• Gobekli Tepe, Part 4: Animals and Astronomy

    Does Gobekli Tepe encode advanced astronomical knowledge, and validate the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis along the way? I’ve discussed the context, archaeology, and general alterno claims about the site in previous posts. Now it’s time to look to the stars.

    Ancient peoples no doubt observed the stars, navigated by them, observed how they changed from season to season. They no doubt engaged in the very human game of pareidolia, saw patterns in the sky, made up stories about them—patterns and stories that differed demonstrably from culture area to culture area, a testament to the fertile human imagination. This does not mean that sky-lore was built into every ancient monument, nor that it dominated ancient religious thought, nor that their techniques of observation were particularly sophisticated; and yet, finding astronomical orientations in ancient monuments, and building towers of speculation on top of them, is a cottage industry among archaeological alternos.

    Predictably, Gobekli Tepe is the subject of several conflicting astronomical claims involving the orientation of the great enclosures and the profusion of animals and other symbols on the T-shaped pillars. Pillar 43 from Enclosure D, the so-called “Vulture Stone,” receives special attention, particularly the scorpion, the vulture with outstretched wings, and the circle above one of the vulture’s wings. The central assumption of all this is that the animals pictured were constellations and other heavenly features, as opposed to—say—animals. Here are a few examples.

    Magli focusses on Sirius: the orientations of Enclosures B, C, and D track its rising through the 9th and 10th centuries BC. The circle being delicately lifted by one of the vulture’s wings may represent the heliacal rising of Sirius a few days before the summer solstice.

    Collins and Hale: the vulture is both Cygnus (with the vulture’s eye marking the bright star Deneb) and a superconstellation embracing Cygnus, Aquila, and Lyra (with Deneb hitting somewhere on the bird’s beak). The circle is the north celestial pole, the “turning point of the heavens.” The overall interpretation involves ushering the deceased soul into the realm of the dead, which at least makes reasonable cultural sense.

    Timothy Stephany: the vulture is Pegasus with a dash of Andromeda and some lesser stars. The “huts” at the top form a backbone, signifying the Milky Way; the scorpion does not correspond to a constellation, but takes in some stars of Aquarius. The circle also does not match anything in particular, so may be a supernova or full moon. He does go on (and on) to include all the iconography at GT, but does not tie his “neolithic constellations” into modern ones, which is rather refreshing. He simply fiddles with the GT reliefs until they sorta kinda match a bit of the night sky.

    Clearly, there is diversity of opinion among those who see astronomical significance in Gobekli Tepe’s structures, and a certain amount of subjectivity in matching the “constellations.” ( I note that nobody seems very interested in the planets, the “wandering stars,” though they loom large in later astrologies). But two engineers at Edinburgh University, Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis, claim to blow all those other astronomical speculations right out of the water.

    In 2017, they published a peer-reviewed paper claiming hard evidence that the people of Gobekli Tepe had advanced astronomical skills, were aware of precession, and had clearly spent many centuries, even millennia, recording the movements of the heavenly bodies. Furthermore, Pillar 43 was a “date-stamp” for the summer solstice of 10,950 ± 250 BC, which the authors link directly to the Younger Dryas Impact event. And it’s all proven by irrefutable statistics, so it must be right, and all those other guys must be wrong. Unfortunately, it’s one of the finest examples of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) that I’ve seen in many years.

    They started with two assumptions common among alternos: first, that the animals pictured in Gobekli Tepe were constellations, arranged meaningfully on the pillars; second, that the Younger Dryas Impact happened, and made a huge impression on its survivors. After matching constellations with animals on the long-suffering Pillar 43 to their own satisfaction, and interpreting the “huts” along the top edge of the pillar as symbols of equinoxes or solstices, they ran statistical tests to see if their correlations were both significant, and significantly tied in with the notional date of the Younger Dryas Impact. Not surprisingly, the results were dazzlingly significant—so much so, in fact, that Sweatman and Tsiskritsis claim any other interpretation of those images can be junked out of hand.

    But the argument is circular: if you identify the members of Set A (animal images) with the members of Set B, which are related to each other by definition (the asterisms), then you will inevitably find that Set A  tests out as significantly related, more so than other possible combinations of animal images. Sweatman and Tsikritsis were not testing whether the astronomical proposal was valid; they were essentially testing whether their non-randomly selected Set A was non-random. The first question then must be, how reliable was the identification of Set A with Set B? And there, problems arise.

    The Star Map

    They assume that all animal figures represent constellations—except snakes, which represent meteors, and the little headless ithyphallic man on Pillar 43, who somehow symbolizes the dire human consequences of the YDI catastrophe. Sweatman and Tsikritsis construe the arrangement of some animals on Pillar 43 as a map of the stars, and identify the constellations by their proximity to each other, and by a markedly subjective looks-like-therefore-is approach using the magic of Stellarium. They do not attempt to interpret all the images on the pillar, and admit the positions are only approximate, but feel they are close enough to convey the message intended by the creators.

    The starting point is the scorpion, representing a portion of Scorpio. The vulture above it, with its hooked beak and distinctive feathered wings, is thus Sagittarius, and the bird-head below it is Libra. To the right of the vulture, the bird with its long legs stretched oddly before it is identified as a crane, and combined with the bird-headed snaky thing beside it to form Ophiuchus. To the left of the scorpion, only partially visible, is what they interpret as a dog or wolf, identified with Lupus. The smaller-scale animals beside the handbag-shaped objects at the top are identified as Pisces (crane), Gemini (ibex/charging quadruped), and Virgo (frog; later, bear). Those eight identifications are what the first statistical analysis was based on, but there are substantive problems with several of them.

    Vulture/Sagittarius. The distinctive vulture with outspread wings also appears on a slab from the same enclosure, with completely different neighbours: a hyena and a long-legged quadruped. The only detail in common is the circle appearing above the vulture’s wing, which Sweatman and Tsikritsis interpret as the sun on Pillar 43, and the archaeologists as a decapitated head on both images. On Pillar 56 from Enclosure H, the vulture is part of a dense crowd of birds, snakes, and predators, which again do not match the arrangement on Pillar 43. How valid is it to cherry-pick one of these “neighbourhoods” as a map of the sky?

    Lupus/Wolf. The partially hidden image that Sweatman and Tsikritsis see here as a dog or wolf is the same image that they see elsewhere as a fox, and identify with the northern asterism of Aquarius. Note also that “Lupus” was first applied to that group of stars in the 2nd century AD; earlier star maps made it part of Centaurus, or an unidentified beast associated with Centaurus.

    Ibex/Gemini. The creature has a long tail across its back, which Sweatman and Tsikritsis seem to have missed. Iconographically, it is closest to the lion images, and the fierce high-relief predator on Pillar 27. Elsewhere, Sweatman identifies lion/leopard images with Cancer.

    Crane/Pisces and Crane+Fish/Ophiuchus. Birds are all over the place on the GT pillars, in several distinct forms, and usually in groups of two or more. If the bending crane is Pisces, what would a whole cluster of bending cranes denote in astronomical terms? And if the bird is sometimes a constellation and sometimes a bird, how do you reliably tell which is which? The best illustration of this is Pillar 56, with its multiple examples of both birds which were identified as constellations on Pillar 43.

    Inconsistencies like these do not exactly create confidence in Sweatman and Tsikritsis’s methodology.  I would say that, out of eight matches used in the statistical analysis, at least five are iffy enough to qualify as Garbage In (and I’m not too sure about Libra, either.) That is surely enough to guarantee Garbage Out on that portion of the paper.

    Pillars 2 and 38

    Apart from Pillar 43, the only other pillars treated in detail by Sweatman and Tsikritsis are Pillar 38 from the same enclosure, and Pillar 2 from somewhat-younger Enclosure A. These were chosen because each pillar features three stacked images: aurochs, fox, and crane on Pillar 2; aurochs, boar, and crane on Pillar 38. On the face of it, as they admit, this would seem to falsify the constellation hypothesis, as different animals interpose between the aurochs and the crane on the two pillars, and how could that be matched with the sky? However, they turn it into a triumph of confirmation, via a dizzying multi-stepped logic trail involving the proposal that GT’s prime focus was observing meteors, the Taurids in particular, as the Taurids were the source for the notional Younger Dryas  impacter.

    Apparently, in 9530 BC, the radiants of the northern and southern Taurid meteor streams passed between Capricorn and Pisces via the northern and southern parts of Aquarius, respectively. Since the crane had already been identified as Pisces, that would make the aurochs into Capricorn, and the fox and boar into northern and southern Aquarius, respectively. Oh, and would also support the idea that GT was obsessed with the Taurid meteor showers, and that Pillar 43 was a memorial to the Younger Dryas Impact.

    Problem #1: Pillar 2 certainly shows the sequence aurochs/fox/crane. But Pillar 38’s topmost animal is clearly not an aurochs, but a fox. Sweatman and Tsikritsis’s rationale for revising  the excavators’ determination is found only in a brief note in the references, and makes no sense at all.

    The bottom image is not the distinctive bent-legged crane shown on Pillars 2 and 43, but a group of three birds, a duck and two cranes. Therefore, the sequence is not aurochs/boar/crane, but fox/boar/birds. And since the bottom figure is not the Pisces previously proposed, then the identifications of the other figures as Capricorn and Aquarius break down, as does the extraordinarily  tenuous conclusions that followed.

    Problem #2: There is, in fact, a third pillar with three stacked images, Pillar 20 from Enclosure D. There, the sequence is snake/aurochs/fox, which would invalidate one or another of Sweatman and Tsikritsis’s core assumptions. Either the snake is, after all, a constellation; or the triads do not, after all, represent three stacked constellations.

    Let’s summarize what has just happened. Incorrectly and/or inconsistently identified images, interpreted according to baseless assumptions, were used to shore up a stream of wild speculation. No veneer of GIGO statistics, Stellarium screencaps, or ingenious leaps of logic can turn this farrago into science.

    And what an impoverished vision of the Gobekli Tepe phenomenon this is, jamming a vibrant culture into the straitjacket of a modern obsession—as if the ability to track precession and record equinoxes from a thousand years back were valid measures of an ancient society’s worth.

    In fact, the rich iconography of Gobekli Tepe suggests an equally rich mythology and a repertoire of entertaining narratives that we can only guess at so far. The little headless cadaver on Pillar 43 links into widespread contemporary concepts of the relationship between the living and the dead. The bent cranes with their humanoid legs hint at masquerading dancers involved in colourful shamanistic celebrations—possibly with beer.

    Yes indeed, Gobekli Tepe is a hell of a site. It deserves to be evaluated for what it was, rather than what the alternos need it to be.

     

    Further reading:

    http://maajournal.com/Issues/2017/Vol17-2/Matters%20arising%2017%282%29.pdf

    The same journal that published Sweatman and Tsikritsis’s original paper allowed the excavators to respond, and the authors to rebut. At the end is a critique by Graham Hancock’s favourite archaeoastronomer, Paul D. Burley, who is intrigued by the thesis but not terribly impressed by the star map.

    http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/sagittarius.htm

    Alterno Andrew Collins critiques Sweatman and Tsikritsis, with a side-swipe at Burley.

    Category: FeaturedScienceSkepticism

    Article by: Rebecca Bradley

    2 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

    23 comments

    1. Rebecca, your ignorance of the scientific method is astonishing. And therein lies the rub. It seems archaeological types of your ilk are inadequately trained in the scientific method – you simply don’t get it. The truth is, that ship has sailed. Our view is proven, in a scientific sense.

      You say ” if you identify the members of Set A (animal images) with the members of Set B, which are related to each other by definition (the asterisms), then you will inevitably find that Set A tests out as significantly related, more so than other possible combinations of animal images.”. Just plain wrong – your reasoning would make it impossible to decode anything with confidence. It seems to me this statistical analysis is out of your league. I agree, there is a degree of subjectivity in our ranking of the asterisms vs animal symbols. So, I ask you, then, to complete your own ranking table, like we did. Until you do this, you cannot criticise ours. So, let’s see your table. As for the issue of pattern matching – this is standard practice in archaeology. Archaeologists do it all the time when comparing their finds. Its accepted – but only when it agrees with your pre-conceived notions, or course.

      You say “The distinctive vulture with outspread wings also appears on a slab from the same enclosure, with completely different neighbours: a hyena and a long-legged quadruped.” Now you are falling into the trap you have set yourself. How do you know it is a hyena? Which long-legged quadruped is it? And is this even a vulture/eagle? You see, I can counter this by arguing that if your ‘hyena’ is actually a ‘bear’ then this scene is fully consistent with our interpretation – it is once again giving the date 10,950 to within 250 years. You then point our Pillar 56, the same pillar Notroff et .al. challenged us to interpret in their rebuttal. Well, Dimitrios decoded that one, so I’ll leave it to him to publish the details. Suffice to say, it is again, fully consistent with Pillar 43. Just because you cannot read it, does not mean it cannot be read. The same applies to all your criticisms – you prepare your own trap, and then fall right into it. In fact, there is so much to comment on, that I’ll prepare a detailed rebuttal and send it you. Hopefully you will publish it as the 5th article in your series.

      Second, with publication of our latest paper on Palaeolithic art, which I advised you to read before commenting on this work, we prove our view is correct. No more subjectivity – completely objective. There is a common system of time-keeping across Europe into the Near-East (and probably beyond) stretching back into the Ice-Age, and probably going back beyond 40,000 years. This is a fact. Now you need to deal with it. Please read this paper before criticising our work again. You’ll find it very instructive.

      Again, therein lies the rub. Archaeological types of your ilk are more than happy when science agrees with your pre-conceived notions. But when the science contradicts them, the science must be wrong! No. You cannot pick-and-choose. It seems to me you are practicing a religion – which I call the ‘Orthodox Church of Archaeology’ in my new book ‘Prehistory Decoded’.

      1. Hello, Martin.
        Rebecca, your ignorance of the scientific method is astonishing. And therein lies the rub. It seems archaeological types of your ilk are inadequately trained in the scientific method – you simply don’t get it. The truth is, that ship has sailed. Our view is proven, in a scientific sense.

        Martin, your subversion of the scientific method is astonishing. And therein lies the rub. It seems pseudoarchaeological types of your ilk are inadequately trained in archaeological method and theory, and the ever-growing database – you simply don’t get it. The truth is, that ship sailed in the late 19th/early 20th century, when simplistic theories-of-everything crumbled before the relentless onslaught of new data. Your view is dogmatic and divorced from reality.

        You say ” if you identify the members of Set A (animal images) with the members of Set B, which are related to each other by definition (the asterisms), then you will inevitably find that Set A tests out as significantly related, more so than other possible combinations of animal images.”. Just plain wrong – your reasoning would make it impossible to decode anything with confidence. It seems to me this statistical analysis is out of your league.

        Martin, I will cheerfully agree that statistics was never my long suit, though I am accustomed to evaluating statistical studies. It does not take much sophistication, however, to recognize GIGO when the input is fatally flawed.

        I agree, there is a degree of subjectivity in our ranking of the asterisms vs animal symbols.

        You’re absolutely right about that.

        So, I ask you, then, to complete your own ranking table, like we did. Until you do this, you cannot criticise ours.

        Why on earth would I want to do that? I’m not making the a priori assumption that animals=asterisms. I think this is an implicit admission on your part that you did not test whether the astronomical model was valid—you just tested that your model, according to your subjective matches, fits the data better than other astronomical models. Indeed, this is made even clearer in your second paper: “To dispute this statistical case, one would need to argue that the ranking shown in Table 1 is significantly flawed, and that for each associated constellation there are several animal symbols at Göbekli Tepe that provide a better fit than the ones that actually appear on Pillar 43.” Not my dogfight, son. I leave it to you and the other pseuds to duke that out, along with the exact location of Atlantis.

        You say “The distinctive vulture with outspread wings also appears on a slab from the same enclosure, with completely different neighbours: a hyena and a long-legged quadruped.” Now you are falling into the trap you have set yourself. How do you know it is a hyena? Which long-legged quadruped is it? And is this even a vulture/eagle? You see, I can counter this by arguing that if your ‘hyena’ is actually a ‘bear’ then this scene is fully consistent with our interpretation – it is once again giving the date 10,950 to within 250 years.

        I actually agree with you that the “hyena” looks more like the beasts that lumber across my back yard every spring and autumn, than the ones that haunted a dig I was on in Egypt. However, I’m deferring to the interpretation of the GT excavators, who opt for hyena because of the cross-hatched “mane” along the back. But it is not relevant anyway. My point was that the fierce furry beast and the long-legged quadruped are in the same positions relative to the vulture as the weird birds on Pillar 43—and you think that is not a serious inconsistency? You think that conveniently swapping fox for aurochs on Pillar 38 does not shoot a gaping hole in that whole tangled web of interpretation?

        Are you going to tell me that it doesn’t matter which way the bird is oriented? That two cranes and a duck can equal one crane? That the same image can be a wolf or a fox, according to your convenience, and still give valid results? That you can tweak everything so it all fits perfectly? What you’re actually doing is using subjectivity, rationalization, and special pleading to immunize your model against being falsified. And what was that you said about the scientific method?

        You then point our Pillar 56, the same pillar Notroff et .al. challenged us to interpret in their rebuttal. Well, Dimitrios decoded that one, so I’ll leave it to him to publish the details. Suffice to say, it is again, fully consistent with Pillar 43. Just because you cannot read it, does not mean it cannot be read. The same applies to all your criticisms – you prepare your own trap, and then fall right into it. In fact, there is so much to comment on, that I’ll prepare a detailed rebuttal and send it you. Hopefully you will publish it as the 5th article in your series.

        I’ll look forward to seeing both. As for providing a guest post on my blog, I thank you, but the answer is no, and I am a little surprised you would propose yourself. If you have a rebuttal that you consider too lengthy for the comments, then I’d suggest you post it on your own website, and send me the link. I will then happily do a #5 linking to your rebuttal, and providing my comments.

        Second, with publication of our latest paper on Palaeolithic art, which I advised you to read before commenting on this work, we prove our view is correct. No more subjectivity – completely objective. There is a common system of time-keeping across Europe into the Near-East (and probably beyond) stretching back into the Ice-Age, and probably going back beyond 40,000 years. This is a fact. Now you need to deal with it. Please read this paper before criticising our work again. You’ll find it very instructive.

        I did read it with great attention, Martin, when you first sent me the link; and I linked to it in my post. Alas, it’s more of the same—a second storey added to your house of cards. I did wonder what happened to the snakes that loomed so large in the GT corpus and your interpretation; and I am still waiting for any appearance in your model of the moon and planets. Did these skilled astronomers just not notice them, or what? Anyway, the only thing instructive about Paper #2 was a measure of how far you’ve gone down the rabbit hole since Paper #1.

        Again, therein lies the rub. Archaeological types of your ilk are more than happy when science agrees with your pre-conceived notions. But when the science contradicts them, the science must be wrong! No. You cannot pick-and-choose. It seems to me you are practicing a religion – which I call the ‘Orthodox Church of Archaeology’ in my new book ‘Prehistory Decoded’.

        Nice way to work in a puff for your book, eh? The rest is rubbish. Archaeology changes and progresses and rethinks its assumptions far too fast to be either an orthodoxy or a religion. If anything, what I shall call from now on The Alternate Orthodoxy has been rolling out the same tired articles of faith since the mid-19th century. Now, I’ve observed how you pop up all over the internet on sites and threads where GT is discussed, aggressively pushing your work (and your new book) as the ultimate and irrefutable truth, and to be honest I get a pretty messianic vibe off you; but you’re not the Messiah, Martin, you’re a very naughty boy.*

        * Only partly joking.

    2. So, Rebecca. Will you publish my detailed response as the 5th article in your GT series? Perhaps with the discovery of the Greenland crater you are feeling a little less secure of your opinions?

    3. “Martin, I will cheerfully agree that statistics was never my long suit,”
      Says it all. Well, it is mine. I ask you to complete your own ranking table, because until you do that you cannot criticise our method. It forms the basis of our statistical method. You don’t seem to understand this.

      “I actually agree with you that the “hyena” looks more like the beasts that lumber across my back yard every spring and autumn,”
      Great – then together we might have decoded this fragment. It makes perfect sense.

      “If you have a rebuttal that you consider too lengthy for the comments, then I’d suggest you post it on your own website, and send me the link. I will then happily do a #5 linking to your rebuttal, and providing my comments.”
      Okay then, let’s do that.

      “Martin, you’re a very naughty boy.”
      No need to be rude. This is a scientific debate.

      1. My, you work fast. I was just coming on to say there was no rush to get your rebuttal together, as I’m leaving for Mexico tomorrow–without my laptop, for once–and have no intention of wasting my few days in the sun on this. Has it occurred to you that your faith in statistics has something religious about it? I’ll be back online on about December 3rd. Cheers.

    4. That’s like questioning someone’s belief in logic or arithmetic. Anyway, it’s not belief, it’s confidence (which has a technical meaning). With these odds I can afford to be very confident. The probability I am right is in the region of 99.99999999999999%, which gives me plenty of confidence.

    5. Martin, first I must thank you for driving my attention to the Göbekli Tepe by your Fox paper. You created enough stirring on the web for this dig to come to my attention.

      I wrote a response of 30 pages to your Fox paper, but the MAA journal refused to review it, even though I submitted it on time, although later than the other 3, published, shorter responses. After that, I poured some of my findings on comment field on tepetelegrams. There are 2-3 pages there devoted to your work, with perhaps 200 comments, but you appear to be oblivion of that. You never responded to any of them, anyway.

      The truth of this issue is somewhere in the middle (as usual) between the positins of Martin and Rebecca. To Rebecca, I will only say that if an image of an animal is a constellation on one picture, it does not mean that all the other images of that animal on all the other pictures are also of a constellation. That is silly. You can’t refute Martin like that. If a picture of an animal has a different pose, than it is not the same thing, because a constellation always remains the same. The vultures that you refer to do not, neither the snakes, but the Fox does — always the same pose on every occasion, except that is a female fox on one occasion. This is a mild indication that it is an image of an asterism, and one thus might look for it in the sky. Martin did that.

      But, as I argued in my paper, the software that Martin used is inadequate for the purpose, for it produces too great errors — the sun is calculated to be 1.5 degrees outside of the ecliptic, even though the ecliptic is defined as being the path of the sun. This is why their dating of the event depicted on pillar is so uncertain, 10,950 BC plus/minus 250 years. They appeared happy with that, but I was not, for I personally years ago wrote a much more accurate software.

      When accuracy of my software was applied to date the vulture scene, it turned out that the year marked is 10,961 BC, precisely (plus/minus zero years). Martin, please be aware of that.

      Next, I searched to identify the images, again with much better resolution. Martin’s statistics are based solely on his ability to correlate groups of stars with images of constellations, but this is very vague, and full of wishful thinking. For instance, in his new paper Martin identifies the image of the auroch as a goat, not as bull, which is also a known constellation and a reasonable choice, simply because he has learned that the Taurid stream was coming from the area of Capricorn at the relevant epoch. Instead of rightfully concluding that the Taurid stream has nothing to do with the YD event, he fabricates evidence to fit his presumptions, or better to say that of Napier and of the YD team, who still think that the Taurid stream caused the YD event, simply because it is currently the mightiest one. It did not. I have evidence for that. Martin could have concluded that by himself, based on the auroch vs goat issue, but he failed to do so, probably due to lack of expertise in astronomy.

      Next, in his first paper he centers on Scorpio (modern constellation) vs the image of a scorpion on the pillar 43. They are not the same. Definitely not. Their perspective is different. Modern constellation is a sideways view, while the one on the Pillar 43 is a view from the above. These details matter. That does not mean that the image of the scorpion on pillar 43 is not an asterism. It is, but elsewhere, not in the area of Scorpio. All the other images on the Pillar 43 are also asterisms, but they are not constellations in a classical sense, for they overlap — some stars are part of more than one image.

      Further, of all the identifications of asterisms that Martin made, only the Vulture vs sun holds. Richard proved that on tepetelegrams, in the comments.

      Monuments typically have dates inscribed on them, and one should be not surprised to find the same in prehistoric times. Martin is right about precession. It was known for tens of thousands of years. Considering that the pillar depicts the event of the YD onset, but was erected after the end of the YD, 13 centuries later, using precession for time markers was a smart and rightful choice. The carvers of the pillars might have been some extremely intelligent specimens of a modern Homo sapiens who spent a lifetime designing that artwork. Ignoring that possibility is a naive superficiality.

      Other figures were incorrectly identified by Martin. This finding I shall elaborate, to prevent fruitless debate.

      There are thousands of observable stars on the sky. The right question to be asked is: ‘What combination of those stars is a best fit for the depicted images ? Martin limited the options only to skeletons of the modern constellations, which is a tiny subset of the whole sky possibilities, which is an unsubstantiated choice, as if when one says ‘If we assume AAA…’, and then proceed to use that assumption for proving other things, as if AAA is a valid assumption, even though it was never checked. If one does that, one can find that other groups of stars present themselves as much better matches for the figures on the Pillar 43.

      Besides, if what is basically a rectangle of stars can be identified as a Goose, as Martin did, then one can ask ‘Why that rectangle ?’ , for there are countless more on the sky.

      The stars move, some of them moved considerably over the time span in question, so one should also check for that. ‘How much any star in that rectangle has to move away for that one not to represent the Goose anymore ?’

      Or, find me anyone who is smart enough to carve such a complex artwork, requiring substantial skills, artistic mind and imagination to accomplish, who would identify a simple rectangle with a Goose, and then be able to convince other people for 2,000 years that this was the right and only possible identification of that rectangle.

      Or, ‘What is the partially obscured figure above the Wolf ?

      The handbags are not equinoctial markers at all. Only the Vulture is. It would be a redundant effort to do otherwise. Limitations in resources in stone and manpower heavily suppress the use of silly redundancies.

      Rebecca, for the sake of presenting a thorough review of this issue, I encourage you to read a myriad of my comments scattered on tepetelegrams and to make a compilation of it here. Especially of those comments beneath the 2 pages devoted to the Martin’s Fox paper. Thank you.

    6. Casual Visitor refers to my postings at tepetelegrams, so there is a need for me to make some clarifications as to my position.

      i) The original “…What does the Fox say…” paper was published in a journal whose editors/reviewers possess or have access to extensive astronomical knowledge, so it should have been received by academic disciplines with the respect that it deserves. Unfortunately, it did not – particularly from archaeology. Furthermore, whereas the published response to it (under Matters Arising, Volume 17 – Issue 2) from the GT team, included several relevant comments and questions, none of them as far as can be ascertained, were generated by any named astronomer/archaeoastronomer in academia. Nor were they shown to be supported by any academic of respective status.

      ii) It is clear, at least to me, that the original paper was published on the assumption that it contained significant scientific interest for the archaeology community to pursue it scientifically and seriously, but despite my comments to Jens Notroff that the matter should be taken to appropriate consultation – of the GT Team’s own choice – this obviously never materialised (publicly). Indeed, the matter was, and quite clearly continues to be, couched in the terms of “pseudo-science”, with references to “…long traditions in pseudo-archaeology circles…” (Colavito 2017). Any reference to Colavito as having any valid academic status to comment on this matter – as appears the intention of the style of the reference – is of course utter nonsense. On the other hand, although his website is often used by academia to deflect challenging concepts towards “pseudo” status, it should be noted that Colavito was actually considerably more cautious on this occasion.

      iii) It is the role of science, in circumstances such as this, for the discipline receiving a hypothesis, with submitted evidence, to either disprove or show significant failings with appropriate counter evidence and argument. Since archaeology does not possess, within its operating domain, any practised “archaeological science” relating to astronomy, then it should and must defer to the appropriate scientific disciplne which does.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeological_science

      iv) My own position with regard to the issue of the YD hypothesis is that it remains a premature conclusion, whereas the integrity of the astronomical interpretation is sound in principle, although there are many aspects of detail which can be challenged.

      v) Casual Visitor has identified some of the areas which need further debate, several of which I have also taken on board, and await more formal presentation – it will be interesting to compare the independent approaches, particularly with Casual Visitor’s comment,”…other groups of stars present themselves as much better matches for the figures on the Pillar 43…”. In this respect, I should point out that one of my “details”, as I have all but made clear in my comments at tepetelegrams is that the Fox is actually a representation of Comet Halley, since it quite clearly appears (from the darkness) via the stone with the hole, and the latter is therefore not a “sighting stone” to the north (and the constellation Cygnus) as put forward by Andrew Collins. The stone is part of the astronomical story being told in Enclosure D, where this comet’s first appearance, on this occasion with magnitude at naked-eye visibility, is within the “arm” of Orion (not present on Pillar 31, but makes an appearance on Pillar 18). This ties in more closely, in terms of “alternative” interpretations, with that of Robert Schoch:

      https://www.robertschoch.com/sida.html (scroll down page)

      and very closely with my own investigation of the Pylos Combat Agate and one of the associated Gold Seal Rings, regarding which I’ve made preliminary uploads at academia.edu (research still in progress, including consultation with scholars on comets in general, and specifically Comet Halley, which is considered to have been in its current orbit for at least around 17,000 years). The correlations are striking, particularly in terms of the respective locations of the “Fox” and the “Griffin” associated with symbology of the belt of Orion (the bent “arms” of the three figures to the left of the griffin and the constellation of Gemini, above the griffin). This suggests that the two horizontal capping stones of pillars 31 and 18 represent the location of the constellation Gemini above Orion, and that other enclosures may be illustrating the observed path of the comet through its celestial track. Each enclosure, therefore, has to be studied in its own right as to whether the story being told is celestial or not.

      vi) In the absence of direct written explanation of the symbology, comparisons such as these is potentially important evidence to establishing the integrity of the astronomical story in Enclosure D (and vice versa, despite the epoch gap, indeed possibly indicating evolution of, or distinct cultural differences in, representation of both constellations and celestial phenomena ). Nothing so far detracts from this aim, even though the GT team have not been willing to offer images of the full set of pillars within the enclosure for further study – until publication of the intended publication, thereto. How long before this is available is unknown, as well as whether any individual images will be subject to purchase cost.

      vii) The editors of the MAA Journal clearly stated that they would not be publishing any further papers relating to Gobekli Tepe following the “Matters Arising” papers, and this is the reason why Casual Visitor’s submission was not progressed. Where our respective contributions will ultimately materialise remains to be seen – for me possibly at academia(dot)edu.

      viii) It appears that constructive dialogue is being deferred from the tepetelegrams website to this, where so far, including the sentiment of “wasting time” is somewhat of a parallel to the acrimonious exchanges to be found on some twitter pages. Whether Casual Visitor’s suggestion in his final paragraph is taken on board, remains to be seen.

      1. i) on the whole planet, it appears that I am the only one who took you seriously enough to refine your rough research finds, and for this I must also thank again Richard, who identified the Vulture on images. I have sufficient expertise for that, for as I said I actually coded myself once an accurate astronomical software, but unfortunately I wish to remain anonymous whenever I post in comments sections.

        ii) “the original paper was published on the assumption that it contained significant scientific interest for the archaeology community to pursue it scientifically and seriously, but despite my comments to Jens Notroff that the matter should be taken to appropriate consultation – of the GT Team’s own choice – this obviously never materialised (publicly)”.

        No. I pursued it. That was enough. You drove my attention to the GT dig, and that was very fruitful. I thank you for that. It was enough because I solved that riddle. One only needed one Champollion to decipher the hieroglyphics. However, somebody had to made him aware of the Rosetta stone, and you did that task with me and the Vulture Stone. Thank you again.

        So far, nobody called my finds (some of which were presented in comments on tepetelegrams) pseudo, and the skeptics remain silent. Jens called them ‘insinuations’, but that is no wonder. He is simply frustrated. I do throw there the pieces of the puzzle, but very sparingly the main ones.

        iii) “Since archaeology does not possess, within its operating domain, any practised “archaeological science” relating to astronomy, then it should and must defer to the appropriate scientific disciplne which does.”

        To decipher these pillars one has to be expert in several disciplines, not just astronomy, but also religion, planetary defense, psychology, history, art, coding, mapping, cryptography, geology, mechanical engineering, hunting, taming of animals, shamanism, geography,… and last, but not least, to be knowledgeable of mating.

        iv) The truth about the YD hypothesis is somewhere in between the proponents and opponents of it. Yes, my colleague Boslough, as an expert in planetary defense, is right in what he says about the ideas of Firestorm and others from the YD team about what never happened during the YD event — there was no cometary shower. These things are indeed impossible.

        On the other hand, the YD team is correct that there was an impact of some sort, for they found the traces of it everywhere where they looked for them. A myriad of microscopic tell-tale tracers of impact. Yet, they never found the sourcesof them, which is why the arguing continues. Instead of examining the maps, they are still looking under a microscope, which is not the way of finding the craters, only the traces of explosions.

        What really happened at YD is well known. The story about it is global, written scattered on many places, including the face of Earth in form of craters, those which one must find first in order to be able to decipher all the other inscriptions, like the ones on the pillars of Göbekli Tepe.

        v) The story being told is indeed about a comet, among other things, but not about the comet Halley, not at all. It is about the one which collided with Earth and no longer exists. It is also about the people represented by the Pillars 18 and 31, whose names echo through the epochs in many myths and are very well known. On the most basic level of perception, it is simply about the issues concerning mating, for educating the children.

        vi) “In the absence of direct written explanation of the symbology,…”

        There is no absence. I can read these pillars like pages of a book, which they indeed are. I already wrote a basic interpretation manual on how one can read them, the one for ordinary people, but the reviewers refused to review. I suppose that it was too sexy. Then I wrote the more advanced one, and that one they refused to even acknowledge the receipt of. I suppose that it was too technologically advanced. The images on those pillars are so complex that modern technology has not yet advanced to the level required to replicate them. And yet, they were made by hunter-gatherers. By some very extra-ordinary humans. Elon Musk type extraordinary.

        “How long before this is available is unknown, as well as whether any individual images will be subject to purchase cost.”

        This will remain so until somebody visits the site and makes good pictures with a hidden camera. Perhaps an appeal to Turkish authorities might help too, but I doubt that Jens and Oliver would release any good photos. Those thus far released were mostly made by Schmidt, with just a few made by others. Jens and Oliver made none that I am aware of. Not a single pillar has been fully photographically documented, and in total there are maybe merely 2 dozens of sufficiently high resolution quality photos of the pillars available on the Internet. That is one picture released per year. At that rate it would take them 2,000 years to fully document the site.

        vii) “The editors of the MAA Journal clearly stated that they would not be publishing any further papers relating to Gobekli Tepe following the “Matters Arising” papers, and this is the reason why Casual Visitor’s submission was not progressed.”

        No. The opposite is true — they decided not to published any further papers relating to Göbekli Tepe /after/ they received and read the paper which I submitted to them. In their own words, their feared that the paper could prolong the debate, and cause more Matters Arising articles, which they wanted to prevent. So, they refused to review. The fact that they made a decision not to publish any further papers about the GT is an indication that they wish to play safe. No debates. No controversies. No problem. I am actually quite happy that they refused it, for later on I learned a lot more about GT, which made that initial paper obsolete.

        viii) “It appears that constructive dialogue is being deferred from the tepetelegrams website to this,”

        I hope so. I would like at least that you and Rebecca comment here on my last comment from
        “More than a vulture: A response to Sweatman and Tsikritsis.”
        page on tepetelgrams, the one regarding the Headless Man.

        ****Word of warning****: the pingback links that lead to that page from the first Martin’s page were hacked!!!! They lead to
        WRONG! https://dainstblog.com/2017/07/03/more-than-a-vulture-a-response-to-sweatman-and-tsikritsis/
        instead of to the correct link
        https://www.dainst.blog/the-tepe-telegrams/2017/07/03/more-than-a-vulture-a-response-to-sweatman-and-tsikritsis/
        The link from the pingbacks attempts to infect your browser with a bad cipher in order to make connections insecure. Beware of what you click at at tepetelegrams!

        After I published that last comment there occurred a two months and counting pause on publications of new pages on tepetelegrams, whereby the usual pause was about 1 month. It surely made them to ponder about.
        In my opinion, that one comment alone resolves the YD hypothesis, but thus far nobody mentioned it. It is really, really pointless to present evidence anonymously in the comments. Nobody takes them seriously.

        Anyway, Boslough made a brief unsubstantiated dismissive tweet long comment on that page on Aug 29, to which he was replied, after which he remained silent.

    7. Casual Visitor:
      Thank you for your comments. it does appear, so far that only the two of us have taken the trouble to further pursue this issue in greater depth.

      Quote >”No. I pursued it. That was enough. ”
      Nothing is enough until it is published formally and then opened to scrutiny. I note what you say about wishing to remain anonymous, but until such time as you formally publish your comments then they will remain closed to scrutiny, and your claims to be able to decipher the symbology will remain, scientifically, only your opinion. This, of course, also applies to my own comments.

      As regards the extent of my further investigations, these are much more than I have commented on within the constraints of the tepetelegrams facility for commenting, as indeed here also. So what I said about the methodology (deconstruction and reconstruction) which was used to confirm the Vulture as Sagittarius, this is only a small part of the investigation of the “Vulture Stone” as a whole. It is the result of this more complete process which enables me provide evidence to confirm the integrity of the astronomical symbolism within Enclosure D as whole, bearing in mind the limited imagery available at present. This will be published in due course.

      It is, therefore, of critical importance to have independent studies published for scientific scrutiny. Whereas I have no issues with regard to making my identity known, I’m afraid that sooner or later you will need to make public your identity also – there is no way out of it. So whereas I respect your wish to remain anonymous, and I would never divulge this publicly if your identity were made known to me, I am rather puzzled why you would want to take this position if you are confident in the scientific veracity of your own investigation.

      As regards the explanation as to why the editors of MAA were unwilling to publish your submission, fine, I will take your word for it. The issue of where future proposed publications might appear remains.

      As regards to who is correct about the comet or whether both our options remain open to methodological scrituniy and debate, will depend on the evidence presented in our corresponding publications. I am close to this end, but since my programme has been subjected to a deadline on another matter for the second week in January of the new year, it’s now unlikely that I will be able to finalise until the middle of that month at the earliest. I note that you say that the MAA’s refusal to publish enabled you to pursue investigations further such that your original became “obsolete”. May I ask, therefore, whether your revised version is ready for publishing?

      Quote:
      >viii) “It appears that constructive dialogue is being deferred from the tepetelegrams website to this,”

      I hope so. I would like at least that you and Rebecca comment here on my last comment from
      “More than a vulture: A response to Sweatman and Tsikritsis.”
      page on tepetelgrams, the one regarding the Headless Man.

      My answer to this is that before writing this response, I did have a look at Rebecca’s posting at:
      https://www.skepticink.com/lateraltruth/2018/12/07/decoding-looney-tunes-astronomy-bunny-say/

      I’m afraid that as a result I can only conclude that Rebecca knows sweet fanny adams about astronomy/archaeoastronomy (as probably most of those making supporting comments)
      https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/sweet-fanny-adams.html
      and that this site offers no genuine facility for scientific debate on the subject. Clearly Rebecca doesn’t wish to pursue such in her efforts to grow up, and I guess even though I’m some ten years her senior, she’s not yet grown up enough to take any advice.

      And, Casual Visitor, it is not British Humour in the current context by a long shot. It has Canadian roots, which doesn’t say much about that country’s humour!

      1. I wish to remain anonymous only on public boards, because of name calling that frequently appears in such places. Hereby, Rebecca just called me ‘delusional’ and ignored all my arguments. She fights with Martin, because his work was published by MAA, but ignores me, because I thus far only published in comments. Unfortunately.

        As for the scientific scrutiny, yes, I desire it all the time, but… the reviewers refuse to review. As far as I recall, on this issue I was thus far rejected from several journals about 11 times without reviewing. At this point I have one obsolete paper on Göbekli Tepe of 30 pages A4, which is now to be split in several parts. Two more papers are ready for review, but I find no peers ready to review them. Writing of the 3rd is in progress. In the first one of those I refrained from interpretations completely and simply discussed the art techniques which were used, but even that was rejected, with the vague explanation of ‘not suitable for our journal’.

        1. Casual Visitor, I think I could have been kinder to you. I related my honest impression based on reading through the GT comments, but I also remember that you were courteous and earnest throughout, and deserved equal courtesy from me. If it ever turns out that you are right, and the rest of us are wrong, I will happily owe you one bottle of champagne.

    8. Richard Bartosz and Casual Visitor: In fact, I did read your screeds on Tepe Telegrams some while back, having read everything on the website–every word–before starting this series. With all due respect, I formed the impression then that you were both delusional, and your performance in this comments section has done nothing to change that. The Gobekli Tepe guys were very patient with you, before finally requesting you take your wrangle elsewhere – but I saw what happened there, and I have no intention of letting this become your new venue. So:
      (1) No more walls of text.
      (2) No more demanding that I summarize this, look at that, pursue the other thing. I will permit you to play in this sandbox a little longer, but don’t expect me to play too. As far as I’m concerned, your interaction is a spectator sport.
      (3) Richard, you are permitted to carry on insulting and patronizing me if you like, because it’s actually quite funny.

      1. Rebecca, could you please send my email address to Richard, so that we two can discuss this out of public boards. I hope that this isn’t too much, for this would purify your board from my comments. Thank you very kindly.

    9. Rebecca,
      It is what it is. Giving back as you are giving. You see, firstly, I know more than you think I know, and secondly I know more than you know about why such issues are deferred to sites such as this, which is why I actually find your efforts here very humorous, but in a very different way.

      The manner in which the authors of the papers in question have been challenged here is a disgrace to scientific debate. Trying to say that there is anything of any archaeological value in your counter argument (technically translatable as insults) is fiction, which clearly is something that you do appear to be good at. I suggest, with respect, that you stick to that.

      I think the Gobekli Tepe guys can speak for themselves, or maybe they are just too cowardly to do so because arguments presented in this form brings the discipline of archaeology into disrepute. Perhaps you should have been more cautious as to why they were more than happy to defer to here, and why some people, like me, aren’t afraid to speak the truth.

      And finally, I made it quite clear in my response to Casual Visitor that I have no intention of playing your games here, so whatever else you have in mind I hope that there is no one foolish enough to pamper to you.

      Otherwise, best wishes.

    10. Some links to ponder over:
      http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=27657
      http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=26813

      http://www.murat-sur-vebre.fr/fr/tourisme/a-visiter_113.html

      (Part translation)
      The interpretation center located in the premises of the Tourist Office in the heart of Murat-sur-Vèbre offers two large exhibition halls devoted to early peasants and breeders from the end of prehistory (3,300 to 2,200 years BC). JC) who fashioned and erected menhir statues with a dozen copies on display.
      The village communities established at that time in the Monts de Lacaune are presented by tools, weapons, ornaments, various equipment and funerary furniture found in the dolmens or sepulchral caves of the region.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *