What Really Happened in 3100 BC - and Where Are We Headed Now?
(originally published in Dell Horoscope, July 2001)
by Bruce Scofield
There are only a few turning points (or watershed periods) in history that have had significant widespread effects. For exam-ple, we know that the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Conquest of Mexico all occurred around 1500-1520. We know a lot about these relatively recent events. Farther back, at the begin-ning of the millennium approximately 50 B.C. to 50 A.D.), we have good records that tell us much about Imperial Rome, Jesus of Nazareth, the Han Dynasty of China, and the rise and fall of the Maya city El Mirador. Pivotal events that occurred even as far back as 1500-2000 B.C. are known in some detail, many are even dated to within a few years. But earlier than 2000 B.C. chronologies become less exact, and historians and archaeologists begin to differ widely in their dating of events.
Of the few periods that stand out against the backdrop of human history, 3100 B.C. (+/- 100 years) is the most enigmatic. Few records survive to give us details about specific events that occurred at this time, but we do know that whatever happened then was of major consequence. It's possible that this period marks most important and decisive time in the entire history of civilization.
We are told by most textbooks that history began around 3000 B.C. in Mesopotamia. This is a generally accepted approximate date for the Early Dynasty period of the Sumerians, the first of several civilizations in Mesopotamia. All the traits of high civilization appeared there almost simultaneously; the wheel, metallurgy, astrology, astronomy, calendars, taxation, bookkeeping, and an organized priesthood. One very important Sumerian development, that archaeologists and historians date to the late fourth mil-lennium (close to 3100 B.C.), was the writing of texts. The Sumerians of Mesopotamia had perfected a means of recording numbers and ideaographs on clay (cuneiform tablets) about this time. Apparently, the transition from pictographs to far more abstract ideaographs did not occur slowly, it occurred quite suddenly.
After thousands of years of gradual development, Ancient Egypt as we know it came into being with the union of Upper and Lower Egypt and the start of the First Dynasty under Menes, king of Upper Egypt. This event is said to have occurred somewhere around 3100 B.C. Although some scholars believe that the unification of Egypt actually took place during the course of several generations, ancient writers point to one man, Menes, who pulled it together all at once. According to most Egyptologists, the Great Pyramid was constructed a few hundred years later, around 2500 B.C. during the Fourth Dynasty. Some writers, however, believe that the Great Pyramid was begun much earlier, closer to 3,000 B.C. When it was built, this greatest of ancient monuments was carefully aligned to certain stars, and some of these alignments suggest this earlier date. Dating by star alignments is possible because of a slow shift of the stars against the Cardinal directions (true east, west, north, and south) called the precession of the equinoxes.(1) We will hear more about precession later.
Stonehenge in England has long fascinated researchers. The earliest structures of this remarkable stone circle, the bank and ditch, the Heel Stone, and the Aubrey Stones, have been dated to around 3000 B.C. It was about a thousand years later that the familiar bluestones were added. It was also around 3100 B.C. (+/-100 years) that stone circle building and other types of megalithic structures were being built throughout Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. New Grange, the large passage-grave in Ireland, is generally dated to about 3200 B.C.
Civilization is said to have begun in China around 3000 B.C. with the emergence of the Yang-Shao culture. Although some historians disagree as to this date, radiocarbon dating of Yang-Shao pottery produces dates of 3100 B.C. +/- 100 years. Interestingly, it was also around this date that pottery made appeared along the Pacific coast in Ecuador, South America. Some archaeologists have noted that this pottery closely resembles Japanese pottery of that same period, an observation that suggests ancient ocean crossings.
One thing we can depend upon to tell us about watershed periods is the establishment of calendars. Our current calendar, for example, has its starting point based on the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, certainly an important event for Christian Europe and its colonies. Also in regard to calendar-making, we have an exact date from ancient America: August 12, 3114 B.C.
The ancient Maya were very good astronomers. They knew about the precession of the equinoxes and divided the full 26,868-year cycle into fifths. They had calculated well ahead of time that the winter solstice point would shift to the center of the Milky Way, a point very close to the Galactic Center, around 2012 A.D. In recent years we have heard much about the Mayan Calendar and its "end date" of 12/21/2012. In truth, that date is not really an ending, but it does mark the completion of a 5,125-year cycle, 1/5 of the precession cycle (the so-called Long Count) that began on August 12, 3114 B.C. (2)
Another calendar, probably also based on precession, comes out of ancient India. In this calendar each half of the precessional cycle was divided into four parts called Yugas, or ages. The first age, called the Kali Yuga, is said to have begun on February 18, 3,102 B.C., only eleven years after the start of the Mayan Long Count. While many writers disagree on the exact length of a Yuga, the starting point is generally agreed upon. It is a strange coincidence, indeed, that two ancient civilizations on opposite sides of the earth would both locate the beginnings of an age at nearly the same point in time.
If it is true that 3100 B.C. or thereabouts was a time of pro-found change and development in many parts of the world, then one would logically suspect some sort of global cause. Major alterations in climate may have been a factor. The geologic record shows that the later part of the fourth millennium (about 3500 to 3000 B.C.) was a time of active volcanism. Frequent volcanic eruptions during that time produced dust that settled in the atmosphere, cooling down temperatures worldwide. Volcanic dust affects climate unevenly. It tends to lower the temperatures at the high latitudes more than those at the tropics. Cooler temperatures to the north may have started migrations, which in turn disturbed established settlements located at lower latitudes. There were two other major waves of volcanic activity in historical times: 500 to 200 B.C. and 1500 to 1900 A.D., and both were periods of tremendous activity and change in cultures and civilizations all over the world.
Another possibility is that some 5,000 years ago the earth passed through the core of a swarm of meteors created by a collapsing comet. In this kind of scenario, showers of meteors, visible even in daylight, would strike the Earth at a specific time each year for many years in a row.(3) Such a phenomena would certainly be disturbing, especially psychologically, for humans everywhere. This alone could have stimulated unprecedented changes in consciousness and awareness. Who knows what the shamans and priests had to say about this fire in the sky. Were their explanations and solutions behind the great architectural projects, migrations, or conquests?
There are references to "fiery chariots, wheels, and explosions in the sky" that appear in some ancient texts which have been interpreted by radical historians as being either planets buzzing the earth (catastrophic collisions of worlds) or alien rockets landing and taking off (ancient astronauts). In the 1950s Immanuel Velikowsky published several original works on possible near planetary collisions that disrupted ancient civilizations. Most of his dates for these events occur well after 3000 B.C., howev-er. During the 1970s Erich Von Dankien's "Chariots of the Gods" stirred up all sorts of questions about alien visits during ancient times. The public reaction to his ideas was very strong and astronomers responded by publishing books that showed how sloppy his reasoning was. More recently, Zecharia Sitchin has written and published a series of books postulating recurring visits of aliens from a 12th planet. According to Sitchin, these distant visitors enslaved humanity, but in the process they also accelerated our evolution.(4)
These ideas, which often mesmerize the uncritical and incur the wrath of skeptics, are really not so far-out as they seem. As all three authors point out, the Old Testament of the Bible is full of very strange stuff indeed. For example, what did Ezekiel really see and who are the angels? Aside from the Bible there are other ancient writings that suggest our interpretations of an-cient history may need to be more complex than we suspect. One of the most intriguing references comes from the Egyptian historian Manetho who says "the Watchers who had descended to earth in the general cosmic year 1000, held converse with men, and taught them that the orbits of the two luminaries, being marked by the 12 signs of the Zodiac, are composed of 360 parts." The idea here is that astrology was brought to earth by intelligent beings from somewhere else.(5)
One thing that the vast majority of archaeologists either avoid or re-name in their analysis of ancient cultures is astrology. The truth is that astrology, along with calendars, appeared very early on in every major civilization. Mainstream archaeologists and historians, who are invariably uninformed-informed on the subject, generally dismiss astrology as a superstition. But what they are missing are two powerful insights into the nature of early civilizations. First, they miss the point that these early peoples did not consider themselves apart from the universe. Astrology was thus the ultimate ecological science. Second, they deny themselves a method of evaluating periods of time. Astrology is a viable method for looking at history.
So does astrology have to say about 3100 B.C.? As we have seen, the Maya astrologers thought that this time marked the beginning of the last fifth of the precession cycle, i.e. the present creation or what they call the Fifth World. From the standpoint of modern Western astrology a number of alignments near that time stand out. First, precession of the equinoxes brought the Vernal Point to the bright fixed star Aldebaran, and simultaneously Antares to the Autumnal Point, around 3060 B.C. (+/- 25 years). These two first-magnitude stars, which are exactly opposite each other, have been considered power points since ancient times. The fact that the Vernal Point and the Autumnal Point, crossed over these two stars then, suggests an influx of extraordinary stellar energy into the earth's biosphere. The Vernal and Autumnal Points, as well as the two solstices, are key astrological points that are said to act as conduits through which energy from the cosmos enters the earth system itself.
In addition to the alignment of equinoxes with the two power stars, the grand mutation of Jupiter and Saturn into the fiery element, a cycle of about 800 years, occurred around 3065 B.C. as well. Further, a clustering of planets, including the slow-moving planet Pluto, occurred near the Vernal Point in 3066 B.C. This multiple emphasis on the Vernal Point, symbolic of emergence and first beginnings, made its impact on earth in the form of accelerated social evolution - the rise of civilization as we know it. (6)
While astrology may not be able to say exactly what happened in 3100 B.C. or thereabouts, it can certainly reveal (and more precisely date) a power surge that was very unusual. Mainstream science has only recently accepted the idea called punctualism. This idea states that evolution doesn't occur gradually, it occurs in sudden spurts. Perhaps a combination of meteorological effects, bursts of creative genius in certain human personages, and even some sort of contact with beings from other worlds were all involved in a great leap forward that took place some 5100 years ago.
When is the next great leap forward? The Maya correctly predicted that the Winter Solstice Point would precess to the Milky Way early in the next century. This slow-moving alignment of Earth's solstice point and the center of the galaxy symbolizes another direct flow of energy and power towards the earth. The center of our galaxy! This happens only once every 25,686 years on average!
Also, other alignments of planets on the equinox and solstice points around the years 2009-2012 suggest that another cultural and evolutionary surge on earth is about to begin. All three outer planets, which symbolize forces beyond our ordinary lives, will enter power points in the zodiac. Pluto will pass over the winter solstice point itself at 0 degrees Capricorn. Neptune will enter its own sign Pisces, and Uranus will cross into the sign Aries. What a burst of non-ordinary energy! If the alignments back in 3100 B.C. were about the emergence of humanity, the one coming up in 2012 A.D. may be about a linkage with the galaxy. These astrological events may point to humanity's rendezvous with intelligent life forms from beyond the earth, surely a watershed event in world history.
1. The precession of the equinoxes is the movement of the Vernal Point backwards against the stars of the zodiac. The Vernal point is where the Sun is positioned on the first day of spring. Pre-cession is caused by a wobble of the earth's axis that causes the Vernal Point to pass through all 360 degrees of the zodiac during a span of 25,868 years, on average. See Santillana and Dechend, "Hamlet's Mill," Boston: Gambit Inc., 1969
(2) John Jenkins, The How and Why of the Maya End Date in 2012 AD, in "The Mountain Astrologer," Vol. 8, No. 1, Dec./Jan. 1995. Also see John's book "Maya Cosmogenesis 2012," Santa Fe, Bear & Co. 1998.
(3) The remnants of such swarms can still be seen today, though at different times of the year due to the precession of the equinoxes. See Duncan Steel, "Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Co-mets." NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1995.
(4) See Sitchen, Zecharia. "The 12th Planet." Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Co. 1976. Sitchen dates the origins of Mesopotamian civilization to about 3800 B.C.
(5) "Manetho," translated by W.G. Waddell. The Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1940. (pp. 11-13).
(6) All calculations were handled by "Solar Fire," an astrology program published by Astrolabe, PO Box 1750, Brewster, MA 02631.