Seminar "Atom & Logos"                                                                         Dr. Robert C. Newman

August 1983,  St. Vincent, West Indies                                      Prof. of N.T., Biblical Seminary





            Von DŠniken's theory: earth visited frequently in past centuries by visitors from outer space

            His evidence: strange art; massive structures beyond human ability; accounts of miracles

            Will critique this theory using evidence from archaeology


Baalbek, Lebanon: Space Travel Center?

            Von DŠniken says this is ancient space travel center, refers to platform with stones weighing 2000 tons

            Stones are huge, but not that big; architecture and historical info indicate structure is temple built by Romans in 2nd cen AD

            Somebody moved stones weighing 800‑1500 tons


Athens, Greece: Sophisticated Building Design

            Parthenon shows ancients not stupid: know details on builders, etc.: Pericles, Phidias, 447‑438 BC

            Sophisticated corrections to optical illusions incorporated in building design


Jerusalem & Caesarea, Israel: Impressive Size of Stones

            Herod the Great used stones over 50 feet long, weighing hundreds of tons, building temple and breakwater

            Herod was not as wealthy as Romans


Gizeh, Egypt: the Pyramids

            Von D. emphasizes designed‑in secrets (pi, distance to sun); impossibilty of moving stones with wooden rollers; too much time needed to build (he estimates 664 yr)

            Egyptians must have known pi to make chariot wheels

            Distance to sun off by 5%.  Pretty good for Eyptians, pretty bad for astronauts!

            Evidence from antiquity on Egyptians and Babylonians moving large stones

            Dated stones show pyramid building took 10‑20 years

            Evidence for developing techonology of pyramid building


Easter Island: Giant Heads

            Von D.: impossible to set up several hundred 60‑ton stone heads with only 200 inhabitants!

            See Thor Heyerdahl, Aku‑Aku:

                        6 men could carve head in one year

                        Whole population could move to site in day or two

                        12 men were able to erect one in 18 days


Nazca, Peru: Spaceship Landing Site?

            Von D.: runways of spaceport; large animal‑figures only viewable from air;

                        arrow on coast

            But runways cross hills, deeply furrowed at intersections

            Ground too soft anyway

            Each large figure is made of one continuous line, perhaps a path for dancing in a           sympathetic magic ceremony

            Space travelers need arrow?



            No evidence here for supertechnology beyond known ancient abilities

            No evidence here for visits by extra-terretrials