The Ior Bock Saga: Is Everything We Know about History Wrong?
There are many disagreements among scholars regarding historical events and individuals, however there is a consensus that most historians follow - a mainstream view of world history. At the same time, there are also those who challenge the mainstream view. A rather provocative example of this would be the ideas of the now deceased eccentric Swedish-speaking Finnish tour guide Ior Bock, born as Bror Holger Svedlin, who, among other things, claimed that humans existed on Earth 50 million years ago and originated in what is now Finland. Although it is always possible that the mainstream is mistaken, the Ior Bock saga does not stand up very well to scrutiny.
Ior Bock. (Youtube Screenshot)
The mainstream view of human history is that anatomically modern humans evolved about 200,000 years ago in eastern Africa. The earliest evidence of art and religious expression occur in the archaeological record maybe 70,000 years ago (also in Africa) and the earliest agricultural communities emerged about 10,000 years ago in the Middle East. The earliest civilizations sprang up in the river valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, the Indus River Valley, and the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers by 5,000 years ago. Modern humans did not reach Finland, according to the mainstream view, until after the end of the last glacial maximum, about 11,000 years ago, and civilization didn’t reach Finland until late Antiquity or the early Middle Ages.
Homo sapiens skull (Holocene) 3. (James St. John/CC BY 2.0)
Bock’s Explanation of Human Origins
Ior Bock, on the other hand, claimed that his family within their traditions preserved the true history of the world which had been suppressed by institutions, such as the Roman Catholic Church, for at least a millennium. According to Ior Bock’s story, humans originated tens of million years ago on a continent situated over the North Pole. It was here that the first human societies emerged, which would become the foundation for all later civilizations.
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According to Ior Bock, the Ice Age began around 50 million years ago - shortly after humans appeared. Ior Bock’s explanation of human evolution is also different. He claimed that humans were the result of some sort of combination of goats and monkeys. The exact location where humans first originated, according to the saga, is a land called Uudenmaa. Uudenmaa, which supposedly inspired the story of the Garden of Eden, is now in Finland.
‘The Garden of Eden’ (1828) by Thomas Cole. (Public Domain)
The Aser and Vaner
Before the global Ice Age, humanity was divided into two parts, the Aser and the Vaner. The Aser were the first people and they lived in Uudenmaa proper. The Vaner lived outside Uudenmaa and were produced later through breeding programs. When the Ice Age began, the Aser became trapped in Uudenmaa – it was surrounded by ice sheets for millions of years, until 10,000 years ago when the ice retreated.
After the ice retreated, according to Ior Bock, the Aser made contact with the human cultures which had developed across the globe. According to this lore, as the ice sheets melted these cultures became in danger of floods. The Aser, in response, built boats for humans and animals to protect them during the flooding. The story of these floods and the building of these boats is alleged to be the basis for the story of Noah’s flood.
‘The Deluge’ (1508-1509) by Michelangelo. (Public Domain)
After the catastrophe, the Aser did what they could to help rebuild civilization by sending teachers to every major civilization to teach them the values of Uudenma and Ooden (Eden). This apparently had only moderately successful results. The Aser were also behind the establishment of civilization in Europe and the religious values of the Aser became prevalent in the pagan religions of old (pre-Christian) Europe.
These traditions of the Aser continued in some form or another until the coming of Christianity. According to Ior Bock, the Church suppressed these traditions so that only two families remained who had knowledge of these traditions. One of which was the Bockstroms, from which Ior Bock claimed his family descended.
The Church of Hollola is a medieval stone church built in 1495–1510 during the end of the Catholic era, since the 1520s it is an Evangelic Lutheran church in the parish of Hollola in Finland. (Olli-Jukka Paloneva/Public Domain)
Ior Bock the Prophet?
Ior Bock believed himself to be a prophet who was appointed 10,000 years ago to restore the true understanding of history when mankind was ready. Ior Bock died in 2010, but many of his followers are still committed to transmitting the saga that they believe to be the truth which has been misjudged by the academic establishment.
Could Ior Bock’s account of world history be right?
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What makes Ior Bock’s account so extraordinary is that it wouldn’t just mean that history as we know it is wrong, but that much of the physical and social sciences including: geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, archaeology, and even linguistics, are wrong as well. While that is certainly possible, it is something that is, simply by its nature, unlikely and would require a lot of convincing proof.
Assessing Ior Bock’s Claims
Ior Bock claims that modern humans first appeared before 50 million years ago, something for which there is currently no indisputable evidence. The only primates during that time for which there is fossil data were some early prosimians. No apes or monkeys appear until the Oligocene (35-23 Ma) and even the earliest bipedal ape fossils (such as Sahelanthropus tchadensis) are no more than 7 million years old.
Cast of the Sahelanthropus tchadensis holotype cranium TM 266-01-060-1, dubbed Toumaï, in facio-lateral view. Specimen of Anthropology Molecular and Imaging Synthesis of Toulouse. (Didier Descouens/CC BY SA 4.0)
The oldest recorded fossils resembling anatomically modern humans are a fraction of that age, only about 195,000 years old. If we consider phylogenetic evidence, the date is pushed back to perhaps 290,000 years ago. To be fair, there was a recent finding of an almost modern-looking skull in Morocco dating to 300,000 B.P. But this is still much too young to support anything like Ior Bock’s story of human origins.
Also, the most recent cycle of ice ages started about 2.5 Ma, during the late Pliocene. Over the past 2 million years or so there have been alternating periods consisting of glacial maxima (ice ages) lasting about 100,000 years and interglacial periods where the glaciers retreat, resulting in a temporary warming of the planet for a period of about 10,000 years. We are currently in an interglacial period which is why Europe and North America are not encased in ice. The most recent cycle of ice ages (or glaciations) before the present one ended 260 million years ago during the Permian Period. There is no geological evidence of a major glaciation event at 50 Ma. In fact, paleoclimate data shows that the planet was warmer than average 50 million years ago.
Artist’s depiction of Ice Age on Earth. (CC BY SA 4.0)
Ior Bock’s view of human evolution is also different from what we know from phylogenetics and fossil evidence. Goats and humans are on separate evolutionary lines that diverged 80-100 million years ago which means that by 50 million years ago, they would already be along lineages that had diverged and would have been incapable of merging. The only way that the rise of the human species could have anything to do with a fusion of ruminants and primates is genetic manipulation by an intelligent agent.
Based on our knowledge of humans and goats, there simply isn’t a biological or genetic reason to believe that this ever happened. Humans do have traits in common with goats, but they have just as many traits in common with cattle or horses - so unless his supporters want to argue for those connections, Bock’s view cannot be defended on that basis.
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Goat. (CC0) Ior Bock claimed that humans were the result of some sort of combination of goats and monkeys.
His most problematic errors may be in the field of linguistics. Ior Bock creates several etymologies of words that simply don’t stand up to scrutiny. For example, he claims that the word ‘planet’ comes from the words “plan” simply meaning plan and “et”, which Bock claims means family and says that ‘planet’ thus means “family plan to make the world whole.” But practically all scholars agree that the word ‘planet’ comes from the Greek word planets, which means wanderer and is based on the belief that the planets were wandering stars as opposed to the apparently unmoving stars which appeared to be embedded in a celestial sphere.
He also claims that the word ‘history’ comes from “his story” by which he appears to mean the story from the perspective of men and that the word ‘mystery’ comes from “her miss-story” meaning, most likely, the story from the perspective of women. However, the word ‘history’ comes from a Greek word that essentially means inquiry, and mystery comes from another Greek word which means “hidden” or “secret.” Many of the etymologies he suggests are not only demonstrably false but some would only work if we were to assume that the ancients spoke modern English. It could be claimed that there is an effort among linguists to cover up the true etymology of words, but this is just a conspiracy theory that cannot be proven or disproven.
‘Man and Woman contemplating the moon’ (1818/1824) by Caspar David Friedrich. (Public Domain) Bock claimed that ‘history’ and ‘mystery’ made reference to the stories presented by men and women separately.
All the errors in other fields cast doubt on the reliability of Ior Bock when he speaks about history and archaeology as well. There is little solid evidence that support’s Bock’s claim that Finland was a center of civilization before the Middle Ages or that it was inhabited by modern humans before the Holocene. The only evidence of human settlement of Finland before the end of the last interglacial is a possible Neanderthal site dating to 125,000 B.P.
It is possible that Ior Bock is on to something, but the many errors he makes across multiple fields calls his reliability as a preserver of ancient secrets into question. For this reason, it is more likely that the mainstream view, despite its admitted flaws, is closer to the correct view of history… at least closer than the Bock saga.
By Caleb Strom
“THE BOCK SAGA: Historical Evidence for Lord of the Rings and Ancient Human Origins?” by Paula Peterson. Earth Code International Network. Available at: http://paulapeterson.com/Bock_Saga_Part2.html#TOP
“Sahelanthropus tchadensis” (2016). Smithsonian Museum of Natural History -- what does it mean to Human? Available at: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/sahelanthropus-tchadensis
“Bock Sa-Ga – An Ancient Time Capsule” by Les Whale (N.D.). Nexus Magazine. Available at: http://iorbock.com/ekirjasto/nexusmagazine/09-04/bock-saga/bock-saga.pdf
“World’s oldest Homo sapiens fossils found in Morocco” by Ann Gibbons (2017). Science. Available at: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/world-s-oldest-homo-sapiens-fossils-found-morocco
Pettitt, Paul, and Markku Niskanen. "Neanderthals in Susiluola Cave, Finland, during the last interglacial
period." Fennoscandia archaeologica 22 (2005): 79-87.