Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 11, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Photo by Harry Neufeld Archaeological mystery Book Reviews Prehistorical interest in astronomy by Gerald Hawkins and 319 distributed by Fitzhenry and Several years Gerald Hawkins employed a computer to check out the alignments of the Megaliths at Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain in England and came to the intriguing con- clusion that the monument was an ancient observatory. It was a startling conclusion since it had not previously been sup- posed that the peoples in the more northerly climes were suf- ficiently sophisticcked to be engaged in astronomical studies. Acceptance of Hawkins' con- clusion was far from universal. Being a scientist he was not a theory needs to be challenged and debated. Only in this way can the acceptance gap be bridged. This book is a kind of testi- monial to the way in which the gap has been closing in the eight years since Hawkins' Stonehenge was published. The first eanvuicing corroboration came from a TV program on Stonehenge. The cameras proved the alignment of the heel stone toward the sun. did work as an the circles could function as an eclipse computing Then ster- eoscopic air pictures added fur- ther confirmation. But the biggest obstacle to acceptance was the conviction of anthropologists that a single observatory surviving from pre- history doesn't make sense. are no known cases in or history for that of an isolated a burst of genius. Either it is the culmination of preliminary experiments that have gone be- fore or it has its own reper- c u s s contemporaneously or So a search has gone on for evidence of this sort. In the Peruvian desert there are showing up in air that resemble UK run- ways of a modern airport. Al- most everyone now knows that Erich Von Daniken proposed that these were actually the landing strips for spacemen visiting the earth from ether more advanced planets. Few on the other know that a couple of scholars have thought the lines might be an astronomical calendar. Hawkins doesn't think the UFO theory warrants serious consideration. No extraterres- trial artifacts have been found while an abundance of man- made material has been gath- ered. Naturally Hawkins would be more interested in the as- trooomical calendar theory. So. he investigated but the comput- er killed the star-sun-moon ca- lendar theory and the mystery remains. Disappointing as the lines In the desert may In the re- mains of the Inoa temple com- plex at Machau Picchu in Peru there is unquestionable evi- dence of astronomical interest. focal point is a pyradmid at the summit of a prehistoric scientific instru- ment almost certainly fashion- ed to read the movements of the sun. The Mayan civilization in Central America was distin- guished by a great interest in astronomy. At Chicoen the remains of an ob- servatory have been found. The building had a dome 41 feet high with tunnel windows. Some promising work has been done in connection with plotting the alignments of various monuments in Egypt. There are strong indications that temples such as Karnak were astro-oriented. In the British in addi- tion to there are other evidences of astronomi- cal interest. The striking are the remains of a monument at Callanish on the island of Lewis. Despite these apparent corro- borations of Stonehenge as part of a developed interest in astronomy in Haw- kins is unwilling to claim too much. He is too much a scien- tist to be guilty of forcing the evidence to fit his theory. He in a how the archaeologist F. Petrie once caught a in the act of chipping a stone in the pyramids to make its dimen- sions come more into agree- ment with a particular crank theory. So he conducts that would be wrong to postulate that Stonehenge was once part of a worldwide astro culture There is no evidence for a Heliolithk spreading out as a semicircular wave fpDm the Nile across Europe The Heyerdahl hypothesis of trans-Atlantic migration fol- lowed by trans-Pacific rafting is no more than a suggestion at the present time All that Hawkins apparently wants to do is demonstrate that there Is an increased Interest in the possibility of widespread astronom ical observation among pre-historioal peoples. This is narrowing the accept- ance gap regarding Ms proposi- tion that Stonehenge was an ob- servatory. One person who definitely does not want Hawkins' theory to be accepted is Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky. He had argued in his Worlds in that cataclysmic shifts in the axis of the earth had occurred in the past because of a colli- sion with Venus and as a re- sult of Mars tangling later with Venus. But Stonehenge align- ments have not altered in its 4000 years of existence. Actual- as Hawkins points Vel- ikovsky's theory has independ- ently been discredited. solar with its 9 has been computed in reverse time for a period of thousands of years. Within slight cyclic variations the orbits are sta- ble. Venus and Mars came no- where near the earth in 688 or 1500 Although I found this to be an intensely interesting book I think it has some serious drawbacks. The argument tends to take shape if not obscurely. There is a lot of ex- traneous material which causes the reader to lose the thread of the argument. Some changes in the text are so abrupt as to be perplexing. The reader at one for follows a discussion of the Gontei bone for several pages and then sud- denly there is a transition to the purchase of a ticket to visit Callanish. this book will appeal to those who are inter- ested in Stonehenge and other ancient wonders. It is abundant- ly illustrated with photographs and drawings. DOUG WALKER Human negligence or an act of at Buffalo by Tom Nugent. J. McLeod 191 Human death and suffering is tragic at any but when the death and suffering are the 2sult of gross negligence on the part of a wealthy the tragedy seems far worse. In 125 women and children were drowned as the result of a flood caused by the collapse of a huge slag dam owned by the Buffalo Mining Company in West Virginia. This book is a minute-by-minute ac- count of that tragic February morning and the investigation that followed. The author delves into the past history of the area and its people and the book takes a personal look at the with interviews and eye witness ac- counts. It is a heart-rending ex- perience to read the tales relat- ed by men and women as they describe how their entire fami- lies were' wiped out as they stood by helplessly witnessing the whole event. Heroes as in any situation of this and men like Billy Aldrige will find their heroic deeds told and re- told by the many whose lives were saved. Cowardice also finds its way into the as does the gross stupidity of peo- ple who either ignored warn- ings cr lost lives attempting to save pets or precious articles. One shakes one's head with disbelief at the tragedies that befell these mining people. The story Robert Albright' concerning his drowned family and his Kerry who in some miraculous way survived the will make one thankful of his own fortunate circumstances. The book is full of tales such as and they all serve to show the waste that was so un- conipany neglected a massive slag heap. The coal company tried to brush off the whole tragic in- cident as an of Said one about the mas- sive gob pile at Three Forks on the top end of Buffalo was incapable of holding the water GOD poured into The response to this statement was one of dumb- foundment by the people of the valley. Most felt the bulldozer- built dam was unsafe for years and to blame its collapse on God and not the company was unreal. As one elderly lady said in reply to the act of God state- ment by the coal company offi- did you ever see God operate a bulldoz- One of the most horrendous statements to come out of the inquiry was made by the gov- ernor of the state when he claimed that far worse than the tragedy itself was the black-eye the state had been given by what he called biased news reporting. Partial blame was being laid on the state conservation laws that wouldn't permit the sludge like backed up by fiie to be drained into the for fear of killing the trout. One seldom reads such a tra- gic book. It was vividly re- ported on TV at the time of its happening with on-the-spot cov' erage of the disaster and follow- up stories as to the plight of the people. But this book gets under the tragedy itself and into the hearts of the people it affected. It probes the mining industry an industry where over persons have died since its beginning 100 years ago. But most of all the book shows how people who have lived -with tragedies all their lives in the mines are called upon to live with yet an- other the collapse of the Three Forks dam on Buffalo Creek. It is a sad book about a people who find tragedy to be a common occurance. GARRY ALLISON Monumental human tragedy at the The Battle lor by William Craig Di- gest Press E. P. Button and Co. 457 distributed by Irwin. and Company When Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus reached the city of Stalingrad with the German Sixth Army in the summer of 1942 he expected to subdue it quickly and push on. But the Russians put up a stout resis- tance so that the German army bogged down and in February 1943 abjectly surrendered. It was the turning point in the war between Germany and the U.S.S.R. and probably in the whole Second World War. From that time on the Ger- mans were forced to retreat on tha eastern front and slowly collapsed everywhere. Nearly two million people lost their lives during the scige of Stalingrad. On both' sides the slaughter and suffer- overwhelmed in reading about it. William Craig has produed a magnificent book whereby the reader is transported into the maelstrom and forced to share the nightmarish experiences of the people who lived through it all. War is not a glorious thing and nobody would ever get the impression it is from reading this book. By calling the book magnificent I do not mean that the subject matter is I mean that Craig has done a masterly job of dealing with his subiect. There arc lots of nameless people who died in droves at Stalingrad but they are redern- ed from being mere statistics by the way in wliich Craig puts names and faces on some of them on both sides. The thoughts and feelings of survi- vors manage to color the others with the dimensions ct living beings. This is the unique thing about the book. Craig interviewed many survivors and made their drama. He also read many memoirs and documents re- sting to the battle which en- able him to include details on and all the other things involved that undcrgirds the whole with an air of authenticity. War may bring out some good qualities in people but it allows the worst to emerge also. The callousness which some officers in particular on both sides treated their own personnel as well as pri- soners is horrifying. T was sick- ened by some 01 what I read. Craig warns in the preface that no book dealing with widespread slaughter is pleas- ant reading. he arc witnesses to monumental human Anyone who wants to gain some appreciation of how mon- umental that tragedy was must be prepared to be seared. This is a truly outstanding book that deserves a wide read- inc. The Voice Of One -By. OR. FRANK S. MORLEY Behaving like Christians When Charles II returned to 'the throne of England following he found that the Puritans had established parlia- mentary created Great Bri- tain as a given the British navy su- premacy on the by the annexation of Jamaica and Acadia founded Imperial Bri- made Britain the world's top trader and given Britain a world-wide reputa- tion for tolerance and liberty. Were the people With utmost savagery the Christian supporters of Charles fell upon the Puritans. Nine of their bravest spirits were partially hanged while disembowelled and quartered. Some fled to ethers went to many were dispossessed. At a conference a prominent Canadian who expects gratitude is a An article in Christianity July says that the problem is to get Christians to act like Chdsians. Anyone who expects it is addle-pated. There are good and kind but they are very few and one can no more count on it than drawing a ticket in a lottery. It is easy to get assent to as the Ger- man youth incarnation is the thing and there is mighty little incarnation. John Wesley remarked to his mother that after all the voice of the people is the voice of God. The wise old lady re- they cried 'Crucify The shrewd Alexander Hamilton people is a great Mark Twain who knew humanity I care to know is that man is a human that is enough for me he can't be any Jeremiah saith the Cursed be the man that trusts in man The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.'1 The cruelty of people is beyond imagin- but many still go about with a naivt faith and pratings about human nature. kids are said a deputy looking at the gathered at Watkins Glen. Ke was walking by a bare-breasted young but shortly after many took off all their clothes and danced naked in the rain. Another policeman firmly assert- ted that are good but related that police had made a number of arrests for but it was impossible to arrest all 'those legally liable for they would run into r The bitterest of Shakespeare's plays Is of Poor Timon found out too late how false his friends were. Alci- biades found out also the ingratitude and cruelty of the Athenians. A desk motto never did you a I don't know why you should hate it is very dangerous to do a man a kindness. It places him in your debt and he may re- sent it. Tyndale loaned a man some money to pay a debt and that afternoon was be- trayed by him to the police and was ar- rested and burned. When this writer' was a boy he read a speech of Henry Ford with the you do what is best for everyone they'll do what is best for This is silly nonsense and false to history. Be- ware of telling your children to trust peo- ple. The people you trust should be select- ed with great care. Remember that man by nature is an enemy of God which means an enemy of goodness. Man naturally hates God and hates goodness. That is a primary meaning of the cross. If you trust you are in for a very bad time. RUSSELL BAKER A fruitful exchange of views Our authoritative White House leak has just arrived with the secret record of President Nixon's secret talk with Premier Tanaka of which is reproduced here in the interest cf refocusing public atten- tion OP. the truly great world issues. President Nixon asked Tanaka what was new. Not replied Tanaka. He asked what was new with the president. The president said he had some truly great world problems on his which left him no time at all for wallowing in Watergate. Tanaka said he had heard before leaving Tokyo that Nixon was not wallowing in Watergate. In fact he had mentioned it at a meeting of the Japanese which had applauded the president's resolution to keep his eye on the great issues. The president asked Tanaka what he thought about the trade that had brought Duane Thomas to the Washington Redskins. While he was not prepared to comment on specific Tanaka Japan was always happy to see completely unin- hibited economic intercourse and hoped that the Duane Thomas deal indicated the Washington Redskins might now be ready to sell soybeans to Japan. Nixon asked Tanaka if there was anyone special to whom he would like to talk dur- ing his American visit. Tanaka said like everyone he was dying to talk to G. Gordon Liddy. The president replied that the Washington Redskins were going to need every soybean they had this year. In that Tanaka the president could forget all about the special showing of starring George C. Scott which he had scheduled in the White House theatre that as would be much too busy trying to trade sumo wrestlers to the Miami Dolphins for some soybeans. Nixon said Tanaka -would regret it. was a great movie. In the president said he intended to go see it again whether Tanaka attended or not. The president asked whether Tanaka had some territory in Japan which needed to be bombed. Tanaka expressed alarm and said he was sorry he had mentioned soybeans and the Miami and in only been kidding about not coming to see which had been given'four stars in the Asahi Shimbun Review. Nixon explained that one of the great problems before him was where to bomb next after he ended the bombing of Cambo- dia in mid-August at the insistence of Con- gress. He had hoped Norway might volun- teer to provide some target land in its sparsely populated northern latitudes. had urged the Nor- wegians not to agree. There were suspi- cions that it was Daniel Ellsberg. Tanaka said American agents in Japan believed Ellsberg was behind the installa- tion of Gen. Hideki Tojo as premier of Japan in 1941 and directly responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The president said Japan was lucky it had lost the war. For the United he it had bean nothing but bomb ever since we had knocked out Tojo and become Number One. And now for the first time in years there was going to be no place to bomb. How could he possibly explain it to the Air Tanaka asked why the United States did not bomb a large uninhabited tract of the Pacific Ocean as the French were doing at that very Nixon asked how Japanese public opin- ion would react to a prolonged carpet- bombing of Daniel Ellsberg. Tanaka replied that this was strictly an internal American matter. And speaking of internal he he won- dered if the president could tell him where he might get a decent piece of beef in America without having to meet a beef- legger off the Maryland coast during the hours before dawn. Nixon told Taraka to quit wallowing in food consumption and concentrate on the great issues. Tanaka promised to try. Nixon said it was too bad Tanaka would not stay in America long enough to see Duane Tho- mas run out of the Redskins' Tanaka said good-bye. Hopeless slobs By Doug Walker Thsve isn't much that I do that seems to be right in the eyes of my youngest especially. I cross my legs in the wrong I don't hold my knife and fork my laugh is my hair style is ab- I go to bed too list is endless. A of ultimate was reached one day when we had lunch in a restaurant. Paul was so mortified when T cut my slice pickle into three parts that he nearly bolted the table. Apparently pickle por- tions are to. be eaten in one fell swoop. My only consolation is that my brother- Hugh who called in with his wife and family en route home from a is sn even more wretched human specimen than I am if his kids' criticisms are to counten- anced.