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Author digs into mystery of archaeology

R.J. Archer sees fascinating plots in underwater sites


by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: ALVARO FONTAN - Retired and living in La Paz, Mexico, author R.J. Archer remains fascinated with the topic of ancient civilizations. He has penned six books, with a seventh planned for 2013 release.Author R.J. “Dick” Archer admits to being “a conspiracy theory fan.”

After all, his two series of books, “Seeds of Civilization” and “Parallel Ops,” examine mysterious archaeological finds and explore the possibility of ancient civilizations — in a fictionalized manner. But even he seriously doubts that things will change on Dec. 21, 2012.

The Mayan calendar supposedly ends then, and the fantastical among us believe our lives will be dramatically altered.

Archer laughs.

“I really don’t believe that, and neither do the Maya,” he says. “A lot of articles have been written by college-educated Maya, who say we made all that up. I don’t think the poles will shift and the Earth will tip over.”

Archer had originally targeted Dec. 21 as the release date for his fourth and final “Parallel Ops” book, “The Teachers,” but it’ll still be in the works well into 2013. So, clearly, he’s counting on our lives not changing forever on Dec. 21.

A nice niche

A technical writer and computer consultant by trade while living in the Portland area for four decades, the 66-year-old Archer has delved into fiction writing in recent years, and moved to La Paz, Mexico, upon retirement three years ago.

He has always been fascinated by the oceans, being a diver and snorkeler — so, the Baja peninsula of Mexico is a comfortable and convenient place to call home. He lives there with his wife (and publicist/marketer/designer), Marty, and their children and grandchildren also live in the country.

He has carved out a nice niche for himself, as an author bent on furthering the discussion of who inhabited the planet thousands of years ago, where they went and what they left behind — a version of “Ancient Aliens,” the popular series on The History Channel. The oceans hold many answers, Archer says, and just as the ocean remains the great unexplored area of our inhabitable sphere, he expects clarity in questions as time goes on.

“Everything we know about archaeology is derived from the study of 30 percent of the planet,” he says. “There’s still 70 percent (the oceans) that archaeologists haven’t looked at. Because of the rise in oceans since the last Ice Age, there are thousands of miles of coastline that are now underwater that would have been inhabitable 20,000 years ago. That would have been the logical place to build communities back then.

“Whatever was there, and I believe there were a lot of sites, those are all underwater and they haven’t been explored.”

His debut book in the first series, “Tractix,” introduces his four characters and how the Maya could predict solar eclipses to the minute, yet lived without the use of wheels to move things.

“Why were they so advanced in one area and so primitive in other areas?” Archer asks.

“Tsubute” centers around the Yonaguni pyramid in the waters off Japan. Subsequent discoveries were made of other pyramids.

“That’s a lost civilization,” Archer says.

And, “Triangle” is about contemporary work near Bimini Island (the Bahamas), “where they’ve demonstrated there was an advanced culture there about 15,000 years ago, thousands of years before they thought the Indians first came to North America, and three times as old as the pyramids in Egypt,” Archer says. “They were an advanced maritime culture that built harbors and structures to protect the harbors. ... A lot of things left unexplained. ... I think Bimini is the tip of the iceberg.”

The “Parallel Ops” books are “The Scientists,” “The Informants” and “The Guardians,” the latter his newest release, and the second series follows the four fictional characters and their attempts to figure things out. (For info on books, go to rjarcherbooks.com).

Archer says archaeology has been “a big yawn” for him in the past, but writing the books has piqued his interest. He’s curious to see what researchers and academic types choose to explore and acknowledge in the future; he says findings and theories dispel accepted beliefs and truths among academics.

“Archaeologists like to dig in the dirt and not in the mud,” he says. “Like with the Bahamas, there are enough people who have published articles about what’s there, or think is there, you would think someone would have got interested and mounted a major expedition. It doesn’t seem to be happening.

“And there are sites in India and all over Asia, especially near the equator, where they’ve found underwater strange things.”

He understands that people dispute the existence of ancient civilizations, especially when considering an influence from aliens.

“I’m not sure I believe that myself,” Archer says. “But, the archaeology is all real and all mysterious.”