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The enigmatic Mzora stone ring in Morocco

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Guardian Angel
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« on: January 31, 2011, 03:23:07 pm »

The enigmatic Mzora stone ring in Morocco

In Morocco, not far from the Atlantic coast and away from major tourist attractions, lies a remarkable and enigmatic megalithic site. The Mzora stone ring (also spelled variously as Msoura/Mezorah) is situated roughly 11km from the nearest town of Asilah and about 27km from the ruins of ancient Lixus. It is not easy to reach and a small display in the archaeological museum at Tetouan is the most the majority of visitors see or hear of this very interesting site.
     Plutarch, in the first century CE, may have referred to Mzora in his Life of Sertorius. He describes the Roman General Quintus Sertorius being told by local inhabitants about a site they knew as the tomb of the giant Antaeus who had been killed by Hercules. There are many other ancient accounts that place the tomb of Antaeus in close proximity to both Lixus and Tangier and it is quite plausible that Mzora is the inspiration behind these stories.
     The site itself is a Neolithic ellipse of 168 surviving stones of the 175 originally believed to have existed. The tallest of these stones is over 5m in height. The ellipse has a major axis of 59.29 metres and a minor axis of 56.18 metres. At the centre of the ring, and quite probably a much later addition, is a large tumulus, today almost disappeared. The bulk of the damage to it seems to have been done by excavations undertaken in 1935-6 by CÚsar Luis de Montalban. The only professional survey of the site was conducted in the 1970s by James Watt Mavor, Junior of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, USA. It is this survey that revealed Mzora to be not only remarkable in its own right but to have implications for the history of megalithic sites in Britain.
     Mzora, incredibly, appears to have been constructed either by the same culture that erected the megalithic sites in France, Britain and Ireland or by one that was intimately connected with them. The ellipse is constructed using a Pythagorean right angled triangle of the ratio 12, 35, 37. This same technique was used in the construction of British stone ellipses of which 30 good examples survive including the Sands of Forvie and Daviot rings.
     Furthermore it appears that the same unit of measure, the megalithic yard (or something remarkably close) used in the construction of the British sites surveyed by Professor Alexander Thom, was also used in the construction of Mzora. "If a 'megalithic yard' of 0.836 metres ... [is used] ... then the major axis and the perimeter of the ring take on values nearly integral," Robert Temple - visiting Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at Tsinghua University in Beijing - wrote in his 'Egyptian Dawn' book.
     Thom proposed that achieving a circumference measured in whole numbers was of paramount importance to the builders of megalithic rings. But there is more: according to studies by James Watt Mavor, at least seven stones of the Mzora circle mark different astronomical phenomena: winter and sumer solstice sunrises/sunsets, equinoctial sunrises and sunsets.
     Mzora isn't the only stone circle in Africa to share its construction methodology with British sites. The Nabta Playa stone ring in Southern Egypt conforms to Alexander Thom's 'Type I egg' geometry. But at present Mzora is unmanaged, exposed and vulnerable, so this monument surely deserves better protection and further study.

Edited from Lost Cities & Remote Places (13 January 2011), The Heritage Journal (27 January 2011)

http://www.stonepages.com/news/archives/004222.html
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Guardian Angel
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2011, 03:25:02 pm »

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Guardian Angel
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2011, 03:25:39 pm »

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Guardian Angel
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2011, 03:34:11 pm »

Re-discovery of Moroccan Megalithic Stone Circle  01/13/2011
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It is not often that one makes an original discovery, but I believe that by a careful application of logic and a bit of luck of I may have achieved just that.

I was amazed discover on various enthusiast sites that the megalithic stone circle of Mzora (also spelt variously Msoura/Mezorah) in Morocco is listed as location unknown. This large Neolithic ellipse consisting of 168 surviving stones with a major diameter of nearly 60 metres cannot, apparently, be located on any map and reliable latitude and longitude co-ordinates for it are entirely absent. The website Megalithic Portal confirm that although the GPS co-ordinates provided are only approximate the site can be reached by car from the nearest town (Asilah) with the reluctant help of locals (kengelma. (2007). Msoura - Stone Circle in Morocco. Available: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=16110. Last accessed 13th January 2011).

If those that have visited the monument more recently have taken a GPS reading, they don't appear to have made it publicly available. Indeed the Panaromio (photograph) layer of Google Earth was of no use when I started hunting because there are multiple sites in that area of Morocco that users had identified as the correct one which added to the confusion (for example http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14736610).

The uncertainty as to its actual location is echoed in Robert Temple’s new book Egyptian Dawn:

“It has always been extraordinarily difficult to find Mezorah […] Maps are of limited use. No road approaches the site nearer than several miles’ distance.”  Temple, Robert (2010). Egyptian Dawn. London: Century. p384

And also

“I have not been there since GPS devices became available. I have tried to find it on Google Earth, but the name is not given on the maps, and when searching the terrain visually, one gets the information that ‘that zoom level’ of satellite photography is not available for that area, so Mezorah (M’Zora) appears impossible to find by this means also. One would have to have access to a military satellite to find it.” Temple, Robert (2010). Egyptian Dawn. London: Century. p385

However I believe I have located this 'lost' Moroccan stone circle using available public domain information and Google Earth.

The information on Megalithic Portal gave the location of the site as 25km south of Asilah. However if this were true the nearest town to the site would be Larache not Asilah. I therefore rejected this information as erroneous.

Having established that the site was near the town of Asilah and seen that the co-ordinates given at both Megalithic Portal and on Google earth Community (http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showthreaded&Number=175102 ) indicated a similar area, although didn’t locate the circle itself, they gave me a ‘ballpark’ area to search. So, using an old aerial photo of the site from a travel website (http://lexicorient.com/morocco/mzoura.htm), I fired up Google Earth and hunted for a match.


Aerial Photo from http://lexicorient.com/morocco/mzoura.htm
After a few minutes of searching and several false alarms, I spotted an area that looked promising. I re-orientated the image on Google Earth to match the aerial photo and, wow! That’s a pretty good match.


Screen shot of the site from Google Earth orientated to match aerial photo
The idiosyncratic tree-line matches, the buildings appear in the correct place and the distinctive ‘X’ shaped scar of earlier excavations also appears to fit. Using the ruler function within Google Earth I did a rough measurement of the diameter of the ellipse which came to just over 56 metres. This confirmed that the object was of the right dimensions in the right part of Morocco and matched remarkably closely the aerial photograph.
I’d found it!


Screen shot of the site from Google Earth orientated to North
I can therefore say with some confidence (and for the first time) that the 'lost' megalithic stone circle of Mzora is located at the following co-ordinates:

35⁰24’14.89”N 5⁰56’37.88”W
Or in Decimal: 35.404139, -5.943848

I hope these new, accurate, co-ordinates enable further research into the astronomical alignments that exist and allow more people to (responsibly) visit this remarkable monument.

EDIT: I've written a further brief summary of why Mzora is such an interesting and important site. See my post The Mysterious Moroccan Megalithic Menhirs of Mzora.
   
©Graham Salisbury 2011

http://lostcities.weebly.com/1/post/2011/1/re-discovery-of-moroccan-megalithic-stone-circle.html
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Mark of Australia
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 04:14:46 pm »

Wow,
very interesting that James Mavor surveyed the site, he wrote about Atlantis and worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
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Guardian Angel
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2011, 06:35:12 pm »

Yes, he wrote "Voyage to Atlantis," where he hypothesized that Atlantis was Santorini. Very interesting read.
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Mark of Australia
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011, 10:07:26 am »

Hi Guardian,
I think he was heading in the right direction with the Moroccan stone circle, but I think he went backwards if he fell for Santorini theory. Is anyone writing on these Moroccan monuments currently? I know that there are some researchers who think Atlantis is part of Morocco so I guess I have some checking up to do to see what they say about it.
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Chronos
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2011, 06:22:02 pm »

Hi Mark, welcome back to the forum.  I don't know if anyone is writing on these monuments specifically, but we do have an extensive thread on Jonas Bergman's work, who might have covered them:

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php?topic=5782.0

Here is a site that has some interesting pictures of an underwater site said to be by Morocco.  It is by Maria Fdez-Valmayor, which is actually a pseudonym for our old friend Georgeos Diaz Monetexano:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1011563/posts

The stone ring isn't very far from Lixus, which I long thought had something to do with Atlantis.

Take a look at the bottom blocks on this picture from the Lixux ampitheatre:




Notice how the blocks seem to be more professionally cut and bigger than the ones above it? It's the contention of Cedric Leonard and others that the Phoenicians built atop ruins that were already there from an older civilization.  Obviously, if Atlantis did exist near the Atlantic Ocean, they would have had colonoes in Europe and African near the coastline, so Lixus is an obvious choice to have been one.

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Chronos
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2011, 06:23:46 pm »

From Atlantisquest:


   


In the view on the right one gets the full impact of the superior style of the lower courses of masonry (notice the mortarless, fine joints between the larger stones). Also that stones of various shapes (polygonal) are mixed in with more regular ones, which is one of the masonry techniques used by the ancients to guard against earthquakes. It seems that the jigsaw-puzzle arrangement of the stones breaks up the effect of seismic waves coming from below (each size stone would respond only to its own frequency) with the result that such walls are all but earthquake proof.
    A corner view of the undated prehistoric walls at Lixus.

When I saw the ruins in 1975—via the Morocco Exploration sponsored by Europa House at the University of Illinois—my investigations revealed that there are clearly and indisputably three levels, representing three totally different cultures: the top layer (the most recent) was Roman; beneath it lay Carthaginian; but the lowest level is what attracted my interest: stone masonry representing some totally unknown, prehistoric culture. This bottom level literally jumps out at the observer, since it incorporates massive stones and a peculiar polygonal style similar to that used in prehistoric South America. The question which occurs to me is: What are these similar masonry styles doing on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean?

http://www.atlantisquest.com/Archeology.html#lixus
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Daedalus
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2011, 06:36:49 pm »




Above you have a reconstructed map after Herodotus, ca. 450 BC.

Below you have another reconstruction.



You can see the Mount Atlas in Morocco, and two cities, one called Atlantes and one called Alarantes. Could the meson-mezon confusion have meant instead of "Atlantis, which, as was saying, was an island greater in extent than Libya and Asia, and when afterwards sunk by an earthquake, became an impassable barrier of mud to voyagers sailing from hence to any part of the ocean", Atlantis, a great island (peninsula, coastline), between Libya and Asia, that sank and became a barrier of mud for the travelers to the Atlantic Ocean?

http://atlantis.haktanir.org/ch10.html
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Daedalus
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2011, 06:37:22 pm »

(Maps on this page belong to www.henry-davis.com.)
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Mark of Australia
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2011, 11:46:45 pm »

Hi Mark, welcome back to the forum.  I don't know if anyone is writing on these monuments specifically, but we do have an extensive thread on Jonas Bergman's work, who might have covered them:


Thanks Chronos , good to see you are still around. Has there been any significant finds or input about Atlantis over the last three years you can think of?  I havn't been following it. Hope I didn't miss anything important.
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Chronos
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2011, 01:14:09 am »

There's been nothing conclusive, Mark.  There was a finding in Spain, an underwater city supposedly found near Cuba, another Google Earth sighted near Morocco and an impact crater was found near the Azores.  Lots of other things might be related, but it is hard to say since findings in the mainstream press aren't normally linked to Atlantis. I guess it would come down to which location you set Atlantis in?
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Mark of Australia
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« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2011, 09:59:24 am »

Call me crazy, but I have this idea that Atlantis must be in the Atlantic! ...anyways here is the page about the late James Mavor on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutes website.   http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=10934&tid=282&cid=15786&ct=163


"The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death August 29, 2006 of James W. Mavor, Jr. at his home in Woods Hole of cancer.  He was 83.

James Watt Mavor, Jr. was born January 18, 1923 in Schenectady, N.Y., where he attended grade school and junior high school.  He was a student at the Loomis School from 1937 to 1940 and at Union College for a year before moving to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1944 in naval architecture and marine engineering.

During World War II Jim served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific, working as a drydocking and repair officer from 1944 to 1946 with a final rank of Lt. Jg.  After the war he returned to MIT to pursue graduate studies while also working as a naval architect for the David Taylor Model Basin from 1946 to 1948, and for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in submarine design from 1948 to 1949. 

After receiving a master's degree from MIT in naval architecture in 1950, Jim taught as an assistant professor of marine engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1950 to 1953, when he joined the faculty at Northeastern University as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.  He was promoted to associate professor in 1957 and taught at the university until 1961.  He also served as an instructor in naval architecture and as a consultant to Bethlehem Steel at its Quincy shipyard from 1957 to 1959.

Jim's long connection to Woods Hole began as a child. His father, a biologist at Union College, worked at MBL during the summers and the family had a cottage on Bar Neck Road. He recalled watching the arrival of the new Research Vessel Atlantis from Denmark with his family in 1931.  He continued to spend summers in Woods Hole through the 1950s, and with his family became year-round residents in 1961.

Jim joined the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution staff as a consultant in 1957 working in ocean engineering with Harold Sawyer. In 1959 he moved to a casual basis as an associate in applied physics, and in 1961 became a full-time employee as a research associate in applied physics. He was promoted to research specialist in 1963, and continued working in Ocean Engineering with early Alvin operations and other projects with Scott Daubin and later Earl Hays. 

During his WHOI career he was also active in the education programs of the Institution, serving on the graduate studies faculty from 1968 until he left the Institution in 1980.  He also served as the Institution safety engineer from 1968 to 1973.  He was a lecturer in the Department of Ocean Engineering at MIT for many years, and served as a lecturer and staff member at the Sea Education Association.

Jim was a member of numerous professional societies and organizations, including the Marine Technology Society, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.   He was a consultant in engineering design and analysis, education and yacht design, and authored or co-authored more than 25 publications and 35 technical reports as well as the 1969 book, "Voyage to Atlantis" during his WHOI career. After early retirement from the Institution in 1980, he devoted himself to researching and writing about ancient history, anthropology, and archaeoastronomy. He wrote several books and published numerous articles in these fields, and was a member of the New England Antiquities Research Association.

Active in the Woods Hole community, Jim and wife Mary founded the weekly Woods Hole Folk Dance and the monthly Woods Hole Contra Dance. He was a founding member of the Woods Hole Folk Orchestra, playing a variety of instruments including the accordion.  He also loved to sail, and was an active member of the Woods Hole Yacht Club.

He is survived by a son, James W. Mavor III of Needham, Mass.; two daughters, Anne H. Mavor of Portland, Ore. and Salley H. Mavor of Falmouth, Mass; and five grandchildren, Peter and Ian Goldsborough of Falmouth, Mass., David and Danya Mavor of Needham, Mass., and Rowan Karas of Portland, Ore. His wife of 55 years, Mary Mavor, died in 2005."
« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 10:00:10 am by Mark of Australia » Report Spam   Logged
Guardian Angel
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« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2011, 09:46:00 pm »

It's a shame he died.  At least he led a life of adventure in pursuit of Atlantis.
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