The Ancient Middle Eastern Capital City--
Reflection and Navel of the World
1



Professor Stefan Maul, University of Heidelberg

Text translated by Thomas Lampert, Ph.D., Berlin, Germany

If one compares Akkadian concepts designating "past" and "future" with their respective German or English counterparts, one immediately makes an astonishing discovery.2 The etymology of Akkadian concepts for "earlier" [pa*n, pa*na, pa *na *nu(m); pa*ni, pa*nu(m)] or for "earlier time," the "past" [pa *na *tu; pa*ni*tu(m), pa*nu*] indicates that these concepts are derived from the Akkadian pa*num or "front," in the plural pa *n u* or "face."3 The Sumerian corrolary to Akkadian concepts of the past (such as pa *na, pa *na *nu, pa *ni *tu etc. and marh_ru(m)) is formed through the word "i g i ," which means "eye" and also "face," and thus "front" in the figurative sense.4 The same is true of Akkadian concepts designating the "future": the words (w)arka, (w)arka*nu(m), (w)arki , meaning "later" or "afterwards," (w)arku(m), meaning "future," and (w)arki*tu(m), meaning "later," "later time," or the "future," are derived from (w)arkatu(m), meaning "back, behind." The corresponding Sumerian concepts (e g e r , m u r g u, b a r ) also mean "rear" and "backside." Without addressing in any more depth here a problem which is of great importance in understanding Mesopotamian culture -- its conceptual particularity -- it is clear that from the perspective of a Babylonian, the past lay before him or "faced him," while the future (warki*tum) was conceived as lying behind him. In our own modern conceptual world, the opposite seems to be self-evident: we look into the future, while the past lies behind us. Continuing with this line of thought, we might say that while we proceed along a temporal axis "headed towards the future," the Mesopotamians, although they also moved on a temporal axis in the direction of the future, did so with their gaze directed towards the past. The Mesopotamians proceeded, so to speak, "with their backs forward," that is, facing backwards into the future. Without wanting to overburden this image, one could say that the aftention of Mesopotamian culture was directed towards the past and thus ultimately towards the origins of all existence.

The interest of Mesopotamian culture in its own past was, in fact, omnipresent: Babylonian and Mesopotamian kings legitimated themselves not only through the fact that they came from ancient ruling families, but emphasized that they came "from the eternal seed,"5 from "the precious seed dating from the time before the flood,"6 from "families of primeval times."7 According to myths as well, the gods created "the king" directly following the creation of humans so that he could guide humans correctly.8 The duty of a king consisted of protecting the world as it has been ordered by the gods during creation and of restoring it to that condition. Thus in Mesopotamia, reforms were fundamentally understood as the re-establishment of an original order which had, in the course of time, become brittle or fragile. The ideal image of society and the state, the utopia of Mesopotamians, was always located in primeval history, rather than in the future.

read on

in other words  our  concept of Future meant Past to the ancient ones ....and vice versa

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  • Prehistoric cave art suggests ancient use of complex astronomy

    link

     

    1186855019?profile=RESIZE_710x

    Some of the world's oldest cave paintings have revealed how ancient people had relatively advanced knowledge of astronomy.

    The artworks, at sites across Europe, are not simply depictions of wild animals, as was previously thought. Instead, the animal symbols represent star constellations in the night sky, and are used to represent dates and mark events such as comet strikes, analysis suggests.

    They reveal that, perhaps as far back as 40,000 years ago, humans kept track of time using knowledge of how the position of the stars slowly changes over thousands of years.

    The findings suggest that ancient people understood an effect caused by the gradual shift of Earth's rotational axis. Discovery of this phenomenon, called precession of the equinoxes, was previously credited to the ancient Greeks.

    Around the time that Neanderthals became extinct, and perhaps before humankind settled in Western Europe, people could define dates to within 250 years, the study shows.

    The findings indicate that the astronomical insights of ancient people were far greater than previously believed. Their knowledge may have aided navigation of the open seas, with implications for our understanding of prehistoric human migration.

    Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Kent studied details of Palaeolithic and Neolithic art featuring animal symbols at sites in Turkey, Spain, France and Germany.

    They found all the sites used the same method of date-keeping based on sophisticated astronomy, even though the art was separated in time by tens of thousands of years.

    Researchers clarified earlier findings from a study of stone carvings at one of these sites -- Gobekli Tepe in modern-day Turkey -- which is interpreted as a memorial to a devastating comet strike around 11,000 BC. This strike was thought to have initiated a mini ice-age known as the Younger Dryas period.

    They also decoded what is probably the best known ancient artwork -- the Lascaux Shaft Scene in France. The work, which features a dying man and several animals, may commemorate another comet strike around 15,200 BC, researchers suggest.

    The team confirmed their findings by comparing the age of many examples of cave art -- known from chemically dating the paints used -- with the positions of stars in ancient times as predicted by sophisticated software.

    The world's oldest sculpture, the Lion-Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave, from 38,000 BC, was also found to conform to this ancient time-keeping system.

    This study was published in Athens Journal of History.

    Dr Martin Sweatman, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Engineering, who led the study, said: "Early cave art shows that people had advanced knowledge of the night sky within the last ice age. Intellectually, they were hardly any different to us today.

    "These findings support a theory of multiple comet impacts over the course of human development, and will probably revolutionise how prehistoric populations are seen."

     

    or you could be a bit more curious and dwelve in:

     

    Two excellent presentations

    Velikovsky argued that electromagnetic effects play an important role in celestial mechanics. He also proposed a revised chronology for ancient Egypt, Greece, Israel, and other cultures of the ancient Near East.

     

     

    Prehistoric cave art suggests ancient use of complex astronomy
    As far back as 40,000 years ago, humans kept track of time using relatively sophisticated knowledge of the stars, new research shows.
    • great.

       

      must read a bit about Veliokovsky again, very interesting stuff

  •  

    It’s taken thousands of years, but Western science is finally catch...

     

    Our knowledge of what the denizens of the animal kingdom are up to, especially when humans aren’t around, has steadily increased over the last 50 years. For example, we know now that animals use tools in their daily lives. Chimps use twigs to fish for termites; sea otters break open shellfish on rocks they selected; octopi carry coconut shell halves to later use as shelters.

    The latest discovery has taken this assessment to new heights, literally. A team of researchers led by Mark Bonta and Robert Gosford in northern Australia has documented kites and falcons, colloquially termed “firehawks,” intentionally carrying burning sticks to spread fire. While it has long been known that birds will take advantage of natural fires that cause insects, rodents and reptiles to flee and thus increase feeding opportunities, that they would intercede to spread fire to unburned locales is astounding.

    It’s thus no surprise that this study has attracted great attention as it adds intentionality and planning to the repertoire of non-human use of tools. Previous accounts of avian use of fire have been dismissed or at least viewed with some skepticism.

    While new to Western science, the behaviours of the nighthawks have long been known to the Alawa, MalakMalak, Jawoyn, and other Indigenous peoples of northern Australia whose ancestors occupied their lands for tens of thousands of years. Contrary to most scientific studies, Bonta and Gosford’s team foregrounded their research in traditional Indigenous ecological knowledge. They also note that local awareness of the behaviour of the firehawks is ingrained within some of their ceremonial practices, beliefs and creation accounts.

    The worldwide attention given to the firehawks article provides an opportunity to explore the double standard that exists concerning the acceptance of Traditional Knowledge by practitioners of Western science.

    Traditional knowledge

    Our knowledge of the world comes from many sources. In my field, archaeologists have long depended upon ethnographic sources of information — detailed observations or information derived directly from communities studied — to help develop or test interpretations about past peoples’ lives.

    In recent years, many scholars have become aware of the large body of information known as Traditional Knowledge (TK), Indigenous Knowledge (IK), or Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), amongst other terms. These knowledge systems, developed over countless generations, are based on individual and collectively learned experiences and explanations of the world, verified by elders, and conveyed and guided experiential learning, and by oral traditions and other means of record keeping.

    Traditional Knowledge has today become a highly valued source of information for archaeologists, ecologists, biologists, ethnobotanists, climatologists and others. This information ranges from medicinal properties of plants and insights into the value of biological diversity to caribou migration patterns and the effects of intentional burning of the landscape to manage particular resources. For example, some climatology studies have incorporated Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit traditional knowledge) to explain changes in sea ice conditions observed over many generations.

    Despite the wide acknowledgement of their demonstrated value, many scientists continue to have had an uneasy alliance with TK and Indigenous oral histories. On the one hand, TK and other types of local knowledge are valued when they support or supplements archaeological, or other scientific evidence.

    However, when the situation is reversed — when Traditional Knowledge is seen to challenge scientific “truths” — then its utility is questioned or dismissed as myth. Science is promoted as objective, quantifiable, and the foundation for “real” knowledge creation or evaluation while TK may be seen as anecdotal, imprecise and unfamiliar in form.

    Multiple ways of knowing

    Are Indigenous and Western systems of knowledge categorically antithetical? Or do they offer multiple points of entry into knowledge of the world, past and present? There are many cases where science and history are catching up with what Indigenous peoples have long known.

    In the past two decades, archaeologists and environmental scientists working in coastal British Columbia have come to recognize evidence of mariculture — the intentional management of marine resources — that pre-dates European settlement. Over the course of thousands of years, the ancestors of the Kwakwaka'wakw and other Indigenous groups there created and maintained what have become known as “clam gardens” — rock-walled, terrace-like constructions that provide ideal habit for butter clams and other edible shellfish.

    To the Kwakwaka'wakw, these were known as loxiwey, according to Clan Chief Adam Dick (Kwaxsistalla) who has shared this term and his knowledge of the practice with r....


    As marine ecologist Amy Groesbeck and colleagues have demonstrated, these structures increase shellfish productivity and resource security significantly. This resource management strategy reflects a sophisticated body of ecological understanding and practice that predates modern management systems by millennia.

    These published research studies now prove that Indigenous communities knew about mariculture for generations but Western scientists never asked them about it before. Once tangible remains were detected, it was clear mariculture management was in use for thousands of years. There is a move underway by various Indigenous communities in the region to restore and recreate clam gardens and put them back into use.

    A second example demonstrates how Indigenous oral histories correct inaccurate or incomplete historical accounts. There are significant differences between Lakota and Cheyenne accounts of what transpired at the Battle of Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn) in 1876, and the historical accounts that appeared soon after the battle by white commentators.

    The Lakota and Cheyenne can be considered more objective than white accounts of the battle that are tainted by Eurocentric bias. The ledger drawings of Red Horse, a Minneconjou Sioux participant in the battle, record precise details such as trooper’s uniforms, the location of wounds on horses, and the distribution of Indian and white casualties.


    In 1984, a fire at the battleground revealed military artifacts and human remains that prompted archaeological excavations. What this work revealed was a new, more accurate history of the battle that validated many elements of the Native American oral histories and accompanying pictographs and drawings of the events. However, without the archaeological evidence, many historians gave limited credence to the accounts obtained from the participating Native American warriors.

    These examples, along with the firehawks study, demonstrate the reliability of Indigenous knowledge.

    Opportunities at the intersection

    As ways of knowing, Western and Indigenous Knowledge share several important and fundamental attributes. Both are constantly verified through repetition and verification, inference and prediction, empirical observations and recognition of pattern events.

    While some actions leave no physical evidence (e.g. clam cultivation), and some experiments can’t be replicated (e.g. cold fusion), in the case of Indigenous knowledge, the absence of “empirical evidence” can be damning in terms of wider acceptance.

    Some types of Indigenous knowledge simply fall outside the realm of prior Western understanding. In contrast to Western knowledge, which tends to be text based, reductionist, hierarchical and dependent on categorization (putting things into categories), Indigenous science does not strive for a universal set of explanations but is particularistic in orientation and often contextual.

    One key attribute of Western science is developing and then testing hypotheses to ensure rigor and replicability in interpreting empirical observations or making predictions. Although hypothesis testing is not a feature of TEK, rigor and replicability are not absent.

    Whether or not traditional knowledge systems and scientific reasoning are mutually supportive, even contradictory lines of evidence have value. Employing TK-based observations and explanations within multiple working hypotheses ensures consideration of a variety of predictive, interpretive or explanatory possibilities not constrained by Western expectation or logic. And hypotheses incorporating traditional knowledge-based information can lead the way toward unanticipated insights.

    The travels of Glooscap, a major figure in Abenaki oral history and worldview, are found throughout the Mi'kmaw homeland of the Maritime provinces of eastern Canada. As a Transformer, Glooscap created many landscape features. Anthropologist Trudy Sable (Saint Mary’s University) has noted a significant degree of correlation between places named in Mi'kmaw legends and oral histories and recorded archaeological sites.

    Indigenous peoples don’t need Western science to validate or legitimate their knowledge system. Some do appreciate the verification, and there are partnerships developing worldwide with Indigenous knowledge holders and Western scientists working together.

    This includes Traditional Ecological Knowledge informing government policies on resource management in some instances. But it is nonetheless problematic when their knowledge, which has been dismissed for so long by so many, becomes a valuable data set or used selectively by academics and others.

    To return to the firehawks example, one way to look at this is that the scientists confirmed what the Indigenous peoples have long known about the birds’ use of fire. Or we can say that the Western scientists finally caught up with TK after several thousand years.

     

    It's taken thousands of years, but Western science is finally catching up to Traditional Knowledge
    A double standard exists concerning the acceptance of Traditional Knowledge by practitioners of Western science.
    • Very cool, especially the firehawks. Wow.

  • 3029689?profile=original

    It is far deeper than that , it goes back to the concept of time and how it is perceived ( which fashions how you think ...)

    just a reminder

    The Babylonians made astronomical calculations in the sexagesimal (base 60) system they inherited from the Sumerians, who developed it around 2000 B.C.  Although it is unknown why 60 was chosen, it is notably convenient for expressing fractions, since 60 is the smallest number divisible by the first six counting numbers as well as by 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30. ( Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes )

    • Normally adult heart beats 60 to 100 per minute

    today you perceive time as an arrow but maybe ( speculation on my part ) the ancient saw it as a spiral that is cyclical ( as in looking back at the golden age )

    3029706?profile=original0b96628fdd499b4da8078933f287d622.jpg?width=240e4b101a72cb80aa7bdd7847c0cda9ada.jpg?width=500vortex motion of the solar system :

    3029756?profile=original3029761?profile=RESIZE_480x480quote-time-is-the-seed-of-the-universe-vyasa-144-65-72.jpg?width=320

    Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes, yet there are only 24 hours in a…
    • even though today we perceive time in a straight line  ,

      like the Mesopotamians, although they also moved on a temporal axis in the direction of the future, did so with their gaze directed towards the past....  We do it too .... think of "Make America Great Again" .... or the Muslim world and its obsession with the Golden Age of Islam ....  or Europe and its "modern 30 Glorieuse " or "Renaissance".... and so on .... ( no politics here just an observation )

      3029675?profile=RESIZE_320x320The month of January is named for the Roman god, Janus –... god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways,passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.

      God of change and time

      Janus frequently symbolized change and transitions such as the progress of past to future, from one condition to another, from one vision to another, and young people's growth to adulthood. He represented time, because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other.[41]

      Janus
      In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus (; Latin: Iānus, pronounced [ˈjaː.nus]) is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorwa…
  • Elder examples of traditionalists maybe. 

    DRbYzMMUIAASWbu.jpg

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