Graham Hancock

Graham Hancock (born August 2, 1950) is a British writer and journalist. His books include "Lords of Poverty", "The Sign and the Seal", "Fingerprints of the Gods", "Keeper of Genesis" (released in the US as "Message of the Sphinx"), "The Mars Mystery", "Heaven's Mirror" (with wife Santha Faiia), "Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization", and "Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith" (with co-author Robert Bauval). He also wrote and presented the Channel 4 documentaries "Underworld: Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age" and "Quest for the Lost Civilisation".

His most recent book, "Supernatural: Meetings With the Ancient Teachers of Mankind", was released in the UK in October 2005 and in the US in 2006. In it, Hancock examines paleolithic cave art in the light of David Lewis-Williams' neuropsychological model, exploring its relation to the development of the fully-modern human mind.

Hancock's chief areas of interest are ancient mysteries, stone monuments or megaliths, ancient myths and astronomical/astrological data from the past. One of the main themes running through many of his books is the possible global connection with a 'mother culture' from which he believes all ancient historical civilizations sprang. Although his books have sold more than five million copies worldwide and have been translated into twenty-seven languages, his methods and conclusions have found little support among academics. Often criticised for being a pseudoarchaeologist, Hancock, who freely admits he has no formal training in archaeology, sees himself as providing a counterbalance to what he perceives as the 'unquestioned' acceptance and support given to orthodox views by the education system, the media, and by society at large. [ [ Graham Hancock's website] ]

Basing his argument on the 1995 book 'When the Sky Fell' by Rand and Rose Flem-Ath (proteges of Prof. Charles Hapgood), Hancock argues that the earth's crust, the tectonic plates treated as a single outer layer, is capable of suddenly shifting its orientation relative to the underlying mantle. He points to evidence of temperate plants and animals that were apparently "flash-frozen" in areas that are now frigid but were once much warmer. In approximately 11,600 BC, according to the Flem-Aths, a sudden cataclysm shifted Antarctica to the south by about 2000 miles. Prior to this event Antarctica may have supported a human civilization whose habitations, including cities, are now buried in Antarctic ice. Citing similarities in the lore of the world's ancient civilizations, the authors argue that mariners representing this ancient civilization then traveled the world to found the world's ancient civilizations.


Born in Edinburgh, Hancock's formative years were spent in India, where his father worked as a surgeon. Having returned to the UK, he graduated from Durham University in 1973, receiving a First Class Honours degree in Sociology.

As a journalist, Hancock worked for many British papers, such as "The Times", "The Sunday Times", "The Independent", and "The Guardian". He was co-editor of New Internationalist magazine from 1976-1979 and East Africa correspondent of "The Economist" from 1981-1983. In 1996 he appeared in The Mysterious Origins of Man.cite news | url= | title=NBC's Origins Show | publisher=Committee for Skeptical Inquiry |date= March 1996 | first=Dave | last=Thomas | accessdate = 2007-02-19]

Orion Correlation Theory

A recurring theme in several of Hancock's works has been an exposition on the "Orion Correlation Theory" (or OCT), first put forward by Belgian writer Robert Bauval and then further expounded in collaborative works with Hancock, as well as in their separate publications. The basis of this theory concerns the proposition that the relative positions of three main Ancient Egyptian pyramids on the Giza plateau are (by design) correlated with the relative positions of the three stars in the constellation of Orion which make up Orion's Belt— as these stars appeared ca. 10,500 BC.

Their initial claims regarding the alignment of the Giza pyramids with Orion ("…the three pyramids were an unbelievably precise terrestrial map of the three stars of Orion's belt") [ "Fingerprints of the Gods", 1995, p.375] are later joined with speculation about the age of the Great Sphinx [Hancock and Bauval, "Keeper of Genesis", published 1997 in the U.S. as "The Message of the Sphinx"] . According to these works, the Great Sphinx was constructed circa 10,500 BC, and its lion-shape is maintained to be a definitive reference to the constellation of Leo. Furthermore, the orientation and dispositions of the Sphinx, the Giza pyramids and the Nile River relative to one another on the ground is put forward as an accurate reflection or "map" of the constellations of Leo, Orion (specifically, Orion's Belt) and the Milky Way respectively. As Hancock puts it in 1998's "The Mars Mystery" (co-authored with Bauval):

...we have demonstrated with a substantial body of evidence that the pattern of stars that is "frozen" on the ground at Giza in the form of the three pyramids and the Sphinx represents the disposition of the constellations of Orion and Leo as they looked at the moment of sunrise on the spring equinox during the astronomical "Age of Leo" (i.e., the epoch in which the Sun was "housed" by Leo on the spring equinox.) Like all precessional ages this was a 2,160-year period. It is generally calculated to have fallen between the Gregorian calendar dates of 10,970 and 8810 BC. ("op. cit.", p.189)
The allusions to dates ca. 12,500 years ago are significant to Hancock since this is the era he seeks to assign to the advanced progenitor civilization, now vanished, but which he contends through most of his works had existed and whose advanced technology influenced and shaped the development of the world's (known) civilizations of antiquity. Egyptology and archaeological science maintain that available evidence indicates that the Giza pyramids and the Great Sphinx were constructed during the Fourth dynasty period (3rd millennium BC(January 21, 2004) (2006) The Seven Wonders. [ The Great Pyramid of Giza] .] ). Hancock does not dispute the dating evidence for the pyramids, but instead argues that they must have been planned with the knowledge of how the stars had appeared some eight thousand years before they were actually built —since the OCT claims they are oriented that way— which it is implied provides further evidence for the influence of a technology and knowledge which would not have been available to the pyramids' builders.

The claims made by Hancock, Bauval, and others (such as Adrian Gilbert and Anthony West) concerning the significance of these proposed correlations have been examined by several scientists, who have published detailed criticism and rebuttal of these ideas.

Among these critiques are several from two astronomers, Ed Krupp of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and Anthony Fairall, astronomy professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Using planetarium equipment, Krupp and Fairall independently investigated the angle between the alignment of Orion's Belt and north during the era cited by Hancock, Bauval et al. (which differs from the angle seen today or in the 3rd millennium BC, because of the precession of the equinoxes), and found that the angle was considerably different from the "perfect match" claimed by Bauval and Hancock in the OCT– 47-50 degrees per the planetarium measurements, compared to the 38 degree angle formed by the pyramids. cite journal| author=Fairall, Anthony |authorlink=Anthony Fairall |year=1999 |title=Precession and the layout of the Ancient Egyptian pyramids |journal=Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society |url= |month=June]

Krupp also pointed out that the slightly-bent line formed by the three pyramids was deviated towards the north, whereas the slight "kink" in the line of Orion's Belt was deformed to the south, and to match them up one or the other of them had to be turned upside-down.cite journal|author=Krupp, Ed |authorlink=Ed Krupp |title=Pyramid Marketing Schemes |journal=Sky and Telescope |year=1997 |month=February |url=] Indeed, this is what was done in the original book by Bauval and Gilbert ("The Orion Mystery"), which compared images of the pyramids and Orion without revealing the pyramids' map had been inverted.cite web|author=Krupp, Ed|title=Astronomical Integrity at Giza |year=2002 |url= |publisher=The Antiquity of Man |accessdate=2006-08-08] . Krupp and Fairall find other problems with the claims, including noting that if the Sphinx is meant to represent the constellation of Leo, then it should be on the opposite side of the Nile (the "Milky Way") from the pyramids ("Orion"), that the vernal equinox ca. 10,500 BC was in Virgo and not Leo, and that in any case the constellations of the Zodiac originate from Mesopotamia and are completely unknown in Egypt until the much later Graeco-Roman era. However, one commentator has suggested that in his articles on this subject, Krupp is guilty "of doing exactly what he accuses those he attacks of doing: exemplary pseudo-science". [ [ Conman, Joanne (2002) 'Blinking Back: Eyeball to Eyeball with Ed Krupp'] ] This same commentator however, while criticising certain of Krupp's statements about the nature of Ancient Egyptian astronomy, describes the theories of Hancock and Bauval as being "unlikely, for several [other] reasons." (Conman 2002)

The theory of an older Sphinx has received significantly more support from mainstream science. Most famously, geologist Robert M. Schoch has argued that the effects of water erosion on the Sphinx and its surrounding enclosure means that parts of the monument must originally have been carved at the latest between 7,000–5,000 BC. [ [ synopsis of a 1999 paper by Schoch] ] Schoch's analysis has been broadly corroborated by another geologist, David Coxill, who agrees that the Sphinx has been heavily weathered by rainwater and must therefore have been carved in pre-dynastic times, [ [ Coxhill, David (1998) cited by Robert Schoch] ] while a third geologist, Colin Reader, has suggested a date several hundred years prior to the commonly accepted date for construction. These views, however, have been almost universally rejected by mainstream Egyptologists who, together with a number of geologists, stand by the conventional dating for the monument. Their analyses attribute the apparently accelerated wear on the Sphinx variously to modern industrial pollution, qualitative differences between the layers of limestone in the monument itself, scouring by wind-borne sand, and/or temperature changes causing the stone to crack.

BBC "Horizon" controversy

Many attempts have been made to refute Hancock's ideas, most famously by BBC 2's "Horizon" programme, in a November 4, 1999 broadcast entitled "Atlantis Reborn". This programme detailed one of Hancock's claims that the arrangement of an ancient temple complex was designed to mirror astronomical features and demonstrated that the same thing could be done with perhaps equal justification using famous landmarks in New York. It also alleged that Hancock had selectively moved or ignored the locations of some of the temples to fit his own theories, and had ignored the texts on the temples themselves explaining why and when they had been built. Hancock claims he was misrepresented by the programme, and he and Robert Bauval made complaints to the Broadcasting Standards Commission against the way the BBC programme portrayed them and their work. Eight points were raised by Hancock, two by Bauval (one of which duplicated a complaint of Hancock's). This included the complaint::"The programme had created the impression that he" [Hancock] "was an intellectual fraudster who had put forward half baked theories and ideas in bad faith, and that he was incompetent to defend his own arguments". The BSC, which made no judgement on Hancock or the evidence for or against his theories, dismissed all but one of the complaints. Overall, the BSC concluded that "the programme makers acted in good faith in their examination of the theories of Mr Hancock and Mr Bauval". The complaint which was upheld was that "The programme unfairly omitted one of their arguments in rebuttal of a speaker who criticised the theory of a significant correlation between the Giza pyramids and the belt stars of the constellation Orion (the "correlation theory")", which the Commission did find to be unfair. "Horizon" subsequently offered to broadcast a revised transmission of the programme which takes into account the one point which was found in the writers' favour. This went to air on December 14, 2000.

Despite the general tenor of the BSC's ruling, Hancock's official website states that the BSC "found in favour of Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval", quoting only those sections of the ruling that focus on the 'correlation theory'. [ [ BBC Horizon: "Atlantis Uncovered" and "Altantis [sic] Reborn", 28 October & 4 November 1999] , Graham Hancock's official website]


*"Lords of Poverty"
*"The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant" (Toronto: Doubleday, 1992) ISBN 0-671-86541-2
*"Fingerprints of the Gods"
*"Keeper of Genesis" (released in the US as Message of the Sphinx)
*"The Mars Mystery"
*"Heaven's Mirror" (with wife Santha Faiia)
*"Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization"
*"Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith" (with co-author Robert Bauval)

ee also

* Mythology
* Archaeoastronomy
* Pseudoarchaeology
* Zahi Hawass
* Robert Bauval
* Erich von Däniken
* Laurence Gardner
* Terrence McKenna
* Lemuria and Easter island


External links

* [ Graham Hancock's official website]
* [ Broadcasting Standards Commission - Synopsis of adjudication. Horizon: Atlantis Reborn (November 4, 1999)]
* [ The BBC's response to the Horizon programme debate]
* [ Robert Bauval's official site']
* [ Robert Schoch's official site]
* [ Skeptical review of Hancock #1]
* [ Skeptical review of Hancock #2]
* [ Arguments against Hancock]
* [ Criticism of Hancock's astronomical arguments]
* [ A marine geo-archaeologist relates his experience of Hancock's methods with lengthy discussion following]
* [ A site critical of Hancock and pseudoarchaeologists]

NAME= Hancock, Graham
SHORT DESCRIPTION=British writer and journalist
DATE OF BIRTH=1950-08-02
PLACE OF BIRTH=Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

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