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With Netflix’s Ancient Apocalypse, Graham Hancock has declared war on archaeologists


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Netflix’s enormously popular new show, Ancient Apocalypse, is an all out attack on archaeologists. As an archaeologist committed to public engagement who strongly believes in the relevance of studying ancient people, I feel a full-throated defence is necessary.

Author Graham Hancock is back, defending his well-trodden theory about an advanced global ice age civilisation, which he connects in Ancient Apocalypse to the legend of Atlantis. His argument, as laid out in this show and in several books, is that this advanced civilisation was destroyed in a cataclysmic flood.

The survivors of this advanced civilisation, according to Hancock, introduced agriculture, architecture, astronomy, arts, maths and the knowledge of “civilisation” to “simple” hunter gatherers. The reason little evidence exists, he says, is because it is under the sea or was destroyed by the cataclysm.

“Perhaps,” Hancock posits in the first episode, “the extremely defensive, arrogant, and patronising attitude of mainstream academia is stopping us from considering that possibility”.

https://theconversation.com/with-netflixs-ancient-apocalypse-graham-hancock-has-declared-war-on-archaeologists-194881

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The likes of Hancock can only milk their speculative cash cow so long as there is no conclusive evidence to prove their ideas right ;)  

If archaeologists suddenly discovered Atlantis, an advanced civilisation destroyed in a catastrophe 12,000 years ago, he'd be out of a job!

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1 hour ago, Windowpane said:

Ah!

Absence of evidence ...

Having a reason why no evidence is found to support any fringe idea is one of the key aspect of creating such a idea. Initially GH had his lost civilization in the Antarctica but the dropped that to place it elsewhere currently he has it in north America.

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“My speculation, which I will not attempt to prove here or to support with evidence but merely present for consideration, is that the advanced civilization I see evolving in North America during the Ice Age had transcended leverage and mechanical advantage and learned to manipulate matter and energy by deploying powers of consciousness that we have not yet begun to tap.”  Graham Hancock, America Before

 

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Hancock’s mirroring of Donnelly’s race-focused “science” is seen more explicitly in his essay, Mysterious Strangers: New Findings About the First Americans. Like Donnelly, Hancock finds depictions of “caucasoids” and “negroids” in Indigenous American art and (often mistranslated) mythology, even drawing attention to some of the exact same sculptures as Donnelly.

This sort of “race science” is outdated and long since debunked, especially given the strong links between Atlantis and Aryans proposed by several Nazi “archaeologists”.

These are the reasons why archaeologists will continue to respond to Hancock. It isn’t that we “hate him” as he claims, it is simply that we strongly believe he is wrong. His flawed thinking implies that Indigenous people do not deserve credit for their cultural heritage.

Netflix labels Ancient Apocalypse a docuseries. IMDB calls it a documentary. It’s neither. It’s an eight-part conspiracy theory that weaponises dramatic rhetoric against scholars.

[Emphasis mine]

This is a weapon employed more and more by academics, even creeping its way into the modern woke cannon, to dissuade any modern suggestion of outside influence from another culture -even when they know it is legitimate. The suggestion is that it was the 19th/early 20th century racist beliefs that led to the evidence being interpreted a certain way, therefore this is the only reason to think this, when in reality it is often the other way around in that it was the outlier nature of the evidence that made it a target for these beliefs. Were these antiquarians industrial age white race proponents? No doubt. Even Petrie. Some of the books of the fringe types of the day in particular, like a James Churchward or LA Waddell, while incoherent gibberish are also eye wateringly racist by today's sensibilities. Cray cray.

But what has to be defended, however, is that regardless of how these extreme beliefs exploit the evidence in some cases the evidence still supports the underlying implication of foreign exchange. An easy example is Mesopotamian influence on the formation of the Egyptian Dynastic state. While it can be debated the extent of this influence, the evidence of this interaction is indisputable which however antiquarian racists like Petrie may have glommed on to these facts is irrelevant to the existence of the evidence itself and its clear implications. 

As dangerous as it is to use history to support racist beliefs, or anything else for that matter, it is also just as dangerous to "cancel" history when it leads us to inconvenient truths/possibilities.     

Edited by Saru
Removed nitpicking aimed at the thread starter.
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The ideal solution for the fringe is to buy or obtain the cooperation of some legitimate body and send out their own archaeologist and geologists. This has happened a few times but is never strongly pursued except to do tourism. Perhaps the question to GH is why he isn't paying for research to support his ideas? Even more amusing is where he will next locate his LC, he's been moving it around since he first started.

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1 hour ago, Hanslune said:

"My speculation, which I will not attempt to prove here or to support with evidence but merely present for consideration, is that ... "

I haven't watched the series, nor studied Hancock's recent drivel to know where to start pointing out his errors, so I'm relying on Hanslune's integrity in presenting the above quote accurately.  Surely a caveat like this has no place in any credible or authoritative discussion?  If we allow idle, unsubstantiated speculation equal status to evidence-based theories then everything is possible. 

1 hour ago, Hanslune said:

... the advanced civilization... had transcended leverage and mechanical advantage and learned to manipulate matter and energy by deploying powers of consciousness that we have not yet begun to tap.

Or musical harmonics that interfere with gravity, or special plants that temporarily lighten rocks, or geyser-powered levitation, or aliens, or super-strong giants who just loved stacking stones, or absolutely anything.

Silly nonsense.  Ignore him and anyone here who defends this tripe.

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He could teamed up with those people from Ancient Astronauts. It's the same profile of losers.

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“Perhaps,” Hancock posits in the first episode, “the extremely defensive, arrogant, and patronising attitude of mainstream academia is stopping us from considering that possibility”.

I disagree.  I think the reason that archaeologists refuse to consider other possibilities is simple hubris.  

They began with a set of assumptions that led inexorably to their conclusions.  I sometimes call our species "homo circulus ratiocinatio" (circularly reasoning man).  But it's even more true that we quit looking for the answers as soon as we find one so 'homo omnisciencis" (all knowing man) fits better.  Hancock is wrong about our being "the species with amnesia" as well because we are a different species than the "Atlanteans" or whomsoever came before us (homo sapiens the "wise men").

Edited by cladking
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3 hours ago, jethrofloyd said:

He could teamed up with those people from Ancient Astronauts. It's the same profile of losers.

He's fringe royalty they are merely the hoi polloi who've come from a, stained, tainted, slightly broken off part of the fringe.

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From my perspective as an archaeologist, the show is surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) lacking in evidence to support Hancock’s theory of an advanced, global ice age civilisation.

Hancock used one of several words that pretty much proves his point, "agriculture".  It requires theory to accomplish highly complex tasks. 

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In the last decade we have seen how conspiracy theories and distrust in experts impacts the world around us. And research has shown how pseudo archaeology – especially when couched in anti-intellectual rhetoric – can overlap with more dangerous conspiracy thinking.

The status quo has become enshrined and now disagreeing with is makes a person "dangerous".  Despite the fact that many modern beliefs lead to the mess that is the modern world it is still an evil to attack the underlying beliefs.  

The truth is a million times more important than anyone's career but the truth has to take a back seat now days.

 

Hancock could be far off the mark but lack of evidence for his "Atlantis" is hardly proof.  Indeed, even if no Atlantis at all ever existed he could be closer to the truth than archaeologists who believe all ancient accomplishments were the result of instinct or trial and error.  I can't imagine how any hunter gatherer might accidently invent a farm either a little at a time or all at once.  One might find that seeds grow but even this requires theory when it gets to the complexity of farming.  Even the simplest cities must require some theory.  One can't appeal to the gods for zoning laws (like we do today).  ;)

 

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The reason there is no evidence left from a past advanced civilization is because there wasn't one. We're the first on this planet.

Hancock didn't even think out his scam theory for a few minutes. I was able to debunk it in a matter of seconds, below. 

He says that people who survived it passed down knowledge to hunter gatherers. But if people survived this, how is it possible that not one piece of steel or glass from a skyscraper, not one piece of circuit board from electronics, no plastics survived it? Because it's a scam, that's why. 

 

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25 minutes ago, Hyperionxvii said:

The reason there is no evidence left from a past advanced civilization is because there wasn't one. We're the first on this planet.

Hancock didn't even think out his scam theory for a few minutes. I was able to debunk it in a matter of seconds, below. 

He says that people who survived it passed down knowledge to hunter gatherers. But if people survived this, how is it possible that not one piece of steel or glass from a skyscraper, not one piece of circuit board from electronics, no plastics survived it? Because it's a scam, that's why. 

 

Very good except you're assuming that any advanced civilization must and mustta use(d) modern science and technology.  On what basis can you make this assumption?  

Why can't you have civilization without the bessemer furnace and islands of plastic in the Pacific Ocean.

If anything is insulting to ancient and  native peoples it is the contention that  without pollution and conspicuous consumption there can be no civilization. 

 

Maybe the people that archaeologists are studying lived as they chose to live with extensive knowledge and little "technology" that can be preserved or fossilized.  Maybe it is archaeologists who are backward.  

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11 minutes ago, cladking said:

Very good except you're assuming that any advanced civilization must and mustta use(d) modern science and technology.  On what basis can you make this assumption?  

Why can't you have civilization without the bessemer furnace and islands of plastic in the Pacific Ocean.

If anything is insulting to ancient and  native peoples it is the contention that  without pollution and conspicuous consumption there can be no civilization. 

 

Maybe the people that archaeologists are studying lived as they chose to live with extensive knowledge and little "technology" that can be preserved or fossilized.  Maybe it is archaeologists who are backward.  

"any advanced civilization must and mustta use(d) modern science and technology"

That's what an advanced civilization is. 

It's not insulting at all to any past civilizations. They did not have advanced technologies yet, because it wasn't invented yet. 

 

Edited by Hyperionxvii
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15 minutes ago, Hyperionxvii said:

"any advanced civilization must and mustta use(d) modern science and technology"

That's what an advanced civilization is. 

It's not insulting at all to any past civilizations. They did not have advanced technologies yet, because it wasn't invented yet. 

 

Did you read the article?

The author came up with this utter nonsense;

"

Like many forms of pseudo archaeology, these claims act to reinforce white supremacist ideas, stripping Indigenous people of their rich heritage and instead giving credit to aliens or white people.

Hancock even cites Donnelly directly in his 1995 book Fingerprints of the Gods, claiming: “The road system and the sophisticated architecture had been ‘ancient in the time of the Incas,’ but that both ‘were the work of white, auburn-haired men’.” While skin colour is not brought up in Ancient Apocalypse, the repetition of the story of a “bearded” Quetzalcoatl (an ancient Mexican deity) parrots both Donnelly’s and Hancock’s own summary of a white and bearded Quetzalcoatl teaching native people knowledge from this “lost civilisation”.

Hancock’s mirroring of Donnelly’s race-focused “science” is seen more explicitly in his essay, Mysterious Strangers: New Findings About the First Americans. Like Donnelly, Hancock finds depictions of “caucasoids” and “negroids” in Indigenous American art and (often mistranslated) mythology, even drawing attention to some of the exact same sculptures as Donnelly."

This sort of “race science” is outdated and long since debunked, especially given the strong links between Atlantis and Aryans proposed by several Nazi archaeologists”."

 

He is suggesting that disagreeing with the status quo is evil.  If you don't believe the mainstream then you are a bigot and destructive to modern society.   As I said I believe many of the mainstream Ideas are not only wrong but are in themselves highly destructive.  For instance the concept that ignorance and superstition make people strong and wise is very dangerous.  The idea that the fit survive make it dangerous to be weak, poor, or disabled.  

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Your comments are strange. 

First of all you are suggesting that there were pre-civ advanced civilizations. This is completely wrong, it did not exist.

Then you are saying that the guy, who is wrong, is wrong because white supremacy? 

The idea that the fit survive make it dangerous to be weak, poor, or disabled.  

That is a factual statement. The strong did survive and it had nothing to do with race. You are really hung up on that aren't you? 

The strong did survive, because: There were no noble savages. Pre-civ people did not have time to sit around worrying about race or saving the planet, or other first world problems. They worried about where the next meal would come from. The worried about getting eaten by wild beasts. They worried about another tribe taking over their territory. They did not have these first world problems that you have. They had REAL PROBLEMS.

I get it, you're a hero and are going to save the planet. Zzzzz, throw away your phone and get off the internet, that would be a good start. 

 

 

Edited by Hyperionxvii
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10 hours ago, cladking said:

Hancock used one of several words that pretty much proves his point, "agriculture".  It requires theory to accomplish highly complex tasks. 

 

 

A good example of the evidence disproving any theory of an ancient advanced culture ;)   No agriculture!   

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11 hours ago, cladking said:

I disagree.  I think the reason that archaeologists refuse to consider other possibilities is simple hubris.  

They began with a set of assumptions that led inexorably to their conclusions.  I sometimes call our species "homo circulus ratiocinatio" (circularly reasoning man).  But it's even more true that we quit looking for the answers as soon as we find one so 'homo omnisciencis" (all knowing man) fits better.  Hancock is wrong about our being "the species with amnesia" as well because we are a different species than the "Atlanteans" or whomsoever came before us (homo sapiens the "wise men").

But most of this is based on the primary evidence that "these blocks of stone are too big to move and/or too big to cut with the tools of the time".  While we may not yet know all the stone cutting tricks employed by these past civilizations, we have a large system of really good ideas based on sound engineering about how these huge pieces of rock were moved around.  I am probably wrong, but I suspect the Egyptians may have had an early form of water jet cutter.  There are a series of ways pressurized vessels can produce effects such as steam jets that cut that may have formed precursor technologies, given that Egyptians were experimenting with "hermetic seals" before there was even such a thing as alchemy, let alone chemistry.

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11 hours ago, cladking said:

 

Hancock could be far off the mark but lack of evidence for his "Atlantis" is hardly proof.  Indeed, even if no Atlantis at all ever existed he could be closer to the truth than archaeologists who believe all ancient accomplishments were the result of instinct or trial and error.  I can't imagine how any hunter gatherer might accidently invent a farm either a little at a time or all at once.  One might find that seeds grow but even this requires theory when it gets to the complexity of farming.  Even the simplest cities must require some theory.  One can't appeal to the gods for zoning laws (like we do today).  ;)

 

You are applying the false arguments used against evolution. For instance, the Ken Ham brigade state that birds cannot have appeared other than fully formed as we know them today, and in defense of this ask the question, "What good is half a wing". The fact that birds went through a very long evolutionary process from being small, feathered and fully terrestrial maniraptors, to gaining the ability to climb and then to glide, and eventually to wing powered flight, completes eludes the anti-evolutionists who for entirely religious reasons believe that every living thing appeared fully formed.

Likewise with your argument you are essentially saying "What good is half a farm", as if farms have magically appeared fully formed as a part the  human genius,when they have also gone through a process of evolution, not quite the 250 million years of bird evolution of course. For a hunter gatherer, simply managing a territory from which to obtain food, something that other animals do, lions with their territories, and on a much higher level how ants and termites manage their colonies, is the first step to a farm, and in fact ants and termites are already there and have been for millions of years. The first step to the way we manage animal farms today, for better or worse, is the gradual domestication of animals, something that would have occured over thousands of years, and perhaps the sheep herder could be seen as a halfway point between hunting an animal for food and keeping it in an enclosure or building. And there we are, "half a farm". With crops it would have been a slower process, but I can see a progression from moving from berry patch to berry patch, to working out that we could grow, more than berries of course, in a spot suitable for our food to grow and convenient for us, by rivers usually, and so we became sedentary, the first step to civilization.

Edited by Wepwawet
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4 hours ago, Alchopwn said:

But most of this is based on the primary evidence that "these blocks of stone are too big to move and/or too big to cut with the tools of the time".  While we may not yet know all the stone cutting tricks employed by these past civilizations, we have a large system of really good ideas based on sound engineering about how these huge pieces of rock were moved around.  I am probably wrong, but I suspect the Egyptians may have had an early form of water jet cutter.  There are a series of ways pressurized vessels can produce effects such as steam jets that cut that may have formed precursor technologies, given that Egyptians were experimenting with "hermetic seals" before there was even such a thing as alchemy, let alone chemistry.

Yep and in few cases good examples of how some of these things were done. Like moving stones on sleds pulled by humans.

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The Nias people of Indonesia did this in 1915 - they weren't aware than current fringe theory says this cannot be done .......lol

https://www.andywhiteanthropology.com/blog/category/indonesia

Edited by Saru
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1 hour ago, Hanslune said:

Yep and in few cases good examples of how some of these things were done. Like moving stones on sleds pulled by humans.

MeQFVBI.jpg

1Dt6y2A.jpg

OReaDRi.jpg

Y2LZMyC.jpg

The Nias people of Indonesia did this in 1915 - they weren't aware than current fringe theory says this cannot be done .......lol

Spoken of HERE

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Across the Neolithic world there are tens of thousands of blocks that were 12-15 tons or more. 20-50 tons. 100-300 tons. Some as much as 65ft feet long. Often moved miles from the quarry, some 50 miles or more, some by boat. How do we extrapolate this method to the 50-60 ton KC granite beams in G1 transported 500 miles and raised to a height of 135ft. Or the several 100 ton blocks of the Valley temple. The 400 ton block in the mortuary temple of Khafre. Or any of the several hundred if not thousands of other 10+ ton blocks used at Giza.

It's easy to look at these examples in the abstract and see villagers pulling a heavy stone, or a few minutes of the hours and hours to cut just a few mm into a granite block with sand and a copper saw, and say "see", as if all things were equal, but in reality they are not. Sledges and ropes are swell- tried and true methods which we know the Dynastic Egyptians and every other culture that moved heavy things used as well. Add in rollers and you're life gets exponentially easier. The rub is that when blocks get of a certain size/weight this method if used is no longer logistically possible without significant modifications and additions to the process we are not yet aware.

 

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Watched a few episodes. So far, it's more to do with timing. 

I don't think there is a good explanation for megalithic construction prior to the invention of agriculture, yet some megaliths are supposedly older than the wheel and domesticated horses.

How could hunter gatherers get enough food for members of their society to specialize in stone work? How do they persuade everyone to build the massive structures which do not help you to feed yourself?

Doesn't make a lot of sense. I especially liked the Indonesian episode. I wasn't aware of the giant structures built in Indonesia 

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15 hours ago, cladking said:

The status quo has become enshrined and now disagreeing with is makes a person "dangerous".  Despite the fact that many modern beliefs lead to the mess that is the modern world it is still an evil to attack the underlying beliefs.  

The truth is a million times more important than anyone's career but the truth has to take a back seat now days.

The status quo gets questioned all the time and he's assuming the evidence hasn't already been tested and found wanting. Disagreeing with it in a way that misleads the public and potentially sidetracks research and all too limited funding into what is essentially a dead end is indeed very dangerous. I'm usually on the other side of this with things like cryptozoology because the people pursuing and backing this sort of thing aren't liable to be doing anything more productive with their time and money but other areas of investigation can't afford the diversion of resources into useless endeavors.

15 hours ago, Hyperionxvii said:

he reason there is no evidence left from a past advanced civilization is because there wasn't one. We're the first on this planet.

Hancock didn't even think out his scam theory for a few minutes. I was able to debunk it in a matter of seconds, below. 

He says that people who survived it passed down knowledge to hunter gatherers. But if people survived this, how is it possible that not one piece of steel or glass from a skyscraper, not one piece of circuit board from electronics, no plastics survived it? Because it's a scam, that's why. 

Don't you know? They all used 100% eco-friendly organic biodegradable technology.

Y'know, except for all those inorganic non-biodegradable examples being used to as evidence they existed in the first place....

 

4 hours ago, Alchopwn said:

I am probably wrong, but I suspect the Egyptians may have had an early form of water jet cutter.  There are a series of ways pressurized vessels can produce effects such as steam jets that cut that may have formed precursor technologies, given that Egyptians were experimenting with "hermetic seals" before there was even such a thing as alchemy, let alone chemistry.

Pressurizing something to that high a psi requires a degree of technology well outside their capabilities. I would be surprised if they even had the means to create something as simple as a hydraulic excavator. The Romans apparently had them but they require considerably more infrastructure than was available in Egypt, not to mention the water.

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4 hours ago, Alchopwn said:

But most of this is based on the primary evidence that "these blocks of stone are too big to move and/or too big to cut with the tools of the time".  While we may not yet know all the stone cutting tricks employed by these past civilizations, we have a large system of really good ideas based on sound engineering about how these huge pieces of rock were moved around.  I am probably wrong, but I suspect the Egyptians may have had an early form of water jet cutter.  There are a series of ways pressurized vessels can produce effects such as steam jets that cut that may have formed precursor technologies, given that Egyptians were experimenting with "hermetic seals" before there was even such a thing as alchemy, let alone chemistry.

When we look at the surface of the cut stone, whether blocks, casings stones, vases, statues, etc-we see the marks of the tools they used. Hammers, chisels, saws, adzes, pounders, scrapers. Even after the laser cutters, water jet cutters, sound cutters et al they still finished the job with these "primitive" tools-in principle the same exact tools we still use today. 

9c61bad0bfdee445a7ba5f67d15fc3c3.jpg

None of the tools used in the 19th century are any different than what would have been available to the Romans or any other ancient culture for that matter. The tool marks and structures speak for themselves. What is amazing is how after thousands of years these tools and techniques have remained virtually unchanged and are still used today in the 21st century with the greatest innovations often being merely the materials and means of producing power. Hammers. Chisels. Crow bars. Simple cranes. Rope. Pulleys. Wagons and beasts of burden. Drills, routers, lathes, saws. These are the tools that built our world of stone from the most ancient times to today. There is fundamentally ZERO difference from a 19th century quarry to a Roman or even ancient Egyptian quarry. These "simple" tools are capable of amazing things. 

The Romans were the benchmark of what the technology of the ancient world needed to be to produce the great works that came before them. When we look at the "advanced machining" of ancient Egypt we see the tool marks of drills, lathes, cranes, and saws of which is acknowledged are missing from the archeological record. But because they are missing does not mean they did not exist as the tool marks and completed task speak for themselves. There is no doubt there is a mystery to be had here, but it should be a given by now it is not all a mystery. Ancient peoples, including those in the 19th century, for thousands of years have accomplished amazing feats of stonework and engineering with the simplest of tools. 

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