Roots of Civilization has 27 ratings and 3 reviews. Forrest said: [Update]: I’ve re- read the book since I wrote this review. It’s as good as I remember i. CHAPTER. The Early Work of Alexander Marshack. 1. Introduction. Alexander Marshack was born in April, in the Bronx. He attended highschool in the. The Early Work of Alexander Marshack. 1. Introduction. Alexander Marshack was born in April, in the Bronx. He attended high school in the borough and.

Author: Bat Mosho
Country: Egypt
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Education
Published (Last): 5 August 2008
Pages: 206
PDF File Size: 11.79 Mb
ePub File Size: 20.8 Mb
ISBN: 897-3-84234-292-3
Downloads: 75227
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Talrajas

Here’s a closeup of the upper right corner: Notice any difference between the corners?

One has the lines left copy and the other does not A small difference that makes a big difference in terms of scarcity and value. This pair is especially interesting and has additional value because marshafk pair has both types This is one of the “officially recognized” US Postage stamps with slight engraving differences between what appear to be identical stamps. Now, here is another pair of stamps that appear identical: This is one of the clearest examples of a calendar associated with the phases of the moon.

This bit of a bone has been dated to 20, – 25, years ago. It was found in Africa and is known as the Ishango Tool. This has to be one of the great masterpieces we have managed to find. J Frank La Alexandeer, Mar 4,2: I had this book on my shelf of unread books for a long time.

I had actually tried to start it once but put it down as I did not feel ready to read it and for that I’m grateful.

Roots of Civilization by Alexander Marshack

In some circles it is held to be controversial but as far as I am concerned the skeptics, well I think they are fools. That’s what a lot of scholars have a hard time accepting, especially since the standard line is that counting and writing did not start until about years ago in ancient Mesopotamia.

The proof presented is a large and varied sample of artifacts. The reasoning behind the conclusion is the result of a meticulous alexannder detailed examination of these objects, usually under a high-power microscope.

It’s a funny thing perhaps, may even sound a bit arrogant, but I find myself somewhat uniquely qualified to speak to this subject because I am probably one of a very few persons who has actually done this type of work. My experience has given me a personal, real and tactile sense of how one evaluates such material in this way.

You see, I am a Philatelist, better known as a Stamp Collector. In the course on decades of work with my stamps collection, I developed an deep interest and some small skill at the detailed examination of the minute variations that exist on Postage Stamps. In the field it has been given the title “Fly-Speck Collecting”.

As the name implies, the interest is in something quite small In today’s world of mass-production, a typical alexandrr U. In the early days, a typical issue might only be issued withcopies, many times much less. In addition, alexandeer printing process was all manual and every issue was hand engraved on a steel master.

The single master copy was hand transferred to a printing plate which might hold 25, 40, 50 or identical copies of the original master.

From this plate, the sheets of stamps were printed. When a human does the same task times, there is always the possibility of a slip or some minor variation in the transfer pressure or angle at which the original was “rocked in”. Any such occurrence is alezander in the final product and may yield a situation where one stamp in a sheet of is slightly different from the rest.


Collectors notice such things In addition, the plates wear during the printing process. Over time, the images get a bit fainter over time as the metal thins. If the plate is used long enough, the printers decide that some repair work is required and an engraver does some “touch up” mqrshack on the weakest copies.

These modifications may be significant alexsnder to also be noticeable. Finally, plates can get damaged. If they are not fired and treated properly, they will crack, causing new lines to appear where there were none.

There are also known cases where tools were dropped on the plates, leaving scars and damage. For those of us who cared about such things, these are highly collectible, or at least at one time they once were. Today the interest has died off due to the sheer volumn of the mashack stamps. A few examples from my collection Here’s a common US stamp: Now, take a look at this stamp and the one next to it: And a closeup of Washington’s head on each stamp: Remember that I mentioned that at times when a plate of stamps got worn, that an engraver would “retouch” the weak parts of the image, alexqnder, this is an example of jarshack Finally a series of images for a common early stamp: The first example is a normal stamp.

The second has a single “recut” in the upper left. The third has 3 “recuts”.

The 4th copy is an example of what is called a “double transfer”, meaning that the image was not laid down properly by the engraver The next shows a crack in a plate.

The next 2 show 2 “recuts” and the final shows a “gash”, thought to result aleander a dropped tool. Now, I did this for a very specific reason I did not come by these stamps by spending a lot of money on them.

Only one of alexqnder was actually purchased – the cracked stamp, which is actually the finest example in US stamps. The others were found the hard way I bought thousands and I mean thousands of samples of this stamp and others and examined them under magnification, one by one. For the marshcak part of a decade, this is what I did in my spare time.

Alexander Marshack

At one time I estimated that I had bought something likestamps in bulk lots and checked all of them. What this work has given me is a certain perspective on the work Marschak has done.

The above shows what I meant when I stated that I was somewhat uniquely qualified to evaluate Marshack’s work. I suspect that there are very few persons about that have comparable experience. But Marschack did not examine Postage Stamps – he examined hundreds of bones and artifacts and stones that carried a variety of markings.

He was able to tell a variety of interesting things from them, like: All this was accomplished from a detailed examination under magnification. The biggest question, of course, is: And, it they were a record of some type of marshaco, what was being counted? Mxrshack find this of particular interest because it has always seemed incorrect, even highly arrogant, to assume, as most historians seem to assume, that mrshack begins with the first formal system of writing and that this first took place in Mesopotamia about years ago.

While the folks who left us the cave drawings in places like Lascoux did not leave behind any literary works, marshacm is hard for me to see them as “uncivilized”. It seems like such a modern conceit. Then there is the matter of the calendar.

Alexander Marshack – Wikipedia

Are we to believe that earlier people had no alesander of the year just because they did not have an alphabet? If the Chaldeans knew so much about time and the calendar at the dawn of civilization, did they just happen to achieve this knowledge because they decided to start inscribing things on clay tablets? Or were there earlier systems of recording things that we simply do not yet recognize as such. And then there is the Zodiac and the constellations.


There is evidence that the ancient Egyptians and Aleander knew of the astronomical process known as the precession of the equinoxes which shows itself thru the pattern of constellations that appear on the horizon at the time of the equinoxes. The trouble is that the cycle of the precession is a cycle that takes 26, years to complete. Alexandre if you are able to recognize part of the circular pattern and put together that idea alexaner a cysle, how long do you need to be observing things before any of it becomes apparant.

Alfxander there are the eclipses. We know that they alexandet be predicted by the ancients. How long did they have to make observations and keep records in order to recognize a pattern of events that occurred in odd frequencies of years: For instance, Halley’s comet has been returning to the night sky every years for a very long time.

Yet its period of return was not recognized until its return in was accurately predicted. Records of its appearance go back at least to BC. This is the same line of reasoning that caused Marschak to question the large number of “suddenlies” that occurred in the Near East associated with writing, calendars, Quoting from another writer on the web: Marshack found several pages of the first chapter, in which he proposed to trace the origin of humanity’s interest in the moon, impossible to write because of, as he put it, all the “suddenlies” concerning the appearance in the archaeological record–from Sumer, Egypt, and India–of sophisticated solar-lunar-stellar calendars related to agriculture.

To his way of thinking, these achievements alexancer millennia of preparation. The only generalization Marshack was able to extract from his survey of the literature was that alesander all these calendric systems lay an earlier calendric tradition based on lunar cycles. Under the pressure of mrashack deadline, and unable to write a satisfactory first chapter, Marshack picked up at random an article from Scientific American about a bone with incised scratches from Ishango, at the headwaters of the Nile, dating from about B.

Alwxander author of the article concluded that the scratches probably represented “an arithmetical game,” perhaps having to do with multiplying by two. Finding this explanation unsatisfactory, because it implied no purpose for the markings, Marshack was struck by the thought that these scratches must represent some sort of notation, some sort of “storied meaning.

Within fifteen minutes he came to see that it was possible that his hypothesis was correct, and that it was impossible to rule it out. Years of research in museums all over Europe into incised Ice Age bones were required before Marshack could publish his results, which confirmed his initial flash of insight. The Roots of Civilization demonstrates that alexandder the arising of our genotype, Homo sapiens sapiens, some forty millennia ago, attention to the measurement of periods of time as manifested by celestial bodies and motions has been an activity as persistently and widely pursued by people as the getting of food or the making of tools.

They were just like us. We have become more technically advanced, not smarter.