Magicians of the Gods, by Graham Hancock

Magicians of the Gods, by Graham Hancock, turned out to be a fascinating read from start to finish. I have read a couple of earlier books by Hancock, and as a kid loved the terrible conspiracy works of Erich von Daniken, such as Chariots of the Gods that claimed visitors from outer space helped guide our early ancestors. Thankfully Hancock is nothing like that.

His book does challenge the established order and that I really applaud. Academia is a strange world that thrives on reputation, and seems to avoid rocking the boat at all costs. Sadly for those resistant academics, Hancock is probably better known and sells more books than any of them, so no wonder they don’t give him much respect.

Magicians of the Gods is not confrontational, but it puts forward ideas and theories that look at a wide range of research, science and possibilities. One comment Hancock makes of someone else could apply equally well to himself, “the establishment could not disprove his science, only disapprove of it, which is a very different thing.”

The book has at its heart a small number of locations where we see evidence of people who were far more advanced than history or archaeology will give them credit for. One site, at Gobekli Tepe in modern Turkey, is the oldest work of monumental architecture anywhere in the world. At 12,000 years old the stones are 6,000 years older than Stonehenge or the pyramids. In North America, Hancock studies landscapes formed by huge dramatic floods. He concludes, and here some scientists do agree, that these floods could only have been caused by rapid melting of the ice sheets that covered North America 12,000 years ago. This melting was the result of multiple strikes from commit debris. The resulting geology, with deposits of things called nanodiamonds, spread right across Europe and reached the Middle East. What fascinates me is the number of places that have a flood myth. Yes there is Noah in the Bible, but there are also Native American myths and Zoroastrians in the Middle East. These legends have been preserved over millennia and they seem to contain substantial grains of truth.

In South America Hancock finds massive stone carvings among the Incas, then others in Indonesia, Java and Easter Island. All around the globe are examples of the impact of massive flooding and the end of a culture of monumental stone builders.

It is a worldwide tour of fascinating places all with stories yet to be fully told. Hancock meets the most resistance when he gets to Egypt. He cannot resist a dig at the experts, branding them with “Egyptologic” a special form of reasoning that builds in double standards and is employed only by Egyptologists. I think he may be onto something, but it will be years before we know for sure.

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Marcus Hobson Marcus was until recently a businessman but has given all that up to follow his lifelong passion to be a writer. With a varied career behind him, including a degree in Ancient and Mediaeval History (and archaeology) he has wide ranging literary tastes from popular fiction to Viking sea burials. He is currently working on his second novel, a mix of fact and fiction set in the First World War (and crossing his fingers about getting his first book published). Marcus lives near Tauranga with his wife and their daughters, and is the Literary Editor of ARTbop, a local online magazine .

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