North Atlantic passage off topic:
This is worse than off topic.  I’m not sure there is a topic here at all.  But a coincidence has turned up, and since this is my notebook as well as my blog I’m going to go into it a bit so I’ll know where to find it if anybody ever asks  We’ll start it on a British Air jetliner coming back from the Orient with my mother.  The pilot got on the intercom and told us the Mount Sinai was to our left.  Indeed a mass of mountains was out there looming over the plains of the Arabian Peninsula.  I later learned that there is more than one traditional site for that sacred landmark, but for now I’m going with the one we were shown. 

If you were to go to the mountain, and mind you this is approximate; it’s about the size of New England, and then go to the pyramids of Giza, you will find yourself at three remarkable locations at the same time.  For one, there are the pyramids.  Their size and antiquity are amazing.  Somebody put a lot of effort into working stone, and it would be folly to ignore the fact that there was some sacred purpose.  At the same time, you are at the place where the meridian of longitude on earth that crosses the most land intersects the parallel of latitude that crosses the most land.  You are also at thirty degrees east and thirty degrees north.  How odd.  If you go 120 degrees south you are at the South Pole.  If you go 120 degrees west you are at New Orleans.  It’s not the same distance, since parallels other than the equator are not great circles, but it’s kind of a coincidence.  The pyramids are at Cairo, which at the apex of the Nile delta while New Orleans is at the apex of the Mississippi delta.  Now stretch a string between them.  If you continue southish along the same great circle you go through Medina and Mecca.  If you go northish you go through Alexandria, Athens, Naples, Rome, Genoa, Rennes le Chateau, Carnac in Britanny, Stonehenge, crossing Northern Ireland at Newtown (you did know that Naples means “New Town”), cross the Atlantic and come down through Oak Island, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans of course, and on to Mexico City where there are pyramids again.

Now follow the Rh negative blood groups.  They are not exactly on the line.  There are a bunch in about the region of the Kurds, who seem to be remarkably stable for their part of the world and who have a town called Erbil (Andrew Lawler Erbil Revealed ARCHEOLOGY vol. 67 no. 5 September/October 2014 page 39) which is likely to be the oldest continuously inhabited site in the world.  There is a blip in Sudan.  Then you come up across North Africa with the Berbers, up the Iberian peninsula to the Basques and there is a blip in Northern Ireland and Scotland and it goes all the way to Bergen in Norway.  It’s not that there is all that high a prevalence all the way, it’s just above background.  The odd thing is that the blood type seems sort of to follow the same great circle that all those cities do.  Then look at megalithic structures.  Egypt goes without saying.  I once read that there was a sort of miniature Stonhenge in Sudan.  Then there is a lot of megalithic work in Malta, not so very far from North Africa, and the Iberian peninsula, France and Carnac in particular with the name sounding a tad like Karnak in Egypt, Stonehenge of course, west coast of Britain, Scotland, and on to the Faeroe Islands. 

It doesn’t get to Norway, although there are some ancient stone carvings I have seen in Sweden.  Then if you cross the ocean again you go through Poverty Point in Louisiana, which is thought to be the first thing done by the Missouri mound builders.  And of course in Mexico there are pyramids used by the Aztecs, stone sacrificial altars and a legendary “feathered serpent,” bringing to mind the headdress of the Pharoah with it’s vulture and cobra.  Also they played a kind of ball came in a stone court that’s a bit like the Basque jai alai. 

So there seems to be a pattern if not actually a mechanism that connects a lot of human activity.  The pattern looks like it includes urbanization, the collection of great numbers of people for a common purpose, reverence for stones and work with stone, and I’m sad to say a whole lot of official mayhem.  And it tends to lie along that same great circle.

There’s going to be another.  China is planning to extend her high speed rail system up along the coast of Russia, across into Alaska and all the way to California.  It will again be a great circle.  That part of Russia with global warming may become the world’s next breadbasket.  I can say with satisfaction that human sacrifice seems not to be on the agenda.

Before leaving the stones, one really ought to mention Göbekli Tepe, which is a stone circle built thousands of years before the pyramids.  The stones are sort of T-shaped, like the stones of Stonehenge when it was complete but with gaps in the transverses.  And one can hardly ignore the Mayans, not so far from that great circle. 

So we have a timeline that goes way back before the pyramids and activities that come into the sixteenth century, all of which kind of show some things in common.  The problem is that there isn’t a good way to hook it all up.  But now they are saying that boats have been underrated in archaeology. (Nikhal Swaminathan America in the Beginning ARCHEOLOGY vol. 67 no. 5 September/October 2014 page 22)  So maybe they paddled or sailed across.  St. Brendan did in the sixth century, but that was long after the rise of the Mayans. 

And now they are saying that the first crossing of the north Atlantic, the same article just above, may have happened twenty thousand years ago going from the Iberian Peninsula as far as places lake the Cinmar site near Delmarva Peninsula near the entrance of Chesapeake Bay where they left stone tools much like the Solutrean tools of France and the Iberian Peninsual around 22,000 to 17,000 years ago, long before the Maya.

So it seems rather tantalizing.  Here is a connection that might go back twenty thousand years and lasted up until the time of Cortez, if one were audacious enough to believe all the stories and see a connection, both over time and incredible distance.  And now it’s lost.  It was just here a moment ago.

I mean it’s the distance that does it, doesn’t it.  Nobody thinks there is anything of sacred significance over distances of thousands of miles.

Er, well, you might not like this.  But remember Mecca?  That is revered over distances of thousands of miles.  If you wish to face toward Mecca and are anywhere along the great circle, the circle will guide you.  And reverence for stones?  Well they do say there is a sacred stone in Mecca.  It wasn’t pronounced sacred by Mohammed.  He just gave people permission to continue to revere it if they left off worshiping their idols.  You know what that reminds me of.  There are standing stones in Ireland that people used to worship in the time of Saint Columba; he was one of the monks who traveled with Saint Brendan.   He is said to have carved crosses on the stones and told the people the stones were now Christian, and it was ok to worship them.  But if you actually look the crosses were not added as an afterthought.  They are central to the pattern.

So perhaps it’s not gone at all.  Islam has not exactly faded from sight.  It may reflect some sort of something of unthinkable antiquity.

On maybe not.  I don’t know.  I wasn’t there.

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