Pyramids in the Pacific

'Europe, Asia and Libya {Africa} are islands washed

on all their shores by the ocean, and there is but

one continent, which is situated outside these limits.

Its expanse is immense. it produced very large animals,

and men twice as tall as those common to our climate,

and they live twice as long".


Varia Historia,

AD 200


One Day in 1931 at Glenloth, Victoria on a windswept sandhill, the remains of the shoreline of a long vanished lake about 100km south of the Murray River, John Gibbs, a 10 year old local boy was playing in the shellgrit on Ancient Aboriginal midden. In a basin of the sandhill amid broken shells, he picked up a large fragmenting, football sized lump of petrified mud. protruding from one of the fragments he found a small bronze coin. Years later a Melbourne's Museum Numismatist would identify it as Greek, and that it had been minted in Egypt during the reign of the Greek Ptolemy Philometor the 6th, in the 2ND century.

The suggestion as to how the coin turned up where it was found is, of course, that it had been left behind by ancient visitors; Greek explorers perhaps, or even Arabs, Indians and Malayans with whom the Greeks traded. Similarly, in 1961 a family picnicking on the Daly river, west of Katherine in the Northern Territory, found a Gold Scarab, on object of worship of the Ancient Egyptians. How did this valuable ornament find its way to such a remote location? One might ask the same question of a 2,000 year old carved stone head of the Ancient Chinese Goddess Shao Lin (Protectress of mariners at sea), recovered from a beachfront hillside at Milton, on the New South Wales far south coast in 1983

And the many Ancient rock inscriptions of Phoenician, Libyan, Egyptian, Celtic, Scandinavian and from other origins that have turned up across Australia. Relics, rock inscriptions and Megalithic ruins, left here by seafaring adventurers who came from civilisations now long turned to dust. The sailed in search of new lands rich in gold, silver, copper and tin, precious stones and pearls, using the worlds oceans as water highways.

It is one of the objectives of this book to demonstrate that these peoples not only discovered, and mined the mysterious "Great Southern Land" and its island neighbours, but established colonies, some of which survived for generations, and were large and important enough to establish a local ruling class.  

By the time they vanished they had influenced the cultures of the native peoples of the region, leaving behind them ghostly Megalithic ruins and temples, tombs and Pyramids, and rock scripts in a host of Ancient tongues; relics that continue to perplex conservative historians, and question the dogma that the peoples of the Ancient World lacked the ability to construct and navigate ocean going water craft. The fact is that people were putting out to sea centuries before the invention of a written language and that the water craft they sailed in were far from flimsy.

Although my book concerns the 'unknown' history of Australia's discovery and exploration, it is also to some degree a history of ancient mining activities throughout the Australian-West Pacific region. In forthcoming chapters I shall demonstrate that, at various times in antiquity, and during the Copper and Bronze ages in particular, Australia's coastline saw the sails of mineral-seeking peoples from many ancient and exotic lands.

However, anyone who finds the weathered rock inscriptions of some forgotten race thousands of kilometres from where it should be would normally expected to be found, and reports their discovery to the appropriate university professor is in for a rough ride.

Not only will they be made to feel that they are wasting the professor's time, but the inscriptions are not worth the trouble to inspect, for they would have to be Aboriginal markings that by mere chance and coincidence 'just happen to resemble writings of some ancient civilisation'. {The author has had this experience with more than one university archaeologist over the years}.

Let's put it another way; such evidence is not supposed to exist, so it mustn't. 'Chance' and coincidence are words all too often misused by conservative scholars whenever they come up against anything unexpected or unexplainable.

They will employ these terms whenever diffusionists point to cultural similarities between ancient civilisations on both sides of the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. In other words, they don't really know the answers.

Of course, there are some brilliant researchers in universities and their caution in such matters is quite understandable, but sometimes there are cultural similarities found between ancient races often seperated by thousands of kilometres that deserve a closer, open-minded study. Is it 'chance' and 'coincidence' that Egyptian methods for mummification of the dead were known to primitive Torres Strait Islanders?

Is it mere 'chance' and 'coincidence' that stepped pyramids and ziggurat-type structures similar to those in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia occur in Australia and on nearby Pacific Islands?

Yet some conservative academics will dismiss any ancient Australian pyramidal structures as 19th century grape growing terraces and if ancient middle-eastern or other rock inscriptions are found, they just do not want to know about them!

Regardless of their disinterest, relics like the "Gympie Pyramid" and central western New South Wales megalithic stone alignments and circles just will not go away. These, and many, many more mysteries of a forgotten history continue to stand, scattered across Australia and on Lonely Pacific Islands covered by jungle growth awaiting answers which conservative academics are unable to give.

Mere 'chance' and 'coincidence'? I think not!

Thor Heyerdahl proved the papyrus boat could be sailed from Egypt across the Atlantic to the Americas, which would explain certain cultural similarities in architecture, pyramid construction and mummification between the two lands. A similar voyage from the Near East into the Pacific Ocean would explain similarities between Sumerian ziggurats and others found in Australia and some Pacific Islands, including New Zealand. 'Chance' and 'coincidence', as an excuse for these archaeological enigmas is no longer valid.

Ancient Amerindian relics found on remote islands close to Australia or on the Australian east coast, cannot always be explained away as discarded purchases from antique shops or souvenirs of 19th century European sailors.

The land that waited. The "Land of Gold", the "Land of the God's", endowed in all manner of riches; of gold, silver, copper, tin and other ores so prized by the ancient civilisations of Asia, the near and middle-east had, it seems, always been known to someone. No doubt seafarers from south-east Asia were first to find our shores and word passed to the Indo-Aryans of the Indus Valley, Sumeria and in time to the Babylonians and Persians.

The tradition was already hoary with age by the time Sumerians provided the first rulers of Egypt. Celtic, and pre-Viking Scandinavian peoples, the Greeks and later Romans followed and the Indian and Pacific Oceans became watery highways, which in time became highways of commerce that provided easier and safer trade routes to and from lands hitherto accessible only by long and arduous overland expeditions.

While these historical events were transpiring there were already great cultural activity taking place on the opposite side of the Pacific; for the Amerindian civilisations were also putting to sea, their great balsa wood craft carrying large migrating groups of men and women with food and livestock across the Pacific and beyond, and those who returned to their home ports bought tales of the great lands that lay across the water beyond the western horizon.

Thus it can be seen that Australia sat between two oceans, or rather two great watery highways, by which the civilisations of the ancient world had access to Australia and its' riches. This traffic increased {as will be seen} with the onset of the Bronze Age which lasted from around 2000 BC to 1400 BC.

The establishment of mining operations in the mineral-rich coastal and inland regions of our far north led to the establishment of long-term colonisation by the various nations who came to these shores. The Phoenicians and Egyptians were followed by the Chinese.

When these people had departed they in turn would be followed by Arabs and Scandinavians whose overland trading expeditions from Sweden, Denmark and Norway via Russia and Persia to the Gulf of Oman led them to trade with coastal Arabs who in turn informed them of the lucrative trade to be had in the south-east Asian ports and also of the mysterious great south land beyond.

Ancient chronicles record Chinese voyages to Australia dating back to at least 1077 BC. There were probably earlier visits in search of minerals and other valuables but these records do not survive. BUT there maps do, as will be seen. So there can be little doubt from surviving ancient maps and classical literature that Australia, the fifth continent, was a land known to the maritime civilisations of the ancient world. According to some surviving writings of the ancients, Australia was known by many names.

It was 'Ophir' or Land of Iron to the Phoenicians; 'Sinim' or Queen of the South to the Hebrews; the southern land of 'Chui Hiao' to the Chinese; 'Culhucan' or the Great land of the Serpent to the west {among other names} to the Aztecs, and 'Uru' to the Sumerians, Maoris and Peruvians {of which more will be said later}.

Many more names await the reader as we progress through this thesis. To the Egyptians of the Middle Kingdom {during the 12th dynasty-around 2000 to 1788 BC}'Punt' the land from which their trading vessels obtained frankincense, myth and other valuables was situated near present-day Somalia.

Much later the name 'Punt' became confused and was a slang term for any generally unknown land in the Southern-Hemisphere and eventually linked with the mysterious great southern continent-Australia. They also called it 'Kenti-Amenti', the fabled "land of the Gods", the land or origin of all mankind.

Even the Bible contains a surprising number of references to the southern continent, such as in the Book of Isaiah where the prophet makes a passing mention of the people of the southern land of Sinim, "Queen of the South" which the Hebrews located far out in the Indian Ocean beyond the Oriental region. About 950 BC King Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre had dispatched a fleet manned by Phoenicians into the Red Sea with orders to seek out the legendary Ophir and its' riches.

Where the expedition penetrated is unknown. There is however a school of thought that 'Ophir' was the northwest coast of Australia and the source of the gold used in the building of King Solomon's temple.

The Persian Shah Namah, "Book of Kings" gives the name "Sveta-Dwipa" {The Sacred Land} to the vast southern continent located far across the {Indian} ocean beyond the known world. It was also known as 'Daglop', the Motherland of the World to the Tibetans, as written in their book "Bardo Thodol" and on Tibetan and Indian world maps dating back centuries.

In 600 BC Anaximander drew a world map in Myletus describing a southern continent. Theopompus of Chios in the 3rd century BC drew a similar world map and wrote that, far beyond India and the known world there lay a great island in the region where Australia is now situated.

In 239 BC Eratosthenese, the Greek scholar drew a world map as a sphere, on which he described the great southern continent of 'Ausio'. He also measured the Earth's circumference as being 28,000 miles, an error of excess of only 13 per cent. It is obvious that maritime and geographical knowledge was far more advanced in the ancient world than hitherto realised by many historians.

In 150 BC Crates of Mallos constructed an enormous world globe 3.3 metres in diameter in the ancient kingdom of Pergamum, near the Taurus Mountains in Asia Minor. This geographer taught that the earth was a sphere and needed balancing landmasses to keep it in equilibrium.

He therefore envisaged four continents divided by two great oceans, one with a north-south axis the other with an east-west axis, intersecting west of the Mediterranean. Asia/Europe/Africa he described as a single continent, 'Oecumene'. Seperated by his east-west ocean he described 'Perioeci' known as North America. Below this, in the vicinity of Panama and to the south of it he placed 'Antipodes', known today as South America.

Far below these land masses in the region now occupied by Australia he placed 'Antoeci'. To the Greeks of Homers time {800 BC} the great southern continent was known as 'Ausio', the great south land of milk and honey.

It was also identified with the fabled land of 'Colchis' wherein was to be found the 'Golden Fleece', symbolic of all the wealth of the world; for the great southern continent had, since dim antiquity, been known to all the ancient maritime nations as being rich in gold, copper and all other valuable minerals and precious stones.

Also, in 280 BC the Greek writer Euhemerus claimed in a novel of travel, "The Sacred Inscription" to have visited the island of 'Panchaia' in the Indian Ocean in the region now occupied by Australia. In "The life of Apollonius of Tyana" by Flavius Philostatus of Athens {175-249 AD}, there is a revealing passage which points to world geographical knowledge in antiquity.

"If the land be considered in relation to the entire mass of water, we can show that the earth is the lesser of the two".

Unless the ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and others had not crossed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, how else could Philostratus have known that the oceans cover the greater part of the earth's surface.

Plato {427-347 BC} must have been cognisant of the great size of our planet, an also of continents beyond his own part of the world when he said in "Phaedo" that the people of the Mediterranean occupied only a small portion of the earth. "Besides the world we inhabit there may be one or more other worlds peopled by beings different from ourselves", wrote Strabo {1st century BC}. He even claimed that if the parallel of Athens were extended westward across the Atlantic Ocean, these other races might live in the temperate zone.

Obviously he was referring to America.

Without any doubt, the ancients were far more advanced in their thinking than those Europeans of the Dark Ages, for they believed in a round earth. In Columbus' time nearly everyone believed the earth to be flat and that to sail too far out to sea would result in falling off the edge of the world into limbo!

The Arabs and Chinese of this period however, were far more advanced in their geographical knowledge than their European contemporaries. Herodotus {born about 490 BC} tells us in "The Histories" that Aristagoras, the ruler of Miletus {500 BC} possessed a bronze tablet upon which lands and seas were engraved.

Pyheas of Marseilles, geographer and astronomer {330 BC} sailed as far as the arctic circle in the Atlantic Ocean and provided a scientific explanation of the midnight sun. Seneca {1st century BC} could have been thinking of the mysterious southern continent or America when he wrote his famous verse in the 'Medea'.

"There will come a time after many years when the Ocean will loose the chains that fetter things, and the great world will lie revealed, and a new mariner, like unto him who was Jason's pilot, Tiphys, will reveal a new world, and then Thule will not be the most extreme of all lands".

In the 5th century BC Plato wrote in "Timaeus" about the Atlantic Ocean and all lands beyond America.

"In those days the Atlantic was navigable from an island situated to the west of the straits which you call the Pillars of Hercules; from it could be reached other islands and from the islands you might pass through the opposite continent which surrounds the true ocean."

Plato obviously alludes to the Pacific Islands beyond the American continent, and Asia/Europe/Africa beyond. Thus, the ancient Greeks were familiar with the Australian region. I appear to be primarily quoting ancient Greek sources, but only because so many of their writings have come down to us from antiquity. It is certain that even they had borrowed the knowledge of far earlier civilisations concerning world geography.

At this time the Chinese were not only making extensive world voyages but preparing maps of the lands they visited, and apparently returning home with animal curiosities, as we shall see further on in this book. Fragments of records tell of Greek voyages to the mysterious southern continent.

For example; About 300 BC Iambulus {as told by Diodorus Siculus} a Greek, set sail from Somaililand for the 'happy land of the south' said to lie across the {Indian}Ocean. On his return he described how he reached a land which could have been the Australian west coast. Besides seeing marsupials, he described meeting the human inhabitants.

They were, he said, two faced, spoke with forked tongues and could carry on two conversations at once-obviously Australian Politicians! Then there was Eudoxus of Cyzicus about 146 BC who fitted out a large ship with supplies, artisans, physicians and dancing girls {!} on a voyage from the Red Sea to India.

He said he sailed off course and described reaching a land which could have been the west Australian coast. A Roman map of India dating from around 70 Ad describes islands below India which could represent Ceylon {Sri Lanka}, Sumatra, Java and other identifiable lands, any one could be Australia, and below these stretches the crude outline of Antarctica.

Another crude map, drawn by the Roman geographer Pomponius Mela in 40 AD describes a southern continent which he called 'Antipodes'. A manuscript fragment by an unknown Roman writer of the same period describes animals with pouches in which their young were carried.

The Roman map makers were well aware of the southern continent, no doubt through the assistance of Greek geographers and other, possibly much earlier sources. The periplus Maris Erythraei of 40 AD drawn by an anonymous Greek sea captain was a map showing where the Greeks had been and how to sail there. The map described their voyages to Sumatra but they must already have been aware of other lands beyond and also Australia.

An ancient Greek legend of earlier times spoke of the 'Sacred Golden Mistletoe". This Mistletoe is not native to Europe and is only found in Australia. Lucian of Samosata {120 to 180 AD} wrote of a distant land where thee savage inhabitants carried their young in pouches. The two regions were marsupials are found are Australia and its neighbouring islands, and South America.

The first marsupial known in Europe was brought there in 1500 by the Spaniard Vincente Yanes Pinzon. It was the story of the 'monsterous beast' of Pinzon's and of trees "so large that it took six men with outstretched arms to span one", that led some early Australian historians to the conclusion that Pinzon, and Amerigo Vespucci {who accompanied him} had visited the southwestern corner of Australia, near the Leeuwin River.

Thier 'monsterous beast' was a kangaroo, and the trees the big Jarras or karri gums of this region. However, Lucian came from Samosata, on the Euphrates; the Euphrates leads into the Persian Gulf from which vessels sailed for India and beyond before Lucian's time.

It seems likely that some story of marsupials may, second or third hand, have reached the Gulf Ports in the days of Lucian. Lucian also speaks of a 'sea of milk'. This phenomenon is also mentioned by later chroniclers as a well-known occurrence in the Sea of Celebes. Arabs, Malays, Javanese and Chinese were aware of Australia's existence centuries before European arrival.

The Chinese claims are far too extensive to relate here, but some of the Arab claims deserve attention. The Arab writer, Schems-ed-din-Mohammed, Caliph of Damascus {1256-1327} wrote of an inhabited land beyond Madagascar, across the {Indian} ocean where Australia is situated.

The Arab geographer, Albulfeda {1273-1331} wrote of an Arab expedition having circumnavigated the earth which took place some time around 1300, and event that anticipated the feat of Magellan by two centuries. He also wrote that, if two persons set out from the same point and travelled around the earth in exactly opposite directions, they would come back to this same point but their calendar would differ by two days.

An Arab write does speak of an animal with a pouch but confuses it with a rhinoceros. Did he have a second or third hand account of a Wombat?

A 13th century account states that the sultan of Egypt called to his aid the Admiral of the Dry Tree, a mystical land of the {eastern} border of the Persian empire {mentioned by Marco Polo}, in whose land the only currencies were giant millstones. Did the Persian Empire ever extend into the Pacific Islands?

For the only region of which this is true or has ever been true as far as we are aware, is the Caroline Islands with their stone money. In 1332 Brochard, a German Dominican, presented to the Pope and to Philip of France a memoir in which he speaks of a voyage to the Indian Ocean in which he reached 24.S. but that merchants and men of good faith{ presumably Arabs} had been down to 54.S.

These are Australian waters where they would have found land. The Arabs established trade routes on land and sea. Arab sailors made the journey round the Indian Ocean many times and learnt the patterns of tides and currents, and the seasonal pattern also of the monsoons. This knowledge of the ancients was suppressed and a flat earth was now official church dogma. Map making degenerated.

One example is the "Mappa Mundi" of Richard de Haldingham of Lincoln in 1280; in which the world is conceived as a flat disc surrounded by ocean, its central waterway the Mediterranean and its precise centre at Jerusalem.

To the north is a compressed British Isles, while the southern regions include a distorted Africa, near-east, mainland Asia and Indonesia, Australia and America are unknown! Yet despite these outward appearances, the Dark Ages were not entirely 'Dark', for ancient knowledge of the existance of a great southern continent lingered on. As will be demonstrated in later chapters, many European travellers and explorers did in fact sail in search of it. Scandinavians led the way.

Old World knowledge may have been in decline or suppressed; but across the Atlantic, that of the as yet unknown {at least to Mediaeval Europeans}Amerindian civilisations in many ways far surpassed that of the Europeans, in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, geography and navigation.

Far from confining themselves to coastal fishing voyages, the seafaring peoples of the Inca and Mayan civilisations undertook voyages of exploration far out into the Pacific to lands beyond. They carried with them the stone-building techniques developed by their forefathers, leaving ghostly monuments in their wake. Heads of stone resembling those of the Olmecs occur across the Pacific into New Guinea waters.

Peruvian cave and rock art has been found on the Australian east coast. Both Inca and Mayan peoples must have reached the Australian region otherwise, how else are we to explain the presence of Myan racial features found among the Gilbert Islanders and Mayan-style step pyramids on lonely Pacific islands?

Also, Peruvian racial features have been claimed to exist among some Arnhem Land Aboriginal tribes and Maori people of New Zealand. Last century American archaeologist and historical researcher, Augustus Le Plongeon MD argued that the Maya were skilled mariners who divided the earth into five major continents and measured the distance between them.

They knew how to calculate the division of time into solar years of 365 days and 6 hours; that of the year into 12 months of 30 days, to which they added 5 supplementary days that were left without name and regarded as unimportant. Any ancient people possessing a higher civilisation of such attainments would surely also have been highly skilled in the maritime arts.

As the Dark Ages vanished, crusades to the Holy land and pilmigrages to Jerusalem gave way to the search for the Spice Islands. America and the mysterious southern continent. As the new dawn of exploration opened, two seafaring nations vied for the domination of the Pacific-Portugal and Spain-and a series of historical events were set in motion that culminated in the arrival of James Cook at Botany Bay in 1770, and the establishment of British settlement.

The British colonisation of Australia was but the last of many preceding contacts stretching back to Bronze Age times. Ages-old stories of the mystic 'Land of Gold' had bought the latter-day Europeans to our shores, and although their motives may not always {as in the case of Portugal and Spain} have been with some pios mission in mind, their arrival was nevertheless inevitable.

We have seen that the ancients regarded the mysterious southern continent with awe, as an earthly paradise overflowing in all manner of wealth; yet even in the days of Homer, the southern hemisphere became synonymous to some with death and the afterworld and some bronze Age Greeks associated the southern continent with the Elysium fields where the souls of the dead resided.

This confusion of an earthly paradise with the after-world {or underworld} of the dead would persist into Mediaeval European times, but these thoughts do not appear to have plagued the minds of the average Bronze Age mineral-seeking explorer, who knew that the lands beyond the Erythraean Sea {Indian Ocean} were rich beyond imagination.

Thus, in the wake of the extensive cross-ocean mineral-seeking and trade expeditions that increased worldwide as the Copper and then the Bronze Age wore on and, with seafarers from as far as afield as India, Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Mediterranean lands competing with one another in countless voyages that were crisscrossing the Indian Ocean, it is most unlikely that Australia could not have been discovered by any number of hardy mariners from many distant lands.

Perhaps too, even they were merely 'rediscovering' the mysterious great south land, for its existence had, it seems, always been preserved in the 'lost paradise' creation mythology of many nations over a vast area of the Euro-Asian continent.

It was not only the 'motherland' of Man, but also a continent possessing vast; limitless quantities of all manner of mineral wealth, precious stones and pearls; the "Land of the Gods" of the Egyptians and the lost paradise of the Uru of the Sumerians. This author has no doubts that the Atlantis myth of Plato had its beginnings in a stone-age megalithic civilisation whose origins are shrouded in the dawn mists of Australia's 'unknown' history'.

Its ghostly stone monuments stand weathered in the harsh Australian sun, scattered across the continent, like thousands of perennial smiling Sphinxes, each possessing a great secret. This 'Land of the Gods' seemed destined to be the source of great quantities of precious metals for Bronze Age civilisations. Nations grew great through mining and trade in the Bronze Age and all employed the watery highways of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans in their trading endeavours and in the search for new lands rich in minerals.

There was a worldwide unity of race through trade.

"And the whole earth was of one language".

Genesis 11,1.

Homer {about 800 BC}

could write in "The Lliad": IV, 201; XIV, 302;

"Ocean, from whom the gods are sprung".

For powerful maritime nations were as gods in their command of the oceans and the great wealth this brought them. The advance of ancient technology came about because of the discovery of metallurgy. It led to better tools and weapons and with it better and larger seagoing vessels. Greek mythology also speaks of the four metallic ages of mankind.The first was the age of Gold, then an age of Silver, followed by one of Bronze and lastly one of Iron.

Here preserved in myth is the history of metallurgy beginning with soft metals and progressing finally to hard iron. Metallurgy and mining, of course, did not begin with the discovery of smelting in the Copper Age. It can be traced back into stone-age times.

Radiocarbon 14 dating tests by Yale radiocarbon laboratory in America and the Groningen laboratory in Holland in the 1960's, upon charcoal deposits excavated at an ancient ochre mine in South Africa, revealed a date of around 20,330 BP {before present} and 41,250 BP respectively. The oldest date has recently been established at 60,000 years for a cave art site in Arnhem Land, Australia.

It is an interesting fact that mining for red ochre was a worldwide activity among stone-age societies, as was its use in body decoration and rituals associated with death. It was either buried with corpses in small lumps or even in large quantities from Australia up through southeastern and mainland Asia, from where the practice spread to the Americas in one direction and across into Europe and down into Africa in the other.

Many cultural diffusionists argue that the mining of red ochre continued on until around 6000 BC when Man discovered how to heat and smelt metals at the dawn of the Copper Age. Metal working never developed in stone-age Australian Aboriginal society; the inhabitants continuing to mine red and other ochre pigments until European settlements.

The cosmetic use of ochres for body decoration as well as for artifacts and cave art required great quantities, which were traded over vast distances across Australia. One important red ochre mine situated at Parachilna in the Flinders ranges of South Australia attracted large tribal expeditions from as far afield as western Queensland. Another ochre mine located at Wilgie Mia, Western Australia was worked by large groups of Aborigines who traded the substance as far away as central Queensland.

An ochre mine with stratified seams of red, orange, yellow and white pigments was found by this author at Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney in 1965. Situated in a series of lengthy adjoining windblown rock shelters along a cliff base, it had been mined over a period of some 6,000 years. Often narrow holes were dug in such mining operations, some extending far into cliff sides following ochre seams. Like other stone-age people worldwide the Australian Aborigines also mined stone for tools.

In the Blue Mountains in a chert mine, consisting of a thick seam of grey and black banded chert on a cliff above Beauchamp Falls near Blackheath, that was worked up to several thousand years ago; the lumps of chert recovered were either smashed and manufactured into implements on the site, or else they were removed for trading across great distances.

Tribes of the Murray river on the Victoria, New South Wales border manufactured stone axes from local basalt deposits, which they traded with tribal groups from further north, centuries before European settlement. Many of these tools have been found widely scattered over hundreds of kilometres in the central western district of New South Wales. As the stone axe technology of the Australian Aborigines improved, so did thier ability to carve better dugout canoes.

Similarly, by 10,000 BC the development of better stone axes saw improvements in the water craft of the peoples of Mesopotamia and North Africa in both canoes and larger sail-carrying vessels.

This made for easier coastal and river trade, which gradually extended to longer voyages and shortened hitherto lengthy overland trade journeys; so that by Bronze Age times middle-east water craft were sailing on a more direct course to India via a cross-ocean route from the Red Sea coast.

The growth of trade made record keeping necessary and led to the development of writing with the aid of an alphabet, which evolved with the approaching end of the Bronze Age towards the close of the 2nd millennium BC. An alphabet was developed in Phoenician Ugarit around the 15th century BC, although city states in Sumeria created their own which became more uniform with the development of the scripts of the early and Late Phoenician peoples.

When Xenophanos of Colophon {about 430-354 BC} wrote:

"Truly the gods have not from the beginning revealed all things to mortals, but by long seeking mortals make progress in discovering",

He could have easily have been referring to the great strides by then made in ship-building and navigation. Astronomical knowledge aided mariners, and like mining this too had along history traceable back to the old megalithic people of Europe and elsewhere. The spread of megalithic 'Stonehenge' and 'Carnac' type structures across the earth is another point of contention among cultural diffusionists and conservative archaeologists alike.

From where and when this culture spread is still one of the greatest mysteries of antiquity, as is the identidy of the people responsible for it. Current archaeological opinion holds that the megalithic culture arose in western Asia around 5000 BC and spread into Europe where it died out about 1500 BC.

But what of the other structures that extend down through island south-east Asia into Melanesia and New Zealand, dating further back in time until the oldest are found in Australia? At first the builders of these often monolithic structures may have erected them as part of a 'star cult', the stones being aligned to plot the movements of various stars and planets, out of primitive fascination with the heavens.

Then later, when seasonal movements were detected in the constellations, the stones assumed an agricultural importance in the timing of the planting and harvesting of crops as well as becoming an aid to mariners. Megalithic structures cover the Australian landmass, frequently engraved with examples of thee earliest form of a written script.

This Australian 'lost' megalithic civilisation, the earliest known to Man, is of immense age; crated by a mystery race who had in the course of thousands of years developed a highly-advanced stone-age technology. We shall shortly study this 'Australian Atlantis' and the evidence for its spread via water craft into lands beyond Australia.

In 1970, on the basis of a crude ironstone idol resembling the ancient Egyptian god Thoth in Ape form {god of writing and knowledge} which had been ploughed up by a farmer outside Gympie, north of Brisbane in south-east Queensland, I theorised that, thee district being rich in copper, tin and gold, could have been the site of a Bronze Age mining colony established by Middle-east explorers.

I was already aware that a number of of ancient Mediterranean pottery had been dug up thereabouts. Finally, in 1975 together with my wife and fellow researcher Heather, I made a search of the Gympie district during which I stumbled upon the now famous 'Gympie Pyramid'; a crumbling 60m tall, 18 terraced stone structure, reminiscent of steeped pyramids constructed in Egypt up to 5,000 years ago.

My discovery caused an uproar in Australian archaeological circles. Learned academics cried 'nonsense', and without bothering to inspect it, labeled the structure an example of '19th century grape-growing terraces'.

The Gympie evidence will speak for itself later. As a thesis on history this book is unconventional and approaches its subjects in what some authorities will consider to be a daring and unorthodox way. But then, no great theory has ever been 'orthodox' and world history is filled with the names of men and women whose discoveries challenged long established teachings.

It is impossible to accept thee old indoctrinated historical view, that Australia just sat in limbo of uncharted seas waiting for European explorers in the 17th century to 'discover' our shores. In the light of growing acceptance that Columbus was preceded by Vikings, Chinese, middle-eastern and other ancient seafaring peoples, who should the evidence for pre-Dutch Australian contact be treated any differently?

I hope therefore, that my readers will see the contents of this book as I do; namely as a vast panorama of fascinating and exciting events to rival, if not surpass, the pre-Columbian discovery of America. However, if we are to consider who were our first discoverers, we must also give recognition to our earlier stone-age inhabitiants who, besides our Aboriginal people, include a number of other races that preceded them on this continent.

URU Publications-PO BOX 202 Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia