PureInsight | April 14, 2003
I-3 Aerial activities of ancient man
(Pureinsight.org) People nowadays think that it was the Italian Galileo who invented a workable telescope some three hundred years ago, based on the sixteenth century versions produced by Dutch lens makers, thus making modern astronomy a feasible undertaking. Crude lenses from much earlier have been found in Crete and Asia Minor dating from 2000 BCE. Very fine 1000-year-old elliptical lenses have been found from a Viking site on the island of Gotland, probably made by Byzantine or Eastern European craftsmen. The Roman writers Pliny and Seneca refer to lenses being used by engravers. The real question is why, since the lenses were routinely used for starting fires, magnifying small objects, even for spectacles, and mankind has an ongoing interest in observing celestial phenomena or looking up at the sky, it took so long to make a workable telescope. One archaeological finding provides evidence to believe that perhaps the Europeans were not the first to produce them. The ICA Museum in Peru has a stone carving of a human figure that has been dated back to at least five hundred years ago. The significance of the carving is that the figure depicted appears to be examining the sky with a telescope in his hands. Moreover, there is a celestial body in the carving as well, possibly a comet with a tail, that the figure seems to be observing. Such a unique discovery puts stress on the present contemporary belief that the Europeans invented the telescope in the sixteenth century.
Dr. Javier Cabrera in Peru has collected many such engraved stones. Besides astronomy, themes of pictures on his stones include organ transplantation, blood transfusion, and chasing dinosaurs, among other things. It is difficult to date the stones. A chronological history of Spain once mentioned that such stones had been discovered in ancient tombs of the Incan Empire. People thus infer that the astronomy-based stones are at least five hundred years old. Logically speaking, the stones that depict creatures such as dinosaurs may be considerably older than originally believed
If it is indeed a telescope that is depicted on the stone from the ICA museum and such devices were commonplace around the globe, it could help scientists to understand why the Dogon, a tribe in Africa, has developed such advanced astronomical knowledge. The Dogon tribe lives at the big turn of the Niger River in southern Mali, western Africa. They lead a mainly rural and nomadic life. Without written language, they pass down knowledge orally from generation to generation. In their religious doctrine that has been passed down for over 400 years, a star called Sirius B by astronomers, a companion star of Sirius, was accurately described. This astonished modern astronomers.
Sirius B is very faint and invisible to human eyes. Based on observations recorded using modern instruments, astronomers discovered Sirius B in the 19th century. The Dogon people supposedly did not possess any modern technological instruments, but generation after generation they have passed down legends about Sirius, which includes a reference to the Sirius system consisting of two stars. According to the legends, the small star is very heavy, and it rotates around the Sirius star in an elliptical orbit. Some elderly Dogon people can draw the orbits of the two stars on the ground, and they are quite similar to those calculated results by modern astronomers. This example may indicate that the ancient Dogon people have retained knowledge of astronomy from long ago.
The stone carving in Peru, just like the astronomical knowledge of Dogon people, reveals mysterious knowledge and techniques that previous human civilizations possessed. Modern science could be only a rediscovery of previously acquired knowledge. Let us take a look at some of the methods for flying that the ancients knew about.
Ancient Chinese books recorded that in the Spring and Autumn period (770-475 BC), Lu Ban had created flying machines. This led Lu Ban to be acknowledged as the father of all craftsmanship. In Mozi·Luwen, it reads "Lu Ban cut bamboo and wood, and made a wooden bird. It stayed in the sky for three days." Lu Ban also made a big wood kite in order to spy on enemies in a war. In Hongshu it reads, "Lu Ban made a wooden kite to spy on cities in the State of Song." Besides, Lu Ban made a passenger plane. According to Youyang Zazu [A Collection of Essays from Youyang] of the Tang Dynasty, Lu once worked in a place very far away from his hometown. He missed his wife very much, so he made a wooden bird. After being redesigned several times, the wooden kite could fly. Lu Ban went home on the kite to meet his wife and returned to work on the next day.
There was also an interesting example in the West regarding a wooden bird. In 1898, French Archeologist Lauret dug out a wooden bird from an ancient Egyptian tomb in Saqqara. It was dated at around 200 BC. Because people had no concept of flying at that time, it was labeled "wooden bird" and gathered dust more than 70 years in a museum in Cairo. In 1969, Khalil Messiha, an Egyptian doctor who likes making models, happened to see it. This wood bird reminded Messiha of his earlier experience of making model planes. He thought it was not just a bird, since it had no claws, no feather, and no horizontal tail feathers. Surprisingly, its tail was vertical, and it had an airfoil cross-section, which qualified it to be a model airplane. He made a copy. Although he did not know how ancient Egyptians flew it, when he threw the model, he found it could glide. Further testing showed it was not only able to glide, but also on a scale similar to modern gliders.
Later, scientists found this model was very similar to modern propelled gliders, which can fly in the air on their own. With a small engine, they can fly at a speed of 45-65 miles per hour (or 72-105 kilometers per hour), and can even carry considerable cargo. Since ancient Egyptian artisans used to build models before constructing real objects, it is possible that this kind of wooden bird was used for transportation, just like the wooden kite that Lu Ban made.
Modern studies on flight started about 200 years ago. In 1903, after the Wright Brothers successfully completed the first manned flight, aviation theories began to be formulated. However, Lu Ban and ancient Egyptians seemed to be aware of how to use such theories a very long time ago. This circumstance gives cause to reconsider the history of cultural development that modern human kind now believes. It is possible that ancient people knew more than modern people think they did.
Another discovery is even more amazing. It indicates that the territory of ancient people may have exceeded the sky, and may have even reached outer space.
In 1959, the United Sates successfully received the first picture of earth from a man-made satellite in outer space. It was not perfect, but it was the first time that human beings observed the earth we live on from such a vast distance [17,000 miles away]. Since then, plenty of scientific studies have involved photographic techniques with satellites. Among them, one geographic picture was really surprising.
Scientists installed a camera on a spaceship, and it was able to take pictures of Cairo from outer space. The developed photos showed amazing scenes. Since the lens of the camera was focused on Cairo, everything in an area centered on Cairo with a diameter of 5,000 miles was very clear. However, things beyond 5000 miles became obscure. This is because the earth is spherical, the continents and plains start to blur and curve when far away from the center. For example, the continent of South America became elongated in the picture. The same rules applied to pictures taken by astronauts from the moon. However, when scientists compared these satellites photos with an ancient Turkish map, they surprisingly found a distinct similarity. The cordilleras on Antarctic had been covered by ice and snow for hundreds of years, and were not mapped until 1952 by scientists using sonar capabilities. However, they appeared on an old map belonging to Admiral Piri Reis, a Turkish Naval Commander. In addition, the map accurately recorded the contour, longitude and latitude for both American and African continents. Ironically, the map was made in the 16th century based on even more ancient maps.
This astonishing discovery shocked many scientists. After further studies, they drew the following conclusions: 1) This map was made by putting 6 ancient maps together; 2) all the ancient maps used the same techniques which required the knowledge of plane geometry; 3) The ancient maps centered on Cairo. It is pretty clear that the maps from Admiral Piri Reis required advanced technology like that of today. However, before the 16th century, man had only just mastered the techniques of celestial navigation, and airspace was undoubtedly beyond their heads. What technologies on earth did ancient people use to make such accurate maps? Is it possible that they once flew in the sky?
Translated from http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/3/20/20904.html