Building in Other Localities

It may seem an unlikely place to look for clues to the past inhabitants of Egypt, but the pieces of this puzzle are scattered far and wide. The Museum of the Canaries on the island of Gran Canarie boasts the largest collection of Cro-Magnon skulls in the world. Also of interest are agricultural terraces built from rounded boulders, of unknown origin, found throughout the islands. On the island of Tenerife lies a pyramid complex made of black volcanic stone. The architectural and engineering techniques used to build its six "step"-style pyramids are similar to those found in Mexico, Peru, and ancient Mesopotamia. The main pyramid complex, including its plazas, was found to be astronomically oriented to sunset at the summer solstice in the same way the pyramids of Egypt were oriented to cardinal points. (Before the Pharaohs)

The finest platform masonry, such as that found at Ahu Tahiri (one of the two ahu at Vinapu on Easter Island), consists of ‘enormous squared and tooled stones, that turn the edge of the toughest modern steel’. The best facade slabs commonly weigh 2 or 3 tons. At Vinapu one of the polished basalt slabs measures 2.5 by 1.7 m (8 by 5.5 ft) and weighs 6 or 7 tons, while one at Ahu Vai Mata is 3 by 2 m (10 by 6 ft), and weighs 9 or 10 tons. The cyclopean masonry of Ahu Vinapu and certain other platforms is reminiscent of that of ‘Incan’ (or rather pre-Incan) monuments to be found at Cuzco, Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, and Sillustani in Peru. John Macmillan Brown writes: The colossal blocks are tooled and cut so as to fit each other. In the Ahu Vinapu and in the fragment of the ahu near Hangaroa beach the stones are as colossal as in the old Temple of the Sun in Cuzco, they are as carefully tooled, and the irregularities of their sides that have to come together are so cut that the two faces exactly fit into each other. These blocks are too huge to have been shifted frequently to let the mason find out whether they fitted or not. They must have been cut and tooled to exact measurement or plan. There is no evidence of chipping after they have been laid. Every angle and projection must have been measured with scientific precision before the stones were nearing their finish.2 (74)

The official position is that all Easter Island’s platforms are simply variations of the marae platforms of central and eastern Polynesia, which were socio-religious centres and shrines to ancestral gods. Vinapu’s megalithic stone wall is said to bear only a superficial resemblance to the classic ‘Incan’ masonry because, unlike the solid block construction used in Peru, the Easter Island walls are merely a facing of slabs that mask a rubble core. However, there are also striking similarities with the pre-Incan Andean style of masonry. Each slab is convex or pillow-shaped, with slightly bevelled edges, and stones with projecting edges are fitted into stones with receding edges. The blocks are irregularly shaped, fit together with the utmost precision, and small holes or chinks are filled with perfectly fitted stones. A block in one corner of the Vinapu wall has a projecting knob – just like many large blocks in Peru. The corners of the seawall are rounded, and its entire face is in fact slightly convex, again as in the Andes. Prof. Camila Laureani, a connoisseur of Tiahuanaco- and ‘Inca’-type masonry writes: ‘Ahu Vinapu is an architectonic construction which combines the essential characteristics of the structures in the Altiplano of Peru-Bolivia in a manner so evident that one cannot doubt the arrival on the island of a contingent of these people.’ (74)

…we also took advantage of Trigg's flying skills to go tearing around the skies in a chartered plane for a couple of hours so that we could see the Road and other mysteries of Bimini from the air. Despite haze and cloud that morning we had no difficulty in spotting the 800 metre long, 20 metre wide main axis of the reverse-J with its characteristic shoreward curve to the south-east. It was also easy to make out the point at which the axis bifurcated into two narrower parallel piers, each 5 metres wide, separated by a 10- metre wide strip of sand running all the way to the northern terminus of the structure. Through the crystal-clear water we could even see individual blocks - some of them gigantic, some much smaller, all seemingly arranged and oriented in a highly organized manner. The two shorter segments shoreward of the 'J' ran absolutely parallel to one another and again showed interesting combinations of small and large blocks - including seven particularly enormous megaliths lying side by side near the southern end of the inner segment. It reminded me, I realized, much less of a road or any kind of thoroughfare than it did of the great earth diagrams - the long straight lines and the animal, insect, bird and fish figures - of the Nazca plateau in southern Peru. Whether by accident or by design these works of geometry and stone sprawled out on an ancient Atlantic beach and, long since submerged beneath the sea, had something of the same sense of scale and grandeur when viewed from the air. I was therefore intrigued to discover, as we continued the flight over Bimini's two main islands and lagoons, that in several densely wooded and uninhabited areas there were stony mounds with exposed surfaces the size of tennis courts on which nothing grew. The surface of one mound, only visible from the air, took the shape of a huge sea-horse. The surface of another was shaped like a giant fish complete with realistic fins and tail and, again, could only ever have been seen from the air. A third mound was geometrical, offering a rectangular surface to the sky.

The typical Bimini block is of dark, extremely hard stone, measures about 2 metres in length by a metre in width by half a metre high, weighs about a tonne, is pillow-shaped, slightly convex, and rounded off at the corners and edges. Many others are much smaller but there are dozens of true monsters of 5 tonnes or more, with a few selected individual blocks verging towards 15 tonnes. Contrary to the National Geographic Society research report I found that certain blocks in the 5-15 tonne range - some exceptional examples of which measured as much as 5 metres across - were propped up on small vertical supports, apparently of a completely different stone type, resembling stubby pillars. The effect of these supports - sometimes as many as five at a time - was to lift the big blocks completely clear of the bedrock foundation so that you could see underneath them from one side to the other. The most controversial aspect of this site is the history of the megalithic blocks. More directly put, are they beachrock blocks cut and shaped by man or were they formed naturally in situ? Their composition, most agree, is micritized shell hash, or beachrock, which through the continued process of solution and recrystalization of its cement by sea water rich in calcium carbonate has become extremely hard it comparison with modern beachrock. The authors of this paper theorize that, after their original formation in a beach environment, these blocks were removed, shaped and placed above water by human agency. Later as the sea-level continued to rise after the last glacial period, the blocks were again covered and micritization commenced. Newly formed beachrock is easily worked in comparison with the blocks of the site. Their extreme hardness caused the destruction of the diamond bit of our 80mm Core barrel after only 12 cores had been taken. Micritization, once again the on-going replacement of the calcium carbonate cement binding the shell hash, also contributes to the problem of dating these blocks. This is because the new cement contains an increasingly higher proportion of Carbon 14, thus making the sample appear younger than it actually is.' (Underworld) the northwest extremity of North Bimini, under only fifteen feet of water, Valentine found a vast expanse of pavement made of flat, rectangular or polygonal stone slabs. All were obviously man­made. These stone slabs had been submerged for many thousands of years, as evidenced by their edges, which had been rounded by the movement of sand over a very, very long time. The biggest slabs were nine to fifteen feet long and formed the whole width of the paved avenues, and in some spots more than one layer of stones could be seen. The size and form of these slabs, as well as the precise cuts and joints, reminded one of the stone slab ruins on both sides of the Atlantic - the Giza and Baalbek monuments and the temples of Cuzco and Tiahuanaco. (Our Cosmic Ancestors)

Although there are theories, and a date in the seventh century AD is preferred by most scholars, no archaeologist is in a position to state with certainty how old the Masuda-no Iwafune really is or what its original function might have been. There are some indications of astronomical orientation but these are too vague to be of any use, and, as the Asuka Historical Museum admits, the 'actual purpose' of the great megalith 'remains a mystery'. (Underworld)

Unlike Kerama, where the dive site is far out in the open sea, Yonaguni's main monument lies close to the present southern shore under a glowering mudstone cliff. The locals call it 'Iseki Point' ('Monument Point') and make much of its terracing; however, this is not the only aspect of the site that impresses me. Less obvious, but more persuasive, is the way that the whole layout seems to be organized cardinally and ceremonially. Tucked in behind the north-west corner of the monument and oriented east-west, two huge, clean-cut megaliths, thought to weigh about 100 tonnes each, lie stacked side-by-side like slices of toast. It is obvious that they bear a striking resemblance to the parallel megaliths of Mount Nabeyama in Gifu Prefecture. I suggest that they are unlikely to have fallen into such a position by chance, that they are intended as a focal point, and that the gap between them, as at Gifu, may prove to have a solar alignment (in this case equinoctial rather than solstitial). They are approached through a narrow tunnel of big, symmetrical boulders piled on top of one another in two courses. To the south and west are what appear to be the ruins of a walled complex with a curved ramp. A clearly defined path or causeway runs from west to east along the monuument's south face. At the extreme western end of the causeway the diver comes to a classic iwakura shrine, part natural rock, part man-made. If this shrine were to be moved to the slopes of Mount Miwa it would blend in seamlessly with what is already there.  (Underworld)

I suggest it is not a matter to be ignored that (a) Japan has a tradition of spectacular underwater structures that may only be reached by diving; (b) there are some indications of a memory that these structures were once above water; (c) the tradition is clearly associated with a hunter-gathering and fishing culture that idealizes much of what we know about the Jomon lifestyle in Japan after the end of the Ice Age and down to about 2000 years ago; (d) the tradition places the underwater structures amongst the Ryukyu islands; (e) divers in recent years have indeed observed a series of spectacular underwater structures in the Ryukyu islands - extending all the way from Yonaguni to Okinawa. (Underworld)

Dr Masaaki Kimura, Professor of Marine Geology at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa and his students have completed hundreds of dives around the main 'terrace monument at Yonaguni as part of a long-term project in which they have thoroughly measured and mapped it, produced a three-dimensional model, taken samples of ancient algae encrusted on its walls for carbon-dating, and sampled the stone of the structure itself. Professor Kimura’s unequivocal conclusion, based on the scientific evidence, is that the monument is man-made and that it was hewn out of the bedrock when it still stood above sea-level - perhaps as much as 10,000 years ago. The principal arguments that he puts forward in favour of human intervention are on the record and include the following:

1. 'Traces of marks that show that human beings worked the stone. There are holes made by wedge-like tools called kusabi in many locations.

2. 'Around the outside of the loop road [a stone-paved pathway connecting principal areas of the main monument] there is a row of neatly stacked rocks as a stone wall, each rock about twice the size of a person, in a straight line.'

3. 'There are traces carved along the roadway that humans conducted some form of repairs.'

4. 'The structure is continuous from under the water to land, and evidence of the use of fire is present.'

5. 'Stone tools are among the artifacts found underwater and on land.'

6. 'Stone tablets with carving that appears to be letters or symbols, such as what we know as the plus mark "+" and a "V" shape, were retrieved from under water.'

7. 'From the waters near by, stone tools have been retrieved. Two are for known purposes that we can recognize, the majority are not.'

8. 'At the bottom of the sea, a relief carving of an animal figure was discovered on a huge stone.’

9. On the higher surfaces of the structure there are several areas which slope quite steeply down towards the south. Kimura points out that deep symmetrical trenches appear on the northern elevations of these areas which could not have been formed by any known natural process.

10. A series of steps rises at regular intervals up the south face of the monument from the pathway at its base, metres underwater, towards its summit less than 6 metres below the waves. A similar stairway is found on the monument's northern face.

11. Blocks that must necessarily have been removed (whether by natural or by human agency) in order to form the monument's impressive terraces are not found lying in the places where they would have fallen if only gravity and natural forces were operating; instead they seem to have been artificially cleared away to one side and in some cases are absent from the site entirely.

12. The effects of this unnatural and selective clean-up operation are particularly evident on the rock-cut 'pathway' (Kimura calls it the 'loop road') that winds around the western and southern faces of the base of the monument. It passes directly beneath the main terraces yet is completely clear of the mass of rubble that would have had to be removed (whether by natural or by human agency) in order for the terraces to form at all. (Underworld)

…here is what Schoch says in Voices of the Rocks: Possibly the choice between natural and human-made isn't simply either/or. Yonaguni Island contains a number of old tombs whose exact age is uncertain. but that are clearly very old. Curiously the architecture of the tombs is much like that of the monument. It is possible that humans were imitating the monument in designing the tombs, and it is equally possible that the monument was itself somehow modified by human hands. That is, the ancient inhabitants of the island may have partially reshaped or enhanced a natural structure to give it the form they wished, either as a structure on its own or as the foundation of a timber, mud or stone building that has since been destroyed. It is also possible that the monument served as a quarry from which blocks were cut, following the natural bedding, joint and fracture planes of the rock, then removed to construct buildings that are now long gone. Since it is located along the coast the Yonaguni monument may even have served as some kind of natural boat dock for an early seafaring people. As Dr Kimura showed me, ancient stone tools beautifully crafted from igneous rock have been found on Yonaguni. Significantly, Yonaguni has no naturally exposed igneous rocks, so the tools, or at least the raw materials from which they were made, must have been imported from neighbouring islands where such rock is found. The tools could have been used to modify or reshape the natural stone structures now found underwater off the coast of Yonaguni. The concept of a human-enhanced natural structure fits well with East Asian aesthetics, such as the feng shui of China and the Zen-inspired rock gardens of Japan. A complex interaction between natural and human-made forms that influenced human art and architecture 8000 years ago is highly possible. (Underworld)

A large terraced structure of about 250 metres long and 25 metres height was studied south of the Arakawabana headland. Known locally as Iseki Point, the terraced structure is bound to the northern side of an elongated, approximately east-west trending structure, designated by Professor Masaaki Kimura, University of the Ryukyus, as an approach road. But our observation of the proposed road-like structure suggests that it is more likely to be a canal. The overall width of the terraced structure is around 100 m. From each of the terraces, a staircase leads downwards to the canal (road?). The length of the canal appears to be more than 250 m, while the canal has a width of 25m. …it appears in all probability that the terraced structure and canal might have served as a jetty before submergence to present depth. A large monolith that looks like a human head with two eyes and a mouth was studied at Tatigami Iwa Point. A human-cut large platform in the same monolith extends outwards at the base of the head. An approach way leads to this platform from the shore-side. The surrounding basal platform is quite large (about 2500 m2), and could easily have accommodated more than two thousand persons sitting. The human head and associated platform with an approach road are suggestive of an area of worship or community gatherings. Diving operations revealed caves at 8 to 10 m water depth at 'Palace' area. The entry to these caves was possible only through the large r metre radius holes on the cave roof. Inside the cave a boulder about 1 metre diameter engraved with carvings was observed. About 100 m towards the eastern side of the caves more rock engravings were noticed on the bedrock. These rock engravings are believed to be man-made. Diving operations revealed two big rectangular blocks measuring 6 metres in height, about 2.5 metres in width (both) and 4.9 metres thickness which have been located towards the western side of Iseki Point...These rectangular blocks are designated by Japanese workers as megaliths. These blocks have been located in between two natural rock outcrops. The approach way to these megaliths is through a tunnel measuring about 3 m long, 1 m high and 1 m width. The shape, size and positioning of these megaliths suggest that they are man-made. (Underworld)

"I don't say anything definite. Much more research must be done. But I agree that this is very amazing and very strange, even to me, how these structural buildings could be formed. I haven't seen such structures done by nature. I won't dare say anything else about human activities because I do not know anything about that." From a geologist as instinctively cautious and phlegmatic as Wolf Wichmann this was as close as I was ever likely to get to a confirmation that the rock-hewn stone circles of Kerama really could be man-made. It's not just the sense of organization of the structure itself. It's the fact that we have an ancient culture on these islands which made stone circles. They are known to have made stone circles and some of those circles still survive - not like Centre Circle, smaller, with the largest blocks about half a tonne, and usually much less. But the idea of a stone circle and, indeed, of interlinked stone circles, was something they did. So you know, when we look at Centre Circle and Small Centre Circle and we know that we're on a set of islands where we have an ancient culture called the Jomon, who are known to have made stone circles  then to me it's less extraordinary, in a way, to attribute it to them - to the Jomon - than it is to any unknown force of nature. I don't deny that nature often provides a sense of organization, but it's the unique character of this in a land where we have a very ancient culture, actually which existed from 16,000 years ago until 2,000 years ago, the Jomon, who made stone know, I start wondering. (Underworld)

A very interesting book was published some time ago by Glyn Daniel that registers the distribution of megalithic monuments all over the world and tells us that an enormous dolmen with a stone table weighing 600 tons stands in eastern Korea; so it seems that refugees from the sunken Atlantis even got as far as that. (Our Cosmic Ancestors)

Thor Heyerdahl, that indefatigable adventurer and explorer, proved this was not the case when he excavated a number of the Rano Raraku Moai in 1956 and again in 1987, discovering that, like icebergs, the larger part of their mass lies beneath the surface. Photographs from those excavations show statues that go down more than 9 meters (30 feet) beneath the ground into a deep thick sediment of yellow clay. Studying these images, it becomes immediately apparent that Schoch’s argument has merit and that there is no way, in just a few hundred years (as noted earlier, archaeologists maintain that production of the Moai stopped as recently as 1650) that such a massive amount of sedimentation could have accumulated. (Magicians of the Gods)

...comparisons between the burial customs of the Mississippi mound builders and the funerary mounds of Cuba...pointed out that the configuration and design of earthen structures found on the island suggest that they were the handiwork of a previously established culture... demonstrated the presence on the island of a sophisticated Neolithic culture which far exceeded the state of development of its Meso-Amerindian and Palaeo-Amerindian inhabitants. (Gateway to Atlantis