(DT): From a distance, you appear to have what
could be described as an ideal life Graham, travelling around
exotic and interesting places, exploring the edges of history
Are there any downsides, disappointments or
frustrations in your work?
GRAHAM HANCOCK (GH): I feel glad that I've
had the opportunity in this life to explore and spend time in so
many incredible, mysterious, profoundly moving ancient sites,
all around the world. It's been a great privilege to have the
opportunity to do this, and I have no complaints whatsoever.
grateful for my life. I have a lot of freedom and I've worked
from home since I was 29 as a matter of fact - that's when I
decided I couldn't work in a large organisation anymore, and
struck out on my own.
For a very long time I was completely
broke. Eventually I started to manage to make a living from it.
But I have no complaints.
I think I've been very fortunate and
I'm grateful for the life I've had the opportunity to lead.
DT: How long have you been working, brewing away on the
new book [Magicians of the Gods]?
GH: Well in a sense, 25 years. As a focused project, about 3˝
years, but this book draws on my interests and enquiries into
this field going back to the end of the 1980s.
DT: Now, if you had to advance a single most compelling piece of
evidence to support your theory, what would it be and why would
it be that?
GH: Well, it's more complicated than that.
This is not a problem
that can be solved by a magic bullet. This is a problem that
requires co-ordination of evidence from many different sources.
I would offer you three pieces of evidence that are all in a
sense joined together, and one of those pieces of evidence, a
very important piece of evidence, is something we have now, but
I didn't have when I wrote Fingerprints of the Gods in 1995.
It's effectively a smoking gun, globally. Scientific evidence
for a global cataclysm between 13,000 and 12,000 years ago.
was essentially the hypothesis I put forward in Fingerprints of
the Gods, that there had been a global cataclysm between 13,000
and 12,000 years ago, and it wiped out an advanced civilization,
and I speculated on many possible causes of that cataclysm - notably pole shift and Earth crust displacement.
What happened since 1995, and particularly since 2007, is that a
group of scientists have put before the scientific community - very little of this has yet leaked out to the public
- absolutely compelling evidence Earth suffered a series of
impacts from fragments of a giant comet, and these impacts
happened 12,800 years ago when several fragments hit the North
American ice cap, causing global flooding and radical climate
It happened again 11,600 years ago when more fragments
from the same comet came out of orbit and smacked down into an
ocean - almost certainly the Pacific - sending up a huge plume
of water vapor into the upper atmosphere and causing very
sudden global warming.
So the interval between those two
periods, the 1,200 years between 12,800 years ago and 11,600
years ago, is an episode of almost unparalleled global
cataclysm, coupled by massive extinction of animal species, the
mega mammals, the mammoth, the woolly rhino, and so on.
is the event that I believe lost us a whole civilization of
pre-history that previously has not entered the archaeological
Now, let's co-ordinate this with the latest discoveries in
archaeology. Remember that one of the two dates for that
cataclysm is 11,600 years ago. This was a sustained event that
involved two separate bombardments from fragments of a comet.
both occasions there were massive sea level rises and a global
The first occasion 12,800 years ago, the
second occasion 11,600 years ago, were also accompanied by
global flooding and massive sea level rises. It's therefore
intriguing that the archaeological site in south eastern Turkey,
Göbekli Tepe - which means 'pot-bellied hill' in the
Turkish language - was created 11,600 years ago by people who
already knew how to work with giant megaliths.
Göbekli Tepe is
an anomaly, because it's 7,000 years older than other megalithic
sites around the world, and yet it demonstrates,
is not the work of a group of hunter-gatherers who woke up one
morning and felt suddenly inspired to create the world's first
In my view, what we're looking at is a
transfer of technology, the knowledge brought by the survivors
of the lost civilization, including the knowledge of how to
create large-scale megalithic structures - and at exactly the
same moment 11,600 years ago we get this sudden and unexplained
appearance of a sophisticated megalithic site in south eastern
We also get the dissemination and uptake of agriculture in
exactly the same region, whereas previously the inhabitants had
been entirely hunter-gatherers.
I say again, what we're looking
at is a transfer of technology, the fingerprint of the survivors
of a civilization that was lost in the cataclysmic events
between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago.
And I mention a third point, the
age-old 'myth' of Atlantis, which
isn't actually that old because the version of it that comes
down to us - the only version that comes down to us - is in the
works of the Greek philosopher Plato.
Plato said he got the
story of the submergence and destruction of the advanced
civilization of Atlantis through his ancestor Solon, the Greek
law-maker who visited Egypt in 600 BCE, and there was told, by
Egyptian priests, the story of Atlantis.
And they said Atlantis
had been destroyed and submerged, having incurred the anger of
the gods, 9,000 years before the time of Solon.
We know that
Solon was in Egypt around 600 BCE, therefore they are talking
about 9,600 BCE in our calendar, 11,600 years ago, which is the
date precisely for the appearance of these hitherto unheralded
techniques of megalithic architecture and agriculture in the
region of south eastern Turkey.
DT: The cataclysm you're talking about has been staring us in
the face really, hasn't it?
GH: It has been staring us in the face, but I don't blame
historians and archaeologists for failing to get to grips with
it sooner than this.
Because the leading scientists in the field
have only really been compiling and presenting evidence on what
is now referred to as the
Younger Dryas comet for the last seven
or eight years.
It's a very recent discovery and the reason it's
a recent discovery is that the major impacts of this comet
12,800 years ago were on the North American ice cap. This was
still the Ice Age.
North America, as far south as New York, was
covered with ice, two miles deep, and at least four fragments of
the comet hit the ice cap.
But they did not leave prominent
craters on the ground because the craters were in the ice itself
and the vast heat and kinetic energy of the comet melted away
that ice, so the craters were transitory and what we have is
shock effect on the ground underneath.
Recently, a number of
craters have been found. The kind of craters that would be left
when an object hit a two mile deep ice cap and transferred its
shock to the bedrock underneath.
Much more important is the evidence of the Younger Dryas
scientific team - more than 30 scientists are working on the
Younger Dryas comet. That evidence is based on what I call
When you get an object coming in at 60 or 70
thousand miles an hour, and that object is a kilometer or two in
diameter, it has unbelievable quantities of kinetic energy, and
then you're looking at an explosive power in the range of the
entire nuclear arsenal of planet Earth, going up at once, with
any single one of these objects.
And there are certain, very
recognizable outcomes of this. One is melt glass. You have heat
unleashed in excess of the boiling point of quartz.
in excess of 2,200 degrees centigrade. This produces melt glass
which is indistinguishable from the melt glass we find as a
by-product of nuclear explosions. You also get carbon
micro-spherules and very distinct nano-diamonds that are caused
by the shock and heat.
These nano-diamonds are only visible
under a microscope, and they are combined with the melt glass,
the carbon micro-spherules, and other evidence all around the
They are compelling evidence for a gigantic cosmic impact
12,800 years ago.
And, by the way, it's exactly this kind of evidence that was
initially put forward to prove the asteroid that wiped out the
dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
There's only two occasions in
Earth's history, in the last 100 million years, that we get
precisely the same impact proxies spread around the world.
of them is the so-called
KT event 65 million years ago that
wiped out the dinosaurs.
And the other is the hitherto
unrecognized, but now very obvious extinction level event that
happened 12,800 years ago, and was caused by the Younger Dryas
I say "Younger Dryas" because that is the geological name
for the period between 12,800 years ago and 11,600 years ago
when the Earth's climate fell into a sudden and hitherto
unexplained deep freeze.
We now know the cause of this. It was
our interaction with the fragments of a giant comet, and the
effects were truly cataclysmic.
DT: Is it reasonable to suggest that mainstream academia, media
and science are wedded to a particular view of history?
GH: Yes. It is reasonable to suggest that, and it's not
It's just always the case
- when you have any
area of study, any discipline, whether it's geology or whether
it's archaeology for that matter - that a body of knowledge is
And respected elders have contributed to that body of
knowledge, and the new generation obviously respects the work of
their elders. And gradually what builds up is a reference frame,
a picture for how that area of study should be.
In the case of
archaeology, the picture that built up over the last 100 years
of work is of a slow evolution of civilization - that our
ancestors were hunter-gatherers and nothing more until perhaps 8
or 9 thousand years ago.
Then we begin to see the gradual
movement towards more permanent settlement and about 5,000 years
ago we get the first big cities and the first great megalithic
This is the picture of
civilization taught to us
by mainstream academic historians and archaeologists...
taught in the schools, it's by and large conveyed through the
media, but it is not a fact, it is a reference frame. It is a
reference frame built up by 100 years of archaeological study.
And this is, I think, the problem with archaeology and other
scientific disciplines that get locked in a particular reference
When new facts emerge that don't fit the reference frame,
they find it difficult to adjust to them, and the first step is
the attempt to discredit those facts. When more and more
evidence comes in that the existing paradigm can't explain,
eventually the paradigm gets overthrown.
A lot of good people
who've done a lot of good work, who are convinced they're right,
who respect the work of their elders, and who don't want to rock
the boat - I think that's the central problem.
It always happens
in science. No ideas change suddenly overnight without
overwhelming new evidence that the previous paradigm cannot
That's what we're finding in the field of history and
archaeology now - more and more new evidence coming in that
simply can't be explained by the existing reference frame of
DT: Would you care to speculate - if the theory that you're
advancing is indeed correct - what pre-history looked like? What
would history on Earth look like before this comet struck the
GH: A much more complicated world than the world portrayed to us
by mainstream historians and archaeologists.
Not a world
populated entirely by hunter-gatherers as they suggest, but a
world in which hunter-gatherers, and a more advanced civilisation, co-existed. This, in a way, is not odd.
think about it, we are a very advanced technological
civilization today - Western technology, the
industrial-technological-complex that has spread around the
world, but we are not alone.
We share the world with
hunter-gatherer people - hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari
Desert, for example, and in Southern Africa. Hunter-gatherers in
the Amazon Basin. There are even tribes in the Amazon Basin who
are completely un-contacted, who don't even know that we exist;
an advanced technological culture has not even impinged on their
So the co-existence of advanced technology with
hunter-gatherers that we see today, I would project that back
into the past, and I would say more than
13,000 years ago during
the Ice Age there was a much more advanced
civilization on this
planet, than is given credit for by historians and
It is remembered in myth and tradition all
around the world, and it's increasingly supported by recent
striking archaeological discoveries such as
DT: You mentioned two obvious cataclysmic events - the dinosaur
extinction and the Younger Dryas events. Is it possible there
have been other cataclysmic events that we have no inkling of?
GH: Certainly there have been other cataclysmic events, and we
do have inklings of them.
The only question is, whether they
affected the human species, and this becomes a matter for
further enquiry. I hold, for the moment, the view that
anatomically modern humans - people who look just like you and I
- have only existed on Earth for about 200,000 years.
well be that further discoveries will produce evidence of
earlier anatomically modern humans. I don't rule that out. But
at the moment the evidence points to the emergence of our
anatomically modern line about 200,000 years ago.
We have, for
example, a skeleton from Ethiopia, 196,000 years old, which is
indistinguishable from an anatomically modern human being. So
for these cataclysms to involve humanity and to impact the human
story, they need to have happened within a human timeframe.
is why the Younger Dryas event is so intriguing because not only
is it within the human timeframe, it's right on the edge, on the
border of a period when historians and archaeologists think
Yet they had not yet taken into account this
extinction level cataclysm, right in the backyard of history,
and I would say that until they do take it into account, all
their notions about the origins of civilization are up for
There have been multiple other global cataclysms of an
extinction level going back hundreds of millions, even billions
of years in the past.
These things happen from time to time, and
every time they happen they reset the clock on this planet, and
life changes due to these dramatic and radical events.
it's only the most recent one, the one that happened 12,800
years ago, that directly impacted the human story - and this
recent global cataclysm has not yet been taken into account in
the model building of our past by historians and archaeologists.
DT: Is it possible that mainstream science, the media, or even
the general population in a sense, don't want to know about our
own history as a species?
GH: There appears to be a kind of directive operating at
governmental level, not to say things too alarming.
particularly applies to issues that involve global cataclysms.
Anybody who's worked in the field of geology will know that
proposing a cataclysmic agent results in furious criticism.
There was a great geologist called
J. Harlan Bretz - whose work
I write about in Magicians of the Gods - who provided the first
evidence of cataclysmic flooding in North America, particularly
in the Pacific north-west, in the channeled scablands, an area
I researched quite intensively for Magicians of the Gods.
Harlan Bretz was absolutely 100% right, but it took from the
1920s, almost to the 1970s, before he was accepted as being
Prior to that he had been subjected to the most grievous
and unpleasant abuse, which a weaker man might not have borne.
In the end he turned out to be correct and he lived until the
age of 99.
And when he was awarded America's highest
a geologist, he said:
"My only regret
is that all my enemies are now dead, and I have no-one to
DT: If there is an active effort to forget or obscure history,
why would that be?
GH: I'm not sure. I don't want to go in the direction of a
I think it's just the way people's minds work. We
find it difficult to conceive of certain things, or apply them
to ourselves. There may be a conspiracy. I have to contemplate
this possibility a little bit in the book.
I don't like
conspiracy theories - it's an area of enquiry where facts get
thin on the ground and speculation gets very thick and long.
When I look at the way the catastrophists' ideas have been
systematically rubbished, sometimes for decades until proved
correct - the same was true, by the way, about the dinosaur
impact. Initially no scientists believed that either.
Walter Alvarez, who initially proposed the idea of a cosmic
impact 65 million years ago, were subjected to abuse and
persecution, and they too were eventually vindicated.
DT: Are you aware of the work of Steven and Evan Strong in
GH: I know Steven and Evan Strong. They were kind enough to show
me a number of interesting sites in Australia last year.
got a lot of respect for their leg work and they've opened my
mysteries in Australia which I do intend to look at in
Australia has not been a big focus of my work up
DT: Do you ever suffer from 'apocalypse fatigue'? It seems to be
a staple of human endeavor, doesn't it, thinking that a
cataclysm is around the corner?
GH: No, I don't suffer from 'apocalypse fatigue', and I don't go
around thinking that the end of the world is nigh, either.
think we should be paying much more attention to our cosmic
environment. At the moment the human race has its priorities all
We're capable of spending trillions of dollars a
year on weapons of mass destruction, quite ready to wipe each
other out and destroy this beautiful and precious habitat, the
Earth, that the universe has given us.
Humanity shows every sign
of being an insane species at the moment, an insane and
unconscious species, totally devoted to material production and
consumption, uninterested in matters of spirit. Negligent of
this beautiful garden in which we find ourselves.
If we were to take the responsibility of human life seriously,
we would closely and carefully inspect our immediate cosmic
I have drawn attention in the book to the fact that
the debris stream of the giant comet that caused the cataclysm
12,800 to 11,600 years ago is still in orbit. It's called the
Taurid meteor stream.
We pass it twice a year. If we were smart
we'd pay a great deal of attention to the objects that orbit in
the Taurid meteor stream. And if, as seems likely, some of them
threaten Earth in the future, we have the technology, we have
the ability to avert that danger.
I'm only interested in the
issue of future cataclysms to the extent that we can avoid them,
and that foreknowledge of them would help us avoid them, and I
believe that is the case with the cosmic threat.
There is a
threat, there is an ongoing danger. Most responsible and serious
astronomers would absolutely agree with that.
We mark World Asteroid Day on 30 June, which is an attempt to
draw attention to the dangers of our immediate cosmic
environment, and to do something about it. We're probably the
first civilization in the history of Earth that has the capacity
to intervene in our cosmic environment and to deflect or divert
objects that might threaten life.
I think we'd be doing a lot
better if we directed our resources more responsibly - a lot of
the money we spend on useless military pursuits at the moment - and
channeled it instead to a thoroughly worked out space-watch
project to ensure Earth never again suffers the kind of
disasters it suffered between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago.
are going down the path of insanity and madness with our
With all the fear and hatred and suspicion
circulating in the world at the moment, we need to recognize
that we're all brothers and sisters, we're one human family, and
perhaps the prospect of dealing with a shared common threat
would be the very thing to bring us together.
DT: Ironic, isn't it, there may be a weapon of mass destruction
bearing down upon us all right now.
GH: Yes, exactly. This is possible.
A number of astronomers
(including Bill Napier) and the mathematician Emilio Spedicato
at the University of Bergamo, are all deeply concerned about the
Taurid meteor stream.
They believe it has a number of very large
objects, including one that may be 30km wide, and the Earth
crosses this stream twice a year.
Some calculations indicate we
may be crossing particularly lumpy and dangerous parts of the
stream within the next 30 years or so. Nothing really could be
We need to pay attention to this problem. We need
to identify objects that endanger Earth, and we need to move
them. All of that we can do, it just takes the will. We already
have the technology.
But while we go around fearing and hating
and suspecting one another, our eye's not on the ball. Our eyes
are on totally the wrong place.
DT: I couldn't agree more with you.