May 13, 2014

I just found my very old first Prehistory site as a Samoa hack

Yesterday I happened to run a simple quick test about how well this blog performs in Google ratings, so I made a search on "Chalcolithic Europe" (the kind of thing that I know brings up images from FWTWWA) with the result that this blog gave one hit among the top 10 in regular text search, and more than 30 hits in image search in the first page (including the first two ones, which come from the European aDNA page). 

This is the map that surprised me to find still around: Middle Bronze Age Europe/West Asia, c. 1500 BCE (not too exact in some details maybe? - well, still good enough).
Also many maps I did in the past for Wikipedia still rank high as well. 

That was cool to find out. But what really surprised me was to find my long gone GeoCities (former Yahoo! free hosting service) website online (→ LINK) and also ranking rather high in image search (for those words) because of one of my old maps. The site has not been available for many years because Yahoo! suspended its free hosting service but someone is making money out of my work with that site that is exactly how I left it, except for flashing publicity ads (oddly enough when Yahoo! managed the ads, which only they gained revenue from, not me, they were always empty boxes, very tellingly about this company's poor skill at marketing). 

The site can be found under its original GeoCities address except that it has the .ws extension instead of the .com one it used to have. Looking at this extension in Wikipedia, I learned that it means Samoa (West Samoa) and that:
The .ws country code has been marketed as a domain hack, with the .ws purportedly standing for "World Site" or "Web site", providing a "global" Internet presence to registrants, as it supports all internationalized domain names.

So some smart guy has hacked my old site (and probably many others) and is making money of its discrete appeal. 

At least in the "European Chalcolithic" search, the star is obviously the article about Atlantis, which attempted to interpret this legend, as well as the quite comparable Heraklean ones, in the context of the Bronze Mediterranean (in terms that I still consider perfectly valid). But there are also other interesting pages: a series of maps on Indoeuropean expansion, an incomplete Neolithic Europe map series (some of which were uploaded to Wikipedia back in the day but followed random fates afterwards), and an old self-made double map of European mtDNA haplogroups based on Simoni 2000 (yeah, that's quite old, but in those times, say 2007, info on mtDNA was scarce and scattered).

So what I'm going to do? Copy much of that in my PC and probably repost the best of it here in dedicated pages. It'd be totally hopeless to try to get the hacker to pay me a commission for his/her publicity earnings, more so when most of the material is explicitly donated to the public domain, and, in a sense, I feel even grateful for the chaotic effects of this hacking that has brought my old work back to the Web, although I lament I cannot edit the site anymore. 

For whoever reads the site, please notice that most of that stuff is from around 2007. Although paid GeoCities still exists, the free hosting service was discontinued in 2009, and that was the time when all my work went down the toilet (I made a backup but it got eventually lost in an irreparable computer crash), until now. Long live Chaos!


  1. The Atlantis thing seems very plausible. I think most legends are likely to have some grain of truth no matter how distorted and given the significance of amber for example, Zambujal is in the perfect spot for a maritime trading route.

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence. In truth when I first read about the Vila Nova de Sao Pedro culture and specifically about Zambujal I was struck by how many similitudes it had in appearance with the legend of Atlantis (as per Plato, of course). When I later learned that it had been linked to the Ocean by a "marine branch" of about the same length as the canal described by Plato and that the silting of this branch (tsunami) is related to the abandonment of the town in the Late Bronze Age, and also that there is plenty of evidence for interaction between El Argar and Mycenaean Greece since c. 1500 BCE, well, I have to give some credence to what these old stories are saying.

      However, even if it's not in Plato, "Atlantists" are almost always persuaded that Atlantis was sunk, literally, and hence look for it either in Santorini (which is not "beyond the Pillars of Hercules, no matter how you look at it) or in capricious locations through the World's seas. I remember one guy I met at a history forum (can't recall his name) who had been "fished" by one of those Atlantist scams (give me money so I can search for Atlantis under water, I know where it is) who obviously knew a lot about the legend and theories of Atlantis and was eventually quite persuaded by my theory. He died soon after (he was terminally ill) but I like to think that at least he died after having found the real Atlantis (for free) thanks to me.

      Of course I may be wrong but it looks like a very plausible material foundation for an empirical interpretation of the legend. Sadly most Portuguese do not know what they have at home and very little resources (if any) are dedicated to the research of this fascinating ancient civilization, which seems stuck.

    2. Yes, it's a shame. I am hoping the possible connection with the UK - via megalithism etc - might tempt a UK university to put some money into it. It could get good publicity for their institution as anything with Stonehenge in the title gets lots of publicity.

    3. I doubt it. Brits are not often interested in not-British stuff. The last research was in essence German with lesser local Portugal/Spain participation. In Iberia, anything pre-Roman is generally ignored because people and even scholars are ignorant of Prehistory, and, if interested, their focus is often the Paleolithic, not the Neolithic-to-Proto-History period. Holocene Prehistory in Europe in general but in Iberia specially is totally neglected: like a huge buffer of ignorance between the cavemen and us, where "us" means Romans, preferably Christian Romans or at most Celts (yeah, Celts are also extremely popular over here, probably because of British and French influence, much more than Iberians).

      That's really sad in the case of Iberia especially because there are striking early civilizations to be researched, understood and even identitarily "claimed" as an important part of the ancestral legacy.

      Maybe the best trick that could work would be someone erecting a huge neon sign pointing to Zambujal, saying: "Here lays Atlantis" and wait for media's attention (and meanwhile maybe sell tapas to tourists along with explainatory pamphlets. But even that needs resources. To all the lack of interest that I mentioned before, it has been added the public (and private) resource depletion of Europe (certainly of Iberia), what really makes a very poor prospect for the years to come.


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