This project is dedicated to all those geologists, historians, archaeologists, linguists and anthropologists that uncover our past;, all those writers, architects, diplomats and peacemakers that create the conditions of harmony in the present, and all those technologists, futurists, space explorers that plan for a prosperous human future in all the domains of reality upon which our spirits may become embodied. 

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change". Charles Darwin

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The Apkallu Initiative in Brief

The ability of human kind to successfully explore and colonise the galaxy firstly depends on our capacity to leave the home world and avoid the cyclic catastrophes of nature; from the Sun, planets, or other objects of our Solar System. History tells us that approximately 12,500 years ago Homo Sapiens emerged from being a hunter-gatherer species to one of an agricultural-farming one, in what is termed the Neolithic revolution, as we transitioned from the Palaeolithic age into the Mesolithic age. Prior to this Palaeolithic cave art dating back around 40,000 years and older, tells us about the early history of thinking man. The history of human civilization may not be as linear as we once thought and recent discoveries such as Gobekli Tepi in the South East Anatolia region of Turkey, are suggesting that instead history may have been interrupted by periods of natural catastrophe to the extent that human progress from ancient Cro-Magnon man, perhaps as far back as 300,000 years, is thwarted and we have had to begin again. 

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In addition, observations of Oxygen isotope ratios from the Greenland ice cores, suggest up to five major interglacial periods in the last 400,000 years where global climatic conditions were similar to today, and the opportunity for human civilization to arise was present prior to the Mesolithic age. It is well established that incidences such as the Cretacious-Tertiary (K-T) extinction 66 million years ago led to devastation in our global environment and a prolonged winter which affected the photosynthesis of plants and plankton life. There is also evidence emerging of more recent impact events such as around the period known as the Younger-Dryas around 12,900 to 11,700 years ago, which saw a return to glacial conditions which temporarily reversed the gradual climatic warming after the last glacial maximum which began receding around 20,000 years ago.

In this web site we outline an initiative for the construction of an artefact that contains the foundation knowledge of human kind, necessary to reboot human civilization in the event of a global cataclysm. This artefact, which is called a mini-lith (analogous to Megalithic structures of the ancient world) would be constructed of hard stone and designed to last for at least 100,000 years. It would contain knowledge of multiple disciplines of thought such as geometry, mathematics, astronomy, biology, architecture, agriculture, law to name a few, such that any surviving communities of a future event could study this and thereby gain assistance in the re-booting of civilization. This is analogous to other ancient structures in history such as the Code of Hammurabi which have helped to preserve deep knowledge regarding the formation of a civilization. It is hoped that this web site will serve as an initial home for the project, in advance of the project coming to full public attention, and thereby seeing the construction of such an artefact come to fruition at some point in the coming years.

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Output of the Apkallu Initiative

On this page we will include copies of any presentations or papers or articles written which will be of interest to people who want to know more about this project.

The following are the output of the project produced in chronological order of publication or submission:

  1. Popular article for Centauri Dreams web site, 2nd July 2018: <download> 

  2. Presentation of the project to the Initiative for Interstellar Studies, 29th June 2018: <download>

  3. Chapter publication in book ‘Dark Lore’, Volume X, Daily Grail Publishing, Edited by Greg Taylor, 2019.

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Background to the Project

There is every reason to be hopeful about the future potential of humanity on Earth and in space. There is every reason to think that given sufficient time and effort we will continue to explore and colonise the planets of our Solar System and one day the planets of other star systems too. But in order to get to that point, we first have to survive the threats to our existence along the way. The nature of those threats is many and varied in type. This includes asteroid impacts, comet impacts, solar storms, gamma-ray bursts, dramatic changes in the Earths climate, disease pandemic...and even the potential of alien invasion.

Given this, it is necessary to adopt strategies for adaptation and survival. This in essence is the purpose of the Apkallu initiative, manifested as a minilithic artefact, which has the goal of accelerating civilization socially, culturally and technologically in the event of a global demise.

In the event that Earth was hit by some impacting event from space for example, we might consider the following worst case assumptions:

  1. All infrastructure is destroyed, to include buildings, power utilities, city plumbing, damns, transport networks, agriculture and farming, huge portions of the plant and animal kingdom.

  2. All information sources are destroyed, to include all the world libraries, computers and electronic memory. It is possible that some books will be discovered over time as communities explore the rubble remaining from the metropolis. Books would become precious beyond their current value.

  3. The global climate is in turmoil and hostile, but with isolated regions of stability such that with determination survival is possible.

  4. The geological, climatic, oceanic activity and effects of the cataclysm event, within weeks, months or years will gradually return towards some level of stable Earth.

  5. Small pockets of humans survive around the Earth, perhaps 10s to 100s each but with the total not exceeding thousands.

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Given this scenario, we can note that the surviving generation will remember the world as it was before. They will use this knowledge to teach their children. At this point knowledge is based upon direct memory. Those children will then grow up, with their parents dying off, and they will remember what their parents taught them and some of those children may even have some memories of the world before. But for the most part we are dealing here with recent history and part mythology. The grandchildren will also be born and grow up, but they will have no direct memory of the world the way it was before. At this point we are dealing with history and mythology. Within the third or fourth generation there is a risk that all knowledge will be lost, and especially if that knowledge is not captured and written down. All received knowledge then becomes both mythology and fantasy.

So the question then is how to preserve that knowledge for the use of those future survivor generations. The particular solution being presented by this project is to build the minilithic artefact which contains all the necessary information to survive, grow and proper and accelerate humanity faster forward from where it would have been if it did not have such information.

The goal of the information content imprinted onto the artefact would be as follows:

  • Goal 1: The continued survival of the human species at peace.

  • Goal 2: The accelerated technological, social-cultural growth of human civilization from an assumed stagnated level.

  • Goal 3: The preservation of moral and ethical philosophy

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Shape of the Apkallu Artefact

There are many options for the shape of the artefact. Fundamentally it must be clearly artificial in structure so as to distinguish it from the background rocks upon discovery. The idea currently being pursued is that the object has many surfaces such that each surface contains the knowledge of a particular field or discipline of knowledge. This is essentially a platonic solid containing many polygons. If there are too many surface areas then the individual area for each subject is smaller. If there are too little surfaces then the area for each subject is great, but the number of disciplines of thought that can be covered is small. A good compromise between these extremes would appear to be something like a Dodecahedron, which contains 12 sides. This is also good because the number 12 is a number associated with sacred geometry and relevant to important geometrical symbolism. Other factors which are relevant to the number of sides includes ease of manufacturing of the artefact and the risks of erosion and weathering and how having edges may or may not enhance decay modes.

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Size of the Apkallu Artefact

The size of the artefact could be very small like a cuneiform cylinder seal or much larger like the Code of Hammurabi. There is clearly a trade-off between practical build size, cost for production (and reproduction), and a minimum size required to convey the necessary information and knowledge. Another issue is making an artefact that can actually be found. The current thinking is that the artefact will be between 6 - 12 inches in diameter, similar to a football in size.

Sumerian cylinder seals, which tend to be around 1 inch in length. The one shown is 2.2 cm (7/8 inch) long and is a cylinder seal with frieze depicting a standing robed figure in advancing pose facing a standing figure in flounced robe with hands raised, star above a small dancing figure, fourth robed figure to the rear, three columns of cuneiform text. It dates from Old Babylonian 20th - 18th Century B.C and is made of Hematite. The seal also contains text of cuneiform writing (credit: K. F. Long, from private collection of the same).

Sumerian cylinder seals, which tend to be around 1 inch in length. The one shown is 2.2 cm (7/8 inch) long and is a cylinder seal with frieze depicting a standing robed figure in advancing pose facing a standing figure in flounced robe with hands raised, star above a small dancing figure, fourth robed figure to the rear, three columns of cuneiform text. It dates from Old Babylonian 20th - 18th Century B.C and is made of Hematite. The seal also contains text of cuneiform writing (credit: K. F. Long, from private collection of the same).

Code of Hammurabi, dating to 1754 BC, constructed under the orders of the 6th Babylonian king Hammurabi. It is 2.25 m (7.4 ft) tall contains text written in the Akkadian language using cuneiform script carved into the diorite stele. It consists of 282 laws (credit: Photo by K. F. Long, located in Louvre, Paris).

Code of Hammurabi, dating to 1754 BC, constructed under the orders of the 6th Babylonian king Hammurabi. It is 2.25 m (7.4 ft) tall contains text written in the Akkadian language using cuneiform script carved into the diorite stele. It consists of 282 laws (credit: Photo by K. F. Long, located in Louvre, Paris).

Material of the Apkallu Artefact
The material that the artefact may be made from spans a variety of options. The requirements are to survive for 100,000 years, to not degrade the information content engraved on it, which suggests a hard stone material. Clearly material experts need to be consulted, as well as sculptors to see what materials have survivability but also an inability to be engraved with text and images. The material must also be capable of surviving exposed to the weathering elements of the Earths atmosphere, being buried under ground or even sitting at the bottom of the ocean floor. Meanwhile, some of the material options currently being considered includes: Diorite, Steatite, Hematite, Obsidian, Amethyst, Lapis Luzuli, jade, quartz, Agate, Onyx, Jasper, Serpentine, Carnelian, Granodiorite.

An artefact observed to contain much cuneiform written text in addition to logograms, which illustrates what such a minilithic artefact may look like. (image credit: K. F. Long, located at the Louvre, Paris)

An artefact observed to contain much cuneiform written text in addition to logograms, which illustrates what such a minilithic artefact may look like. (image credit: K. F. Long, located at the Louvre, Paris)

Ideas Page for the Minilithic Artefact

On this page we will list any good ideas as they come in and keep a record of them as best as we can. This way the design can become a truly human endeavour as many creative ideas are put into its construction. It is expected that the project and the design of the artefact will evolve substantially as a result. Note that rather than capture all discussions, critique, objections or statements of support, the approach here is to capture 'specific' ideas relevant to the design of the artefact.

  • Encode fractal like information into the text, so that more information appears as you look closer under higher magnification (Rob Swinney, 29/06/18)

  • Surround the stone artefact in Amber like prehistoric insects were preserved. Recommend relevant book The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnal (Neil Raha, 29/06/18)

  • If you want to create a 100,000 year device, why not enhance your proposed approach by imbedding your dodecahedron into a clear sphere, then place this sphere as a floating sphere in a fountain. These floating sphere fountains (I think they are called Kugel fountains) would be of cultural interest, have an aesthetic beauty, and serve a philosophical role as a "fountain of knowledge" or “philosopher’s stone”. They could be placed at museums of natural history or other cultural centers. These floating sphere fountains already exist, but typically with a granite sphere, and they do attract attention as you can freely rotate the sphere by hand while it is sitting on its spherical bearing cup with the water serving as the floating medium. They could be made any size depending on the venue, but the information encoded on the dodecahedron would be the same. In the event of a long dormant period due to cataclysm, the spheres would encapsulate and protect the dodecahedron from degradation, and when discovered could be polished back to a clear surface allowing future humans to "see" what is in the middle of this sphere (Sonny White, 19/04/18).

  • Regarding the Information encoding, potential languages to be used, and Decipherment, one area that immediately strikes me is that there is research in the field of anticryptography as to how information can be presented such that it can be deciphered without any knowledge of the language used. This of course is important, because it may be that future post-disaster humans do not speak any current languages. As you note, it will be necessary to encode the information such that it is easily decipherable. I would draw your attention to the following book: Anticryptography: The Next Frontier in Computer Science, Brian McConnell, O’Reilly Media, Inc, 2001. Although the book focusses on encoding signals to be transmitted such that extra-terrestrials can decipher the message, the principles apply equally to "messages to the future". To quote from the author "One of the things I discuss at length in my book is the idea of using algorithms (short computer programs) as a foundation for communication. Using programs, you can send what are, in effect, living symbols. This enables the sender to transmit information very efficiently, and also to describe things that cannot be defined with static images or equations." Note that though algorithms are used, one does not require a computer to decipher them. Hopefully the above notes are of interest, and as I state if the project goes forward and I can help out (particularly with information theory and encoding) then please let me know. (Chris Corner, 19/04/18).

  • A device offering Maxwell’s equations or the periodic table of the elements might then be seen as the work of the devil, and be destroyed, especially if the preceding disaster resulted, or is believed to have resulted, from human hubris – a highly plausible scenario (Stephen Ashworth, 20/04/18)

  • I think the endeavour to create such a device in itself has high intrinsic value, as it would lead to debates about what is considered "fundamental", "canonical" or "principal" in several different domains of human activity (Andreas Hein, 29/04/18).

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Impact Events & Near Misses in History

On this page we list some of the prominent impact events from history which may be of interest to this project. The data is under construction.

Impact Events: 

  • Shoemaker-Levy 9 (July 1994), impact site planet Jupiter, 21 pieces of comet, impact velocity 60 km/s, energy 6,000 Gtons TNT equivalent.

  • Tunguska (1908), Siberia, comet air detonation 5-10 km above ground, energy 10 - 15 Mtons TNT equivalent.

  • Burckle Crater (2,800 - 3,000 B.C), Indian Ocean, comet impact, 30 km wide crater.

  • Meteor Crater, (50,000 years ago), Arizona, 50 m Nickel-Iron asteroid,  impact velocity 2.8 - 20 km/s, energy 10.7 - 26.2 Mtons TNT equivalent.

  • K-T event (66 million years ago), asteroid or comet 10-15 km diameter, impact velocity 20 km/s, energy 30,000 - 100,000 Gtons TNT equivalent.


Near Misses:

  • Asteroid 2018 GE3 (April 2018), passed within 119,500 miles away, 150 - 360 ft in diameter object, spotted only 21 hours prior to closest approach.

  • 'Omuamua (Oct 2017), suggested impact energy 4.2 - 46.9 Gtons TNT equivalent.


Timeline of Historical Events

On this page we list a timeline of events and the associated construction dates for the various subjects relevant to this project that are discussed on the other pages. This is presented for the purpose of big picture visioneering. Times are given in Before Current Era (BCE). This page is under construction.

 

  • 0 (Apr 2018); Asteroid 2018 GE3, Earth flyby.

  • 1 (Oct 2017); Asteroid 'Omuamua, impact potential 4.2 - 46.9 Gtons TNT equivalent, Earth flyby.

  • 7 (2012); Earth population exceeds 7 billion.

  • 19 (1999); Earth population exceeds 6 billion.

  • 24 (1994); Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact event, 6,000 Gtons TNT equivalent, Planet Jupiter.

  • 31 (1987); Earth population exceeds 5 billion.

  • 44 (1974); Earth population exceeds 4 billion.

  • 58 (1960); Earth population exceeds 3 billion.

  • 91 (1927); Earth population exceeds 2 billion.

  • 110 (1908); Tunguska Air impact event, 10 - 15 Mtons TNT equivalent, Siberia, Russia.

  • 214 (1804); Earth population exceeds 1 billion.

  • 258 (1760 - 1820); Beginning of Industrial Revolution.

  • 2,210; Construction of Qin Shi Mausoleum (step pyramid), Xi'an, China.

  • 2,500; Construction of Tomb of King Kashta (pyramid), Meroe, Nubia.

  • 2,500; Construction of the Behistun Inscription in Iran containing Old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian.

  • 2,290; Story told by Chaldean priest in Babylon, Berossus, of the Adapa or Oannes beings.

  • 3,250; Construction of Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat, Khuzestan, Iran.

  • 3,754; Creation of Code of Hammurabi basalt Stele by 6th Babylonian King.

  • 4,200; Construction of the Rosetta Stone containing ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, demotic and ancient Greek.

  • 4,500; Construction of the Fuente Magna of the Americas, containing ancient Pukara and proto-Sumerian.

  • 4510; Construction of Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Egypt (4th Dynasty).

  • 4532 - 4448; Construction of the Great Sphinx, Giza, Egypt (4th Dynasty).

  • 4570; Construction of Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Egypt (4th Dynasty).

  • 4560 - 4580; Construction of Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), Giza, Egypt (4th Dynasty).

  • 4648 - 4667; Construction of Pyramid of Djoser, Saqqara, Egypt (3rd Dynasty).

  • 4,000 - 5,000; Construction of Stonehenge, England, UK.

  • 4,100; Construction of Ziggurat of Ur, City of Ur, Iraq.

  • 5,000; Construction of Ziggurat of Tepe Sialk, Kashan, Iran.

  • 5,000; Burckle Crater impact event, Indian Ocean.

  • 5,000; Emergence of first writing form Cuneiform, in Sumer.

  • 6,500; Construction of 3 - 4 m below surface layer at Gunung Padang, West Java, Indonesia.

  • 6,000 - 7,500; First settling of Sumer by proto Euphrateans or Ubaidians.

  • 10,000; Abandonment and burial of Gobekli Tepe, Turkey.

  • 12,000; Construction of Gobekli Tepe, Turkey.

  • 11,600; Dating by Plato in his books Timaeus and Critias for the sinking of the lost City of Atlantis.

  • 11,700; End of the Pleistocene geological epoch (started 2,588,000 years ago).

  • 11,700 - 12,900; duration of the climate period known as the Younger Dryas.

  • 12,500; Start of Neolithic Revolution and adoption of agricultural-farming methods by homo sapiens.

  • 12,500; Construction of 8 - 10 m below surface layer at Gunung Padang, West Java, Indonesia.

  • 20,000; Construction of 15 m below surface layer at Gunung Padang, West Java, Indonesia.

  • 40,000; oldest Paleolithic cave art by homo sapiens.

  • 50,000; Impact of Arizona Crater, 10.7 - 26.2 Mtons TNT equivalent, Arizona, USA.

  • 60,000; oldest paleolithic cave art, possibly by Neanderthals.

  • 130,000 - 180,000; Claimed first appearance of homo sapiens out of Africa.

  • 160,000; Discovery of claimed homo sapiens skull at Middle Awash, Ethiopia.

  • 300,000; Discovery of claimed homo sapiens skull at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco.

History of the Logo Design

The logo was designed by Kelvin F. Long and then produced under contract with the artist Alex Storer. The logo has been designed with much symbolism, whilst also being visually inspiring. The logo has connections to the ancient past, which includes the Sumerian and Egyptian cultures as examples of historical sacred knowledge. The various elements are now explained.

  • The lower yellow triangle is actually the Great Pyramid of Giza with its angle of 51.4 degrees, which is representative of one of the elements of the liberal arts such as architecture. The upper yellow triangle represents the precession of the vernal equinox with its angle of 23.4 degrees as measured by many of the ancient megalithic structures. The precession segment also is coloured with yellow to represent light, and it contains the background stars with the constellation of Orion shown.

  • The blue wavey structure represents the ocean, and is manifest of the stories of the Great Deluge that is depicted in many religious and mythological texts around the world in different cultures.

  • The strange looking symbols in the lower part of the square are Cuneiform for the number 100,000 to represent 100,000 years, which is the duration for which the artefact must be designed to last. This was chosen since its a realistic time scale and also it approximately represents four precession cycles and potentially several interglacial periods.

  • The trajectory like object represents any existential threats we might see from space.

  • The spiral at the centre represents the Universe and the galaxies and ultimately the origin of the Cosmos.

  • Towards the top is the atomic symbol which represents knowledge. This is typified by the classical Trivium (grammar, logic, rherotic) and Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy) which together characterised the liberal arts.

  • The book at the top has the symbol for Alpha-Omega to represent religion and the Ying-Yang symbol to represent philosophy. Both are studied once the Trivium and Quadrium have been mastered.

  • The object in the centre is a dodecahedron and represents the apkallu artefact as an example. It has different faces each of which contains different elements of knowledge from different disciplines of thought.

  • The symbols of the crescent moon on the left and the Sun on the right represent the Sumerian gods Anu and En.ki who were responsible for the creation of the Apkallu in Sumerian creation stories.

  • Under the entire logo, if all colour elements are removed, is a light lined web structure, which depicts the Tree of life.

  • The square and circle represent the classical squaring of the circle problem in geometry, but the square has been juxtapositioned downwards in a similar way to the Leonardo da Vinci Vitruvian man, emphasising that the real goal of the Apkallu initiative is the preservation and continued prosperity of human civilization.

  • The colours show on the boundary of the areas are the primary colours of Red, Green and Blue. The red also represent the continuing struggles of human kind on Earth and our need to liberate ourselves from our mental, emotional and physical limitations and therefore from metaphorical hell. The Green represents the gorgeous beauty of Planet Earth. The Blue represents the oceans and sky above the Earth, but also drawn in the colour of lapis luzuli blue which is the ancient colour for knowledge and wisdom. The Black on the outside of the logo represents deep space, the universe beyond and all of knowledge which is currently hidden from our view. It is the horizon that we expand into, physically and spiritually.

  • Behind the logo one can see the water mark of the Apkallu.

Use of the Apkallu Initiative logo is subject to copyright permission 2018. 

The Interstellar Research Centre continues to research the Apkallu Initiative to derive a good solution to the optimum artefact type, size and material and the content that it can hold.

References:

  1. K F Long, The Apkallu Initiative: A Minilithic Artefact for Rebooting Human Civilization in the Event of Global Cataclysm, Published in book ‘Dark Lore’, Volume X, Daily Grail Publishing, Edited by Greg Taylor, 2019.