Pretend and understand
This essay is about modern thinking and practise in archaeology. Science has moved from indoor theories to practise and pretending. Unfortunately ideas about the society builds very much on abstract theories and less on analysing what different sizes of communities need
Compare, pretend, relativity, eternal ideas, footsteps of Man, God's footprints, civilisation, civilise, cosmology, Midgard, Inanna myth, ritual calendarback to essays | links |litteratur |sitemap | home |
Science always needs known references to compare the unknown with. All our measuring builds on that. For me like for others the first reference is my surroundings and I. Naturally the environment in childhood shapes us, so mine is the Danish open landscape with at most 6000 years old remains from the stone culture. It was our playground since the farmers occupied all other land. The school gave me totally wrong picture of ancestors. It would be better if I had thought that my ancestors were of my kind.
In Sweden ancestry and remains are matters for the government = us the people. No one could privately own our past and we are obliged to tell the authorities if we find any artefact or remains. It is quite opposite compared with Americans, which have no history to speak of. The latecomers have only a few hundred years of roots in America and the natives do not want anyone to dig in the past As far as I know the American landowners owns the history and can make money out of it. I have to point out how different our references are when we discuss ancient ideas and archaeology globally at Internet.
Besides the relativity in space we have the difference in knowledge. For instance in the 1940:ies when I first learnt about the past and compared with the best knowledge and methods of today. With age, mine 64, we realise that what we learnt in school was not always the one and only truth. Time relativity demands for reviewing and altering our view when conditions alter in time.
With my perspective I can compare different opinions from my past and from what I read from other investigators. My reference is then what I gather as the scientific frames with no obligations to any part in society. Otherwise many investigators are tied up by interests and at least to the payer. Normally the government pays for so-called "free science" however self censure make often people to produce what they think their patron wants. The nation wants a history of glory, gold on won battles.
The church wants to be superior and then they tell that pagans were bloodthirsty barbarians before church civilised the fools. Here in Sweden the Faculty of Religion set the frames until 1981 because the study of ancient ideas and religion was under that roof.
In English we do not like if someone "give names" or use invectives about you. When I become the defender in court of our ancestors I immediately note the science give names to our ancestors or else use disparaging language about "those primitive Stoners and so on".
Our ancestors did not have the same resources as we do. They were forced to use both brain halves and the intuition of the body. They "felt in" and pretended they were the objects they studied. For instance when they wanted to know the behaviour of the animals they were at the same time the predator and the analysing human trying to understand. It is very foolish if we call it "hunting magic" because there is no magic involved. Not even in the paintings they made as bandying wall for their analysis.
In Australia and Africa we have on the rocks nearly 30000 years old hunting scenes that are much the same as today in a few places on earth. We have TV-programs telling us how the hunters pretend having contact with the hunted animals. We know that they like other predators choose the weakest animal to be hunted. But is that much different from other situations in society when mankind is going to win over someone?
I am not hunter but I have heard the talk especially between the high game elk-hunters. Part of the talk is eternal. It is only the new rifles and means that is new. I have been a "fisherman" in younger days and it was natural to try to pretend how the fish thinks and acts. There is no magic in that and no magic works when out there with the rod? So why should far ancestors have been different? Now my aquarium fishes have for twenty years taught me about fish being "human". When we come close to animals we can treat them like our children, understand and have fun since friendship demands for being on the same level. I want to be on level with Grandma and with my ancestors.
In illiterate cultures they are in a way more rational than we are. They use both brain halves and are trained to see analogies everywhere so they can use the same pattern in different situations. They created icons and metaphors to keep their world in memory. They animated the world to get abstracted reference all know of. We are bound to words that create preconceived frames in our mind. If the frames are not similar in words we are against the wall. While the intuitively thinking being can always find some pattern that fits in the situation.
The winning schools in Greek philosophy = description of thinking rationally were mostly atomists and thinking in static bits/ atoms. Reality is relative and more like Thales from Miletos, one of "the seven wise" told that "everything is water", i.e. flowing and never in a stable state for long. That is the base of the thermodynamic theorems today. Our modern Einstein and his relativity theories have not yet really become a part of analysing in verbal sciences.
We are told to think in eternal ideas like Platon taught. Often it works but when reality is not following the map we are flying above ground. Giving names and working with constructed theories estrange us from reality. Nowadays archaeologist and enthusiasts build Viking Age villages, Bronze Age villages and Stone Age settlements going under the skin of our ancestors. Others are learning specialities like working with flint, stone, bronze, iron and wood to "feel how it feels". Then they can also calculate how much time each work needed.
Our attitude could be the hindrance to true knowledge. Sometimes the pretenders are really "primitive" though because they complicate things and they think that our ancestors were dirty primitives. All kinds of animals are anxious about cleaning their body and I am convinced that if not else our ancestors learnt from the animals and birds. People living in strange environment in old fashion are usually clean people else they would not stay healthy. Dirty children we see when they play in modern ghettos with no facilities for staying proper.
I see no reason why we should believe that our ancestors were more spiritual and superstitious than we are. And what if they were it should not be any negative quality. It is more like difference in language. We use analytic language and they used surely language with many metaphors and animated things. I see it as poetry and the Sumerian poems have stored the knowledge for people at that time and to pour time. That is in fact faster than our presentation.
Others may do as they wish but I want to use objective and neutral language. I can not see there is any difference between an alderman in farming societies of Europe, medicineman in hunting societies and the priest in Egyptian mixed urban and agriculture society. The goal is functionality, sustainability and that the leading system fits the local community. It is in my mind primitive science if we put pseudo-qualities that are depending on glitter, complex ritual and nature consuming features and so on. Naturally our ancestors should have the same Human Rights as we have and we should respect them, their relatives, trading partners and neighbours.
Most difficult it is when we try to pretend their thoughts and eventually spiritual ideas. Too often they use models from Christianity or so-called primitive religions of today. The human mind is programmed to fear the worst in unknown environment. Again they "give names" instead of going under the skin searching for what people needed those days. What was their problem in getting food and living? We can not do our jobs today by using magic. Why then think our ancestors used magic? They were rational beings like us and the environment and available technology shaped their thinking.
We know of the difference between the rational Roman and the superstitious Etruscan saved in a fragment. The Romans say that when the clouds bang together it causes lightening and thunder. The Etruscans told that the gods let the clouds bang together to give messages from the gods to the people = augur. But both cultures lived and worked with equal success.
In Italy today they are still rational and say that rock-carvings and especially footprints are Footsteps of Man. In Scandinavia many say that it is God's footprints. The rational existence does not include that gods can make footprints or anything else. As long as such expressions are used only in myths and the virtual fictive world of deities it is no problem. Children always know the difference between fairy tales and reality. Adults have often problem in separating map and reality when it comes to abstract and spiritual worlds.
As soon as we try to interpret rock-carvings as rational doings/ meanings of our ancestors we get problems. If we say that some god has been here and it influences the interpreting of all other motifs since they are told to be from the irrational fictive world. You do not grow corn using magic or mysterious cult. Behind the agriculture myth there is the handy instruction "ploughing three furrows in Thor" invented in Sumer and crystal clear for the farmers that know.
We have to let abstract maps be maps parallel to the rational world. What we see on the rocks is not reality and we could never know if they really used what we see in the motif. We should respect the forefathers to be clever and rational beings. In Scandinavia the settlements were small so we cannot expect too complex rituals. In time they often forgot the original thought behind like it is often today in church. The seasonal feasts were just old customs and some old man, alderman maybe knew what to do to decide time to begin things. Or maybe there was a village counsel in which everyone knew what to do.
We have some ritual rock-carvings that have been untouched and they are the "first-time" occasion that stayed easier in folk memory when it was "written down". That kind of "laws" make it necessary to always make an overview documentation even if there are several layers of motifs on the rock. Too often some curious motifs are brought to discussion without showing the context … it would be much like a Lady that told me she looks on the teeth and then on the feet and know immediately what kind of person it is. I don not believe in that kind of super sense.
Then after documenting the whole rock next moment is to look for patterns and if there are several layers in the general motif. The most pedagogic rock carvings are those like"Follow Gyr" at Evenstorp showing the moon suite and the season suite with delegation of the jobs. In fact even at that rock I have seen some vague motifs I ignore.
Fortunately the rock-carvings of Dal are documented at one occasion and by the same people. So I decided from the beginning to use that documentation since they would surely have recognise the same style and graphology so to speak. I have completed that with visits at the rocks many times. This science would never be an exact one.
We cannot directly use pretending when it comes to rock art. However looking many times at a motif gives some impression. When I analysed the scripts on the rocks I draw the lines to feel the nature of the lines. Sometimes I felt another invisible hand helping me ... There is a little detail that looks like showing a measure with forefinger and thumb. When I made it I got the word "as, as much as" and other synonyms.
The first scripts in the Old World were based on syllables and they symbolised them with known things. So for us it is to know their world and environment. We have to pretend what was so important that they needed to write it down. Since they wrote in stone they probably wanted it to be "eternal". All people at that time lived rural life or were bound to nature as for instance the Sumerian temples with their own fields and agriculture.
We have no good literature in Scandinavia about those days because literacy began as late as in 13th century. We have no folklore either and I am the sceptic to rely too much on "oldies" telling about the past. They do not want to remember more than 6 - 8 generations back. I have found only one good fragment that could be as old as 4000 years. Folk memory usually stores only what people need and forget outdated things.
For instance in Australia the natives do not recognise the Gwion Gwion art as their own and they have replaced the creation myth with something else. I have also discussed it much with Randall Hale in Idaho since he grew up with the Indians in Idaho and he knows their folklore. Still it could be helpful sometimes. In my environment it has been more important that I grew up in the countryside and at a time with the original kind of farming so I know even early farming. In Scandinavia as well as in Egypt and Sumerian environment we have to know about "Farmer's year".
In Europe we normally use some English dictionary since at least my generation were taught the "original". I use the Oxford Concise since I got that versatile thing as a bargain and normally there are good definitions so that I can borrow them. I am lazy you see.
Civilization = advanced stage in social development
Civilize = bring out of barbarism, enlighten; refine and educate
Those definitions seem out of date to me. The writer sits somewhere high above people and makes statements that are of the pseudo-quality. My viewpoint is in the middle of the crowd and I practise the principle of relativity. That means every culture develop society up to local environment and needs. We cannot compare the culture of Indians in Amazonas … the people in the arctic region … people living in lowlands or in the mountains.
Up to relativity they should be measured with their own measures if we put values on them. The only objective measure is sustainability. Many rural cultures has survived for thousands of years … the Zulus and some Australians have managed to co-operate with their environment for at least 20000 years as we see from rock-carvings and paintings.
They all have to be enlightened refined and educate to know what to do and how to live. Some TV-programme showed how the earliest Australians misused the environment but found a way of living that is sustainable until the Europeans came. The Zulus and Australians never strived to conquer Europeans and put trousers on people. That would have been barbarian behaviour I think.
Since I am the empiricist I see that the use of the word civilisation usually is about urban culture and people living in cities. Too many civilisations have declined so I do not believe there is any good value in civilisation. Since I am believed to be heir of barbarians I think that the Greeks and Romans were uneducated when they formulated that word. The Greek sophists told that the world exist only when we speak about it. They did not speak about northern people and if they used invectives about Celts and Hyperboreans. Normally use of invectives is signs of lack of knowledge and education.
It is maybe natural for Christianity to talk about cosmology and they always analyse the vertical connection to one point above in heavens. They call it God. It is not much different from the ritual Age when all the idols and the program of the year was painted virtually in the sky. In principle it does not differ from the rationalists thinking that the sun warmth and the rain give us life and fertility.
Our ancestors were in daily life practical. They were only interested in Midgard or like Sargon in middle of last millennium BC draw the map of the known world encircled and did not care for other worlds. Generally all kinds of civilisation is exemplified horizontally along the time-line and only half a year in advance. IN our rock-carvings we have the ship symbolising a quarter or a half-year. Sometimes they use snakes in animating dynamic time and then they have also half-year snakes. The battle of life is pictured as entwined lowing snakes since life is build on building and destroying forces.
"Shemesu Her" = Follow Time from Egyptian vase painting 4th millennium BC
This is the time-boat from the hut/ or original hill at right to the palm leaf or the sign "renpet" meaning "harvest and end of season". The lifted arms of the Lady means "I am ready" and on the standard is the symbol for "embracing, i.e. the marriage of sun and soil and the Lady is the water"
We should see the animals and the persons as a suite. The two followers means in Sumer "watering and fertilising" and the goats means maybe the inundation season when they lived on the goat and even of fishing. We have the asterism "Goatfish" as symbol for that.
Here we see the season ritual shortened and more real than the asterisms for the season of agriculture. It is the essentials of civilisation when mankind learns to plan the season and delegate the work in time and on the participating persons in the suite. We have maybe a dozen suites in our rock-carvings showing suites related to the moon year and the doings of the season. It was this way that civilisation began when using simple figures to show it.
Still civilisation is a kind of education and indoctrination to be in the suite. The Inanna myth dramatises the suite and the songs were luring the boys to the corn fields with advanced technique of the Sumerian Lady.
I do not like pictures cut like the part from the Sumerian Seal with Inanna leaving the seed to Ereshkigal in Underworld. At left the same scene from Engelstrup Zealand
The lift for me was when I recognised the Sumerian seal with one version of the Inanna myth and realised I have seen at least details of it in rock-carvings from different parts of Scandinavia. That is the Lady sitting with spread legs and a cupmark between them instead of the image on the seal. The real thing is comparing the seal with the Engelstrup stone. I knew the basic Sumerian and Egyptian myths before so I had only to find and describe the clue and connection to agriculture … seeInanna myth
After that followed more systematic use of the old method of "comparing the known and the unknown" and including the Old World in south as the influence field. Soon I could read from theLaw Rock that it was about ritual calendar. Once we know the basic pattern of the vital part of the rock carvings it is much easier to solve other carvings bit by bit. For some motifs it took years before I found the solution.
Utu/ Shamash/ Longleg as sunrise at midsummer on Sumerian seal and a year square from Aamey Norway at right
From motifs like these I got the idea that the original model and foundation for measuring the heavenly vault was the square. Other smaller squares are found in our rock-carvings but these shows the essentials. The double-crossed "steps" at Aamey usually means "second part/ season".
We can see the ziggurat and step pyramid as a model of the vault. Then they needed only the bottom step in the belt at the ecliptic for measuring time. The Scandinavian night sky has the feature that around August 1st eleven of twelve zodiac signs are visible at the horizon. That is the ecliptic belt. It doe not matter which shape one uses as reference as long as the rules for using it is right. It is easier to make a square and to call the vault a "house" or better pyramid that gives the steps and stairs to heaven.
In the Sumerian night sky there are two dog-animals that halves the night sky. One is the Sirius dog and the other our Sagittarius that was Anubis in Egypt. In Sumer it was perhaps Rahu the Moon Dog used as fixstar at the original Ramadan. The dog is seen in that symbolism with the "moon men" at Evenstorp.
There are two tools at each side with a star on top. At right the "ladder" was originally perhaps fixing a star at the half with Virgo. The other an opposite star at the Pegasus square. Here the term "original" for the vault or Animal Round is the state when it was fixed around 4200 BC. Precession make the equinox and other points move a turn counter clockwise in ca 26000 years.
Pattern at golden plate Stonehenge at left. At right the square reconstructed from boats on Rock 4 and 5 Haugsbyn Dal
English astronomers have found that the pattern on the golden plate could be used to decide all seasonal events. That would be natural in the environment of the Stonehenge ritual place. The square in the middle reminds of the simplified Indus square and here it is surely the circumpolar = always visible stars' sphere at the pole.The Harg could probably be seen in the environment of the Thing / court place and the boats are carved on a separate Rock 5 except the lower Ramadan boat that is found on Rock 4 that seems to be notes for the square. Very many of the boats in Scandinavian rock-carvings are simply symbolising time. It is if they thought life as a journey on the Time River. Some of the boats are defined when others are just the nouns. Some boats have some figure in stern and stem and perhaps showing "to and fro" in time.
In upper right corner we have "the corpse" that associates to the Egyptian Osiris ritual at Candlemas. The broken staff at next side was probably called LEAK. At the right side we have the "Boatlifter" motif that is seen on many rock-carvings. That is the Waterman taking his boat ashore in autumn.
This is just a short review since the deeper analyses could be reached by the links. It is just to show that the Old World including at least Scandinavia used astronomy and ritual to plan their season. Some of the symbols we find in the medieval "calendar sticks" the peasants' used when they planned the year. On some of them there are also marks for the "rising and falling node of the moon" at Ramadan = end of season.
Early calendars were half-year calendars and they counted nights and fortnights and were ritual calendars in a world that included wholeness. That tells us they were more interested in the moon than in the sun. The ritual asterisms were used to keep seasonal events in memory. That was surely use in all kinds of rural labour.
The categorising in hunting, fishing, gathering, growing seems to be of the academic sorts since most rural people just harvested all gifts of nature. It is silly academic categorising to prefer any of the categories. Maybe the truth is that it is normal cultural imperialism. If we understand and pretend we have to learn the language of those days. That means understanding the poetic symbolism without using any of our preconceived ideas about stupid ancestors.
The ritual and the practical astronomy are the core in most of the rock-carvings in the Old World. We know that even the so-called New World used astronomy as guide in a practical way. We can not know much about their spiritual world. As far as I have seen yet we find Scorpio, Snake, Flying Snake, Bird, Egg and some other motifs also in the New World. The Scorpio and Thunderbird/ Thunderman could be very old symbols we find all over the world symbolising the worst forces in nature.
The Snake could have been brought to America in middle of Bronze Age since we see some kind of renaissance of the motif in that period. Se alsoUmuti in Idaho We get more and more evidence about the Asia -- America connection showing the influence especially on both Americas. The environment is different and there was naturally culture in America before third millennium BC so we can only see occasional influence from outside.
They have created a special vocabulary about American culture but I cannot see it should be stringent in science to separate Americans from the rest of the world when it comes to ideas that created societies.
I am aware that some people give names and call my stuff "alternative". As far as I see I make synthesis of what other scientist have gathered the past 150 years. No one has created a neutral discipline before about ideas of society and how it all began. I am pretty sure that no magic and no shamans created the basic ideas in society. There was wisdom behind it all. I can look at these things only in the rational way. More about my analysing methods will be published later when I get time to translate my Swedish version of "theories of science."