Was There an Ancient Nuclear War?

Is mankind currently at the peak of a modern age of advancement in technology and weaponry, or are we merely trapped in a never-ending cyclical process of innovation, prosperity and eventual self-destruction? There are those among us who believe that humanity’s complicated fascination with nuclear warfare is only a recent repeat in a series of achievements and blunders that have come, gone and returned with the passing of time and the rise and fall of different civilizations. This means that there are currently a variety of theories and hypotheses entertaining the idea and the strong likelihood of an atomic war taking place thousands of years ago, during a time when the most ancient human civilizations on the planet had flourished and had subsequently been erased from existence.

While talk of an ancient nuclear war may sound like something that can only be read on science fiction novels, there are theorists and believers who claim to have found indirect references in ancient literature about a large-scale war in the past that used complex tools of destruction. There are also allegedly best available evidences which can be found in ancient ruins supporting the possibility that our ancient ancestors possessed highly advanced technology which may have included powerful weapons intended for atomic warfare.

Ancient Nuclear War as Detailed in the Mahabharata

source: loving2you

source: loving2you

Modern mankind had never heard or experienced horrific descriptions about the aftermath of a nuclear explosion until the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during the Second World War. However, an accurate description of such a catastrophic event had allegedly already been written in ancient texts thousands of years ago – more particularly, in the great Sanskrit epic of ancient India titled the “Mahabharata.”

The Mahabharata, which spoke of doom and destruction and allegedly contained verses that seemingly spoke of a nuclear warfare, is believed by some to be an indirect proof that an ancient nuclear war took place on Earth way before the nuclear bomb attacks in World War II. The ancient Hindu epic are claimed by some to have originated thousands of years earlier, and they say it described massive “fireball” weapons falling from the sky during a war between the Rama Empire and an enemy race considered as the archetype of the mythical empire of Atlantis.

One reference in the Mahabharata purportedly speaks of explosions which were described to be brighter than “a thousand suns.” And when these blasts occurred, the suns were supposedly twirling in the air; the trees went up in flames; and the overall destruction was so massive that corpses were burned to the point that they were completely unrecognizable. Those who managed to survive the blasts, however, started to lose their hair and nails, while their food supplies got contaminated. All these are allegedly a concise reference to radiation poisoning and nuclear fallout, which were written on texts that are thousands of years old.  

The Ancient City in Mohenjo Daro

source: scoopwhoop

source: scoopwhoop

These gritty details referencing an atomic war is said to have occurred in a bygone era, when knowledge and technology required to make such weapons should not have existed yet. And so, in light of this, some believe that the Hindu epic of Mahabharata may not be as mythological as most scholars and experts think. And among the best evidences usually raised to support the theory of an ancient nuclear war is the ancient city discovered at Mohenjo Daro. Now an archeological site located in Sindh, Pakistan, Mohenjo Daro was built around 2500 BCE, and was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley civilization until its abandonment in the 19th century BCE.

This archeological site was not rediscovered until the 1920s, and since then, significant excavation has been conducted at the site of the city. When excavations of Mohenjo Daro reached the street level, they discovered 44 skeletons which were scattered all over the city. Many of them were holding hands and were lying face down in the street, while their faces and body positioning suggested that they suffered a sudden, violent death. In certain areas of the site, they have found increased levels of radiation, and it was also a wonder how the bodies, which are thousands of years old by archeological standards, did not decay or get eaten by wild animals along the way.   

British Indian researcher David Davenport, in particular, claimed to have found a 50-yard-wide epicenter at Mohenjo Daro where everything appeared to have been fused and glassified by a heat as high as 1500°C through a transformative process known as vitrification. Vitrification is a process in which regular-type stone gets molten into magma state before hardening once again. However, once the stone is hardened, it feels like glass. At the site, there is evidence of vitrification, a phenomenon which could have only been achieved if the site was exposed to extreme heat by some type of blast.

Moreover, A. Gorbovsky in his book titled “Riddles of Ancient History” reported the discovery of at least one human skeleton in the area with a level of radioactivity approximately 50 times greater than it should have been because of natural radiation. Davenport, on the other hand, claimed that what was found at Mohenjo Daro corresponded exactly to what was seen after the nuclear bombings in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Debunking of the Ancient City in Mohenjo Daro as Evidence of an Ancient Atomic War

Source: National Geographic

Source: National Geographic

But did an ancient nuclear war actually take place in the ancient city discovered at Mohenjo Daro? Skeptics and many experts in the field of archeology and the sciences would respond in the negative. One of the first problems with this theory is that the excavations in Mohenjo Daro - through which the bodies were discovered - have been criticized by scholars for the poor approach used during the dig period. The poor methodology applied by the excavators has consequently made interpretation of the ancient site difficult.

Even though some of the original excavators of the site have initially interpreted the evidence in a way that suggested that the skeletons found there were linked by a single catastrophic event, they took the view that the catastrophe was brought about by war and not a nuclear explosion. Moreover, it was also determined by some scholars that although some of the bodies were found in the same parts of the city, their distribution suggested that many of them actually came for different time periods. Some of the bodies were clearly from the Early period of Indus Valley civilization while some are believed to be from the Late period. It is worth nothing that the two periods are more than a thousand years apart.

Also, the idea that the bodies were laying around in the streets has been disproven. The bulk of the bones found at the ancient city were actually found in contexts suggesting burials of the sloppiest and most irreverent nature. The most infamous group of bodies that were found laying in the middle of the street was actually caused by the fact that these bodies were buried during the later period of the Indus Valley civilization, at a time when the existing buildings had been built over the establishments erected in earlier periods. Hence, the bodies found, as it turns out, were buried above a road which was built from a period hundreds of years earlier.

As for the remarkably well-preserved bones, this can be chalked up to Mohenjo Daro being literally one of the hottest places on Earth, with temperatures reaching up to 128 degrees. And because the location is also really dry, it is a perfect climate for preservation. This is also probably the reason why the mud-brick buildings are still standing until now.

As for the claims about there being radiation at Mohenjo Daro, the problem with these allegations is that no one is completely certain where this claim originated from. Since the source of the claim was not any of the scientists directly involved with the Mohenjo Daro digs, and since theorists that believe in the occurrence of a nuclear explosion in the area do not cite a specific and accurate reference with which to verify this claim, there is no reason to address it sp urgently as it is a non-factor in assessing the validity of the theory regarding ancient nuclear warfare.

What about the claim that the ancient settlement in Mohenjo Daro is the epicenter of vitrification? Well, according to archeologists, the site is actually not the epicenter of anything. What was found during the excavation was just a small amount of broken pottery. And because pottery is put in a fire to harden it, the broken pottery found in the area contains a specific type of vitrification called Frit. Aside from that there is no epicenter of anything at the site. If there was, traces of Trinitite - which is vitrified sand caused by a nuclear explosion – should have been found.

Another major problem with the theory that the Mohenjo Daro settlement was destroyed because of a nuclear explosion is the city itself. For an ancient city that was supposed to have been obliterated by an atomic bomb, it is unusual and inconsistent that the buildings in the area are still intact, and some of them are still standing erect at 15 feet high. Since they are made out of mud, some of them should have been toppled if a nuclear weapon did hit the ancient city as the force of its blast wave had more than sufficient destructive power to do so.

And so, to summarize, from the standpoint of skeptics and scientific experts, the bodies at Mohenjo Daro were not killed in a sudden disaster. In fact, they died a thousand years apart in some cases, and were also clearly buried. The cases of radiation are also a non-factor, while the overexaggerated vitrification at the site was actually caused by pottery.  Lastly, if a nuclear explosion obliterated the citizens of that settlement, it should have knocked down the mud-brick houses which are still standing at the site. But, it didn’t.

With speculations and evidences which allegedly prove that an ancient nuclear war took place on Earth, and with skeptics, scholars and other experts working diligently to disprove them, the theory of a highly-advanced ancient civilization capable of atomic warfare remains essentially a controversial case rather than a clean-cut one.

Was there really an ancient nuclear war thousands of years ago? And if so, did an advanced human civilization exist on planet Earth around that time, or were their supposed high technology alien in nature? For now, the truth remains uncertain. While all the evidences presented referring to an ancient atomic warfare have somehow been debunked one way or another, it is also difficult to definitively dismiss that a highly-advanced ancient civilization didn’t exist on this planet at all without presenting tangible proof as well.

Nevertheless, mankind in general must keep in mind that the important thing is for us to not pass judgment on this subject matter so rashly, and to keep an open and objective mind as new evidence gets discovered in the years to come. Maybe by then, the validity of the facts and evidence presented will be compelling and sufficient enough to either affirm the theory that an ancient nuclear war did happen, or definitively conclude that such an event had never happened at all.