by Philip Coppens
Are the Indian
remains of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, their sudden
abandonment and the apparent discovery of an ancient
site with a layer of radioactive ash the best available
evidence for the possibility that our ancient ancestors
possessed a highly advanced technology - which might
Did an ancient advanced - if not extra-terrestrial - civilization
exist on Earth?
The question is very intriguing and despite the
academic ridicule that has been bestowed on the likes of Erich von Däniken and
Zecharia Sitchin, the idea has caught the world’s
imagination, with the help of Hollywood and shows such as Stargate
But apart from a battle for our hearts, there is also a battle for
our minds: is there evidence that ET visited and lived here,
Many possible scenarios and theories have been put
forward, from statements that Atlantis was a high tech civilization,
leaving us an as yet undiscovered Hall of Records and the pyramid
complex at Gizeh, to the possibility that the
Nazca lines might be a
In 2007, the latter was voted as one of the Fortean Wonders of the
World. Nazca’s popularity is almost singularly due to Erich von
Däniken, whose approach in his quest for serious consideration of
the “ET question” has been to point out various anomalies, resulting
in a pool of evidence that is then queried as to whether together,
this could - should - be seen as evidence of either an alien or a
highly technologically advanced civilization.
What his approach has revealed, is that science in the 1960s thought
it had all the answers, but largely had to perform much additional
research. Today, this has meant that some of the sites, such as
Nazca, have received a more proper scientific study.
In a larger context, von Däniken’s “body of evidence” has also
enabled easier acceptance of sites such as
Caral, which truly have
made the “New World” as “Old” - if not older - revealing many
parallels between the two continents. To some extent, von Däniken
has fought “their battle”, eased the scientific acceptance of Caral
It is therefore clear that von Däniken has had an impact on
archaeology, but, equally, since first airing the question whether
or not we have alien ancestors, the answer has remained a negative:
there is, four decades later, no hard evidence ET landed on Earth.
Another popular ancient astronaut author is Zecharia Sitchin, who,
in origin, decided to focus on a more specific area,
civilization, and analyzed every detail of its myths and history,
claiming the devil was in the detail:
that hidden inside these
myths, when properly translated and explained, was clear evidence of
an alien component of this civilization, which he then set out to
write down in a series of books, The Earth Chronicles, beginning
The Twelfth Planet in 1976.
Like von Däniken, Sitchin’s work has been popular, but unlike von
Däniken, Sitchin has definitely failed in making any impact on the
scientific community - though he has made a major contribution to
the “conspiracy theories” out there, who see some of the wars fought
in the Middle East as having a “clear” alien component.
That Sitchin’s work had this result is remarkable, as his approach
might seem to be more scientific - and perhaps better:
he focused on
the quest for the “best evidence”, a single piece of evidence that
in itself is the best example to support a conclusion.
The term is
used in court, and is the so-called “smoking gun”:
your case for the jury, what single piece of evidence would convince
that jury that a person is guilty of the allegation?
So, even though Sitchin has failed, in the search for an advanced
ancient civilization, what would be this “best evidence” that could
convince the jury ET dropped by, many millennia ago?
First, we need to assume that ET somehow will have left physical
traces of his presence, and that this trace has withstood the test
of time. A spaceship landing off the shores of some country, ET
walking on the beach and speaking with the local inhabitants, will
have left no physical trace, except, perhaps, an oral or written
tradition of “some ancestor” conversing with “a being” on the shore
“a long time ago”.
We should hope this being left some gift with the
ancestors, and that they carefully preserved it, and that this gift
can be shown to be of alien origin. But this is not a given.
The “best evidence” therefore needs to be long-lasting, and a clear
sign of an advanced civilization; the so-called “oop-arts” (out of
place artifacts) such as the
Antikythera machine, the
etc., are all in themselves not evidence of an advanced
extra-terrestrial civilization, but “merely” evidence that some of
our ancestors, or entire civilizations, were far more clever than
academics were willing to grant them.
Though von Däniken has made
tremendous impact here, it is, as mentioned, not part of the real
battle he wants to win.
Within our current mindset, detailed changes to the
structure could be seen as evidence of a highly advanced
manipulation, outside the scope of any of our earthly ancestors.
Indeed, Sitchin has looked towards such genetic manipulations and
claims to have “read” such accounts in the Sumerian myths; others
who have read the same accounts nevertheless remain unconvinced.
However, at present, our understanding of the gene pool does not
allow us to even begin to look where we could find evidence inside
that gene pool whether ET intervened in it or not.
One of the other “best candidates” for best evidence is the conquest
atom-nuclear warfare, which according to Sitchin is
precisely what occurred in the Middle East in the third millennium
BC. In support for this conclusion, he has consistently relied upon
photographs of the Sinai Peninsula, taken from space. They
purportedly show an immense cavity and crack in its surface, showing
us where the nuclear explosion has taken place.
He adds that the
area is strewn with crushed, burnt and blackened rocks, which
contain a highly unusual ratio of isotope uranium-235,
in expert opinions exposure to sudden immense heat of nuclear
origin”, to quote Sitchin.
Alas, Sitchin provides no further detail
who these experts are, or where they have expressed such opinions,
thus weakening his own case for what would otherwise be very good
In recent publications, Sitchin has also argued that the “Climate
Change and the Collapse of the Akkadian Empire - Evidence from the
Deep Sea” article, which was published in the April 2000 issue of
“Geology”, is confirmation of his claim.
The essay argues that an
unusual climate change occurred in the areas adjoining the Dead Sea,
which gave rise to dust storms and that the dust - an unusual
“atmospheric mineral dust” - was carried by the prevailing winds
over the Persian Gulf.
According to Sitchin, this was due to an,
“uncommon dramatic event that occurred near 4025 years before the
present”, or ca. 2025 BC.
He adds that the Dead Sea level fell
abruptly by 100 meters at the time, underlining that something truly
catastrophic did happen.
Alas, consultation of the report itself reveals that Sitchin has
been more than “selective” in his summary of this report. Though the
reports states a catastrophe occurred, the report clearly reveals
that the likely cause of this climate change was a volcanic eruption
- not a nuclear explosion. Though the report is unable to identify
which volcano was responsible for this sudden climate shift, the
report clearly correlates the presence of volcanic ash with the
In short, it is not evidence of a nuclear
explosion at all; it is evidence of a so far unidentified volcanic
eruption. As there are references to “volcanic ash” in the abstract
and summary of the report, the question should be asked why Sitchin
failed to see this.
The problematic verification of Sitchin’s claim is not a new
allegation and is a known problem for his theories. Furthermore,
despite decades of searching, he seems to have been unable to find
supporting evidence that the Sinai Peninsula is indeed strewn with
This does not invalidate his theory as such, but has
stopped him - and “the ancient astronaut cause” in general - to
advance. Indeed, his often-maligned unscientific methodology of
writing has been seen by some as hurting, more than advancing, that
Another candidate for a nuclear explosion, so far left untouched by
most of the “ancient astronaut proponents”, is the Indus River
Valley, where towns such as Harappa and
Mohenjo Daro flourished in
3000 BC, but were then quickly abandoned. One answer that has been
put forward is that the ancient cities might have been irradiated by
an atomic blast.
If true, it would be impossible to ignore the
conclusion that ancient civilization possessed high technology.
The ruins of
What this candidate has in its favor is that a layer of radioactive
ash was indeed found in Rajasthan, India.
It covered a three-square mile area, ten
miles west of Jodhpur. The research occurred after a very high rate
of birth defects and cancer was discovered in the area. The levels
of radiation registered so high on investigators’ gauges that the
Indian government cordoned off the region.
apparently unearthed an ancient city where they found evidence of an
atomic blast dating back thousands of years: from 8,000 to 12,000
years. The blast was said to have destroyed most of the buildings
and probably a half-million people. So far, this story seems to have
all the necessary credentials.
Archaeologist Francis Taylor stated that etchings in some nearby
temples he translated, suggested that they prayed to be spared from
the great light that was coming to lay ruin to the city.
“It’s so mind-boggling to imagine
that some civilization had nuclear technology before we did. The
radioactive ash adds credibility to the ancient Indian records
that describe atomic warfare.”
Furthermore, when excavations of Harappa
and Mohenjo-Daro reached the street level, they discovered skeletons
scattered about the cities, many holding hands and sprawling in the
streets as if some instant, horrible doom had killed its
People were just lying, unburied, in the streets of the
city; there seemed no-one available to bury them afterwards.
What could cause such a thing? Why did the bodies not decay or get
eaten by wild animals?
Furthermore, there is no apparent cause of a
physically violent death. Furthermore, Alexander Gorbovsky, in
“Riddles of Ancient History” (1966, Soviet Publishers, Moscow), reported the
discovery of at least one human skeleton in this area with a level
of radioactivity approximately fifty times greater than it should
have been due to natural radiation.
Furthermore, thousands of fused
lumps, christened “black stones”, have been found at Mohenjo Daro.
These appear to be fragments of clay vessels that melted together in
Another curious sign of an ancient nuclear war in India is a giant
crater near Mumbai (formerly Bombay).
The nearly circular
Lonar crater (below image), located 400 kilometers northeast
of Mumbai and dated at less than 50,000 years old, could be related
to nuclear warfare of antiquity.
No trace of any meteoric material,
etc., has been found at the site or in the vicinity, and this is the
world’s only known “impact” crater in basalt.
Indications of great
shock (from a pressure exceeding 600,000 atmospheres) and intense,
abrupt heat (indicated by basalt glass spherules) can be ascertained
from the site.
With the apparent discovery of this radiated area, parallels were
quickly drawn to the
Mahabharata, the Indian epic, which indeed
speak of doom and destruction.
... (it was) a single
Charged with all the power of the Universe.
An incandescent column of smoke and flame
As bright as the thousand suns
Rose in all its splendor...
...it was an unknown weapon,
An iron thunderbolt,
A gigantic messenger of death,
Which reduced to ashes
The entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.
...The corpses were so burned
As to be unrecognizable.
The hair and nails fell out;
Pottery broke without apparent cause,
And the birds turned white.
After a few hours
All foodstuffs were infected...
....to escape from this fire
The soldiers threw themselves in streams
To wash themselves and their equipment.
Whereas the story of the Mahabharata is
indirect evidence, the archaeological discoveries in India pose
serious problems for those trying to deny the possibility that this
might indeed be evidence of
ancient atomic warfare.
believing in the existence of
Atlantis or a highly advanced
civilization that might not have left any trace is one thing, to
suggest that our ancestors might have wiped themselves out along the
same lines we were in fear of accomplishing during the latter half
of the 20th century is a major paradigm shift.
Is this the best evidence?
One skeptic stated:
“I am sick and tired of hearing this
[the possibility of an atomic explosion in India], and I cannot
find any debunks of this either. Anyone who can debunk this, or
is this really true?”
That is indeed the question… and an
The stakes are high, as one would expect when facing
the best evidence.
So, let us examine what might be the best evidence.
question is whether the named archaeologist Francis Taylor existed.
Alas, no-one has ever been able to identify him. There is a Francis
Taylor, an American museum director, who died in 1957. He was,
however, not an archaeologist. There is a “Francisco Taylor”, but
he is not the above quoted Francis Taylor.
Hence, not a good start.
Skeptics have also wondered whether the
ancient atomic warfare is not a modern invention, to deflect
attention away from a serious - modern - atomic contamination. In
1998, it was reported that some Indian power stations had major
problems. One had an incident in which 2000 workers became exposed
to excess radiation, 300 of which had to be hospitalized.
Surendra Gadekar investigated the conditions of villagers at
Rawatbhatta in Rajasthan and confirmed there were indeed gross
radiation-related deformities. We note that Rawatbhatta is in the
same region as the discovery of the “ancient warfare” site.
But Gadekar did not find evidence of ancient warfare, but did find
evidence of modern negligence:
wood that had been used in the power
plant, had then “somehow” made its way into the local community,
where it was subsequently used as wood for a fire.
This in itself
was a minor incident, but could there have been more serious
incidents, whereby a decision was made to create an “ancient
Though a possibility, there is no evidence to back up this
conclusion at present.
Regrettably, we also find that there are no newspapers that carried
the story of the discovery. The Indian archaeological authorities
are not aware of the story. And as there is a government laboratory
in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, the question is whether something might have
gone wrong there.
With the above objections, the case for the best evidence has become
more controversial than a straightforward case. Still, it is clear
that the counterarguments have not demolished the potential of this
Alas, in this case, neither side of the debate has truly embraced
trying to prove or disprove the allegations. Indeed, it is
remarkable that this has not happened, noting the potential that
resides within it, as well as the multi-disciplinary approach that
this cause allows.
Are the proponents of the case unwilling to stake their “reputation”
on it? Perhaps. But even if they were to fail, Rome was not built in
one day, and arguing for or against the case of an ancient highly
advanced civilization will not take any less time.
Until the subject is seriously tackled, the bodies of Harappa and
remain a mystery, whether or not the Indian radioactive
site turns out to be modern or ancient, it is, at least, an
uncontested fact that the site was radioactive. The anomalous crater
adds power to the possibility and so does other circumstantial
Finally, the fact that all these enigmas are within one general
region (as opposed to scattered across the world) adds even further
weight to the case… but then this should be expected if we were to
consider this case to be the best evidence.
The problem of the “best evidence” is
often that it sounds too good to be true. That is either because it
is, or because it is indeed the “best evidence”.
And only careful analysis of the
evidence will reveal what is what.