Date sent: Fri, 07 Feb 1997 13:43:41 -0500 (EST)
Priority: NORMAL

Here comes and up-date of the programme of the


Archaeological, Geological, Astronomical
and Cultural Perspectives

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University
11-13 July 1997


Prof Mark Bailey (Armagh Observatory) Sources and
Populations of Near-Earth Objects: Recent Findings and
Historical Implications

Prof Mike Baillie (Queen's University Belfast) Tree-Ring
Evidence for Environmental Disasters during the Bronze
Age: Causes and Effects

Dr Victor Clube (University of Oxford) Predestination and
the Problem of Historical Catastrophism

Dr Marie-Agnes Courty (Institut National Agronomique
Paris-Grignon) Abrupt Climate Change around 2200 BC:
Stratigraphical and Geochemical Evidence from the Middle
East [tentative title]

Dr Bas van Geel (University of Amsterdam) and Dr Hans
Renssen (University of Utrecht) The Impact of Abrupt
Climate Change around 2650 BP in North-West Europe:
Evidence for Climatic Teleconnections and a Tentative

Prof Gunnar Heinsohn (University of Bremen) The
Catastrophic Emergence of Civilisation: The Coming of the
Bronze Age Cultures

Dr Bruce Masse (University of Hawaii) Earth, Air, Fire
and Water: The Archaeology of Bronze Age Cosmic

Prof William Mullen (Bard College) The Agenda of the
Milesian School: The Post-Catastrophic Paradigm Shift in
Ancient Greece

Dr William Napier (Armagh Observatory) Cometary
Catastrophes, Cosmic Dust and Ecological Disasters in
Historical Times

Prof David Pankenier (Lehigh University) Heaven-sent:
Understanding Disaster in Chinese Myth and Tradition

Dr Benny Peiser (Liverpool John Moores University)
Comparative Stratigraphy of Bronze Age Destruction Layers
around the World: Archaeological Evidence and
Methodological Problems

Dr Duncan Steel (Spaceguard Australia) Before the Stones:
Stonehenge I as a Cometary Catastrophe Predictor?

Prof Gerrit Verschuur (University of Memphis) Our Place
in Space: The Implications of Cosmic Catastrophes on
Human Thought and Behaviour [tentative title]

Prof Irving Wolfe (University of Montreal) The
'Kultursturz' at the Bronze Age - Iron Age Bounderay


I would much appreciate it if you could circulate this
programme among friends and colleagues.

Thank you.

Benny Peiser


Date sent: Fri, 07 Feb 1997 12:44:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: MORE ON BYRON
Priority: NORMAL


For those interested, I give a slightly-corrected quote
from Lord Byron below, plus a full citation, plus some
other material from his writings.

"Who knows whether, when a comet shall approach this
globe to destroy it, as it often has been and will be
destroyed, men will not tear rocks from their foundations
by means of steam, and hurl mountains, as the giants are
said to have done, against the flaming mass? - and then
we shall have traditions of Titans again, and of wars
with Heaven."

Lord Byron in 1822.

p.188 in E.J. Lovell, Jr, (editor)
"Medwin's `Conversations of Lord Byron'"
Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey (1966).

The above appeared on pp.129-130 in Medwin's original
book (1828?).

Byron was apparently much influenced by the catastrophism
of Georges Cuvier; note that Byron did not live to see
the ascendency of the uniformitarianism of Charles Lyell
and Charles Darwin. Byron spoke in many places of the
life on Earth having been "destroyed" in the past by
comet impacts, the interstitial periods of proliferation
of life - not necessarily including man - being "earlier
worlds." Byron invokes comets in his work, as well as
droughts, bad winters, earthquakes, wars and disease
as being inflictions upon mankind imposed by a not-wholly
beneficial deity.

See, for example,

pp.213-217 in E.J. Lovell, Jr,
"Byron: The Record of a Quest"
Archon Books, Hamden, Connecticut (1966).

The same source points to the end of Part 1, Scene 2 of
Byron's play "The Deformed Transformed" in which he has
has Caesar say:

"When I grow weary of it, I have business
Amongst the stars, which these poor creatures deem
Were made for them to look at. 'Twere a jest now
To bring one down amongst them, and set fire
Unto their ant hill: how the pismires then
Would scamper over the scalding soil, and, ceasing
From tearing down each other's nests, pipe forth
One universal orison! Ha! Ha! "

For those without a dictionary to hand:
a pismire = a urinating ant, literally; used in a
pejorative sense an orison = a prayer

In view of the strife which solar system astronomers tend
to get from astrophysicists who hold that only very
distant objects are worthy of study, I find the above
rather satisfying.

Kind regards,

Duncan Steel


From: Clark Whelton
Date sent: Fri, 7 Feb 1997 03:11:16 +0000

At 06:39 PM 2/5/97 +0000, HUMBPEIS wrote:
>If you have ever wondered who was the first scholar who
>thought about protecting human civilisation from cometary
>impacts, you are in for a real surprise:
>The following quote from 1822(!) - which certainly
>belongs to one of the most 'prophetic' visions ever
>formulated - was discovered by Dr Duncan Steel, the
>British-Australian astronomer and author of "Rogue
>Asteroids and Doomsday Comets: The Search for the
>Million Megaton Menace that threatens Life on Earth" (New
>York et al: John Wiley & Son, 1995).
>> "Who knows whether, when a comet shall approach this globe and destroy
it, as
>> it often has been and will be destroyed, men will not tear rocks from their
>> foundations by means of steam, and hurl mountains, as the giants are said to
>> have done, against the flaming mass? - and then we shall have the traditions
>> of the Titans again, and of wars with Heaven." [Year = 1822]
>> Medwin's "Conversations of Lord Byron",
>> Princeton Univ Press, 1966, p.188

Clark Whelton writes:

And in 1822 Champollion deciphered hieroglyphics.

CCCMENU CCC for 1997