“Atlantis ceased to wear its prosperity with moderation.”
Archeology and paleontology are fascinating to me. My general sense is that researchers are forced to work with rare and tiny fragments of information (a bone here, a bone there), and then weave that record into a coherent story.
For good reasons, they seek to weave the simplest possible story that will fit into the evidence record. That makes sense.
That means that the story is always going to be exactly as incomplete as the record. And we know that the record is profoundly scarce. So the story is too.
Hancock etal push just a bit beyond that, and imagine a more complete (and more interesting) story.
We know that anatomically and intellectually modern humans have been around for something like 150k years. Probably longer.
Hancock’s single insight is rejecting the idea that modern humans spent 145k years as hunter-gatherers, then suddenly invented agriculture and everything that came from that.
What if advanced civilizations have come and gone numerous times? Crazy as it sounds, that’s not impossible.
If every human on earth vanished today, what evidence of our presence would exist in 50k years? Maybe Mt Rushmore? Maybe a few spots (abandoned nuclear plants) with slightly higher than background radiation levels and some odd isotopes? Maybe the presence of some peculiar long-chain hydrocarbon molecules (plastics) in landfills?
Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.