peoples existed long before 10,000 years ago.

Today we as “civilized” societies represent the majority of the earth’s people, with a minority consisting of nomadic hunter-gatherers still existing in the more remote parts of the world. It is plausible that at different times in pre-history, this trend may have been reversed, with civilized agricultural peoples being the remote minority.

The idea that our present civilization represents the ultimate in evolutionary achievement is a cultural bias that limits our future and ignores some of the evidence from prehistory. Perhaps the rise and fall of great civilizations is an event pattern that has occurred numerous times in prehistory. Before dismissing this idea as mere speculation, consider how often the accepted theories of human and cultural evolution have had to be updated to fit ongoing discoveries. We must remember to consider all the evidence and keep an open mind when confronted with new finds.

Some prominent historians believe that as hunter-gatherers, we had plenty of free time to do whatever we wanted, and that it was the heavy toil of agriculture that began our downfall. Some of these same historians also believe that agriculture brought with it all sorts of problems and had an overall corrupting effect on the happy lives of the formerly free-living primitives. But such beliefs are partially based on the observation of modern agricultural practices—not of the biodiverse methods practiced by many of the ancients. Allowing for the results of sudden earth changes through catastrophic events, agriculture was not so much a cause of peoples’ demise as some would like to believe.

When we listen to the ancient sagas and allow their accounts to help provide a coherent context for our scientific strata evidence, we find an increasingly persuasive picture in which ancient civilizations equal to and in some ways more advanced than ours have played a very real part. The constituents of advanced civilizations quite possibly shared this planet with a variety of primates and primitive humans for many tens of thousands of years in cycles of the receding and the re-emergence of agriculture.


In Search of the Cradle of Civilization, Feurstein, Kak and Frawley

The Giza Power Plant, Christopher Dunn

Last Hunters—First Farmers, Ed. T. Douglas Price and Anne Birgitte Gebauer

Ancient Man, William R. Corliss

Earth’s Shifting Crust, Charles Hapgood

The Shining Ones, Christian and Barbara Joy O’Brien

Underworld, Graham Hancock

Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers, Colin Tudge

The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age, Richard Rudgley

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