June 21, 2023

Scholars have long debated the age of a human-like skull discovered in Petralona Cave in northeastern Greece, but have overlooked evidence suggesting the cave and its extraordinary natural formations may be the oldest known sacred site in human history. Sometimes the awe-inspiring natural features of a cave appear custom-made to reinforce the cosmological beliefs of those who discover them. Natural cave formations that seemed to reflect core religious beliefs were perceived as divine manifestations of the gods. For example when... Read more

June 14, 2023

One of the most incredible stories of the 21st century hasn’t showed up yet on the radar of popular culture, thanks in part to the sterile language of scholarship and the lack of cross-disciplinary thinking in academia. In a nutshell, archaeologists and geneticists are now busy proving that one of the most fantastic myths of the last 2,500 years is largely true. The setting for this incredible story is 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the far reaches... Read more

June 8, 2023

The role of volcanoes in the development of religion has been vastly underestimated in the western world. And scholars continue to debate whether a volcanic event at Mt. Sinai was the true setting for the Old Testament God delivering the 10 Commandments to Moses. Although every human culture in recorded history practiced some form of religion, scholars can’t simply accept the notion that our distant ancestors, including other human-like species, were also guided by religious feelings. Considering their brains and... Read more

June 3, 2023

Long before Homo erectus trekked across Eurasia, eight different ape-human hybrids stood up and walked on two feet. These eight distant ancestors lived between two million and 11.6 million years ago in a wide range of geographical locations from South Africa to Chad and southern Germany. All eight could be described as hybrid ape-humans, usually with small brains and the ability to swing from trees mixed with the ability to walk upright. Signs of bipedalism include changes to the pelvis,... Read more

May 31, 2023

When the earth’s climate warms up, migratory bird routes extend further north. Conversely when the climate cools, they fly further south. The whooper swan, with its nine-foot wingspan and musical vocalizations, has been known to spend winters as far south as India and North Africa. The sudden appearance of thousands of whoopers in a new region for the first time would have made a profound impact on the local population. Myths about the whooper are found across its Eurasian habitat,... Read more

May 27, 2023

About 42,000 years ago, a group of humans who had emigrated from Africa to Germany made a five-hole flute from the wing bone of a griffon vulture and left it in Hohle Fels Cave. It was discovered in 2008. These earliest of Europeans crafted and presumably played the bird-bone flute on a major seasonal ground for migratory birds, where two global migration flyways (out of eight total) converge in southwestern Germany. The East Atlantic and Mediterranean/Black Sea flyways each carry... Read more

May 22, 2023

From the viewpoint of an environmental reclamation engineer, the sacred groves of the ancient world were a highly effective method of maintaining a healthy ecosystem and a clean water supply over the long term. Often located on the outskirts of a village, sacred groves typically featured shrines built along a serpentine river. In Nigeria, a Yoruba legend recounts the voice of Osun the river goddess warning early settlers not to cut down her trees. The settlers heeded her warning and... Read more

May 20, 2023

The 25,000-mile Inca Royal Road tracks closely with bird migration routes on the Pacific Americas and Central Americas global flyways, opening the possibility that the road system may have been used in part for spiritual journeys intended to test the mettle of young elites — the high-mountain route reached an altitude of 16,400 feet. Virtually every ancient culture perceived migratory birds as messengers and agents of the sun god because they followed the sun north and south each year and... Read more

May 16, 2023

Long before the Romans made the arch a central feature of civic architecture, it was a sacred and universal symbol reflecting the continuous turning of the cycle of life. It was most consistently associated with sacred sites celebrating the winter solstice and the 180-degree turning of the sun from south to north, from death to life. About 5,700 years ago, large U-shaped enclosures of stone were built near the Gulf of Morbihan on the western coast of France, according to... Read more

May 12, 2023

Every stone temple aligned with the dawning sun on the winter solstice was constructed where flocks of migratory birds spend the winter, including some of the world’s largest avian seasonal grounds. Against the backdrop of wintering waterfowl and enormous megaliths gleaming with quartz, the sacred theater of the winter solstice told a supernatural story of the afterlife, of what happens between death and rebirth. The plot went something like this: In late October, a ceremony was held to release the... Read more

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