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on 12 January 2013
Readers familiar with Robert Schoch will remember him as the geologist who, over 20 years ago, first recognised that the Sphinx at Giza was eroded not from wind but from water. Because Egypt has not had enough rain to cause such erosion since about 5,000 BCE, Schoch's finding dated the construction of the oldest portions of the Sphinx body to at least 7,000 to 9,000 years ago - much older than the 4,500 years ago Egyptologists maintain.

Dr. Schoch, currently on the faculty of Boston University, has written a number of books, both technical and popular. He describes Forgotten Civilization, his latest offering, as dealing with "the astronomical cause of the demise of antediluvian civilisations, as well as the scientific and archaeological evidence that supports [these] conclusions."

A clue to such evidence was first discovered by both Schoch and his wife, Catherine (Katie) Ulissey, after a trip to Easter Island in late 2009. Not only is that island home to the gigantic stone heads and torsos with which we are familiar, it is the source of the strange and undeciphered glyphs known as rongorongo script. While heretofore thought to be some forgotten language, it was Katie who first suggested to her husband that there was a possible connection between the rongorongo shapes and the plasma forms produced by coronal mass ejections from our Sun.

One evening, while still meditating on the enigmas they had seen on Easter Island, Dr. and Mrs. Schoch rewatched a portion of a video discussing the work done on ancient petroglyphs by plasma physicist Anthony Peratt. "Peratt noticed that many of the petroglyphs found around the world appear to record the shapes that would have been seen in the sky if there had been a major solar outburst - a plasma discharge... in ancient times."

Katie proposed that the rongorongo glyphs looked amazingly similar to the petroglyphs discovered by Peratt. The Schochs asked themselves, "Could the rongorongo be a text, a scientific text if you will, that records in meticulous detail what was happening in the skies of long ago? Were the Easter Islanders in fact the keepers of an ancient, long forgotten, knowledge?"

With that revelation, Dr. Schoch begins his book. He shows us colour plates with photos comparing rongorongo glyphs, Peratt's petroglyphs, and the giant Nasca geoglyphs of South America only recognisable from high in the air to actual figures produced inside plasma artificially created by Peratt. The similarities are uncanny.

Schoch then proceeds to recount his work on the Great Sphinx, but now he asks if it is actually even older than he first guessed - perhaps dating back to around 12,000 to 10,000 BCE. This would be consistent with dating by others of the relative placements of the Giza pyramids to represent the corresponding positions of the stars in the belt of the constellation Orion. It also coincides with the even more recent claim of Bauval and Brophy in their book Black Genesis: The Prehistoric Origins of Ancient Egypt (Bear and Co., 2011).

Schoch adds, "This is not to say that the pyramids themselves are physically this old, but they may mark or memorialise a very old period in time. This independent evidence of extreme antiquity on the Giza Plateau can only bolster my conclusion that the Sphinx is incredibly old."

He goes on to tell us in great detail, and with ample references in the manner of a scientist, about the amazing stone structures with highly refined art and artefacts at recently excavated Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey, dated by archaeologists to 9500 BCE. Schoch quotes Charles Mann in National Geographic: "Discovering that hunter-gatherers had constructed Göbekli Tepe was like finding that someone had built a [Boeing] 747... in a basement with an X-Acto knife...."

Schoch's well-founded conclusion is that mankind's past on this planet is not only much older than what conventional historians have been teaching, but, as Paul LaViolette has demonstrated, we have gone through cycles of destruction and renewal corresponding to periods in and between coronal mass ejections (CME's) and solar proton events (SPE's) of our Sun.

Combined with records of giant solar disturbances indicated in ice packs and below glaciers around the globe, we now "have evidence of high culture and civilisation circa 10,000 BCE to 8000 BCE, but then an apparent decline or hiatus for thousands of years, until the `rise' of civilisation once again in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and elsewhere."

Schoch surmises that many glyphs and symbols around the globe surviving from times long ago represent shapes and forms of plasma outbursts the ancients saw in the sky before massive destruction cycles occurred on the planet. We know of thousands of extensive Neolithic tunnel configurations, and it is only within these that prehistoric mankind could survive such solar radiation-induced catastrophes.

In chapters entitled "Cosmoclimatology," "Galactic Superwaves and Interstellar Dust Clouds," "Ezekiel's Vision," and "Glass Castles [vitrified forts], [and] Fire from the Sky...," Dr. Schoch presents his case that our Sun is overdue for another period of increased activity, perhaps triggered by an outburst from the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy itself.

He points to indicators such as both increased and decreased frequency of sunspots, volcanic and earthquake activity, shifting of the Earth's poles and magnetic fields, and the current position of our solar system relative to the galactic centre as we whirl around it. He asks the question, "Are we [again] entering a cosmic interstellar dust cloud?" Could this be what the 2012 date corresponding to the end of the Mayan Calendar is telling us to watch for?

In the latter chapters of the book, Schoch asks if solar discharges could also have other results on the human species - an increase in consciousness and mental capacity, for instance. And, while cataclysm from solar/galactic forces is not preventable, could foreknowledge prompted by warnings from our ancestors give us time to prepare?

The final chapter demonstrates how some of science's most hallowed conclusions may be entirely wrong according to the latest findings. It emphasises that we must not necessarily consider humanity of the past as less developed than we are today.

In a similar vein to what I've been saying in some of my previous New Dawn book reviews, Dr. Schoch gives us the following advice: "What I do put a lot of stock in is that the ancients were neither stupid nor ignorant. They knew things that we no longer know. They had an understanding and awareness of the cosmos that we have either forgotten or lost. I believe there is something genuine in the concept of ancient wisdom, something that perhaps is just beginning to be rediscovered by a few scientists, philosophers, scholars, and visionaries of the modern world."

This review first appeared in New Dawn magazine, issue #136
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on 15 May 2014
Schoch offers an interesting new theory about the origins of civilization. His hypothesis is that advanced civilizations existed much earlier than we thought and have disappeared prematurely because they have been destroyed by solar outbursts. This concept is thought provoking, to say the least. But I have to admit that it is only halfway through the book that I started to warmup to the idea. The reason it took me so long to accept his theory is because several of his arguments are not particularly convincing. Although the author is a scholar he does not always present scholarly evidences for his speculations. But he likes to bash mainstream science a lot though. So much so that it becomes annoying over time.

Some, but not all, of his arguments are rather vague or hazy. The author can be scientifically very convincing when he writes about his own field, which is geology. But he frequently offers weak support for other theories that he discusses in the book and his thinking appears to be generally narrowly focused on his personal worldview. I will give one example of this. When Schoch presents "evidences" to show a relation between certain artefacts and his theory of solar outbursts he ignores other possibilities entirely. For instance where many observers would readily see "proof" of extraterrestrial presence in some of those artefacts, Schoch only sees "proof" of solar outbursts manifestations. All that takes nothing away from his basic tenet that solar outbursts may indeed have caused the demise of several early civilizations. But unfortunately throughout the book we are often subjected to feeble arguments about some other weird theories. While many points may be scientifically valid and thought provoking, a few others seem to have been expressed by a lunatic. It lacks academic consistency and that is why I was ultimately disappointed by this book.

So why give it four stars then? Because the solar outburst theory is one of the very few satisfying theories out there that explains the gap between the cave men and the pyramid builders. I would actually give this specific theory five stars on its own merit. But because of the author's uneven intellectual rigour I would want to give his work only three stars. That being said, I still believe this book is worth reading and would recommend it to anyone who wants to take another look at our origins.

April 2015 update: Scientists have recently discovered that a Gamma-ray burst (GRB) could have been at the origin of the Ordovician extinction 450 millions years ago, which wiped out 80% of the species on Earth. GRB are released whenever a massive star explodes after it has collapsed on itself. If the collapsing star is big enough it can become a powerful black hole in an instant and release what could become a deadly burst of gamma rays for the Earth if it's close enough.
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on 4 September 2013
Due to his enormous contribution in correcting conventional, and often very wrong history (not to mention willfully erroneous archaeology); and by re-dating ancient mysteries, e.g. The Sphinx, and setting them in their rightful time frames; and out of my great respect for this man's works, I did not take much persuading to buy his latest book - and what a book it is! "Forgotten Civilization : The Role of Solar outbursts In Our Past & Future" is a timely purchase, in more ways than one, as my partner is about to lead a Norsk womens' group trip to Easter Island. This amazing book will help her to see through the erroneous - downright wrong - history the western world has imposed on that amazing place since its re-discovery in 1722. Moreover, even though the early chapters are truly fascinating, what follows is dynamite! The chapters on the end of the last ice age, cosmoclimatology and galactic superwaves, and their effects on us all, daily, have opened my eyes to more than I could have dreamed; and the last chapter on amazing new science is a fitting revelation to top the other eye-openers. I have learned more important information, from this 1 book, than I have taken in during, perhaps, the last 10 years (and I read a book every week). It's simple. This is a must-read book. The sun is not quite the softly purring beasty we were brought up to believe; and as for galactic centre ... well, this is the kind of stuff that opened the Eye of Horus! Whether you have found this book through links from Gerald Massey, to Kenneth Grant, through Edward Malikowski or even from Thor Heyerdahl, well, you have a treat awaiting you in these pages. My book of the last year. Thank you Robert Schoch.
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on 2 September 2013
The End of the Ice Age and Previous Civilization....?
An excellent look at what might really have happened in our more distant prehistory. Confirms many thoughts I've had (MPhil Archaeology) about unanswered questions. Also Schoch give a very good overview of present prevailing conservatism of ideas and beliefs among academic scientists which paralyzes further research into new ideas.
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on 23 June 2013
I have been interested in Robert's dating of the Sphynx for years, but this book does him no credit. It briefly reviews his earlier work, but then looks at ancient remains in Turkey to justify his dating. He then looks unconvincingly at the evidence for solar outbursts in the past, linking them with the alphabet found on Easter Island - very far fetched. As if this isn't enough, he then rants about the poor funding that parapsychology has received over the years! He seems to be moving away from what made him interesting in the first place - a scientist using his knowledge to help in archaeology. Stick to what you do best, Robert.
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on 9 November 2014
I purchased this book together with Voyages of the pyramid builders again by Robert Schoch this is the more interesting book of the two and discuses a lot of subjects that i would not normally read about some of which are very interesting, i don't think that it really all hangs together as a theory and seems to have all been prompted by a weekend trip to Easter Island,i took both books on holiday with me and was looking forward to an interesting read but to be honest was a bit disappointed with both books.
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Since the discovery of Göbekli Tepe in southwestern Anatolia (Turkey), alternative history no longer seems crazy. Dr Schoch argues that there days, it's the conservatives who are the crazy people.

Robert Schoch has swung open the door to reveal a bigger and more interesting picture of our history. The noose of the current paradigm has loosening. So forget what you have need fed from the citadels and the history channel. Forgotten Civilization is a door to the alternative, and, seriously, it is a very serious book. It makes sense and the truth should always make sense.
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on 29 May 2013
An up to date, well considered and fully referenced book. Dr Schoch manages brings together the relevant themes, research and hypotheses without indulging in over-speculation. I recommend it for those who are both familiar with the known and potential effects of solar activity, as well as for those who wish to explore this area for the first time.
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on 31 October 2014
This is a very interesting theory of enormous frightening consequences. Found it fairly easy to follow for first fifty per cent of book then I was lost. Too much scientific evidence which to a lay person went completely over my head. It did become a bit clearer in last twenty per cent.
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on 13 January 2013
What makes this book extra valuable to me is not only the unquestionable professional qualifications and skill of the author, but also his gift of maintaing the curiosity of the innocent child bridged with an unusual sensitivity and honesty. "Forgotten Civilization" is rewarding on many levels, combining well documented old and new research linking evidence of advanced prehistoric civilizations to devastating drama involving the unstable sun and coronal mass ejections.

Many are still ignorant to factual evidence of rich cultures that have provided us with a great legacy, especially with what some people term "subtle energy knowledge". By adding attention to such matters, "Forgotten Civilization may open doors to higher truth - even for the mental and scientific minded "left brainers". Again - credit to the author for supplying scientific references to controversial research on phenomena such as consciousness and manifestation of matter, psychokinesis and levitation.
The only topics or examples I missed were the work of Masaro Emoto related to the influence of consciousness on water and a description of the recently opened Serapeum at Saqqara, Egypt. The functions of the latter are still pure conjecture, but even more than the moai, the twenty-four 100 tons enigmatic granite stone boxes with lids challenge one's sense of reality. Especially as they are all miraculously placed within separate alcoves in subterranean limestone mountain under the desert at Saqqara. More than any other site on this planet, this magnificent conundrum give credence to the inclusion of the related topics in "Forgotten Civilization".
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