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Did Phoenicians sail world 800BC, set up pyramid religions?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:13 am    Post subject: Did Phoenicians sail world 800BC, set up pyramid religions? Reply with quote

TonyGosling wrote:
More on pyramids...
Egypt's pain: Paralysis vs. people power in the land of the Pyramids
Tony Gosling
https://www.rt.com/op-edge/192580-egypt-court-mubarak-justice-politics  /

Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist. Over the last 20 years he has been exposing the secret power of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and élite Bilderberg Conferences where the dark forces of corporations, media, banks and royalty conspire to accumulate wealth and power through extortion and war. Tony has spent much of his life too advocating solutions which heal the wealth divide, such as free housing for all and a press which reflects the concerns of ordinary people rather than attempting to lead opinion, sensationalise or dumb-down. Tony tweets at @TonyGosling. Tune in to his Friday politics show at BCfm.
Published time: 2 Oct, 2014 13:06
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Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak sits next to his son Gamal (L) inside a dock at the police academy on the outskirts of Cairo May 21, 2014. (Reuters)
Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak sits next to his son Gamal (L) inside a dock at the police academy on the outskirts of Cairo May 21, 2014. (Reuters) / Reuters
When the CIA’s ex-Cairo station chief Miles Copeland penned his book ‘The Game of Nations’ in 1969, readers were shocked to discover the huge resources spent by Washington stage-managing the post-war politics of the Middle East and Egypt in particular.
Conflict, Military, Religion, Middle East, Protest, Politics, Human rights, Terrorism, History, USA, Egypt, Security, Army, Court, Violence
The US was a new colonial power, moving in on an oil-rich region run before World War Two by the British. It was "a new game” Copeland explained. “The fact that we were entering upon a Cold War with the Soviets was concealed in every possible way.” The object of bankrolling corruption in Egypt and other once-independent Arab states was to monopolize the Middle Eastern oil market.

Copeland and the CIA knew also that control of Egypt, and the Suez Canal that the British had carved through, would be the key to allowing their friends now running the heavily subsidized young state of Israel to prosper and to control the outcome of the almost inevitable hostilities that would break out between Egypt and expansionist Israel.

In 1967, war did break out and recently Britain’s former shadow Foreign Secretary and Jewish MP Gerald Kaufman speaking about what he called "Israel’s last decisive military victory," said that the problem for Israel, and for the Palestinians he says was that that “Israel occupied the Palestinian territories in the Six Day War, but have never known what to do about it.” They could always make an effort to get along, to diffuse the racism. It's worked in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, nervous of military insecurity, those in the pay of the US began to surround Egyptian Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Muhammad Anwar Sadat. Egypt's leaders began to lose faith in their people and hence their Arab identity becoming, ironically just like Israel, entirely hooked on US military aid.

Frank Wisner Jr. sets the Arab 'spring trap'
Egypt’s brief democracy between the summers of 2012 and 2013 was one of the most hopeful signs since the inter-war years that the people of this great Arab nation might be allowed to decide their own fate. But the appointment of Egypt's first democratically elected president was a slow and painful process.

After decades of suppression, Egypt's democracy movement gained momentum in December 2010 and, ignoring trigger-happy soldiers, the people gathered en masse in Tahrir Square. There are even indications that London's mass student protests on 30th November the previous month may have helped give freedom-loving Egyptians the courage to risk their lives on the streets to topple Egypt's US “franchise” leaders.

The US realized President Hosni Mubarak's military and business elite's rule they had funded since 1981 was under threat, so the State Department and the CIA dispatched key tactician, US National Security Council special envoy, and disgraced former Enron executive, Frank Wisner Jr. to whisper secret advice to Mubarak's beleaguered government.

A supporter of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak holds his picture as he shouts slogans outside a police academy on the outskirts of Cairo September 27, 2014. (Reuters)

Wisner’s father, Frank Wisner Sr., had been a close friend of CIA chief Allen Dulles who, along with banker and politician John McCloy, enabled Nazi war criminals to escape justice in 1945 by smuggling them into the United States and arranging new identities for them.

Largely peaceful mass public demonstrations were growing in December 2010 when an unexplained bomb attack at the Coptic Christian Cathedral in Alexandria killed 24 worshippers as they were leaving the New Year's Eve church service. This evil attack on gentle people of faith smacked to too many of a provocation.

Was the bomb really planted by Islamist extremists as the authorities claimed? It looked to many like a deliberate attempt to spark retribution, infighting, and sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians to stop them uniting against the Mubarak regime.

Several weeks later, in 2011 two courageous agents from Egypt’s Interior Ministry went to the British Embassy in Cairo and told staff there that they had been sent by the Interior Minister to plant the bomb. It was exposed as a cowardly and callous “divide and rule” operation carried out by Minister Al Adli's “emergency staff” of 22 which included private security officers and drug dealers to be used if his position was threatened.

With US envoy Wisner now pulling the strings Mubarak was persuaded to resign in February 2011 and the Egyptian army, always the strongest presence behind the scenes, openly took power. Mubarak’s Interior Minister Habib al-Adli – who, as some media reports claimed was behind the decision to murder those Coptic Christians - has like the president himself been “in limbo.” With Egypt's highly politicized courts being unable to decide whether or not these “old regime” officials, so helpful as they were to the colonial power, should stay in jail.

Corrupt courts, 'secret weapon' of all tyrants
It's not only in Egypt that the West's ruling elite abuse the peace to work hard in secret to secure themselves and their minions god-like immunity from the law. Puppet judges “free them up” to conduct the most horrendous criminal programs of domestic terror attacks and political assassination. The signature of tyranny always has been gaining immunity from prosecution so they, the ruling elite, can simply annihilate any opposition movement as it emerges.

Despite accusations and counter accusations by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Mubarak faction throughout the months of the Tahrir Square protests from Christmas 2010 to the summer of 2012, that each side was a just a puppet of the United States, common sense prevailed. Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood won a narrow victory in what was declared by observers to be Egypt’s first ever free and fair election.

There were some though who were determined never to allow Egypt to set this example of freedom and justice to the Arab world. Those in Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia might get a similar taste for the freedoms and moderate expression of Islamic law that Morsi was bringing.

Mohammed Morsi takes on the old Gods
Some say a pre-Christian global priesthood secretly held sway right across the ancient world, using the threat of human sacrifice and keeping the population ignorant from the great temples of China and Indonesia to the Aztec and Mayan pyramids of South America. The “All Seeing Eye” at the pyramid's apex represents a distinct leadership cult where a tiny number of powerful people use politics and religion, kings and archbishops, to bend all of society to their will. Archeologists have been amazed to find strikingly similar systems of astrology too, linking a cult-like mystery religion priesthood whose power came from their supposed “exclusive access” to the old gods.

The eye of Horus symbolizes fear. "We see everything, there's nothing that we don't know,” implying that you'd be a fool to lift a finger against this “all seeing” elite. This, at least is the aspiration of tyrants, and through the revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden it's clear the West's power elite have adopted this, using our taxes to fund their Orwellian goal of “total information awareness.”

Together, the courage of faith, and the unchanging moral codes of the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, set in stone tablets, represent the greatest threat to the elite order of the old Gods. For their tyranny to succeed one crucial element of elite institutions must be under their control. The criminal justice system. Whether public prosecutors or the Supreme Court, they need their secret society agents in key judicial positions to guarantee them the god-like immunity from the law that they crave.

And it was precisely in dealing with corruption in Egypt’s courts that Mohammed Morsi came unstuck. In the summer of 2013 Morsi began to bring Egypt’s judicial appointments under democratic control for the first time in Egyptian history.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

On Wednesday 3rd July army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had President Morsi arrested, Egypt's brief window of democracy was slammed shut. As Egypt's “Wisner plan” kicked in, the US backed coup plotters quickly criminalized Egypt's majority ruling Muslim Brotherhood. The cruelest day in thousands of years of Egyptian history used the aspiration for freedom of the nation's first ever democratic election the previous summer, to criminalize every Egyptian man and woman who had lent their personal courage to that fight.

By way of reward, on the week al-Sisi was sworn in as president in June 2014, the US released over half a billion dollars in military aid to the junta. To this day thousands of Egypt’s most intelligent, brilliant and most courageous citizens languish in jail as political prisoners, under threat of a death sentence. What a perverse end to such glorious rays of hope the Arab Spring afforded; that the US State Department and their franchisees should use Tahrir square’s cries of freedom to identify Egypt’s rightful rulers, only to condemn them to decades behind bars.

The continued postponement of the verdicts on Mubarak and Al-Adli under the Wisner, al-Sisi junta, betrays a reluctance even to hold them accountable for proven acts of terrorism and decades of misrule. The postponement of the verdicts on these despots again this week should remind us that judicial corruption in Egypt has been at the heart of the nation's post 1967-war suffering almost entirely absent from international commentary. Could that be because we are seeing judicial corruption and the rise of impunity, particularly for military adventures and financial crime among the elite in so many Western nations?

Diana and Dodi heard Egypt's cry: 'No Justice, No Peace'
If the views of ordinary Egyptians had any genuine expression through the country’s political system this great nation would now be playing its part in protecting the West Bank Palestinians from the Israeli genocide. This, incidentally, was a short-lived dream harbored by new lovers Dodi Al Fayed and Princess Diana who planned to move to Egypt to get away from the British royal family and light a spark of freedom in the Al Fayed family's native land. A democratic Egypt would also likely be condemning Israel this week too for allowing ISIS to operate freely in the occupied Golan Heights.

With most of the political activists that brought democracy to Egypt in 2012 behind bars Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his worm tongued sidekick Frank Wisner must think they are home and dry. With three Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed in an Egyptian jail for simply telling the truth, holding the candle for thousands more, these modern day pharaohs think they can hang on to their traitors' power out of reach of the sword of justice.

But Egypt’s educated classes and young people are neither as cowed nor as stupid as al-Sisi or his US and Israeli supporters think they are. Many more thousands of brave Egyptian people are prepared, as Mohammed Morsi's successful team of 2012 were, to put their lives on the line in bringing the exemplary modern manifestation of Islam that Morsi represented back to power in Cairo and Alexandria.

A generation of educated activists now have the crooked judges firmly in their sights, along with their secret loyalties, and are determined like never before to bring the fresh air of justice to Egypt’s courts for the first time in living memory.

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

Last edited by TonyGosling on Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Visocica Hill, Bosnia: Europe's Oldest Pyramid Complex?

Disco_Destroyer wrote:
In the past two years we have seen the pages of history slowly being rewritten, and Bosnia may soon lay claim to having the world's oldest pyramids-which shouldn't come as a surprise, seeing the area has the oldest European civilisation as well.
Philip Coppens

A new pyramid paradigm

Over the past 10 years, the old paradigm that pyramids could only be found in Egypt and Central America has been substituted by a new perspective, which is that pyramids are a global phenomenon and have been built by numerous civilisations in several ages. The Pyramid of Cholula in Mexico is now regarded as the largest, though not the tallest, and the pyramid complex at Caral in Peru is the oldest, conservatively dated to 3100 BCE. Most of these findings have received little to no media attention, and even many historians are unaware of these new facts. But one new pyramid complex has been in many headlines, even making appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: the Bosnian pyramids.

What was described by Stewart as the best thing to happen to Bosnia "since...ever" began in 2005, when Bosnian-born entrepreneur Semir "Sam" Osmanagic was shown the enigmatic Visocica hill that rises above the town of Visoko, near the capital Sarajevo. Could this be a pyramid? Osmanagic decided to invest in a preliminary geological survey, which concluded that further exploration of the structure was recommended. Furthermore, when his own book on the Mayan pyramids fell open on a page showing a photograph of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán, Mexico, Osmanagic thought the resemblance to be so similar that he decided to call Visocica "Pyramid of the Sun", too, and the name has stuck. With this, the otherwise tranquil Visoko has become one of the most controversial archaeological sites in the world-controversial because just about everyone involved in pyramid research has given an opinion on the subject.

Geologist Dr Robert Schoch, who adheres to the theory that the Sphinx is thousands of years older than accepted, said he believes the structures to be natural formations. Dr Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, had to give his opinion as well, committing a number of faux pas along the way. For example, when Dr Hawass was asked by Osmanagic to provide the name of an expert, he offered Dr Ali Barakat. A geologist, Dr Barakat meticulously investigated the structures for 42 days in 2006 and concludes that they are man-made. However, Dr Hawass pretended afterwards that he'd had nothing to do with the Bosnian saga!

Dr Barakat is not alone in speaking in favour of the man-made nature of Visocica and other apparent pyramids nearby. Archaeologist Dr Nabil Mohamed Swelim, holder of three PhDs and the discoverer of four pyramids in Egypt, visited the structures in September 2007 and he, too, concludes that they are man-made "pyramid hills", as distinct from pyramids. A pyramid hill is a natural hill that is artificially enhanced to conform to the pyramid structure, whereas a pyramid is built from the bottom up.

There is also a growing and impressive list of scientists-mostly from Egypt, Eastern Europe and Russia-who conclude that these structures are man-made. But their voices, specifically in the western media, have gone unheard.

Indeed, the First International Scientific Conference, Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids (ICBP), held on 25-30 August 2008, received minimal exposure despite the participation of the likes of Dr Alaa Shaheen, archaeologist and Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology at Cairo University, Dr Hassan El-Saady, historian and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Alexandria University, Dr Mostafa El-Abbadi, founder of the modern library in Alexandria (the Bibliotheca Alexandrina) and Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Aly, Egyptologist and archaeologist in the Faculty of Arts at Ein-Shams University, Cairo.. Instead, the few reports in the western media focused on the critics, who labelled the conference "pseudo-scientific". What equally was not reported is that invitations from Dr Swelim to the critics to attend were ignored by those critics.

A scientific crusade

The most avowed critic of the Bosnian pyramids in the western world is archaeology professor Anthony Harding, of the University of Exeter, UK. He voiced his opinion on the matter as early as April 2006, and drove around the town of Visoko for a few minutes in June that year, afterwards labelling the Visocica pyramid a natural formation. One might therefore think that the good professor had then moved on to other fields, but no.

Immediately after the ICBP in August 2008, Professor Harding approached some of those who made the official conclusion/recommendation (which is that the site requires and warrants continued excavation), stating that the archaeological establishment has "condemned" the Bosnian pyramids as "a fraud". Harding has never put any hard scientific facts on any table to support such a serious allegation. In the program for the European Association of Archaeologists September 2008 Malta conference, he summed up the discovery as the "Bosnian pyramid fiasco", which "has drawn attention to the way in which the creation of fictitious pasts can be used for political and nationalist ends". Still, if Harding is so convinced that the pyramids are fraudulent, then why waste time pursuing the story let alone approaching some of the attendees?

For this article, we contacted Professor Harding for comments but he did not reply. In previous interviews, however, he made it clear that he had an "opinion" about these pyramids before going to Visoko.

It is also clear that Harding, as the president of the European Association of Archaeologists, sees himself as the leader of a scientific crusade against so-called "pseudo-archaeology"-the Bosnian pyramids project being one of the few crusades he is able to wage, with Osmanagic as the sinner who goes against God's commands.

So why all of this controversy? As with any discovery, and especially the resultant publicity, exaggerated claims are made-or fabricated-by the media. Indeed, in this case, early media reports claimed that the structures are 12,000 years old, whereupon the sceptics immediately tried to argue that this claim had been made by Osmanagic himself. Some observers even argued that the pyramids are extraterrestrial in origin. Such statements seem to have shocked Professor Harding the most, and he holds Osmanagic responsible for them all.

Further insights into the controversy came from American historian Merima Bojic, who at first extensively interviewed leading protagonists on both sides of the debate and later offered her full support for Osmanagic's Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation. In a blog of 23 April 2008, titled "Aliens to Science", she wrote especially in regard to the western scientific media's handling of the pyramids issue:

"Now, American journalists such as Colin Woodard and John Bohannon have also joined this opposition and published false articles about Mr Osmanagic. Woodard referred to Visoko as a nationalistic enclave of the Bosnian Muslims and seemingly tried to connect Mr Osmanagic to such a nationalistic movement as well. He falsely claimed that Dr Barakat and Dr Schoch measured the pyramids and concluded that they fail to perfectly align with the cardinal points. The truth is that the Geodetic Institute of Bosnia-Herzegovina conducted its own analysis and found that they did in fact align with the cardinal points. Woodard himself also attempted to intimidate Dr Swelim and had the audacity to email the definition of 'pyramid'. Bohannon, who writes for the prominent Science magazine, was also an author of false articles that were so bizarre they do not even merit mention. How, it may occur to one, does Bohannon come to write for such a well-respected and prominent magazine devoted to scientific fact while all information he gathers comes directly from the gossip journalist [Vuc] Bacanovic? Not surprisingly, Woodard does the same."

Vuc Bacanovic, in the gossip magazine Dani, called Dr Swelim "senile" and "a fool"-terms which are seldom used in scientific debates.

In short, one group of people has decided to quickly rule out the possibility that these structures are man-made. These people now go to extremes in trying to preserve their names, reputations and beliefs. They pretend this is not happening and they hope it will go away. Alas for them, but fortunately for everyone else, that is unlikely to be the case.

A forgotten civilisation

Visoko is within the catchment area of what Lithuanian-American archaeologist Dr Marija Gimbutas (1921-94) labelled "Old Europe", a civilisation also known as the Vinca culture. This culture is dated to roughly 6000-3000 BCE, and many believe that it inspired other cultures, including the Sumerian Ubaid period. Examples of Vinca statues have been found as far west as southern France. As recently as November 2007, archaeologists excavating a settlement in southern Serbia, believed to be at least 7,000 years old, announced that this civilisation had great expertise in creating bronze artefacts-a discovery that requires a radical re-dating of the Bronze Age.

Still, few have heard of the Vinca culture, and here, too, western bias might well come into play. Indeed, the old pyramid paradigm is not merely being held in place with sticky tape, but the notion that Sumer and Egypt were the cradles of civilisation is one that should have been thrown out of the history books many generations ago. In this instance, the personal crusade of Australian-born archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe (1892-1957) forced the Vinca culture to be seen as an outlying cultural entity influenced by more "civilised" forces. Childe's dogmatic stance and clout meant that the Vinca culture received only scant attention and today remains largely unknown.

Of direct relevance is the fact that Vinca artefacts have been found in the town of Visoko, and it is therefore a strong possibility that Old Europe may also have been a pyramid-building culture. This conclusion might seem surprising and novel, but in essence it shouldn't be controversial.

Investigating the pyramids' construction

So, what is the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids? The Pyramid of the Sun, which dominates the skyline over Visoko, has been the main focus of investigations. The structure does not merely look man-made, but with a height of 220 metres it is much higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza and thus would be the tallest pyramid in the world.

As is the case with the Great Pyramid, each side of the Visocica Pyramid of the Sun is perfectly aligned with the cardinal points. Indeed, as one approaches Visoko, it is hard to believe that it took until 2005 before someone seriously pondered the notion that the hill could be a pyramid. In fact, in 1984, one local author, Pavao Andelic, referred to Visocica as a "town pyramid", but nothing further was done to investigate the claim.

The bottom of the Visocica Pyramid has been built upon, and the streets of Visoko are extremely steep. Most interestingly, Osmanagic was told early on in his research that several home-owners in Visoko had wanted to build cellars but could not because of a cement-like layer hidden approximately one metre below the surface. During the civil war of the 1990s, it was reported that the hill resonated when hit by artillery fire: whereas artillery impact normally produced a sound that lasted one to two seconds, when it hit the hill it created a type of echo that lasted five to six seconds. It was clear that the hill had something unusual about it.

The most visited excavation site, about one-third of the way up the hill, has revealed the presence of large blocks of conglomerate between 50 and 100 centimetres below the surface. Similar excavations have been conducted on the other sides of the pyramid; in each case, a layer of this conglomerate has been found just below the surface. It has been suggested that the entire hill once had a six-metre-thick covering of conglomerate.

Just next to the main "tourist" site, however, the surface layer, comprising approximately 40-80 cm of sand, has been removed over a much bigger area to reveal a uniform, cement-like (conglomerate) coating. This coating leaves little doubt in the eyes of the visitor that it is indeed man-made. However, none of the sceptics has ever referred to this section; instead, they've focused on the much smaller and less interesting site nearby.

As mentioned, Egyptian geologist Dr Ali Barakat has concluded that these blocks are man-made. Moreover, laboratory analysis results from the Civil Engineering Institute of Tuzla, made public by geophysicist Dr Enes Ramovic in September 2006, have determined that the cement comprising these blocks had been poured in situ. In addition, a biology expert has maintained that the experiment of planting trees on the hill 40 years ago should be deemed a failure, as the tree roots have not been able to penetrate the conglomerate (cement) layer. He argued that this suggests the layer is man-made, as tree roots normally have no problem penetrating natural rock.

Furthermore, with renewed interest in Visocica, the ancient Bosnian city on its summit has recently been excavated. Here, it is clear that the layer of conglomerate (cement) found lower down the slope goes all the way to the top. Inside the structure, holes had been dug so that posts could be erected, either for roofs or for a mezzanine type of floor.

The western side of the pyramid was partially excavated by the Pyramid Foundation in 2006. Here, too, the team found large rectangular slabs just under the surface, as well as clearly man-made stone structures on the slope of the plateau. The overall impression is of a paved access plateau to the pyramid-a plateau which measures no less than 420 metres in length.

Work of a different nature on Visocica has been carried out by Russian scientist Oleg Khavroshkin, of the Schmidt Institute of Earth Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He performed a geophysical analysis between 20 July and 4 August 2007. These scans suggested "...the existence of hollow cavities below the ground.. These inhomogeneities were registered at Vratnice, Pljesivica [Pyramid of the Moon] and the tunnels. In the vicinity of the well shaft at the Pyramid of the Moon, clusters of frequencies were observed, resulting probably from such nonhomogenous cavities." In short, potential chambers.
Dr Muris Osmanagic, one of Bosnia's most eminent mining engineers and professors (as well as the father of Sam Osmanagic), has concluded in his book, About the Cultural Layer of the Bosnian Pyramid Builders, that "...the only possible and rational solution is that the great Pyramid of the Sun was a natural hill (composed of clay marl), modified into a pyramid. In such a case, the coating layer of concrete blocks make[s] up 6.28 per cent of the body of the pyramid, composed of clay marl, or 2,6 mln m3 [2.6 million cubic metres], [on a par with] the volume of the Khufu Pyramid stone blocks. This was already within the realm of the possible for this then highly developed civilisation."

Finally, a bit of theatre was produced when historian Dubravko Lovrenovic, who heads the Bosnia- Herzegovina Commission for the Preservation of National Monuments, stated on federal public television that he would burn himself alive on top of Visocica if it turned out to be a pyramid! Later, he denied he'd ever said this, but with the help of Gavrilo Grahovac, the Federal Minister of Culture and Sports, he stopped all excavation on the Pyramid of the Sun-perhaps to make sure he didn't have to commit suicide in such a public manner?

More pyramid discoveries

Indeed, there is more than one pyramid here. So far, possibly seven pyramids have been identified, though only two have been archaeologically explored. "Only" 190 metres high and situated lower in the valley is the Pyramid of the Moon. The foot of this pyramid has become a second showcase of the Pyramid Foundation's work. Here, excavations show a type of "floor" lying on sandstone, followed by a second layer in approximately one-metre-high steps. Nearby, the team probed the location where two faces of the pyramid meet and found a free-standing stone structure. It is but one fortuitous discovery in a series of enigmatic findings.

Extensive excavations on the top of the Pyramid of the Moon have revealed the same type of "flooring". Archaeologists uncovered a layer of topsoil with natural layers of sandstone below, but separating both is a thin layer of rectangular stone blocks that look similar in size to modern paving slabs. In substance, they look as if they were poured and laid side by side. Interestingly, some are broken, but these fractures are always random; their "original shape" is always rectangular. Whether they are natural or man-made remains a subject of intense debate, but, if natural, it is clear that this is one of the oddest geological formations on Earth, say leading geologists.

Austrian researcher Gabriele Lukacs has found that next to the Pyramid of the Moon, right on a bank of the Fojnica River, there is a quarry with an excellent example of perfectly cut sandstone blocks still sticking out of the quarry wall. That the sandstone blocks used in the pyramids were therefore cut by humans is the likeliest explanation.

The Pyramid Foundation team has identified other potential sites of interest in the valley. One is the Pyramid of the Dragon, which together with the pyramids of the Moon and the Sun makes a perfect equilateral triangle when lines are drawn connecting the apex of each pyramid, each side having a length of 2,173 metres. No work has been carried out on this third potential pyramid due to the presence of land mines on its slope, but it is clear that nature rarely creates such perfect triangles-especially not when the structures consist of three-dimensional triangles: pyramids.

Furthermore, observations by engineer Goran Cakic have revealed that there is also a "solar show" occurring between the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. On 21 June 2008, he observed that the shadow of the Pyramid of the Sun at noon formed a "parallel pyramid" of the same height next to the Pyramid of the Moon. Even more interesting is that on 20 August, between 18:30 and 19:30, the Pyramid of the Sun's shadow touched the entire Pyramid of the Moon. Coincidence, perhaps, but more likely design-perhaps part of a sacred light show that typifies many ancient cultures.
Opinions vary as to whether or not these hills are "pyramid hills" or natural, but, as previously mentioned, a substantial body of scientists now agrees that they have been artificially enhanced.

Exploring the tunnels

Such doubt, however, does not exist for the nearby tunnels. The town elders tell everyone who wants to hear that they used to enter various tunnels in and around Visoko as kids, walking through them from one side of the town to the other. When a factory was constructed near the river, large cavities had to be filled in with cement so that the premises could be built.

Another known tunnel is the Topuzovo Polje tunnel, which starts near the River Bosna but has been filled in with debris. But, according to historical accounts, this tunnel once led to the Pyramid of the Sun.

To date, two tunnel complexes have been properly explored. About two kilometres from the Pyramid of the Sun is Ravne, a tunnel system that so far has been mapped to a length of 300 metres. Here, the main tunnel has various offshoots, running at 45- or 90-degree angles. In the past, these side tunnels were blocked off with carefully positioned dry stone walls. Along the main passageway, several large, enigmatic stones have been discovered; their purpose remains a mystery. These stones contain a number of inscriptions suggestive of a language.

One side tunnel has stalactites. Italian geologists Dr Dario Andretti and Dr Luciano Leoni have been able to conclude that these would have taken 2,600 to 2,900 years to form, which means the tunnel can be dated to at least 1000 BCE-and most likely is older. This date is of interest, for Dr Barakat's research indicates that approximately 3,000 years ago an earthquake damaged at least one face of the Pyramid of the Sun. Further evidence of such an earthquake is visible on the Pyramid of the Moon, where the stone "pavement" on the top shows obvious signs of folding. It is clear that, circa 1000 BCE, something happened that partially destroyed these structures, and this may explain why the Ravne tunnel complex has been filled in with sand and why other tunnels have collapsed.

So far, excavations of the Ravne complex have brought some remarkable results. In May 2007, a stone mould for cast metal tools was found in the tunnels. Indeed, the Ravne complex shares several characteristics with prehistoric mines elsewhere, such as at Llandudno, Wales. There, too, side tunnels were blocked off by dry stone walls, and "enigmatic" stones sit along the length of these tunnels but, in this case, they were used in the mining process.

If the Ravne tunnel complex had indeed been a mine, then it is likely that its materials were used to create the cement coating of the Pyramid of the Sun. Even sceptic Katherine Reece has argued on the Internet that these tunnels are man-made-"ancient mining tunnels dating from as long ago as 3500 BC when the area was being mined for copper". It underlines that she accepts that there was human activity here at that time, though she is totally unwilling to entertain the notion that there is a pyramid nearby. However, mining experts from Zenica, Banovici and Kakanj have shown that there are no traces of minerals in these tunnels and that, hence, the tunnels could never have been copper mines.

Another opponent who has come around on the tunnels issue is historian and archaeology professor Dr Enver Imamovic, from the University of Sarajevo, who at first claimed that the tunnels are natural caves, even denying that there are side tunnels at 45 degrees, but he also stated that he had not visited them. In short, he was accusing someone of lying, though he himself could not verify anything whatsoever! Recently, though, he has accepted that these tunnels are not natural caves.

A tunnel of a different nature is the one that sits near the town's two rivers, below the grounds of the KTK factory. Here, the walls and ceilings are much more impressive and the layout itself more interesting. These tunnels are unfortunately highly unstable and prone to collapse and flooding, so little exploration has been carried out. But what is known is that the tunnel runs in the direction of the Pyramid of the Sun, dipping under the River Bosna in the very heart of the town. This, of course, suggests careful planning, but in ancient times such a construction was also an excellent means for preserving and safeguarding the underground complex from looters-so much so that, even today, exploring these tunnels remains more than perilous.

Not just pyramids and tunnels

In the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids, the tunnels so far have shown that humans were definitely doing something, and logic dictates that this work was connected with the pyramids. As such, the critics hardly ever focus on the tunnels; but when they do, it is with sweeping statements that try to mystify what is at heart not a complex issue at all.

Meanwhile, in September 2007, a team from the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina excavated the nearby site of Okoliste and concluded that, circa 4700-4500 BCE, around 3,000 people lived in the settlement-one of the largest ever found in Bosnia. This shouldn't be surprising, seeing that Visoko is known to have been one of Bosnia's most fertile lands and hence a cherished location for settlers. From the development of civilisations elsewhere, we know that such settlements often had a surplus workforce, which, like elsewhere, might easily have been used to start a building project-the Bosnian pyramids, perhaps?

There is therefore a substantial pool of evidence from which one can conclude that these hills have been artificially enhanced, and that there were "civilised people" present at the right time, in the right place, to have created these pyramids. However, it is equally clear that a smoking gun, which would convince anyone, remains to be found-but, equally, it might be just a spade's turn away.
In 2008, preliminary research at the neighbouring village of Ginje brought about some further, very interesting, discoveries. Near the village is a large hill, and next to it, in the valley below, a small tumulus. On both the top of the hill and the tumulus, perfectly rectangular stone slabs have been found that are on a par with similar slabs found on and near the pyramids.

Independent researcher Nenad Djurdjevic has noted in a report, available on the Pyramid Foundation's website: "A few years after World War II, from the roadside many of the megalithic blocks were still visible lying on the top of the hill and its flanks, but...a great number of them was gradually removed by villagers during later decades and used for the construction of foundations, walls and houses."

The remaining conglomerate blocks are of enormous size (approximately 2 m x 1 m x 1 m) and weigh about four tonnes. On the hill itself, it seems clear that these blocks once belonged to a stone structure on its summit. The tumulus in the valley below has two stone slabs lying next to each other; one is sandstone, the other conglomerate. The obvious conclusion is that people moved these two stone blocks next to one other.

In Donje Mostre, a number of rectangular stone blocks have also been found lining the road, and some are without any doubt man-made. On 23 September 2008, a team from the University of Kiel, Germany, found nearby a Neolithic artefact that has been dated to 6000-3000 BCE. The discovery was announced by Zilka Kujundzic, from the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is actually one of the main opponents of the pyramids project and has filed numerous petitions for the Foundation's work to be stopped, claiming that the entire project is a hoax. The small ceramic pyramid-in some reports also referred to as a "Benben stone" because of the apparent visual similarities with such stones in Egypt-is a major discovery, showing that local people, millennia ago, created ceramic objects in the shape of a pyramid.

Furthermore, pyramid-like objects have been found within Old Europe. Dr Gimbutas wrote in The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (1974) about how the "...richly incised decoration on the Tisza altar from Kökénydomd [in southeastern Hungary] may relate to cosmogonical myths. Its triangular front is covered by meanders and divided into two levels by a horizontal band of meandering lines. In the centre of the lower register two eyes and a nose are set in a triangle... Groups of parallel lines, arranged in three, form panels along each side of the altar. The decorative organisation suggests several levels of cosmic waters..." In Egypt, for example, the Giza Plateau has been portrayed symbolically as the primeval hill which rose from the Waters of Chaos. Considering that the Tisza altar displays triangles (the two-dimensional rendering of the three-dimensional pyramid), this at the very least shows that Old Europe worked with the same cosmogonical material in its myths as the other pyramid-building cultures.

Finally, dowsing expert Adrian Incledon-Webber, of the British Society of Dowsers, has mapped the area and has drawn preliminary conclusions-namely, that the pyramids sit on top of important underground waterways, with three streams meeting under the apex of the Pyramid of the Sun. He stated in email correspondence with me: "All holy places attract water and then some are further enhanced by human intervention, i.e., encouraging further water to cross at specific points. The centres of stone circles, for instance, often have three streams crossing at their centre, too."
As elsewhere, so in Bosnia it seems.

A sacred landscape

From Ginje, there is a clear line of sight to the Pyramid of the Sun, which appears on the northern horizon. North has been linked to the World of the Dead, and in some cultures the sacred mountain to the north was sometimes called the Storehouse of the Dead.

Paul Devereux carried out detailed research into sacred landscapes for his book Symbolic Landscapes (1992). He relates how mythology and the landscape interact, and he gives the example of the so-called "song lines" of the Australian Aborigines. Devereux repeats what Yale University architectural historian Vincent Scully observed in The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods (1979): that there was an interaction between the temple and the surrounding landscape-something he noted in Crete as well as in Greece. To quote Devereux on Scully: "He felt that the ancient Greeks had 'developed an eye' for 'specific combinations of landscape features as expressive of particular holiness'."

On the Greek mainland, Mount Zara and the site of Mycenae form one of ancient Greece's most important citadels. As Devereux describes it, Mount Zara "appears in almost pyramidal form from the palace on the summit of the citadel". As with Mount Zara, so with Visocica.

That the sight line from the structures in Ginje towards the Pyramid of the Sun is not accidental is underlined by research carried out by Nenad Djurdjevic. He highlights that only from the top of the tumulus, which is only a few metres high, can the profile of the Pyramid of the Sun be seen. When one stands in front of the base of the tumulus, the pyramid is not visible. This suggests that the tumulus was specifically constructed here and raised to such height as to create a line of sight to the Pyramid of the Sun.

Within the context of sacred landscapes, the complex at Ginje revealed, during initial analysis, several key components that strongly suggest that the site is part of a sacred ancient landscape focusing on the Pyramid of the Sun. It means that the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids is therefore not only more extensive than previously thought, but equally it is more than likely a carefully constructed landscape, as initial observations (e.g., on the equidistance between the pyramids of the Sun, Moon and Dragon) have already indicated.

New dimensions and developments

So, all false perceptions and ego-trips aside, it is clear that the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids has much validity and will rock the old pyramid paradigm in years to come. But the research project will continue to be controversial for some time longer. What the Foundation needs is more time-just as it took Howard Carter several years before he located Tutankhamen's tomb. Progress is slow, but obvious.

In time, the Bosnian pyramids will not only be added to the new paradigm of pyramid structures that appear across the world, but they will also reveal a new dimension to the Vinca culture and show that the pyramids are European, rather than Egyptian, in nature. Either way, a new page is being added in the development of civilisation.

That the pyramids might provide a new dimension to the Vinca culture is a "cautious" approach. In fact, at ICBP 2008, British archaeologist Andrew Lawler and Polish physicist Dr Anna Pazdur presented their results from a radiocarbon-dating analysis done on a piece of wood recovered from the Ravne tunnels. Though they noted that it is a unique artefact (radiocarbon dating is preferentially done on several artefacts, not just one, so that a range of dates can be arrived at), they concluded that the piece of wood is 34,000 years old-which, in theory, could be the date when these pyramids were created. If true (and only further digging will tell), then the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids will not merely change an outmoded paradigm but completely shatter it.

Meanwhile, some are fighting to maintain the old paradigm, which is already a lost cause. The pyramid landscape has changed, and walking through Visoko one can see a glimpse of the future as well as a remnant of the ancient past.

Editor's Note:
For more information on the validity of the Bosnian pyramids, visit the following websites and blogs:

International Conference, Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids, http://www.icbp.ba/
http://www.piramidasunca.org/mail/link.p hp?t=mi=17s=215234l=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5pY 2JwLmJhLw%3D%3D
Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation http://piramidasunca.ba/en/
http://www.piramidasunca.org/mail/link.p hp?t=mi=17s=215234l=aHR0cDovL3BpcmFta WRhc3VuY2EuYmEvZW4%3D
Views disputing the validity of the Bosnian pyramids are also readily available via a Google search.

This is the uncut version of Philip Coppens's article published in NEXUS Magazine, vol. 16, no. 1.

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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Writer and film-maker Lindsay McCauley travelled to Tunisia from Australia. While researching a book about Mayan architecture, he has drawn parallels between measurement systems used by the Mayans, the ancient Israelites and ancient Egyptians. “I can think of no other way for that measurement system to reach Mexico other than via a Phoenician ship, so this expedition is a crucial part of my research.”
The crossing of the Atlantic is close to Yuri Sanada's heart. In 2000, he published his book Solomon’s Gold - a bestseller in Brazil – which posits that Biblical mentions of the land of Ophir, from where gold was brought, was actually modern-day Brazil and that the traders were Phoenicians.


Columbus proved to be a greedy, cruel invader, a reckless adventurer and a fraud in that he never planted the flag of Spain in North America. Eventually, others brought word back to Europe of Columbus’ horrific treatment of the population amounting to genocide and in 1499 he was arrested, chained up and brought back to Spain and stripped of his royal titles. He died in 1506 at the age of 54. www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2020/06/christopher-columbus-not-the -man-we-learned-about-as-schoolchildren/

see also - Phoenecian hey-day 1500BC to 800BC

How much credit to the Phoenicians deserve?
Dr Habib Chamoun-Nicolas gives his thoughts on the Phoenicians Before Columbus Podcast.
Listen to the full episode here:
https://www.buzzsprout.com/1111838/4185854-who-were-the-phoenicians-in terview-part-1-of-2-with-dr-habib-chamoun-nicolas
https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3547259138636964&id=72954738 0408168

Solomon's Temple of Jerusalem was a copy of Melqart's Temple of Tyre
Phoenician builders used Tyre's Melqart Temple as a prototype for designing and building Solomon's Temple

Hiram Abiff
The Hiram Abiff of Masonic tradition: It states that he was the Master Mason sent by King Hiram to Solomon. In charge of a workforce of many thousands of labourers and artisans, Hiram Abiff was the Grand Master and architect over the entire project. One tradition says that among the common labourers, craftsmen, and master masons, were fifteen men of the highest rank of artisan. These fifteen conspired, so the story goes, to petition Hiram Abiff, their boss, to elevate them to the status of Grand Masters in order to improve their lot within the system. This, the master architect refused, explaining that only King Solomon himself or King Hiram could sanction such a request.
Angered at being put off, they murdered Hiram Abiff in a doorway of the Temple and hid his body in the rubble of the construction site. This they did, thinking that with the chief architect out of the way, Solomon would have no choice but to appoint them in his place. The three murderers; Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum by name, fled to the coastal town of Yaffo (Joppa) where they were tracked down by Solomon’s men. Brought back to Jerusalem, they were judged, found guilty, and executed for their crime.


The temple was built of stone quarried and prepared by masons from the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Jbail (Byblos). The stones were cut in the quarry: the Bible tells us not a hammer was heard on the building site as the stones had been shaped so perfectly that they slotted together without being banged into place. The Phoenicians always used huge stones for foundations because the Levant is located on the Great Rift Valley - the big stones helped make buildings earthquake-proof.
The master mason was the architect, too, and had to know geometry. Masons’ knowledge was kept secret, known at any given time only to three people.
The modern Freemasons’ Society developed from the Phoenician masons, which is why their rituals are kept secret. The Freemasons' name the chief mason working on the temple as Huram Abiff, son of a Tyrian widow, presumably the same person as Huram the widow’s son who did the metalwork. One of the Freemasons’ rituals is a re-enactment of the mugging and murder of Huram in the temple by Israelite workmen who wanted to extract the secrets of architectural design and construction from him. The ritual drama has his assailants attacking Huram at each corner of the temple with builders’ tools before they finally kill him because he won’t hand over the secret knowledge.

Phoenicians used the world's first phonetic alphabet

Who reached America first – Columbus or the Phoenicians?
A replica Phoenician vessel made in Syria is sailing the Atlantic to prove the ancient civilisation did it 2,000 years before Columbus
https://www.middleeasteye.net/discover/who-reached-america-first-colum bus-or-phoenicians

The Phoenicia enters Gammarth Marnia near Tunis, ahead of its voyage across the Atlantic (MEE/Tom Westcott)
By Tom Westcott in Tunis, Tunisia
28 September 2019 17:10 UTC | Last update: 8 months 2 weeks ago

Amid late afternoon sun over the Tunisian coast, The Phoenicia, an elegant wooden replica of a ship made more than 2,000 years ago, unfurled its purple and white striped sail and headed for Gibraltar.

The Phoenicia sailing across the Mediterranean Sea (Josh Carlile)
Saturday's launch, which took place just 10km from the ancient Phoenician port of Carthage, marks the start of the Phoenicians Before Columbus Expedition, years in the planning and now headed for the Americas.

The expedition hopes to arrive in December, depending on the weather, with stops - after Gibraltar - in Cadiz, Essaouira and Tenerife.

Philip Beale, the project’s leader, explained: “This expedition hopes to show that the Phoenicians could have been the first ancient seafarers to cross the Atlantic, well before Christopher Columbus.

“It’s not whether Christopher Columbus was the first to cross the Atlantic but actually that he was probably one of the last.”

As for their likely destination, Beale said that the idea is to not aim for anywhere in particular. Instead they will go where the winds and currents naturally take them, to best recreate the likely route of the Phoenicians.

The rulers of ancient waves
The Phoenician civilisation was one of the most influential in the Mediterranean, founding trading posts across the region and beyond.

Originating in the Levant, it spread through the Mediterranean between 1500BC and 300BC and stretched, at its high point, from northern Israel and southern Syria to ancient Carthage (Tunisia) and Cadiz, Spain.

Of its independently-functioning and primarily coastal city-states, Tyre, Byblos and Sidon (in modern Lebanon) were among the greatest. Feared and hated by the Romans, the Phoenicians were less an empire of land, more a ruler of the waters, whose seafaring skills and capacity for sea-travel led them to instigate global trade.

A Phoenician ship carving from the second century AD, found on a sarcophagus (Wikipedia)
“The Phoenicians made very strong ships,” said Beale, who left the British navy to work as a banker in the City of London before becoming an adventurer and writer, “and were the first to use iron nails in shipbuilding, which enabled them to dominate sea-trade. And they were successful through trading and good relations, not through colonisation or militarisation.”

Describing Columbus - who landed in the Americas in 1492 - as a “war criminal”, Beale said historical sources point to the Vikings (under Leif Erikson) having arrived in North America around 1000AD, followed, a few centuries later, by mediaeval Basque fishermen. Legends say Irish monk St Brendan also made the voyage in a leather boat; and that 14th-century emperor of Mali Abubakari II abdicated to set sail across the Atlantic in 1311.

Philip Beale, captain of The Phoenicia, with Lebanese crew member Sheimaa Oubari (MEE/Tom Westcott)
But the Phoenicians, Beale believes, were the first.

“The Phoenicians assembled one of the biggest fleets and almost certainly sailed to America. There doesn’t appear to be any record of ships returning but there are stories of African cultures being found in the jungles of Brazil so maybe they landed on the shores but couldn’t get back,” he said.

Ancient boat builders of Syria
The Phoenicia was built on Syria’s island of Arwad by six shipbuilders who, working almost exclusively in wood, still use traditional boat-building methods.

Arwad was settled by Phoenicians in the early second millennium BC. Huge stones - the remains of the original Phoenician sea-wall - still line its shores. Throughout the island’s history, locals say, its inhabitants have never stopped building boats.

A plaque below deck commemorates the builders of the vessel (MEE/Tom Westcott)
Asma al-Assad, wife of the president, visited the ship twice, both while it was under construction and at its inaugural sailing in 2008, where three Syrians were among its first crew.

The 20-metre, 50-ton vessel built by Arwad’s shipwrights, led by Khalid Mohamad Hamoud, took more than nine months to construct. It is based on Beale’s designs, in turn inspired by the remains of Jules Verne 7, a 2,000 year-old Phoenician vessel found by archaeologists in Marseilles. Its construction used 40 cubic metres of five different types of regionally-sourced timber.

“The [16-metre] mast was made from Syria’s biggest tree, at least that’s what they said. It was certainly the biggest they could find,” said Beale.

The end result, he said, is the closest you can get to a reasonably accurate replica of a Phoenician vessel. Beale captained its maiden voyage - a two-year circumnavigation of Africa between 2008 and 2010 - proving a reference in Ancient Greek historian Herodotus’s Histories that Phoenicians claimed to have made this journey in 600 BC.

He was accompanied on that voyage by Yuri Sanada, a Brazilian sailor, diver, writer and The Phoenicia’s on-board documentary film-maker.

“It was fascinating to prove that that voyage was possible in a replica Phoenician ship and change our understanding of history,” Sanada said. “People think history is already written but this is not true, and to help rewrite history is very humbling.

"We think we are smarter than older civilisations so it’s hard for people to accept that the Phoenicians could have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.”

Yuri Sanada has researched the theory that the Phoenicians reached Brazil (MEE/Tom Westcott)
The crossing of the Atlantic is close to Sanada's heart. In 2000, he published his book Solomon’s Gold - a bestseller in Brazil – which posits that Biblical mentions of the land of Ophir, from where gold was brought, was actually modern-day Brazil and that the traders were Phoenicians.

Sanada himself had been planning to make a replica Phoenician ship to sail from Lebanon to Brazil, a project which was to be funded by the Israeli and Lebanese governments. But then 9/11 happened, and each government refused to be involved unless the other pulled out. The venture collapsed.

'When you’re at sea, you never know what will happen'

- Yuri Sanada, writer

“I knew someone else would do this project and later I found Philip,” said Sanada. “I thought it was far too dangerous to sail an experimental ship around Africa but I went anyway. And it was very dangerous, but it was an adventure.”

Sanada anticipates the voyage to the American continent will be a little less dangerous but admits: “When you’re at sea, you never know what will happen.”

Beale said the expedition will be facing "big and powerful” 10-15 metre-high waves, which are a normal for the Atlantic swell.

“In storms, these are very dangerous but the ship should hopefully be able to handle it, although she’s 11 years old now, and not as strong as she once was.”

Wanted: crew for an ancient vessel
The Phoenicia’s diverse crew, which usually numbers around 12, has almost always included at least one sailor of Middle Eastern heritage. One of Beale’s aims is to offer young people from the region the opportunity to participate.

“One of the exciting things about this expedition is the international diversity of the crew, who are from many different countries, cultures and religious backgrounds,” he said. “We’re a bit like the UN.”

Tunisian marina staff help berth The Phoenicia (MEE/Tom Westcott)
Lebanese crew member Sheimaa Oubari has been working on the Phoenicians Before Columbus expedition during the last four years, first while working for the Lebanese NGO Save Tyre Foundation and later as an independent volunteer, before she helped sail Phoenicia from Europe to Tunisia.

“I went to a French school so I didn’t know about Phoenician history and it has been amazing to find out about the discoveries and achievements that Phoenicians made before Christ,” she told MEE.

“Since I started working on this project, I only had one wish - to be part of the crew - and finally I succeeded. I had never sailed before and it was the most difficult and most amazing thing I’ve ever done. This ship changes everyone who steps onto it.”

New Zealand crew member Josh Carlile on board The Phoenicia (MEE/Tom Westcott)
A handful of the current crew will be sailing all the way to America but many join for one leg of the voyage, for a few weeks or a month, braving sparse living conditions - including an outside toilet overhanging the side of the ship, which Oubari described as “the worst toilet with the best view” - and often inclement weather at sea.

Past crew have included the three Syrians who pleaded to leave the vessel at the next port after suffering severe seasickness.

Then there were the five Omani naval sailors seconded to the vessel in 2009, who mistakenly believed that they would be spending two weeks on a cruise ship and an additional fortnight on a paid holiday in Zanzibar (formerly under control of Oman).

But the unexpected hardships at sea on a wooden sailing vessel, as well as the impossibility of landing in Zanzibar due to Somali pirate activity and related food and water shortages, almost led to a mutiny.

The Atlantic awaits
For the small marina of Gammarth, lying 20km outside Tunis and populated mainly with luxury yachts and speedboats, the arrival of such an eminent vessel was an exciting moment.

As the crew took up Phoenicia’s billowing 90 square-metre sail, harbour master Anis Zarmouk sped out to greet the vessel and guide it safely into port. “We are delighted to receive the Phoenicia here, and it’s great that they chose to start the expedition from Tunisia, which was ancient Carthage,” he told MEE. “It’s great for Tunisia, and great for the marina.”

Tunis Harbour Master's vessels approach the Phoenicia to guide her into port (MEE/Tom Westcott)
The vessel’s presence in Tunisia during the last week has attracted a stream of curious locals, especially after appearances on Tunisian TV and radio, but the expedition has also sparked interest from historians, scholars, sailors and enthusiasts across the globe.

Writer and film-maker Lindsay McCauley travelled to Tunisia from Australia. While researching a book about Mayan architecture, he has drawn parallels between measurement systems used by the Mayans, the ancient Israelites and ancient Egyptians. “I can think of no other way for that measurement system to reach Mexico other than via a Phoenician ship, so this expedition is a crucial part of my research.”

'I can think of no other way for that measurement system to reach Mexico other than via a Phoenician ship'

- Lindsay McCauley, writer

Didon of Carthage, a Tunisian NGO, which promotes Phoenician culture, and Tunisia’s Merchant Navy Association arranged cultural tours for the crew to some of the country’s important Phoenician sites. It also donated provisions, including a large quantity of tinned harissa, and arranged for high-level Tunisian officials to come on board.

Hichem Bin Ahmed, Tunisia’s transport minister, told MEE that the expedition choosing Tunisia for its launch was an important boost for the country’s tourism sector, which is still floundering after major terror attacks against foreign tourists left dozens dead in 2015.

“What happened four years ago could have happened in any country and we are already receiving twice as many tourists as two years ago,” he said from Phoenicia’s deck. "We are also encouraging cruise ships and small boats to visit Tunisia and explore our historical monuments.”

And tourism minister Rene Trabelsi described the Phoenicia and her crew as an “undeniable asset to Tunisian tourism”.

Depending on the dangerous Atlantic winds, the expedition hopes to reach the other side of the ocean in December.

Sunset at sea on board The Phoenicia (Josh Carlile)
The success of the expedition depends largely on how well the vessel can weather those wild winds – but the crew are ready.

Oubari gazed out to sea.

“I truly believe in this project, as the Phoenicians were the greatest seafarers in history,” she said.

“They were always pushing boundaries and sailing all over, so how could they have not crossed the Atlantic. And I hope this expedition will clarify this question.”

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Phoenicians Before Columbus: 2019 Atlantic Voyage of Philip Beale's Replica Phoenician Galley



Shillings, gods and runes: clues in language suggest a Semitic superpower in ancient northern Europe
July 5, 2020 8.49pm BST
https://theconversation.com/shillings-gods-and-runes-clues-in-language -suggest-a-semitic-superpower-in-ancient-northern-europe-139381

Robert Mailhammer - Associate Dean, Research, Western Sydney University

Disclosure statement
Robert Mailhammer receives funding from the Australian Research Council. His work has also been supported by the Volkswagen Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst.

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Remember when Australians paid in shillings and pence? New research suggests the words for these coins and other culturally important items and concepts are the result of close contact between the early Germanic people and the Carthaginian Empire more than 2,000 years ago.

The city of Carthage, in modern-day Tunisia, was founded in the 9th century BCE by the Phoenicians. The Carthaginian Empire took over the Phoenician sphere of influence, with its own sphere of influence from the Mediterranean in the east to the Atlantic in the west and further into Africa in the south. The empire was destroyed in 146 BCE after an epic struggle against the Romans.

Carthaginian sphere of influence. Adapted from Kelly Macquire/Ancient History Encyclopedia, CC BY-NC-SA
The presence of the Carthaginians on the Iberian Peninsula is well documented, and it is commonly assumed they had commercial relations with the British Isles. But it is not generally believed they had a permanent physical presence in northern Europe.

By studying the origin of key Germanic words and other parts of Germanic languages, Theo Vennemann and I have found traces of such a physical presence, giving us a completely new understanding of the influence of this Semitic superpower in northern Europe.

Linguistic history
Language can be a major source of historical knowledge. Words can tell stories about their speakers even if there is no material evidence from archeology or genetics. The many early Latin words in English, such as “street”, “wine” and “wall”, are evidence for the influence of Roman civilisation.

Read more: Uncovering the language of the first Christmas

Punic was the language of the Carthaginians. It is a Semitic language and closely related to Hebrew. Unfortunately, there are few surviving texts in Punic and so we often have to use Biblical Hebrew as a proxy.

Proto-Germanic was spoken in what is now northern Germany and southern Scandinavia more than 2,000 years ago, and is the ancestor of contemporary Germanic languages such as English, German, Norwegian and Dutch.

Identifying traces of Punic in Proto-Germanic languages tell an interesting story.

Take the words “shilling” and “penny”: both words are found in Proto-Germanic. The early Germanic people did not have their own coins, but it is likely they knew coins if they had words for them.

Silver double shekel of Carthage. © The Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA
In antiquity, coins were used in the Mediterranean. One major coin minted in Carthage was the shekel, the current name for currency of Israel. We think this is the historical origin of the word “shilling” because of the specific way the Carthaginians pronounced “shekel”, which is different from how it is pronounced in Hebrew.

The pronunciation of Punic can be reasonably inferred from Greek and Latin spellings, as the sounds of Greek and Latin letters are well known. Punic placed a strong emphasis on the second syllable of shekel and had a plain “s” at the beginning, instead of the “esh” sound in Hebrew.

But to speakers of Proto-Germanic – who normally put the emphasis on the first syllable of words – it would have sounded like “skel”. This is exactly how the crucial first part of the word “shilling” is constructed. The second part, “-(l)ing”, is undoubtedly Germanic. It was added to express an individuating meaning, as in Old German silbarling, literally “piece of silver”.

This combining of languages in one word shows early Germanic people must have been familiar with Punic.

Similarly, our word “penny” derives from the Punic word for “face”, panē. Punic coins were minted with the face of the goddess Tanit, so we believe panē would have been a likely name for a Carthaginian coin.

A silver coin minted in Carthage, featuring the Head of Tanit and Pegasus. © The Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA
Cultural and social dominance
Sharing names for coins could indicate a trade relationship. Other words suggest the Carthaginians and early Germanic people had a much closer relationship.

By studying loan words between Punic and Proto-Germanic, we can infer the Carthaginians were culturally and socially dominant.

One area of Carthage leadership was agricultural technology. Our work traces the word “plough” back to a Punic verb root meaning “divide”. Importantly, “plough” was used by Proto-Germanic speakers to refer to a more advanced type of plough than the old scratch plough, or ard.

Close contact with the Carthaginians can explain why speakers of Proto-Germanic knew this innovative tool.

The Old Germanic and Old English words for the nobility, for example æþele, are also most likely Punic loanwords. If a word referring to the ruling class of people comes from another language, this is a good indication the people speaking this language were socially dominant.

Intersections of language and culture
We found Punic also strongly influenced the grammar of early Germanic, Germanic mythology and the Runic alphabet used in inscriptions in Germanic languages, until the Middle Ages.

Four of the first five letters of the Punic alphabet and the first four letters of the Germanic Runic alphabet. Mailhammer & Vennemann (2019), Author provided
This new evidence suggests many early Germanic people learnt Punic and worked for the Carthaginians, married into their families, and had bilingual and bicultural children.

When Carthage was destroyed this connection was eventually lost. But the traces of this Semitic superpower remain in modern Germanic languages, their culture and their ancient letters.

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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