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VOYAGES OF THE PYRAMID BUILDERS: The True Origins of the Pyramids from Lost Egypt to Ancient America.

VOYAGES OF THE PYRAMID BUILDERS: The True Origins of the Pyramids from Lost Egypt to Ancient America.My colleague Robert Schoch's previous book VOICES OF THE ROCKS was a state-of-the-art statement on 'catastrophe theory', the idea that in the not so distant past (ca. 12000 BC) the earth was rocked by a tremendous catastrophe (possibly a strike by an asteroid, bolide or comet) that almost instantly annihilated a large proportion of the larger land mammals then roaming the globe -- mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, saber-toothed tigers and many others. The extinction of those mammals is of course a matter of record as are the accompanying radical and permanent climatic changes; the North American ice sheet melted, temperate Siberia became tundra, sea levels rose over three hundred feet. There is no argument about the event itself. The bolide/asteroid/ comet theory is, in scientific circles, controversial to a certain extent, but generally 'respectable'. That is to say, there is no doubt whatever that something disastrous happened; there is debate over the exact nature of its cause. The real controversy swirls about the state of human civilization at that time and prior to it. The accepted academic view is that mankind was in a state of global hunter-gatherer development. I.e., no civilization to speak of in our currently held definition of that word.

As readers of these Eg-updates will know, we believe that our geological work on the weathering to the Sphinx of Giza effectively obliges a radical revision of that view. And the most recent developments in archeo-astronomy (the astronomy of ancient times) provides mounting complementary evidence from another hard-nosed scientific discipline. We feel that there is fundamental factual basis to the innumerable myths and legends around the world that hearken back to a 'Golden Age', a long period or periods of highly sophisticated civilization and a Deluge or other catastrophe that put an end to this advanced culture or cultures. VOICES OF THE ROCKS explores that possibility.  

Schoch's new book VOYAGES OF THE PYRAMID BUILDERS: The True Origins of the Pyramids from Lost Egypt to Ancient America is the logical sequel to VOICES OF THE ROCKS. It is a state of the art statement on Diffusionist Theory -- the idea that the remarkable similarities between the customs, architectural, artistic and manual techniques, legends and beliefs of cultures all over the world (which seem to have had no connection with each other past or present) stem from 'Diffusion' from an earlier and very ancient central or possibly global 'master culture'. The prevailing view in archeology and in all other disciplines devoted to the past is, at the moment, resolutely anti-Diffusionist; that is to say, that these myriad similarities are largely coincidental and correspond to a kind of innate (but quite undemonstrable) evolutionary stage attained by humanity at large. In simple terms: for no particular reason, certainly no practical reason, cultures around the globe with no connection or communication with each other suddenly decided to throw vast amounts of energy into the construction of massive pyramids and pyramid-shaped (anyway, conical) earth mounds. Schoch thinks otherwise (and so, of course, do I) and in his typical thorough, methodical but quite readable fashion (aided and abetted by science writer and poet Robert Aquinas McNally) he presents his case.  

Schoch focuses mainly on the pyramid shape and structure -- hardly an architectural form or practice that one would logically associate with cultures just emerging from putative primitivism. He traces and describes the variants of the pyramid wherever it is found -- which is just about everywhere: Mesoamerica of course, but also China, Japan, the United States, England and elsewhere. In the process he argues that in the most ancient times we can really document, the shipbuilding techniques and navigational skills were already in place for societies around the globe to communicate with each other ... in short, there is no commanding reason, actually no reason at all to dismiss the Diffusionist view and countless reasons to do away with anti-Diffusionism. Like the redating of the Sphinx, this is no mere academic quibble. Upon the outcome hangs the entire picture of the development of humanity prior to recorded history and the level of knowledge available to it.  

Topics covered include:  

*The significance of the striking similarities between pyramid cultures in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, despite the long distances of land and sea between 

*The rituals, beliefs, and stories that underlie the pyramids 

*How ancient peoples emigrated from the Old World into the New World 

*How pyramid builders entered the New World from the west and influenced the rising civilizations of Central and South America 

*How the pyramid builders sailed 

*A theory that ancient peoples may have migrated across vast distances in response to catastrophic encounters with comets 

*The possible existence of a lost pyramid-building civilization in the period before 3,500 BC, the generally accepted date for humankind's earliest taste of civilization 

*What it means to know that the high civilizations of our planet may have been interconnected for much longer than we imagined. 

"Voyages of the Pyramid Builders" also includes a special appendix, "Redating the Great Sphinx of Giza," in which Schoch provides his most recent and persuasive evidence that the Sphinx is much older than we think 

As everyone on this list knows, Schoch is a friend and colleague. You would not expect me to write a nasty review for him, but you might legitimately question my objectivity -- though in fact we continue to disagree on many issues big and small within the agreed-upon 'Lost Civilization' hypothesis. So I'm pleased to be able to include a few excerpts from notices in The Kirkus Review and Publisher's Weekly (both are trade magazines which print pre-publication reviews that serve as guidelines for booksellers. They use them to determine which titles and how many copies to order for their shops). While reviewers for both publications are not hard core skeptics at the Skeptical Inquirer level, they are generally a pretty hard-headed lot and look askance at what they consider overly New-Agey or wildly speculative material. So, a favorable write-up of a book that is undeniably highly controversial by accepted academic standards (actually, just about anything that does not rigorously toe the party line is viewed as 'controversial' by academia) amounts to a testament to solid methodology 

'His case for the existence of prehistoric cultured societies with both the inclination and capability to spread their influence and hallmarks around the globe, including the Americas, is carefully crafted. Artifacts like Roman masons' marks found on Mesoamerican stonework, cultural "coincidences" (e.g., both the Aztecs and ancient Chinese looked at the moon and saw a rabbit, not a man's face), and even Old World plants and animals (mummified dogs in Peru resembling those of Egypt) have all been scientifically shown to predate the "first contact" voyages of Columbus. The presentation of this material is as entertaining as science-writing gets, and Schoch doesn't shrink from debunking spurious "facts," whether they support his case or not. As for ocean barriers, the 20th-century rafting and reed-boat adventures of, respectively, Kon-Tiki and Ra speak for themselves, he says. His theory that huge astronomical disasters like comets or meteor strikes provided the incentive for ancient mass migrations comes, however, as an extended anticlimax. Gee-whiz industriously wrapped in solid science.'  

Kirkus Reviews (from Barnes & Noble)


'Using geological, linguistic and geographical evidence, he contends that a protocivilization of pyramid-building peoples was driven out of its homeland... Schoch hypothesizes that the pyramids were built to reach into the skies and to penetrate the mystery of the heavens, source of catastrophe. Schoch also asserts that the pyramids point to unity and symbolize the deep concerns shared by all humans. Schoch builds his engrossing case on geological details of the pyramid sites he has examined around the world.... As controversial as this book is bound to be, Schoch's evocation of the pyramids forcefully reminds us of their enduring power as monuments to the spirit of human creativity. ' 

Publishers Weekly (from Amazon). 

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