I have put together this Anthropology timeline to chart the development of human civilization (its early culture, technology, myths, and movements) in relation to the volatility of the natural world where catastrophes challenge the survival of our species. I try to connect the myths and legends to climate and geological events where possible, and through the graphic below orient civilization to the natural world.
How to read this graphic at a glance:
— at the top are the associated Astrological Signs, both Modern and a theoretical Animal Signs used as a time stamp by the ancients
— below the top panel are the warming and cooling cycle associated with solar cycles and Heinrich Events (the massive release of glacial ice producing cooling events associated with mega-droughts).
— layered on top of this are: data from a Y-Chromosome distribution change paper (multi-colored strips), sea level rise and fall (in light blue), Magnetic Excursions (in pink), Meltwater Flood Pulses (in blue), two volcano eruptions, one Younger Dryas Comet Strike, and the Younger Dryas Freeze (turquoise stripe); these are then overlaid with various world events, archeological finds, early world civilizations, and mythologies.
Two themes that should be noticed: the catastrophes that fall upon humanity (Mt. Toba Super-volcano, Magnetic Excursions, Solar Flares, the Ice Age, post ice age Flooding, Younger Dryas Comet, and the Mt. Thera explosion) associated with two major y-chromosome bottlenecks; and three major expansions and development phases — the initial out of Africa phase of failed migrations (200–130kya) culminating in success between 85–65kya, a second exodus and expansion between 50–25k bce prior to the Last Glacial Maximum, and the post Younger Dryas expansion and the development occurring between the two great flood periods of 9.6k and 5.7k bce, with the 6.2k bce event in between these. With these changes and and catastrophe events you have movements of peoples, myths, and a new epic story line, loss or abandonment of different technologies and modes of living and then rebirth as the conditions that had afforded development returns in accord with the changing nature of the world. The Temperature Graphic below shows (Pleistocene segment) the current periodicity (130ky) of cold ice ages and warm interglacials.
Fortunately super volcanoes and comet strikes do not happen on a regular basis but solar cycles do and they regulate ice ages and the droughts and flooding that occur, and they come with massive flaring events from the sun that could wipe out are modern electrical system and create havoc even without plasma balls hitting the Earth. We are currently in the Holocene interglacial, interglacials being the warm periods of 10 to 15 thousand years that punctuate the longer glacial periods which currently tend to last for 100,000 years. The Eemian was the previous interglacial and lasted from 130,000 to 115,000 years ago, the current Holocene started 11,700 years ago at the end of the Younger Dryas. These are oscillations within a larger Quarternary glaciation (Pleistocene) which is ongoing and began 2.58 million years ago. Twelve thousand years into the Holocene we are, according to the cycles, do to go back into an Ice Age at any time; at the same time we are within a larger cycle where the Earth does or does not have Ice Caps which are many million years cycles. A difference as to how these proceed is that ice ages oscillate dramatically whereas interglacials tend to be long periods of stability as we are experiencing now. Solar flaring on the other hand happens on shorter cycles with predominantly 6ky and 12ky periods and longer cycles of the polarity change where the Earth’s magnetic field drops prior to a pole flip (this may be connected to the periodic movement of the solar system in and out of the galactic filament sheet). This magnetic field drop began with the Carington Event in 1859 and is currently accelerating. What this next cycle will be like is not known as all of these cycles have not occurred with Human (Co2) interference.
1 — “Earth Wobbles May Have Driven Ancient Humans Out of Africa.” Sites are found in the Levant dating to 120,000 BP, and finds in India may prove to show that humanity left Ethiopia, north through the Nile Valley to the Levant and east along the south Asian coast, prior to the Mt Toba explosion during an extended period of stability and growth; and with a well developed society possessing a tool kit of language, mythology, spirituality, symbols, counting, jewelry and boats-rafts-canoes. There is evidence of humans in India but with the south Asian coastline under water it is hard to say more other than to note that humanity was also in Australasia by 65k bce.
2 — Michael Witzel, in his book The Origins of the World’s Mythologies, discusses the first
African Pan-Gaien Myths
in the beginning Heaven & Earth were pre-existent & eternal, A Vast Ocean with the Earth Growing out of It, Male High God in Heaven, Mother Earth with Totem Animals, Step-wise Creation, Humanity comes from a Tree or from Clay, end of Primordial Period by a Flood Brought on by the Breaking of a Taboo bringing a Catastrophe, Death comes from a Broken Taboo, Trickster Brings Culture, Flood Covers all but a Mountain, Dead Shaman or Headless accompanied by a Bird (spirit travel), Animal Familiars as Hunting Guides,
connections are found between:
— Sudan_E.Africa & Tibet, NE India
— Bantu Region & Australia
Other Early Myths: Pleiades as Girls or Deer in a Hunt, Orion the Hunter, White Raven (Flood & other), Rainbow Snake & Milky Way, Culture Hero, Hole In The Sky, and more…
In Greek Mythology this pre-Iceage World may be the known as the Age of Titans.
Gondwana Basic Myth (Witzel — from Table 5.2, p. 323): In the beginning heaven and earth (and the sea) already exist; a High God lives in heaven, or on earth, or ascends to heaven later; series of lower gods, often children of High God, act as tricksters and culture heroes; primordial period ended by some evil deed of son of High God (or by humans); humans are created from trees and clay (or rock); occasionally descend directly from the gods; humans act haughtily or make a mistake; punishment by a great flood; humans reemerge; (an end to the world is missing); “the Dreaming” is the largest addition not found elsewhere.
3 — Through analysis of Y-Chromosome diversity a bottleneck can be seen pointing to the near extinction of the species in the years following the Mt. Toba eruption but rebounded between 50–25kya. It is not clear whether humans had crossed the Wallace Line before or after this but doing so confirms the use of boats-rafts-canoes of some sort. Deep sea fishing can be shown to have occurred by 42kya with a fish hook found on East Timor. Giving further credence to also crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans to the Americas while the oceans were lower during the last ice age; but also spreading into North Africa and Europe from the mountain chains between Turkey and Afghanistan, and into Eurasia and Siberia from South-east Asia.
4 — Witzel also discusses how at a certain point after the first out of Africa exodus myths in Eurasia changed while in Africa and Australasia the original African myth complex remained largely the same. This change is the addition of a narrative, ‘the first novel’, a flood caused by an angry God to punish humanity and an age of Heroes that followed. We normally think of the flood being recent but as can be seen by the sea level chart there have been multiple flood periods so this myth may reach far back in time. These myths include a succession of Titans, Olympians, Heroes, and Humanity seen in the classical Greek (Indo-European) mythology which I would connect to the replacement of the Neanderthals and Denisovans in Eurasia by modern humans.
Age of the Olympian Gods in Greek Mythology.
Laurasian Basic Myth (Witzel — from Table 5.3 p. 323): Creation from nothing, chaos, etc.; Father Heaven/Mother Earth created, separate; Father Heaven engenders: Two generations (Titans/Olympians), Four (five) generations/ages; Heaven pushed up son released; Current gods defeat/kill predecessors; Killing the dragon/sacred drink; Humans: somatic descendants of Sun god; They (or a god) show hubris; are punished by a flood; Trickster deities bring culture; humans spread, emergence of nobles, local culture begins; Final destruction of world; new heaven and earth emerge. Others have used large collections of data to show these movements as seen in the links below.
Yuri Yevgen’yevich Berezkin (has many papers that relate to telling the story of how humanity spread and the changes in folklore that occurred — 2018 — A large-scale study of world myths. Trames: Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
5 — In South America the similarities of some Amazonian tribes to Australasian in horticulture and fishing styles, folklore/myths, and in particular DNA, without any evidence of these peoples anywhere in the northern hemisphere, also points to a water crossing. The earliest dates being found in South America ranging between 50–30k bce while Australasians were known to be practicing deep sea fishing and island hopping. Witzel and others have shown the through
6 — The X2b variant of the Levant originating X-haplogroup distribution can be seen to spread in a distinct pattern from the Levant across North Africa and Western Europe on into North America. With the Soulutrian spear points found off the coast of New England dating to 27k BP this is seen by some to point to an early water crossing during the ice age, similar to that believed to have occurred on the western Arctic rim by Haplogroups A, B, C, & D around 15k bce, and then again around 8k bce. Some studies suggest a later development of the X2 group at the end of the ice age but prior to the Holocene with the changes occurring then producing a spread out from the Levant (Druze peoples being indicative of X2). The largest percentages of X2 being represented in Israeli Druze 11.1% (15.6% X1), Georgians 7.6% (Caucasus), Turks 4.4%, Greece/Crete 4.4%, Cypriots 6.7%, Lebanese 5.8 %, Spain 4.2%, Orkney 7.2%. While the origins are seen to be earlier the regions with these high rates corralate with the Megalithic/Farmer dispersal out of the fertile crescent between 8k bce to 4k bce.
“the coalescence times ranged from 12,000–17,000 YBP to 23,000–36,000 YBP, times that are consistent with both a pre- and a postglacial population diffusion (Brown et al. 1998).”
Does Mitochondrial Haplogroup X Indicate Ancient Trans-Atlantic Migration to the Americas? A Critical Re-Evaluation A critique of the Soulutrian hpyothesis does not clear up the arguments pro or against. The main argument being that X2a does not appear in Europe, no data is available for Soulutrians, and suggests that the A, B, C, D haplogroups in North American Natives being Siberian is evidence for migrations from the west not the east despite the presence in current populations being centered in the East of America; they further point to Kennewick Man in the Pacific Northwest dated to before 8k bce as being the only early evidence of the Haplogroup and suggest this connects X2a to Siberia despite no evidence of it in any current population beyond the Altai which is not a possible parental group. Parsimony still suggests an early Atlantic migration from the Levant but does NOT directly connect it to any current populations and no ancient data beyond Kennewick Man. This topic remains a much argued topic with no solid conclusions.
7 — Ice Age Rufuges were found during the last Glacial Maximum in a topical band with sites in North and South America, Central Africa, Spain, South India, South East Asia, Sundaland, Papua New Guinea & North Australia, Japan, and the Berengia Rufuge. More on this can be found in this paper: A GIS-based Vegetation Map of the World at the Last Glacial Maximum (25,000–15,000 BP)
8 — In the period between the end of the ice age and the beginning of the Holocene the (submerged) coastal plain of Malaysia experienced flooding of what is now known as Sundaland, as did many other parts of south Asia and coastal India giving rise to the myths of Murugan and the 7 Rishis. Indian Astronomy is said to show the Ramayana occurring 12,000 bce, which is given credence following the find that the mythical Saraswati River actually existed, and the detection (using side scan sonar) in the early 90’s of multiple coastal sites of the fabled Dwarka extending far out into the ocean and now submerged. This is matched on the eastern coast by the recent discovery using the same method of a similar port city of Poompuhar. Also in south Asia the Gunun Padang Pyramid found in Indonesia may (if confirmed) be dated as far back as 20,000 bce.
10,500 bce Age of Leo
9 — Humanity survived this ice age followed by several initial melt-water pulses (130m or 426ft) then a comet struck over the Laurantide Ice Sheet North America, Younger Dryas Comet impact, and the Younger Dryas deep freeze which followed, and then periodic Solar Flare events (documented in petroglyphs), floods, tsunamis, desertification, and famine — this was not a easy time. Dragon myths would seem to refer to the Younger Dryas Comet impact seen throughout much the Northern Hemisphere. This was a massive event with impact sites throughout half of the planet.
10 — The Book Of The Hopi also speaks of a island hopping water crossing following a catastrophe. This description of the destruction of 4 previous worlds and the migration across the ocean in an order accurately describing the events following the Ice Age: destruction by fire, ice, flood, and a wobbling of the poles which was put back into place by two twins, and a final flood. The Twins story being told by many peoples and connected to the churning of the ocean, and a dragon cast into a pit in the sky, other connected themes investigated in the book Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana, Hertha Von Dechend. A question which I have not seen answered is how the pole may have shifted as the massive Ice Sheets in the North melted.
11 — Plato’s Flood of Atlantis was said to have happened 9,600 bce which coincides with Meltwater Pulse 1b but where might this have been? The major flood events in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Europe do not occur until later, could this actually be a story from farther east where there would have been flooding in 9,600 bce such as the coastal sites in India or perhaps Sundaland? Another question that has come up is what was meant by years in the story told by Plato which was derived from Egyptian sources. Were they speaking of lunations as was the norm in the older Lunar Calender’s or a full solar year. Counting by lunar months would place this flood at the time of the 5.7 bce flooding events in the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf; this would also seem to rationalize the Kings lists of both the Egyptian and Sumerian empires.
12 — In the mythology of many people throughout the world there are the 7 Sages who wander the world after a great flood bringing civilization; examples of this are Quatzilqoatal, Murugan and Lucifer.
13 — Martin Sweatman in Decoding Göbekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say? puts forward a theory of An Ice Age Astrology of the 12 Animals, the 4 corners, and the Precesion of the Equinoxes as seen depicted at Gobekli Tepe, dated to between 9500–8000 bce is the central site of a series of as many as 30 megalithic sites forming the Fertile Crescent and the domestication of livestock and starting of the agricultural revolution. At around the same time, or not long after, there is the rise of domestication and agriculture in China, India, Amazonia, Africa, and Meso-America.
14 — Between 9–5k bce was a warm period considered to be the Holocene climatic optimum as higher temperatures brought greater rainfall; this period coincides with the African humid period which lasted from 12.5 -3.5k bce.
8,600 bce Age of Cancer (Zep Tepe, the beginning of Megalithic Star ((Egyptian/Sumerian)) Culture)
15–7,176 bce Ice Cores Tell the Tale of an Incredibly Powerful Solar Storm That Hit the Earth 9,200 Years Ago. Those who witnessed this painted and etched petroglyphs of stick man like figures indicative of viewing plasma phenomena during extreme solar activity.
16 — The first exodus from the Fertile Crescent begins between 8–7k bce, the successful agricultural revolution spreads through this area, then north across into Greece and the Danube Valley by 6k, east across the mountains, west into the Mediterranean, and south into the Sinai Peninsula & North Africa. Ancient DNA Analysis of 8000 B.C. Near Eastern Farmers Supports an Early Neolithic Pioneer Maritime Colonization of Mainland Europe through Cyprus and the Aegean Islands.
6,450 bce Age of Gemini (myth of twins and the pole axis)
17–6.2k bce — ‘8.2 kya Event’ is associated with drought in the Fertile Crescent and the flooding of Doggerland an inhabited lowlands in what is now the North Sea.
18–6k bce The second exodus out of the Fertile Crescent and Agriculture and Megalithic Astronomy spread north into central Europe, further into the eastern Mediterranean reaching Italy, south into the Nile Delta. This spread appears to then progress in 1000 year pulses reaching western coast of Itally 5.9k, southern France 5.8k, Spain 5.7k, and then the Atlantic coast of Spain by 5.4k and northern Europe by 5.2k; the southern exodus proceeds up the Nile valley reaching the upper Nile Oasis at Nabta Playa by 5.5k bce. These are haplogroups R0, K, UV, U, and N.
19 — Flood of Noah in the Persian Gulf (Persian Gulf Flood) first told in the Epic of Gilgamesh, is at the same time, in 5,600 bce, with the flooding of the Black Sea (Black Sea deluge hypothesis), and of Dwarka on the west coast of India.
Lost Civilization May Have Existed Beneath the Persian Gulf with many new villages appearing at the same time surrounding the current coastline of the Persian Gulf.
4,300 bce Age of Taurus
20 — The third exodus out of the Fertile Crescent and again expansion of Mediterranean Megalithic Culture.
21–3.5k bce The end of the African humid period which lasted from 12.5k bce. This produced a migration of peoples south into Sub Saharan Africa, North West into the Atlas Mountains, and North into Tunisia and Egypt producing the eventual push of Upper Egyptian Kings north defeating Lower Egypt of the Nile Delta of the Libu and other Semetic tribes of the coast forming Dynastic Egpyt by Narmer c. 3.1–2.9k bce.
22–2.9k bce Ordering of Astrology & Astrotheology at the Temple of Sin in Harran and the new Solar Order. The origin of the modern constellations occurred over time but have their origins far earlier. The Sumerians had a solar zodiac of 12 signs by at least 1875 bce much like the modern version. The Greeks inherited their 48 constellations from the Babylonians and by observing the orientation of these constellations (which tilts over time) whether they be aligned vertically or horizontally with the the pole directions, and by noting where there is an empty part in the sky filled by these constellations in can be shown to point to a location 36.5 degrees north latitude at about 2,900 bce. This is the latitude of both the capital of Nimrud and the location near by of Harran and the chief temple of the Moon God Sin; Harran and the Harran plane are surrounded by the Tas Tepeler complex of the Natufian cultural the includes the sites of Gobekli and Karahan Tepe and 12 other hill sites containing astronomical connections and the first signs of organized religion and clear use of animal signs relating to star asterisms dating to 9600–8000 bce. Harran would remain a center of Astrolatry & Astrotheology and learning up until medieval times with 7 planetary temples, they were then known as the Sabian peoples and religion. It was from this location, the center of the Fertile Crescent, that the agricultural revolution and expansion would occur with cattle being a primary aspect and thus we see in later times the Bull as the main animal totem in Minoan, Egyptian, Sumerian, Persian, and Indus civilizations. The Killing of the Bull of Heaven is a major mythic tale within Akkadian (c. 2334–2154 bce) Epic of Gilgamesh.
23–2,150 bce Age of Aries is accompanied by the introduction of cults of the Ram and the rise of the Hyksos Shepard Kings of Lower Egypt, who will later become the Jewish Nation following their expulsion brought their defeat at the hands of the Upper Egyptian Dynasty.
24 — In around 1600 bce the eruption of Mt Thera brings the fall of the Minoan civilization and the and later around 1200 bce an other volcano produces a ‘volcanic winter and drought’ and the Bronze Age Collapse.
25–0 bce Age of Pisces is accompanied by the rise of the Greco-Jewish Nazerene sect and the use ‘the lamb of god’ to be sacrificed like the Bull of Heaven previously, and so then the new ‘fisher of men’ symbology and the later rise of the Christian cults that followed from them.
26 — Roman Warm Period, from 250bce to 400ce sees unusually warm weather and expanded crop capacity the decline of which is thought to have aided in the Fall of the Roman Empire.
27 — The Medieval Warm Period from 950–1100 ce is followed by the Medieval cold period, or “the little ice age” of Europe, brought harsher winters and lowered crop yields.
28–1859 The Carington Event, a large geomagnetic storm caused by a coronal mass ejection from the sun, causes major disruptions of telegraph systems.
We have had a nice period of semi stable warm climate but for how long? What does global warming and a new Magnetic Excursion mean? How do we survive the next world changing event and what do we do now is my question? Are we prepared for no internet or supply chain? Can the West survive a Famine? Who knows.
For more information on some of my resources for this:
Michael Witzel — The Origins of the World’s Mythologies
Gunun Padang Pyramid, 20,000 bce
Martin Sweatman — Prehistory Decoded
The Book Of The Hopi