Skip to comments.'Lost River' Could Rewrite History Books
Posted on 02/21/2002 6:22:38 AM PST by blam
'Lost river' could rewrite history books
February 19 2002 at 08:33AM
Madras India, - The discovery of an ancient city on the seabed off India's western coast has scientists salivating at the prospect of a fundamental rewrite in the chronology of ancient human society.
Preliminary tests have suggested the site in the Gulf of Cambay off Gujarat state could date as far back as 7 500 BC, several thousand years older than what were previously known to be the first significant urban settlements.
The discovery was made purely by chance last year as oceanographers from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) were measuring water pollution levels in the area.
The team picked up strange signals and sent down two highly sensitive pieces of sonar equipment, which produced astounding images of what appeared to be a large settlement, stretching for 9km along both sides of an old river bed.
A dredge was used to bring several tonnes of sludge up from the site which contained a number of artefacts such as stone tools, ornaments and even a human jawbone and tooth.(DNA?)
"We are very excited, naturally," said S Kathiroli, who headed the NIOT team that did the dredging.
The main source of the excitement was a fossilised wooden log, which carbon dating techniques dated back to 7500 BC.
Until now, the world's first urban settlements were believed to have thrived in the river valleys of ancient Mesopotamia around 4000-3500 BC.
These were followed by the colourful Pharaonic culture seen in Egypt's Nile Valley civilisation.
'The surface levels dropped as much as 30 metres' The Indian subcontinent had the great Indus Valley settlements that came up around 2500 BC.
Indian historians and archaeologists country who have examined the artefacts and other data procured by the NIOT team seem convinced that the "Cambian" people did pre-date the Indus Valley civilisation unearthed in the twin cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
One of India's topmost marine archeologists, SR Rao, after examining the findings at the NIOT, concluded that Cambay did have a prehistoric settlement and the pottery picked up at the site was pre-Harappan.
Among the most exciting sonar images were those of a large public bath the size of an Olympic swimming pool and a fortified citadel.
"I am very much impressed. All this clearly indicates an urban civilisation that is not linked to the Indus settlements," said Iravatham Mahadevan, president of the Indian History Congress.
However, Mahadevan also sounded a strong note of warning regarding the wooden log, which remains the only source and evidence of the 7500 BC date.
"The fact is that the wood could have floated in from anywhere. Okay, it's teak wood which is indigenous to western India, but if we want to claim the oldest civilisation in the world, we need stronger evidence than that," said Mahadevan.
"If you take the log out of the equation, you are left with some stone implements which cannot be carbon dated and would appear consistent with the late neolithic period," he added.
"Clearly, this is a very big discovery, but we should not spoil it by claiming dates for which there is no strong evidence."
Dr S Badrinarayanan, a senior geologist engaged by the NIOT, said a small piece of fired pottery picked up by the dredger may give the necessary supporting evidence for the date suggested by the log.
Irrespective of the date, the question remains as to how the Cambay settlement came to be submerged by the sea.
The region is in a zone of heavy seismic activity, and one possibility is that a major earthquake had literally shorn the landmass off the coast and tossed it into the sea.
"During our survey, we picked up sonar images showing that at places, the surface levels dropped as much as 30 metres, which meant there were severe upheavals," said Kathiroli.
State funds have been promised to probe further into the history of the Cambay site, with the chance of a full international collaborative study in the future. - Sapa-AFP
It would make sense that major cities of that time would have been built on coastlines -- long since flooded.
We need to restore the earth to its natural ice age condition.
Yes! Many underwater cities are waiting to be found.
Sunken cities from the last ice age will be found in equatorial regions all over the planet. That's a prediction, but not much of a stretch. I'm hoping they find some writing, or even better, a map of something.
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