Friday, November 27, 2009

The "Old People"


The convicts quickly discovered ruins like these,
and believed the island was occupied.

Almost immediately, the new arrivals noticed stone structures on the bluffs overlooking Beastey Bay, and were certain that local inhabitants would swoop down on them, Like a cloud of locusts! Capt. Hayes mustered the guards to explore the surrounding hills and report back any sightings of 'indigents'. To everyone's relief the exploring party came back unharmed, and reported that all the buildings were long abandoned, and there was no sign of any recent human habitation!

More thorough digging in later years has revealed that the hilltop ruins were built by a prosperous and intelligent population. The oldest signs of habitation, found in some caves on the island's eastern coast, date back to 41,500 years BCE, according to carbon dating techniques. Known locally as the "Old People", this pre-European civilization left impressive stonework buildings, harbors, roads, fortress walls, and several curious platforms at the ocean's edge before disappearing about 800 years ago!

They also left a lot of mysteries, which the Antiquities Institute at Putney University has dedicated itself to unravel. Who were the Old People? What happened to them?
Was it drought?, disease, war, or all of the above?

Next: Reinventing Civilization