Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (Poster Presentations)

Poster presentations from the conference: “Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations” (11th-13th July 1997)

Evidence Of Tunguska-type Impacts Over The Pacific Basin Around The Year 1178 A.D.

Abstract of poster presentation by Emilio Spedicato

University of Bergamo, Piazza Rosate 2, 24129 Bergamo, Italy. email: emilio[at]
Presented at the SIS Conference: Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (11th-13th July 1997)

In year 1178 A.D., as related by Clube and Napier in their book The Cosmic Serpent, a strange event was observed to affect the Moon, which may be explained by a large impact on the hidden face, originating the Giordano Bruno crater. A number of observations suggest that catastrophic cometary or meteoritic impacts around the same time also affected the Pacific basin: Maori legends of great fires destroying forests and the moa bird, to be associated to the recently found Tapanui craters; dynastic changes and migrations throughout Polynesia; very intense El Niño activity with flooding of the coastal Peruvian regions; demise of the local Moche civilizations, and the birth of the Incas civilization higher in the Andes; the emigration of the Aztects from the Pacific coast to the interior in the most well-protected area from tsunamis; unusually intense typhoon activity in the Chinese-Japanese see; unusually strong floods in Northern China with diversion of the course of the Huang Ho; unusually cold wheather in the Mongolian plateau, probably a main reason for the Mongolians invading nearby areas; a great sign in the sky seen by the boy Gengis Khan forecasting his future of world master; the number of comets seen in the sky as recorded by Chinese astronomers was unusually higher.

EMILIO SPEDICATO born in Milano, graduated in Physics and has been working since 1971 in numerical analysis (linear algebra and optimisation) and applied mathematics. His main work, with Abaffy and Broyden and several Chinese mathematicians, has been the development of the ABS algorithms, which unify the field of algorithms for solving linear algebraic equations and linearly constrained optimisation and provide novel and better methods than their classical counterparts (e.g. the implicit LX algorithm which is generally faster and more accurate and has less storage than the classical best algorithm, Gaussian elimination). Since 1979 he has been involved in the catastrophic reproach of homo sapiens history and related events in the Earth history. He has proposed that Hispaniola was the original location of Atlantis and is working on a project aiming to study mathematically the feasibility of a revised “polar model” approach to the history of the solar system (transition from a configuration with aligned planets in synchronous revolution around the Sun to the present configuration after capture of Jupiter at a time when homo sapiens already inhabited the Earth). He is professor of Operations Research at the University of Bergamo.


Hints to the Nature of Bronze Age Catastrophe found in Ancient Art

Abstract of poster presentation by Charles Raspil

One Bronxville Road, Bronxville, New York 10708, USA. e-mail: 105345.1216[at]
Presented at the SIS Conference: Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (11th-13th July 1997)

I propose that the core and purpose of ancient art was not symbol, but representation. Therefore, ancient depiction of the gods and their interactions could be seen as an embellishment of snap shots of the sky. I have coined the term trism, which I define as an artistic tri-symmetric composition found all over the world, whose propose was to depict gods and heroes, fantastic beasts, and sacred articles in heraldic and confrontational positions. Noting the similarity of the trism’s morphology to magnetic field lines, I suggest that these compositions represented conjunctions or interactions of various celestial objects involving the presence of strong magnetic forces. There are ago certain elements within these compositions, the most common being certain star-like objects, because of their resemblance to spattered drops of viscous liquid, I have dubbed spatters. Depending upon these objects’ morphology, art historians have usually identified these elements with flowering plants and accordingly have used terms such as rosettes to describe them. Because of their common presence in and amongst the trism, and because of their resemblance to patterns precipitated by electrical discharge phenomena, I conclude that these elements also suggest the presence of strong magnetic forces, whose fluctuations caused these discharge phenomena. In this presentation, I will examine and portray Mediterranean art dated after the Bronze Age, with some emphasis on Greek art. I will show how art from this period actually depicts prior celestial events. Under this rubric I discuss and show, A) the trism in Greek mythology which includes: Herakles and Iolaos; the Gorgon; Athena (and her owl); various aspects of Helen including the Dioscuri and Theseus and Perithoos over Helen;

Herakles and Apollo’s fight over a tripod; Dionysius’ birth between Zeus and Semele; Herakles and the Centaurs. B) A comparison of the earlier elements of Greek art with celestial manifestations occurring at different times and places. C. Commonality of Greek an with primitive art including cave art and petroglyphs. D. The use of my analysis to solve various enigmas of mythology such as, Athena; Apollo; the giving of epithets to the gods; the evolution of fantastic animals, from the centaur to the Sphinx.


Circling the Rings: A Conjecture about Solar Rings

Abstract of poster presentation by Henry Zemel

New York. e-mail: henryz[at]
Presented at the SIS Conference: Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (11th-13th July 1997)

The eccentricity and inclination of planets, moons, asteroids, and comets are linked in a peculiar way: the bodies in the ecliptic, and the moons in the equatorial plane have nearly circular orbits, while those off the ecliptic or equator are mostly elliptical. Among the planets, all orbits are nearly circular and in the ecliptic, except for Mercury and Pluto whose orbits are elliptical and considerably inclined to the ecliptic. Of the 32 major moons of planets, 20 orbit in the equatorial plane (inclination < 4 degrees), and nearly all of these orbits, 19 of 20, are circular (eccentricity < 0.1.) By contrast, 9 of the 12 inclined moons have elliptical orbits. Asteroid orbits are primarily elliptical and off the ecliptic. A graph of “number of asteroids” versus “inclination” peaks at 4 degrees inclination, and then drops rapidly as inclination approaches zero. This is the distribution one would expect if the ecliptic had been swept clear of asteroids. These patterns among the satellites of the sun are consistent with a system of shrinking solar rings in the ecliptic, and concurrently, an extensive – and shrinking – ring system around the major planets. If elaborate ring systems existed and degenerated in historic times – a highly speculative supposition — they would form part of the panorama described in ancient records.


Landscape analysis and stratigraphical and geochemical investigations of playa and alluvial fan sediments in Tunisia and raised bog deposits in Sweden – a possible correlation between extreme climate events and cosmic activity during the late Holocene

Abstract of poster presentation by Lars G. Franzén(1) and Thomas B. Larsson(2)

Physical Geography, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Göteborg, SE-413 81 Göteborg, Sweden, E-mail: lars[at]
Department of Archeology, University of Umea, SE-901 87 Umea, Sweden

Presented at the SIS Conference: Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (11th-13th July 1997)

Geomorphological signatures, and plays and alluvial fan deposits, all point at a severe flooding catastrophe in central Tunisia c. 1000 B.C. Precipitation must have exceeded 10,000 mm in a very short period. Human activity during this period concentrated around wells, with an increased need of heating as indicated by the very frequent occurrence of unusually large fireplaces with heating stones imbedded in charcoal (Larsson and Franzen, in press). The sediments deposited indicate severe ground frost in an initial phase, i.e. large balls of loose dune sand, embedded in the lower part of the stratigraphies, objects which could only have been transported in a frozen form. In spite of being found in a 5 m thick sediment sequence the fire places have the same apparent age according to 14 C-datings, indicating an extreme rate of sedimentation. The playa investigated, Chott Nejla, is normally dried out However, after heavy floods, it is a freshwater lake, with a maximum depth of 15 m, if filled up to the thresholds. At the natural playa outlet during pluvial periods, from an archaeological point of view, a very rich site was found with signs of a perhaps continuous settlement from 9000 B.C. to Roman times, uncommon for the Capisien culture (Balout, 1955; Larsson and Franzen, in press). The sediment sequence at the playa centre shows that the most abrupt transition from aridity to very humid conditions at 1000 B.C., was followed by a very long lake stage. The lower lake stage sediments of this event contain glassy spherules (5-100 gm dia) with a very varying composition, from pure Fe-types to types with the same basic composition as those found in the K/T-transition (e.g. Koeberl and Sigurdsson, 1992). Other outstanding wet periods found in the Tunisian material are 900-1000 A.D. and 1600-1700 A.D. In southern Sweden, several raised bog deposits have been investigated for their peat ash composition. Raised bogs, which receive all nutrients from the atmosphere, is an ideal archive of atmospheric fallout, the rate of peat accumulation being rather constant and the peat being easily dated with 14 C. The investigation indicate strongly increased atmospheric circulation in rhythmically appearing periods with high peaks centred around e.g. c.2200 B.C., 1000 B.C., 400 B.C., 200 A.D., 1000 A.D. and 1600 A.D. Harmonic analysis points at a periodicity of 570 years or 1140 years. Like in the playa deposits glassy spherules were found, having the same basic composition as the Tunisian material. In conclusion, both playa and alluvial fan deposits in Tunisia, and peat in Sweden points at a very turbulent Holocene with several sudden and dramatic climate event;, with unknown origin and extent The cultural traces indicate periods of extremely cold and humid conditions. The spherules found could be of volcanic origin but they are not associated with any known major volcanism, and their heterogeneous composition points at other formation mechanisms e.g. cometary impacts in ocean shelf sediments.

References: Balout, L. 1955. La Prehistoire du l’Afrique du Nord. Paris. Koeberl, C. and Sigurdsson, H. 1992. Geochemistry of impact glasses from the K/T boundary in Haiti: relation to smectites and a new type of glass. Geochim. Cosmochim Acta 56(5):2113-2129. Larsson, T.B. and Franzén, L.G. (In press). The Capsien Culture at Ez Zaf Zaf, Chott Nejla, Central Tunisia. Preliminary Report, Univ. of Umeå, Univ. of Göteborg, Sweden. Larsson, T.B. and Franzén, L.G. (In press). The anomalous dwelling sites of Oed Sequia, Central Tunisia. A comparison between fire cracked stones in Tunisia and Northem Europe. Preliminary Report, Univ. of Umeå, Univ. of Göteborg, Sweden.

LARS FRANZEN (Ph.D., Gothenburg University, 1985) is Associate Professor of Physical Geography of the department of Earth Sciences at Göteborg University, Sweden. His research interests include the Holocene climate development as detected in stratigraphies of raised bogs in Sweden and playa deposits of Northern Africa. His studies has lead to the discovery of several abrupt climate shifts in Post-glacial times, the most pregnant of these being centered around 1000 B.C. Cultural and other evidence point at prolonged periods of severe cold and vast floodings associated with some these events.


Tails Of A Recent Comet: The Role Cometary Jets Play In Crustal Formation

Abstract of poster presentation by Milton Zysman(1) and Frank Wallace(2)

176 Major Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2L3, Canada
Toronto, Canada

Presented at the SIS Conference: Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (11th-13th July 1997)

Drain away the Earth’s oceans and a global pattern of continental and undersea mountain ridges appears. Adjacent to these ridge systems, are layers of silt and clay so thick that they fill the gaps between the ridges, creating extensive plateaus. Ranging across the Earth’s higher latitudes are thousands of tiny replicas of these ridges called eskers and drumlins. These swarms run up hills and across streams in roughly parallel discontinuous strands for hundreds of kilometres. Preserved by encapsulation in the ice and snow of our last ice age, eskers, drumlins and their related structures will be the major focus of this paper. We contend that the greater and lesser ridge systems alike, including the water and sediment that fill them, are cometary debris. These ridges, which lie directly upon older ridges, are free of fossils, show no signs of organisation by hydraulic processes and the cements necessary for their conversion to rock could not be provided from earthly sources. These ridges can be traced to a stream of “jets” of disintegrating materials emanating from shifting surfaces on a comet’s nucleus. A band of these jets, captured in planetary orbit, will deposit its debris in a manner perpendicular to the Earth’s surface – a unique configuration that is consistent with the manner in which comets discharge in the plane of their orbit. The jet will land in two distinct phases. Jet particles able to resist planetary atmosphere (sand, gravel and boulders), will compact and concretize into their classic ridge pattern. The water and lighter materials, diverted by winds and post-depositional mobilisation, will flow and become inter-ridge basins. We contend that the establishment of the ridge complexes found on Earth are therefore consistent with the earth’s encounter with cometary tails, sections of which get captured in the Earth’s orbit before descending in swarms.

MILTON ZYSMAN was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1936. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in 1958 and an M.B. in 1962. A founding member of the Canadian Society for Interdisciplinary Studies, Mr Zysman has run an engineering firm in Toronto for 30 years. In 1990, he published and edited Catastrophism 2000.


Testimony of the Oaks: Evidence of Climatic and Geomorphic Changes in Lower River Valleys at 3200 BC

Abstract of poster presentation by Richard L. Meehan

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
Presented at the SIS Conference: Natural Catastrophes during Bronze Age Civilisations (11th-13th July 1997)

Stabilization of sea level about 6000 years ago resulted in the formation of deltas and floodplains providing for the first time conditions suitable for highly organized human society. Yet the early years of civilization were marked by unstable behavior of lower river valleys influenced by erratic global climate as well as transition of rivers into their present meandering form. Many human practices and beliefs are rooted in the late fourth millennium (~3200 BC). This poster and associated web site will examine geomorphological events of this time period in the light of recent paleoclimatological research findings, with implications for both the past and the future.

Richard Meehan is an engineer with degrees from MIT and Imperial College, University of London, and is an adjunct professor at Stanford University. He specializes in environmental and engineering problems of river valleys, including flooding, subsidence, and other hazards associated with urbanization. His book “The Atom and the Fault” (MIT Press) explores the hazards of nuclear power in California.

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