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Clay tablet holds clue to asteroid mystery
The Telegraph ^ | 3/31/2008 | Nic Fleming

Posted on 03/30/2008 8:33:39 PM PDT by bruinbirdman

British scientists have deciphered a mysterious ancient clay tablet and believe they have solved a riddle over a giant asteroid impact more than 5,000 years ago.

Geologists have long puzzled over the shape of the land close to the town of Köfels in the Austrian Alps, but were unable to prove it had been caused by an asteroid.

Now researchers say their translation of symbols on a star map from an ancient civilisation includes notes on a mile-wide asteroid that later hit Earth - which could have caused tens of thousands of deaths.

The circular clay tablet was discovered 150 years ago by Sir Austen Henry Layard, a leading Victorian archaeologist, in the remains of the royal palace at Nineveh, capital of ancient Assyria, in what is now Iraq.

The tablet, on display at the British Museum, shows drawings of constellations and pictogram-based text known as cuneiform - used by the Sumerians, the earliest known civilisation in the world.

A historian from Azerbaijan, who believes humans originally came to Earth from another planet, has interpreted it as a description of the arrival of a spaceship. More mainstream academics have failed to decipher its meaning.

Now Alan Bond, the managing director of a space propulsion company, Reaction Engines, and Mark Hempsell, a senior lecturer in astronautics at Bristol University, have cracked the cuneiform code and used a computer programme that can reconstruct the night sky thousands of years ago to provide a new explanation.

They believe their calculations prove the tablet - a copy made by an Assyrian scribe around 700 BC - is a Sumerian astronomer's notebook recording events in the sky on June 29, 3123 BC.

The pair say its symbols include a note of the trajectory of a large object travelling across the constellation of Pisces which, to within one degree, is consistent with an impact at Köfels.


Köfels, in the Austrian Alps, where an asteroid
is thought to have hit 5,000 years ago

Mr Hempsell said: "All previous work has drawn a blank on what the tablet is about.

"It is such a big jigsaw and the pieces we have found fit together so well that I think we have a definitive proof."

The Köfels site was originally interpreted as an asteroid impact, however the lack of an obvious impact crater led modern geologists to believe it to be simply a giant landslide.

However, the Bond-Hempsell theory, outlined in their book published today, A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels Impact Event, suggests that the asteroid left no crater because it clipped a mountain and turned into a fireball.

Mr Hempsell said: "The ground heating, though very short, would be enough to ignite any flammable material, including human hair and clothes.

"It is probable more people died under the plume than in the Alps due to the impact blast."

He added that extreme changes caused to rock and other substances at the site had previously led to the Köfels impact being erroneously dated to around 8,000 years ago.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: alps; assyria; austria; austrianalps; bolide; britishmuseum; catastrophism; clay; cuneiform; curseofagade; godsgravesglyphs; impact; iraq; koefels; kofel; kofels; landslide; nineveh; sitchinisaloser; stalactites; stalagmites; sumerian; tablet
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1 posted on 03/30/2008 8:33:40 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
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To: bruinbirdman

A “mile-wide asteroid” would have done a lot more damage than this article accounts for.


2 posted on 03/30/2008 8:38:26 PM PDT by AZLiberty (Wipe the national hard drive and reinstall the Constitution.)
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To: blam; SunkenCiv

Ping


3 posted on 03/30/2008 8:42:43 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: bruinbirdman

This is the first I’ve heard of an impact in Europe at this time.
Hard to believe a major impact in such a gorgeous area; this is no Tunguska. ;->


4 posted on 03/30/2008 8:43:21 PM PDT by Wiseghy ("You want to break this army? Then break your word to it.")
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To: AZLiberty
Same here. I had read in numerous scientific journals that even a one-mile wide asteroid would cause cataclysmic damage.
5 posted on 03/30/2008 8:44:11 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: AZLiberty
Now researchers say their translation of symbols on a star map from an ancient civilisation includes notes on a mile-wide asteroid...

The ancient Sumerians were able to determine the size of an asteroid??? I don't think so.

6 posted on 03/30/2008 8:46:14 PM PDT by Onelifetogive (This is an Obama-nation!)
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To: bruinbirdman

bump for later


7 posted on 03/30/2008 8:46:27 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?)
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To: AZLiberty

Maybe it was a mile wide and a foot long and a foot tall.


8 posted on 03/30/2008 8:51:11 PM PDT by coloradan (The US is becoming a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: AZLiberty
"A “mile-wide asteroid” would have done a lot more damage "

"A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels Impact Event, suggests that the asteroid left no crater because it clipped a mountain and turned into a fireball."

yitbos

9 posted on 03/30/2008 8:53:17 PM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds." - Ayn Rand)
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To: AZLiberty
A mile-wide asteroid impact would effectively snuff out all life within a few thousand miles' radius of the impact, thanks to the "rain" of superheated ash from the impact site. If it impacted in Europe it would have pretty much wiped out all animal and human life there.
10 posted on 03/30/2008 8:54:09 PM PDT by RayChuang88
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To: bruinbirdman

3123 BC is too long before any known form of writing. Cuneiform included.


11 posted on 03/30/2008 8:54:54 PM PDT by sinanju
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To: sinanju
"3123 BC is too long before any known form of writing. Cuneiform included."

Wow, FR proves the scientist wrong again. It's so easy.

yitbos

12 posted on 03/30/2008 9:02:58 PM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds." - Ayn Rand)
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To: bruinbirdman

Coast to Coast will surely be covering this soon.


13 posted on 03/30/2008 9:16:41 PM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: bruinbirdman

Actually..........there is a portion of Germany that was an impact zone for a meteor...............Evidence?.....In the very stones used to erect a cathedral.


14 posted on 03/30/2008 9:17:41 PM PDT by Puckster
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To: bruinbirdman

Fascinating...


15 posted on 03/30/2008 9:34:41 PM PDT by Judith Anne (I have no idea what to put here. Not a clue.)
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To: Puckster

“In the very stones used to erect a cathedral.”

Shocked quartz.


16 posted on 03/30/2008 10:03:08 PM PDT by JSteff ( This election is about the 4 or 5 Supreme Court Justices who will retire . Vote Accordingly!)
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To: AZLiberty

Depends upon the composition of the object.


17 posted on 03/30/2008 10:07:50 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: bruinbirdman
Wow, FR proves the scientist wrong again. It's so easy.

. . .yes, who knew?

18 posted on 03/30/2008 10:08:37 PM PDT by cricket (Damn Political Correctness; before it irretrievably, damns us all. . .)
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To: bruinbirdman

I wonder how much of their ‘reconstruction’ was to the missing contents of the stone itself.

It appears that several large sections are missing and were filled in with playdough.


19 posted on 03/30/2008 10:11:08 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Just saying what 'they' won't.)
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To: bruinbirdman
Wow, FR proves the scientist wrong again. It's so easy.

It's so easy to prove that many don't read the friggin' article before they post.

"They believe their calculations prove the tablet - a copy made by an Assyrian scribe around 700 BC - is a Sumerian astronomer's notebook recording events in the sky on June 29, 3123 BC. "

20 posted on 03/30/2008 10:29:10 PM PDT by uglybiker (I do not suffer from mental illness. I quite enjoy it, actually.)
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