Reconstruction of the Sumerian city of Ur

Civilizations Out of Nowhere

(Read the article on one page)

Graham Hancock, in his famous work “The Fingerprints of The Gods” argues that certain civilizations around the globe showed these signs of unusual intelligence in their architecture, science and writing systems. Intelligent human civilization extends much farther than we originally believed. The following is a presentation of some of the strange aspects of humanity that have been long forgotten, while remembering that our ancestors left us artifacts in the form of incredible structures and monuments that we are meant to decode and decipher. If the human story is a work in progress, let these monuments serve as important points to consider in the revision of this story. The monuments left behind by our ancestors would have had to coincide with their level of development given the time period; which calls for a revision of the human timeline. These historical anomalies raise questions about our collective history, and indicate how much remains to be discovered.

Human prehistory marks a time before records were kept, a time when, for several thousands of years, Cro-Magnons roamed across the planet, possibly forming small groups and living in primitive societies. The context of this strange condition changed again, approximately 15,000 years ago. When we compare the crudeness and primitive nature of Cro-Magnon side by side with the achievement of humans in the last 15,000 years, the gulf between the two widens considerably. We maintain the belief that human advancement and achievement follows a linear path upwards; each new civilization being more advanced and intelligent than the last. Just as we see jumps in advancement from one species to another.

From Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon, we see entire civilizations emerge out of nowhere with advancements in the sciences that have only recently been discovered. Several ancient civilizations across the world show an advanced level of astronomy and mathematics. As the Babylonian empire began to emerge 2500 years ago, one of their chief astronomers, Kidinnu, was able to map the annual movement of the sun and the moon that remained unchallenged until 1857, when astronomer Peter Andreas Hansen charted the arc of these celestial bodies to an error margin of only nine seconds.

A Babylonian almanac

A Babylonian almanac, mentioning future positions of the planets (British Museum)

During the Shang Dynasty of China, spanning between 1700-1100 B.C, a solar calendar known as the Ssu-Ten contained months that carried a precise length of 29.53055106 days, meaning leap years were taken into consideration and accounted for. An even earlier Chinese text, known as the Huang Ti-Ping King Su documented the Earth as a body which floated in space. Similarly, Greek scholars Permenides and Empedocles were quoted separately, stating “the moon illuminates the nights with borrowed light”. Over the last 10,000 years or so, modern humans were in possession of knowledge that suggests extraordinary intelligence [i]. What pushed early human societies over the edge, leading them to acquire such incredible knowledge at such an early stage? From the examples noted above, this was not an isolated incident, causing only one part of the globe to develop these skills. This level of “pre-advancement” was widespread, slowly changing the context of human history.

Two oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty in China

Two oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty in China (c. 1800 - 1200 BCE). Evidence from the Shang oracle bone inscriptions shows that at least by the 14th century BC the Shang Chinese had established the solar year at 365¼ days and lunation at 29½ days. ( CalendarsThroughTheAges)

Sumer is recognized as the cradle of man’s modern origins; the world’s first advanced civilization. Out of this region sprung an incredibly advanced high culture at approximately 3800 B.C. Located in the southern region of what is present day Iraq, the Sumerian civilization literally “exploded” with cultural firsts and incredible human achievements. Sumer was also known as Shinar, and was situated between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This region came to be called Mesopotamia, from the Greek word meso meaning ‘middle’, and potamia meaning ‘rivers’. The two rivers would be instrumental in allowing this early civilization to flourish, making commerce and trade possible.

 A great city of Sumer

A great city of Sumer (

Mesopotamia was situated within the Fertile Crescent, where the geography, climate and presence of water encouraged the growth of agriculture. The Sumerian civilization was preceded by an earlier culture known as the Ubaid. The Ubaid were of an unknown origin, most likely comprised of the scattered tribes surrounding the two great rivers. Culture branched out into several disciplines with surprising levels of advancement. Astrology, botany, zoology, mathematics, and law would make up some of Sumer’s greatest achievements. Medicine and pharmacology were widely practiced. The first houses made out of bricks were found in this region. Sumer even had a working system of mythology, and a fully developed history of its own culture [ii]. At a time when hunter-gatherer societies were prevalent across the globe, the Sumerians were developing advanced legal codes and calculating astronomy at an intermediate level. One of the world’s first written forms sprung out of this region.


There is a considerable amount of empirical evidence to suggest that the Egyptian civilisation - which also seems to have suddenly appeared 'fully formed' - preceded those of Mesopotamia by at least several centuries.

I thought that too, isn't there some evidence stating that the Pyramids could be as much as 12,000 years old? or more? that alone, if true, trows the current idea of human history right out of the window

Puma Punku and Gobeki Tepe are very likely even much older than 12,000 years.


in my search it happen that i have found a minimum of 20 civilization advanced

most archaeologist seen to have some problem with this.

it is probably with they never talk about it

they also not cover very much the period of 40,000 to 4,000 bc

so if you want to speak about a specific civilization   just reply

I agree. Much critical evidence has been swept away by the ravages of time, but recent discoveries around the world make it clear that we're still pretty clueless when it comes to the bigger story of who these people were, where they came from, how they lived, and what became of them.

When considering the "appearance" of "fully formed" civilizations, it's important to bear in mind the dual meaning of the word "appearance". The lack of research into the earliest periods of human development has left us with an information void so vast that nearly any theory will fit.

I join you in your call for more research, especially into this critical period. Progress happens when courageous researchers move beyond calcified dogma and wild-eyed speculation, open their minds, and do the work.







I agree with you that archaeologists and scientists do not cover very much of the past beyond 4000 b.c. I believe this has to do with how far we have come now. They see what we have been able to do and the technology it took to do it. They then think there is no way a "primitive" society could have done it. It is this arrogance that prevents us from learning more about our true past. That being said let me address the civilizations that just seem to pop up. This question is a big pill to swallow, but what if we are the second evolution of man on this planet? Would that not explain how these great cities seemed to spring up from noting and be able to accomplish so much? Could it have been that they discovered old ruins like we are doing today? I hypothesize that man has evolved twice on this planet; the original evidence gone due to the ravages of time. Now shown in how ancient civilizations sprung up and accomplished so much. Could it not be possible that some of the great mythical cities like Atlantis had once been real and their stories and skills passed on or left in some form? We already know the world had gone through so much change and that great floods wiped out civilizations. Could this have not happened before? I ask you to keep an open mind as you explore our collective history. We may be overlooking the missing link in our evolution.

The perspective offered is one that views the current state of human knowledge as akin to an absolute. To put it another way - "advanced" is completely subjective. The case can just as readily be made that humans c 2014 are still a backwards species.

Justbod's picture

Interesting article - many thanks! I loved Fingerprints of the Gods and I'm sure more evidence will emerge over time to challenge and perhaps change our current dominant paradigm.

Sculptures, carvings & artwork inspired by a love of history & nature:




Beware anything with Zecharia Sitchin as reference. The man was almost as big a fraud as von  Daniken.

Bold statements. Have anything to back them up? 

Chariots of the Gods speaks for itself. The kindest thing you can say about is that it generates that odd feeling you get when watching early startrek: it's supposed to be futuristic but seems strangely dated. It becomes logically baffling why we haven't mastered interstellar travel since thousands of years ago aliens got here in crappy 60s rockets that needed landing strips! And those crazy annunaki! They travel all the way to earth from their dodgy astrophysically impossible world to mine gold. Only when they get here they have to genetically create people to do the mining because they haven't invented drills or robots! Whats more shocking? That ancient Egyptians had giant light bulbs or that von Daniken doesn't know what a lotus plant looks like? Is it more astounding that Sitchin found tonnes of evidence to support his "theories" or that all of his translations are completely contradicted by people who can actually understand Sumerian?

johnblack's picture

Geob, have you read all books of Stichin? Have you researched all the topics that he is referring to (and I talk about researching and not wikipedia ...)? If you utterly dismiss an author it means that you haven't probably critically read all of his books and you base your opinion on others.

Well Stichin has many assumptions in his books and he clearly refers to them as assumptions. But he also have many valid points. You cannot compare Stichin with Daniken!

Tsurugi's picture

Chariots of the Gods does speak for itself.

Your comments on Sitchin imply you haven't read his books....sounds more like you've just read the books(or more likely, the blog rants) of people who don't like Sitchin's books. So did you read actually read Chariots? The book does indeed speak for itself, but only if you actually, you know, read the thing.


What's shocking(excellent choice of word there, sir) is you apparently think that's what a lotus plant looks like.

Your concluding statement, "...all of his[Sitchin's] translations are completely contradicted by people who can actually understand Sumerian," is simply amazing.
First of all, no one fully understands Sumerian. Among those few who have some understanding of it, no pair of them will, if given the same text to translate, produce identical translations. They all contradict each other to a certain extent.
And yet, none of them completely contradict all of Sitchin's translations. Much of what he translated has in fact been corroborated by the translations of others.
Conversely, most of the "contested" points found between Sitchin's and others' translations are found to be contested amongst all translations. Meaning, where Sitchin's work disagrees with that of the experts, the experts disagree with each other as well, rendering the disagreement with Sitchin's work no more or less meaningful than their disagreements with each other.

Basically, that final sentence was so absolutely false in every possible way, it seems like any change would have necessarily made it less incorrect.

Actually, I thought it looked like a really big aubergene. The key thing is it doesn't look like a light bulb. 

And wasting precious moments of ones life "researching" Sitchin is pointless because he's just wrong. Luckily he is so blatantly wrong that goons like the ones on Ancient Aliens can happily pick out the bits that if you believe this stuff is most convincing but to everyone else is simply amusing. I mean honestly:planet Nabiru or whatever it's called. Try explaining that to any real astronomer without getting laughed at. If Sitchin's most ardent supporters can't get a sound bite out that doesn't sound daft, why would anyone bother reading the books? Unless I was desperate to believe that for some reason actual experts are unable to see something a man with no demonstrable expertise has magically discovered. I did read Chariots but found it as I said, a wierdly dated thing and admittedly skimmed the bit after his silly captions on the pictures. 

Still, it's all harmless fun and possibly the safest thing to have a bit of banter about because in the end no one can actually prove anything! I actually never miss an episode of Ancient Aliens, Georgio is a legend and soon I might need a bigger TV just for his hair!

Lochawk Onewolf's picture

Zecharia Sitchin was truly gifted.

he gave the world the answers to the ultimate questions.

if one disagrees or questions him or his bona fides they are 

obviously carrying water for the one percent and or the religious fanatics who presume to think for the 99.

Lochawk Onewolf

Ignoring my own opinion on Sitchin or his belief, theories and assumptions.

“If one disagrees or questions him or his bona fides….” First of all, no one can question him without carrying water? Just making a statement this absolute (especially about other absolute statements) suggests that you are EXACTLY as close-minded as you are accusing others to be.

As for his bona fides, assuming we have the same definition of bona fides (since bona fide is something you are not something you can have, technically). He actually has none; he has a very good education in Economics and nothing else. Not saying that education=correct (it most certainly doesn’t); but he certainly doesn’t have any ‘bona fides’ in any of what we are speaking of.

Greyface lives!

A lot of problems with this article. For one, these civilizations didn't just pop out of no where, there were formative periods which preceded their creation. The article even states that the Ubaid preceded the Sumerian culture.

Secondly, the article expresses a form of hyperdiffusionism when it posits that Sumeria was the Cradle of Modern Man's beginnings. This type of thinking is outdated. It is well known among scholars that there have been more than one Cradle of Civilization and each one developed independently around the world. Yes, Sumeria may be the oldest, but it was not the sole basis for the creation of cities. The propensity for city building is a universal human trait as demonstrated by the development of each individual Cradle. Sumeria was a blueprint in its particular cultural sphere (i.e. Mesopotamia) but not for the rest of the world.

It is uncanny that the various Cradles developed independently and relatively around the same time, but I am deeply skeptical of an extraterrestrial origin for this phenomenon.

Tsurugi's picture

Diffusionism is still a valid theoretical proposition. It has been supplanted by Isolationism as the favored theory among academics, but it has by no means been conclusively falsified, nor has Isolationism been overwhelmingly supported by evidence.

The complexity of Sumerian culture was certainly preceeded by Ubaid, but Ubaid was by no means "formative" of Sumerian culture, any more than the cultures of Native Americans were "formative" of modern American culture. The reason Sumer is said to have "appeared out of nowhere" is because there is no recognizeable development period.

Setting the paleocontact issue aside, the main problem with Isolationism or "independent development" is not only that such sudden developments occur roughly around the same time, but also that they have so many points in common, architecturally, mythologically, and so forth. The commonalities are clear, but the differences are clear as well, pointing perhaps to a common source rather than communication between cultures(as diffusionism proposes).

One possibility for that "common source" is paleocontact. Another is the legacy of an advanced civilization in extreme antiquity, one that had now been all but lost.

What I'm saying is, Isolationism is a valid idea but is by no means conclusive. Diffusionism, as well as the "third party"(ETs or Atlantis or whatever), are also valid arguments.

We agree that there are many unanswered questions about the origin of modern humans. The thing is that modern humans did not spring out of thin air. Just like their civilizations, the biological and intellectual development of modern humans required "a formative period". Another term for this period is evolution.

However, the current theories of modern archaeological researchers have failed to adequately discover and study this formative period. Frankly, they really don't know where we came from or how we originated. I am not monkeying around here.

My research indicates that intelligent life has existed for many millions of years. Modern humans seem to have developed from very ancient beings. In Mexico, there is evidence for intelligent non humans existing as far back as 100 million years.

Furthermore, the recent discovery of a massive stone block wall in Siberia made up of cut stone blocks 3 to 4 million pounds each argues for even a more ancient date for intelligent life. The Siberian wall seems to be a massive sea wall that could have only been built over 425 million years ago.

This is not my date but the date current geology has identified as when Siberia was surrounded by the sea. In fact, the wall is probably older since 425 million years is the date when Siberia joined with Mongolia and Dzungaria.

Roberto Peron's picture

"Progress happens when courageous researchers move beyond calcified dogma and wild-eyed speculation, open their minds, and do the work."

  This should be emblazoned on every institution of science and higher learning.  
johnblack's picture

I couldn't agree more with you Roberto. People tend not to realize that at all! But it has always been a few that bring progress, isn't it? The rest just follow whatever is mainstream ... Every time the same pattern ...

Humans of 10 or 20 thousand years ago were no less intelligent than modern humans. Given the innate human curiousity, it is so hard to imagine that ancient humans, once they had secured food sources and shelter, turned their curiousity towards the skies. And doing so, began a generations long quest to elucidate what exactly was going on up there.
If you live your whole life in or near a city, you may only think of the night sky as flickering light. However, in the more rural areas, and in the distant past, you are able to see quite a lot more detail in the sky at night. The light pollution of modern electric cities ruins the contrast and detail that the unaided eye can discern in the night sky.
Now imagine a priesthood which keeps rudimentary records for hundreds of years detailing cosmological phenomena. Every few generations an exceptional mind will encounter this information and it is not long before simple truths 'the moon reflects the sun', 'the earth is round' are readily apparent.
It is vain to think only us modern humans can see this. On the contrary, we blind ourselves to much.

I have personally watched videos and read books written by Graham Hancock, for the last year.
His theory suggests around the world there are towns on coastlines, that are currently  under water. The flooding was estimated about 10,000 years ago. These are videos of underwater dives conducted by Graham--documenting the man made structures.

Troy Mobley

angieblackmon's picture

I really enjoyed this article and it has only reminded me that I never finished reading Fingerprints of the Gods and I should do that very soon! Also, I love the ideas and discussion taking place here, I wish I had more to add.

love, light and blessings


Were there prio advanced civilizations? Maybe.

Is advanced understanding of astronomical concepts evidence of unexplainable advancements and/or outside intervention? Obviously not.

Ancient knowledge of atronomy has a clear explanation; there was nothing else to do. Considering the amount that modern man knows through observation about meaningless things (reality television and sports come to mind) it is unsurpising that ancient man spent a great deal of time contemplating the sky. Even with all our bells and whistles, the night sky without light pollution is frankly, amazing.

Greyface lives!

johnblack's picture

It is very naïve to assume that ancients had nothing else to do! The only advancement of our society today is technology, and to be exact a very specific type of technology. Our society 200 years ago was far less advanced than ancient Greece or ancient Rome for example. This doesn’t make us advanced as societies – in fact if you take technology out of the equation we are far inferior to most of the ancient civilizations.

I suggest you do a better and in depth research rather than just dismissing ideas superficially.

Every statement you make is hanging; “in fact if you take technology out of the equation we are far inferior to most of the ancient civilizations.” – “The only advancement of our society today is technology, and to be exact a very specific type of technology.” Without elaborating on what you are actually talking about, you are effectively ‘just saying things.’ So I really can’t respond to nothing.

As for my ‘nothing else to do’ comment; you are right – I am exaggerating. But it remains that they did not have television, books, video games etc. (in some cases, they did not even have organized sporting events) – the point being is that their understanding of astronomy can be explained quite simply by the fact that a basic understanding of astronomy was as common in ancient times as being able to drive is today.

Greyface lives!

Global's picture

I read this with great interest.

Let us look at the world as it once was, and perhaps still is.

In a time, when magic was science, ignorance abounded, when true power laid in the hands of the violently strong the chronicler and the storyteller wrote history, whom do we believe? Chronicled facts are a dry meal that sticks in the throat of the consumer, they carry no sense of the moment, nor do they convey the history of the moment yet, the storyteller with a few deft embellishments provides a rich, succulent, and satisfying repast. The narrative of the human race is a record set down in legend and fact, some of it verifiable, some of it unbelievable, yet what a story it all makes.

An ape, if we are to believe the evolutionist, and why should we not, once stretched out a hand to touch and pluck fruit from a tree or a bush. We as descendants of that ape have the opportunity to reach out and touch the stars. Could mere dry facts have driven us so far, or have our imaginations needed the stories to enable us to desire and progress beyond that which as a fact appears unattainable.

I read your comment with great interest; I had previously not heard of the stone blocks near Mount Shoria. They are truly strange; not more of this ‘well that would be hard’ or ‘ this one picture looks like it could be an alien’ nonsense that many people call ‘unexplained.’

Though there are some possible geologic explanations for this; it seems that it definitely needs further research before I am convinced as to what is going on there.

Greyface lives!

Peter Harrap's picture

I take issue with anybody claiming the ancient greeks and romans were more advanced, even at their zenith, than we were 200 years ago, if you want to be laughed at, continue!, but their civilizations did not appear out of nowhere any more than did ours. Ours developed over millenia adopting every useable idea and device and goes on doing so, and is far, far beyond anything of which there is any evidence on the planet at all.

WE cannot explain certain things. We ascribe these things such as very heavy stones moving and pyramids being constructed in ways we do not understand, and what appear to be batteries (Iraq) and model aeroplanes and bas-reliefs of aviators etc to our own concepts of alien advanced civilizations, but we have no evidence at all that these artifacts are what we perceive them to be.  Its as bad, and as faulted a practice as assuming your neighbour thinks as you do and watches the same TV programmes: It’s just not on

We project our fantasies on artifacts back in time, so an old chinese head becomes an area 51 alien, and a deity on a circular bas-relief becomes a spaceman in his cockpit, (getting that from Von Daniken to whom we all owe an enormous debt). A circular wheel-like sculpture in an area academics continue to claim used no wheels. We owe the idea of mathematics in stone as prediction in the Pyramid of Gizeh not to Hancock, but to  le Mesurier, author of The Great Pyramid Decoded which predates Hancock et al. It is equally unproven, but, like Darwin’s, a cute idea.

I think you have to be very careful before assuming that missing evidence will certainly materialize, like the imagined “instant civilizations”, out of nowhere, as part of the lila of God’s play: but in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary, and aware of human errors and the inaccuracies of dating methods etc, it still beggars belief, let alone logic to assume that advanced alien invaders would have used or worked in stone at all, and just perhaps maybe we need to step back a little from current thinking, or rather the lack of it, to realize that any advanced alien invasion and colonization force would have technologies far in advance of the puny remnants we ascribe to them and their alleged influence on Planet Earth.

I mean to say, any old Trekkie knows that!



I agree with you that the civilizations did not spring out of nowhere, I am not sure Handcock insinuated that either. I will say that every civilization innovates and solves problems creativly. Alot of times older innovations are borrowed and some individuals draw up plans ahead of their time. For example Da Vinci tank, airplane and, autopsies..  Honestly even if our society is more technologicly advanced with that advance comes with the cost of our natural rescources and ecosystems… Societies rise and fall one good book that talks about this is “Long Cycles” ..


Troy Mobley

Too many people think ancient humans were stupid, they were just as clever as modern humans they just had less of a foundation to build upon.

Civilizations did not really appear out of nowhere. Has anyone considered the possibility that all these ancient civilizations were really just survivors or past destroyed civilizations? With all the flooding stories around the globe, the ending of the ice age and flooded coast-lines it is not hard to understand how something could have happened to wipe out progress. Is it not reasonable to think that perhaps it just took a while for population levels to reach a sufficient size before a society to become self-sustaining again and use their previous knowledge their ancestors left for them?

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Ancient Technology

Grinding stone, Dendera Temple, Egypt.
Most people know of the great construction achievements of the dynastic Egyptians such as the pyramids and temples of the Giza Plateau area as well as the Sphinx. Many books and videos show depictions of vast work forces hewing blocks of stone in the hot desert sun and carefully setting them into place.

Ancient Places

From this map of the site, all the main structures and rock carvings are visible.
The little town of Malinalco lies at the margins of the Valley of Tepoztlan, some 115 kilometers (71 miles) to the southwest of Mexico City. Since Prehispanic times, its name has been associated with magic and sorcery: Malinalxochitl, goddess of snakes was worshipped on the Cerro de los Idolos, a hill overlooking the entire valley and the town below.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article