|The Third Culture||Eberhard Zangger|
A Lost Civilization
Beyköy is a hamlet sitting on the lonely edge of the world in the highlands of Phrygia in western Turkey, hundreds of kilometers away from either city or coast. In 1876, a local peasant made a remarkable discovery in these forsaken backwoods one that ranks today as the world's most important unreported story.
This farmer's pasture extended along the foot of a low but extensive mound, believed to hold the remains of an ancient city. While working his ox and plow along the base of the hill, the farmer struck some objects in the furrow which gave off a metallic noise. After picking up and scrutinizing the large pieces of metal which he had accidentally unearthed, the peasant noticed they were covered with script.
Several years later, the American scholar William M. Ramsay passed through the village. Speaking with some local people, Ramsay inquired if they possessed any coins and artifacts picked up off the ground, with the intention of finding a bargain. Among the pieces offered to him was a tiny fragment containing a short inscription. Wondering aloud about its original location, the locals pointed towards the knoll. After further inquiry, Ramsay found out about the series of spectacular bronze tablets which had also been found there. Unfortunately, they were gone and nobody was able to say where.
As it turned out, the Beyköy bronze tablets had made their way into the archives of the Ottoman empire. Recognizing their possible significance, the curator in charge did not hesitate in contacting the world's foremost authority, German-born Anatolia expert Albrecht Goetze, in order to publish the finds. In the late 1950's, this professor of Yale University began to investigate the texts. For over ten years, he examined, translated and interpreted them. Then, he informed another colleague of their existence. Goetze completed his investigations and manuscript shortly before he died in 1971. Owing to the subsequent death of his editor, the monograph, however, has never been published and the Beyköy tablets remain completely unknown. Goetze had found that they contained lists of Anatolian states, kings, and military actions from as early as the fourth millennium BC up until the eighth century BC. These texts proved conclusively that today's Turkey was once the home of a civilization older and more important to European history than Pharaonic Egypt. Yet, this civilization has remained virtually uninvestigated to the present today.
Now, why should
the discovery of the Beyköy tablets be considered the world's most
important unreported story? After all, archaeological discoveries
like that of the man in the ice have often surprised the general
public and upset established scholarship. The discovery of the Beyköy
tablets, however, is of a different order of magnitude. It shows that
the center of European history is to be found way outside the frontiers
of the hitherto Old and accepted World. Therefore, its
impact equals a scientific revolution similar to those caused by Nicolas
Copernicus, Charles Darwin and Siegmund Freud. Copernicus' work generated
an upheaval, since it demonstrated that humankind is not at the center
of the universe. Darwin's research demonstrated that humans do not stand
at the ultimate zenith of Creation; instead they are more or less an
accidental product of a million years-long evolutionary process. And
Freud showed that we are not even in full command of our own mind, our
After this paradigm shift, only one even greater upheaval remains proving that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe.
ZANGGER is an exploder of myths and the discoverer of the lost continent
of Atlantis, which was never lost in the first place. His five books
on ancient civilizations have been published internationally
with more to come. Feeling a bit estranged from the great thinkers of
the planet, he is impatiently waiting for the fourth culture to begin.