THE GREAT FLOOD
The story of a “Great Flood” sent by God (or gods according to much earlier testimony) to destroy humanity for its sins is a widespread account among many religions and cultures around the world and dates back to our earliest recorded history. From India to ancient Greece, Mesopotamia and even among North American Indian tribes there is no shortage of such tales that often enough sound very much alike. Some of these stories actually sound so similar that one could wonder whether all cultures around the planet had experienced such an event. Or is it possible they influenced each other by story-telling over the millennia?
Is it possible that all flood accounts repeated around the world so zealously are a collection of myths and isolated incidents? Or was the Great Flood a single worldwide event that affected all humanity at one point during our prehistory? Although small isolated disasters can stress and frighten affected populations equally, their overall effect is often short-lived, and they fade from memory within decades, if not years. In the case of the Great Flood, however, we have a story that seems to have no boundaries and one that every culture insists on its worldwide nature. How big and how destructive, though, was such a disaster that it seared itself in our ancestors’ collective memory for thousands of years? Judging by the shared testimony, this must not only have been an event that affected everyone simultaneously. In order for it to have become a permanent fixture in the human psyche, it must have been an experience that persisted not only for days but for several generations.
Today, although the scientific community accepts the idea that regional floods have indeed adversely affected many ancient populations over the millennia, it still denies that there was ever a single deluge that affected every civilization on the planet at once. Meanwhile, while the type, chronology and magnitude of such an event are still highly debated, several scientific theories of the Great Flood are currently in circulation, and more of them continue to surface from time to time.
In recent years, and according to a published study in 1997 by William Ryan and Walter Pitman, the Great Flood story was linked to the “sudden flood” of the Black Sea. According to their hypothesis, at around 5600 BC the melting of the glaciers, along with several other significant hydrological factors that included the flow of rivers and heavy rainfall, caused the Mediterranean Sea level to rise so rapidly that it ultimately and violently flooded the Black Sea, making it into the body of water we know today.
Ryan and Pitman speculated that the flooding from the Mediterranean occurred via a massive waterfall, nearly two hundred times larger than that of Niagara Falls, which dumped 10 cubic miles of sea water per day into the Black Sea for a period of 300 days. By the time it was over, 60,000 square miles around the Black Sea had been submerged. This was the best evidence we had for nearly a decade in order to explain the story of the Great Flood. Although undoubtedly more of a regional flood, such an event could have utterly destroyed any human civilization rooted around the Black Sea during this period and could have been labeled as a great flood by those who experienced it.
Unfortunately for the Ryan and Pitman team, though, additional studies conducted since pointed otherwise. Although the later research agreed to the premise of the Black Sea being flooded, they contradicted the severity of the flood as well as the chronological time of the event. In 2005, a research project under the sponsorship of UNESCO, conducted by the International Union of Geological Sciences as well as a Ukrainian and Russian scientific team that included Valentina Yanko-Hoback, published in 2009 that the flood of the Black Sea was more of a gradual event and less catastrophic to human life than previously thought. It was also estimated that the incident took place much earlier chronologically (closer to 8000 BC). So, in essence, this study confirmed that the flooding of the Black Sea did not have the horrible devastation associated with the loss of human life, and unlike previous estimates, this was an event that definitely took place during our prehistory.
If not the flooding of the Black Sea around 8000 BC, though, what other regional, or better yet, worldwide catastrophe qualifies to be called the “Great Flood”? Without a doubt, it was the rise of the oceans after the end of the last ice age. More particularly, it was the abrupt rise of the oceans just prior to 8000 BC that led to the flooding of the Mediterranean first and ultimately to the flooding of the Black Sea. That was the single, long-lasting event which drastically reshaped the coastlines of our planet and the one which simultaneously affected every coastal civilization around the world at the time. If past periodic ice ages and floods did not manage to add salinity into the previously fresh water of the Black Sea, then undoubtedly the latest ice age flood around 8000 BC must have been the greatest flood of all time.
While abnormal weather conditions, tsunamis or hurricane-related floods can cause severe devastation several miles inland, the effects from such disasters are always temporary. The significant rise of the oceans, though, was a worldwide disaster that erased hundreds of thousands of square miles of dry land around the planet. It must have been the doomsday event every culture to this day is inadvertently talking about. And, while, at first look, the gradual rise of the seas does not seem to qualify as the event behind the legend of the Great Flood, an incident responsible for the oceans to rise globally by more than 400 feet surely had many random episodes when the flooding was absolutely unpredictable. In fact, as humans by nature tend to settle near water, it leaves no doubt that all early civilizations were totally devastated by this event. This must have been a period of constant relocation and adjustment as people continuously kept on looking for higher ground or for new coastal areas to rebuild, and new valleys to grow crops to support those settlements.
To challenge this theory, at least until recently, the mainstream academia insisted that 10,000 years ago humans were way too primitive to have been aware of such an event. Additionally, as there were no known civilizations around at the time that could have been affected by this natural catastrophe, the Great Flood was either just a myth, or this disaster must have taken place later in time, during our recorded history. Of course, since there are no signs of global cataclysms during our recorded history, this once more leads to the ultimate conclusion that the Great Flood was either a myth, or a much smaller regional incident like the flooding of the Black Sea.
For many years this was the general “logic” that dominated many academic minds and the greatest challenge to the Ice Age Flood theory when this hypothesis was brought up.
Incidentally, all this changed in 1994 with the archaeological discovery of Gobekli Tepe, a 12,000-year-old mega-site in southeastern Turkey, as well as in 2002 with the discovery of a 10,000-year-old city found submerged under 130 feet of water off the coast of West India in the Gulf of Cambay. In this case, for several generations fishermen insisted on stories of an underwater city in that area, but their claims went unnoticed until the site was accidentally discovered during pollution survey tests conducted by India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology. With the use of side-scan sonar, which sends a beam of sound waves to the bottom of the ocean, scientists found huge geometric structures at the bottom of the sea at a depth of about 130 feet. Debris recovered from the site, including construction material, pottery, sections of walls, beads, sculptures and human bones were carbon dated and found to be approximately 10,000 years old. Scientists now estimate that this 10-square-mile city was sunken after the last ice age, when melting ice 10,000 to 12,000 years ago caused the oceans around the globe to rise significantly. This was an incredible find. Not only does this discovery help rewrite some of the early pages of our history, but most importantly, it confirms ancient testimony in regard to past lost civilizations.
In addition to the ancient city of Jericho, which previously was established that some of its older structures date as far back as the 10th millennium BC, we now have two additional discoveries that conclusively prove mankind had advanced much earlier in time than the scientific community was previously aware of. In light of these latest findings, is it possible today to assume that a worldwide flood, roughly 10,000 years ago, may have been the one our ancestors labeled as the “Great Flood”? Of course we can. The submerged city, off the west coast of India, not only confirms that 10,000 years ago humans were more advanced than previously thought, but it further proves that the rising waters, particularly between 8500 BC and 7500 BC, devastated those civilizations and destroyed all evidence of their existence.
Is it possible that this worldwide cataclysm may also best explain how our early history ceased to exist? How else then do we justify the explosion of several advanced civilizations which, since the 4th millennium BC, mysteriously seem to appear out of nowhere. Overnight, these civilizations became masters of architecture and astronomy, and they somehow possessed incredible technological skills that neither historians nor anthropologists can quite explain. Is it possible that due to the lack of tangible evidence, early scholars failed to make the connection and to recognize that many of these cultures had advanced thousands of years earlier, prior to the "Great Flood”? Is it difficult to accept that the incredible megalithic structures and technological achievements of our early recorded history were essentially part of an earlier “renaissance” era that began once the rise of the oceans ended?
Finally, while all clues point to the fact that more sunken cities around the planet may be awaiting our discovery, is it possible to assume that the rising seas may have been the cataclysm that destroyed yet another great civilization, like that of Atlantis perhaps?