Fingerprints of the Gods
Cover of the first American edition
Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization is a 1995 book by Graham Hancock, in which the author echoes 19th-century writer Ignatius Donnelly, author of Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882), in contending that some enigmatic, ancient but highly advanced civilisation had existed in prehistory, one which served as the common progenitor civilisation to all subsequent known ancient historical ones. The author proposes that sometime around the end of the last Ice Age this civilisation ended in cataclysm, but passed on to its inheritors profound knowledge of such things as astronomy, architecture, and mathematics.
Hancock's theory is based on the idea that mainstream interpretations of archaeological evidence are flawed or incomplete.
Hancock argues for a civilisation centred on Antarctica (which lay farther from the South Pole than today) and which supposedly left evidence (the "fingerprints" of the title) in Ancient Egypt and American civilisations such as the Olmec, Aztec and Maya. Hancock discusses:
- creation myths describing deities like:
- a range of archaeological sites such as Tiwanaku in Bolivia. Tiwanaku was a planned city which, according to UNESCO, reached its peak between 400 A.D. and 900 A.D., but is assigned an earlier date by Hancock. Tiwanaku is also featured in other works of "alternative archaeology", including Von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods?. Von Däniken suggested that it provides evidence of an extraterrestrial civilisation, whereas Hancock does not argue for "ancient astronauts"; he proposes Atlantis as the origin of a lost civilisation.
Hancock suggests that in 10,450 BC, a major pole shift took place, before which Antarctica lay farther from the South Pole than today, and after which it shifted to its present location. The pole-shift hypothesis hinges on Charles Hapgood's theory of Earth Crustal Displacement. Hapgood had a fascination with the story of Atlantis and suggested that crustal displacement may have caused its destruction. His theories have few supporters in the geological community compared to the more widely accepted model of plate tectonics, but they were adopted by Rose and Rand Flem-Ath's When the Sky Fell: in Search of Atlantis (1995/2009), in which they expand the evidence for Charles Hapgood's theory of earth-crust displacement and propose Antarctica as the site of Atlantis.
Canadian author Heather Pringle has placed Fingerprints specifically within a pseudo-scientific tradition going back through the writings of H.S. Bellamy and Denis Saurat to the work of Heinrich Himmler's notorious racial research institute, the Ahnenerbe, and the 'crackpot theories' of Nazi archaeologist Edmund Kiss. Pringle draws attention to Fingerprints' 'wild speculations' on the origins of Tiwanaku and describes Hancock as a 'fabulist'.
Fingerprints of the Gods has been translated into 27 languages and is estimated to have sold five million copies around the world.
A second edition of the book was published in 2001, entitled Fingerprint of the Gods: The Quest Continues. It includes a new introduction and new appendices in which Hancock responds to some of his critics.
In 2009, Roland Emmerich, the Hollywood director, released his blockbuster disaster movie 2012 citing Fingerprints of the Gods in the credits as inspiration for the film. In a November 2009 interview with the London magazine Time Out, Emmerich states: "I always wanted to do a biblical flood movie, but I never felt I had the hook. I first read about the Earth's Crust Displacement Theory in Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods."
- Moss, Stephen (6 February 2002). "Castles in the sea". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
- Tiwanaku: Spiritual and Political Centre of the Tiwanaku Culture UNESCO.
- Pringle, Heather, The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust (2006), Fourth Estate, London: p.310
- Hapgood, Charles Hutchins; Earth's Shifting Crust: A Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Science (Pantheon Books, 1958; foreword by Albert Einstein)
- Fagan, Garrett G. Archaeological Fantasies:How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public Routledge 6 January 2006 ISBN 978-0-415-30593-8 p. 28
- Nunn, Patrick D. Vanished Islands and Hidden Continents of the Pacific University of Hawaii Press (15 Aug 2008)ISBN 978-0824832193 p. 128
- "Graham Hancock Biography". GrahamHancock.com. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- "2012 (2009) – Credit List" (PDF). chicagoscifi.com. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- Jenkins, David (16 November 2009). "Roland Emmerich's guide to disaster movies". Time Out. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- (in Italian) Tambone, Alessio (15 September 2008). "Versione Stampabile _ Blu-ray 10.000 AC". AV Magazine (in Italian). Retrieved 28 July 2013.
- Brass, M., 2002, Tracing Graham Hancock's Shifting Cataclysm. Skeptical Inquirer. vol. 26, no. 4, pp. ??–??.
- Edlin, D., nd, The Gentle Art of Myth Management. Hall of Ma’at Papers
- Fagan, G., nda, Tiwanaku: Alternative History in Action, Hall of Ma’at Papers
- Fagan, G., ndb, An Answer to Graham Hancock, Hall of Ma’at Papers
- Hancock, Graham, nd, Fingerprints of the Gods Hancock's own page on the book
- Heinrich, P.; Geoarchaeology pages; Hall of Ma’at Papers; scroll down to Hancock's Scholarship section Comments on geology discussed in Fingerprints of the Gods.
- Malek, J. 1996, Fingerprints of the Gods: A Review. Discussions in Egyptology. vol. 34, pp. 135–142.