Kelvyquayo the Furtive wrote:
How far back do you think we go?..... Did it all start duriring and after the Ice Age, or do you think there is some forgotten history somwhere back way way back?
That's a pretty interesting question. While it's intirely possible that we advanced a bit prior to the last ice age, then regressed, and then re-discovered things afterwards, there's no real evidence to suggest that's what actually happened. At the very least, what evidence we have of the oldest settled (agrarian) communities are all post ice-age, and in fact are within the last 5-8 thousand years. This places the time significantly past the end of the ice age so that it's irrelevant in any case. If someone did develop more advanced cultures prior to that time, nothing remained anyway, so it had no impact on our development afterwards.
One of the counter theories that I always laugh at is the "common source" theory. The idea being that since there are so many examples of commonality in early cultures, and they didn't have any contact with eachother at the time, that they must have all descended from some earlier "common" culture. Personally, I think it's a garbage theory that puts presumption before evidence.
The most common rationales supporting it are the facts that so many cultures built pyrimids and large standing stone monoliths. Additionally, there's the fact that most of these structures are all oriented via some astronomical method. The problem with the theory is that they forget that the "common" thing all those cultures shared was a burgeoning agriculture capability. After all, that's what differentiates a nomadic culture from a settled one. You can't build large lasting structures without an excess of labor that's not required just to keep everyone fed. This pretty much always requires some level of agriculture. One ability that all early culture that build anything would *have* to have would be the abilty to measure time, specifically seasons. There's simply no way to plant harvests without having this ability. Thus, it's not unusual at all that every single one would have some working knowlege of the movement of the sun and stars in the sky. They didn't have calendars folks. They had to measure time by the movement of objects in the sky. Orienting upon such celestial bodies would be somewhat obvious, since that's what allowed them the wealth to build the structures in the first place.
As to the "mysteries" of pyrimid building? I don't find it mysterious at all. And ancient culture has basicaly two building materials: Wood and stone. Anything made of wood would have collapsed, and we'd have no standing instances of them. Anything made out of stone that was *not* a pyrimid would either require fairly advanced building techniques, or would have collapsed by now as well, or would have been torn down and re-used for something else (small quarried stones are pretty convenient for that). Pyrimids are what is left simply because they are the only large structure you can build out of stone blocks large enough not to be carted off easily, that they could build, and would still be standing today.
I really feel it's a matter of reverse thinking. They see pyrimids and large standing stones, but don't really think about the fact that that may just be all that's left. I could have a culture that built lots of structure and monuments, including megaliths and pyrimids, but after 5-6 thousand years, all that will be left are the megaliths and pyrimids. This gives the false impression that that was *all* we built and that somehow the shapes were important for more then just their lastng durability.