Everything old is new again. The past is far from over. New discoveries are being made all the time, which force us to rethink our history. Forensic archaeologists are still working out how the pyramids were built, but their theories get better all the time. Our obsession with the pyramids and Egypt involves our perception of Egypt as the first civilization. The first place where humanity was able to grow food and get fat.
However, it’s looking less and less likely Egypt was our first civilization. The San People of Southern Africa were creating rock paintings up to 100,000 years ago. While rock paintings are not uniform writing, we don’t have to wait on Egypt for that either. The Mesopotamians beat Egypt to the alphabet punch by a couple of hundred years. They were using cuneiform writing around 3400 BC and the Egyptians started using it around 3200 BC. So, why the obsession with Egypt?
We suspect the largest cause for this Egyptopmania is its ancient contacts with the Greeks. The sharing of culture with Europe began a millennia long romanticization of Egyptian culture and history. This romantic notion of Egypt has fed the public’s misperception of Egypt as the beginning of civilization, when it is really one of many important steps. This misperception is something we here at Fortean Winds hope to help clear up.
There are a number of pre-Egyptian societies to explore. Sites are still being excavated, which have drastically changed our understanding of the past. Gobekli tepe is our current obsession. This site dates all the way back to at least 12000 BC and is (believed to be) an ancient temple. Caral Supe off the coast of Peru is between 4000 and 5000 years old. This makes it older (or at least the same age) than the oldest pyramids in Egypt.
This gives us lots to look forward to in terms of the discovery of archaeological excavations. Sites like Gobekli tepe and Caral will expand our understanding of our ancient past, just as the exploration of the Mayan pyramids has done…And much like your toaster, Archaeological technology keeps improving.