Discovering the oldest man-made structures on Earth


Scholars have told us that the first civilization on Earth emerged in a land called Sumer some 6,000 years ago. Recent archaeological findings suggest that the Sumerians may have inherited some of their knowledge from an earlier civilization that emerged many thousands of years earlier in southern Africa – the cradle of humankind.

More than 100,000 years ago, early humans built a stone calendar that predates all other man-made structures found to date. This discovery is so astounding that it requires a true paradigm shift in our approach to ancient human activity, as it takes us closer to the emergence of the earliest humans on planet Earth.

This “African Stonehenge,” which we have called Adam’s Calendar, has for the first time created a link to the countless other stone ruins in southern Africa and suggests that these ruins are much older than we thought. The complex that links Waterval Boven, Machadodorp, Carolina and Dullstroom, covers an area larger then modern-day Johannesburg and has emerged as the largest and most mysterious ancient city on Earth. The discovery of carved dolerite statues of giant birds, some resembling Horus, and petroglyphs of winged disks, suggests that the prototype Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations had their origins in southern Africa thousands of years before they emerged in the north.

An aerial view of the calendar site perched on the edge of the Transvaal escarpment.

Seven years of research by a group of independent scientists and explorers has delivered what may be the crucial missing elements in our understanding of the lives and development of early modern humans. Their discovery has been released in a book called Adam’s Calendar. But the research has also shown that these stone settlements represent the most mysterious and misunderstood structures found to date. It points to a civilization that lived and dug for gold in this part of the world for thousands of years. And if this is, in fact, the cradle of humankind, we may be looking at the activities of the oldest civilization on Earth.

Circular stone ruins
Johan Heine manages the largest group of firefighters and fire-fighting fleet of aircraft in Africa. As a pilot he has been flying over the mountains of Mpumalanga for more than 20 years. He instantly took a keen interest and started photographing thousands of strange circular stone ruins that lie scattered throughout this region. After consulting various so-called experts on their origins, he was informed that these were merely remains of “cattle kraal” (pens) left behind by the migrating Bantu people from the north in the 14th century until about the 18th century. But it was an almost fatal air crash by one of Heine’s crew that brought him to discover the mysterious monolithic circle we now call Adam’s Calendar and put the entire mystery of these ancient ruins into perspective.

The founder of Adam’s Calendar, Johan Heine, examines the carved edge on the leading monolith, which casts a clear shadow on the flat calendar rock. The wider monolith became the calendar on which days and weeks were marked as the movement of the sun stretched perfectly from one edge to the other, left to right, and then back again.

Johan spotted the strange monoliths standing upright in the center of a larger eroded circular structure, right on the edge of a high mountain cliff. After dealing with the crashed aircraft and recovering the pilot who only suffered a broken arm, Johan returned to investigate the monoliths. This is when he truly discovered how amazingly blind “those who will not see” can be. He brought about five academics to the site in search of explanations, but not one of them could see the true significance of the discovery, claiming that these were just random stones. This was a big blow to his original excitement, but like a true explorer he did not stop there.

The site is situated on the edge of what is known as the Transvaal Escarpment, which is geologically black reef quartzite, rich in gold. This is incidentally where the gold rush took place in the early 1800s. But the monoliths at Adam’s Calendar are all dolerite. The closest vein of dolerite to the site is about a kilometer away. This means that the architects went to a lot of trouble to get the monoliths, some of which weigh more than 5 tons, to the site. The central monolith is carved with precision to allow the setting sun to cast a shadow on what we call the flat calendar stone.

Johan began to measure and calculate the layout and parameters of the monoliths. Using his years of experience in aeronautical science and navigation, he very quickly realized that the circular structure was purposefully designed and aligned to the cardinal points of Earth, including equinoxes and solstices.

But it was only six years later, and many more explorations with amazing new discoveries on every trip to the mountain top, that the site was accurately surveyed and the true age of the monoliths was revealed. It turned out that the north, south, east, west alignment is out by 3 degrees, 17 minutes and 43 seconds. This means that we are dealing with a structure at least 25,000 years old, based on archaeoastronomic calculations relating to the 26,000-year cycle of the precessional wobble.

Further studies of the geology, erosion, alignments with stars and lichen growth have allowed us to reach a reasonable, sound and scientific conclusion that this site is at least 75,000 years old. Our latest research has pushed back this date to well over 100,000 years.

Mysterious ancient ruins of southern Africa
It is generally estimated by scholars that there are about 20,000 ancient stone ruins scattered throughout the mountains of southern Africa. Modern historians have been speculating about the origins of these ruins, often calling them “cattle kraal of little historic importance.” The truth of the matter is that closer scientific inspection paints a completely different and astonishing new picture about the ancient history of these stone ruins of southern Africa. The scientific reality is that we actually know very little about these spectacular ancient ruins and it is a great tragedy that thousands have already been destroyed through sheer ignorance by forestry, farmers and development.

A close-up view of the Johan Heine Stone Calendar (Adam’s Calendar) on a summer’s day 2007. This view is from south to north, dissecting the two main monoliths in the center. The tree in the center is where the north marker stone is located.

After my personal explorations on foot and by air over the past two years, I can confidently estimate the number of ancient stone ruins to be closer to 100,000. This figure was confirmed by Professor Revil Mason in January 2009.

Population problem
This immediately poses a huge problem for archaeologists, anthropologists and historians, because the accepted history of this part of the planet does not at any time in our past place anywhere nearly enough people here to have built this number of structures. It gets even more complex when you realize that these were not just isolated structures left behind by migrating hunter-gatherers.

The true reality hits you when you take in the magnitude and expanse of these settlements and witness the staggering number of ancient terraces that surround these settlements, which cover more than 450,000 square kilometers in southern Africa, and possibly much more. A detailed archaeological scrutiny of photographic evidence of some of these terraces shows some to be at least 5,000 years old.

Most of the original settlement structures are well buried beneath the soil and can only be seen from the air by a sensitized observer. It gets even more confusing when you observe the ancient roads that link all these settlements together. We have traced the remains of these roads that can still be seen stretching to about 500 kilometers. In their original state, they would have covered thousands of kilometers.

The position of the ancient road sections that we have discovered suggest that it once ran continuously from the coast of Mozambique to Botswana and possibly beyond. A rough calculation shows that only the visible pieces of the original ancient roads would have required more than 500 million stones of between 10 and 50 kilograms to construct. If we assume that the roads only make up 2 percent of the ancient settlements, the number of stones required to build the entire ancient city/settlement becomes unthinkable. This would simply not be possible with the current population model of ancient civilization in southern Africa.

The oldest statue on Earth carved out by the architects of Adam’s Calendar some 75,000 years ago. It was removed from its original position in 1994 where it stood looking at the sunrise on the vernal equinox over the large central monoliths. It now serves as a plaque stand at the entrance to the nature reserve. We are negotiating to have it moved back to its place of origin to complete the spectacular calendar site.

The other issue we need to deal with is the need for roads, since it was previously believed that the wheel only arrived in this part of the world with the Portuguese explorers in the 1500s.

Oldest city on Earth
It would not be unthinkable that we are possibly looking at the oldest settlements on Earth. Artifacts that have been recovered from these ruins show a long and extended period of settlement that spans more than 200,000 years. Over the past three decades, several researchers have raised this issue only to be ridiculed and often ostracized. Many leading scientist and historians have since voiced their support for such ancient origins.

Since southern Africa is the cradle of humankind, we should not be surprised to find such ruins, but we should rather expect these discoveries. The reality seems to be that we are dealing with what is possibly the largest and most mysterious ancient civilization on Earth.

Ancient gold fields
It is important to note that the mysterious ruins of southern Africa, which include Great Zimbabwe and thousands of similar ruins in that country, also extend into neighboring areas like Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique. But why were these ancient people here in the first place? What were they doing?

The past 200 years have seen a number of explorers write in great detail about these ruins, but their findings have been largely forgotten and their books are out of print. Most of these early explorers write about thousands of ancient mine shafts found in close proximity to these ruins. In fact, most of these mines have been described as mines for gold, copper, tin and iron. In my personal experience and research, I have found at least five ancient mine shafts in gold-rich areas and been told of dozens more by farmers from the area. It seems that gold mining has been going on here for a lot longer than most of us ever imagined.

A coin of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (138 AD) was found 25 meters deep in a gold mine in 1891 by the man to first excavate Great Zimbabwe. The Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses writes about crossing the African continent to the southern tip around 1300 BC and his encounters with gold in this part of the world. It becomes evident that we are actually and probably talking about King Solomon’s mines.

Should we be surprised by this discovery? The oldest written record of human history, the Sumerian tablets, describe extensively the ancient activity in a land called Abzu – the land below the equator where the gold was mined. The tablets describe the early human settlements and the quest for gold. The fact that many scholars keep ignoring these scripts is a great pity.

Sumeria and Abantu
The links to the Sumerian civilization in southern Africa simply cannot be ignored or erased. They can even be traced with etymology in the names and origins of indigenous people. The most obvious piece of evidence that has never been explained is the word Abantu, the name commonly used to describe black South Africans. According to pre-eminent shaman and medicine man Credo Mutwa, the name is derived from the Sumerian goddess Antu. Abantu simply means the children or people of Antu.

One of the many mysterious ancient stone ruins that seems to have a greater purpose in its design. The Phi factor of 1,618 seems to be well used in this and other structures’ dimensions.

How does Adam’s Calendar fit into the ancient ruin picture?

Adam’s Calendar is the flagship among these ruins, because we can date this monolithic calendar with relative certainty to at least 75,000 years of age, based on a number of scientific evaluations. In turn, Adam’s Calendar points to the diverse ancient history of southern Africa and presents the first tangible evidence of the earliest humans in the “cradle of humankind.”

The Orion Connection & The Hawk Head of Horus
This remarkable stone structure of Adam’s Calendar was originally a large circular structure resembling, but predating, Stonehenge by many thousands of years. Its original shape is still clearly visible from satellite images. Adam’s Calendar is built along the same 31 degree longitudinal line as Great Zimbabwe and the Great Pyramid of Giza. Three of the monoliths are aligned with the rise of Orion’s belt when it rose horizontally on the horizon at least 75,000 years ago. The latest astronomic calculation suggests that the last time Orion would have been flat on the horizon was around 160,000 years ago.

A recent observation is that the fallen monolith on the outer circle that marks the vernal equinox sunrise is shaped like the Horus hawk head from Egypt and it also resembles the birds at Zimbabwe ruins. This is the oldest statue of the Horus hawk by a long shot and should attract great interest in the years to come. Adam’s Calendar takes us further back in time closer to the emergence of Homo sapiens than any other structure ever found to date, and it will force historians and archaeologists to reconsider ancient human activity and consciousness.

Ancient humans
Southern Africa holds some of the deepest mysteries in all of human history. Although much has been written about the first humans who appeared in this part of the world, we have found very little evidence of their activity or what they did and what kind of lives they led from around 250,000 years ago to 75,000 years ago. What we are told is that around 60,000 years ago the people from Africa began to migrate north and eventually populated the whole planet.

A small section of the ancient city that stretches more than 20,000 square kilometers, linked by the ancient roads that can be clearly seen here from the air. This kind of detail is not at all visible to observers on the ground.

Who were these first humans? What did they do? How did they live? And where did they disappear to?

The first signs of human intelligence and consciousness only appeared around 75,000 years ago, when the Khoisan people of southern Africa started leaving behind an array of spectacular cave paintings all over this part of the continent. Finely crafted beads and bracelet fragments found in a cave at Blombos in the Western Cape, South Africa, show that these early humans had already developed a feel for the arts and crafts.

The legends become even more vivid when we learn about the great empire of Monomotapa, whose kings were powerful and wealthy in gold. When we move to around 1000 BC, we encounter the mysterious Queen Sheba who ruled a kingdom in the lost land of Ophir, teeming with endless supplies of gold; and the wise and wealthy king Solomon who seduced Queen Sheba and obtained all his gold from her.

Is it possible that there really was such a place? Was it really filled with limitless wealth in gold? Was it here where the wealthiest kings on Earth got their gold?

Ophir is an etymological derivative of the ancient place called Afer, where the gold came from; then became the Arabic Afir – for Africa – from which was derived K’Afir, which became the slang word for black people in later years. In the Bible it is changed to Ofir or Ophir. There seems to be a clear link between all these places, and this link leads to southern Africa, where the gold came from.

This is, after all, the place where most of the gold in the world has been mined in modern history, and it was no different in ancient times. Is it a coincidence that the richest gold mine in the world today, Sheba Gold Mine, is located right here in Mpumalanga, South Africa? These may seem like naïve questions to some, but after witnessing the enormous ancient cities and civilizations in southern Africa myself, I am convinced that what we think we know about our ancient human history is further from the truth than we ever imagined.

On Thursday, Oct, 21,  South African author, explorer, and scientist Michael Tellinger will present “The First People” from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, 4401 Upton Ave. S., Minneapolis. The cost is $30, students and seniors $15. A reception and refreshments will follow.

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Michael Tellinger
Michael Tellinger has become one of South Africa's bestselling authors. He is the author of Adam's Calendar, Temples of the African Gods, and Slave Species of god. His writing on human origins has been praised by readers in more than 20 countries. He graduated in 1983 from the University of Witwatersrand Medical School, Johannesburg, with a B.Pharmaceutics degree, and a passion for the cosmos, genetics and human history. His research and astute understanding of his subject matter has made him a regular guest on radio shows in the U.S. and U.K. He spent much of his early years in the arts performing on stage and screen. He has written music hits, worked in Los Angeles for Cannon Films as a sound designer and editor, and he has written a number of screenplays, children's educational books and TV shows.


  1. Since Carbon dating at best can date back 50,000 years, not to mention the history of this place you supply in your article (assuming the stories are facts) only go back 3,000 years. How did you draw your conclusion on age of settlement being much older? From our perspective on Earth, the Constellation Orion is slowly moving south at a constant rate of speed which by 14,000 AD most of northern hemisphere won’t be able to see the constellation anymore. This means that 75,000-200,000 years ago the constellation was seen only in the northern hemisphere which makes any astrological correlation between the settlement and orion constellation impossible(since they wouldn’t have ever seen it) Not too mention by placing stones here on Earth in the pattern of constellation orion but not in relation to its position in the sky, will every so often(13,000-24,000 years) line up. The sphinx and pyramids of giza line up with constellation leo and Orions belt as seen in sky in 10,450 BC, which science has dated them back to only 2500 BC.It’s doubtful that people in 2500 bc would know the constellations positions in 10,450 BC more likely it was built in 10,450BC and science dating(or science in general) is a total scam(which unfortunately is likely)


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