Spreading Villages out:
I have mentioned on February 24, 2009 that the Ten Commandments seem to have anticipated what I am saying.  I make no claim to have discovered the only truth about that document, but I will say flatly that except for the Ten Commandments I have never seen anything written down that put this together.  I have taken data from other places such as the UN who seem mostly concerned about feeding the world, Iceland where their interest is not clear but appears to be genealogical, Denmark where the fear is more of inbreeding, and animal studies where the interest is more in the environment.  Nobody seems to get it.

There is one line of evidence I shall mention if only to show how far I have ranged in looking.  Later this year I expect to give a lecture in exobiology to a science fiction club in Tampa, Florida.  My excuse is that the information I have put together is very general.  It would apply to any life form, not just the earth.  Pursuant of that lecture I have pulled together things one might call “mainstream” exobiology, by which I mean anything NASA reports, flying saucer reports and whatnot, anything but my own work they might like. 

Among those things is to be this slide:

This is an image from Google earth that shows a rectangular pattern of lines on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.  At the time the notion “Lost Continent of Atlantis” was tossed about.  It looked like a street pattern.  Google explained that the pattern was there because the lines tend to be evenly spaced and cross each other at right angles.  Google insisted that they were artifacts from the fact that the soundings used to produce the image were made by a ship following that course. 

And I suppose they are right.  They ought to know.  But I would not have guessed that.  I would imagine that a ship would follow a constant longitude or latitude while making soundings.  And I would imagine a ship having gone left and right would not then go back and cover the rest of the territory up and down.  Nor would it stop sounding exactly when it reached a line at right angles.  Nor if it needed two sets of data at right angles would it fail to get complete sets.  Nor would it leave its artifact in one and only one place and that place.  And if were setting up the course I would find it far easier to follow lines of latitude and longitude.  So I am not impatient with those who look at it and see a street pattern.

It can’t be a street pattern.  The problem is that it is on the abysmal plane of the ocean.  That depth has never seen the sky.  The sea level has never been that low.  Where would you put all the water?  You couldn’t pile it on the continents as glacier.  I suspect that much glacier would rise above the troposphere.  Then how would you get the snow up there?  And you don’t build streets below the ocean.  Things float in water.  And you would hardly be able to drop one section of the sea floor to that depth without noticing that it was different from areas that did not drop. 

So no Lost Continent.  However, none of this logic ever appeared where I read it.  Instead the response, once Google had denied it was, “Why those city blocks would be 10 miles long.  Ho, ho, ho.”  But that line of logic does not work.

Sorry I don’t have the references, but spacing like that is by no means far fetched for a pre-industrial society.  In fact it happened twice.  In ancient Mesopotamia at one time each village was surrounded by the fields it tended and then there was a strip of some miles, maybe it was ten, before the fields of the next village began.  Since the whole area was connected by canals, this represented a considerable investment.  It could have happened because they were using a system in which areas lay fallow, but my source made no mention of this.

The second place where it happened was in the Amazon basin.  Not long before Europeans set off looking for the lost civilization of El Dorado in South America, there was indeed an enormous civilization in what is now rain forest.  And the villages were laid out in a pattern separated by about ten miles and connected with enormous roads, far wider than a modern Interstate highway. 

Since the Amazon pattern was discovered not very long before the marks in the ocean floor, I rather suspect someone is pulling our legs.  No particular harm that I see.  But the fact that both ancient civilizations chose to scatter their villages several miles apart seems a little odd.  The modern term for the approach is Garden Cities.  And it sounds pleasant enough.  But possibly, barely possibly, somebody had realized that mixing all the villages together would result in a catastrophe and undertook to prevent it by spreading the villages out.  And perhaps they understood that the catastrophe would be infertility. 

Maybe.  But it didn’t work.  And they didn’t write it down.

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