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No. 37: Jan-Feb 1985

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A DISASTER-DRIVEN EARLY CIVILIZATION

Archeologists had long recognized the existence of a highly sophisticated early civilization in the Cauca Valley region stretching 550 miles from southern Ecuador into Columbia. This civilization produced a distinctive pottery and spectacular gold artifacts. It was obviously a highly advanced culture, technologically and socially. But it was dated at 400-800 AD; and for this period in South American history these accomplishments did not seem out of line. Recently, though, additional evidence of this civilization was discovered beneath a datable volcanic ash. The new dates for this civilization are 600-1,500 BC, putting it about 1,000 years ahead of Maya and Inca achievements. The "digs" show further that this culture was frequently beset by devastating outbursts of volcanic activity, which often rendered large areas of land uninhabitable. Rather than suppressing this remarkable culture, Donald Lathrap, a University of Illinois archeologist, says:

"Those disasters pushed people from the region and led to upward leaps in social evolution..."

(Anonymous; "Key to a Vanished Empire," San Francisco Chronicle, June 14, 1984. Cr. J. Covey.)

Comment. The reaction of this early society of advanced organisms to environmental stress seems a perfect introduction to several items that follow on how cells and other species respond to stresses from without.

From Science Frontiers #37, JAN-FEB 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987