Newton StoneTHE NEWTON stone is a small, rather unassuming pillar in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. On one side is faded, ancient writing, on the other a curling snake and cylindrical patterning. Many would say that it is a typical example of a Scottish standing stone.

Yet one man claims that this is no ordinary stone, that instead it holds the secret of our missing pre-history. That it shows the birth of Jupiter from Saturn and more explosively, that it proves that someone was around to witness this planetary catastrophe and that this someone may not be human.

Stan Hall doesn't seem like a man who has come to the conclusion that life as we know it may be one big allusion. Sitting in his flat in a seaside town outside Edinburgh he tells of his life as a construction engineer before an adventure in Ecuador changed his outlook on life forever.

Hall was drawn to South America by tales of a fantastic mythical gold and crystal library, said to be hidden in subterranean tunnels somewhere in Ecuador. In 1976 he organised an expedition to try and locate the position of these extraordinary caves - even managing to entice the astronaut Neil Armstrong into coming along for the ride.

During his time there he failed to find the library. Instead he is convinced that he has located the lost city of Atlantis:

"The word comes from Atal and antis. Antis is the name for the Andes and Atal means old, or of the time of the mother waters - or deluge."

Where this all ties into the Newton Stone is complex and involves a past civilisation - the Atlanteans of old and their ancient history.

Hall came to believe in the work of Juan Moricz - a Hungarian who lived in Ecuador who professed to have visited the metal library. Moricz theorised that the language spoken in South America was actually ancient Magyar and that this language can be found in ancient Sumerian and Assyrian writing. Hall believes that the Atlanteans spread their language and culture East and West after a crisis pushed them out of their homeland.

"After some interplanetary catastrophe and global deluge, Magyar-speaking survivors from the equatorial Andes...left the continent of Atl Antis," says Hall. "They crossed the Pacific and Atlantic oceans to establish a global federation."

According to Hall, these ancient people travelled to Sumer and the Middle East before, over time, spreading west where their Magyar word for tribe - Catti - became first the khatti-sars of the Assyrians, the Hatti of the Hittites and finally the same Catti who repulsed Julius Caesar from British Shores. He supports this theory by referring to LA Waddell's, 1924 book The Phoenician Origins of Britons, Scots and Anglo-Saxons, which suggests that the writing on the back of the Newton Stone is Hittite. And, according to Hall's theory, if the writing is Hittite, then it follows that the information that the stone depicts came ultimately from the South American Atlanteans,

"The keys to our lost history lie in things like the Newton Stone," says Hall before trying to explain the meaning of the carvings itself in relation to catastrophism theory.

The major proponent of catastrophism was Immanuel Velikovsky, who, in the 1950s, posited the idea that the earth has suffered global catastrophes, mostly caused by planetary action, that have been set down in myths, legends and histories of all ancient cultures. Hall thinks that the Newton Stone demonstrates one such cataclysmic event.

"I recognised that on the Newton Stone it shows two planets breaking away from each other...The double disc and z-rod pictographs...record for posterity the actual birth of Jupiter from Saturn."

Hall believes that this break-up of Saturn - which must have been an extraordinary cosmic moment - has been recorded in the myths of all ancient people.

"The Greeks talk of the night of the falling stars - all major civilisations have records of major interplanetary catastrophes. They're found in old nursery rhymes, which have found to be Sumerian, like 'Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle' which shows the planets rushing together."

But whilst Hall believes that our mytho-history records these turbulent disruptions, he is unsure whether humans would have been around to witness the events depicted. Which leads to Hall to question who first set down the information? Just who might have been around to see the birth of Jupiter?

One theory that comes into play is that of Erich Von D�niken whose 1968 book Chariots of the Gods?: Unsolved Mysteries of the Past suggested that extraterrestrials visited earth in the distant past.

Hall has come round to believing that this might indeed be what happened after all the interplanetary disruption of break-away planets, concluding that someone might have arrived in Earth looking for safety. It could be that the metal library in Ecuador may contain the proof of our colonisation by aliens.

"Who knows?" says Hall. "Perhaps 'it' brought 'its' treasures and archives to the one place on earth that offered the best possibility for colonisation - namely the equatorial Andes."

With the experience of witnessing interplanetary explosions presumably so vivid in their memories, we should not be surprised that they sought to record the event for prosperity - and encouraged their descendants to remember the event forever.