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Martin Sweatman followed up his 'paper' of concocted proto-science fiction (in the otherwise sober MAA journal of archaeometry), with an AOM article based on his supposed archaeo astronomy interpretation of a Gobekli Tepe engraving as a 'zodiac' with Taurid meteor shower. He claims a 'new dating method.' Here is my response to some statements in the AOM article.

“Göbekli Tepe changes everything.”
But only for people who believed that culture ‘evolved’.
“... (indicates) a lost civilisation.”
But low population accounts for the sparse cultural record pre Sumeria.
“Obvious similarity between the Gobekli scorpion carving, and Scorpius.”
But your Scorpius is back to front in your effort to make it fit your cobbled star map. And not every scorpion is Scorpius. And Scorpius is not always a scorpion. And the rest of your star map is inconsistent with attested iconography. And five other authors find equally ‘obvious’ features to build different star maps around this scorpion; however one does not see it as Scorpius; see my response to your initial unfortunate paper here;
Gobekli Tepe art is not a 'zodiac' Response to Sweatman and Tsikritsis
“Circle over the vulture /eagle’s wing is the sun.”
But it could be a moon. Or the head of the headless character at bottom right, as attested in at least one engraving at Gobekli, a broken slab with a vulture, fox and human head. The same is attested in mural art at contemporary sites in the region.
“Therefore a date by precession.”
But if it is the sun, in which season? And the vulture is not Sagittarius.
“Apparent matches between symbols and our constellations might well be coincidental.”
Yes. Especially if different matches seem feasible, based on vague gestalt shapes.
“The orthodox view is that Western constellations were invented in Mesopotamia BC 3300s.”
Only if you assume that the oldest extant examples indicate ‘invention’. There is good evidence that our Zodiac was adapted from hour decan asterisms, which you do not consider in your unfortunate paper, nor in this article, despite displaying a vase including decans used allegorically.
“Gobekli was BC 10 000.”
But BC 9000 -8000 is more likely; and a recent dissident demonstrates a good case for BC 6000, which fits very well with established dates in the region. The site team is not categorical about BC 12000 -8000, nor about the incredible apparent duration of the site.
“Mesopotamian astronomical records are scarce.”
But Babylonian and Assyrian catalogues, artworks and extensive myth indicate the usual mixture of cultural media, some cosmology, and sparse on astronomy.
“Records do not describe constellations, but they catalogue constellations known at the time.”
But there is evidence of hour decans in extant catalogues and in art. And constellations were never ‘unknown’ or ‘discovered and then known’. Constellations as old as humanity is not ‘heresy’. Your work offers more posture and bravura than mere wild and unverifiable early dating.
“Somehow this knowledge must have percolated to Mesopotamia.”
But constellations are a mixture of archetype and conventions, not ‘knowledge’. Your view of diffusion is even more vague than the hazy general norm you rely on here.
“Scholarship is rarely scientific and easily wrong.”
But your theory is not scholarly (it does not find any support in archaeo astronomy); not scientific (it does not find any support in astronomy, anthropology, archaeology or statistics); and misleading, which is worse than wrong. You claim that your paper was 'peer reviewed', but no archaeo astronomer has give you support.
“As a scientist...”
But you are an engineer, which is a craft. Engineers tend to use astronomy automation beyond the intended timescale. Beware of the assumptions in the smallprint on your laptop.
“Within a few days, with help from a few friends, to my complete astonishment, I had decoded Pillar 43.“
But you have merely cobbled together assumed iconography and certain meteor showers, to arrive at pseudo science fiction. Perhaps your agenda is to become the poor man's Zechariah Sitchin.
“The date of the sun on the eagle /vulture’s wing is midsummer at BC 10800 -10900.”
If that bird is Sagittarius; if precession rate was constant, and at the recent rate; if obliquity followed the Newcombe curve; if the artist intended to encode a date.
“Near the Younger Dryas Impact Event... devastating.”
Which probably bumped obliquity, precession rate, and Equation of Time. Bang goes the assumptions in your astronomy automation laptop.
“Origin of civilisation... Neolithic revolution”.
But culture (language, ritual, art, symbols, trade) existed long before civilisation (communal buildings, domestication, agriculture). And Gobekli is not the oldest site in the region.
“Gobekli as witness account... memorial”.
But the site required population, affluence, stability; and may date to BC 8000 or BC 6000. Two thousand or four thousand years after the impact. Probably a memorial to their contemporary issues, not for your dating convenience.
“Göbekli expressed profound astronomical knowledge.”
But there are no specifically astronomical features on site.
“A new kind of religion from this trauma.”
If so, it had about 2000 or 4000 years to develop (or rather to remain the same in different guises, as usual), and inevitably to forget the trauma, except for the usual archetypal ‘memory’ of ice and water from the sky. Which we all share, and see in geology, despite the lack of direct witnesses.
“Many people met to observe the skies.”
But there were many other motivations for the early sites and meetings in the region; more pressing issues; and none, and no features, are specifically astronomical.
“Göbekli as origin of modern lifestyle and language.”
But language, and herding, was already practiced in the Ice Age.
“Inspired Mesopotamia and Egypt.”
But both blossomed 5000 or 3000 years later. With the usual archetypal repertoire that does not need inspiration from what they, in their cities, would have seen as backward savages.
“Inspired Europe, east Asia, India.”
But Indus and Harrappan civilisation claim independent roots and conventions.
“A whole new way to investigate the past.”
But an array of assumptions about meteor shower dates and changing positions is unlikely to improve on better attested methods. And spectroscopic dating needs no assumptions or syllogisms.
“Symbols at Göbekli that we are beginning to decipher.”
But the first five authors on this theme came up with five different star maps.
“These symbols had been used for 30 000 years, and since for 10 000 years.”
But rock art of BC 30 000 include extinct species; and do not feature Gobekli symbols; and no domestic species; and no houses. Modern art, symbolism and religions did not recognise Gobekli art as its origin, only one of many variants of archetypal features.
“Ancient zodiac; Animal symbols in the Paleolithic, at Lascaux, Chauvet, Germany, India, South-East Asia, record time and astronomical events... the same constellations as we use today.”
But proposals of Paleolithic animals as constellations vary widely. Your particular version found no support among astronomers, astrologers, anthropologists, or the multi-disciplinary team on site. Even the amateur archaeo astronomer on site disagrees with your identifications.
“I proved in a scientific sense...”
But you rely on a statistical syllogism that one scientist mocked as a “bunny” of number generation; Other criticism of Sweatman and Tsikrtisis and MAA journal
“Some animal symbols have changed in 40 000 years. For 30 000 years, felines were Cancer; bovines were Capricornus. In the last 9000 years, these switched to Leo and Taurus.”
But if felids moved from Cancer to Leo, that is against the direction of precession, which moved seasons in the other direction. And why would bovids move from a midwinter to a preceding spring marker? These two statements make no sense, and less sense when stated together.
“Animal symbols found their way to the Americas.”
But early American people came from Asia. And yet they developed independent calendars, languages, writing, astronomy and symbols. The only comparison with Asia and Europe is by way of archetypal features, and these are subconscious, not taught or learned. You add no evidence to the general assumption of diffusion (which I had argued with Hopi specialist Gary David AOM elsewhere on this site).
“Jaguar Warriors of the Olmec and Maya, BC 1500 -0000, also as Cancer midsummer.”
But felids and war worldwide is more often analogous to Leo. War season is summer, but that does not change every midsummer host into a felid; Gemini did not become a lion in Age Pisces.
“Eagle warriors of Aztecs as Sagittarius, now midwinter.”
But raptors and war worldwide is analogous to Leo and summer. Sagittarius was rarely an eagle, and less so in Age Pisces.
“Animal symbols in European Palaeolithic cave art, Göbekli, other Neolithic Anatolian sites, Neolithic Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, were very similar constellations to today.”
But Stone Age Mesopotamia is sparse in the cultural record. Babylonian versions indicate popular use of hour decans or moon station asterisms, sets of 18 or 24 or 26, not constellations. Egypt predynastic and Old Kingdom also used decans, in Ptolemaic times adding month constellations.
“Ancient people used precession to track very long timescales.”
But no civilisation kept very long data, not even China (see Dodson’s paper, cited in my earlier critique of your initial ‘paper’).
“When midsummer was in Cancer, they painted lions or leopards.”
But Age Aries art is well attested, and had no more felids than Age Taurus art. And Cancer was seldom a felid. If summer was a felid, it was pictured as one of four beasts, not directly as Cancer stars.
“With spring in Capricornus, they painted bison or aurochs.”
But Age Capricornus art is one of your assumptions. If it ever was in the human age, it was several Ice Ages ago. But you are lavish with untraceable and untractable archaeo astronomical time.
“This new insight has profound implications for many academic disciplines.”
But you use logic in the Aristotelian sense, at the expense of evidence. And science rejects false logic.
“Textbooks on the history of astronomy... and prehistoric culture and Ice Age art are wrong.”
Only if the Gobekli engravings are zodiacs. Which they are not. And prehistoric culture, and Ice Age art, is well described. And textbooks await scientific concensus.
“We can now use these animal symbols to date ancient artefacts, and read messages they encode.”
But you have demonstrated only fantastically early dates, and assumed messages about asteroids. And your examples are few, and used inconsistently.
"The Lascaux Shaft scene is a zodiac with the wounded bull as Capricornus, Libra, Taurus, and the rear wall horse as Leo.”
But the three images are adjacent, and these three constellations are not. And if they were seasons, the first two were cardinal in Age Cancer, the other two in Age Taurus. And Leo is not opposite any of the first three assumptions.
“These animal symbols date this scene BC 15 300 -15 000, more precise than by other methods... Taurid meteors millennia before the Younger Dryas, makes perfect sense.”
Only if you assume scrambled constellations; and a fantastically early convention of marking cardinal points; and painting constellations deep underground. You seem to see the spear as the Taurid meteors, which you translate (move) to Capricornus due to proper motion (a distance in space and time that your astronomy automation programme also has some smallprint warnings attached to). There is no evidence that any meteor data survived the Younger Dryas. You use assumptions to elaborate an idiosyncratic proto-science fiction.
“BC 15 000 Taurid meteors were in Capricornus as a bull... a dying man and four animals, identical to Gobekli Pillar 43.”
But the pillar has several more animals. And these animals appear in different context on other pillars, as another commentator queried.
“The Pashupati Seal of Mohenjo Daro, Indus civilisation, shows the seated horned god, dated Bronze Age. But the zodiac reveals four animals; buffalo as Capricornus, elephant as Libra (replacing the bird), tiger as Leo, rhino as Taurus.”
But Libra is rarely an elephant, and Taurus rarely a rhino. The first two are cardinals, and the second two are cardinals, but in different Ages.
“Libra was a bird in European Palaeolithic art.”
If the paintings were zodiacs, which they were not. And only sometimes. And only if you take isolated aviforms (bird wing W shapes) as Libra, which all of them were not, and probably none of them were.
“The Pashupati Seal is BC 2000 BC within a few hundred years.”
This may well be correct, but it does not validate your method. You also arrive at a credible Younger Dryas date by way of incredible methods and incredibly early other supposed events. This does not validate your methods.
“The zodiac is a clue to Indus Valley script.”
But no script was ever demonstrated to be astrological, except for some esoteric correspondence games.
“Egyptian Uruk Vase, BC 3200, shows a feast of Inanna. Two animals at top stand on [over] pedestals as sunsets, thus constellations, like ‘handbags’ on Gobekli Pillar 43.”
But many Babylonian hour decans animals are also on podiums, indicating moon stations. Gobekli huts or seed or steed baskets or totem houses, are not necessarily horizons, nor seasons, nor constellations.
“This ancient zodiac...”
But your zodiac version is inconsistent with itself, and one of several different interpretations, and based on a small number of examples.
“In Mesopotamia, lion was midsummer in Leo, ibex midwinter in Aquarius, thus the Uruk vase is about BC 3300 -1800.”
But this is imprecise dating. No Taurid meteors to help here? And ibex was more often Capricornus.
“An Egyptian pre-dynastic Abydos ‘Scorpion king’ vase, has animals resembling early hieroglyphs.”
But Egyptian hieroglyphs, well studied in the last decades, did not develop from constellations (Neugebauer and Parker are among the specialists on hieroglyphs and astronomy, who would have noticed).
“Horus title hawk at the top, scorpion in the middle, duck /goose at bottom, as on Gobekli Pillar 43.”
But Horus was never a vulture. And your Gobekli scorpion interpretation is Scorpius back to front. And goose was an inconsistent symbol. Your observation requires further elaboration. However note that decans, symbols, letters, art, ritual and myth all express archetypal constants, much more than the occasional influence they have on one another, and more than the occasional influence they get from master cultures or client cultures.
“Horizontal line as horizon.”
But this is an assumption that Timothy Stephany and others have made earlier, in different astronomical contexts (their identifications all differ among one another). Babylonian artworks and Egyptian palettes have several registers, that are not alternate horizons, partly boustrophedon or alternating line sequence. You also read podiums and ‘handbags’ as sunset, thus horizons. And you do not consider Egyptian horizon character Akhet.
“Egyptian gods were zodiac symbols; Horus as Sagittarius.”
But Sagittarius was seldom a falcon. And Horus was more analogous to Libra and Aries. And any consistent star map that arises from average usage of alternates, would be due to archetypal expression, not to an astronomical canon. I agree that some groups of four animals may express seasons, thus more calendric than astronomical. Any dating could only be vague, particularly in Age Taurus that was probably 40 degrees long, a long time in precession.
“Anubis as Lupus.”
But Anubis is more often analogous to Ursa Minor and polar markers. And Lupus is often a transitional or borderline character.
“Hathor as Capricornus or Taurus.”
But these two are not related cardinally. Hathor may be analogous to Taurus Pleiades. Being right sometimes, is only as good as a broken clockwork that happens to be right twice a day.
“Set [Seth] as Aquarius north.”
But Seth is analogous to Gemini. And Aquarius is better divided into east and west, not north and south.
“Thoth as Pisces.”
But Thoth is more analogous to Aries. And Pisces is seldom Thoth. Despite the notorious tendency of decanal sets of characters to interchange their features, they do so by a set of rules (Neugebauer and Parker). I have discovered some rigorous subconscious iconographic rules by researching archetype (see my AOM 2015 September).
“Sekhmet as Leo or Cancer.”
But Sekhmet is often a scorpion woman. Not reversed as in your Gobekli interpretation.
“Writing developed from astronomy... We cracked one of the greatest puzzles.”
But there are no examples of intermediate constellation-hieroglyphs. And you do not demonstrate any alphabets against astronomy or astrology.
“Sweatman, M.B. and Tsikritsis, D., ‘Decoding Gobekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?’, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry vol. 17, 233-250 (2017).”
But this paper drew wide and sharp criticism, including my systematic response here;
“Peters, J. & Schmidt, K. Animals in the symbolic world of Pre-Pottery Neolithic Göbekli Tepe... Anthropozoologica 39, 179-218 (2004).”
But Schmidt et al did not provide any evidence supporting proto-science fiction, nor your kind or archaeo astronomy. And the team on site criticised your methods (although one of their friends, Timothy Stephany, started the Gobekli zodiac saga).
Most of your References support Younger Dryas features, irrelevant to your methods and conclusions. Your paper marked the lowest point in a discipline characterised by free association, Roscharch blobs, diffusionist cans of worms, correspondences between correpondence theories, and post-modern (cobbled) theorising. Your AOM article waters down your unfortunate paper to the kind of posturing common in pseudo archaeo astronomy.

Edited 11 time(s). Last edit at 05-Sep-19 08:09 by Edmond.

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 9751 Edmond 06-Aug-19 19:36
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 553 jazzmumbles 07-Aug-19 00:41
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 530 Edmond 07-Aug-19 07:58
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 452 jazzmumbles 19-Aug-19 02:18
Re: Gobekli dates, and archetypes in different art styles 483 Edmond 19-Aug-19 10:33
Re: Gobekli dates, and archetypes in different art styles 896 PB Bytes 21-Aug-19 04:49
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 506 Susan Doris 07-Aug-19 05:21
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 455 greengirl5 09-Aug-19 23:11
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 451 Eddie Larry 09-Aug-19 23:25
summary? 523 drrayeye 08-Aug-19 05:27
Re: summary? 510 Edmond 08-Aug-19 07:25
Re: summary? 532 drrayeye 08-Aug-19 23:13
Re: summary? 481 Corpuscles 09-Aug-19 02:22
Re: summary? 464 drrayeye 09-Aug-19 02:55
Re: summary? 498 Corpuscles 09-Aug-19 03:25
Re: summary? 460 drrayeye 09-Aug-19 05:45
Re: summary? 452 greengirl5 09-Aug-19 23:23
Only one scientist 461 drrayeye 09-Aug-19 23:58
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 509 Corpuscles 08-Aug-19 09:18
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 526 engbren 08-Aug-19 11:53
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 558 Edmond 11-Aug-19 15:09
Re: Sweatman's Decoding prehistory and Gobekli 'zodiac' criticised 474 engbren 12-Aug-19 13:42
Mod Note > Topic Moved 460 Dr. Troglodyte 09-Aug-19 18:44

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