There are theories of ancient cultures which might have been visited by aliens. Most of them have been proven wrong but the I like the idea and want to set up such a culture which has been visited.


There are many ancient buildings of civilizations which suggests a knowledge about stars that they, as far es we know, weren't able to gather themselves.


Stonehenge, one of the oldest man-made structures at all and a very accurate observatory. The Stonehenge shows formations in the sky which we can not see with bare eyes. How where they able to build this, if they couldn't see what it's pointing to? Maybe by accident, maybe by supervision of a species which could.

Nasca-Lines Giant paintings on the desert which one cannot see from the ground or hills, only from the Sky (Planes, ...).

In the end the theory of pre-astronautic is a wild one with very view references but many speculations.

The scenario:

The Setting is ~ 8 000 b.C. on a fictional area of the earth. The people of this folk are ~ 10 tribes of 100-500 people each which have merged a view generations ago due social improvement, no war, epidemic or something, it's peaceful.

My culture just handled to make fire very hot (~800°C) and noticed that some of these stones "melt" and can be formed then, so they are about to learn how to make tools and weapons of metal. Their religion is some kind of shamanic. There are shamans which know much about stars, herbs and illness. When children mature, ~ 12-14yrs, a Shaman leads them through a psychedelic ritual and they're very connected to some kind of metaworld.

At one day some hunters found a strange 'thing' in the woods (which is a rescue capsule from a spaceship).

Due the people live in peace, have a good connection to their "metaworld" and did not suffer from illness for hundreds of years, they have no fear.When they inspect the capsule, they notice 3 strange beings inside which seems to be dead or unconscious, the hunters bring them to their hunting-camp.

As the aliens receive the warmth of a campfire they begin to wake up.

The scenario from alien perspective:

The aliens are tourists which wanted to visit foreign galaxies. While watching this primitive culture of earthlings they got raided. The 3 aliens where part of a large group, but don't know what happened to the others. No communication possible.

For them this is a life threatening situation now. They will slowly notice that they have stranded on this planet (The capsule is not able to leave earths gravitation)

The aliens don't know each other, just got in the same capsule while evacuation. The capsule contains devices that can produce food out of any C O molecules, so they will not starve.

The question

Assuming that the aliens have different characters, are not able to build a spaceship or interstellar communication device, they are forced to stay and die on earth.

Assuming this facts:

  • The aliens do not bring diseases and are very healthy

  • The people are very liberal. They accept 'things' which they don't know, as long as it doesn't harm them directly.

  • These days are glory days for the culture due they make (for their knowledge) giant steps in technologies.

  • Some of the elder are overwhelmed already, but they accept that. They know that they can't learn as fast as the younger ones, but don't try to slower the improvements.

  • The leadership of the culture are 3 people which are voted by the one person of every sub tribe. How the sub tribe chose this person is not declared and different from sub tribe to sub tribe.

  • The culture has no big enemies and life's very peaceful.

  • The aliens have different mindsets, their mind works in a very similar way as like the human mind. Let's say one is a ignorant and brutal guy who would sell his grandma for his advantage. The other ones are peaceful in general but would take every step to keep themselves alive.

  • The humans are curious and have no fear at all, maybe they should have a little due the fact that one alien is a ******.

  • The humans have merged but still don't think of themselves as a unit.

  • The aliens are not able to replicate or reproduce.

More specific question:

Are there examples in human history where a bunch of people from a (very)advanced civilization were stranded in a similar environment and how have they changed the less advanced culture?

If not, what do you think could happen after that event?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ As an aside, in such a story, try not to overdo the "Noble Savage" trope. Life expectancy in a pre-metalworking society was about 30, with many, many recorded violent deaths. An analogue to the Neolithic Revolution would provide a natural impetus for humans to settle down and combine tribes, but the history of our Neolithic Revolution is rife with stories of terrible disease and sickness. Furthermore, you are in effect creating an age of enlightenment thousands of years before our own. The Neolithic was defined by mysticism and tradition, not reason. $\endgroup$
    – Nick2253
    Nov 11, 2014 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ That question sounds more like storybuilding than worldbuilding. $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Nov 11, 2014 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ But i like that story, i would read on... $\endgroup$
    – EVE
    Nov 12, 2014 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ Stonehenge in particular have been pretty heavily revisited...the movement of the stones to that location is more than possible by humans and when it was built, the sun played a prominent role in how it was structured (the 'wobble' of the earth means that is no longer true). You can find several examples of these ancient visitor ideas in Sumerian lore and Indian lore as well. $\endgroup$
    – Twelfth
    Nov 21, 2014 at 20:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Nick2253 : Big misunderstanding. Life expectancy was the average, because of high infant mortality. It didn't mean people were keeling over and dying of old age at 30. If you survived to 30 you had good chances to live until 50 or 60. The average was lowered mainly by the high death rate of infants. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Mar 24, 2015 at 7:24

2 Answers 2


To answer one of your questions, have look on Cargo Cult where soldiers of 2nd World War used some remote island as their base and basically were considered as Gods, because

  • They could start magically fire out of "nothing" (lighter)
  • They always had food, without need of hunting (food cans)
  • They could fly!!!
  • They could communicate on very far distances ... without shouting!

Who else than God can do it?

So, it is practical to assume that in this setup the aliens would be considered as Gods, or God-like persons and whole mythology would be created around their god-like powers (simple firearm would be "magical" enough to create wow factor)

And from Aztec we know about very cruel Gods who demanded really cruel sacrifices, so even having among aliens some real bad ass should not stop the tribes from worshiping the aliens and keep info about them for further generations

  • $\begingroup$ Not sure, but afaik the cruel sacrifices of the Aztecs took place in bad times, when their empire was mighty but still has massive problems, correct me if wrong. Massive problems can bring people to do or accept things they would't do normaly. As like cannibalism in russian prisoner-of-war camps in WWII. The Cargo Cult is a good point, but there's a big difference. The soldiers didn't had to life their life on the islands and onle where there for a limited time. So this changes their behavior completely. $\endgroup$
    – jawo
    Nov 11, 2014 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ The Cargo Cult is the closest known setup of meeting one tribe really hugely advanced and one on stone age setup. I still feel it is safe to assume the aliens would be treated as Gods $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2014 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ Another example is the Norse settlers in Greenland and Vinland versus the Inuit and Lapland Native Americans. The advanced tech Vikings got wiped out. $\endgroup$
    – Oldcat
    Nov 13, 2014 at 23:51
  • $\begingroup$ The technological differenc wasn't that different. Cargo is stone-age vs Nuclear-age, but the first america settlers is just stone-age vs iron-age. $\endgroup$
    – jawo
    Nov 14, 2014 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ And actually, Vikings in Greenland weren't iron-age, because they had no iron. They could've had iron, but it was more important to the powers-that-be that they ship luxury items (instead of iron) to and from the colony (stained glass? & ceremonial robes for the European bishop's church, and polar bears and whale product (Narwhal horns?) to King of Norway). Had the Vikings in Greenland run across some high-quality iron ore; either there or in Vinland - they might've been able to harvest enough trees in Vinland to keep forges running and their shipping alive. $\endgroup$
    – user3082
    Nov 23, 2014 at 6:20

A good deal of the question strikes me as unanswerable, in the sense that there simply isn't any way to surmise, from the given information, how either side will interpret the other. We can say with enormous confidence that there must have been instances of such stranding or abandonment, all things considered, but that doesn't really help us much with the question. The best one can do, I think, is to recognize the range of possibilities.

First of all, the two sides' responses have little to do with one another, at least initially. So let's take them separately.

The Aliens

The crucial issue here is what these people think of less technologically-advanced people in general, and what they think of non-"us" lifeforms. If they're modern Western humans, for instance, they'll likely figure that the natives are stupid, easily deceived and overawed, and basically animals anyway. But on the other hand these aliens might be aware that there is no strong correlation between technology and other kinds of cultural development, that people who don't look like "us" might be even more intelligent, and so forth.

With such a small sample of the population, there's no way to guess in general terms; it sounds as though you, as author, want to deal with these aliens as individual personalities anyway.

The Tribe

Now here we can at least draw from ethnology. Based on the complexity and back-story you describe, the population size you propose is ludicrously small -- multiply the total population by at least 10. What else?

"Peaceful": does this mean people don't kill each other on a regular basis, or that there aren't any threatening foreign tribes around, or what? Assuming the former, why not? People do have bad habits, after all. What happens when people do murder one another... say, domestic violence, hot blood, etc. Who deals with this? Who administers the legal system? If the ultimate outcome is not execution (and it may very well not be), what do these people consider a more appropriate way of dealing with violence? The crucial point is this: they understand their way of doing things to be one that privileges peaceful over violent methods.

"10 Tribes": you say that at some time in the past, 10 peoples bonded together for social stability or something of the kind. A simple way to handle this is to suppose that there are still 10 super-clans predominant, probably divided into two or four moieties. Assuming these people are exogamous, this ensures that the clans (formerly tribes) exchange people and goods with one another constantly, and binds them together in a relationship of perpetual mutual support. Bear in mind that if this joining happened more than 3-4 generations in the past, chances are all we really know is that they say 10 tribes joined; for all we really know, they actually split up a large homogeneous mass. It doesn't make any difference, except for this point: they consider it important that they are a collaboration of multiple peoples. That is remarkable, and bears strongly on the question at hand.

One could go on, but already we begin to sense a pattern.

The tribe, on confronting the aliens, probably assumes as a starting-point that the appropriate behaviors are peaceful and move toward mutual collaboration. They likely defer the initial conversations to certain elders designated to deal with the foreign. Based on your proposal of a shamanic religious complex, senior shamans may well be important to such a mission, as the whole point of shamans is to deal with that-which-is-beyond, as it were.

(Incidentally, if everyone gets initiated come puberty, you're looking at something so radically unlike any form of shamanism known as to be deep into alien territory. Shamans bridge between Us and The Other because they're chosen by The Other and transformed -- usually painfully -- into half-beings, to put it simplistically.)

The next questions are entirely points of plot, as I see it. Your aliens will take one or more approaches, and the natives will be somewhat surprised. Assume that any responses are slow, careful, and measured, but that the natives will also make very dramatic moves that can seem utterly surprising to the aliens (who after all don't understand the underpinnings of the systems at stake).

Anything is perfectly possible here.

A Just-So Story

Let's suppose, to take an all-too-common boring trope, that the natives inform the aliens that they (the aliens) must be the gods come down to earth. Your reader now thinks, "aha, the natives are stupid, and they see the alien technology, and so, blah blah, Clarke's Third Law, etc."

Not at all. Perhaps "the gods" includes a specific sub-group, well-established, that could in a sense match the little group of aliens (one nasty, one female, one tall, one with no hair, whatever). After much discussion, perhaps the elder shamans have concluded that the aliens are one of the following:

  • Those gods
  • Strange-looking people like us
  • Monsters

Since the aliens appear not to have a clue about how decent people behave (they don't eat nicely, and they smell funny, and the men don't wear proper gear around their crotches, etc.), it seems unfair to assume they're people like us. If they were, they'd be savage barbarian criminals. And since the aliens haven't done anything really awful, let's be polite and assume they're not monsters. OK, so they're the gods.

Thing is, this means that the aliens have to behave by the (rather less restrictive) guidelines appropriate to those gods. Gods, after all, do have a tendency to act rather oddly, and this is interesting to us, which is one reason we don't mind the gods showing up and being a pain now and then. So, fair enough.

But when the aliens, thinking, "hey, I'm a god, I can do what I want," do something that contravenes the rules on gods, what then? Well, now they're either barbarians or monsters, and it may well be a principally political battle as to which interpretation holds (e.g., the chief wants them to be barbarians dealt with under a civil-legal code, his territory, and the shamans want them to be monsters dealt with under a cultic code, their territory). Could be that either way the result is an attempt to kill the aliens, but it'll matter to the natives.

The point of this little just-so story isn't that you have to accept such a plot twist in any way. It's to set up an alternative to the much-belabored and basically racist notion of the savages who think the aliens must be gods because of guns.


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