What the Vulture Stone says...

Vulture Stone Göbekli Tepe

Swarm of Taurid comet fragments hit Earth, initiating Younger Dryas ice-age

Ancient stone carvings confirm that a comet struck the Earth around 11,000BC, a devastating event which wiped out woolly mammoths and sparked the rise of civilisations.

Experts at the University of Edinburgh analysed mysterious symbols carved onto stone pillars at Gobekli Tepe in southern Turkey, to find out if they could be linked to constellations.

The markings suggest that a swarm of comet fragments hit Earth at the exact same time that a mini-ice age struck, changing the entire course of human history. 

Scientists have speculated for decades that a comet could be behind the sudden fall in temperature during a period known as the Younger Dryas. But recently the theory appeared to have been debunked by new dating of meteor craters in North America where the comet is thought to have struck.

However, when engineers studied animal carvings made on a pillar – known as the vulture stone – at Gobekli Tepe they discovered that the creatures were actually astronomical symbols which represented constellations and the comet.

The idea had been originally put forward by author Graham Hancock in his book Magicians of the Gods. 

Using a computer programme to show where the constellations would have appeared above Turkey thousands of years ago, they were able to pinpoint the comet strike to 10,950BC, the exact time the Younger Dryas begins according to ice core data from Greenland.

The Younger Dryas is viewed as a crucial period for humanity, as it roughly coincides with the emergence of agriculture and the first Neolithic civilisations.

Before the strike, vast areas of wild wheat and barley had allowed nomadic hunters in the Middle East to establish permanent base camps. But the difficult climate conditions following the impact forced communities to come together and work out new ways of maintaining the crops, through watering and selective breeding. Thus farming began, allowing the rise of the first towns. 

Edinburgh researchers said the carvings appear to have remained important to the people of Gobekli Tepe for millennia, suggesting that the event and cold climate that followed likely had a very serious impact.
Dr Martin Sweatman, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, who led the research, said: "I think this research, along with the recent finding of a widespread platinum anomaly across the North American continent virtually seal the case in favour of (a Younger Dryas comet impact).

"Our work serves to reinforce that physical evidence. What is happening here is the process of paradigm change.
"It appears Göbekli Tepe was, among other things, an observatory for monitoring the night sky.
“One of its pillars seems to have served as a memorial to this devastating event – probably the worst day in history since the end of the ice age.”

Gobekli Tepe, is thought to be the world's oldest temple site, which dates from around 9,000BC, predating Stonehenge by around 6,000 years.  

Researchers believe the images were intended as a record of the cataclysmic event, and that a further carving showing a headless man may indicate human disaster and extensive loss of life.

Symbolism on the pillars also indicates that the long-term changes in Earth’s rotational axis was recorded at this time using an early form of writing, and that Gobekli Tepe was an observatory for meteors and comets.

The finding also supports a theory that Earth is likely to experience periods when comet strikes are more likely, owing to the planet’s orbit intersecting orbiting rings of comet fragments in space.

But despite the ancient age of the pillars, Dr Sweatman does not believe it is the earliest example of astronomy in the archaeological record.

"Many paleolithic cave paintings and artefacts with similar animal symbols and other repeated symbols suggest astronomy could be very ancient indeed," he said.

"If you consider that, according to astronomers, this giant comet probably arrived in the inner solar system some 20 to 30 thousand years ago, and it would have been a very visible and dominant feature of the night sky, it is hard to see how ancient people could have ignored this given the likely consequences."

Sarah Knapton,

The Telegraph, April 21, 2017

Original article

Comet Encke and the catastrophy of ca 11,000 BC

Victor Clube and Bill Napier championed coherent catastrophism from the early 1980s (Clube & Napier, 1982; Clube & Napier, 1990). The essential core of this theory is as follows. Large comets can occasionally be de-stabilised and enter the inner solar system, where they fragment due to outgassing and tidal forces generated by the Sun about which they can orbit in relatively short periods. The distribution of fragment sizes is extremely wide, from micrometre to kilometre-sized objects, and always evolving. These fragments, over many thousands of years, will gradually disperse to generate a very wide orbital ‘ring’ around the sun that is highly non-uniform.

If we are particularly unlucky, the Earth’s orbit will intersect a new ring, resulting in new meteor showers as observed from Earth. Most fragments are so small that they can usually be ignored. Larger fragments can result in visible bolides. Very occasionally, a large mass of fragments can collide with Earth resulting in catastrophic consequences. 

A key aspect of this theory is that this process of fragmentation and dispersal can take many tens of thousands of years before the rate of collision of the Earth with devastating fragments subsides back to background levels, i.e. before the devastating fragments are used up or significantly dispersed. In other words, for short periods on cosmic timescales, we can expect the Earth to experience much higher collision rates with devastating cometary fragments than is expected relative to the very long time average for all types of encounter of that particular magnitude. This is the principle of coherent catastrophism.  

Along with this basic principle, observations (Napier & Clube, 1997) indicate that we are, in fact, in a period of coherent catastrophism right now. The culprit is likely to be the progenitor of comet Encke, which is estimated to have originally been around 100 km in diameter and to have entered the inner solar system some 20-30 thousand years ago. Comet Encke, along with the other debris, now resides in a short period eccentric orbit of the sun of a little over three years. Over this time, an orbital ring of debris has formed that the Earth intersects, resulting in, among other meteor showers, the Southern and Northern Taurids in October to November, and their daylight counterparts, the beta-Taurids and zeta Perseids, in June and July. Due to precession of the perihelion of these orbits, high density regions of this debris ring intersect Earth’s orbital path four times every complete cycle of the perihelion, i.e. roughly every 6,000 years. 

This origin for the Taurid meteor stream is accepted in mainstream astronomy, but its consequences in terms of coherent catastrophism are frequently disputed, often on the basis that the geological and archaeological evidence is lacking (Chapman & Morrison, 1994). That was until evidence for the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis began to accumulate. 

There is acknowledged evidence for an abrupt and cataclysmic event at the boundary of the Younger Dryas period (circa 10,900 – 9,600 BC). We will only describe the evidence briefly here, which is reported to include:

  • Analysis of the geology of the Scablands and similar features across North America indicating sudden melting of the Laurentide ice sheet and immense flooding across large areas of North America.
  • An abrupt change in climate to much colder and drier conditions for over 1000 years.
  • Analysis of Greenland ice-cores and archaeological sites across North America, which reveal unusual ‘spikes’ in the concentration of particular substances, especially platinum, signalling a major event, potentially of cosmic origin.
  • The apparent, near simultaneous extinction of many megafauna across the North American continent. 
  • An apparent sudden change in human culture in North America, i.e. the end of Clovis culture. 
  • A distinct layer of black or grey deposits across large areas of the North American continent and Northern Europe called the ‘black mats’. 
  • Widely dispersed indicators of an immense event, e.g. nanodiamonds, magnetic spherules and high-temperature melt glass. 
The evidence and proposed mechanisms for this event are keenly debated right now. Recent publications (Firestone et.al., 2007; Kennet et.al., 2009; Petaev et.al., 2013; Wittke et.al., 2013; Holliday et.al., 2014; van Hoesal et.al., 2014; Kennet et.al., 2015; Moore et.al., 2017) in highly regarded academic journals can be found arguing in favour or against the published evidence and a leading candidate mechanism: a major cometary encounter around 10,890 BC that primarily affected northern latitudes, especially the Laurentide glacial ice sheet that covered Canada at the time, and Northern Europe. 

The proposed theory of a sufficiently large-scale cometary encounter does appear to be able to explain much of this evidence. However, a major problem with this theory is a lack of understanding of the details of such an encounter, especially the various physical signals it would create. Of course, if there was an archaeological record of this event, especially a written record, then it might be able to confirm the hypothesis. But archaeological evidence from that period or before is very rare, and it is also generally thought that any form of writing, even proto-writing, did not appear until around 7000 BC in central Europe, far too late. 

The archaeological record: Göbekli Tepe

Göbekli Tepe, often called ‘the world’s first temple’, is an ancient megalithic site in present-day southern Turkey, not far from the border with Syria. Excavations over the last two decades by a team led by Klaus Schmidt have uncovered a fascinating sequence of roughly circular enclosures, consisting mainly of upright megalithic slabs and rough stone walls (Schmidt, 2003; Schmidt 2010). Low and highrelief carvings adorn these megaliths, including many zoomorphic figures in various postures as well more abstract symbols. The variety and quality of these carvings are described by Schmidt, but until now their meaning has remained obscure. Many animal remains have also been uncovered in situ (Peters & Schmidt, 2004), covering a wide range of species, mainly mammals but also a few birds and the occasional fish. Importantly, several radiocarbon dating analyses have been carried out. The earliest calibrated date of the organic content of some wall plaster from one of the enclosures (Enclosure D) corresponds to an incredible 11,530 BP ± 220 years (Dietrich & Schmidt, 2010). This is just at the end of, or shortly after, the Younger Dryas period. This begs the question, is there any archaeological evidence here of the proposed event that initiated the Younger Dryas period over 1000 years earlier?  

What the Fox says... Full article

by Martin B. Sweatman* and Dimitrios Tsikritsis, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, King’s Buildings, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. EH9 3JL

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