Lost Australian Colonies of the Bronze Age God-Kings Part 1 cont...
Mystery relics and rock inscriptions in a host of ancient tongues continue to turn up Australia -wide demonstrating that these peoples were no mere casual visitors to these shores. Indeed, there is enough evidence to show that the colonies established here were of long duration, lasting generations, even centuries. Some of these colonies possessed pyramids and such structures would not have been constructed without long-term colonisation in mind.
At the height of the Bronze Age [2000-1400 BC] the Pharaohs of Egypt were dispatching often enormous fleets of large wooden ships, loaded with miner-colonists and their families, together with livestock and supplies, into the Indian Ocean to island south-east Asia. Just how far these expeditions, consisting of Egyptians, Phoenicians, Libyans, Celts and others sailed is a mystery to historians. Yet there is plenty of evidence to show that many of these expeditions penetrated beyond Torres Strait to explore eastern Australia, or sail on into the West Pacific Islands, including New Zealand, leaving cultural and other influences among the native inhabitants which are still evident today.
This three-part article will explore this evidence, beginning with the colony now being revealed which covered a vast area of the Atherton Tableland, and which covered [at this stage] a coastal front extending from the Cooktown district southward to Tully. That there was contact between it and others further south at Proserpine, Sarina and Gympie seems certain.
Hidden deep in the Cape York Peninsula jungle stands a crumbling stepped pyramid. Originally found by a Cooktown farmer, while clearing rainforest in a remote area in the mid-19th century, it was afterwards visited by a few early settlers, until the jungle reclaimed it and the location became lost with the dying off of the old pioneers. When in 1978 Heather and I first heard of this structure from an old Cairns resident, we had only vague directions to follow. At first our searches for the “lost pyramid of far north Qld” drew a blank. Then in September, 1987 we stumbled upon what may or may not be the same pyramid.
Struggling through the dense forest growth covering the structure, we found it to be a crumbling ruin, built of copper, quartz, iron and other ores, as well as other rock of varying sizes, some weighing as much as 2 to 4 tonnes, through which centuries of tree growth had grown, dislodging much of the stonework. However, we counted eight terraces, the summit being enclosed by a low [now rubble] wall, the structure rising 18.3m tall. The pyramid was aligned with the four points of the compass and a large crude altar stone, now toppled over lay at the eastern end of the summit. It measured 1.53m in height when upright by 2.14m in length and 2m in width. Each of the four base terraces measured 33.5m in length, and we also detected the rubble remains of a low wall which, extending out from the structure for 6m, was 60m in length enclosing the pyramid on all four sides with an opening at the north-west corner of the wall.
We also found the south face of the pyramid possessed two causeways, one at the western side showed signs of a former stairway to the summit, measuring 4.5m in width, while the other towards the eastern end consisted of two paths separated by a centre wall leading down to a former enclosure, probably two small shrines,. Both causeways were lined by outer rubble walls.
On future return investigations at the site we located an extensive area of ancient alluvial gold mining operations and open-cut gold and copper mining on a nearby mountainside.
During July and October 2002 Heather and I returned to the Cooktown district. The whole Atherton-Cape York region was in the midst of a terrible drought and the jungle covering the pyramid had died off considerably, permitting us for the first time to obtain good photographs of the structure. Because of the die-off of vegetation we discovered numerous small slabs of stone bearing Egyptian and Phoenician inscriptions. These were votive offering messages left with sacrifices upon the pyramid.
During the July visit we discovered two large stones bearing lengthy inscriptions in a mixed Egypto-Phoenician script. These had hitherto been overlooked in the former dense jungle covering.
One of the inscribed stones, an ironstone slab measuring 2.5m length by 1.7m width and 40cm thick lay against the summit terrace of the west face of the pyramid.
It was later translated to read:
“The mines in the mountains, watched over by Ra’s Eye, the Sun, as he rises
over the ocean to shine even in winter.
He cares for the land with his light.
Ta-na, our King, the dark-haired, arrived here by the ‘Ship of the Royal
He officiates at the pyramid ceremonies and rules over the mines of
shining gold and copper”.
The second inscribed stone lay at the north-west corner of the base terrace. Engraved in the same mixed script, it read:
“The pyramid of stone has been built upright and the land cultivated.
Ra’s eye brings light to cultivate the land. 100 ships of Ra have been carried
here by his breath the wind under the protection of his rays of light. Fleets
of gold ships of Ra depart for Dan. Gather for him at the temple. Burn incense to Ra.”
With the return of the rain to the region the jungle will soon cover the pyramid again, together with the nearby traces of ancient dwellings, another find made by us during our October 2002 visit.
The pyramid was obviously a solar worship structure and the centrepiece of a large community. One of the small votive offering stone inscriptions stated in Phoenician: “The pyramid temple of Ra, built by the miners from the mountains”.
The pyramid was constructed with crude ores and large stones from mining operations carried out in the vicinity. It is possible ancient roads will eventually be identified hereabouts, by which the locally-smelted ores were transported down to Cooktown Harbour where further traces of settlement have turned up. Such operations [as “Pyramids in the Pacific” has shown] would have required oxen-driven carts or the use of pack mules, brought here from bases in south-east Asia. From Cooktown triremes sailed for home loaded with the gold, copper and other precious metals and gemstones gathered hereabouts.
Far to the south around the town of Atherton ,many more stones bearing a mixture of ancient Middle-East scripts are turning up, and farmers have found the remains of what appears to be an ancient road that led from a tin-bearing area to descend down the Atherton Range to the coast near the present site of Cairns.
During our July 2002 expedition we spent time with a friend on a sugar cane farm at Smithfield on the northern outskirts of the city. An ancient, now silted up inlet and former backwater of Cairns Harbour lies here, and while exploring around its old shoreline I recovered several small slate stones from the soil bearing Bronze age inscriptions. Three were ‘message’ stones, eg inscriptions that often contain information of the day-to-day lives of people.
These inscriptions stated:
“Yata, by ship I came, for Captain Baga-i”; “Waga, the captain, has led our crew to this place in our ship Eye of Ra,”
“My name is Shem of Lud”.
The other two specimens were ‘votive offering’ inscriptions, surely from a nearby long-vanished temple to Ra.
These inscriptions read:
“Ra is positioned over this land and observes our birth and death. Zata, to Ra’s Eye, the Sun, prays”;
“Takona made offerings at the temple to Ra”.
I believe further fieldwork hereabouts could turn up further remains, perhaps even those of ancient smelters, from where the gold, copper and tin recovered from the mountains was placed on triremes for the long voyage back to the Red Sea ports.
As this series of articles will show, the colonies to be covered have revealed rock inscriptions in which the names of rulers appear. The fact is that these colonies became so large that their huge populations required the establishment of local ruling classes. As the inscription on the temple-pyramid near Cooktown states, one ruler of this mighty colony was King Ta-na. Perhaps future inscriptions will be found revealing other monarchs.
Pharaoh Ta-na ruled over a considerable territory which surely extended westward to the mineral -rich lands of the Gulf Country. His colony, like the others further south, were of such long duration that in the course of time the mixed population of Egyptians, Libyans, Phoenicians and Celts etc., inter-bred, mixing their cultural ideas and also their individual scripts to create one consisting of a variety of letters and symbols. Even the seafarers of these nations had developed their own scripts and these can be found upon rocks often deep inland along coastal rivers which the colonists explored in search of mineral sites, or even good timber for boat building.
It is now an established fact, particularly among pre-Columbian researchers, that upon reaching the coast of Africa, the Americas or any other country and locating the mouths of coastal river systems, they would sail along these, stopping every so often to explore inland in search of mineral or gemstone sites. If worthwhile deposits were discovered bases would be established here and at the river’s mouth, while one or two vessels [assuming there was the usual fleet on such expeditions] would be sent home to return with more ships and settlers for the new mining colony that would arise and expand as more mineral and gemstone-bearing localities were uncovered.
For example, large numbers of Egyptian, Phoenician, Libyan, Celtic and other rock scripts are being uncovered by Heather and I over a wide area of the NSW Central West and New England district of the state’s north, principally at sites in the Dubbo and Bathurst gold, copper and tin-bearing districts bordering the Macquarie River.
In the Inverell, Tamworth and Nundle districts bordering the Namoi-Peel River system, and outside Moree near the Gwydir River. All these rivers flow out of the Darling River which branches off the Murray River near Wentworth in the state’s south-west corner, the Murray River [which begins on the South Australian coast at Encounter Bay] from its junction with the Darling River, flows eastwards to connect with other inland rivers, eg the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan, both of which flow deep through the state’s south-western interior where vast deposits of precious metals and gemstones are to be found even today. Ancient rock scripts have come to light along all these rivers and the Murray’s other offshoots into Victoria.
Today most of these waterways might not be navigable for large vessels, but in antiquity when the water tables were higher, triremes could have penetrated them. And when a river narrowed or became shallow, the crewmen would take to a smaller craft, eg the Hippos, which were about twice the size of an old British longboat, even smaller kayak-size paddle craft.
The Phoenicians in particular were expert geologists. For example, upon finding ant nests, they would examine the tiny stones removed from the depths by the ants scattered around the nest with magnifying lenses. If there were traces of quartz they would know there was a chance of gold thereabouts; or if fragments of agate or other gemstones were identified they knew there would be precious stones to be found. Little wonder that the Phoenicians were the master miners of the ancient world!
The explorations of coastal river systems in Australia in particular explains why Heather and I have been able to uncover ancient rock inscriptions and other relics deep in Central Australia, Central Qld and in the NSW central western districts etc. There seems hardly a remote part of Australia where the hardy Phoenicians [if not others] have not penetrated in antiquity, and wherever megalithic temples and pyramids of these miners have been found it is certain that these were the centre pieces of large colonies of long duration.
Journeying south down the Qld coast from Cairns lies Tully, where on the Tully River further Phoenician rock scripts are beginning to turn up, and much farther south traces of megalithic coastal ruins, a large carved stone head and more Phoenician rock inscriptions have been uncovered by Heather and I within recent years, suggesting much more awaits us thereabouts.
However, during our July 2002 far north Qld expedition we chanced [actually upon one of my notorious ‘hunches’!] to stumble upon the extensive rubble remains of a temple, hidden deep within a rainforest at a coastal mountain site beside a waterway. Today the coastal flats hereabouts are covered in sugar cane farms, the town and a network of roads and houses, giving no indication that a major mining colony may have existed there up to 3,000 or more years ago!
As my new book will show, extensive copper and gold mining was carried out in the nearby mountain range, the minerals being smelted hereabouts, placed on triremes and sailed northwards up the coast, presumably for the long voyage to the Red Sea ports.
The Proserpine temple was constructed of basalt rocks, many quite large. Centuries of tree growth had toppled walls but we could still detect the outlines of what turned out to be small shrines to Isis, Bel and Baal. Here was a communal temple at which people of more than one nationality worshipped, but principally a centre for the worship of Baal, to whom it was dedicated.
As we were on our way south when we discovered this temple and could only spend a few hours there, we had no time to carry out detailed measurements of the structure. However, scattered among the ruins we unearthed 17 inscribed ‘votive offering’ stones from the vicinity of the shrines, these consisting of one Egyptian prayer: “Isis make my bell swell, Irala”, with two other Egyptian messages reading: “Dabaz the Elder commands all gather to worship Ra,” and “Assemble here to give thanks to Ra for his protection of the Ships of the Sun”. T
he remaining inscriptions were in Celto-Phoenician script, seven of which were ‘mourning stones’, for example, one such message read: “Woe to dark-haired Ragi. Alas, he is no more. At this place Nata leaves offerings to him. Baal watch over him,” and “Mourn Syna, gone to Baal. He died of snake bite. Mourned by Gil”.
Yet the most remarkable find was a 24cm tall weathered basalt image of Baal holding the Sun in his right hand and the message “Baal the sun” engraved on the back.
Clearing away the vines and shrubbery we uncovered a fallen, 76cm tall by 50cm wide broken basalt stele bearing the inscription: “Worship Baal the Sun here. Pour libations of water to the god”.
Nearby lay a 60cm length by 30cm width stone bearing the message: “On this land the rays of light of the Sun Baal radiate”.
And then, clearing away a thick covering of leaves from a large rock I found it to be a small altar stone bearing more Phoenician script. Measuring 60cm in length by 36cm in width by 27cm tall, the altar inscriptions, I realised, bore the name of a local monarch. It was translated to read: “King Nagi lights the sacrificial fire to Baal whose eye is above us all, and whose light grows the sacred fungus. Gather here to worship Baal. Gather and behold his eye, the Sun”.
The presence of a king implies that far more evidence awaits Heather and I in the Proserpine district, evidence of a great colony, the settlement having surely covered a considerable area somewhere out there on the coastal flats.
Daylight was fading as we feverishly recorded all that we had found before working our way out of the darkening forest, but we were soon back again in October on another search in Qld’s north, for the purpose of resuming work on the Cooktown district pyramid/colony, and our latest discoveries at Proserpine.
On this visit we found the ongoing drought had in our absence killed off much of the jungle growth. As a result I turned up another dozen inscribed stones scattered about the dried leaves covering the small shrines. All these were engraved in Phoenician script. One small slab bore the image of a long-necked, four-legged and tailed animal, depicting the offering which the accompanying message stated was “Placed here at the temple”. These inscriptions revealed a family influence on the site.
One small [14cm by 11cm] votive offering stone message read: “This day, brought here, and slain for the Sun, Baal, an offering by Naga, son of Sheb”.
Another votive offering stone measuring 13cm by 12.5cm stated: “To Baal the Sun. Sheb to the Sun makes an offering”.
I uncovered two more ‘Sheb’ inscriptions which revealed more about the colony. One read: “The ships of King Raga gather. They assemble here, commanded by Sheb, his son. They grow in number”. The other inscription stated: “Before the Sun’s Eye we set out. The crews gather for Sheb. Baal watch over us”.
If we are dealing with the same Sheb, he was the son of one of the kings of this colony, and it would appear that Sheb was about to command a fleet setting sail, perhaps for the Red Sea ports laden with gold, copper and other precious metals mined in the nearby mountains.
The die-off of the former dense jungle made it possible for us to finally measure the site, which was 257m in length by 39.15m in width, erected on an east-west axis on its mountain top location.
We also discovered that, although the temple had originally been built in Bronze Age times [the Celto-Phoenician inscriptions found hereabouts date to around 1600 BC], it was still in use by the time of the emergence of the Iron Age, which had begun around 1400 BC. Our evidence for this was the discovery of a large rock bearing a remarkable inscription in Phoenician.
The rock, projecting from the ground at an angle, measured 1.19m length by 50cm wide. To one side of it we discovered a 76cm length by 46cm width and 18cm thick basalt libation altar with a 12.5cm by 5cm wide and 6cm deep hollow for pouring libations.
Yet the inscriptions revealed much, for when I later translated it I found it was one more relic of another chapter in the unknown colonisation of Australia lately beginning to emerge.
The inscription stated:
“This section of the temple of Baal the Sun has been built by the settlers of
the ships of Hiram and Solomon for giving thanks. To this colony built on the
flat land ships sail, to this land of black people to work, mine and grow
grain for all. Bana your ruler declares”.
The evidence suggests that this inscription dates to the reign of King Solomon of Judea, and the Phoenician King Hiram of Tyre. Solomon died in 950 BC and famous for his temple [originally a Phoenician structure which he added to], for which he dispatched expeditions far and wide to gather gold, silver, copper, other precious metals and gemstones to be used in this temple’s adornment. For this purpose he called upon the assistance of one of his allies, King Hiram [as the Old Testament states] to supply ships needed to obtain these riches.
Just how far the ships of these monarchs sailed is a mystery, but I believe Australia was prominent on their list.
The presence of the joint expedition fleet of these two monarchs at the Proserpine colony now seems certain, and that during their stay additional rooms were added to the temple by the Phoenicians from this expedition.
During our July 2002 visit to Tully, the search of an inlet resulted in the recovery of two inscribed stones, suggesting that a colony was rising here also, established by people dispatched to our part of the world, in this case by Hiram himself. The inscription of one 20cm length by 16.5cm width and 10.5cm thick stone reads: “This is the place to gather, where the land is cultivated. Ra watches over us. We are people of Khem and Tyre, sent here in ships by our King, Hiram. We followed the Sun to this land”. Khem was of course Egypt, so that it appears the expedition comprised men and women from Egypt and Phoenicia.
For any colony to have had its own ruling class shows that it was of considerable size with a population numbering at least 2 or 3 thousand inhabitants [as suggested by the Atherton and Proserpine, as well as Sarina, Gympie and other colonies to be dealt with in this series]. Just how long ago these colonies were established can be deduced from not only the styles of pyramidal structures, but also the various scripts, whose first appearances in their homelands is known.
For example, the stepped pyramid form, as found near Cooktown, and also at the Gympie colony [to be studied in Part 2 of this series] belong to the 3rd dynasty of Egypt, about 2650 BC, and therefore it is certain that the Far North Qld colony was established about this period. The Proserpine colony at present can be roughly dated from the ‘pre-Hiram/Solomon’ era temple inscription previously mentioned, to around the 15th century BC ‘Iberian Script’, developed by the colonists of the Spanish Peninsula as an easy-to-read language useful in trading transactions.
The earliest Phoenician script, Canaanite, which dates from around 3000 BC, has turned up at the Lowood/Bremer River [south-east Qld] colony which will be dealt with in Part 2 of this series. Yet, as finds made at the Gosford, Central Coast NSW colony will demonstrate at the end of this series, the Egyptians and their allies were present in Australia as early as the Old Kingdom, eg 2780-2100 BC, perhaps even earlier, but the reader will have to wait for the full story in Part 3!
The sheer size of this mighty undertaking, extending over so many centuries, demonstrates the power once wielded by the bronze Age God-Kings, who by their commands, were able to dispatch tens of thousands of colonists into the Indian Ocean, on voyages that resulted in the establishment of mighty colonies, now largely turned to dust, and which only those few relics and rock structures exposed upon the surface of the sands of the Australian Dreamtime leave us barely a hint of what once was, and what still awaits the spades of future researchers.
Rex and Heather Gilroy can be contacted at the “Australian-Pacific
Archaeological Research Centre”.
Phone 02 4782 3441;
email email@example.com; or PO Box 202, Katoomba, NSW 2780.
Or catch their websites on Google, and type in Rex Gilroy.