Chapter Five – The Sexual Ape

[“The Dance of the Sea,” or “Sirens” by: Charles Edward Boutibonne (1816-1897) again we find another artist who refuses to paint sirens or mermaids as either part bird and woman or part fish and woman. He has painted them exactly what they were, women divers.]

Since Darwin, it has been generally accepted that humans have evolved from apes. The general public knows about four different species of ape, orang-utan, gorilla, chimpanzee and gibbon. You will see all these apes featured on wild life programmes on TV. Yet there is one other ape that doesn’t get the same coverage, and that is the bonobo. On my spell checker as I am writing this, all the other apes are spelt correctly but the spell checker doesn’t even recognise the word bonobo, even though along with the chimpanzee this ape is the closest species to us. So we can learn a lot about our ancestors by examining the behaviour of both apes. Interestingly, people are comfortable with the behaviour of chimpanzees because the males are very violent and brutal. (Just ordinary, good o’ macho males) Yet they are not so comfortable about the behaviour of bonobos and this is because they are the, “the make love not war, ape.”

[Bonobo mother breast feeding her baby]

The bonobo was first discovered by Europeans in 1929 and was considered to be only a subspecies of the chimpanzee. It was first called the pigmy chimpanzee. More recent research has shown it to be very different from the chimps. Being more lightly built and having longer legs, it has the body structure more similar to a human than any other ape. In fact the skeleton of the bonobo ape is very similar to the early hominid Australopithecus, discovered to be 3 million years old and the Australopithecus Ramidus, which dates back 4,4 million years. For this reason the bonobo has been called a living fossil, so similar is it to our earliest human ancestors. The most well known of these ancient humans was called “Lucy” She was discovered near the Red Sea, an area which at that time was flooded by an ancient sea called the Sea of Afar. It seems pre-human apes were living in flooded forests, salt marshes; mangrove swamps, lagoons and offshore islands. This is not a lot different to the habitat of present day bonobos living near the Congo River, where the forest is frequently flooded. Lucy’s bones were also discovered lying among the remains of crabs, crocodile and turtle eggs. So it seems that Lucy had a very similar life to present day bonobos except that the area she lived in was more aquatic. So it means we can get a great understanding of early human behaviour by examining the nature of the bonobo.

Back in the 1960s, professor Leakey, trying to understand how early humans behaved decided that an insight into this could be gained by observing different species of apes in the wild. He decided that women were better observers than men, so he used women like Jane Goodall observing chimpanzees and Diane Fossey studying gorillas. The result of this brought about a revolution in the study of apes, and many new things were discovered. It was found that chimpanzees were able to make tools. Up until then scientists believed that only humans could do this. Also it was discovered that gorillas were gentle and peaceful creatures, though it was formerly believed that gorillas were dangerous and aggressive animals. All the other apes were observed in the same way, with the bonobo being only intensely observed in very recent times.
One of the first surprises about this ape is that it is very sexual in its behaviour. Like the human female, the bonobo female can still have sex even when her body is not ready for fertilization. It also indulges in sexual play and homosexual sexual behaviour with both sexes doing this and can copulate face to face. (Though the orangutan has also been observed to do this as well).



In many other animals and apes, aggression between males and against females is quite common. Most animals overcome this aggression by having a strict hierarchical system where everyone knows his place. The animals with lesser social status give way to those with higher status. The animal’s place in the system is controlled by its strength and aggression. So fights only break out when an animal of lesser status wants to achieve higher status in the pecking order.
The bonobo does have a similar system but aggressive behaviour between them is far less than other animals because of the way they use sex. In an article by Frans B. M. de Waal, in Scientific America he compares the different behaviour of chimpanzees and bonobos when two females and a male come across some food. In the case of the chimpanzees the food was bananas. Their behaviour was very straightforward. The male chimpanzee fed first until he had enough and he then took away as many bananas as he could carry. Then the dominant female fed herself, and the subordinate female it seems got nothing. In the case of the bonobos it was sugar cane, and their behaviour was more complex. The two females started by indulging in sex by rubbing their genitals together. The male bonobo displayed his erect penis to them, but they ignored him. Then the two females fed together equally and only when they had finished, was the male allowed to feed.
This it seems is normal bonobo behaviour. When there is a possibility of a dispute, the first thing they do is to have sex together which seems to defuse the situation. In this situation the natural aggression of male animals seems to work against the male bonobo in contrast to the way it helps male chimpanzees. As the female bonobos are less aggressive, it is easier for them to bond with each other, which they reinforce through sexual play. It then makes it easier for them to gang up on males, who although they do bond together through sex, are still more aggressive towards each other, than females. This makes them less able to co-operate and work together in the way the females can. So the bonobo could also be called, “The Sisterhood Is Powerful” ape.
In Milwaukee County Zoo the keepers attempted to train bonobos in the same way they train chimpanzees and other animals. The bonobos reacted by becoming extremely non co-operative. They would scream loudly at the zookeepers and urinate on them if they came into the pen. Then a female keeper took over and she adopted a system of kindness and positive reward. The behaviour of the bonobos changed and they became very co-operative and easy to work with. So it seems that bonobo females will not accept force and intimidation. Yet they will subject this on male bonobos.
In zoos it was found that females would gang up on a single male, and frequently assaulted him. One had fingers and toes bitten off and in one case a female bit off a male’s penis! It seems that this is normal behaviour in the wild but the difference is that the male can run away, but in a cage, he has no form of escape. So it seems to be normal behaviour for female bonobos to gang up and assault lone males to show them who’s the boss. (They also assault male zookeepers who come into their pen).
As the bonobo males are bigger than the females, they stand a better chance in a one to one situation but even here they can lose out. In a conflict, say over food, the female will immediately have sex with the male. The sexual bonding defuses the natural aggression of the male and they will share the food equally.
So this, it seems is how the slogan “make love not war” can work in practice, by having disputes settled by sexual intimacy. Comparing the bonobo’s behaviour with that of the chimpanzees we can assess how effective this is. Both animals share 99% of the genetic makeup of a human and we were all the same animal as little as 5-6 million years ago. As pointed out earlier the body structure of the bonobo looks very similar to that of an Australopithecus, an early pre-human with similar length arms and legs. From this it is speculated that the bonobo is more similar to our common ancestor than either the chimpanzee or the human. The human later grew longer legs and adopted a more upright stance while the chimpanzee grew longer and stronger arms to climb trees. As our body is shaped by our behaviour over evolutionary time, it is reasonable to suggest that how the bonobo behaves today is more like how our common ancestor behaved in the past.
The behaviour of the chimpanzees is of the traditional patriarchal society. Chimpanzees only have sex to fertilize the females when they are on heat. This is the ideal of the patriarchal Christian Church who has tried to enforce this type of behaviour for hundreds of years. It claims that sex only for the sake of pleasure is “sinful” and it should only be used for conception.
Chimpanzees tend to bond through fear and mutual protection, with groups of males holding on to a territory against other groups of males. There often seems to be war between these different groups over territory, resulting in males getting badly injured or even killed. As the males have to stick together to fight off the territorial ambitions of other groups of male, they bond closer together than the females. Males not only show aggression to other groups of males but to each other, as they will charge each other or show off their strength to try and intimidate each other to gain more status in the pecking order. Aggression is also shown towards females, who being smaller than males, have to give way to them in all disputes. Jane Goodall, who has observed this behaviour, claims that alpha males train the females they want to mate with through intimidation and fear. They will beat up the female they wish to mate with so they will be too frightened to refuse when the alpha male when she is on heat.
The Japanese primatologist Mariko Hiraiwa-Hasegawa wrote a graphic account of this. She was observing two chimp communities she called M and K group. One day she discovered the alpha male of M group, called Ntologi, with four of his sidekicks, attacking a lone female from K group and her three-year-old child. With the help of a companion Hiraiwa-Hasegawa attempted to frighten the male chimps off by beating them with canes, but the powerful males ignored them. Then her companion threw a rock at the males and this had the effect of making them back off. (Had the male chimps instead attacked the two humans they wouldn’t have stood a chance against the powerful chimpanzees). The life of the female was saved although she and her child were covered in blood and badly injured. A year later the same female had another child and was again attacked by Ntologi and his henchmen. This time they ate her baby alive. After this the female defected to M group and mated with her baby’s murderer, probably because she couldn’t any longer find safety in F group for herself and her children. A postscript to this was that Ntologi himself was later murdered by his second in command, so he could take over the position of the alpha male. Hiraiwa Hasegawa later gave up observing chimpanzees because she was so appalled by their behaviour, that she learnt to hate them.
In contrast, in the bonobo society, nearly all aggression is defused through sexual bonding. It has been observed in zoos that if say a cardboard box is thrown into the enclosure and more than one bonobo shows interest in it, they will then briefly mount each other before playing with the box together. Or if one jealous male chases away another male near a female, the two males will then reconcile with each other by engaging in scrotal rubbing together. The same will be true if two adult females have a dispute over the behaviour of one of their children. They will reconcile by rubbing their genitals together. Male bonobos rarely fight each other over status. A male bonobo stays attached to his mother all his life and his status in society depends on the status of his mother, whom he will look to for protection from any aggression by other bonobos, even though she may be smaller than him in size.
In human behavioural studies it has been noted that people who live in very stressful situations like extreme poverty, war, prison, an aggressive family or neighbourhood, tend to become very desensitized and so they are far less affected by fear and pain. In Hellabrun, Germany, in World War two there was a zoo, which housed both chimpanzees and bonobos. One night the city was bombed and the bonobos died of fright from the noise, while the chimpanzees were completely unaffected. This demonstrates how desensitised chimpanzees have become living in their brutal patriarchal society, and how sensitive bonobos are, living in a more peaceful matriarchal world.
Apart from the fact that chimpanzees do not get married or “pair-bond”, its society is very much like a normal human patriarchal society. Until bonobo behaviour was studied properly, chimpanzee behaviour justified the patriarchal society as being “natural” for humans. So it is of interest that when primatologists first started to study bonobos in zoos during the 1950s the first findings were completely ignored by the scientific establishment until the 1970s. Even today most people are unaware of the behaviour of the bonobo or even that such a creature exists. The reason for this silence is because the bonobo’s behaviour undermines all our patriarchal beliefs about human and pre-human behaviour.
Many scientists would like to believe that our ape ancestors behaved more like a chimpanzee than the bonobo. But there is a good reason for believing that early humans behaved more like bonobos. Even though the chimp is slightly smaller than the average human it is about 3 times stronger. Now it seems that in evolutionary terms size and strength mostly comes about through sexual selection. This is why bulls and rams and many other male species of animal fight each other, so that only the bigger and stronger males get to mate with the female. The same is true with the chimpanzee and gorilla, where the big powerful alpha males are more likely to mate, than weaker males lower in the pecking order.
This is not true of the bonobo; the size and strength of a male bonobo is not a factor in whether he gets to mate with females, because no male bonobo is refused sexual access to females by other stronger males. So the bonobo is more like a human, as it has a slight body build it is weaker than a chimpanzee. This is why the gorilla has developed into a ground dwelling ape. Gorilla males compete with each other for females and the biggest and strongest is able to have a harem of females whom he can mate with. Unfortunately this has resulted in gorillas becoming so large and heavy that the adults find it difficult to climb trees. The orang-utan in South-East Asia is having the same problem, as it is getting too heavy to continue to live in trees. The bonobo doesn’t have the same sexual selection evolution to be bigger and stronger, so with its lighter build is more able to climb up tall trees and live in the forest canopy.
When humans broke away from the common ancestor of chimpazees, bonobos and humans 5-6 million years ago, it would have had to have a similar social system to the bonobo, because humans have a similar body build to the bonobo. This is because the evolutionary pressure that ensures that bonobos have a slight body means that the same evolutionary factors must also have brought about the weaker body that humans have, compared with all other apes. It means both the bonobo and human are the same because the males not competing with each other through brute strength for sexual access to females. So that, only the biggest, strongest and most aggressive males get to mate with females.

If the bonobo is a very sexual ape then it has to be said that so is the human. The chimpanzees only partake in basic reproductive sex, but bonobos like humans, can share all kinds of sexual pleasures, including cunnilingus, fellatio, masturbation, massage, bisexuality, sex in different positions and group sex. Also like humans in love, copulating bonobos often look deeply into each other’s eyes.

 

[The Painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 – 1905) called; “Nymphaeum”. This painting would be the idealized and mythical version of nymphs but it may be not that far from the truth. Perhaps before the influence of patriarchy, women divers like bonobos did form a powerful lesbian sisterhood. This probably happened on the island of Lesbos in ancient times where the poet Sappho (610-580) was free to write poems on the joy of lesbian love. Also like the bonobos they tamed men and defused conflict through the freely availability of sex. (Nymphaeaum is an ancient Greek and Roman word; meaning a monument consecrated to the nymphs, mostly around springs. Originally they were natural grottoes inhabited by nymphs but later became sacred sanctuaries and places of learning.)]
Although patriarchal societies have attempted to restrict sexual relations to the confines of marriage, many humans have always had urges to want more than this. In all patriarchal societies none have been able to prevent prostitution. While in secret and sometimes quite openly both men and women have had relationships outside of marriage. In very recent times with the decline of the patriarchal society, marriage is breaking down in Western countries. This has resulted in many people frequently changing sexual partners, having “one night stands”, joining sex-clubs, going to sex-parties, advertising for sex in contact magazines or having “open” relationships. So why do many people have the urge to have sex with many different partners? Patriarchal society with all its laws, religious and social censure has failed to stamp this behaviour out. The only reason could be, is that before the patriarchal society took control with all its laws restricting people’s behaviour, sexual behaviour must have been very similar to that of the bonobo.
Bonobos, like humans, also tend to eat food in the company of other bonobos in big dinner parties. It seems that when fruit is in abundance bonobos will collect the fruit for a large community feast. They will then eat it together, in a big banquet, after the high status females have eaten first. This is very unlike the chimpanzees that will generally hide food from others and eat alone. Another interesting point is that human couples have romantic evenings together. This involves sharing a meal together, either at a restaurant or sometimes at home, then having sex together. This is also what bonobos couples do, though they tend to have sex before the meal and not afterwards.
It is well known that many couples that have a “flaming row” will afterwards “make up” by having sex together. Some couples claim that they enjoy a turbulent relationship because they enjoy the making up afterwards. This is similar to the bonobo behaviour of using sex to defuse conflict.
So like the bonobos, humans associate conflict and food with sex. In times of war it used to be that when a conquering army took a town or city, all the women and even sometimes the men were raped. This behaviour is generally seen as an expression of power over conquered people. This is probably true, but looking at bonobo behaviour there could be another reason. Perhaps it is a form of unconscious reconciliation by rape. Soldiers in warfare can become very aggressive in battle; even disciplined troops have been known to slaughter defenceless civilian populations after a battle, because of this fear- induced aggression. So rape may defuse this situation, making it possible for the soldiers to calm down and prevent a killing spree.
As previously mentioned, mermaids were associated in the past with prostitution. This is also true of ancient Goddess religions. Patriarchal priests condemn as temple prostitutes, the priestesses of these religions. (In the past when people used to worship Goddesses this was an indication of a matriarchal religion, in much the same way as the worship of a god is an indication of a patriarchal male- dominated religion.) As we can see in Korean haenyo communities, it is the female who is the breadwinner while her husband looks after the children. The same was probably true of mermaid communities in Europe, where it would be logical for the women to be the breadwinner. Likewise the mermaid and the nymph had a reputation of sexual liberation, and perhaps the mermaid communities, before being controlled by patriarchal customs, had societies similar to that of the bonobo. It is of interest that the word nymphomania, meaning women with uncontrollable sexual desire, comes from the word nymph.
When the Romans first conquered Britain, many of the Celtic tribes were still ruled by Queens. Their behaviour was seen as being very scandalous by later writers, as some of these Queens would openly have sex with large numbers of different men. So it does suggest that the old matriarchal societies were far more sexual than the later patriarchal societies. It could also suggest that a matriarchal society was as sexual as a bonobo society. People bonded together through sexual behaviour, allowing them to be more intimate with each other. This in turn will create a more intimate, caring and loving community.
War has been “normal” throughout recorded history. There has never been a time when there hasn’t been a war going on in some part of the world. Many people have written about the senseless suffering of war, and have looked unsuccessfully for ways to prevent future wars. The study of both the chimpanzee and bonobo societies shows there is an alternative to war. In the non-sexual chimpanzee society, conflict and war is normal. In the very sexual bonobo society, conflict is rare. So because of the study of these different ape societies we find that the slogan “make love not war” is not a joke but does in fact work very well with bonobos.
It is of interest that Frans de Waal who has written books and articles about the bonobo, was criticized by Richard Dawkins, the author of the book The Selfish Gene, for “bad science”. This is understandable, because observations of the bonobo undermine completely Dawkins belief that all life is basically selfish. Perhaps it would be “good science” to ignore the bonobo completely and only concentrate on the violent and selfish behaviour of male chimpanzee. Dawkins also criticizes the anthropologist Margaret Mead. Her crime was that she observed human nature in a positive light. The fact that she was both a famous scientist and a feminist at the same time, may have also upset many of her male colleagues.
We humans have a choice. As pointed out previously both the chimpanzee and bonobo are the closest species to us, and we can clearly see similarities in their behaviour to ours. The behaviour of the chimpanzee is very similar to a patriarchal society in that it is very violent and relatively non-sexual. In contrast the bonobo live in a very sexual world where both males and females bond together through many different forms of sexual play. If we copied them we would all have sex with multiple partners and experiment with heterosexual and homosexual sex play. The bonus is that by bonding through sex we won’t have to fight wars any more. Is it that easy? Well probably not, as human society is far more complex than that of the bonobo.

[“Catching Waves” by Paul Albert Laurens]

http://www.primatesworld.com/BonobosLikeHumans.html


http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/05/27/why-bonobos-will-save-the-world/


http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748704471504574449012560741086.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/06/science/06conv.html?_r=1&_r

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlqsaxL-wCw&feature=channel

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Chapter Six – Did Women Once Rule The World?

[Photograph of ama diver from. –
Throughout the 19th and 20th century there was a big controversy about the origins of civilization. Official historians claimed that civilizations started with the Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians, while many other people were claiming that civilizations started in the sunken continents like Atlantis in the Atlantic or Mu in the Pacific. And if this is not mad enough, in the 1960s Erich Von Daniken wrote his famous book Chariots Of The Gods, which claimed that civilization was started by aliens from outer space. He wasn’t the first person to write about this, but somehow it was this book that captured the public’s imagination. Official historians have attacked these claims and in the case of Erich Von Daniken managed to completely demolish his arguments. Unfortunately all the claims of sunken lost continents and aliens from space are red herrings that have distracted the public from the real problem with official history.
What the public is told is that in the Stone Age, men, (women are hardly mentioned) were savage brutes, but then suddenly about 5,000 years ago sophisticated civilizations like Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia suddenly appeared out of nowhere. This point was made by the anthropologist Richard Rudgley in his book Lost Civilisations Of The Stone Age, when he wrote.
In both the extraterrestrial and the lost – continent models the basic theory is the same. Lost or hidden civilizations – be they alien or Atlantean – existed before those of Egypt or Mesopotamia and taught the latter everything they knew. The ‘evidence’ for such prehistoric civilizations is provided not by the physical remains of aliens or by the archaeological remains of Atlanteans, as neither, of course, exist. Rather it argued that the astronomical knowledge and the advanced technology of the ancient world obviously could not have been inherited from Stone Age cultures and therefore can only be explained by recourse to Atlantis or aliens. Such views are extremely popular and influential, and this is partly due to public dissatisfaction with the standard academic view that does not explain the origins of civilization in a convincing way.
Rudgely then goes on to explain that civilization didn’t start with the ancient Egyptians or Mesopotamians 5,000 years ago. Archaeologists can trace civilization back as far as 10,000 years ago. This begs the question; if civilization is far older than 5,000 years why aren’t academics writing about this for the general public? Well, one archaeologist did do this and was savagely attacked for doing so. In 1974 the book; Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe written by Marija Gimbutas, was published, which recorded the archaeological finds of the Pre-Egyptian civilizations throughout Eastern and Southern Europe and the Middle East. She was immediately attacked by other academics for writing a popular book, about this, for the public, and she has remained a controversial figure ever since. So what was the problem? Why doesn’t the academic world want the public to know about the civilizations that existed before 3,000 years BC?
Ama divers from Japanese web-site. –
As Feminists have pointed out; history is basically his-story. It is the story of man not woman. When historians claim that man created the first civilizations 5,000 years ago they are perfectly correct. What they don’t tell you is that women probably created all the civilisations prior to 5,000 years ago. Up until the 1960s male academics confidently claimed that ‘man’ invented agriculture, but with the rise of Women’s liberation a few academic feminists began to question this. They pointed out that in a hunter/gatherer society it would be women who were gathering plants and therefore it would be women who then had the wit to plant seeds to grow a crop for next year. The problem with this for male academics was that if it were women who invented agriculture, then it would be women who started settled communities that created the first civilizations. This was of course unacceptable, because if you accept this, then you would also have to accept the possibility that women ruled these early civilizations. This is not as incredible as it sounds, because there is evidence that it could be true.
In recent years archaeologists have increasingly found more and more evidence of the possibility of a matriarchal age in the past.Yet we do not hear about this in either the mainstream media or in the alternative press.Yet if what is being discovered now is true, we will have to re-write ancient history and rethink what is the true nature of human beings.This is because what archaeologists are now discovering suggests that in the Stone Age we were not the savage brutes as portrayed in academic speculation or the popular media.We were in fact peace-loving people who worshipped an ancient deity called the Great Mother.Recent archaeological evidence shows that the history of war and violence only began after civilization got started.
The concept that women once ruled the world in ancient times is nothing new. A scholar called J.J Bachofen in the 19th century started it. He brought together all the evidence of matriarchy in ancient times then available, in his book, Myth, Religion and Mother Right He was strongly criticized for this by other scholars who dismissed and discredited his work. Yet in spite of this, his work was to inspire the scholar James Frazer to write his famous book, The Golden Bough. It also influenced Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who publicly praised Bachofen’s work. In spite of the condemnation of Bachofen the controversy wouldn’t go away. Other scholars in the early 20th century also wrote about matriarchy, like Robert Briffault, Jane Harrison and Dr Margaret Murray. But this argument was kept very much within academic circles. Then in the 1940s the poet Robert Graves wrote his book, The White Goddess, which was the first attempt to bring this argument to the general public, even though it was a very complex book and not an easy read for the average reader. Then on the wave of the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s feminist scholars like Merlin Stone in her book; When God Was A Women and Barbara G. Walker in her book; The Women’s Encyclopaedia Of Myths And Secrets, also continued to dig deep into ancient history to find more evidence of matriarchy in ancient times. Eisler kept strictly to feminist dogma and claimed that in the matriarchal age the sexes were equal. After the Second World War archaeologists started to make finds that also supported the idea that there was a matriarchal age in the past. This evidence was again dismissed by academics but feminist writers like Elizabeth Gould Davis were brave enough to directly claim that women did once rule the world. Riane But the biggest change in recent years is from archaeological evidence that supports the ancient Golden Age myth, which has been written about in ancient Greek Legend, by the Taoist Chinese, and even in the Bible in the story of the Garden of Eden, which comes from a Mesopotamian Golden Age legend. In fact most ancient cultures all over the world have a Golden Age myth of some kind.

[Photograph of ama diver from. –
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/amafun/amafundoshi.html]

Up until recently modern academics have rejected these legends as pure myth. Not only do they sound too good to be true, but recorded history shows a different story. It seems that the further you go back in history the more brutal and violent men seem to behave. For instance, to see gladiators fighting to the death as a sport as in the Roman games would be unacceptable in every society today. So archaeologists and scholars have assumed that people in pre-historic times must have been even more brutal than people in historic times. The only findings that contradicted this was paleolithic cave art, found in France and Spain, which was so well executed that it undermined the belief that Stone Age people were ignorant brutes. In fact archaeologists at first refused to believe that these paintings could possibly made by Stone Age people, and it was only modern dating techniques that convinced them. Also the number of feminine images found in both Stone Age and Neolithic sites showed that Stone Age people might have other things on their mind than violence. But academics dismissed these finds as being part of a fertility cult and never took them seriously. During the second half of the 20th century, archaeologists dug more and more into Neolithic sites and too much feminine imagery was being discovered, to be lightly dismissed. They began to find evidence that turned the idea that we were brutal savages in pre-historic times, on its head.
In the 1960s an archaeologist called Mellaart led a team to excavate a site in Anatolia in Turkey. This site turns out to be the oldest city ever discovered. Called Catal Huyuk it goes back over 9,000 years. What was discovered goes against all assumptions archaeologists have about people living in Neolithic times. They couldn’t find any fortifications to defend the city or any weapons of war. Neither could they find signs of violence committed on people buried in graves. It was also a city full of feminine imagery to the degree that Mellaart was forced to say that the people worshipped the Ancient Great Mother.
So unsettling was these discoveries that the Turkish Government closed the site down for thirty years and the academic world chose to ignore the implications of these finds. The prevailing view was that warrior tribal leaders who conquered other tribes, and then had to build fortifications to defend themselves, created the first civilizations. So to have the oldest city ever discovered that didn’t have any fortifications, weapons of war or signs of violence greatly contradicted this theory. As in many cases in science when new facts opposed a very popular and fashionable theory then it was the facts that were ignored until enough facts are produced to make the fashionable theory totally untenable. So most academics chose to ignore completely these finds except one archaeologist, Mariji Gimbutas, who was brave enough to challenge the accepted wisdom of the academic world. She was to say boldly. –
Archaeologists and historians have assumed that civilization implies a hierarchical political and religious organization, warfare, a class stratification, and a complex division of labour.This pattern is indeed typical of androcratic (male dominated) societies such as Indo-European but does not apply to the gynocentric (mother/women-centred) cultures described in this book.The civilisation that flourished in Old Europe between 6500 and 3300 BC and in Crete until 1450 BC enjoyed a long period of uninterrupted peaceful living which produced artistic expression of graceful beauty and refinement, demonstrating a higher quality of life than many androcratic classed societies.
The late Marija Gimbutas was digging in another Neolithic site in Achilleion, Thessaly in Greece and also found artefacts of feminine imagery and no sign of violence and warfare. In her books and scientific papers she highlighted the Neolithic findings that archaeologists had made at Lepenski Vir and Vlasac in Northern Yugoslavia, as well as the Neolithic findings by Soviet scientists in Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia, and the Western Ukraine. Western archaeologist had made similar finds in Crete, Cyprus, Thera, Sardinia, Sicliy and Malta. All showed peaceful societies that worshipped the Great Mother. Yet archaeologists chose to ignore these findings, because they contradicted the belief of the time that male warrior leaders started civilization. It was only Gimbutas who was brave enough to take these finds seriously and she became a very controversial figure.
Other archaeologists also made similar finds. In the excavation of the Indus Valley civilization in Pakistan going back 7,000 years, again archaeologists could find no signs of violence or weapons of war. This was a very advanced civilization with running water to all homes, and even a sewage system. The town planning of these towns and cities was far in advance of the Egyptian and Roman cities thousands of years later and only equaled in the 19th century in the western world. What was disturbing for the archaeologists was that they couldn’t find any large palace for the ruler, or even rich and poor houses; it seems to have been an egalitarian society. As in Catal Huyuk the people worshipped Goddesses.

The same is true of Caral in Peru, the oldest city ever discovered in South America, going back 5,000 years. Given the violent history of later South American civilizations, with mass human sacrifice, archaeologists expected to find the same thing. But no matter how hard they looked they couldn’t find any evidence of human sacrifice, warfare, fortifications or any other indication of violence. They finally had to conclude that this civilization existed in peace for thousands of years. It seems that Caral wasn’t just an isolated city, as archaeologists found trading goods at this site from all over South America, demonstrating it was the centre of a vast trading network that covered most of the continent. This suggested that not only did Caral live in peace, but this was true for the whole of South America at the time, as the complete defenceless of the city, suggests they had no fear of attack from any other people on this continent.

[Painting by John William Waterhouse called, “A Naiad”. Apparently she is spying on a sleeping Hercules.Naiads in ancient Greece were freshwater nymphs and according to Robert Graves the original people of Greece. Suggesting that they lived in the wetlands in matriarchal communities until invaded from the North by patriarchal tribes. Hercules fought against the Amazons and was a hero of the patriarchal people. Under the patriarchal Greek religion, Naiads then became the daughters of Zeus, which didn’t stop him from raping and seduced them, which was probably a refection of the patriarchal invaders behaviour towards Naiads. It seems that many of the early kings; (warlords) married naiads to legitimatise their rule.]

The overwhelming evidence of these finding have made more modern academics wonder if Mariji Gimutas might be right after all. Some are now supporting her like Richard Rudgley in his book Lost Civilizations Of The Stone Age, and his TV series Secrets Of The Stone Age. So what are the implications of these findings?
As Richard Rudgley points out, 95% of our existence as humans is in pre-historic times. Yet we know little about this time; it is only from the tools, paintings and carvings found in excavations that we can get an understanding of what life must have been like then. All carved and painted images of human beings found in the Stone Age are overwhelmingly images of women. What Marija Gimbutas shows is that most of these images celebrate the whole process of birth. It seems in prehistoric times menstruation, the vagina, the sexual act, giving birth, and breast-feeding, were seen as something divine, holy and sacred. This is in contrast to historic times where menstruation became taboo and unclean in many societies. The sex act also becomes sinful and dirty. It was also claimed that children were born in sin because they were born of women. Even breast feeding become shameful; even in our modern world many women will still not breast feed in public as they are made to feel ashamed for doing this.
This is supported by the findings of Gimbutas who showed that the downfall of many of the peaceful Goddess civilizations was caused by violent patriarchal tribes invading them. So it suggests that it was the invention of war that ended the last Golden Age. The new rulers behaved like Mafia bosses in imposing a reign of terror on the people to control them, and started a protection racket that was in effect the first taxation. This made the rulers very wealthy and forced poverty onto the people. They now had to not only to work to feed and shelter themselves, but they had to work to feed the new rulers and their armies, as well as build them palaces and fortifications and make arms and luxury goods. The new rulers encouraged men to no longer respect women and make them their slaves.
This is clearly seen in the contrast between the findings of the Neolithic age, where we see a predominance of feminine images, and no evidence of warfare and violence and the later Iron Age where we find more than anything else images of war, violence and the glorification of kings, rulers, conquest and wealth. Archaeologists studying the Iron Age also find graves where people have clearly been put to death through violence. We also have the first myths of the hero who conquers other nations, as well as male gods who begin to lay down strict laws and punish those who dare to disobey them.
Now evidence of matriarchy doesn’t only come from the past; the shocking fact is that the general public is completely unaware that there are many matriarchal communities that have survived until the present day. The biggest is the The Minangkabau people in Western Sumatra and numbers about 4 million people. It is the largest and most stable matriarchal community in the world today. In China there are also matriarchal communities. In India there is a region called Kerala, which was matriarchal and has a reputation of being a well run, stable and prosperous area. There is evidence of matriarchal communities that survived in Africa up until colonial times. There are even American Indian tribes that are still matriarchal. The Basque people of France and Spain were matriarchal in historic times, but were finally destroyed by the Inquisition and the medieval witch-hunts.
There are legends that the Czech people were matriarchal up until the sixth or seventh century. It seems that after Libuse, the last matriarchal ruler, had died there was a patriarchal take over. In this legend, the women fought back, led by two women warriors called Vlasta and Sarka. After a very long and vicious war the men finally won and created a patriarchal state. I have been told that there are over 150 matriarchal communities all over the world but you never hear about this in either the mainstream or alternative media.
So if we are looking for a conspiracy, we have to wonder why all these facts have been kept concealed and covered up for so long. From the time when Bachofen first put forward the idea that there once was a matriarchal age in the past, it seems that the establishment have worked very hard to conceal this fact, to the degree of destroying archaeological evidence. In Malta there is a very large Neolithic Goddess temple. The first archaeology done on this temple was by a Roman Catholic priest. His effort included rubbing off important and irreplaceable wall paintings from the temple walls. Then he dug up the temple floor and took away all archaeological evidence, which has now mysteriously disappeared. When palaeontologists in the 19th and early 20th century began to find statues of ‘fat ladies’ in Stone-Age excavations they were dismissed as simply ‘fertility symbols’, of no importance, and thrown away. So the knowledge of these carvings might have been lost forever had not other academics in the art world taken an interest in them. It was art connoisseurs who collected them and preserved them, for science.
This behaviour is not unusual; when the Christian Church or the state of Israel finances archaeological excavations in Israel what they find fits in with what is written in the Bible. But excavations carried out by universities who do not have any affiliation to the Christian Church or the state find something completely different. For instance in the homes of ordinary Jews of two thousand years ago and older they find statues of Goddesses. The evidence is that the ordinary people of Israel were still worshipping the Goddess Asherah up until the Roman occupation. But archaeologists funded by Christians or Zionists do not find these Goddess statues.
Suppression of evidence to do with matriarchy and Goddess worship is commonplace in recorded history. Dr Margaret Murray did research on the witch-hunts in medieval Europe. What she discovered wasn’t that the witch-hunts were started by hysteria as commonly believed. It was a ruthless campaign by the Christian Church to destroy a Goddess religion that still existed among the peasant class.
Going back even further when both the Christian Church and later on the Moslems became state religions, the first thing they did was to destroy as much as possible all ancient knowledge. The great library of Alexandria was destroyed both by the Christians and Moslems. As feminist academics have pointed out, their main targets have been Goddess Temples and female scholars of the time. It seems that from then on all evidence of a matriarchal age in the past has been suppressed or destroyed.
The reason for this is not hard to work out. If people in the last matriarchal age were worse off than people in historic times there wouldn’t be a problem. Rulers in historic times could point to the fact that people are better off under their rule than people in the ancient past. But if the opposite is true, then there is a real problem. If it becomes general knowledge that people in our matriarchal past were better off than people even today then that would become political dynamite. People then would ask the obvious question, “would we all be better off if we had a similar society to the one we had in Neolithic times?” That is to say; a society that respects feminine values of love and peace rather than masculine values of competition, aggression and violence. This could create a worldwide social revolution that would greatly undermine the power of our present ruling elite.
So the ruling elite does have a very good reason to suppress and destroy these facts. Graham Hancock recently has attempted to get archaeologists interested in the possibility that there are ancient cities under the sea that were flooded by the melting of the ice of the last ice age. He was greatly puzzled that these archaeologists showed no interest in this. But if the ruling elite are aware that more than likely these ancient cities were ruled by women, they would have a very good reason to not want archaeologists poking about these sites. Finding indisputable proof that women did once rule the world is political dynamite and could start a political revolution that would sweep away the power of our present ruling establishment.

[The above Neolithic carving comes from Ancient Malta, although most people recognised it as a Goddess statue some male archaeologists claim it might be a carving of a man! This is because the figure doesn’t have the breasts of a woman. This is very flawed reasoning, because many women have flat chests, and no fat man would have the very large hips, buttocks and thighs like this carving has. This demonstrates the strong bias many male academic have against any suggestion women in the past having any sort of power or status. Many other carving of, “fat Ladies” have been discovered on Malta, suggesting that in the Neolithic age large women were held in high regard, so it might be that like the Stone-Age, “fat Ladies” they were all divers and the main breadwinners. Though there is little evidence of this, as no one has discovered large mounds of shell middens, on the island, as you would expect if people lived on shellfish. Which suggests that either the people didn’t live of the sea, or threw the shells back into the sea after eating the flesh inside. If this is not the case that they were not divers, to get to this size suggest these women would have to be ladies of leisure, who never have to do any form of physical work and were waited on hand and foot. (In modern time women can get very obese because of the abundance of food and so many modern labour saving devises like motorcars and washing machines, as well as office work that allows people to earn money sitting down all day). This suggests they were rich and powerful women who had servants or slaves waiting on them so they were probably rulers or priestesses of some kind. It would certainly have to be a culture where fat women were seen as being beautiful.]

[The lower part of this “fat Lady” stands 2 meters high, so it original height would be over 4 meters. The stone Goddess Temples of Malta are the oldest large stone, freestanding building on the planet; the largest temple called Ggantija is a thousand year older than the Great Pyramid of ancient Egypt. How they were built is still a mystery, as the ancient Maltese people didn’t have metal tools, and the island couldn’t support a large workforce. While the architecture is unlike anything else in the world, with rounded walls, and temple’s foundation built like the hourglass figure of women. Most of these temples were built in the Neolithic age although the Phoenicians were later to build Goddess Temples on the island as well.

Unfortunately most of these temples have since been destroyed but enough of them remains to give archaeologists some idea what they were like when they were first built. The Malta civilization may of even gone right back to the last Ice Age.Scuba divers have discovered the remains of underwater stone buildings around Malta.This means these building could only have been constructed during the last Ice Age when sea levels were as much as a 100 meters lower than today.This would make these buildings older than 12 thousand years.
Graham Hancock has written about this in his book, Underworld, and is puzzled why archaeologists are not interested in these underwater buildings.It would probably be a different story if Malta didn’t have so much Goddess imagery on the island.If the ancient Malta civilization was clearly patriarchal then male academics would be comfortable with the idea of civilization going back to the last Ice-Age.But the suspicion that these underwater buildings might be more Goddess Temples, would worry chauvinistic male academics.Though it also has to be admitted that underwater excavations would also be very expensive.So it would need very rich people or a very rich institution to finance a archaeological excavation like this.
Underwater stone buildings have also been discovered off the coast of India as well but the oldest civilization in India is the Indus Valley Civilization where again they seemed to have worshipped Goddesses.So again a Goddess civilization is very unlikely to interest a male dominated academic world.]


[Statue of , “Sleeping Lady” found at Malta.The symbolism of this statue is very unclear. Some people claim she is a shamwoman, dreaming prophetic dreams.]

In recent years a number of people have come to realise that it would make a lot more sense for Women to rule the world again. Some are famous men like the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Billionaire Ted Turner, Author Martin Amis, and film director Michael Winner.”Western women can come to the rescue of the world” said Dalai Lama “Some people may call me a feminist….But we need more effort to promote basic human values — human compassion, human affection. And in that respect, females have more sensitivity for others’ pain and suffering.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu in an interview also said, “Women should Rule the World.”

Billionaire Ted Turner,(ex-husband of Jane Fonda), also said, “I’ve said for years and I’m really serious about it, I think men should be barred from holding public office for a hundred years. They have been running the world for the last thousands of years and they’ve mucked it up something awful.’ I built my business surrounding myself with women. I find women more superior to men in business-”

“World ruled by women would be a better place,” says author Martin Amis,”“I have a dream. I see a day when politics is feminised, where female values move into the public sphere in a way they haven’t quite done yet,”

Film director Michael Winner, recently said in a newspaper article. “Men are ridiculous. Women are far better people. Much wiser (not difficult) and with a temperament to deal with life’s complexities and men’s abrasiveness… So I think it’s about time women took over. What they have to put up with is beyond belief. Pathetic, bullying men who throw their weight about (and there’s usually a lot of it) in a vain attempt to prove they’re superior when, in truth, they know they’re not.”

Youtube Videos

Signs Out of Time – Marija Gimbutas, 5 videos

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=42DD8748183C9B11
Secrets of the Stone Age – Richard Rudgeley, 3 videos

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9CB9771EA2F87926

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Chapter Seven – The Ancient Sea People

[Photograph of Ama divers, by Fosco Maraini from. –
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/shigoto/shigoto.html
Amas use these floating tubs in which to put shellfish and seaweed when they bring them to the surface.]

In 1947 Thor Heyerdahal and a group of friends made headlines all over the world by sailing a balsa wood raft from South America. They traveled over 4,000 miles before the raft was wrecked on a coral reef. This was the famous Kon-Tiki Expedition and for the majority of the public it was only a big adventure or publicity stunt. Yet this expedition did have a serious scientific purpose.
The Pacific Ocean is by far the largest ocean in the world, taking up nearly half of the surface of the Earth, and what is surprising is that Stone-Age people have settled nearly every island in that ocean. Even on islands that are uninhabited there are signs of previous habitation. What is more, it seems that the Polynesians who inhabit most of these islands sailed and navigated their way all over the Pacific Ocean using primitive canoes. European academics have formed theories about where the Polynesians originated and it was assumed that they come from South East Asia. Thor Heyerdahal disagreed with this, pointing out that to do this these ancient sailors would have to sail against all the prevailing winds and currents. This is certainly what the Spanish had to do when they ruled the Pacific. The only way they could go from South East Asia to the Polynesian islands was to follow the prevailing winds and go right around the Pacific. They had to go north past Japan, Siberia, and then across to Alaska and Canada, then sail down the North West coast of America until they hit the prevailing winds blowing west.
For this reason, Heyerdahal thought it was more reasonable to believe that the original inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean islands came from America. This itself is a controversial point, because it seems that the Polynesians may not have been the first inhabitants of the Pacific. Thor Heyerdahal claimed that the first inhabitants of both America and the Pacific island were white people, who were later overrun by Mongolian people from Asia.
When he proposed this, other academics made the point that the Native Americans didn’t have any sort of sailing craft good enough to make such a voyage. Thor Heyerdahal disagreed and pointed to the balsa sailing rafts that South American Indians were using right up until the end of the 19th century. But he wasn’t taken seriously, as these rafts were considered so primitive that no one in their right mind would want to sail across the Pacific in one. So to prove his point Thor Heyerdahal decided to build one and sail it across the Pacific himself. He didn’t get right across the Pacific but he did sail it 4,000 miles before it was smashed on a reef. Subsequent experiments by Heyerdahl and others have demonstrated that by manipulating the raft’s several centreboards, an amazing degree of maneuverability is possible. It’s even possible to sail the raft upwind. Other people have since emulated this voyage and one expedition in the 1960s, sailed a balsa raft all the way from South America to Australia.
Now the fact that a very basic and primitive craft like a sailing raft could be sailed successfully right across the biggest ocean in the world, creates a problem for scientific dogma. This is because this dogma states that sailing craft that can sail across oceans is a comparatively recent technology. After all, we are told, the first man to sail across the Atlantic to America was Christopher Columbus in 1492, which was just over 500 years ago. The fact that the Vikings did the same thing 500 years earlier in open boats is ignored. In the Viking sagas it was claimed that Bjarni Herjulfesson discovered a new land, in 986, which was later called Vineland. He was sailing to Greenland, but was driven far southwest by bad weather. He sighted unfamiliar coasts but without landing anywhere he turned back out to sea and eventually reached Greenland. With this news other expeditions followed, and settlements were constructed. But modern historians in the 19th and 20th century disputed this claim, casting doubt on the whole story. This dented the national pride of Scandinavian countries, and in the1960s a Norwegian scholar, Helge Ingstad, through painstaking research of the Viking Sagas managed to pinpoint where he thought they had settled in Newfoundland. His research proved to be correct, as signs of possible settlement were discovered on the surface. Then under the direction of archaeologist Anne Stein Ingstad a Viking settlement was unearthed, proving that the Vikings did sail to America 500 years before Columbus. Carbon dating on the site showed that this settlement was as old as the Viking Sagas said it was.
So the Viking claim had to be acknowledged by the academic world but even more controversial are the claims made about the Phoenicians. It is well known that the Phoenicians were the seafarers of the ancient world, and it has been accepted that they did sail around Africa. This came from the Greek historian Herodotus, in 600 BC where he wrote that the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho hired a Phoenician fleet to circumnavigate Africa, from the Red Sea around the Cape of Good Hope and up the West African coast to the Mediterranean. It took them three years to do this and the reason why they took so long was they stopped each autumn to plant crops and would harvest them before the fleet set sail again. Now this is a slightly fantastic story because to do this they would need to find a harbour to shelter their ships, or drag their boats out of the water onto the beach to protect them from storms. They then would have to clear land and sow it and then wait around for the crops to grow to harvest it. Also the Phoenicians were not known as a farming people, so perhaps this could be a cover story, invented by the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians were secretive people and didn’t reveal to outsiders with whom they traded. They also wouldn’t want to other people to know how quickly it was possible to sail around Africa, in case other nations try to do the same and become competitors to the Phoenicians for trade. So by taking their time allowed them to claim it was a long and difficult journey.
It is known that the Phoenicians sailed out of the straits of Gibraltar and had settlements along the Moroccan coast. They also sailed north to Britain and traded for tin in Cornwall. So did they cross the Atlantic and trade with the Native American people? The official line is that they certainly didn’t do this, which is a bit strange.
Crossing the Atlantic is not a big deal. In the 20th century all sorts of weird and wonderful craft have made it across. People have sailed boats across less than 11 feet long, many people have rowed all the way in open boats, wind surfers have sailed across; someone even made it in a amphibious jeep! A Frenchman in a rubber raft made the most remarkable journey. He did this by drinking salt water and living off the sea. So if all sorts of mad people can safely cross the Atlantic in very unsuitable craft why couldn’t this journey be accomplished thousands of years ago? After all Stone Age people successfully navigated the Pacific Ocean in canoes, which is more than twice the size of the Atlantic Ocean. So are academics suggesting that the people of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin were far less capable of sailing across oceans in the past, than the Polynesians? It is amazing that people in living in Europe, Africa and the Middle East don’t feel insulted by such a suggestion.
[A Water Nymph, Leon-Jean-Bastile Perrault, 1898] 

It is claimed that people of the past were afraid to venture too far out into the Atlantic because they believed the world was flat and were frightened they might fall off the edge. The problem is, that the Ancient Greeks were well aware that the world was round and one of their mathematicians even worked out to a reasonable accuracy the circumference of the Earth! So people of the past were not as daft and stupid as modern academics like to make them out to be. Actually there is a lot of evidence that the Phoenicians did trade in America. Ancient Greek and Roman coins have been found in America, as well as Roman pottery. Cretan, Phoenician and Celtic Inscriptions have also been found carved into rocks, and Phoenician graves have also been found. The official reaction to this is that all these finding are ‘obviously’ hoaxes. But there is one piece of evidence that is more difficult to dismiss.
In 1992 in Munich a Toxicologist called Dr Svelta Balabanova did some tests on Egyptians mummies using new techniques. To her horror the results showed that there was nicotine and cocaine present in the bodies. Now as every one knows the tobacco and coca plants are only found in America and these bodies were mummified thousands of years before Columbus discovered America. She was forced to do the tests again. Samples from the bodies were sent to other laboratories, and they came up with the same result. Everyone then assumed that the bodies were contaminated in some way, but Dr Balabanova was a forensic toxicologist who had worked for the police, and knew how to overcome the contamination problem. She took hair samples, washed them clean in alcohol and then tested them. She still found traces of nicotine and cocaine within the hair that could only get there while the person was still alive.
Then doubt was cast on the authenticity of the bodies themselves, with people suggesting they were Victorian fakes. So Dr Balabanova began to use her techniques on other mummies, and found the same thing. She traveled to wherever mummies were being stored and tested and found nicotine present in most of them. So she began to speculate that perhaps the ancient Egyptians grew an African species of the tobacco plant. But no one found any evidence of this, and anyway it didn’t explain the cocaine also found in some of these bodies. The only explanation for this was that the ancient Egyptians were getting their tobacco and cocaine from South America. And the obvious way they were obtaining this was from the Phoenicians who were sailing to South America and trading with the American Indians, and bringing back tobacco and cocaine
Yet officially historians still won’t accept this. They claim that the Phoenicians only sailed along the coast and never out to sea, in spite of the fact it is known that the Phoenicians navigated by the stars. The only reason why any sailor would navigate by the stars is because they sail out of sight of land. Also to assume that the Phoenicians never ventured out of sight of land shows a complete ignorance of sailing. 

 

[Two ama divers negotiating heavy surf before they swim out to sea to begin their day’s work diving. –
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/amafun/amafundoshi.html

 

In a sailing boat the most dangerous place you can be, is within sight of land. This is because if a strong wind blows towards land you are in danger of being wrecked on shore. For that reason sailors like to keep well away from land, to give themselves ‘sea room’, if they get caught in a gale blowing towards the shore. Some more knowledgeable historians claim that what the Phoenicians did if they were caught on a lee shore in a gale was to quickly beach their boats and pull them up on the beach. Trying to beach a boat in a heavy sea is a dangerous thing to do, and it has to be remembered that the Phoenicians were traders so their boats would be laden with goods. So even if they successfully got through the heavy surf they would still find it very difficult to pull a fully loaded boat up the beach. Not only that, not all coasts have beaches; on a rocky shore they wouldn’t stand a chance.
So hugging the coast wouldn’t be an option. The Phoenicians, to be a successful seafaring nation, would have to be able to sail and navigate out of sight of land. This means their boats would have had the capability to sail to America. The only reason why we don’t read about this in history is that the Phoenicians were basically traders and not conquerors. They preferred to trade with the American Natives, and they preferred to keep their knowledge secret, as they didn’t want other nations doing the same and competing with them. This was a completely different attitude to Columbus and those who followed him. Columbus was simply the vanguard of the conquistadors who were more interested in conquest and looting, than trade.
If the Phoenicians did trade with America when did this trade start? There is good reason to believe that it may have started back in pre-historic times. In Neolithic age sites archaeologists have found two types of boats; dugout canoes and skin-boats. The latter are boats with a wooden frame and are covered with either animal skins or oil soaked cloth. At first glance it was assumed that such boats would be too flimsy to be used at sea, but when modern people built some of these boats and use them on the ocean they discovered they were very seaworthy vessels. What modern experimenters discovered was that these skin boats were much lighter than either dugout canoes or later planked boats, and therefore more able to ride over high waves. Also these boats were more flexible in heavy seas, which gave them an advantage over planked boats that was known to come apart in heavy seas. To prove how seaworthy these craft were; Tim Severin in 1976 sailed a 36-foot sewn skin boat across the Atlantic. Proving that a skin boat could cross the Atlantic. Anyway, the Polynesians navigated the Pacific in dugout canoes so why couldn’t Europeans and Africans do the same in the Atlantic ocean? 

 

 

[Photograph from. –
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/amafun/amafundoshi.html
Ama diver sculling her boat out to sea. (Sculling is a form of rowing with a single oar at stern of the boat. The blade of the oar is held at an angle as it is pulled sideways and works very much like a flute of a fish or flipper of a scuba diver).]

So vessels capable of crossing the Atlantic were being built in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin back in the Neolithic age. Then there is the question of navigation; how could Stone-Age people navigate across the Atlantic? Well, this wasn’t a problem for the Polynesians, who were also Stone-Age people, and who successfully found their way to nearly every island in the Pacific. Also it seems the Neolithic people were very aware of the positions of the Stars. It has been assumed that Stone circles like Stonehenge were constructed for religious purposes, but they could have another purpose. The puzzle about the Stone circles found in Britain, France and Spain is that the stones line up with the stars. Knowledge of star alignments wouldn’t be of much use to people living on land, but would be a big help to people who frequently sail out of sight of land. It is known that the first circles were originally made of wood, and were used to work out the stars positions and alignments. (They have to do this all the time, because as the Sun moves through the galaxy the positions of the stars are slowly changing all the time). The problem with wood is that in time it rots away, so the Neolithic people had to make the circles out of stone to get a better understanding of how the stars were slowly changing their positions over long periods of time.
This begs the question; why would ancient people want to do this? The same question can be asked of the Polynesians, why did they set out to explore the Pacific in primitive canoes? The reason could be that they were sea-people and lived in the sea.
Official history teaches us that the only way man was able to cross the oceans was when ships were made large enough to carry food and water to feed the crew for a voyage of many months. The experiences of the Polynesians who used only canoes to cross the largest ocean in the world, is completely ignored. What official historians won’t discuss is the possibility of living off the ocean. For instance, the crew of the Kon-Tiki expedition discovered that the big advantage of being on a sailing raft was that they were so close to the water, that they were able to observe the marine life in the sea. What is more, they found it easy to spear fish and dolphins that were swimming under the raft. (This was in 1947 when the public was unaware of what wonderful, intelligent creatures dolphins were). The result was that the Kon-Tiki crew found it easy to feed themselves without always having to use the stored food they carried.
After two months at sea; the water they carried turned foul and wasn’t drinkable. So they discovered that they could reduce their need to drink by bathing regularly in the ocean. They also collected rainwater when it rained. Thor Heyerdahl also knew it was possible to squeeze fresh water out of fish that had just been caught, but apparently the crew didn’t do this, as the water didn’t taste very good. In the heat of the tropics they found they needed to use a large amount of salt tablets. Then someone had the bright idea of mixing the salt-water of the ocean with the foul tasting fresh water they carried. They mixed 20% of seawater with the fresh water supplies and discovered to their surprise it quenched their thirst. They were later to increase this to 40%. Thor Heyerdahl explained that the Polynesians told him that their ancestors were able to drink saltwater with immunity if they also chewed coca leaves. As far as I know, no one has tested this out scientifically so there is no way of knowing if this is true.
The experience of European sailors over the last thousand years or more has been totally different from this. There was no attempt to try and live off the sea, and they had a belief that you dared not try to drink saltwater. Scurvy was known to be a problem for sailors since the time of the Ancient Greeks. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries the British navy fed their sailors on salted meat and this was to prove disastrous, as it didn’t have any vitamin C in it. Scurvy became rampant on Royal Naval ships. An extreme example of this concerns Commodore George Anson and his voyage around the world in 1741.
In the war of the Austrian Succession, he was ordered to take a fleet of 7 ships to raid the Spanish possessions in Pacific. The fleet sailed down to the southernmost point of South America but trying to pass Cape Horn his fleet encountered a storm so terrible, that only three of his ships made it around the Horn. (A larger Spanish fleet ordered to intercept Anson’s fleet was also caught in the same storm, which decimated the whole fleet.) In the Pacific, scurvy hit the crews of his ships so badly that two thirds died. This resulted in his having to abandon two of his ships, as there was insufficient crew to sail all three ships. After raiding a Spanish port on the South American coast he set sail across the Pacific in search of a Spanish treasure ship. He found one in the Philippines but by this time he didn’t have enough men to fully man one broadside on his ship. In spite of this, he was still able to overwhelm the Spanish Galleon and capture it. Then he was able to sail back to England as a national hero and very rich man.

 

 

“Mermaid’s Rock” painted by Edward Matthew Hale (1852-1924)

“The Sirens”, painted by Edward Matthew Hale (1852-1924)

The irony of all this is that the ocean they sailed on was full of food, rich in vitamin C. The Polynesians didn’t have any problems with scurvy and as far as we know, the Phoenicians didn’t complain about this problem either. The reason for this might be because they were genuine sea people; they lived off the sea and therefore had a deeper knowledge of the sea than the European sailors who came later.
As previously mentioned we know about the sea-people who still live in South-East Asia, but there are also sea-people who once lived in the Mediterranean. We only know about these people from their enemies. It seems that the Egyptians recorded being attacked by people from the sea in 1231 BC. The Egyptians claimed they managed to fight them off and defeat them. There is doubt about this, because the sea people went on to destroy the Hittite, Mycenaen and Mitanni kingdoms. They then came back and invaded Egypt once again in 1191 BC. Then some sort of peace deal seems to have been done. The sea people settled down in Palestine and became the Philistines we read about in the Bible.
The great mystery is; who were these people and where did they come from? Like the sea-people in South East Asia they lived on boats, and had a powerful navy. It is clear they were displaced people, but who or what displaced them was unknown. They also weren’t a single people being a mixture of many different tribes. So scholars speculate they were the victims of a great famine and invaded other countries to find more food. The problem is that there is no record of this happening anywhere. There is also the problem of the way the sea people behaved. They violently attacked the rich cities and the rulers within them, but made no attempt to loot the city’s wealth. So clearly these people had different values and probably a very different social system to the people they attacked.

 

[Photograph by Fosco Maraini of three ama divers from
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/shigoto/shigoto.html
Two amas are showing the photographer the type of shells they forage.]

If they were like the sea-people we find today in South East Asia then this would make sense of their behaviour. If like them they lived in boats or houses on stilts or very close the shore, this would then solve the problem about where they came from, and why they were a loose confederacy of different tribes. The Asian sea-people are also a loose grouping of different peoples.

[This image was discovered on the walls of a palace in Khorsabad in Iraq, probably carved at about 700 BC. It probably shows sea people, because we have a merman in it who has a similar beard to the paddlers in the boats. There is also a winged bull with a man’s head on it in the same picture. This would be like the centaurs of ancient Greece, which probably were the first cavalry troops the Greeks encountered. The wings represent the god-like status of the image; in some ancient images we also have mermaids with wings.
One country the sea-people didn’t attack was the Phoenicians. It seems later on they became the same people or were the same people. So it means the sea-people were living lives that human beings lived for probably millions of years. They were experts at living in the sea and on the coast. A strong indication of this is the fact that the Phoenicians had a monopoly on the colour purple. The only way the people of the ancient world could produce purple was through a sea snail called Murex. Unfortunately only a small amount of dye could be produced from each snail so large quantities of snails had to be harvested, from the sea floor, to dye just one garment. There are hills outside of Tyre and Sidon, both Phoenician cities, which only consist of murex shells. The result was that only very rich people could afford garments dyed purple and because of this, it became a royal colour.
The Romans even had strict rules on this and only Senators and Emperors were allowed to wear the expensive purple cloth. As the only way these snails could be obtained was by breath- holding divers, it suggests that the Phoenicians were probably diving people. It is known that the Phoenicians did very little farming and it was claimed that they were only traders, but more than likely they harvested the sea, like modern day Asia Sea people.]
This suggests that the sea-people lived like haenyo and ama communities with perhaps women diving for shell-fish and seaweed and the men working on building boats and houses and even looking after the children. So they were the nymphs, sirens and mermaids of legend. They were happy to keep to themselves but perhaps rulers further inland began to interfere with their way of life. Perhaps one king decided to drive the sea-people away from the shore where he ruled and other rulers decided to follow suit. The individual tribes were not strong enough to resist but as they were herded down the coast they met with other sea-people tribes also being displaced until they found they had a big enough army to fight back. They then became strong enough to destroy the Hittite, Mycenaen and Mitanni kingdoms and gave the Egyptians a tough time.This suggests that the sea-people lived like haenyo and ama communities with perhaps women diving for shell-fish and seaweed and the men working on building boats and houses and even looking after the children. So they were the nymphs, sirens and mermaids of legend. They were happy to keep to themselves but perhaps rulers further inland began to interfere with their way of life. Perhaps one king decided to drive the sea-people away from the shore where he ruled and other rulers decided to follow suit.
After being attacked it seems the sea people joined forces and formed a powerful confederacy, and became the Phoenicians, which allowed them to continue to live their lives without interference for a few more hundred years.
Then the Persian king, Cyrus the Great, conquered Phoenicia in 538 BC. Phoenicia then became part of the Persian Empire and declined in power and influence. When Alexander the Great overthrew the Persian Empire the Phoenician culture disappeared completely. However, the sea-people on the North African coast called the Carthaginians continued to flourish. Carthage became a major power and took over from Phoenicia as the major sea power in the Mediterranean Sea. Unfortunately they become rivals to Rome and had three wars with them. The Carthaginian general Hannibal invaded Rome and successfully defeated the Roman army, but he held back taking the city of Rome itself. This gave Rome time to recover and he was finally defeated defending Carthage. The whole Carthaginian Empire then came under Roman control.
It seems that the sea-people continued to live along the Atlantic European coast, as we can see from the many mermaid stories that continue to arise from that area up until the 19th century. But with the defeat of both the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, the power of the sea-people was destroyed and the people who began to dominate the sea were no longer the sea-people themselves. The Romans clearly learnt from the Carthaginians how to build ships and may have even traded with Native Americas. (Roman coins and artefacts have been discovered in America). Yet it seems they weren’t as confident on the sea as the Carthaginians as the knowledge of how to live on the sea was forgotten.
It was only in the 20th century that some of this lost knowledge began to be recovered through the efforts of Thor Heyerdahl and a Frenchman called Dr Alain Bombard, who demonstrated that it was possible to live off the ocean. He was concerned about the plight of shipwrecked sailors, and managed to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in a rubber raft without carrying food and water with him. 

 

[Photograph of ama diver sculling a boat, from. –
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/shigoto/shigoto.html]
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Chapter Eight – The First Ocean Voyagers

[Photograph by Fosco Maraini, from his book, Hekura, The Diving Girl’s Island, of a Ama going out to sea on boat.]
 

If we take the Aquatic Ape, the mermaid myths, the modern knowledge of the sea gypsies and the ama and haenyo divers seriously, then we can say that people have been living on the sea for millions of years. Scientific dogma claims that the first Man only reached America 12 thousand years ago. They of course took the land route, when there was dry land in the Bering Straits, between Siberia and Alaska at the ending of the last ice age. The problem is that there is more and more evidence that there were people living in America long before 12 thousand years ago. This creates a problem. If this was so, these people would have had to reach America by sea. This would mean that before 12 thousand years ago there were people who could cross either the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans, in some form of boat, raft or canoe. Why this has to be a big problem is a mystery. Without labouring the point too much, the Stone-Age Polynesians did manage to sail across the Pacific. And if it is right that they did originally come from South East Asia, and did manage to get across the Pacific to Hawaii, then what is the problem of their going the whole way to America? The problem would be that according to official history the Polynesians first settled Hawaii as late as 1,000 years ago, so the Polynesian would have nothing to do with the first people traveling to America.
The difficulty is that there is some evidence that the Polynesians were not the first people to settle on Pacific islands. Archaeologists discovered on these islands some evidence of a culture older than the Polynesians. This is what the whole Kon Tiki expedition was about; Thor Heyerdahl wasn’t trying to prove that only the Polynesians originally came from America, as many people believe, but a race older than the Polynesians had made the crossing. And just to make this more controversial it seems these ancient people were Caucasians. For this Heyerdahl has been accused of being a racist, but he has good reason for thinking this, because it seems the first people living in Japan and Taiwan were also Caucasians. Ancient graves of Caucasians were also found in China and now it seems also in America! Unfortunately because of national pride the Japanese and Chinese do not like any mention of ancient Caucasian people once living in their counties even though they still exist in both Japan and Taiwan. As usual, racial prejudice along with sexual prejudice makes it hard to get a clear idea of the true history of human kind.
In America there are now a number of archaeological sites that show human inhabitation before 12,000 years. In normal circumstances there wouldn’t be a problem with these sites but because scientific dogma claims that human beings didn’t come to America before 12,000 years then all these excavations are disputed.
At Santa Barbara, California, the bones of a woman were found on the Channel Islands just off the California coastline. This find over 40 years ago was recently dated to 13,000 years ago. This made the find very controversial because not only were the bones older than 12,000 years but evidence indicated that people then had watercraft in which to get out to the islands.
In Quebrada Jaguay, Peru, tools, hearths, food remains and potholes found in fishing site, dated to 13,000 years old
Monte Verde, Chile, human artefacts and stone tools and a shelter covered in a Mastodon hide has been discovered, dated to 14,000 years ago
At Wisconsin, butchered Mammoth bones with stone tools have been found dated to 14,500 years ago.
These three finds are now being accepted by orthodox scientists, and some are now accepting that perhaps people came across the Bering Land Bridge as early as 14,000 years ago. The problem with this is that 12,000 years ago was a time when Alaska and Canada was reasonably ice- free. If the date of 14,000 years ago is accepted then people traveling this route would have to travel over ice. This doesn’t have to be a big problem as the Eskimos do it all the time. The trouble is that there are other sites that are considerably older than this.
At Meadowcroft, Pennsylvania, stone-age tools have been discovered that are between 17,500 to 25,000 years old.
At Cactus Hill, Virginia, stone artifacts and plant and animal remains dated to 18,000 years ago.
At Valsequillo, Mexico, 164 human footprints have been discovered dated to 40,000 years ago.
At Pedra Furada, Brazil, tools and a campfire found in a rock shelter dated to 50,000 years ago.
Topper, South Carolina, stone objects, believed to be made by humans, dated 50,000 years ago.
Now these finds are very, very controversial and the archaeologists who have made these finds are given a hard time by the more orthodox establishment. But the controversy doesn’t stop there; ancient bones have been discovered that are not from Asian people.
Kennewick, Washington State, a skull 10,700 years old that is longer and narrower than today’s Native American. It is claimed that the skull is Caucasian and may come from the original inhabitants of Japan or Taiwan.
Penon, Mexico, a skull of a woman was found, again longer and narrower than present day Native Americans, date 13,000 years ago making it the oldest human skull found in America. Again she had a Caucasian skull unlike that of Native Americans; it is claimed her skull is like present day Europeans.
But the most controversial find was made at Luzia, Brazil; a female skull dated 11,500 to 12,500 years ago was discovered, with features resembling an Australian Aborigine. So the mystery is; how did Australian Aborigines travel across the Pacific to South America? It has been suggested that people drifted there by accident. Now this is not as implausible as it first sounds. It would be possible to drift from Australia to South America.
As previously pointed out, when the first white settlers went to Tasmania, they found Aboriginal women diving for shellfish. It is true they were diving from rocks and there is no record of diving from boats, but it is known that Aborigines on the mainland did use dugout canoes. The experience from ama and haenyo divers is that they will dive from rocks but when necessary will use either rafts or boats. There is always a danger of a strong off shore wind beginning to blow as they are working, which would push the canoe or raft out to sea. It is true they would be good swimmers but even for strong swimmers, swimming against the wind and waves is very difficult. So they could be blown out to sea. If they get into the ocean currents they will find themselves drifting to New Zealand. There is in New Zealand, already a controversy whether the Maoris were the first people in New Zealand, as archeologists have found signs of human occupation that dates before the Maoris got there. Also some of Maori folklore states this as well. They could also return to Tasmania the same way because the same current will take them back in a vast circle around the Tasman Sea. If they settled in New Zealand and traveled off shore on the East coast of New Zealand then they would likewise end up in America. As the South Pacific currents would take them there and likewise they could also travel back to New Zealand using the same current, which also goes in a vast circle. If Asian people wiped out Australian Aborigines in America, then the same thing could of happened in New Zealand when the Maoris first came. The trouble with this theory is that it is 13,500 kilometers or 8,450 miles from Australia to South America, so it could take many months to drift all this way. How would these Aboriginals survive months at sea with little food and no fresh water? The answer could be that being women divers they would have the knowledge to survive at sea.

[Femme au Coquillage (Woman with Seashell), William Bouguereau 1885]

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
These are the words of the famous Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem; The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. We are all taught that it is fatal to drink salt water if we are shipwrecked and have to survive in a lifeboat. No one questioned this belief until Thor Heyerdahl, whose theory was confirmed by the work of Dr. Alain Louis Bombard, a French Marine biologist, and physician.
In 1951 while working in a hospital in Boulogne Dr Bombard had to attend to the aftermath of a Shipwreck. A trawler sank in bad weather outside the harbour, and although 43 bodies were brought to the hospital they failed to save a single case. This experience affected him so much he began to study the best way to improve survival chances following a maritime disaster. He began to study the reports of shipwrecks, interviewed survivors and discovered the main cause of death was dehydration. He decided that was the most important problem he had to solve. Reading medical literature, he was surprised to discover that the kidneys in the human body were able to cope with drinking saltwater. It was true, that too much salt could overwhelm the kidneys and do them permanent damage, but if saltwater was drunk in small quantities and this was done before the body became dehydrated, then drinking saltwater was possible. Doing this for more than seven days, however, would finally damage the kidneys. Shipwrecked sailors have had bad experiences with drinking saltwater because they do it as a last resort.
He then discovered that fresh fish contained within them between 50% and 80% usable water, which was salt-free. So like Thor Heyerdahl he found that fresh water could be squeezed out of freshly caught fish. Through further research he also discovered that plankton contained Vitamin C and could be obtained by scooping it up from the ocean with a fine mesh.
The irony of this is that the scourge of sailors, scurvy, caused by Vitamin C deficiency, could have been cured if they had known this. Knowledge like this was probably possessed by the ancient sea people but was forgotten when the people from the land took over sailing the seas and oceans.
Bombard then decided to see if he could test these theories in practice. He managed to find a rubber boat and on 25th May 1952, with an Englishman called Jack Palmer he tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea, without using the rations of food and water that they carried. They set out from Monaco and Bombard began drinking saltwater from the sea from the first day, Palmer didn’t have the same confidence and declined to do the same. They managed to catch a few fish and squeezed a small amount of water from them. Palmer then began to try drinking small amounts of saltwater. Together they weathered storms but on the 7th June they met a French vessel which gave them food and water. Finally, on the 11 June they made it to the island of Minorca; they had travelled 1,000 miles and spent 17 days at sea without using their emergency supplies.
Bombard felt the voyage had been a great success and proved his point, yet the media disagreed. He was attacked for accepting food and water from a French ship and so fierce was the criticism of him that his sponsor dropped out. Undeterred he found a new sponsor and decided to cross the Atlantic. Palmer didn’t want to go, so Bombard decided to go on his own.
He sailed to the Canaries in another rubber raft, from Casablanca, but again the reaction from the press was still unfavourable. He continued across the Atlantic, living on fish and plankton, and continued to keep himself hydrated by drinking seawater and squeezing water out of fish. He also collected rainwater when he could. He suffered from sores, constipation and rashes and his boat sprung a leak through friction against one of the floats, which he had to repair at sea. He also had to endure visits from sharks and storms. Finally after 63 days at sea he made it to the Caribbean and showed it was possible to sail right across the Atlantic without carrying food or water and living totally off the ocean. Yet even today many scientists still dispute his claim that you can live off the sea by drinking seawater, and say doing this is dangerous, but this is only true if a person doesn’t understand the correct way to do this.
Bombard himself admits you have to know what you are doing. A person has to start drinking seawater before they are dehydrated, and only drink seawater in small quantities at a time. Also a person cannot do this forever and will need to drink some unsalted water after a week of drinking seawater.

What his voyage shows clearly is why the Polynesians were able to cross the Pacific Ocean in canoes that wouldn’t be able to carry too much food and water. It also shows the possibility that sea-people crossed the Atlantic Ocean thousands of years before Columbus, simply by living off the sea.

[Photograph by Fosco Maraini of ama diver, from.-
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/amafun/amafundoshi.html]

This is something similar to what happened when the first white people began to explore the Australian outback. They did this at first using camels and carrying all the food and water they needed. The Burke and Wills expedition was an example of this.In 1860 the Government of South Australia offered a prize to the first expedition to cross the Australian continent from south to north. Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills took up this challenge, and with 18 people, 25 camels, 22 horses and a 2-year supply of food, they set out from Melbourne on 20 August 1860. They made it to the Gulf of Carpentaria on the North coast of Australia but both leaders of the expedition died of hunger and thirst on the way back. The irony was that that Aboriginal people in the area tried to help them and gave them food, but Burke didn’t trust them and chased them away by firing his rifle at them.
Because of the great problems in trying to carry enough food and water with them over the vast area of Australia, later white explorers learnt from the Aboriginals how to live off the land, and how to find and water in the dry Australian outback.
The same is true of the “dash for the South pole” in the early 20th century between Robert Scott and Gravning Amundsen. The Norwegian expedition led by Amundsen was first to reach the South Pole while the expedition led by Captain Scott got there a month later and the explorers all died on the way back. Many commentators have portrayed Scott as an incompetent fool, but this is unfair. Captain Scott led the first fully equipped scientific expedition to the Antarctic; there was nothing wrong in the way it was organized. The big difference was that Gravning Amundsen had previously spent two years living with the Eskimos or Inuit people. From them he learnt how to live in the wilderness of ice and snow. The scientific knowledge and well thought out planning of the Scott expedition, was no match for the thousands of years of knowledge gained by the Inuit people living in the harsh conditions of the Arctic.
The same is also true of the maritime experiences of European sailors over the last two thousand years. The knowledge and way of life of the ancient sea-people was destroyed and ignored, so sailors sailed into the oceans with no knowledge of how to live off the sea itself. This is why they had to build ships large enough to carry all their food and water with them. Unfortunately they didn’t have the technology or knowledge of how to prevent food from spoiling and they ended up eating poor quality food lacking the vital nutrient of Vitamin C, which resulted in scurvy. Knowledge is vitally important for sailors using wooden sailing ships. The sea people of South East Asia live in an area of both typhoons and tsunamis yet their local knowledge from thousands of generations of experience keep them safe. As previously mentioned, in the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean in Dec. 26, 2004, no sea people were drowned simply because they saw the signs beforehand which even local fishermen didn’t see. The sea people who once lived in and around the coast of Europe, Africa, America and other parts of the world may have had similar intimate knowledge of the sea, but that knowledge has been destroyed.
Thor Heyerdahl and Dr. Alain Bombard have rediscovered some of the secrets of the ancient sea people, but it would be a mistake to think they have worked them all out. There are still sea-people living in South East Asia but they understandably don’t trust outsiders, and the governments of the area are making attempts to ‘educate’ them and bring them into the modern world. So all their knowledge and ancient ways are in danger of being lost forever.
It means it would be very possible for ancient sea people to cross either deliberately or by accident the biggest ocean in the world. Aboriginals could drift for many months on a raft or canoe all the way from Australia to South America. To populate America it would require some women to be included, and possibly multiple voyages.
There is also the possibility of Aboriginals sailing all the way to America. The Melanesian people who are the same race as the Australian Aboriginals, populate many Pacific islands. So like the Polynesians the Melanesians are capable of sailing and navigating across the Pacific Ocean. If they sailed east past New Zealand they would find themselves within the prevailing winds and ocean currents that go towards South America, in a great circle taking them south in a southerly route to America. The question would be; did they do this 10 – 50 thousand years ago? Many orthodox scientists would dispute this but there is no reason not to think this. We cannot assume that people 50,000 years ago were more stupid than people today. Also if we take the Aquatic Ape theory seriously then we have to accept human beings had knowledge of living in the sea going back millions of years.
So if Australian Aboriginals managed to settle in America long before anyone else. What happened to them? The standard explanation is that the incoming invaders from Asia simply wiped them out. This certainly happened in Australia where white settlers practiced genocide against the Aboriginals. Yet another explanation is that the incoming invaders assimilated them.
The Aboriginal people of Australia and of Melanesia all practice birth control. The reason is that on islands and in a country like Australia, where food resources are limited, overpopulation would be a disaster. The incoming invaders may not have had the same concerns and continued to breed out of control. The Aboriginals may have been assimilated and overwhelmed by the increasing numbers of the new invaders. It has been speculated that the people of Terra del Fuego, were a mixture of Asian and Aboriginal people. Then there is the problem of the Kennewick man and Penon woman. What were white people doing living in America over 10,000 years ago? This is only a problem if we think of human beings as being landlubbers. It is not a problem if we think of human beings as aquatic. 10,000 years ago there would have been sea-people along the coast of Europe; they would have been far less afraid of the oceans than mariners in more recent times, because they knew how to live on the sea. So sailing across the Atlantic in even very primitive sailing craft would be far less a problem to them than for people at the time of Columbus. This is because by this time, the knowledge of the ancient sea people had been destroyed and forgotten. There is no reason why the sea people of Europe couldn’t have discovered America and settled there.
The same is true of the sea-people of Africa. An alternative explanation is that the ancestors of Luzia woman didn’t come from Australia but Africa instead. This is because the Australian Aboriginals are similar to some African tribes. It has also been pointed out that between Brazil and the Congo is the shortest distance across the Atlantic, though I doubt if this is that important. The point is that the sea-people of Africa, like the sea-people of Europe, would be at home living off the Ocean and therefore long Ocean journeys wouldn’t be a problem for them. If this is true it could solve a problem about the Olmec people. In Central America very large carved heads have been discovered. The problem is that these heads do not show the Asiatic features of most Native Americans but show instead the large lips and flattened noses of African people. The Olmec civilization existed between 1500 to 100 BC and predates the Maya civilization; the carvings they left behind of themselves suggest they were African.
Now this is a very controversial point. Were the Africans capable of starting their own civilization? There is evidence that Africans, like any other race, were eminently capable of doing this. In the 19th century European explorers discovered the ancient ruins of a city built of stone called Zimbabwe. The Europeans assumed that another race built it because they didn’t think the local Africans could construct a city like this. At first they speculated it was the legendary city of Ophir, the site of King Solomon’s mines. This belief resulted in a treasure hunt during which the whole site was dug up in the search for gold. As nothing came of this, it was then assumed that the Phoenician, Greek, or Egyptians must have built it. But no artifacts of other civilizations were discovered on the site, so the only possibility was that Africans built it. Unfortunately the treasure hunters had destroyed the archaeology of the site, but archaeologist Gertrude Caton-Thompson managed to find stone structures outside of the city that hadn’t been dug-up by the treasure hunters and this confirmed that the buildings were constructed by Africans,
Large stone structures have also been discovered in Ethiopia and the Sudan, also built by Africans. There is also a controversy about the original Egyptian civilization. European scholars and archaeologists assume that the original Egyptians were white people but many African scholars are contesting this, claiming they were black Africans.

It means that black Africans were more than capable of crossing the Atlantic and constructing cities made of stone. But if that is the case what happened to them? Did the Asiatic Americans also wipe them out? Another explanation could be that they didn’t go anywhere and they still live in America. It is known that the South American people are a hybrid race, a mixture of Asian, European, and African peoples, and it is assumed that this mixture only happened after the Spanish and Portuguese conquest. But it could be that this mixture already existed before European settlers and Conquistadors reached America. The Spanish have reported meeting both white and black people when they first conquered South America.

Conventional archeology is still claiming that humans did not exist in America later 13,000 years ago, but there is now evidence that suggest that humans were living in American much earlier than this, as we can see from the following web-sites. –

40,000 year old footprints found in Mexico

http://www.mexicanfootprints.co.uk/
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2006/1564746.htm

New Evidence Puts humans In North America 50,000 Years Ago
ScienceDaily (Nov. 18, 2004)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041118104010.htm

A human habitation site in Brazil, dated 48-32,000 BP

http://mathildasanthropologyblog.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/the-oldest-human-site-\
known-in-the-americas/

 

Ice Age Columbus – Who Were the First Americans? Film on Youtube.

Traditional history tells us that European settlers discovered America about the time of the Renaissance. But revolutionary new archaeological data and the latest DNA research reveal that Europeans visited our shores far earlier some 17,000 years before Columbus was even born.

http://www.youtube.com/user/xSilverPhinx#grid/user/9E923125855C65AF

 

Boabab Tree Northern Australia. http://www.galenfrysinger.com/kakadu.htm 

So if early Africans travelled to America across he Atlantic, could they also travel across the Indian ocean to Australia as well? There is evidence that they may have done this. 

There is a great mystery about the Baobab tree. It seems it is a native of Madagascar which has six species there is another species in Africa which may have been introduced by humans, and bizarrely there is another species in Australia.

Now it seems that the Boabab tree is very important for humans living in a hot climate, as it is a continuous source of food and water. People can bore a hole into the baobab tree trunk, take out the soft, wet fibres and squeeze water out of them. The hollowed out tree trunk then collects water which humans can continue to use. Sometimes the centre of the tree dies naturally and a useable water reservoir is formed. Baobab trees are known to store up to 1000 gallons of drinkable water. Not only that the Baobab tree’s leaves and fruit are both eatable. For this reason it is known as the Tree Of Life and the native people of Madagascar call it the “mother of the forest”. So clearly it is a good idea to grow a tree like this in a place like Australia where there is a shortage of water.

The problem is that how did the Baobab tree get from Africa or Madagascar to Australia? To explain this there are three theories.

1 Baobab’s dropped their seeds in the ocean in Africa and the wind and currents took them to Australia where they took root and grew. Now, it is known that this happens with Coconuts but they are a species of tree that can grow on a beach and is not affected by salt water. Baobab trees do not grow on the beach but grow inland, it is true they might drop their seeds in a river which would take them to the ocean, but even if they managed to travel all the way to Australia, and was washed up on an Australian beach, they are very unlikely to geminate and grow on a beach, in the way Coconut trees can do. To get around this, it has been suggested that once these seeds were washed up on an Australian beach birds ate it and the seeds were later dropped by the birds inland. The only problem with this is that birds do not normally disperse Baobab seeds. The only animals seen to eat Baobab seeds are Lemurs, monkeys, apes and humans. Also we don’t know of any other tree or plant that has travelled all the way from Africa to Australia in this manner. So the whole speculation is very unlikely.

2 The second theory is that early humans took Baobab seeds from Africa all away along the coast to Australia. Now it is unlikely that any person would carry baobab seeds with them on foot, in a journey of about 8,000 miles, along the coast and only grow them when they reach Australia. They would surely grow these seeds along the way. As it is very unlikely that early people travelled all the way from Africa to Australia in one generation. It could of taken hundreds or even thousands of years, and in this time the Baobab seed would have died. To be fair, there are Baobab trees in India and Vietnam, but they are not very numerous and haven’t been established in the same way they have in Australia, and are the same as the African species. For this reason it is assumed that they are more recent and probably Arab traders planted these trees. So the Baobab trees in India and Vietnam are not as old as they are in Australia, which are so ancient that they are now a separate species from the African Baobab. This suggests it is unlikely that early people from Africa planted them along the route from Africa to Australia.

3 The third theory is that human seafarers took Baobab seeds from Africa and travelled all the way to Australia by boat and planted them in Australia. The problem with this theory is that this must of happened thousands of years ago, because the Baobab tree is very slow growing and can live for a thousand years or more. Also as previously mentioned, the Baobab tree is well established in the North West of Australia and the Australian species is now a separate species to the African species. In other words, it has lived so long in Australia that it has had time to adapt to Australian conditions. So it couldn’t have arrive in Australia recently and would have probably got there 50,000 years ago when the first humans arrived in Australia. Which suggests that human beings could have been travelling the oceans as early as 50,000 years ago.

Boabab seeds make the perfect food for ocean travel. They keep for a very long time without going mouldy, and they are very rich in Vitamin C, and as we know Scurvy caused by vitamin C deficiency was the big problem for European sailors when first began to sail the oceans. So it makes sense for any experience early sailors to take Boabab seeds with them on a journey from Africa to Australia and if they have any seeds left over after the voyage, to plant them in the new land. Or even to just throw them away where they would germinate on the ground. So the existence of the Boabob tree in Australia does point to very early ocean voyages by human beings.

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Seahenge discovered on a Norfolk (England) beach in 1998 is a timber circle that is dated as 4,000 years old. What is so strange about this site, is that, in the centre of the circle was a large inverted oak stump. No one has an explanation for this.

 

Now the Baobab Tree is known in Africa, Madagascar and Australia as the “upside down Tree”. The reason for this, is that the branches of the baobab tree look very much like the root system of other trees. So is this, the explain for Seahenge? People 4,000 years ago were attempting to create a Baobab tree, but magical means.
If we accept that marine trade was commonplace in pre-historic times then trade between Africa and England would be more than likely. And probably one of the things the African traders would trade is the Boabab fruit. If that happened then some people in England would take some of the fruit and plant it to grow their own Baobab Trees. Unfortunately this didn’t work out, as the English climate was too cold for the Baobab Tree.

 

So some enterprising people attempted to create their own Baabab from a local tree by simply turning it upside down. They may of tried this previously but it didn’t work, so they created a magical timber circle and attempted to make it work through magical means. So the Seahenge circle points to sea trade between Africa and England 4,000 years ago.

[Photograph by Fosco Maraini, from his book, Hekura, The Diving Girl’s Island, of a Ama on boat preparing to dive.]

Latest research in the Philippines, have found a human bone, 67,000 years old.

http://www8.gmanews.tv/story/197541/researchers-discover-fossil-of-human-older-than-tabon-man

 

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CHAPTER NINE – THE AMAZONS OF THE AMAZON RIVER

[Photographs by Fosco Maraini of ama diver, from. –
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/shigoto/shigoto.html ]

Up until the 1950s the academic world had decided that stories of Amazons by the Greeks and Romans were complete myths. That was until Soviet archaeologists found a skeleton of a young woman, near the River Molochnaya on the northwest coast of the Sea of Azov. Buried with her was a bronze mirror, necklace of glass beads, silver, bronze and glass bracelets. As well as two iron lance blade, a quiver of 20 arrows and a suit of armour. (The armour was of a cloth shirt with small pieces of iron sown to it.) The grave was dated to the third or fourth century BC. Then another grave was found at Kut west of the river Dnieper of a women warrior with also a bronze mirror, glass beads and a quiver of arrows, this grave also had a iron sword in it. More graves have since been discovered in Georgia of female warriors. Most of these finds are north of the Black Sea, which is where Ancient Greek mythology said Amazons were.
Graves of female warriors have been discovered all over Europe though many are in dispute. This is because it is not always easy to tell if a skeleton is either male or female. In many graves the skeleton is assumed male if it has weapons within it and it is only later when someone looks closely at the skeleton, do question arise if the skeleton might be female. For this reason some archaeologists still won’t accept the possibility of Amazons, claiming these skeletons have to be male, as female warriors are an impossibility. In Britain a grave of a female gladiator was even discovered, which many people found very shocking.
The sex of ancient Celtic graves has also caused a lot of controversy, in archaeological circles, because if a grave is obviously of a wealthy person, it is assumed it must be of a male chieftain. Then sometimes feminine items are discovered in the grave and the skeleton is more closely examined it is discovered it is female. Archaeologists are now starting to accept that female leadership and female warriors were commonplace in Europe before it was conquered by Rome. This is not only true of the old world but it seems to have been true of America before Europeans subjugated it.
When the Spanish first conquered South America they claimed to have encountered not only black and white people, but Amazon warriors and tribes ruled by women. These stories tend to be dismissed as simply the result of an overactive imagination, but there are good reasons to believe these stories are true. As there is now evidence to support these claims.
The first reports of Amazon warriors in America come from Christopher Columbus. On March 4, 1493, Columbus wrote that he had encountered women warriors on the island of Martinique; he also claimed they covered used copper plate armour and bows and arrows made of sugar cane. Alfonso Ulloa, who accompanied Columbus on all four of his voyages to the New World, supports this story. He also wrote about the women warriors of Martinique in his book; Historia del Senor Don Fernando Colombo. In this book he wrote that the locals claimed that women only populated the island of Martinique. Men from other islands would only come to the island at a certain time of the year to collect boys, and would take them away and bring them up.
The Spanish also reported other islands called Las Mujeres, (which means women in Spanish) and Cozumel where again women warriors were seen. Unfortunately these early Caribbean people were all killed, raped and enslaved by the Spanish conquistadors.
[Photograph by Fosco Maraini, of an ama diver, from his book Hekura, The Diving Girl’s Island. Note the piece of metal she has tucked in her waistband. This is used to dig out shells from the rocks. The heavy metal also probably acts a weight to allow the ama diver to dive deeper. Also, there has been reports of a few rare shark attacks on ama and haenyo divers, a piece of metal like this would be a very handy weapon to defend yourself from sharks.]
Michele de Cuneo wrote in February 1495 that Columbus captured 1,600 Tainos (the name of the original Caribbean people) and put 550 on ships, but 200 died on the return passage. To discourage the Spanish invading their islands for food the Tainos burnt their own crops, resulting in many dying of hunger, unfortunately this still didn’t stop the Spanish taking them as slaves. Forced labour, diseases such as measles and smallpox, and famine decimated the native people until only 60,000 Tainos were counted in 1509. When the Tainos tried to fight back, killing a few Spaniards, the revenge by the Spanish was extremely brutal. For instance; when the natives of Higuey and Saona killed eight Spaniards, four hundred troops slaughtered the natives of these islands. The Tainos turned out to be so unsatisfactory as slaves, that the Spanish began to import African slaves in 1505. The Spanish in California also reported Amazons, unfortunately these reports are very controversial because not only did women rule these tribes, they were also black. When the Spanish first came to California they found two races of people; the Indian people with Asian features, and black Amazons with African features. The Spanish also noted how good they were at swimming and diving and both sexes would do this. They were observed weighing themselves down with stones to make it easier to dive to the bottom. This is what Sponge divers used to do in Greece before modern diving equipment was introduced. They were also seen diving with spears and spearing fish. They were employed by the Spanish as pearl divers.
Up until 1862 the origins of the name California was a mystery, until a scholar discovered a novel written in 1521 by Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo. The book was called; The Exploits of the Very Powerful Cavalier Esplandian, Son of the Excellent King Amadis of Gaul. Within this book was the story of Queen Califia, an Amazon Queen. It seems that when the Spanish first began to explore the Northwest coast of America and discovered tribes of black Amazon women they called the area California after this fictional Queen Califia. If that is the case what happened to these people? It seems they didn’t just disappear, because French and English explorers also saw them. 

It is claimed that disease wiped them out in the 19th century, but there could be other reasons. Certainly, the genocide of native people wasn’t unknown in 19th century America. Yet it is possible that members of these tribes did survive. As black slaves from Africa were imported into America they were probably confused in the minds of the European settlers with the Native Black people. So they could have been taken by black slavers and become mixed with the black slaves from Africa. As these people had no voice in the white man’s history, there origins were obscured and forgotten.
The Spanish found these black people sailing in ships and were told that they traded with islands far out into the Pacific. This is similar to what was told to the Spanish by the Incas in Peru. An Inca ruler called Tupac took a fleet of balsa rafts. (Similar to the Kon-Tiki raft that Thor Heyerdahl sailed across the Pasific) to the islands of Avachumbi and Ninachumbi. After a year the sailors came back with booty and many black people. (No one knows which of these Pasific islands they were). This story creates an interesting possibility. The black people were probably Melanesians.
There is clear evidence that the Central American Olmec civilization was African. They not only left behind large carvings of heads, weighing between 20-40 tons, but their writing system reflects in many of its symbols the writings used by the Vai people of West Africa. What is more, the later Mayan writing, which comes from the Olmec, when broken down into its constituent parts is analogous to the ancient Libyco-Berber writings of North Africa.
As previously mentions the Bijago People of West Africa had large ocean going canoes that could hold up to 70 people. The Polynesian sailed across the Pacific in similar canoes, so it would be reasonable to assume that Africans could sail to South America in pre-historic times.
The most famous sighting of Amazons in America comes from Francisco de Orellana who was a member of the conquistadors that conquered Peru. In 1541 Orellana was part of a Spanish army, which went to find El Dorado in the Amazon jungle. After a few months they were running out of supplies; Orellana was ordered to build a boat and sail down the river in search of food. He and his men were successful in building the boat but was unsuccessful in finding food, and at their agreed meeting point he missed the main Spanish force. He and his crew then continued down the river until they came to an Indian village that gave them food. They stayed there to build an even larger ship and heard tales about the Coniupuyara, which means “great women” that lived further down the river. After they finished the new ship they drifted further down the river, coming upon more Indian villages, most of which were hostile towards them. Then they arrived at a city set upon platforms in the middle of a clearing. Orellana managed to communicate with friendly natives who told him this was the city of their rulers. They went on to explain that the rulers were called; “the women who live alone” and they ruled over the land. It seems that when the female rulers visited their villages, the people gave them feathers of parrots and macaws, to decorate the roofs of their altars.
After this friendly meeting Orellana continued down the river but when he tried to go ashore again near another large settlement he met fierce resistance. In the ranks of the natives they saw tall, naked white women who seemed to be in charge. The Spanish fired at these Amazons, killing several of them and the attack weakened, allowing the Spanish to make their escape. The story of tall white women at first seems to be very improbable yet reports of white people in pre-Columbian America come from other parts of South America.
The Incas told the Spanish that they were not the first white people they had met. They had mistakenly welcomed the Spanish into their cities thinking they were white Viracocha people, not knowing that the Spanish were only interested in conquest. As previously mentioned archaeologists have confirmed the existence of these white people with the Kennewick man and Penon woman.
It is claimed that these skulls are of the Ainu people of Northern Japan. Unfortunately these people are also very controversial. It seems that the Ainu people were the original inhabitants of Japan until Chinese people invaded it. Since then they have interbred with the Chinese invaders, but originally they were white people. What is more they are a lot taller than the average Chinese and Japanese people. This echoes the Kennewich man who was a tall and strong individual, which is what Oraellana saw; tall and strong white women. But others claim the skulls are European. There is no way of proving, which is true though there are now attempts to extract DNA from Penon woman.
After they escaped, Orellana questioned an Indian prisoner about the Amazons. To quote from the book Women Warlords by Tim Newark –
As Orellana steered his ships towards the middle of the river, he questioned an Indian prisoner about the Amazon attackers. The Indian admitted he knew about the women because he took them tribute on his chieftain’s behalf. His chieftain was called Couvnco and his land was a vassal state of the Amazons, who lived some seven days’ journey inland. He also said the women were not married. Orellana wanted to know more. At last, they were nearing El Dorado. Through a language of general Indian words and signs, the prisoner explained all he knew of the land of the Amazons.
“The women were very numerous and dwelled in seventy villages,” recorded Fray Gaspar. “Their houses were built of stone and provided with doors. The roads from one village to another were fenced on both sides and guarded at regular intervals so no one could approach without paying toll.”
“But who is the father of these women’s children?” asked Orellana.
“The women make war against a great lord nearby,” replied the Indian, “and bring back warriors as captives and live with them in their villages. When a woman becomes pregnant, the prisoners are sent back to their land. When a son is born, he is killed and his body sent to the father. When a daughter is born, she is cared for and taught the ways of war.”
“Who is the lord of these women?”
“They are subject to a female chieftain called Conori,” said the Indian. “The Amazons possess great wealth in silver and gold. The household utensils of the most important Amazon women are made of precious metals. They have five great houses or temples dedicated to the sun, containing idols of gold and silver representing the figures of women. Their clothing is made of fine llama wool and it covers their bodies from breast to knee and is sometimes fixed by buttons, sometimes by laces. They have long hair and wear gold crowns two inches in width adorned with coloured designs.”
All these details Fray Gasper recorded. It was the high point of Orellana’s expedition and the reason why the mighty river was so named.
Orellana continued down the river to the open sea and then managed to sail his two homemade ships back to Spain. He named the river The Amazon after the female warriors who attacked him. He was to mount another expedition to the Amazon but died soon after reaching the river. Without its leader the expedition returned.
Yet 100 years later when the next European expedition explored the river they found no trace of the fabulous cities reported by Orellana, or the Amazon warriors. As a result Orellana was to be labelled a liar by historians, and his stories of marvellous cities, female rulers and Amazon warriors exaggerated fantasies. This was to be confirmed in more modern time when it was realized that the soil in the rain forests is very poor for growing crops. At present farmers are destroying the Amazon forest by the slash and burn method. They cut down a large area, and then burn it, and plant crops. Yet after a few years the soil is so depleted that crops no longer can be grown. So they have to go on to cut down another area and do the same thing.
For this reason modern experts claimed that an ancient civilisation existing in the Amazon basin was impossible because all civilisations in the past have relied on intensive farming for food. The soil was too poor to feed a civilization. So it seems to be that Orellana was clearly a liar because there was no evidence of any kind to support his stories.
Then very recently archaeologists began to find large earth mounds in the Amazon forests. It occurred to some of them that these mounds might be artificial, so they began to dig in them and quickly found large amounts of pottery and other man made artefacts. Not only this, some of these fragments suggested they came from very large pots, far too large to be carried around by anyone. It means that these mounds were the remains of ancient settlements. As the archaeologists explored further they found ancient roads, (which although were overgrown the natives in the area were still using), linking these mounds, demonstrating the complex infrastructure of an ancient civilisation. If this was so, how did they feed themselves? As previously mentioned, without intensive farming they could not feed a large population.
The archaeologists then noticed the soil in the mounds was very different to the normal soil of the rain forest. It was reasoned that this ancient civilisation must have found a way to fertilize this normally barren soil. Tests were done on the soil and it was discovered to be full of charcoal. What became clear was that this ancient civilisation used the slash and burn method, but instead of burning the vegetation they cooked the wood instead. (This is the method of making charcoal all over the world). The charcoal was then able to retain the nutrients in the wood. Not only that, this charcoal rich soil was full of bacteria, which fed the plants growing in it. Modern scientists have reproduced this method and been greatly impressed by the results. In experimental plots, adding a combination of charcoal and fertilizer into the rain-forest soil boosted yields by 880% compared with fertilizer alone. This has now been hailed as a solution to the world’s hunger problem. It seems that this ancient civilisation found solutions to the problems of poor soil that modern science with all its sophisticated chemical fertilizers was unable to find.
This soil has been found in many other areas along the Amazon River, with ancient artefacts within it wherever it is found. All these mounds are in the places where Orellana claimed he saw cities and towns.
Although this Amazon civilization did find ways of greatly increasing productivity of the soil it may not have been the only way they fed their population. Orellana didn’t claim to see vast areas where the jungle had been cut down and given over to farmland. While the archaeologists have only discovered the charcoal soil in mounds and not in vast areas of the forest. So it doesn’t look like they relied on agriculture alone to feed themselves.
Orelana says the towns and cities were built on platforms, while the archaeologist have found the roads of this civilization were also built high. The reason for this is that every year the Amazon River floods, flooding the surrounding forest. This then is why the houses and roads had to be built high, they were built on a flood plain, so they won’t be flooded in the wet season. This was probably true of their agriculture land, the fact that the charcoal soil was in mounds, suggests the farmed land was also built high to protect it from flooding. Now this would require a lot of work to do this, suggesting that the agriculture land they used wasn’t very large. So they needed other ways of obtaining food.
The very fact that it seems that women were in charge suggests they were also the main breadwinners. Which means the women were diving and gathering food in the river. The Amazon has all the advantages of living on the coast, as it has an abundance of freshwater crustaceans and shellfish, as well as over 3,000 different species of fish. The river is so large that it can accommodate a species of fresh water dolphin. Also in the wet-season it would have vast wetlands that semi-aquatic people would have the knowledge to exploit it. It is true that in the Amazon you do have piranhas, crocodiles and even sharks, but these predators are only a problem in certain areas of the Amazon. The local people would be very aware of when and where it is safe to swim in the river.
So what happened to this ancient civilisation? Scientists can only speculate, but it is known that the Europeans brought with them diseases that were unknown to the native population, like small pox and influenza. Not having any immunity to these diseases the native population was decimated. It means that the Orellana expedition brought to the native population these diseases, which would have wiped out most of them very quickly. The civilisation collapsed and the jungle soon overgrew the cities and town. So by the time the next Europeans came to the same area all they would have seen was virgin jungle. The problem with this theory is that no civilization has been destroyed by disease alone. Even the Black Death plagues that swept Europe were not enough to destroy European civilization. Also both in America and Australia historians have used the excuse of disease to cover-up the acts of genocide against the native population. The two things that have destroyed civilizations in the past have been years of drought and famine or conquest and genocide. We can rule out famine, because the Amazon basin has shown no sign of this for thousands of years. So this only leaves conquest and genocide.
The original expedition that Orellana was a part of, was searching for El Dorado, on the strength of native stories. Likewise, the Indian whom he questioned told him that; “The Amazons possess great wealth in silver and gold. The household utensils of the most important Amazon women are made of precious metals. They have five great houses or temples dedicated to the sun, containing idols of gold and silver representing the figures of women”. It was probably this that sealed the Amazon civilization’s fate. The Spanish were gold crazy and would have wanted to find and loot this gold. This is why Orellana came back to the Amazon with another expedition, but he was beaten back by the natives, and had the problems of trying to sail against the current of the Amazon River. He himself died and the expedition returned empty handed.
Yet it would be inconceivable that no one else tried to do the same, with reports of gold within this Amazon civilization. So the obvious thing would be that another expedition came back to the Amazon, destroyed the society completely and looted all the gold it had.
If that is the case, why hasn’t it been reported in history? If the Spanish did find gold they wouldn’t want to world to know about this, because they were competing against the Portuguese and the English for gold in the New World. If it was known they found gold on the Amazon River English, or even French or Dutch ships would be waiting for Spanish treasure ships at the mouth of the Amazon.

[Photo of ama divers in some sort of dispute, probably about the price of seaweed or shellfish. From.-
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/amafun/amafundoshi.html]
The Portuguese arrived in Brazil in 1500 and it became a Portuguese colony in 1549. As early as 1530 forests were being chopped down and convert into sugar plantations, while the local Indians were forced to work on these plantations as slaves. So if the Spanish did come back they wouldn’t want the Portuguese to know, as this could start a war between the two countries. (Though Spain did conquer Portugal in 1580 in a surprise attack). It would also attract the attention of the English and other European countries.
In the same year as Orelana was exploring the Amazon River, a Germanic adventurer Phillip von Hutten was searching for El Dorado near the mouth of the Amazon River. Later on Sir Walter Raleigh in 1595 led an English expedition to the Amazon to also try and find El Dorado. So a secret expedition would be the best idea and the Spanish would be in a better position to do this than any other country. Trying to sail up the Amazon River, against the current, is very difficult, before the invention of motorboats. So the obvious way would be to do exactly what Orelana had done, start off from the other side of the continent, build ships at the source of the Amazon and sail them down the river. It would have to be a far larger expedition, large enough to take on the Amazon led warriors and the Spanish had the advantage of muskets, as well as armour helmets and breastplates that could stop an arrow.
The civilization wasn’t completely destroyed because a hundred years later, 1641, the next recorded visit to this area was by a Spanish Priest Cristobal d’ Acuna. He never saw the fabulous cities reported by Orelana but he met an Indian tribe called the Guarcaras and traded with the women of this tribe, who seem to be in charge. He was to write about them. –
The Amazons are women of great valour. They have preserved themselves without ordinary intercourse with men. And even when they receive them, once every year, they brandish their bows and arrows at them until they are satisfied that the men come with peaceful intentions. They then drop their weapons and take them to their hammock in their houses and receive the Indians as their guests for a few days. After this the men return to their own country.
Again he repeats what Fray Gasper said that they kill any boys they give birth to and only keep the girls. The very fact he claims that, “the Amazons are women of great valour”. Suggests he has information about there fighting skills, perhaps when they have tried to defend their cities against the Spanish. If this Amazon civilization was hit hard by the Spanish looking for gold they then might also be open to attack by other patriarchal tribes in the area, after the Spanish had left. In a weakened state the Amazons would be less able to defend themselves, and probably overrun. Or it could be that having been attacked by the Spanish looking for gold, the Amazons realised their cities were a target for the gold hungry Spanish. So they may of abandon them and lived in the jungle, to ensure they wouldn’t be attacked again.
[Ama squeezing water out of her hair, from. –

What happened to them since then is unknown. The Indians of the Amazon rain forest were slowly wiped out, even as late as the 20th century Amazon Indian tribes were being decimated. It was not until 1988 that Brazil recognized constitutionally that the surviving Indians had rights. (Which now means it is a crime to shoot Indians).
The charcoal soil called preta is now seen as a way of combating world poverty and global warming. To quote Discover Magazine . –
A few years of Amazonian rains will wash away the nutrient-laden ash from land that was cleared by slash-and-burn techniques, but the charcoal in the terra preta soils persists. The terra preta soils at the Central Amazon Project goes back in many places as much as 2,500 years. Creating new terra preta in the Amazon today would have several advantages, Lehmann says. First, because the enriched soil remains fertile for a long time, its use would discourage farmers from moving on and burning more forest to open up new fields. Second, because of the added charcoal, terra preta holds up to 10 times as much carbon as unaltered soils. The late Wim Sombroek—a legendary soil scientist whose long interest in terra preta earned him the epithet “the godfather of dark earth”—began to wonder if dark earth could be used to sequester carbon. Lehmann’s studies have shown that it can: Fifty percent of the original carbon in plants and trees used to make biochar remains in the terra preta soils after the conversion.
What does this mean for fighting global warming? Brazil is the world’s eighth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and most of those emissions come not from industry and cars but from loggers, ranchers, and farmers burning the forest. Just substituting slash-and-char for slash-and-burn could reduce human-produced carbon emissions in the Amazon by 12 percent.
Even better, burning agricultural wastes in a controlled process called pyrolysis can convert wood and other organic waste into useful volatile gases, heat, electricity, and bio-oil. The process is win-win: Burning the biomass produces substantial amounts of rich biochar from waste material like peanut shells and rice husks, and mixing this biochar into soil could more than offset the carbon that is emitted into the atmosphere—not only during the burning process itself, but also when the derived fuels are used.

“You wouldn’t just be carbon neutral, you would be carbon negative, drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, producing energy and improving the climate in the process,” Lehmann says. Through workshops with other scientists, he is trying to spread the gospel about terra preta worldwide.

Update. This method is now being touted as the solution to global warming, as we can see in the following interview in New Scientist magazine with James Lovelock. (The originator of the famous Gaia Theory).

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126921.500-one-last-chance-to-save-mankind.html

New Scientist: So are we doomed?

James Lovelock: There is one way we could save ourselves and that is through the massive burial of charcoal. It would mean farmers turning all their agricultural waste – which contains carbon that the plants have spent the summer sequestering – into non-biodegradable charcoal, and burying it in the soil. Then you can start shifting really hefty quantities of carbon out of the system and pull the CO2 down quite fast.

New Scientist: Would it make enough of a difference?

James Lovelock: Yes. The biosphere pumps out 550 gigatonnes of carbon yearly; we put in only 30 gigatonnes. Ninety-nine per cent of the carbon that is fixed by plants is released back into the atmosphere within a year or so by consumers like bacteria, nematodes and worms. What we can do is cheat those consumers by getting farmers to burn their crop waste at very low oxygen levels to turn it into charcoal, which the farmer then ploughs into the field. A little CO2 is released but the bulk of it gets converted to carbon. You get a few per cent of biofuel as a by-product of the combustion process, which the farmer can sell. This scheme would need no subsidy: the farmer would make a profit. This is the one thing we can do that will make a difference, but I bet they won’t do it.

 

[Ama divers pulling boat out of the water. From Japanese web-site. –
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/amafun/amafundoshi.html]

Update

Amazon explorers uncover signs of a real El Dorado

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/05/amazon-dorado-satellite-discovery?CMP=AFCYAH

Swimming in rainforest rivers

http://dinets.travel.ru/amazon.htm

Latest Archeology findings on the Amazon
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/03/AR2010090302302.html?hpid=moreheadlines&sub=AR

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CHAPTER TEN – THE TRUE NATURE OF EARLY HUMANS

[Ama diver foraging on the sea floor. Photograph Fosco Maraini, from Japanese. –
http://www.fundoshi-bikini.net/nihon-fundoshi/amafun/amafundoshi.html ]
If the landlubber theory has problems with the way humans first reached America it has it also has problems about the way they first reached Australia.
It is estimated that the first humans reached Australia 40-60 thousand years ago. The big problem is that there is water between Australia and Asia. This difficulty seems to have been solved when it was discovered that during the last Ice Age sea levels were a lot lower than they are today. At this time most of Indonesia was one large landmass joined to Asia while Australia was joined to New Guinea, so the solution seems simple; the original Aborigines could walk from Asia to Australia. The problem is that even during the Ice Age there was still open water between the Indonesian landmass and the New Guinea and Australia landmass.
The landlubber theorist cannot get away with saying it happened by accident, with a man and woman reaching Australia floating on a log. This would show up on the genetic code of the Australian Aboriginals, as geneticists would be able to tell if all the Aboriginals in Australia were descended from just a few people. It was a proper invasion of many people. They would have to have had seaworthy sailing raft to do this.
This is because it couldn’t have been just a one-way trip. People are very unlikely to take all their family and children to an unknown land. Someone had to have discovered it first, and then traveled back to tell their tribe what they had discovered. Then others would sail across. Perhaps they might have over fished the seafood in their area and wanted to harvest an untouched new place. In time the tribe would set up camp in this new world and finally begin to live there permanently. This would mean the Aboriginals would need to have reasonably seaworthy craft about 50,000 years ago. Most scientists have now accepted this, and no one is seriously disputing it. But now there is an even bigger problem for the landlubber theory. It could be that human beings were building watercraft as long as 900,000 years ago.
One of the early species of human to be discovered was in Java, called Java man. It was Homo erectus. Other finds of the same species have been discovered in China and Africa. The big problem is that bones of Homo erectus along with stone tools have been discovered on the island of Flores. This island is part of the Indonesian archipelago but it is separated from other islands by a deep channel called the Lombok Strait. Even in an Ice Age, when the sea level has dropped, any human has to cross water to get there. At first this wasn’t seen as too big a problem, since it was theorized that a small number of Stone Age folk accidentally drifted as far as Flores after climbing onto thick mats of vegetation that sometimes form near the Southeast Asian coast. That seemed reasonable until local fishermen were consulted. They told of the Lombok Strait’s fiendishly shifting currents, vicious whirlpools, and unexpected waves far from shore. It seems with the strong current going through the strait it would be difficult if not impossible to drift across it.
One man, Robert G. Bednarik, decided to build a primitive craft and test what was needed to get across the strait. He made a bamboo raft out of local material using stone tools, then with a crew set off across the strait. It took him 12 hours, to cover a distance of 30 miles; and they had to paddle hard all the way to overcome the effects of the current. This suggests that it was very unlikely that Homo erectus got to Flores by accident but had to have a seaworthy watercraft and work very hard to get there. A raft is not an easy thing to paddle, but then their bones suggested that Homo erectus were stronger individuals than modern human beings. It is also a possibility that Homo erectus managed to swim across, because swimming 30 miles is not impossible for modern people. There is no-way of knowing just how aquatic Homo erectus was, because their bones tell us very little about this. They would certainly need to be very strong swimmers to overcome the strong currents of the strait.
It is of interest that an extinct member of the elephant family, stegodon, was also found on Flores. It is known that elephants are strong swimmers so if a elephant can swim across this channel then Homo erectus would be more than likely be able to do the same.
Even more controversial than this, is the possibility that Homo erectus made it all the way to Australia. Skeletons found in Kow Swamp, in northern Victoria, show features both of modern humans and Homo erectus. This suggests that Homo erectus got to Australia and there, evolved into modern humans. Unfortunately, this goes against the, “Out of Africa” theory that claims that modern humans evolved in Africa. So these finds go against not only the landlubber version of human evolution but the out of Africa theory as well, and for this reason these finds tend to be ignored by scientists outside of Australia.
Another problem is that the bones from Kow Swamp are dated to between 13,000 and 9,000 years ago, but there are skeletons of modern humans found in Australia from the same date, which suggests there were once two different species of humans living in Australia. This is similar to what happened in Europe where modern humans were once living alongside Neanderthals. What is interesting about this, is that both the Neanderthals and the Kow Swamp people were far more robust and stronger individuals than modern people.
If you watch sport or action adventure movies you might be forgiven for thinking that men are really strong creatures. Well I’m afraid to tell all you “macho” guys out there, but compared for size and weight the human animal is just about the weakest animal in the world. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a weakling compared with an average adult chimpanzee.
In most animals it seems that the males fight over the right to mate with the females. We see this clearly in animals like cattle and deer where males head butt each other until the weakest male backs down and the strongest mates with the females. We also see the same behaviour among cats and dogs and other carnivorous animals, where it is the strongest and most aggressive male who is more likely to pass on their genes.
The advantage of this according to Darwin’s theory of evolution is that because strongest and fittest males will mate and pass down their genes to the next generation the weaker males are eliminated from the gene pool of any species. This seems to work very well with many species of animal but there are exceptions, like human beings and bonobos.
What is remarkable about us, as a species of animal, is how weak we are. An average male chimpanzee is about three times as strong as the average man, even though he is smaller in stature, while the gorilla has about four times the strength of humans. This is also true of any other animal of about our size. A deer, dog or big cat of about the same weight as a human can run 3 to 5 times faster than the average human. One blow from a big cat or large ape will kill even a very strong man.
So why has the human become so weak compared with other animals of an equal size? Does this suggest that sometime during human evolution, the need for males to compete with each other to mate no longer became important for the survival of the species? This can be seen clearly in the relationship between Neanderthals and the first modern Humans over 40 thousand years ago in Europe. The skeletons of the Neanderthals showed they were far stronger and more heavily built than modern Humans living at that time. Both species had about the same sized brains and both used tools. Yet it was the Neanderthals that became extinct and not the physically weaker modern Humans. So it seems that the increased intelligence and tool making ability of Humans made the need for physical strength no longer an important aspect of survival.
The relationship between the Neanderthal and the first modern humans we can see in two species of chimpanzees today. The Congo River in Africa is one of the largest rivers in the World and is in some places over 10 miles wide. The result of this is that the chimpanzees living on different sides of the Congo River have evolved into two different species. Living on one bank is the normal chimpanzee you see in other parts of Africa but on the other bank is the bonobo. This is more lightly built than the heavier and stronger common chimpanzee.
Bonobo males, like humans, do not compete with each other through fighting for the right to mate with females. This is what makes both species physically weaker than chimpanzees and other animals of a similar size. 

[Photo by Fosco Maraini, from his book, Hekura, The Diving Girl’s Island.

It is a curious fact that in the entire Lemur species on the island of Madagascar the female is the dominant sex. It has been observed many times by biologists, that if a male lemur approaches a female before she has finished feeding, he is swiftly put in his place. Female lemurs drive males away from food until they and their young have eaten and will even jump at them, bite or cuff them. The males then retreat and give submissive calls.]
Unlike with bonobos, a powerful lesbian sisterhood does not reinforce this behaviour. It seems to be a part of the male Lemur’s genetic instinct. It has also been observed that when adult males begin issuing submissive signals to adolescent females, the young females are taken by surprise. After a while they figure out what’s going on and exploit it for their own advantage.
The theory put forward by the biologists observing this behaviour is that it is caused by the extreme weather conditions on Madagascar, which makes it very tough for the wild life living there. During four months of the year, the island experiences torrential downpours that nourish the lemurs’ food supplies of leaves and fruits. The other eight months of the year tend to be cold and dry. During these dry spells, lemurs rely on low quality foods like bamboo pith. Overall, survival is very difficult, more so for the female, than the male. Pregnancy and providing milk for infants require energy. So Lemurs cannot afford the luxury of males assaulting females, pinching their food or even feeding before the female and her young. This means that having males who are very submissive towards female is a very important consideration for the survival of the species. Lemur groups with alpha males would quickly die out because only the males would survive. This is because they would hog the scanty supply of food in the dry months, and the female and young would be the first to die. In female- dominated groups, even if only one male survives a bad year, he is still able to fertilize all the females. So survival pressures have made Lemurs on Madagascar matriarchal.
Scientists now believe that the Neanderthals died out because of the changing climate of Europe at the time of their extinction. But the mystery is why it was the Neanderthals that died out and not the first modern humans? The bones of Neanderthals show they were physically far stronger than humans. This suggests this greater strength was brought about in evolutionary terms by Neanderthals males fighting each other, in a test of strength for the right to mate, with only the strongest males reproducing. This made the species far stronger than humans. Because of their weaker body strength, it shows that male humans were not fighting each other for dominance and the right to mate. If we assume that the physically powerful Neanderthal had a similar society to present day chimpanzees, then females being at the bottom of the pecking order would have to always give way to males in disputes over food. This wouldn’t be a problem when they had food in abundance. Yet we know during the ice age food became very difficult to obtain at certain times of rapid climate change. So it would only be the alpha males who were allowed to feed and survive. The females and their children, being at the bottom of the pecking order, would be the first to die, and even if some females survived they would be so undernourished that they would be unlikely to be able to give birth and feed their young. This means that in times of scarcity the evolutionary strategy of only allowing the strongest and most aggressive males to breed would work against the Neanderthals. Although the alpha males would survive, as they would hog all the food available, without females they would be incapable of breeding a new generation.
On the other hand, the weaker modern humans didn’t use this evolutionary strategy. Their weak and slight bodies suggest they would be more like the bonobos with females at the top of the pecking order. It would then be more likely that the alpha females would survive in times of scarcity. The deaths of the lower order males wouldn’t be such a problem because it would only require a few males to survive to continue the breeding of the species. One male can father hundreds of children by different mothers. It wouldn’t even matter if the male died after he had done his job of fertilizing the females, as the caring of the children he fathered would be in the hands of the mothers.
This then means that in the changing climactic conditions, which brought about the extinction of the Neanderthals, it would be humans within a matriarchal society that would be more likely to survive.
It is true that in recorded history we have lived in a patriarchal society and this may have come about because of agriculture and the abundance of food that this created. While humans lived in conditions where survival was difficult, it would mean that matriarchal tribes would be the ones who survived and continued to breed. Certainly the Ice Age and the changing weather conditions made survival for all animals difficult. Then once the Ice Age had ended and the climate settled down into a stable pattern, human intelligence found ways to acquire an abundance of food. People began to grow crops and herd animals. Then the advantages of living in a matriarchal society for survival declined. This would allow patriarchal tribes ruled by alpha males to be created. They in turn made war on their more peaceful matriarchal neighbours who would be defenceless against organized male violence. In these conditions, abundance of food no longer gave matriarchal communities the advantage and put females on the lower end of the pecking order, as patriarchy would no longer be a threat to the survival of the tribe. This allowed men to indulge in their favourite pastime of war with other tribes, and so over a few thousand years the whole world would become patriarchal through this violence and warfare.

Showing Ama Divers who have climbed down the side of a cliff in bare feet with their heavy wooden tubs and were now about to put them in the water to start work diving. First having to carry them across the slippery rocks and heavy surf.]

 

Update 

Ancient hominids may have been seafarers

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/53219/title/Ancient_hominids_may_

Hominids Went Out of Africa on Rafts

http://www.pressalive.com/?p=10128

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CHAPTER ELEVEN – HIS-STORY AND HER-STORY

[Photograph by Fosco Maraini, from Japanese web-site.
Showing ama pushing the wooden tubes out to sea before they begin diving.]

In our politically correct world, the only people who appear to get away with sexist behaviour are Paleontologists, Anthropologists, Archaeologists and Historians. They are still able to refer to the whole of the human species as ‘man’, and totally ignore women. Even in science programs on TV they are able to give out their scientific theories as facts, only mention men and barely mention the contribution women have made.
It is not for nothing that feminists refer to history as his-story. There is a strong male bias in history and all the theories of prehistory. It would be hard for this to be otherwise, if you examine his-story.
His-story starts off about 5-6 million years ago with an ancestor very much like the modern day chimpanzee. In wildlife programmes that inform the public on the latest scientific research, the bonobo is hardly mentioned, but we receive a lot of information about chimpanzees, as they live in male- dominated communities. It has been discovered that chimpanzees hunt and kill smaller primates for food, so the impression is given that chimpanzee are carnivores. It is also emphasized that male chimpanzees fight wars with each other. This is a controversial point among Primatologists. Most of this behaviour was observed at Gombe National Park. Back in 1960 when Jane Goodall began to observe chimpanzees at Gombe, she found no evidence of extreme violent behaviour by the male chimpanzees. It is true she saw male chimpanzees charge and threaten each other, but she saw little evidence of actual violence. Yet as time went on, the behaviour of the males became more and more violent. It seems that when Jane Goodall first came to Gombe there were few humans living in the same area. But over time human habitation ended up completely surrounding the park. In addition, chimpanzees came to be regarded as, ‘bushmeat’ and many were hunted for food.
Other primatologists in other parts of Africa have claimed that they haven’t observed the extreme violent behaviour of chimps that is now commonplace at Gombe. It has been suggested that the stress of human beings encroaching on the chimpanzee’s territory, and the fact of being hunted for meat is making these chimpanzees very violent. The problem is that for filmmakers, chimpanzees getting on well with each other are boring; they prefer the drama of chimpanzees that hunt and fight each other. So films of the stressed -out chimps at Gombe makes far more ‘interesting’ viewing. The problem is that if the public is told that the chimp is like our distant ancestor, and its behaviour is only shown at Gombe, then it justifies the notion that humans are naturally violent. Also, ignoring the behaviour of the bonobo gives the public the idea that male dominance is also ‘natural’ for human beings. To explain how this chimpanzee-like ancestor evolved into a man, we are presented with the mighty hunter theory. The general public never gets to hear about the dispute surrounding this theory so the idea stays intact of the killer ape that became more intelligent than other apes through his hunting skills. In all these theories women are hardly mentioned at all.
When humans first arrived in America, at the official date of 12 thousand years ago, many of the large animals that lived there, like elephants, camels, horses, giant beavers, sabre toothed cats etc, all became extinct. So it was immediately assumed it was man who caused this. We had stories of man the big game hunter, killing mammoths and causing mass exstinction. A similar extinction went on in Europe, Siberia and Australia so again man was blamed. This confirmed the killer ape thesis; man the mighty hunter brought about mass extinctions in America, Europe, Northern Asia and Australia. The problem was that this didn’t happen in Africa where man first evolved. After all it was where man first learnt his hunting skills, on the African savannah, so why didn’t men cause mass extinctions in Africa as well? It could be that there was another reason why the animals become extinct.
In more recent times, as scientists have found out more about what happened during the last Ice Age and it has been realized, that these mass extinctions were more likely to happen through rapid climate change. As a result, men hardly get a mention in some of the latest research into the mass extinctions of the last Ice Age.
Then there is the extinction of Neanderthal man. It was known that modern man and Neanderthal man lived in Europe at the same time. So if Neanderthal man became extinct, then it must have been man the killer ape that did this. So we are presented with the drama of a brutal fight to the death between the two humanoid species with modern man coming out on top. The problem is, there is no real evidence for this, and again it has been realized that the Neanderthals also became extinct at a time of rapid climate change. So it seems that humans were able to survive these changing conditions but the Neanderthals didn’t.
Then suddenly man became civilized about five thousand years ago. He changed suddenly from a brutish cave man and created sophisticated civilizations, like ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, overnight. The fact that the first civilizations happened during the Neolithic age is hardly mentioned. Since then we have had recorded history, but even in this, women still hardly get a mention. Everything worthwhile throughout his-story has been created and invented by man; with women are only good for looking after children.
So that is his-story, created by male academics. What we very rarely hear is her-story, unless you read feminist literature. Many academic feminists like Marija Gimbutas, Elaine Morgan, Merlin Stone and Barbara Walker have attempted to tell her-story but this is regarded as being a minority subject.
Her-story like his-story starts 5-6 million years ago, when the ancestor of human beings is a bonobo- like creature. This ape lives in female-dominated societies like the present day bonobo. It is able to defuse aggression and violence through sexual behaviour, and the women stick together in a powerful sisterhood. Like the bonobo, it lives near rivers and lakes and forages in water for food. This seems to be the behaviour of the Australopithecus, one of our ancestors, which lived in an environment like the present-day bonobo’s. This ape found that it could escape from predators by climbing trees or wading into water, but of the two, wading was much more unproblematic. Running into the water, for pregnant females or ones carrying small children would be easier than climbing trees. This is similar behaviour to the hippopotamus, which in spite of its large size doesn’t feel safe out of the water and can be a dangerous animal if you get between it and water.
It is true some rivers have crocodiles in them but this is not true of all rivers in Africa. Surprisingly, not all species of river crocodiles are dangerous to humans. After a while, some of these apes will follow the river down to the sea and begin foraging on the seashore. Through millions of years of evolutionary time these apes will become more and more aquatic. Living both in wetlands and on beaches.

[Photograph by Fosco Maraini, from his book, Hekura, The Diving Girl’s Island, of an ama diver sculling a boat out to sea.]

There will be times when they will over- fish the shallows and have to venture further out to find seafood. This will force them to duck their heads below the surface to reach food deeper than they can normally reach with their arms. In time this behaviour will result in these apes learning to dive below the surface of the water and to swim further out.Even in tropical waters it is possible to get cold spending too long in the water, so apes with body fat around them will have the advantage of being able to forage longer in the water. Fur will become a drag while swimming, so apes with less fur will swim better. So evolutionary pressure will favour apes with less fur and more body fat. As females will find the water a safer environment than males, it may cause a division of labour, where females forage in the sea or rivers and males forage on land. This will be why females are more aquatic than males. 

It seems that this ape thrived, living in the sea. From the sea it was getting the brain food to develop its brain. Wading most of the time forced it to learn how to walk on two legs all the time. As the females became more aquatic and learnt how to swim out beyond their depth, it was possible for them to collect more food than the males foraging on land. These apes living on the coast would need a supply of fresh water and where there wasn’t a nearby river this could be provided by coconut milk.

With the increase in brain size this ape began to use its brain. Early tool use probably came with breaking open shellfish and coconuts with a club or stone. Woman divers, in digging out shellfish from rocks underwater, would use digging sticks. An early method of catching fish came with using fish traps. These early humans would already find fish trapped in pools left by the outgoing tide. So to increase production they would dig bigger pools and block any channel that allowed the water to drain away in the outgoing tide and allow the fish to escape. In Australia, purpose built fish traps have been discovered, built by Aborigines and constructed with rocks. They also may have started to learn how to construct crude shelters.

Rafts were probably the first sea craft constructed. These would be very helpful for women divers, not only as a platform from which to dive but somewhere to put the food they are collecting from the sea. They might have been used to paddle out to offshore islands to find more food; if they over fished the areas they were living in.

One of the mysteries of understanding the way modern humans emerged out of Africa is explaining how they got to Australia before the first humans reached Europe, which is a lot closer. It has been suggested that modern humans took: “the scenic route out of Africa”. In other words, they followed the coastline all the way from Africa to Australia. For this to happen it suggests that the human population was thriving and expanding by living on the coast. Some may have moved inland and halted the process of becoming aquatic, because they still bred with coastal peoples. This would slow down the rate at which the race developed aquatic features.

On the other hand, an increase in population would also force some humans further out to sea. This is because the shallows would be in danger of being over fished, forcing women to make rafts and dive in deeper and deeper waters. In going out further from land, they would have to learn the art of seawomanship, as there would be times when wind and currents take them out of sight of land, and they had to find their way back. In so doing they will find islands beyond what they can see on the horizon. We know the art of seawomanship would have been learned as far back as 50,000 years ago, because modern humans had to be able to sail beyond the horizon to reach Australia.

Rafts are not the best way to paddle along and therefore there would be pressure to invent something better, either creating a primitive form of sail or learning to hollow out logs to make dugout canoes. Sometimes logs rot from the inside so by cleaning out the rotten wood a crude canoe can be created. This may be how the first dugout canoes were produced.

At this time women would be the dominant sex; this is because on the coast women, being more aquatic than men, would provide the bulk of the food for the tribe. So women would have a higher status than men, and perhaps like in haenyo communities of recent times, men looked after the children on land while the women worked in the sea. Even when some humans began to live inland, and adopted the gatherer/hunter lifestyle, women were still the main breadwinners. All over the world Stone Age people seem to adopt the roles of women gathering food and men hunting. (Though this is not always true; anthropologists have observed Stone Age communities where women do the hunting). Although in his-story the role of hunting is greatly emphasised, in the tropics hunting by men is not very efficient. Even when they invented sophisticated weapons like the bow and arrow, the woomera spear thrower and the boomerang, most hunts end up unsuccessful. Then the tribe is totally reliant on gathering by women for reliable and sustainable food. In many cases it seems that the hunting is more a sport for the men. In tribes in Africa men don’t have a lot to do, women gather the food, look after the children and build the huts. So men spend their time hunting or making war on other tribes.

This changed when humans began to venture north to the colder climates of northern Europe and Asia. In the cold winters there was little food to gather and the tribe became dependant on what food the men could hunt. This increased the status of men within the tribe, a factor that was to later change the course of human history.

This is probably what happened to the Neanderthals. It seems that they lived in a cold climate and survived mostly through hunting. Men became the dominant sex in Neanderthal society. This is confirmed by the robust nature of their skeletons, which showed them to be far stronger physically than modern humans, even though they were smaller in stature. Their strong build happened because the males competed with each other for sexual access to females and only the strongest males were allowed to mate.

The Neanderthal’s smaller size suggested that they weren’t being fed as well as the modern humans that also invaded Europe. Or perhaps the Neanderthal children were not being fed properly. If women were at the bottom of the pecking order of Neanderthal society, then they would find it difficult to feed their children properly. They would only feed when the men had sated their appetite, so the children having less food, were very unlikely to grow to full height.

Human civilization started in the Neolithic age, going back 10,000 years, though it could have started even before this. It was probably women who started civilizations because being the gatherers of the tribe; it would be they who began to plant the seeds that they gathered. What archaeologists have discovered is that these first civilizations were completely peaceful. They found no evidence of weapons of war, fortifications or images of violence. They also worshipped goddesses. No one knows when religion got started, but when human beings began to think of a great intelligence that created the world, they first assumed that it must be female, because the whole of human and animal life is created within the bodies of mothers. So they believed in a deity called the Great Mother who gave birth to the whole world. We find that ancient Neolithic civilizations created many feminine images of Goddesses.

Then about 5,000 years ago there was a big change. Warlike patriarchal tribes from the North conquered these peaceful matriarchal civilizations. Having no weapons or even any desire to fight, these civilizations were easily conquered. In the place of the Great Mother, the men introduced male warrior gods. This was the beginning of the patriarchal age, where men began to rule instead of women.

It seems that the patriarchal society took a long time to take root in human society. At first it would only be the rulers who were patriarchal, while the ordinary people followed their ancient matriarchal customs. Even the rulers were not immune to the influences of the female. In early his-story, marriage was unknown, so men had no way of knowing who their children were. This means that the powerful families who ruled early patriarchal civilizations still had to pass power and wealth down the female line. In ancient Egypt, for a man to become a Pharaoh, he had to marry his sister and in one case the Pharaoh had to marry his mother!

This problem was finally overcome with the introduction of patriarchal style marriage, where the wife was forced to remain ‘faithful’ only to her husband. In many societies, a woman could be executed if she had sex with another man besides her husband. Even today, in some Islamic countries, there are ‘honour’ killings where a husband has a ‘moral’ right to kill his wife if she is unfaithful to him, or even just disobey him. Though the husband still had the right to have sex with other women.
It seems that the last stronghold of matriarchy was the sea-people, who still followed their ancient practices because women remained the main breadwinner in these communities. Those that remain are a living link to our past, when women were important, revered and crucial to the well being of any society. We have forgotten that society can be anything other than male-centred, and in so doing, have lost sight of how peaceful, loving and cooperative a female led community can be. Mermaids point us towards our past, when we lived near water and adapted ourselves to it over millennia. They show us the strength and intelligence of women divers; their capacity to cull food from the sea. But they can also hint at the future, when capable, wise and matriarchal women could solve the problems of our male-dominated, violent and rapacious world.

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