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       Ancient Traces: Mysteries in Ancient and Early History, p.1
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           Michael Baigent
Ancient Traces: Mysteries in Ancient and Early History



  Michael Baigent was born in New Zealand in 1948 and obtained a degree in Psychology from Canterbury University, Christchurch. Since 1976 he has lived in England with his wife and children in order to research and write. He was recently awarded an MA in Mysticism and Religious Experience from the University of Kent.

  He has also written From the Omens of Babylon and, with Richard Leigh, has co-authored a number of books, including the international bestseller, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (with Henry Lincoln), The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception, Secret Germany, The Elixir and the Stone and The Inquisition.



  Mysteries in Ancient and Early History



  Published by the Penguin Group

  Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

  Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia

  Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2

  Penguin Books India (P) Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India

  Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd, Cnr Rosedale and Airborne Roads, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand

  Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank 2196, South Africa

  Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  First published by Viking 1998

  Puiblished in Australia under the tide Ancient Histories: A History through Evolution and Magic Published in Penguin Books 1999


  Copyright © Michael Baigent, 1998

  All rights reserved

  The moral right of the author has been asserted

  Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

  ISBN: 978-0-14-192835-7


  List of Plates



  1. How Ancient is Humanity?

  2. Problems with Evolution

  3. Could ‘Extinct’ Creatures Still Exist?

  4. Living Dinosaurs

  5. The Mysteries of Human Evolution

  6. Suppressed Facts Concerning Ancient Mankind

  7. Where Did Our Civilization Come From?

  8. The Story of Atlantis

  9. Are the Pyramids and Sphinx More Ancient than We Think?

  10. The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt

  11. The Mysterious Art of Alchemy

  12. Reincarnation




  List of Plates

  1 Shaped and polished wooden plank.

  2 Stone pestle and mortar.

  3 The ‘Taylor Trail’.

  4 Human-like fossil footprints.

  5 Fossilized shoe sole.

  6 Fossil shoe print.

  7 Megalodon and Great White shark teeth.

  8 Mokele-mbembe, a small dinosaur.

  9 A coelacanth.

  10 Silver model of coelacanth.

  11 The Naden Harbour carcass.

  12 Interpretation of the features of the Naden Harbour carcass.

  13 ‘Caddy’, mysterious sea-creature

  14 Fossil and artist’s impression of a zeuglodont.

  15 The Laetoli footprints.

  16 Ancient tools.

  17 Ancient butchering marks.

  18 The ‘Palette of Narmer’.

  19 Ice Age drawing of long-necked creature.

  20 Ice Age drawing of reptilian creatures.

  21 The Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre at Giza.

  22 The vertical erosion pattern on the Sphinx enclosure.

  23 Study of Pharaoh Khafre’s head and of that of the Sphinx.

  24 The earliest example of The Pyramid Texts.

  25 Wooden coffin containing The Coffin Texts.

  26 End section of The Book of the Dead.

  27 Alchemical illustration from Steffan Michelspacher.


  I should first like to thank my stepdaughter, Emma Milne-Watson, for beginning the discussion out of which the idea for this book arose.

  I should also like to thank my wife, Jane, for her interest and support during what proved a rather intensive period of writing and research.

  My thanks too for the criticisms and comments made by Joseph Addison, Isabelle Baigent, Tansy Baigent, David Milne-Watson, Lawrence Harvey and Carl Sandeman.

  I owe further debts to many: Brie Burheman; Ann Evans; Andrew Nurnberg; Tony Lacey; and my long-time colleague, Richard Leigh.

  Finally, I owe much to the efficiency of the staff of the British Library Reading Room at Bloomsbury (alas, now dragged to the wasteland of St Pancras), the Bodleian Library and the Ashmolean Library.

  Picture Credits

  I would like to thank the following for their kind permission to reproduce material: Professor Naama Goren-Inbar for 1; the British Library for 2, 16, 17, and 27; Dr Don R. Patton for 3 and 4; the New York Public Library for 5; Deseret News for 6; the Natural History Museum, London for 7 and 9; Professor Roy P. Mackal for 8; the International Society of Cryptozoology for 10; Professor Paul H. Leblond for 11, 12 and 13; the Fortean Picture Library for 14; the Science Library for 15; AKG London for 18; Dr Michel Lorblanchet for 19; WARA, Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici, 25044, Capo di Ponate, Italy for 20 (copyright © 1988); John Anthony West for 23; Peter A. Clayton for 24; the British Museum for 25 and 26. Pictures 21 and 22 are my own.

  The map on page 160 is reproduced from Admiralty chart 4103 by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and the hydrographic offices of France and the United Kingdom.


  In the heat of July 1989, Israeli archaeologist Professor Naama Goren-Inbar, together with her colleagues, began to excavate in the northern Jordan valley. Their site was very ancient, around 500,000 years old, and very waterlogged, for it lay close to the Jordan river.

  They would have begun just after sunrise and, with considerable relief, stopped for the day at noon, just as the sun finally stole away all their shadows. Security considerations cannot have been far from their minds as they worked; the Jordan was the front line during the years of hot peace, and occasionally there were problems.

  They decided first to expose all the geological levels: a mechanical digger was employed to excavate slowly two deep trenches across part of the site. As each bucketload of earth was brought to the surface it was emptied and its contents examined for bones or artefacts.

  One morning, to the archaeologists’ amazement, the digger dredged up part of a well-constructed and highly polished wooden plank. Nothing like it had ever been found before.

  The plank was of willow wood, almost ten inches long and just over five inches wide. It had a very flat, very smooth, artificially polished surface which had been so expertly prepared that no trace of any tool marks remained. Furthermore, one edge was completely straight and deliberately bevelled. Underneath the plank the wood was roughly convex and unpolished. Both ends were broken off, a probable result of the mechanical extraction. The other pie
ces were never found.1

  According to current archaeological thinking, no one living 500,000 years ago had any need for straight, flat and polished wooden planks. Of what possible use would one be to a lifestyle which was devoid of straight edges and flat surfaces? Cavemen, we are told, did not use rulers and set-squares.

  Nevertheless, this plank was found. It had been made with considerable care, effort and skill. We must conclude, therefore, that a need for it had existed at the time. But what might this have been? Professor Goren-Inbar was perplexed; she had no explanation for it.2

  Together with her colleagues, she could only conclude that the technical capabilities of these ancient people had been seriously underestimated. And, she added, there may well be further ‘unconventional’ finds of this type. Finds which may force a revision of opinion regarding the sophistication of early human society.3

  We can see that our comfortable picture of ignorant and brutish cavemen, set far distant from our modern world not only in time but in intelligence and capability, is suddenly in serious danger of being exposed as a deception. This find does not just provide solid evidence of an unexpected level of skill and technical prowess but it also constitutes evidence of an unexpected social and mental development – in other words, it shows that at least some inhabitants of this long-lost epoch possessed minds which could visualize and actualize elegantly constructed objects which we normally associate with a more modern world.

  This well-worked plank needs a context: it seems to whisper unobtrusively but insistently to all who will listen carefully, ‘civilization’. But of cavemen?

  This raises one possible explanation which the archaeologists did not advance, perhaps because it simply did not occur to them, or perhaps because its implications were just too wild. This plank may have been intrusive. Not in the sense of deriving from a later period, but culturally intrusive. Could the primitive humans at this Jordan valley site have obtained the plank elsewhere, from some other, more advanced, more technically accomplished group who had made and used it?

  It seems probable that, in time, the very existence of this plank will force us to rewrite our ancient history. But until then it is likely that this extraordinary discovery will be ignored or, at least, marginalized to the extent that it ceases to pose any threat to the standard story of our past.

  The unfortunate truth we need to confront is that history can be rather like statistics: anything can be proved; any fraudulent story of the past can be maintained so long as all unwelcome data is excluded. As we will discover during the course of this book, certain stories about human prehistory have so much money and so many reputations vested in them that they are stubbornly maintained even in the face of steadily accumulating contrary evidence. To the extent, in fact, of supporters taking every opportunity to shout louder and more often than their opponents. Which does not, of course, help towards any search for the truth.

  Science demonstrates a rather similar situation. Most people forget that, at its heart, science is simply a methodology, a way of working. Its conclusions are not ‘truths’ but essentially statistical approximations. If something happens 100 times, then it is supposed that it will happen 101 times, or 1,000 times. And if, on one occasion during these 100 or 1,000 events, something else occurs, then that lone event is quickly excluded as anomalous and therefore irrelevant. It is dismissed and, in time, forgotten.

  But just occasionally the anomalies become so frequent and so well known that they force a total revision of the accepted story. This book will look at the situation, for example, of evolutionary theory where more than a century of intensive research into fossil animals and plants has failed to produce the proof needed to support Darwin’s concept. Many experts are now looking elsewhere for an explanation.

  Similarly challenging conventional theories are new discoveries concerning the sudden appearance of a fully developed city culture in southern Turkey, many thousands of years ago, in an area where no trace of earlier development has been found. There are, too, further enigmas and unexplained curiosities surrounding the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. These, together with the related mysteries of alchemy, have proved unwelcome to the self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy and so have been widely ridiculed or ignored. This book will take an objective look at them.

  It is noteworthy that apparently damning criticism has always been found to justify the exclusion of enigmatic and contrary data. Experts have argued, in effect, that, because such discoveries were so strange and ran counter to all that is accepted, they must be wrong. This is, of course, an argument based on faith rather than fact.

  Nevertheless, such pundits seek to support their faith by casting doubt upon their opponents, accusing them of being incompetent, ill-trained or, even worse, rank amateurs. As if it makes a difference who actually makes the discovery. The Dead Sea Scrolls are no less valid for having been discovered by a shepherd.

  Those upholding the orthodox story have always played for time because eventually the reasons for excluding conflicting data might be forgotten and thus never subjected to the critical scrutiny which might expose their hollowness. Meanwhile the data and the disputes would also be forgotten. Deep in the basements of our museums ancient bones have long grown dusty in their cardboard boxes, once-dynamic scholars who vigorously argued contrary ideas were broken in spirit, or grew too weary to continue the fight and left the field. Some even had their characters and careers destroyed, as we shall see in the case of Canadian archaeologist Thomas Lee. He dared find human artefacts far older than the accepted date of humankind in the Americas. And he dared to keep digging them up.

  In this book we will be looking at much of that information which directly challenges orthodoxy: information which upsets the comfortable, but confining, boundaries of our modern world. We will look at evidence suggesting design in evolution; at discoveries indicating the existence of very ancient technology; of remnants suggesting that human beings existed millions of years before the present; of human culture emerging in lands no longer available for archaeological study. And, moving into the mystical side of our life and world, we will look at evidence, both ancient and modern, concerning the timeless mystery of death and rebirth. Can we truly have lived before? Increasingly, data is emerging to lead us to answer ‘yes’.

  All too often we fall into the trap of thinking that we know everything about our world. This book has gathered together information which reminds us that we do not.


  How Ancient is Humanity?

  We are confidently informed that, almost 4 billion years ago, our planet was merely a spinning lump of rock. It took almost a billion of those years for life to begin, forming the bacteria and algae which have left their shadowy traces in ancient rocks. Further great stretches of time slipped sleepily by, and then primitive worms crawled out of the biological torpor.

  All in all, life seemed well contented with simplicity.

  Abruptly this changed. About 530 million years ago life burst its rural boundaries. It erupted in an intense, unprecedented, unexplained event now called the Cambrian Explosion.1 This changed the earth’s history for ever. In a frenzy of biological invention the earth became covered with creatures which first swam in the sea and, later, crawled, walked, ran and slithered all over the land. The earth changed from a country lane to Piccadilly Circus at rush hour. And it was permanently lunchtime.

  During this ‘explosion’ all known varieties of complex animals and plants suddenly appeared. But, mysteriously, there is no trace of their development to be found in the earlier fossil record. All appear, fully formed, fully evolved, fully functioning, teeth sharpened and scales glistening. No one knows who or what let them out. Or why.

  And, given such a push, life never looked back.

  In time the dinosaurs ruled over the earth. The earliest appeared 190 million years ago, leading into the huge monsters of Jurassic Park: in fact, they ruled for almost 125 million years. But, despite this success and long after the world see
med destined to remain a Jurassic playground for ever, another mysterious event occurred. The dinosaurs abruptly died out, about 65 million years ago. No one knows the reason. Perhaps the cosmos no longer needed dinosaurs.

  It was this rather sudden disappearance which gave the early mammals a chance to become widespread, filling up the ecological gaps rendered vacant. Of particular importance to humanity is the apparent evolution, during this period, of one specific branch of mammals, the primates – apes and monkeys. For if humans evolved from the primates, as we are led to believe, then our body shape has its ultimate origin at this time.

  Sixty-one million years later – just under 4 million years ago – the first traces of what is believed to be early man appear. Man-like apes or ape-like men descended from the trees – so we are told – to begin a new two-legged life scavenging on the immense African grasslands. But tool-making, one of the defining characteristics of mankind, was yet to come; archaeology has indicated that the earliest use of simple flaked-stone tools began about 2.5 million years before the present.2

  Our culture is even more recent. It is thought to have begun a mere 10,000 or 11,000 years ago, nurtured in the developing settled farming communities of the Turkish highlands. Even later still is the use of metals; it took perhaps another 5,000 years. And now we can land this metal on Mars.

  According to the current scientific theories, humanity and civilization have occupied only a minute fragment of the hundreds of millions of years of earth’s history. In the face of the apparently solid geological and archaeological evidence, for anyone to suggest that human artefacts and human culture might long predate the last 2.5 million, or even 4 million years is to invite total ridicule.

  Yet how solid is the accepted story of the past?

  Does it really accord with all the evidence? Does it provide a satisfactory explanation for all the artefacts which the earth has given up?

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