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Heaven's Mirror: Quest for the Lost Civilization Paperback – October 26, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

It could be true! That's the enthusiasm that author and scholar-mystic Graham Hancock counts on--in himself and in his readers--as he lays down his theories of an ancient (Atlantean, perhaps?) civilization that disseminated a sophisticated religion of ground-sky dualism and a "science" of immortality. Hancock's previous work, including the popular and controversial Fingerprints of the Gods, has drawn criticism for its leaps of faith and allegedly pseudoscientific conclusions, but Heaven's Mirror proves at least a little more substantial. His chief thesis is that numerous ancient sites and monuments--the pyramids of Mexico and Egypt, the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the monuments of Yonaguni in the Pacific, and the megaliths of Peru and Bolivia--are situated in such a way, geodetically, that they point towards some separate and uniform influence, some lost civilization or "invisible college" of astronomer-priests. And that civilization, as evidenced in the mathematics and architecture of the sites, points towards some gnosis, or body of knowledge, that would allow humanity to transcend the trap of mortality, a worldview in which the knowledge-giving serpent of Eden is not a villain but a hero.

Whatever you think of Hancock's ideas and theoretical musings in archaeo-astronomy, Heaven's Mirror is a gorgeous book, thanks to the photography of Santha Faiia. Lush, evocative photos of the monoliths on Easter Island and temples deep in the Cambodian jungle are enough to set the mind to introspective wandering--maybe, just maybe, Hancock's got it right after all. --Paul Hughes

From Library Journal

Hancock culminates his life's work?begun in such best sellers as Fingerprints of the Gods?by arguing that monuments built worldwide by ancient civilizations are linked by a common human legacy handed down from the heavens.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st edition (October 26, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609804774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609804773
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am the author of the forthcoming Magicians of the Gods, published on 10 November 2015, and of the major international bestsellers The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, Heaven's Mirror, Underworld, and Supernatural.

I share below the story of the journey that led me to these books

In the early 1980's, when I was East Africa correspondent of The Economist, writing about wars, politics, economics and aid programmes, I had no idea where fate was going to lead me or what strange seas of thought I would find myself sailing on. But in 1983 I made my first visit to Axum in northern Ethiopia, then in the midst of a war zone, and found myself in the presence of an ancient monk outside a little chapel in the grounds of the cathedral of Saint Mary of Zion. The monk told me that the chapel was the sanctuary of the Ark of the Covenant and that he was the guardian of the Ark, the most sacred relic of the Bible, supposedly lost since Old Testament times. What he said seemed ludicrous but for some reason it intrigued me. I began to look into the Ethiopian claim and found much surprising and neglected evidence that supported it, not least the faint traces of a mission to Ethiopia undertaken by the Knights Templar in the twelfth century. I kept adding to that dossier of evidence while also continuing to pursue my current affairs interests (including Lords of Poverty, my controversial book about foreign aid, published in 1989), and finally, in 1992, I published The Sign and the Seal: A Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant, my first full-fledged investigation of a historical mystery.

As well as to Ethiopia and to Israel, my research for The Sign and the Seal had taken me to Egypt and opened my eyes to the incredible enigma of the Great Pyramid of Giza, while the "technological" aspects of the Ark (shooting out bolts of fire, striking people dead, etc) had alerted me to the existence of out of place technologies in antiquity. The stage was now set for my next project - a worldwide investigation into the possibility of a lost, prehistoric civilisation that resulted, in 1995, in the publication of Fingerprints of the Gods, undoubtedly my best known book. The Message of the Sphinx (co-authored with Robert Bauval) followed in 1996, looking specifically into the mysteries of the Great Sphinx of Giza, and then in 1998 Heaven's Mirror, photographed by my wife Santha Faiia, which shows why many ancient sites in all parts of the globe replicate the patterns of constellations on the ground and are aligned to important celestial events such as the rising points of the sun on the equinoxes and the solstices. In 2002, I published Underworld, the result of five years of scuba diving across all the world's oceans to find ancient ruins submerged by rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age.

After Underworld, I decided to step away from lost civilisation mysteries for a while and my next non-fiction book, Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind, published in 2005, focussed on shamanism, altered states of consciousness and the astonishing universal themes that appear in rock and cave art from deepest antiquity right through to the paintings done by shamans in the Amazon rainforest today.

From my years as a journalist I've always distrusted armchair theorising and believed I have a responsibility to seek out direct personal, "boots on the ground" experience of what I'm writing about. That was why I did five years of often difficult and dangerous scuba diving for Underworld. And it's also why, as part of my research for Supernatural I travelled to the Amazon to drink the visionary brew Ayahuasca with shamans there. As well as better equipping me to write Supernatural, my experiences in the Amazon changed my life and brought out a new side of my own creativity. I've continued working with Ayahuasca ever since and in 2006, during a series of sessions in Brazil, in a ceremonial space overlooked by images of a blue goddess, my visions gave me the basic characters, dilemmas and plot of the book that would become my first novel, Entangled, published in 2010. Entangled tells the story of two young women, one living 24,000 years ago in the Stone Age, and the other in modern Los Angeles, who are brought together by a supernatural being to do battle with a demon who travels through time.

Since the publication of Entangled I have also written the first two volumes of a series of three epic novels about the Spanish conquest of Mexico - the War God trilogy. The first volume, War God: Nights of the Witch, was published in 2013, and the second volume, War God: Return of the Plumed Serpent, was published in 2014. The third volume, War God: Apocalypse, is already more than half written and will be published in 2016 but in the meantime my new non-fiction book, Magicians of the Gods, is published on 10 November 2015. Magicians is the sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods, and presents all the new evidence that has emerged since 1995 for a great lost civilisation of prehistoric antiquity and for the global cataclysm that destroyed that civilisation almost 13,000 years ago - a cataclysm on such a scale that it forced mankind, as Plato put it, "to begin again like children with no memory of what went before."

My ideas on prehistory and on the mysterious nature of reality have made me something of a controversial figure. In 1999, for example BBC Horizon made a documentary ("Atlantis Reborn") attacking my position on the lost civilisation. But part of that documentary was found by the UK's Broadcasting Standards Commission to be unfair - the first time ever that the flagship Horizon series had been judged guilty of unfairness. The BBC took the problem seriously enough to put out a revised re-edited version of the programme a year later. More recently, in 2013, my TED talk "The War on Consciousness" was deleted from the TED Youtube channel on grounds that TED itself later admitted to be spurious by striking out every one of the objections it had originally raised to my talk. TED, however, refused to restore the talk to its Youtube channel resulting in dozens of pirate uploads all over the internet that have now registered well over a million views.

I make mistakes like everyone else, but ever since my time with The Economist I've felt it is important to strive for rigour and accuracy, to check facts, to set out my sources clearly and openly for all to see and to admit my mistakes when I make them. As I continue to explore extraordinary ideas in my works of non-fiction, and in my novels, I'll also continue to do that.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. J. Coldham on December 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is no mere picture book and Hancock is no Velikovsky. This book has a message of pivotal importance to all humans. It rolls back the horizon of human knowledge to unknown epochs, to a prior high-civilization with technological skills we may not even possess today. Hancock's claim is no less than that. He proves that the monumental layouts of ancient Tiwanaku, Gizeh and Ankor are actually based on star-patterns from 10,500 B.C. and that they contain the coded numbers of the earth's 26,000 year precessional zodiac cycle. Talk about ante-diluvian amnesia! If this theory is correct, then a high civilization existed at or before the 11th Millennium B.C., located in the equatorial regions, with the ability to travel world-wide, while most other humans were still in the stone age. One may ask why are there no inscriptions in stone from this civilization? That mystery may be resolved in due course. More importantly, I think this basic hypothesis is very plausible. With new dating techniques, we must now reevaluate the entire basis of pre-history which, until now, been based on stale eurocentric + mid-eastern cultural preconceptions limited to notions about ice caps and Cro-Magnons inexplicably leading to the rise of the Sumerians, Babylonians, through a series of Indus valley migrations. These findings will surely force the world's archeologists to reappraise those areas of the planet not covered by ice in the period 20,000 to 10,000 BC. I predict that the impact of this theory over the long term may mirror that of Darwin's Origin of the Species. Heaven's Mirror is a disturbing master-work in every respect. My sincere wish is that conventional archeologists should hold back from scorning Mr. Hancock. I ask them to open up to the new evidence with equanimity and address it with a scientific rather than emotive response.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
For everyone left in the world who is spellbound by the precision and scale of architectural feats of wonder fashioned centuries ago by enigmatic people, Heaven's Mirror is the pot of gold at the end of the reading rainbow. Not only is this marvellous book packed with breathtaking photography of such sites as Giza, Angkor Wat, Teotihuacan, Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman and many more, but the accompanying text and diagrams eloquently lay out a theory whose ramifications shake the fundamental assumptions of human history.
Graham Hancock is proposing that the unimaginable amount of effort that went into megalithic structures around the world was NOT merely the result of ego-driven monarchs erecting tombs for themselves and monuments for their gods. For if you stand at these sites (as Hancock and Faiia did) at crucial times during the year (solstices and equinoxes) you can easily see that entire groundplans are oriented with the sun, moon and stars. In fact, Hancock prodigiously documents that many of these sites are exact replicas of constellations known to be of great significance to the civilizations that built them. Further, many sites mirror their respective constellations not as they looked when the sites were built, but in the epoch of 10,500 BC. This in turn requires knowledge of the precession of the equinoxes, the apparent shift of the constellations through the sky caused by the wobbling of the earth on its axis. This process takes almost 26,000 years to complete and takes 72 years to shift just one degree.
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93 of 106 people found the following review helpful By George Erikson on October 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Much of what Hancock presented in FINGERPRINTS OF THE GODS appears
here, but there is also much that is new -- notably the celestial
alignments of the Yonaguni underwater monument and the beautiful
photography of Santha Faiia from exotic and important sites around the
world. The book has, however, one major failing -- that of paying
homage to the Inquisition-inspired portrayal of the Americas as
populated by savages. Hancock states, "...the great mystery of
Central America is that a culture of such unmitigated ferocity was
also a vehicle for profound religious ideas." He should know
better but Hancock has mixed together truly ancient Mexico --
populated for thousands of years before Christ by Olmecs and the
people who built Teotihuacan -- with the Mexico Cortez encountered in
the 16th C., populated by the barbaric Aztecs. The Aztecs were
relative latecomers to the Valley of Mexico, arriving as little as 300
years before Columbus. They built inferior pyramids -- mostly from
broken stones and boulders of earlier constructions, they borrowed
earlier spiritual beliefs -- including knowledge of Quetzalcoatl (who
advocated the sacrifice only of flowers and butterflies), and they
conducted the mass sacrifices so gleefully related by the historians
under pay of the Church of the Inquisition. Were the Aztecs, as
Hancock seems to say, contributors to the spirituality of Central
America? No, they never got to Central America, and they marked a
confused dead-end to thousands of years of pre-Columbian culture in
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