2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The scientific foundation of myth
This book is an absolute gem: a highly readable scientific detective story. During the last ice age, the fall in global sea levels cut the Black Sea off from the Mediterranean. With evaporation exceeding inflows, the level of the lake fell by perhaps as much as 500 feet. Fed by glacial melt water, overtime the Black Sea became a fresh water lake. Then some 7,500 years ago...
Published on Oct 6 2000 by Charles Hill
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading, With A Grain of, uh, Salt
While the authors' attempts to connect the Black Sea flood of 7500 BP with the Biblical flood and the Epic of Gilgamesh were completely misguided, the book is worth reading just to get a glimpse of their research into this catastrophic event. While not the only such event in human times, even in that region, this research has already increased awareness of the role of...
Published on Jun 13 2000 by Holy Olio
Most Helpful First | Newest First
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading, With A Grain of, uh, Salt,
This review is from: Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History (Hardcover)While the authors' attempts to connect the Black Sea flood of 7500 BP with the Biblical flood and the Epic of Gilgamesh were completely misguided, the book is worth reading just to get a glimpse of their research into this catastrophic event. While not the only such event in human times, even in that region, this research has already increased awareness of the role of sudden, unique events in the history and prehistory of our world.
On the other hand, the origin of agriculture is at least 14,000 years BP, long before this flood. Mary Settegast's "Plato Prehistorian" is an excellent survey work for those interested in "Noah's Flood" or prehistory in general, as well as being the best half-book written on the subject of Plato's tale of Atlantis. The town of Catal Huyuk predates this flood, but as Settegast writes, this very old town sprang up as if from nothing, indicating that its founders came from elsewhere. That origin place is probably now under water. The melting glaciers forced the human inhabitants of the world's coastlines to higher ground, such that the sites with the roots of stone-age culture are now drowned.
This is not a book that explains the Biblical flood, and contrary to the slapdash treatment given that particular flood story in this book and elsewhere, its source doesn't lie in a Sumerian epic. There are literally hundreds of flood stories, and while all have certain common elements, each is unique.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The scientific foundation of myth,
This review is from: Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About The Event That Changed History (Paperback)This book is an absolute gem: a highly readable scientific detective story. During the last ice age, the fall in global sea levels cut the Black Sea off from the Mediterranean. With evaporation exceeding inflows, the level of the lake fell by perhaps as much as 500 feet. Fed by glacial melt water, overtime the Black Sea became a fresh water lake. Then some 7,500 years ago as global sea levels rose following the end of the ice age, the Mediterranean again breached the Bosporus Strait, and salt water poured into the fresh water lake, killing all life and raising the sea level to its current mark. The bulk of the flooding took place in a matter of weeks. If this were the whole story, it would be interesting enough, but Ryan and Pitman push it further. They argue that 7,500 years ago Neolithic farming communities that spoke the proto Indo-European language inhabited the Black Sea region. The rapid flood triggered mass migrations of early Indo-European farmers out of the region and gave birth to the flood myths found not only in the Bible, but also in many other cultures where flood myths pre-date the Old Testament version such as the Gilgamesh epic. If Ryan and Pitman are correct, the Black Sea may turn out to be the long sort for homeland of the Indo-European language
The first part of this story is now well-verified scientific fact. The second part is much more speculative, but it is speculation that is consistent not only with the flood mythology, but also significant archeological, linguistic, and genetic evidence. Ryan and Pitman do a wonderful job of documenting the mass of evidence is a manner that is engaging and accessible to the lay reader. The book opens with the discovery of pre-Biblical flood myths in the 1830s and proceeds in a temporal fashion through the gradual accumulation of evidence that ultimately, provides overwhelming support for the Black Sea flood hypothesis. At the end of the book, which was written in 1997, Ryan and Pitman state that their more speculative migration and myth hypotheses would be strengthened if evidence could be found of Neolithic farming communities on the sea floor of the Black Sea. That evidence is now at hand. In September 2000, Robert Ballard, famed as the discoverer of the Titanic, found the first evidence of well-preserved structures 300 feet below the current level of the Black Sea. With more evidence likely to follow, this book is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the ancient world and its relevance to our civilization.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good research but faulty conclusion,
This review is from: Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About The Event That Changed History (Paperback)Ryan and Pitman do a terrific job of developing and presenting the evidence for the flood of the Black Sea region about 7000-7500 years ago. However, it's a stretch for them to extrapolate evidence for the flood of the Black Sea into the Great Flood. Evidence for the latter as a world wide event reaches far beyond the shores of the Black Sea.
As the 'Ice Age' ended, during several thousand years the ocean level rose 400-600 feet. Recent submarine archaeological finds off the coast of India and in the Caribbean indicate that the Black Sea was not the only vicinity whose population became displaced. There are in excess of 200 megalithic sites under the Mediterranean, and roads leading away from sites on Malta go straight under the sea. Other undersea sites include those off the coast of Denmark and Germany. Like the Black Sea, the Baltic was also once a fresh water lake, and likely flooded in much the same way and at the same time.
To be sure, refugees from the Black Sea region resettled in what is now Turkey, as well as in every other direction from its former shores. From what is now Turkey, elements of that culture migrated southeastward into Mesopotamia to found the civilization of Sumer. The archaeological record demonstrates that. In Ancient times, Phrygia (north central Anatolia, now Turkey) vied with Egypt for the distinction of being the oldest civilization, and Phrygia eventually won the argument (on flimsy grounds). Geographic evidence embedded in the Bible's Garden of Eden story points to the Zagros Mountains in the same region for its origin.
As for the Great Flood, its likelier cause was a comet or asteroid impact about 11,200 years ago. The physical evidence all over the planet suggests that. If we look at ice core samples from Greenland and Antarctica, for example, the Younger Dryas demonstrates a warming spike at that point in time, then a re-freeze from the nuclear winter wrought by the impact event and then gradual warming and melting over several thousand years to produce the rising sea levels that flooded coastlines worldwide, including that of the Black Sea.
(A lot more evidence points to 11,200 years ago as well. It also coincides with a mass extinction, including more than half of the large mammal species in North America, for instance. DNA research shows a genetic bottleneck at this point among the human species, indicative of a vast temporary diminishment of the human population worldwide. There are a dearth of archaeological human occupation sites around the world at this point and for several hundred years following. Geophysical evidence in North America, India and Egypt demonstrates sand superheated into glass in a fashion normally unknown in nature. A large crater 600 mi. x 750 mi. lies at the bottom of the western North Atlantic, the remnant of the primary impact site(s). The Carolina Bays comprise over half a million smaller crater remains scattered all over North America, in a pattern from Alaska to the southeast U.S., with greatest concentration in the latter region. Erosion analysis dates them to that point in time as well.)
Read the book. It contains a lot of valuable information. Bear in mind, though, that it is just one part of a much bigger story.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Research,
This review is from: Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About The Event That Changed History (Paperback)The research involved in this theory is quite excellent and intriguing. I quite enjoyed reading of how they came to this theory of the Great Flood actually being the result of the Black Sea being flooded from the Mediterranean. As the story of the flood is to be found in many different cultures -- including Navajo culture -- there must be some basis to the flood story. This is quite plausible.
3.0 out of 5 stars Authors changed their mind about the sudden flood,
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as Earth-shattering as I thought,
By A Customer
The flood accounts around the world refer to something far more devestating than a flood that effected only a relatively small population. People had moved out amongst the world far before the flood in this book occured.
Nor was the flood "global" as some creationists claim. For a good look at the most literal way to read and study the flood account, see "The Genesis Question" by Hugh Ross.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story and no fantasy,
By A Customer
This review is from: Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History (Hardcover)This book does an outstandng job of exploring what might have given rise to the great flood stories. It does not assert that the ideas considered are what did give rise to the stories, but postulates reasonable ideas and stimulates critical thinking. The authors then relate the story of their scientific mission to explore the relevant seas and coasts and they definitely have discovered some interesting things. Whether they have any relationship to the great flood talek or not, their discoveris are interesting, and their thoughts about the flood are also interesting. This is neither a theologic essay, nor a radical argumnent about what might have been.
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic adventure within an epic's origins,
In truth, the story of the Black Sea covers more than plate tectonics, glaciation, human evolution or ten cubic miles of water flowing through a narrow channel in less than a day over seven thousand years ago. The neat trick with this book is that the authors have managed to include all that and more.
There are really two stories here. One is about the evolution of the human species from the Pleistocene to the present day, told in scientific language with scientific explanations for the actions & discoveries of the story's scientific participants. The other story is an epic tale of crafty researchers, cooperating scientists, story-tellers, myths and legends, told in skillfully written & documented prose that sweeps the reader along in the current of human successes, failures & terrors.
Beginning with Rawlinson's work in 1835 on a monument in Persia, Pitman & Ryan weave the reader through a fabric of time that is, as Lord is quoted saying, a past "of various times . . . assembled into the present performance." Using this motif, the authors introduce themselves only as two participants in a story of discovery, narrated by a fictive bard who is present only in the words. However the authors' parts in the discovery of the Black Sea flood event deserves respect. Meanwhile they have written a book that shows the respect they have for all who have been part of the story. Most importantly, they also have not forgotten the story itself.
In the final chapters Ryan & Pitman review the Black Sea's effect on history from the geological, genetic, linguistic and archeological evidence. They then compare this evidence with the numerous universal flood legends. Ryan & Pitman show how the power of the historical and geological event that created the Black Sea is the power behind the oral tradition. They then close the last chapter with the final lines of the story of Atrahasis: "I shall sing of the flood to all people! Listen!"
Most intriguing of all the information in this book is a dedication that includes a quote from the Gilgamesh epic. The dedication reveals the epic nature of the science and the mythos involved the Black Sea. It shows the sensitivity that the authors have for a legend and event that made humanity the species smart enough to wonder why and sensitive enough to pursue the wonder of life itself.
Whether you're interested in the science or the myth, Noah's Flood is a marvelous read. Clearly written, scientifically concise, sensitive to the human heritage in the rise of agriculture, language & story, it is worth the time you'll take in reading it. And you'll gain a sense for timeless wonder of the story within the words.
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, albeit controversial, book,
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the truth,
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About The Event That Changed History by Walter Pitman (Paperback - Jan 25 2000)
CDN$ 22.99 CDN$ 16.60
Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks