Monthly Archives: April 2018

Power Places and the Kanayama Megaliths

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Megaliths as Power Places

Earth and Celestial Energies.  Humans have long held a deep relationship with Earth and its energies. Even as hunter-gatherers, early man knew places of power as sacred places. They gathered at these sites to honor and venerate life-giving energies of Earth and Sky.

People became aware of fluctuations of these terrestrial energies, and they realized that these earth cycles were related to celestial cycles, the movements of Sun, Moon, and stars in our sky. They knew how to live in harmony with these energies.

Megaliths.  Soon, humans learned that these energies could benefit the health and welfare of people and society, that these energies were associated with naturally occuring megaliths. They learned, as they settled down and began cultivating crops, how to improve their lives. At first, they utilized megaliths to mark significant places. Then they assembled them into megalithic structures, often moving huge boulders from far away, to these special sites — how we do not know. Thus, energies were enhanced. Energies could be redirected to areas where needed, for example, to their crop fields. Megalithic structures could be erected to tamp excessive earth energies such as those due to earthquakes.

As modern research technologies have advanced, and our minds have been opened to new ways of viewing early societies, we have come to better understand early man. These megalithic places served multiple purposes, the least and the last of which was to serve as cemeteries. Through more accurate dating of materials, we know that the structures were built in the 4,000 BCE time-frame, that they were later and only occasionally re-purposed as burial sites.

Purposes of megaliths.  As mentioned, megalithic sites served to mark sacred places; they were developed to manage earth and celestial energies to benefit society. And, finally, megalithic structures were designed and built and operated to serve as observatories. They could then provide accurate data for calendars and for predicting future celestial phenomena, to know when there would be significant changes in energy.

Each of these megalithic observatories investigated the celestial body pertinent to that particular site. Although these observatories were a late development, there are not so many that are known to us today. 

In summary, let’s list the purposes of megaliths and megalithic structures, in roughly chronological order.

+ Identify locations of sacred sites,

+ Hold sacred ceremonies to venerate life-giving force of Universe,

+ Control and manage energies for beneficial purposes,

+ Learn periodic fluctuations of celestial energies affecting earth energies,

+ Observe celestial phenomena in specially-built observatories to determine more exactly the timing of special energies,

+ Determine an accurate calendar of the year/years.

Kanayama Megalithic Observatory

Deep in a mountain forest on the main island of the Japanese archipelago lies a megalithic solar observatory. This site has recently come to the attention of those outside of Japan as the source of a super-accurate solar calendar. This calendar of the tropical year is based on sunlight observation and is 15 times more accurate than our modern calendar. The megaliths were shaped and assembled more than 5,000 years ago. We know, because later humans deposited ashes that have so been dated.

Japanese news media have termed this solar observatory a “power spot”. People have been coming from near and far to experience this remarkable achievement from long ago. They are amazed at the ancient people’s knowledge of astronomy, of their skill in shaping 100-ton and 200-ton blocks of stone, of moving them with precision into desired — and well-planned — configurations. These configurations enable a human observer to accurately track sunbeams and their patterns over the course of the year. at special times, special phenomena are observed. These times of observation determine the solar calendar.

This sun-tracking station is situated amidst tall trees in the mountains near a rushing river. To track the sun would have been simpler if the site were on a flat plain as in most other calendrical observatories. However, the site was cleverly chosen so that it could operate in winter as well as in summer, throughout the entire tropical year.

What’s also remarkable is that two non-specialist researchers have, in less than 20 years, decoded the purpose of this megalithic site. Actually, it is a system of three sites which cooperate to produce all the needed observations, and more. These modern researchers in fact have accomplished their own feat of reverse engineering. They have deduced, from what they themselves have observed, what the original purpose of each megalithic solar event was, and the functions of each megalithic structure.

And to top it off, they are able to explain to the large tour groups how it all works, in language that is simple and direct, uncluttered by scientific jargon. They have already published a fully-illustrated guidebook to the site and have a more technical bi-lingual book in preparation.

The Kanayama Megaliths are a living example of an ancient scientific system. To young children and adults alike it teaches basic astronomy ‘in the field’ so that everyone can experience being a sun tracker in megalithic times.

Concluding Remarks

Megaliths are found all over the globe. They are well-known in Europe, less evident in the Far East. This post was inspired by the article of Martin Gray  about megaliths of Europe. We then related it to our own research at Kanayama Megaliths.  Photo of a tour group at Kanayama Megaliths by Okunomichi.

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Two Waves of Human Migration

Human migrations map Nat GeoRecently, it has been proposed that humans that evolved in Africa migrated out in two waves instead of one. The above map from the April 2018 issue of the National Geographic magazine illustrates this with the colors of the routes. The red path is the newly proposed migration path of roughly 200,000 years ago. The blue-green path is the earlier theory for 60,000 years ago. There is no question that there was a major emigration 60,000 years ago when climate change produced a severe drought. However, recent findings require consideration of a much earlier emigration.

You can read more about it in papers such as this one by Christopher Bae. Here is a direct quote from Bae’s paper:

When my research team and I dated the flowstones – rock that forms from precipitation inside a cave – directly above and below the location of the two human teeth using an absolute dating method called uranium-series, we found that the human teeth dated to between 70,000 and 126,000 years ago; a situation clearly impossible if modern humans moved out of Africa only 60,000 years ago.

You may also be interested in the research in Asian paleoanthropology here.

 

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Jomon Cultivated Plants

 

 

Jomon Plants

As students of the Jomon period, we are curious as to the state of agriculture, the vegetables cultivated and consumed, and especially the start of rice cultivation.

Names of Plants

First we provide this list of Jomon plants and their common names in English. This information is from Table 5.1, page 110, in Mark Hudson’s book, Ruins of Identity.

awa,  foxtail millet

higanbana, cluster amaryllis

hie, barnyard millet

ine, rice

inubie, barnyard grass

katakuri, adder’s tongue lily

kibi, broomcorn millet

komugi, wheat

kuzu, arrowroot

morokoshi, sorghum

oomugi, barley

sato-imo, taro

soba, buckwheat

yama-imo, yam

Yes, there indeed was rice grown in Jomon times. In Hudson’s Table 5.2, he cites ample evidence found in published literature. The two oldest entries are pollen in Fukuoka, reported by Nakamura to be “before 3400 BP.” Two other published finds are ~ 1000 BCE, also on the island of Kyushu. There is also listed rice grain remains at the Kazahari site in Aomori (in the northeast Tohoku region) directly dated to 925 and 787 Cal BC.

Hudson concludes, “The next few years, therefore, may see significant changes in our understanding of the introduction of rice into the islands. On present [1999] evidence, however, a date of about 1000 BC is probably a reasonable estimate for the first arrival of rice in Japan.”

Cultivated Plants

Researchers have suggested that the rapid spread of wet rice agriculture was due in part to the local culture having prior experience with the technology of agriculture. They have also pointed that the sedentary nature of Jomon sites and the large populations require a knowledge and practice of agricultural techniques. The practice of wet rice farming is established during the Final Jomon period. This means that wet rice agriculture was practiced prior to the advent of the Yayoi period. From cultivated plant remains, the first plants being cultivated were cucurbits (gourds), red beans, and peas, followed by barley and dryland rice. This information comes from Yoshinobu Kotani, National Museum of Ethnology, “Evidence of Plant Cultivation in Jomon Japan: Some Implications,” Senri Ethnological Studies 9, 1981.

 

Photo credit: Satoyama Library