Stone Circles of South Africa: Two Very Different Perspectives
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The Extraterrestrial Theory of Stone Circles: Aliens Cloned UsI raise a sceptical eyebrow as I touch the low wall that surrounds me. I'm in the middle of a large circle made from hundreds of thousands of stones neatly laid on top of each other. In some places the walls climb to 2m high, and smaller circles are clustered inside a massive outer ring. I'm intrigued by the painstaking precision needed to create these vast structures, and astonished to hear there are thousands of them scattered across a province the Zulus named Mpumalanga. Only aerial photos show the complexity of the designs and just how extensive they are. "Tell me again who built them?" I ask. The answers are as perplexing as the circles themselves. "This is where the gods came down and created humankind," says tour leader Michael Tellinger. An alien species came to Earth to mine gold that they could use to repair the damaged atmosphere of their own planet. But rather than toil themselves, they used their knowledge of cloning to create humans to be their workforce, he believes. "These were advanced beings who knew the key to genetic cloning. We are dealing with an advanced civilisation, not primitive caveman as proposed by mainstream history." Michael Tellinger is a former musician turned author who antagonises academics with what they dismiss as outlandish theories. Still, he's making a living at it, having written three books and regularly appearing at literary and mystical speaking tours, including two tours to the USA. He runs a museum that contains eclectic items including "mysterious stone tools" described as 50,000 years old, a "hand tool" dating back 10,000 years, and a "sex ritual tool" in action 30,000 years ago. Tellinger also runs tours to some of the more accessible sites, including Kaapschehoop, where the stones and the theories are even bigger. Now he shows us Adam's Calendar, hailing it as the oldest manmade structure on Earth and the true birthplace of mankind.
The Scientific Theory of Stone Circles: The Koni People Built ItMy interest piqued but my incredulity stretched by aliens and levitation, I tracked down archaeologist Dr Alex Schoeman for another explanation. Schoeman is studying the thousands of stone circles dotting the landscape, but her theory is sadly less enthralling than the alien cloning option. Schoeman believes the walls date back no more than 700 to 800 years, and were built by a tribe of herdsmen called the Koni. "We know very little about them," she says. "The homeland of Koni had been long destroyed by the time westerners arrived." The walls were part of much larger towns that included homesteads and cattle enclosures, with roads running between them. On the outskirts are agriculture terraces, proving that the tribesmen had mastered the art of land and cattle management. Schoeman estimates that 20,000 people could have lived in each settlement prior to the 1800s. And with such a large workforce, they could build them using sheer manual labour, rather than levitation. As for Adam's Calendar, Schoeman says: "These are free standing dolerite stones with no evidence that they form any specific structure. Dolerite weathers in strange ways and these are examples of a perfectly natural weathering process." Few human or animal remains have been found around the circles, but so far there has been very little excavation. Besides, the repercussions of discovering human bones make many archaeologists reluctant to unearth them to avoid being tied up in endless rules and regulations.
Tellinger is by no means alone in supporting a Genesis-like creation for mankind. But the Wits team is sticking to the theory of evolution, rather than the wham, bam clone-a-man idea. "Tons of scientific work has been done and a sequence of fossils suggests gradual evolution," Schoeman says. The archaeological story will win more exposure if Schoeman and her colleagues can raise money to complete a book and a documentary they are working on. She has also applied for government grants to fund workshops to train people from the local communities as guides and managers. "We are trying to make sure all the sites are better managed because some are getting destroyed," she says. "We are also looking at developing a proper tourism plan and training guides to make knowledge about these sites more accessible to the general public." At the moment the only way to see the stones for yourself is to hire a guide, and Tellinger is the most obvious option. He's definitely the most entertaining. Besides, when the wind blows around the weirdly shaped stones and you feel very small under Africa's huge skies, it's easy to believe that something bigger than us was at work many moons ago. But perhaps it was just some very industrious herdsmen, with nothing much to do all day except guard the cattle and places stones on top of each other. I doubt they ever thought how baffling those simple actions to create a village would seem one day.
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Lesley Stones is a former Brit who is now proudly South African.
She started her career by reviewing rock bands for a national UK music
paper, then worked for various newspapers before spending four fun-filled
years in Cairo, where she ended up editing a technology magazine.
Lesley was the Information Technology Editor for a daily business newspaper
for 12 years before quitting to go freelance, specialising in travel &
leisure writing and being opinionated about life in general. Her absolute
passions are travel, theatre, the cinema, wining and dining.
Photos by Riaan de Villiers and Lesley Stones