CCNet, 87/2000 -  13 September 2000

     "Peel away the ash of Vesuvius and you see life on the day
     of the eruption. Here you have Neolithic life on the day of
     the flood."
         -- William Ryan, 12 September 2000

     "According to the scientific method, you formulate a hypothesis,
     in this case the flood spillage theory for the Black Sea, and then
     you test it. One test is finding remnants of a civilization that
     was affected and looking for evidence to support the flood theory..
     This is how you do good science."
        -- Jerome L. Hall, President of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology

    Ilan Manulis <>
    The New York Times, 13 September 2000
    Steve Zoraster <>

    Michael Paine <>
    Ed Grondine" <>

    BBC News Online, 12 September 2000


From Ilan Manulis <>

Dear Benny,

This news item, from the InfoBeat News - Morning Coffee Edition for
Wednesday, September 13, 2000, might be of interest to the CCNet readers.

Best regards,

Ilan Manulis

Chairman, Solar System Small Objects Division
The Israeli Astronomical Association


12:02 AM ET 09/13/00

New Evidence of Great Flood Found


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) Artifacts found at the bottom of the Black Sea
provide new evidence that humans faced a great flood, perhaps that
of the biblical Noah, thousands of years ago, the discoverers say.

Remnants of human habitation were found in over 300 feet of
water about 12 miles off the coast of Turkey, undersea explorer
Robert Ballard said Tuesday. "There's no doubt about it, it's an
exciting discovery," Ballard said in a telephone interview from his
research ship. "We realize the broad significance the discovery has and
we're going to do our best to learn more."

Fredrik Hiebert of the University of Pennsylvania, chief archaeologist
for the Black Sea project, said from the ship, "This find represents
the first concrete evidence for the occupation of the Black Sea coast
prior to its flooding."

Many ancient Middle Eastern cultures have legends of a great flood,
including the Bible story of Noah. Columbia University researchers
William Ryan and Walter Pittman speculated in their 1997 book "Noah's
Flood" that when the European glaciers melted about 7,000 years ago,
the Mediterranean Sea overflowed into what was then a smaller
freshwater lake to create the Black Sea.

Last year Ballard found indications of an ancient coastline miles out
from the current Black Sea coast. His new discovery provides evidence
that people once lived in that now inundated region.

Ballard, a National Geographic Society explorer in residence, said he
had studied shells found along the ancient coastline and found two
types. One group is an extinct type of freshwater shell, while the
second is from saltwater shellfish. The saltwater shells date back
6,500 years, while the freshwater shells all date to 7,000 years ago
and older. "So," he said Tuesday, "we know that there was a sudden and
dramatic change from a freshwater lake to a saltwater sea 7,000 years

"And we know that as a result of that flood a vast amount of
land went underwater. And we now know that that land was inhabited.
What we don't know is who these people are, we don't know how broad
their settlements were ... but we're expanding our studies to try to
determine that."

Ballard said his team, using remote-controlled underwater vessels with
cameras, located a former river valley beneath the sea and in that
valley was a collapsed structure, including some preserved wooden beams
that had been worked by hand.

The structure was "clearly built by humans," and was characteristic of
stone-age structures built 7,000 years ago in the interior of Turkey,
Ballard said.

It contained a stone chisel and two other stone tools with holes
drilled through them, he said, adding that nothing has been removed
from the site. "When you first find a site you don't just run in there
and start picking up things," he said. The group is now mapping the
site and looking for other structures in the area.

"This is a work in progress," Ballard said. "It is critical to know the
exact era of the people who lived there, and to that end we hope to
recover artifacts and wood for carbon dating so we can figure out what
sort of people lived there and the nature of their tools."

The discovery occurred within Turkey's coastal waters and that
country's Directorate of Monuments and Museums has a representative
on the research vessel.

Ballard, best known for finding the remains of the ships Titanic,
Bismarck and Yorktown, among other discoveries, operates the Institute
for Exploration in Mystic, Conn.

His expedition is sponsored by the National Geographic Society, which
is planning a book and television programs on Ballard's Black Sea

Copyright 2000, AP


From The New York Times, 13 September 2000


WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 - Scientists said today that they had discovered
remnants of human habitation under the Black Sea that they believe is
the first proof that people thrived along an ancient shoreline before
it was inundated by a great flood thousands of years ago.

Dr. Robert D. Ballard, the undersea explorer whose robotic devices
have resolved many underwater mysteries, including the resting place
of the Titanic, said an expedition he is leading had discovered a
well-preserved structure that might be thousands of years old 12 miles
off the coast of Turkey, near Sinop.

An underwater robot, scouting about 300 feet below the surface two days
ago, found a rectangular area measuring about 12 feet by 45 feet on
which there appeared to be a collapsed wood and clay structure.

"Artifacts at the site are clearly well preserved, with carved wooden
beams, wooden branches and stone tools collapsed amongst the mud matrix
of the structure," Dr. Ballard said.

The expedition, sponsored by the National Geographic Society and
others, is part of a project to survey the coastal waters of northern
Turkey for signs of human settlement around the time of a great flood.
Some scholars believe that such a flood inspired the biblical story of
Noah; it may also be the source of the flood tale in the Babylonian
story of Gilgamesh.

Using sonar equipment, the expedition has mapped large areas of the
coastline and found hundreds of potential targets to examine more
closely with the underwater robots operated from the research ship
Northern Horizon.

In a telephone interview from the ship, Dr. Ballard said the site near
Sinop could be the first of many in the area that could answer
questions about the habits and lifestyles of a little-known ancient
culture suddenly uprooted and forced to flee by flooding water.

"Now that we know what these sites look like on sonar, now that we
recognize their signatures, we're regrouping to continue the search,"
he said, noting that the target area was about 200 square miles of what
would have been livable terrain before the flood. Researchers have
already identified a second site seven miles away. Pieces of ceramics
suggest that it, too, may have been an inhabited area, he said.

Dr. Fredrik T. Hiebert of the University of Pennsylvania, chief
archaeologist on the project, also was enthusiastic about the find,
occurring two weeks into the five-week mission. "This is a discovery of
world importance," Dr. Hiebert said from the ship. "We have the first
site with direct evidence of human occupation on the old coast.

"Now we can say there were people living around the Black Sea when it
was a freshwater lake before it was flooded."

Dr. Hiebert said the underwater structure closely resembled the
wood-and-clay "wattle and daub" buildings still common in the area.
"This style is distinctively Black Sea," he said.

"This discovery will begin to rewrite the history of cultures in this
key area between Europe, Asia and the ancient Middle East," he said.

Dr. Ballard said earlier studies of seashells from the area helped to
date the underwater coastline. Shells from an extinct type of
freshwater creature are all 7,000 years old or older, and shells from
saltwater shellfish date from 6,500 years ago.

"We know that there was a sudden and dramatic change from a freshwater
lake to a saltwater sea 7,000 years ago," he said, "And we know that as
a result of that flood a vast amount of land went underwater."

Dr. William B. F. Ryan and Dr. Walter C. Pitman 3rd, two geologists at
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., a branch of
Columbia University, speculated in their 1997 book, "Noah's Flood"
(Simon & Schuster), that melting European glaciers at the end of an ice
age unleashed a great flood that changed a small freshwater lake into
the saltwater Black Sea.

According to the book, melting glaciers raised the level of the
Mediterranean, causing water to break through the narrow Bosporus and
rapidly flood the lake. Water poured in so rapidly, the Columbia
researchers said, that it would have widened the surface of the lake by
as much as a mile a day, submerging the original shoreline and causing
any population to flee.

Dr. Ryan said in an interview that he was thrilled to hear of Dr.
Ballard's discovery and was surprised that evidence of human habitation
on the old shore had been found so quickly.

Dr. Ryan likened the discovery to finding Pompeii, the ancient city
buried by Mount Vesuvius. "Peel away the ash of Vesuvius and you see
life on the day of the eruption," he said. "Here you have Neolithic
life on the day of the flood."

Dr. Ballard said that no artifacts had been removed from the first site
and that it would not be disturbed until it was thoroughly mapped. The
first priority, he said, is finding and mapping more sites.

"We're just beginning our work and understanding what we have here," he
said. "At some point, after we fulfill all the requirements of mapping
the site, we hope to recover some artifacts to learn what kind of
people lived here."

Dr. Jerome L. Hall, president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology
at Texas A&M University, praised Dr. Ballard's work.

"According to the scientific method, you formulate a hypothesis, in
this case the flood spillage theory for the Black Sea, and then you
test it," Dr. Hall said. "One test is finding remnants of a
civilization that was affected and looking for evidence to support the
flood theory. This is how you do good science."

Copyright 2000, The New York Times



From Steve Zoraster <>

Dr. Peiser:

David Keys' theory that the global catastrophe around 534-535 AD was
caused by a super-eruption that physically separated Sumatra and Java
into separate islands lacks an important piece of supporting evidence.
Such a massive eruption must have caused tidal waves reaching far west
into the Indian Ocean, north into the South China Sea, and south
towards the western shore of Australia. Both to the west and to the
north were literate societies which could have made records of such an
event. In any case, shouldn't there be geological evidence, if not in
India, western Australia, or along the coasts of Cambodia and Malaya,
at least on islands of the Indonesian archipelago?

Steven Zoraster


From Michael Paine <>

Dear Benny,

Re: some response to my comments about the possible 540AD event.

I wasn't intending to suggest that a NEO impact caused the climate
disruption and hope I didn't give the wrong idea about Mike Baille's
work. All I was trying to show was that NEO-related events (impacts,
comet dust, etc) that could cause 'years without summer' are likely to
occur on timescales of 10,000 to 20,000 years and so should be
considered, along with major volcanic eruptions, as possible causes of
such climate hiccups. We are still battling the giggle factor here.

Michael Paine


From Ed Grondine" <>

Hello Benny -

Ron Baalke mentions in his note that he would like to see physical
evidence of the Bald Mountains impactor. So would I.

Since to my knowledge no gross fragments have been found in the area,
what that would take is sinking 3 test pits, about 1 meter x 1 meter,
down to the depth of about a meter, with soil samples bagged in 10
centimeter increments. Each soil sample would then have to be gone
through grain by grain to look for Tunguska type spherules left from an
airblast. My guess is that another way might be to first look for trace
elements, but further I'll leave to those who work with Tunguska

Besides taking a sample on the Balds themselves, one would have to take
a sample dead in the center of the Pisgah homeland, and yet another
coming say at the place the Cherokee called "Where they fell". (As he
seems irritated with myth evidence, I won't bore Ron with the details
of the myth that accompanies this place name.  After all, it's just
more of the same.)

That's one hell of an expenditure, and no matter how much he wants to
see the evidence, I doubt if Ron wants to pick it up out of his own
pocket. Neither do I.  As far as government expenditure goes, given the
mythological nature of the initial evidence, there'd be a better rate
of return taking samples from either the center of the Great Raft or
from the St. Lawrence impact.



From the BBC News Online, 12 September 2000

Humans 'face extinction'

By BBC News Online's Helen Briggs

Humans, like other large mammals, are showing signs of imminent (sic!)
extinction, claims a UK palaeontologist.

Large animals are dying out at a much higher rate than models predict,
said Professor Michael Boulter.

He told the British Association's Festival of Science in London that he
believed the human race would "soon" follow.

The theory comes from a mathematical (sic!) model developed by
Professor Boulter's research team at the University of East London.

They have used data from the fossil record to chart the evolution and
extinction of all animals and plants that have died out during the
course of the planet's history.

Planet peril

Large mammals are becoming extinct at a very much higher rate than the
curve predicts even before humans started making their mark on the
planet by burning fossil fuels, said Professor Boulter.

"My theory is that the Earth and life on it needs (sic!), from time to
time, culls," he told the BBC. "The last and best known cull was of the
dinosaurs 65 million years ago. I reckon from the evidence that we have
that there is reason to believe that we humans are interfering with the
environment so much that we are making ourselves extinct." [It's
actually quite the opposite, Professor Boulter. We haven't manipulated
our nature enough yet to saveguard human survival, BJP].

Professor Boulter won't be drawn on precisely when he thinks the human
race might die out. He will only say "soon", which, in geological
terms, could mean millions of years.

"The good news (sic!) is that life on Earth will continue peacefully
and happily without large mammals," added Professor Boulter. "Of
course, it's poor news for us."

Copyright 2000, BBC

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