John Anthony West: The end of the fairy tale

September 29, 2010

The first college-level history course I took, in the summer of 1966, I nearly failed, because everything within me kept saying, “this isn’t true!” It was a course on ancient history, and if I could remember what we were being taught then as facts, you wouldn’t believe. I don’t know how I knew it was all a fairy tale, but I did. That didn’t make it any easier to absorb and regurgitate.

Today, nearly 45 years later, little of that official fairy tale remains. Little, but not none. It is still tabu to mention Atlantis, or to cite mythology as possibly indicating ancient memories.

John Anthony West, maverick Egyptologist, is the honorable exception who redeems the field  of scholarship — with the predictable result that the scholars in his field make every effort to ignore the facts he continually puts in their faces. The following is from a group email he sent out today, Sept. 29, 2010.

Coming Soon (we hope) to a Theater Near You

The long-awaited sequel to our 1993 ground-breaking, Emmy Award-winning NBC documentary MYSTERY OF THE SPHINX.

If all goes well, SON OF MYSTERY OF THE SPHINX (working title) will begin filming in the near future

Robert Schoch, his wife Katie, and I have recently returned from a trip to Turkey to investigate the archeological site at Goebekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey not far from the Syrian border.

For those who’ve not heard of it, Goebekli Tepe is a complex and profoundly mysterious site, incorporating several stages of activity. First discovered in the late 1990’s and steadily under excavation since then, it is meticulously supervised by the German archeologist, Dr. Klaus Schmidt.

The earliest, and most impressive stage features a number of closely adjacent megalithic stone circles, rather like small Stonehenges.  These are made up of elegantly dressed stone pillars, the biggest weighing between 10-15 tons, many decorated with amazing low and in a few cases high, reliefs  — (mainly) animals, birds and insects but also so-far-undecipherable symbols.

To date, only 5% of the site has been excavated.  Ground penetrating radar reveals at least 22 more structures still buried. Dr. Schmidt and his team have used several recognized dating methods – all returning similar data – to determine Goebekli’s Tepi’s age.

If the date were something standard for megalithic structures (say ca. 2,000 BCE), it would rank among the more significant archeological discoveries of modern times.  But since the date for the earliest stage of construction is ca. 10,000 BCE, it must be called one of the most significant archeological discoveries of all time.

It is, in a word (well, two words) a paradigm-buster.

Gone forever is the standard scholarly account: that prior to the rise of the great civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Far East, (ca. 3,500 BCE), settled human society consisted mostly (with a few arguable exceptions such as Jericho and Catal Huyuk, which rate as cities and are dated to 7,000 BCE or thereabouts) of relatively primitive sparsely populated little Neolithic villages dotted around.  Before that, according to the accepted scenario, human beings were but hunter-gatherers absolutely incapable of sophisticated stone construction, or, indeed, any stone construction.

That mistaken academic assumption now takes its place alongside Ptolemaic geocentric astronomy and the flat earth theory in that huge scholarly/scientific encyclopedia devoted to smugly promulgated and passionately defended wrong ideas.

(Note:  It’s worth reminding readers here that prior to the discovery and dating of Goebekli Tepe there were ancient accounts galore referring back to extremely ancient advanced civilizations, and plenty of powerful contemporary direct and indirect evidence to support that contention … but because most of it was not generated from within the archeological establishment, establishment quackademics had no qualms whatever about dismissing both evidence and ancient accounts out of hand. If they are now subjected to  the same kind of contempt, derision and ridicule they have been dishing out for a couple of centuries they will have little cause for complaint!)

The dating of Geobekli Tepe, however, comes from within, and, astonishingly, it is not being challenged by archeologists … though the momentous implications of that dating are rarely if ever emphasized in the literature to date.

What that dating means is that practitioners of entire disciplines will now be obliged to do something most archeologists, Egyptologists and other “ists” and “ologists” devoted to the study of the past have never done in their entire lives: change their minds.

Everything (well, almost everything) now has to be re-thought from scratch.

What does not have to be re-thought at all is the theory that Great Sphinx of Giza has been weathered by water, and is thousands of years older than dynastic Egypt.

Thus, for us, Goebekli Tepe is the smoking gun we have been looking for, for two decades.  Actually, we already had an impressive mini-arsenal of smoking gun evidence painstakingly assembled piece by piece over the years. The collection was presented publicly at our second presentation to the Geological Society of America’s Annual Meeting  (September, 2000) and enthusiastically received by an packed auditorium of geologists.

But our real targets, the Egyptologists, sequestered away in their ivory towers, declined all invitations to open battle.  Thus, our smoking guns, though lethal at close range, amounted to scientific small arms, incapable of penetrating the archaic ramparts of Quackademic Egyptology and visually insufficiently exciting to generate our long-planned documentary sequel.

Goebekli Tepe, on the other hand, is both a scholarly howitzer and visually spectacular. The Establishment ramparts cannot hold. The fortress must fall.  Archaeology and Egyptology will never be the same again, nor will History and the accepted account of the evolution of human civilization.

Upon returning from Turkey, Chronogram, our extraordinary local Hudson Valley publication on the arts, culture and challenging ideas, Jason Stern, Chronogram’s founder and  publisher, interviewed me about the trip and printed it in the July issue as The Sacred Science of the Ancients, A Conversation With John Anthony West (Surf around the magazine while you’re at it.  It’s an impressive production.

The interview goes into some detail and spells out the implications of this unique discovery. To save myself the considerable trouble of re-writing it all for this update, here is the link to it.  Missing from the interview, however, due to restrictions of space, are the many pics establishing the argument at least as convincingly as words can do.  Click here for a selection … and you also might also want to google up Goebekli Tepe to read some of the essays and technical literature it’s already generated.

Here’s a snippet from Chronogram editor, Brian K. Mahoney’s Editor’s Note:

The old ways—the very old ways—are what maverick Egyptologist John Anthony West has been investigating for the past 40 years. Recently, West traveled to an archeological dig in Turkey, Goebekli Tepe, to research his contention that civilization, as we understand it, is much older than the societies that developed in Egypt and China around 3,000 BCE. Looking backward, West sees societies that valued the development of the soul, something he believes sorely lacking on the contemporary scene, a condition he refers to as “shiny barbarism.” “We have a job to do,” West tells Jason Stern, “and that involves us acquiring a level of consciousness we’re not born with.” (“The Sacred Science of the Ancients,” page 30.)

So, at long last, we have action.

We have enough money pledged for the initial filming and once we have permissions secured, we’re off!

FYI   We also do not see this sequel as a stand-alone production, but rather as the foundation for a series that will explore the deeper aspects of Egypt and other ancient civilizations in a way that will never by broached by the Discovery Channel or by the National Pornographic Society. (See my website for a long discussion and analysis of NatPorn and related issues. Rereading this after six years or so, I marvel that I ever found the time to write it!  But it’s still fun…IMO) To the best of our knowledge, apart from The Orion Mystery and a few other exceptions, there has never been a serious and informative made-for-TV program or series on the many mysteries of the pyramids, or of ancient civilizations in general .… We aim to provide that.

Those among you who have been following the twists and turns of the controversy over the years may now be wondering what ever happened to our much publicized plan to bring a panel of geologists together (some supporting our theory or at least open to it and an equal number who oppose it) to travel to Egypt to study and debate the matter at length on site to settle the question of water weathering once and for all.

For a variety of logistical/political reasons too complex to describe here, we’ve never managed to put this together. It has not, however, been abandoned. Rather, we now believe that, once the Goebekli Tepe supporting evidence has been committed to film and widely disseminated, an academic climate will have been created that guarantees the panel can go forward.  The panel will be the centerpiece for a subsequent episode in our series.


2 Responses to “John Anthony West: The end of the fairy tale”

  1. Doreen Hopwood Says:

    I’m rereading ‘Serpent in the Sly for the third time – it is just a breathtaking experience. Ironically, I have just watched BBC4’s programme ‘Ancient Civilisations’, and apart from the usual Ur of the Chaldees’ Death Pit stuff, what irked me almost beyond endurance was the presenter’s smug, supercillious point of view regarding Ancient Egypt – he ridiclued and downplayed their legacy, even calling them ‘terrible snobs who thought foreigners were ‘smelly’and that’s why they couldn’t get into the Afterlife as the Gods would smell them out, and that they had a Stone Age mentality. This from what is supposed to be a serious tv channel. It left me quite depressed, so I Googled ‘John Anthony West’ for an update, and I am pleased to say I am thrilled
    and now totally cheered up! Thank you so much!

    Kind regards,


  2. Doreen Hopwood Says:

    Please keep me up to date,


    ps I meant of course ‘Serpent in the Sky’! Sorry for the typo.

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