How The Phoenicians Won The Race By Centuries
Tab BenedictCAPTAIN Cook discovered Australia alright - for himself But the Phoenicians got there first. The evidence is presented by Val Osborn in a report upon his searchings on Sarina Site, backed by a brief video (available frorn Val Osborn, Lot 8, Armstrong Beach Road, Sarina Queensland 4737, Australia).
He first discovered the complex in 1990 and has established it had all the signs of a typical Phoenician colony settlement of the ancient sea kings dating from around B.C. 1060. There are similar sites around the North African coasts including Carthage and Tyre and Sidon as Mediterranean capitals from around B.C. 1500. The sea king trading era began with the Minos Kings out of Crete and Libya, ending at Carthage approximately B.C. 2000 to B.C. 400.
There is a gap in historical sea lore until the 14th century A.D. and this would not be so regrettable had it not been filled with a whole new idea of Australian origins, politically inspired and fomented.
The Sarina site's importance lies in this fact, says Val Osborn: "Proof of settlements and developments will change palaeontological history of aboriginal origins if evidence arises here of galley slaves utilised for colonisation."
"The argument that Jarnes Cook 'discovered' Australia is fallacious" he goes on. "His ship's log shows that he had maps. His instructions were to reconnoitre the coast for the purpose of colonising."
He was due to build upon others' foundations. A typical Phoenician colony comprised an isthmus with freshwater springs, twin harbours built of stone set in furnace slag cement; houses of mud brick, with adjacent fields for crops of millet and barley. Religious edifices were to god and goddess Bel and Tanit with small shrines of sawn granite to a crude idol. There would also be a tophet cemetery. The sea people traded in exotic wares and supplied navigators with charts unobtainable elsewhere.
Ezekiel 27 and I Kings 10 describe the lifestyle, culture and cargo of such fleets: ivory from Africa, peacocks from India, marmosets from the Amazon, and so on. In ancient maps Australia was already pinpointed as Ophir, Big Java or the Aurea Chersenosis. Ophir gold was highly valued and black opal and sapphires from the region have been found in Nile jewellery. Sites all over Australia have yielded up documents in Egyptian, Hebrew, Phoenician and Ogam script - and yet the authorities shy away from the obvious connection.
Val Osborn notes:
"The Freshwater Point complex is uniquely Phoenician, as are adjacent sites on the Queensland coast. The two artificial harbours meticulously engineered are quite large and represent the labour of many over centuries. Near a ruined jetty are slag heaps from furnaces of gold, mercury and copper ore. Evidence of refining exists on the Sarina Inlet area with a sluice race and an artificial reservoir of water lined with clay, some two acres overall."
"Mining was carried out by beating the rock then quenching with water to crack the ore body, levering the ore out and then crushing and refining into ingots. Over a million tonnes of ore have been removed and processed with placer deposits carefully cleaned out."
"A further bonanza for a colony could have been the wealth of cowries in the area, known as 'money cowries', worth their weight in gold in antiquity. As well, murex shells indigenous to Phoenicia and the Sarina area exist in abundance, from these shells, the famed Tyrean purple dye was extracted."
"The geology within Sarina shrine embraces almost every variation of rock development and mineral formation known to science. Rare earths exist in the ancient sediment as well. Very rare minerals are present along with rare metals and tiny gemstones. The entire area is known to be an unexploited gold and silver field."
Eventually, a choice will have to be made between tourism and Industrial development. And it's not a question for entrepreneurs as most of the complex is Crown land, and decades of archaeological investigation lie ahead. Its isolation makes it vulnerable to collectors and vandals, sophisticated and otherwise. The area is already a magnet. It hosts some 46% of Australian bird species and there is a vast marine life, unique to the area, as yet unexploited.
The Sarina inlet covers some 3 kilometres of coastline with a shipyard, complete with a slip; revelments, walls and gigantic stone fish traps. The cemetery was actually for cremation, bones being interred in amphora. In the mines, blast furnaces constructed of refractory dolomite-slag brick were fed by wind funnelling oxygen from erected sails.
As to refining, Osborn offers:
"The quarried calcite ore bearing gold, copper or mercury along with quartzite were extracted from the metamorphic zone. It was then mortared by hand to a crushed dust, put through sluices to extract the fines, then packed into small brick kilns constructed of numbered reinforced bricks of refractory dolomite and slag in the usual small refinery manner. Dolomite was mined from the east reefs and ingots of metal cast as wedges or 'ox hides' were then packed in straw as ballast in Phoenician vessels, according to tradition. Reject quarried ore was used to surface roads and landing areas. Slag cement from the blast furnaces on the beach was recycled in jetty construction. In the east jetty, huge andesite boulders taken from adjacent beaches were set in slag cement, presumably in wooden formes. In the north jetty complex, piers were constructed at intervals in the same manner. The Phoenicians were renowned for this type of unique slag cement construction. These andesite boulders do not absorb water and are unable to swell and crack the cement, as the tendency is with other rock."
The harbours exhibit signs of having been used by more recent shipping yet prior to Captain Cook's arrival. "However, Australian history of the last 200 years show no record whatsoever, and local shipping records and news going back to Mackay's founding show no indication of any knowledge of this area as a harbour" says Osborn. "Coastal packet steamers were ignorant of its existence, as are modern mariners including local fishermen. Admiralty maps show the site as an island."
Among the artefacts found is a cast iron tool which is identical with boat building tools depicted on a chiselled stone facade at an ancient shipyard on the Nile. And some granite pieces have handsaw rnarks identical to ancient Egyptian handsaw rnarks in granite.
"The annals of ancient history" observes Osborn "associate the names of Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt and Ethiopia, King Solomon of Israel and Hiram the Phoenician of Tyre with three year voyages to Ophir (as Australia was known around B.C. 1000.). In the era 90 AD, Ophir was stated by historians to be owned by India."
The historian Josephus tells of a cargo fleet setting sail for Ophir in search of a pure white timber for Solomon's Temple. This is Eungella white hazelwood (symplocus spicata) a giant native to Mackay and Fraser Island rainforests.
The vessels themselves were built of Lebanon cedar and Aleppo pine and Bashan oak. Traces of these with their 200 galley slaves at the oars can be found all over Australia. The Sarina site in particular will have a knock-on effect for the whole continent now. But, Osborn cautions, the project is still in its infancy and judgment must be reserved.
This is especially so due to the aboriginal overlay on the Sarina environs. Ethnic groups from the Central coastal region have been identified by custom and physical attributes as originating from the upper Indus (Dravidian) and the African Congo (Negrito), They used the Phoenician foundations, such as the fish traps which could extend over ten acres. But these tribal communities didn't reach above a hundred per settlement, The Phoenicians had to cater for up to two thousand. Hence the aborigines did not build the fish traps to meet their needs, they used the giant installations already in place.
"The extent of labour required to construct the walls at the north harbour alone has been estimated by a marine engineer at approximately 1000 men working for one year. However, the richness of the ore bodies and gold placer deposits would have justified this outlay of labour."
The Phoenicians depended on fish to feed their galley slaves, origin: Ethiopia. Osborn says carefully:
"The customs of east coast tribes show Mediterranean, African and Indian associations that have long mystified anthropologists, and if the Sarina site proves to be Phoenician, then the origins of Aborigines in Australia requires a thorough re- investigation."
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