With an assist from Robert Aquinas McNally, his coauthor for Voices of the Rocks (1999), but using the first person throughout, Schoch again asserts that the conventional view about the rise of civilization is both untimely and wrong.
As before, Schoch (Mathematics and Science/Boston Univ.) also works initially from the Sphinx at Giza with its accompanying pyramids and other structures, citing rock types and weathering effects he interprets as proof that the great stone beast is up to 3.5 millennia older than most Egyptologists believe. Thus it predates the Mesopotamian civilization that according to academia predated the Egyptian. Schoch immediately proffers the notion that ancient pyramids—similar, not identical, to those built by the Sphinx-builders—are found in every continent on the globe except Australia and Antarctica. Some readers may sense the stuff of Sunday comics to follow, but the professor does not stoop. His case for the existence of prehistoric cultured societies with both the inclination and capability to spread their influence and hallmarks around the globe, including the Americas, is carefully crafted. Artifacts like Roman masons’ marks found on Mesoamerican stonework, cultural “coincidences” (e.g., both the Aztecs and ancient Chinese looked at the moon and saw a rabbit, not a man’s face), and even Old World plants and animals (mummified dogs in Peru resembling those of Egypt) have all been scientifically shown to predate the “first contact” voyages of Columbus. The presentation of this material is as entertaining as science-writing gets, and Schoch doesn’t shrink from debunking spurious “facts,” whether they support his case or not. As for ocean barriers, the 20th-century rafting and reed-boat adventures of, respectively, Kon-Tiki and Ra speak for themselves, he says. His theory that huge astronomical disasters like comets or meteor strikes provided the incentive for ancient mass migrations comes, however, as an extended anticlimax.
Gee-whiz industriously wrapped in solid science.