These ancient pre-Olmec structures not only have odd appearance, but they also offer evidence our ancestors possessed knowledge of magnetism.
From whom did the ancient people aquire knowledge that in this case is thousands of years ahead of its time?
The statues "Fat Boys", as they are called by scientists were discovered in 1976 by Dartmouth Geographer Vincent H. Malmström.
These odd figures standing majestically in the town plaza of La Democracia in southern Guatemala. Like many other ancient statues, these ones are big, with human heads and torsos but no sexual markings. What makes them different is that they are "fat" and they have magnetic properties.
"Two general styles of sculpture stem from the Monte Alto site - one representing a human head, and the other, a human body. Since both the heads and the bodies are rather crudely shaped from large, rounded basaltic boulders, the subjects have a decidedly corpulent appearance. Because they seem to be male figures, they have been termed "fat boys" in the archaeological literature," Malmström explained.
According to an article that appeared on September 3, 1979 in the Time Magazine, when the statues were examined the same year "Malmström found that its needle was sharply attracted whenever he held it to the navel of some of the statues, the right temple of others.
Reason: these parts of their anatomy were themselves magnets.More astonishing, the rotund figures are about 4,000 years old, 2,000 years older than the first evidence of Chinese experiments with magnetism."
"Despite their crudity as works of "art," the "Fat Boys" have one characteristic which lends them a true air of mystery: Many of them are magnetic!
This discovery, made by my field assistant Paul Dunn and myself in 1979, took everyone, including the archaeological community, by complete surprise.
Thus, where the magnetic lines of force enter a head above the right ear, they usually leave it below the ear. And if the magnetic lines of force enter a body to the left of the navel, they tend to exit it to the right of the navel. Each sculpture, therefore, usually has two oppositely charged poles situated so closely together as to suggest a kind of U-shaped magnetic field.
Today, eleven of these statues are found in La Democracia, Guatemala, arrayed along two sides of the town's plaza, while the twelfth stands near the entrance to the museum. They reportedly were assembled from the newly cleared sugarcane fields surrounding the village sometime after 1950. Five of the statues depict human bodies, six depict human heads, and one is fashioned in the shape of a large bowl or receptacle. Of the humanoid figures, four of the five bodies have magnetic properties, as do four of the six heads," Malmstom said shortly after the he made this astonishing discovery.
"The Fat Boys are apparently of pre-Olmec origin, sculptured by predecessors of the earliest known civilization in Mesoamerica, who dwelt in a region around Izapa, an ancient priestly center just across the border in Mexico.
The gifted artisans did not insert magnetic rocks into the figures, but apparently carved them around natural magnetic poles in the original basaltic boulders"
This raises the most interesting question. Namley - how did they discover this magnetism?
Mesoamerica's oldest known lodestone, or primitive compass, a 2.5-cm (1-in.) bar made of magnetic rock, dates back only to 1000 B.C., a millennium younger than the Fat Boys and some 2,000 years before the Europeans first began using magnetized needles in navigation. Apparently the Fat Boy sculptors did know how to use lodestones as a means of locating other magnetic rock, to say nothing of pointing north.
Such natural pointers would explain how the Olmecs sculptured a 3,500-year-old figure of a turtle with a magnetic snout.
To the Olmecs, Malmstrom speculates the magnetism may have been the magical power by which sea turtles found their way across great expanses of ocean. "Of course, the enigma posed by the "Fat Boys" is really a double barreled one.
First, we must ask if their sculptors were actually aware of their magnetic property, and, if so, how they might have initially recognized it, especially in the presumed absence of iron. Or, on the other hand, might not the localization of magnetic poles within these sculptures have been simply a matter of chance?
And second, if the magnetic property of each of these stones was indeed known, what prompted their sculptors to associate this mystical force with such localized parts of the body as the right temple and the navel?
Even if it does not take one magnet to detect another, at least it requires a sensitized piece of iron, such as the needle of a compass, to do so. Greek sources credit Thales of Miletus with having discovered the property of magnetism about 600 B.C., and the Chinese author Fu Chin mentions "a stone which can give a needle its direction" in a manuscript dating from 121 B.C.," Malström said
He also suggested that the magnetic turtle may hint of Olmec contacts with the Chinese, since they also made their early compasses in the shape of turtles.
As for the Fat Boys, Malmström says, their magnetism may represent the life force, with the navel symbolizing birth, and the temple consciousness or knowledge.
In ancient Greek texts we find several references mentioning the use of magnetism.
Pliny relates that the Egyptians were aware of magnetism. He wrote that:
'..the temple of Arsinoe was to have been vaulted with magnetic stone, in order to receive a hovering statue of Arsinoe made of iron, according to the arrangement of Ptolemaus Philadelphus, but who, as well as the architect, died before the completion of the temple..'
Cedrenus says that an ancient image in the Serapium at Alexandria was 'suspended by magnetic force'.
Cassiodorus stated that 'in the temple of Diana hung an iron Cupid without being held by any band'.
Socrates said of it in Plato's "Ion" c. 380 BC.
Speaking well about Homer is not a thing you have mastered, it's a divine power that moves you, as a "Magnetic" stone moves iron rings. (That's what Euripides called it; most people call it "Heraclian".) This stone not only pulls those rings, if they are iron, it also puts power in the rings, so they in turn can do just what the stone does - pull other rings - so that there is sometimes a very long chain of iron pieces, hanging from one another. And the power in all of them depends on this stone.
And Manetho wrote the following profound statement in relation to magnetism.. 'for like as iron drawn by a stone often follows it, but often also is turned and driven away in the opposite direction, so also is the wholesome, good and regular motion of the world.'
Proof of superior ancient technology can be found in all corners of the world.
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