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Comet Halley

3 April 2016
Ancient history

Tim Cullen has written some conspiracy like articles in respect of Heinsohn's amazing revision of AD chronology – and he followed this particular post with another one today. However, at http://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/burned-house-syndrome/ … he has come up with an even more radical idea, involving Comet Halley. His piece says that the burned horizons common to the Balkans and SE Europe between 6500 and 2000BC are due to periodic passages of Comet Halley – every 76 to 80 years. Lots of speculation has taken place around Comet Halley – influencing Biblical events among other things, symbolically messianic. However, nobody prior to Tim Cullen seems to have suggested it was capable of causing catastrophes on Earth every 76 to 80 years. Is this far fetched?

Oddly, there might be something in this – a sort of inspiration rather than destruction. The date of 6500-6000BC represents a major catastrophic event in which sea levels dramatically changed in various parts of the world – and the Bosporus was opened up, the North Sea basin flooded and so on. It also marks the time when farming communities migrated out of Anatolia (with evidence of mass burning at settlement sites) and turned up in the Balkans. Over the course of the next few thousand years these farming communities regularly moved further and further north and the mainstream archaeological position in the mid to late 20th century was that they used slash and burn methods to cut down the primeval forest – as their movements were associated with evidence of burnt countryside. It was then assumed, by projection, that after a few years, or a couple of generations shall we say, that slash and burn methodology gradually led to a leaching of nutrients and the farmers moved on to a new site and started all over again, burning down the wild wood and planting their emmer wheat and barley seed in the ash laden soils. This pattern of movement continued over a few thousand years – at least until 3200BC, and probably until as late as 2000BC. Therefore, Tim Cullen has picked up on something that is a bit of a mystery. It did not just affect SE Europe but was common across much of eastern and central Europe right the way up to the North European Plain (Poland for example). I had always assumed this involved intervals much longer than 76 to 80 years – much much longer. On reflection that might not be the case as how long would it take to leach ash from soils – and cause slash and burn people to move on. It may have been the rapidity of the movement that caused archaeologists to come up with the idea of slash and burn in the first instance. I need to read up a bit on this as I'm going from memory. 

Cullen has taken to pieces the mainstream explanations for the burned settlement sites in the Balkans as archaeologists and historians are obviously challenged as they cannot look at a catastrophic explanation as it would bring down ridicule on their heads. Their hands are tied and the eyes blinkered by the consensus. Cullen typically wades in and strikes a catastrophic match to the bonfire. Is it possible Comet Halley could have caused devastation on Earth?

The evidence from the Balkans (Bulgaria and Serbia) is that wattle and daub houses of the early farmers have caused the clay content in the mud to turn a bright orange colour as a result of intense heat – giving the ruins a ceramic feel. The heat was the equivalent of that produced in a kiln to fire pottery. As anyone who has experimented you can't fire pottery on a normal bonfire. It requires something to contain the heat and make the temperature rise to a high point. The idea that whole settlements could be burnt purposely by piling up brushwood around the wattle and daub houses is feasible until you take into account the ceramic nature of the clay content that was left behind. It is at that point one has to look at fire raining down from the sky – or heat generated by bolides exploding in the atmosphere. It is an amazing theory to bring Comet Halley into such a regular occurrence of devastation. At this point Cullen runs into another peculiarity of archaeology seen worldwide – the purposeful closure of settlement sites. People move on. Very often some sort of ritual was invoked and the former site is burnt or covered over with earth and other debris, including broken pottery and purposely broken quern stones. Organic material doesn't usually survive. This idea of purposeful closure persisted in the UK all the way down to the Iron Age – and it is a very obvious feature of Mesoamerican archaeology as well. Hence, it is also feasible that the 76 – 80 year interval is recognition that Comet Halley played a role in events, and his return was marked by ritual site closure that involved razing them by setting them on fire – in memory of those events that did involve bolides exploding and heavy bombardment by meteor streams from Encke or Halley or whatever. However, does this also imply the ancients were aware that Halley returned on 76 -80 year intervals? This can hardly be true as many other comets must have been visible in between the periodicity. It would seem to imply that Halley was so big and impressive it was recognised as an old foe of humanity each time the comet appeared. One is left thinking in terms of regular bombardment by the tail of Halley rather than close approaches – and meteor streams that have since been diluted over time.

Presumably in the period 6500 to 2000BC Comet Halley would have been much bigger than it is now – a whole lot bigger. Each time a comet goes round the Sun it loses part of its mass – and Halley has gone round the Sun on numerous occasions. It has been traced back to the mid first millennium BC and astronomers have conjectured it may have come very close to the Earth in around 3200BC (but their is no proof that it was orbiting in the inner solar system at that time). Comet Halley is full of ifs and buts and speculation. If it had been around 8000 years ago it would have been an enormous spectacle – and humans would have recorded such experiences. In other words it must be present in mythology – but again we are in the area of speculation. How can you place mythic events in a time frame?

McCafferty and Baillie, in their book 'The Celtic Gods: Comets in Irish Mythology' were inclined to identify one of the protagonists in the Beowulf myth as Comet Halley and Peter James in an SIS article shredded some of the Saturnist arguments by suggesting Venus was Encke and Mars was Halley and mythology did not involve planets on unsettled orbits but only concerned comets. In other words, if you delve into Velikovskian literature where it concerns Mars and its variants (in different cultures) one may actually be provided with some kind of idea of what Comet Halley might have involved thousands of years ago.

Cullen got a lot of his information from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burned_house_horizon … and this is where the 76 – 80 year interval comes from. You will need to read up on the literature concerning the various Balkan cultures to get a clearer picture of the situation. Since Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union there has been a burst of archaeological excavation funded by central funds, and almost every week there is a new discovery (mostly of the Roman period as that is the most prominent). Burnings of settlements have been reported, and these are usually attributed to accidental fire. Accidents do happen and having a fire inside a house to cook and keep warm is an obvious fire hazard. One has to be careful when invoking a natural disaster rather than human accident but if a 76 – 80 year interval really exists Cullen has highlighted a very real mystery that requires addressing.

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