Teotihuacan’s Underground Electrical Mercury Pools.


The 6th article in the Lost History of Ancient America is titled “An Ancient American Mexican Pyramid’s Liquid Mercury” by Frank Joseph.

Like the other articles in the edited volume, this one is brief and short on citations or evidence. What evidence that is offered is re-interpreted to try and hold up Joseph’s buried argument that Europeans brought electricity to the Mesoamerica by teaching them how to use liquid mercury to conduct it. He offers no reason for why or how this happened, and you have to read the final two paragraphs to even understand that this is the overall argument of the article in the first place.

Joseph begins with the 2015 discovery of traces of liquid mercury under the Temple of Quetzalcoatl also known as the Feathered Serpent Pyramid in ancient Teotihuacan. This discovery, made by Julie Gazzola and Sergio Chavez Gomez, director of the Tlalocan Project (Villarreal N.d.), and a graduate student with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, was only part of the massive and interesting excavations of an underground tunnel that appears to run from the courtyard in front of the main facade of the temple, to well under the temple itself (Yuhas 2015, Zorich 2015). Gomez discovered the entrance to the tunnel in 2003, and has since discovered five underground chambers, each filled with artifacts, offerings, animal skeletons, and other items that show the importance of women in Teotihuacan society as well as the long reach of their trade (Vance 2014, Yuhas 2015, Zorich 2015). Gomez and his cohorts speculate that the mercury could represent water in the underworld for the Mesoamericans (Yuhas 2015). It could also mark the possible burial chamber of a monarch, or the presence of an important ritual chamber (Vance 2014, Yuhas 2015, Villarreal N.d.).

Joseph attempts to tie this discovery to the tomb of Qin Shi Huang Di (sic) or as it’s better known the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Qin Shi Huang (Unesco N.d). This is the same burial complex where the Terracotta soldiers were uncovered. The exposed burial complex, for it is truly a massive undertaking, mirrors the layout of the imperial city of Qin Shi Huang’s time (Unesco N.d). This mirroring reportedly includes using liquid mercury to mimic the lakes and rivers of the Qin’s China (Unesco N.d).

Now, there have been readings taken of the mound over the location of the burial mausoleum, and they do show incredibly high readings of mercury (Qingbo 2007, Moskowitz 2012). However, the ground entombing the mausoleum has not been breached (Moskowitz 2012), and at the time of this writing, we do not know exactly what is going on down there.

That said, this comparison between the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl isn’t that far fetched. More importantly however, I don’t believe Joseph placed it in his article to really show a cultural connection. I think this was a setup for a statement that is made later in the article.

But we’re not done with the Temple of Quetzalcoatl yet. Joseph makes an interesting comment about Quetzalcoatl.

“The Feathered Serpent Pyramid is so called because of the exterior representation of an ‘overseas’ culture bearer, who arrived in the distant past from his Homeland across the Atlantic (Joseph 2017)”.

Joseph is speaking about the god Quetzalcoatl here, and I have never seen these attributes assigned to him. Quetzalcoatl is a god of knowledge, the priesthood, the giver of corn, the creator of books and the calendar, sometimes death and reincarnation, but nothing about being an overseas culture bearer. What’s more, Joseph offers no explanation of where he got his interpretation of the engravings around the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, so we don’t know what he means or who he got this apparently erroneous information from. (I’m willing to update this section if solid evidence comes to light to challenge this.)

So we move back from misinterpretation of god traits to the presence of liquid mercury. Joseph informs us that Rosemary Joyce of UC Berkeley says there are other sites in Mexico with liquid mercury in them (Joseph 2017). To this he is right. Dr. Joyce is a recognized expert in Mesoamerica Culture and the presence of mercury has been discovered at other location in the ancient Mesoamerican world. Joyce outlines several of them in her 2015 blog article Liquid Mercury Found Under Mexican Pyramid. What Joseph ignores from all of the articles he no doubt read in order to write his own, is why the mercury was there in the first place.

As we discussed above with Gazzola and Gomez’ discovery in Teotihuacan, mercury probably was used for its mirrors like properties and it’s apparent similarity to water. Both mirrors and water were sacred to Mesoamerica Culture and used in religious ceremonies. Mirrors were seen as being a portal to the underworld or spirit world, one you could look though, but not interact through (Healy and Blainey 2011). They were probably used for scrying and divination as well, and there are written accounts of bowls of water being used for the same purposes (Healy and Blainey 2011). (We simply don’t have the space to cover how important mirrors were, there are libraries full of research that you can read over about this topic, and a Wiki entry that seems to do a fair job of abbreviating it. I’ve even got a few links in the resources section following the blog.)

Mercury no doubt, also held a place of significance. Not only was the liquid form shinny like a mirror and fluid like water, the red ore it was extracted from, cinnabar, was ground up and used as a red paint on the dead and in art (Healy and Blainey 2011). All of this, the mercury, the cinnabar paint, even mirrors, had a logical place in Mesoamerica Culture that Joseph has to willfully ignore in order to push his argument forward.

But now we get to the formation of Joseph’s argument. After hinting at the presence of mercury at various Mesoamerican sites and probably at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Joseph is points out that Europeans were manufacturing liquid mercury long before either the Chinese or Mesoamerica even discovered it (Joseph 2017). This is more subtle ground work. Keeping in mind the overall goal of the book this article is in, the implication here is that Europeans were the first to ‘discover’ mercury, and so were the source of this information. Thereby implying that any other culture that also has this information must have gotten it from the Europeans.

Joseph makes a leap of logic that is not supported in anything he’s presented so far. He introduces Larry Brian Radka, a retired broadcast engineer and author of books such as Historical Evidence for Unicorns (1995) and Astonomical(sic) revelations or 666 (1997) . The most recent title I can find for him is, The Electric Mirror on the Pharos(sic) Lighthouse and Other Ancient Lighting (2006) which sells for a mere $4,491.00 on Amazon.


Radka is a big believer in ancient electricity and mostly seems to reinterpret Egyptian hieroglyphs to be light bulbs and lamps.

Next Joseph uses a large quote from the Wikipedia entry on Mercury to try and bolster the argument that Mesoamerica mercury was used for electrical purposes. I want to be bothered by this, but I realize that the differences between linking to a Wiki article for reference and using a Wiki article as evidence might be lost on many, so I’m just going to let this one go.

Lastly, Joseph brings up the discovery of a chamber beneath the Temple of the Sun, also located in the Teotihuacan complex (2017). I’m guessing he’s referring to the 1971 discovery of what appeared to be a cave (Heyden 1975) and has been further explored and expanded on (Sugiyama et al. 2013). The tunnel and chambers beneath the Temple of the Sun appear to follow a similar layout like that under the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (Sugiyama et al. 2013). Joseph claims that there was a shelf full of micro thin wafers of Mica on it. If you know anything about mica, you know it basically peels apart in thin sheets, or flakes very easily like that. It’s almost impossible to keep thick sheets of it together. It’s also naturally shiny and was used by the Mesoamerica as (you guessed it) mirrors (Healy and Blainey 2011).

What I can’t place is Joseph’s claim of “wafer thin Mica that had been imported nearly 2,000 years before from Brazil 4,615 air miles away (Joseph 2017).” The only other place I can find this, besides other fringe sites that are quoting Joseph, is a USA Today fluff piece on Teotihuacan that has no references at all. I do know that mica occurs naturally almost everywhere, so I don’t think there would have been a need for the inhabitants at Teotihuacan to go 4,000 + miles out of their way to find any.

Joseph closes his article with the statement:

“Why would the Teotihuacanos have gone to the immense trouble of bringing such delicate materials from so far away only to conceal them deep underground where they would never be seen? Like liquid mercury, mica has important electrical properties. Perhaps both were employed in tandem to power the “place where Gods become men” (Joseph 2017).”

So much to unpack here, let’s keep it brief. There are two massive, unsupported assumptions here.

1) ‘Teotihuacanos’ were using mercury and mica to electrify Teotihuacan, and

2) That knowledge came from Europeans from across the ocean.

First, aside from the incredible lack of evidence for the use of electricity at Teotihuacan, or Joseph’s lack of an attempt to provide any, Joseph is completely ignoring the cultural significance of both mercury and mica to Mesoamerica culture. This is even more puzzling because the very sources he cites, namely Wikipedia, clearly have sections, with citations, that explain this. Even the 2015 Guardian article by Alan Yuhas, (that I think he used based on terms he mentions in this article) goes to great lengths to explain the cultural significance of mercury. As does Dr. Rosemary Joyce, who Joseph reference by name (but fails to cite), so I can safely assume he read her blog post, since he directly quotes it.

The second part of this is the re-occurring diffusion argument that unnamed Europeans were the fathers of all culture and invention and though transoceanic travel, disseminated it to everyone else. Again, there is a resounding lack of evidence for this, and this article does nothing to add to that.


The major argument that Joseph appears to be making here is that the Mesoamericans had the knowledge of electricity, and were using it at Teotihuacan, and that knowledge came from unarmed Europeans from across the ocean. Joseph offers no evidence to support any part of this claim beyond quoting a Wikipedia article about how mercury can be used to conduct electricity in the modern era. There is nothing at Teotihuacan that would suggest the mercury found beneath the Feathered Serpent Pyramid was being used for anything resembling electricity. There is however, ample evidence that both the mercury and the mica at the site fit with the known cultural aspects of Mesoamerican society, and Joseph has offered nothing to challenge that.

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Healy, Paul F. and Marc G. Blainey
2011 Ancient Maya Mosaic Mirrors: Function, Symbolism, and Meaning. Cambridge. Ancient-Mesoamerica, Volume 22, Issue 2
October 2011, pp. 229-244. Published online: 30 December 2011
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ancient-mesoamerica/article/div-classtitleancient-maya-mosaic-mirrors-function-symbolism-and-meaningdiv/72839F6406A1945F07DE2B83BCBFC9E4. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0956536111000241 Retrieved 3/2/17

Heyden, Doris
1975 An Interpretation of the Cave underneath the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/aztecs/Teotihuacan-cave.pdf Retrieved 3/2/17

Holloway, April
2015 River of Mercury in Underworld of Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl may lead to Royal Tomb. http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/river-mercury-underworld-pyramid-quetzalcoatl-may-lead-royal-tomb-002952?nopaging=1 Retrieved 3/2/17

Joyce, Rosemary
2015 “Liquid mercury found under Mexican pyramid”…Berkeley . http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2015/04/25/liquid-mercury-found-under-mexican-pyramid/ Retrieved 3/2/17

Moskowitz, Clara
2012 The Secret Tomb of China’s 1st Emperor: Will We Ever See Inside? Live Science. http://www.livescience.com/22454-ancient-chinese-tomb-terracotta-warriors.html Retrieved 3/2/17

Shaer, Matthew
2016 A Secret Tunnel Found in Mexico May Finally Solve the Mysteries of Teotihuacán. Smithsonian Magazine. June 2016.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/discovery-secret-tunnel-mexico-solve-mysteries-teotihuacan-180959070/ Retrieved 3/2/17

Sugiyama, Nawa, Saburo Sugiyama, and Alejandro Sarabia
2013 Inside the Sun Pyramid at Teotihuacan, Mexico: 2008-2011 Excavations and Preliminary Results. Latin American Antiquity. 24(4), 2013, pp. 403–432. the Society for American Archaeology.
http://www.academia.edu/5495154/Inside_the_Sun_Pyramid_at_Teotihuacan_Mexico_2008-2011_Excavations_and_Preliminary_Results Retrieved 3/2/17

N.d. Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. Unesco website.
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/441 Retrieved 3/2/17

Vance, Erik
2014 New Artifact-Filled Chambers Revealed under Teotihuacan
Rooms beneath the mysterious city contain jade statues, jaguar remains and thousands of other objects. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-artifact-filled-chambers-revealed-under-teotihuacan/ Retrieved 3/2/17

Villarreal, Jose
N.d Archaeologists Find Tunnel Below the Temple of the
Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan. Art Daily.org http://artdaily.com/news/39718/Archaeologists-Find-Tunnel-Below-the-Temple-of-the-Feathered-Serpent-in-Teotihuacan#.VTqBfWR4qHo Retrieved 3/2/17

Yuhas, Alan
2015 Liquid mercury found under Mexican pyramid could lead to king’s tomb. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/24/liquid-mercury-mexican-pyramid-teotihuacan Retrieved 3/2/17

Zorich, Zach
2015 Mythological Mercury Pool. Teotihuacan, Mexico. Archaeology magazine online. http://www.archaeology.org/issues/200-1601/features/3958-mexico-teotihuacan-mercury Retrieved 3/2/17

Categories: ArchyFantasy Reviews, The Lost History of Ancient America, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bronze Age Oil Barons in Pre-Colombian America.


The fifth article in the Lost History of Ancient America book, edited by Frank Joseph, is Thomas Anderton’s article “Who Were the Oil Tycoons of Pre-Columbian Pennsylvania?”

If you answered the Seneca or Iroquois Indians, you would be wrong…according to Anderton. Anderton attempts to make the argument that the ancient oil pits of Pennsylvania were actually collected by Bronze age oil barons who were collecting the crude oil to fuel the bronze age back home in the Mediterranean and to create the supper weapon, Greek Fire. What evidence are we given to support this claim? Well, none actually.

This is not the first time Anderton has made this particular argument. He’s also published an article on Academia.edu titled Ancient Pennsylvania Oil Mines , that he opens thusly:

“The following article is based on the probability that Minoans from Crete were on the Upper Peninsula in Michigan mining float copper from 2450 B.C. to around 1200 B.C., removing between 500,000,000 and 1,500,000,000 pounds of copper and shipping it to their home island of Crete, fueling the Bronze Age in Europe and the Mediterranean.”


“These are exciting times for those of us who believe that Columbus was LAST in discovering America. Conventional archeology has been ignoring, attacking, hiding and destroying the evidence that he was last for the past 120 years. Since Barry Fell wrote his landmark book “America B.C.” In 1976, people all over America and the world have been gathering evidence that America was “discovered” and visited many times during the past 20,000 years. The following article presents one small piece of that evidence.”

So once again we are confronted with the straw-man arguments that archaeologists believe that Columbus as the only European to ever make it to the Americas, and that we are actively working to suppress any evidence to the contrary. This is patently false, as we have discussed before.

Anderton also makes a breathtaking leap of logic with no priori establishment to:

“Did Pennsylvania crude oil light the homes and streets of the ancient old world? If so, that would explain the more than 2000 Wells sunk by prehistoric oil-men in the Keystone State.” (Anderton 2017)

He does some quick math to claim that the pits produced 1,230,000 gallons per year (Anderton 2017). An odd number for sure, and with no actual evidence to support it, and one made from pure speculation. Also, if it was a correct estimation, why is it so hard to believe that the Native tribes could have used that amount of oil in their daily lives and as trade with other tribes, as has been documented (ORA N.d, EPC N.d).

But before we get to deep into Anderton’s article, let’s look a bit into the history of Native American oil harvesting in Pennsylvania.

It’s been well recorded that the tribes native to the Pennsylvania area were using oil long before the arrival of Europeans. The Iroquois and Seneca Indians were both recorded as digging trenches for oil skimming (ORA N.d, EPC N.d). Dates for the numerous oil pits around the area in question place them as far back as the 15th century. The Seneca Indians were seen using the oil as a medicinal ointment, insect repellent, skin coloring, for religious ceremonies, and even trade (ORA N.d, EPC N.d). Indeed, even the Drake Well Museum has information about the native use of oil before the invasion of European colonists

Granted this is not the best known bit of information about early Native Americans. However, it’s not a repressed secret either.

Anderton spends the bulk of his article going over the fairly well documented history of Pennsylvania’s Oil Creek Valley in Crawford County and Titusville and Oil City in Venango Counties. He cites heavily from several historic accounts pointing out that the French recorded the Seneca Indians skimming oil (Day 1843). He even mentions what appears to be a religious ceremony of some sort that Sherman Day (1843) recounted in his documentations, where the Seneca burned some amount of oil in some kind of ceremony. Day’s account is vague and not helpful in deciphering what was going on exactly.

From there, Anderton continues to quote historical research into the Native Americans in the area’s use of oil. Then he quotes a strange passage from J. E. Thomas (2001) claiming that there is no oral tradition of petroleum use according to Elizabeth Tooker, a well known ethnographer of the Iroquois and Lake Huron Indian tribes.

If this is indeed true, a claim I am skeptical of since we have already been shown that the Seneca Indians told the settlers of “black water” (ORA N.d, EPC N.d), this is where archaeology steps in to fill in blanks.

Anderton himself has provided us with ample evidence of active American Oil harvesting. He even echos the C14 dates that archaeologists have used to place the age of some of the oil pits as far back as 1415-1440 CE (Anderton 2017, Thomas 2001, Selsor et al 2000). He however does a very strange thing. Where Thomas and Selsor et al make clear that dates are in CE/AD, Anderton uses the concept of “Years Before Present” and then claims the data rage was 570 to 600 CE. This demonstrably not correct.

Selsor et al (2000) clearly outline their date in both B.P (Years Before Present) and AD.

“A suite of AMS-based 14C analyses on total amino acid extracts on nine duplicate samples from a homogenized decadal (10-year) sample of wood taken from a single stake removed from a pit feature at Drake Well Park, Titusville, Pennsylvania, has permitted the calibration of a mean 14C age of 480 ± 15 B.P. to a 2 sigma (95.4%) confidence interval of A.D. 1415-1440. An early fifteenth-century age for this feature supports the view that petroleum exploitation in this region occurred during Late Woodland times.” (Selsor et al. 2000)

Judith.E.Thomas, also cited by Anderton, and James M. Adovasio (2012) clearly puts the c14 date range in 1415-1440 AD.

“Accelerator mass spectrometry analysis of a timber from an alleges aboriginal oil collection pit at 36VE174, conducted as part of this study, yielded a combined calibrated radiocarbon age of A.D. 1415-1440.” (Thomas and Adovasio 2012).

Anderton appears to have confused the adjusted dates of 1415-1440 A.D. as the unadjusted B.P ranges and thereby used those to subtract backwards to his own date range of 570 to 600 CE. Even this date range is questionable for me, since if we assume a starting B.P date of 1950, the date commonly used for wood, and subtract from there we get a range of 510-535. This major error in maths effectually nullifies the rest of Anderton’s argument for Pennsylvanian oil being used to fuel the Mediterranean Bronze age and being used as an ingredient in the unknown Greek Fire.

Still we must address the rest of the article because of the shear lack of anything resembling evidece to support Anderton’s claims for Greek Fire.

To be clear, we do have historical accounts of ‘Greek Fire’ or it’s like being used. These accounts vary in description from a flame thrower like object to something like napalm. One thing accounts tend to share is it’s ability to burn on or under water. From this, Anderton makes the assumption it must be oil based. Historically, there is no recorded recipe for Greek Fire, but to think it might be made with oil based on descriptions isn’t that far out there. However, Anderton’s proposed location for oil extraction is.

There is no reason to think that Mediterranean solders would go as far as the Americas to find oil for their weapons. Anderton also makes no effort to present any evidence to support this claim. Beyond a half-hearted mention of a ‘bronze age ship’ petroglyph, nothing is offered. No sunk ships, no records from the time, no artifacts showing a mixing of cultures or trade, nadda.


Keeping in mind that Anderton is making the argument that the ancient oil pits of Pennsylvania were actually collected by Bronze age oil barons who were collecting the crude oil to fuel the bronze age back home in the Mediterranean and to create the supper weapon, Greek Fire.

As far as presenting evidence towards this argument this article failed spectacularly. Not only because no real attempt was made to show trade or travel to the Americas, but also because the date range Anderton needs to even tepidly support his claim is wrong.

If you’d like to support this blog, consider donating on Patreon or PayPal under ArchyFantasies@gmail.com
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Anderton, Thomas
2017 Who Were the Oil Tycoons of Pre-Columbian Pennsylvania? The Lost History of Ancient America. Edited Volume By Frank Joseph. The Career Press. Wayne, NJ.

Day, Sherman
1943    Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania. pg 637. N.Y.

Eno Petroleum Corporation (EPC)
N.d Early Native American Oil Discoveries
Eno Petroleum Corporation Website. http://www.enopetroleum.com/oildiscoveries.html Retrieved 2/8/17

Oil Region Alliance. (ORA)
N.d. History of the Oil Region, Oil Region National Heritage Area, Oil Region Alliance Website. (ORA N.d) http://www.oilheritage.org/history/history.htm Retrieved 2/8/17

Selsor, K., Burky, R., Kirner, D., Thomas, J., Southon, J., & Taylor, R.
2000 Late Prehistoric Petroleum Collection in Pennsylvania: Radiocarbon Evidence. American Antiquity, 65(4), 749-755. doi:10.2307/2694426 https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-antiquity/article/div-classtitlelate-prehistoric-petroleum-collection-in-pennsylvania-radiocarbon-evidencediv/B14878CEAE971E843D4FBDD94C2DC9EA Retrieved 2/8/17

Thomas, Judith E. And James M. Adovasio
2012 Documentary and archaeological Evidence of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Petroleum In Pennsylvania. Abstract submitted to History of the Oil Industry Symposium. Published by the Drake Well Foundation. Petroleum History Institute.
http://archives.datapages.com/data/phi/2001_Symposium_History_10/07a.htm Retrieved 2/8/17

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Ancient American Oil, Copper, and Mercury, or How Far Will They Go For Stuff They Already Have at Home?


Joseph introduces the second section of The Lost History of Ancient America by telling us about the “extraordinary achievements of ancient America” (2017). Namely that there are oil pits in prehistoric Pennsylvania, quicksilver in Mesoamerica, and of course the copper mines in Michigan (Joseph 2017).

There is no grandiose boasting this section, just brief outline of the upcoming articles. Interestingly, there is little effort to establish the credentials for the authors in this section. Possibly because in fringe circles, Wayne N. May’s reputation precedes him, and Joseph has already been established on the back of the book and elsewhere. Thomas Anderton and Rick Osmon are the two new comers to the book in this section.

An attempt is made to establish Thomas Anderton as an oil expert by giving the pedigree of his family, who once owned an oil refinery from 1885 till the early 1930’s (Joseph 2017). Anderton has also self published a similar article to the website Academia.edu titled Ancient Pennsylvania Oil Mines.

Rick Osmon is presented to us as an expert in night vision, radar, and surveillance, the host of the Oopa Loopa Cafe, a podcast that according to their Blogtalk landing page “Investigating pre-Columbian contact, lost races, ancient astronomy, navigation, and migration, cultural oddities, associated diffusion evidence and the truly unexplainable[sic]”. He’s also a co-host of another more recent podcast named Unraveling the Secrets, which tackles most of the same topics above. Osmon is also the author of The Graves of the Golden Bear:Ancient Fortresses and Monuments of the Ohio Valley. A book who’s blurb starts with “From the earliest maps of the Gulf of Mexico by the Spanish explorers to the beginning of the 20th century, claims were made that a Welsh prince named Madoc brought thousands of colonists to North America centuries before Columbus.” There is no list of qualifications for Osmon to explain what his expertise in metallurgy is or his knowledge of smelting.

No mention is made of Wayne May’s credentials, but May is best known for his position as publisher of the magazine, Ancient America. A magazine dedicated to fringe views on archaeology and furthering a Mormon paradigm. Most, if not all, of the articles in this book were at some point published in Ancient America. May is very active in the Church of Later Day Saints, and has been trying to use archaeology to prove the Book of Mormon true since 1994, according to his profile on the Ancient Historical Research Foundation website.

So with that rather subdued introduction, we begin section two.

Chapters in this section:

Chapter 5: Who Were the Oil Tycoons of Pre-Columbian Pennsylvania?
Chapter 6: An Ancient Mexican Pyramid’s Liquid Mercury.
Chapter 7: First Copper Workshop Discovered.
Chapter 8: Michigan’s Copper Barons Left Their Fingerprints on Greenland Ice.

If you’d like to support this blog, consider donating on Patreon or PayPal under ArchyFantasies@gmail.com
Want more on this topic? Go to: ArchyFantasies Reviews – The Lost History of Ancient America.
Comment below or send an email to ArchyFantasies@gmail.com.


Joseph, Frank
2017    The Lost History of Ancient America. Edited Volume. The Career Press. Wayne, NJ.

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The Shipwreck That Never Was: The “UX-791” and Great Lakes Maritime History via JaySea Archaeology

JaySea over on his own fledgling blog has taken a crack at debunking bad archaeology reporting in the media. I think he did a bang-up job, and as he’s a bit a a pro at maritime archaeology too so I really recommend giving his blog a look.

In February 18, of 2016 came this headline: “USA: Mysterious Nazi Submarine from WWII Discovered In Great Lakes” from the infamous faux news site World News Daily Report. The issue isn’t the fact that this is a fake news article cobbled together from facts gathered from skimming Wikipedia and poor photo shopping. The issue is that people believed it. World News Daily Report is a fake news site done for the sake of satire and they actually say as much, that its done for entertainment purposes with a large picture of a finger pointing at you mockingly for believing it. Articles like this happen quickly and it was interesting to see it spread across social media with even reputable history pages sharing it. It was shared to various historians by those wondering if the story was true. Although this article has hence blazed its way across social media and has been discounted by Snopes, this post will go through the article and discuss each historical inaccuracy, accuracy and discuss the real history that was utilized for this article; finishing with the real story of a German submarine in Lake Michigan. An article like this that has been shared on Facebook 77.8K times certainly merits a closer look.

I like that JaySea takes pains to reference his post, and provide those to his readers. I also like how he make a solid solid argument and a tidy conclusion.

This article it an interesting one, even though it was entirely fictional it had a few nuggets of historical truth with the “UX-791” being amalgamation of two different submarines.  It is that little truth that helped make the story believable. The author must have had some advanced knowledge in order write this especially with the obscure information of the German prototype submarines U-791 and the V-80. The point I’m trying to make is that this story the World News Daily Report fabricated already essentially exists with the story of the UC-97. Shipwreck stories are captivating, sexy and people do generally find them interesting. So it’s easy to fabricate something as click bait in order to generate advertising revenue. The important fact is this is another misrepresentation of history that duped people into sharing it thinking its true. The true history is far more interesting.

Go and check the whole thing out yourself at the link below!

via The Shipwreck That Never Was: The “UX-791” and Great Lakes Maritime History — JaySea Archaeology

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Transoceanic Mammoths Caught In Stone.


The fourth article in The Lost History of Ancient America is titled ‘Eyewitness Engraving of Ancient American Mammoths’ written by Frank Joseph.

It appears at first to be a puzzling article choice, as it seems to have nothing to do with transoceanic travelers or providing evidence of Europeans in America before Columbus. Joseph spends a good deal of the article filling it with ad hominem attacks, emotional appeals, and a strange Internet argument he had with a skeptic on Wikipedia.

The apparent main argument of the article is that woolly mammoths were either still alive at the time of Paleo-Indians, or later descendant tribes preserved ancestral memories of woolly mammoths and made carvings of them that have lasted to modern-day. The articles kinda flip-flops between these two arguments never really settling on either. It also doesn’t try to outright explain what this has to do with cultural diffusion or transoceanic travelers, the reader is expected to already understand the connection. Joseph does use some academic sources and footnotes to cite with, and it’s these sources that show how these ‘mammoth’ images link to transoceanic travelers.

For a bit of background, The woolly mammoth died out in the Americas roughly 13,000 years ago. This was roughly 1,000 years after the first appearance of humans on the continent. It also corresponds with the extinction of a lot of the megafauna in the Americas, as we’ve discussed before. Does this mean humans killed off the woolly mammoth, or was it climate change? We’re still not 100% sure, but I’m willing to bet it was a little of both.

That said, there is known overlap of humans and mammoths in the Americas. One major site demonstrating this is the very site Joseph opens with, the Old Vero Site. There, hundreds of human and megafauna bones, including mammoth bones, have been found in association to each other.

Joseph mentions one of the more accepted finds, made by fossil hunter James Kennedy sometime in 2007. He reportedly found a bone fragment that had an incised image of what appears to be a mammoth on it (Rawls 2009). This find has been tested by a variety of methods, and though none are completely conclusive, it is relatively accepted that the Vero Bone is both authentic and roughly about 13,000 years old. This puts it squarely inside a known time period of human and mammoth coexistence.

Joseph references an article written by Randolph E. Schmid, and spends the better part of his own article repeating everything Schmid wrote. This is a repeated tactic that is noticeable in the other articles in Lost History, where an entire entry in the volume is really just a book report of an article written somewhere else. Usually an internet source, or some small, unverified publication.

However, it’s in Schmid’s article from the Huffington Post (2011) that makes the link between Joseph’s article and the overall topic of this section.

“The newly found North American image is similar to some found in Europe, raising the question of whether this is merely coincidence or evidence of some connection between the two, the paper noted.

Stout said the suggestion that the similarities between this and ancient European art might imply some cultural contact or movement of people across the Atlantic very early is controversial. That idea has previously been proposed by Stanford and others, but has attracted a lot of criticism and skepticism from other archaeologists, he said.” (Schmid 2011)

So the implication here, that we really had to dig to find, is that since the mammoth images in America look like those in some European sites, that is evidence of transoceanic travel and cultural diffusion. This claim took some digging, and it’s part of a larger trend  from the book. There is a conversation going on among the fringe, and this book is like eavesdropping in random moments. There is a nuance that is lost on the causal observer when reading this book. Often the reader is expected to understand what is being said with no attempt to explain.

After presenting us with an actual artifact that already fits nicely into the understood archaeological timeline, Joseph tries to present us with further evidence. If his stated argument for this article is to convince us that humans and mammoths existed at the same time, he’s already done so. If his actual argument is to convince us that mammoth images are the result of transoceanic cultural diffusion, his examples leave a lot to desire.

Joseph presents us with five more examples of mammoth images, some more credible than others. First is the Holly Oak artifact.


Very briefly, the Holly Oak artifact follows along a familiar storyline that we here at this blog recognize as evidence of a non-artifact.

Hilborne T. Cresson, an archaeological assistant at Harvard’s Peabody Museum, presented what would become the Holly Oak artifact in 1889. He claimed to have found the engraved shell pendant some 25 years earlier while out for a walk with his then music teacher. Said music teacher was himself a student of archaeology who had studied directly under Eduard Lartet, the archaeologist credited with finding an engraved mammoth tusk at La Madeleine, France in 1864. The images on the tusk and the pendant were strongly reminiscent of each other, and due to this and the dubious discovery story, the pendant wasn’t widely accepted as an authentic artifact.

This would have been the end of it but for a revival of the artifact in 1976, when J.C. Kraft and R.A. Thomas published a paper in Science arguing that the pendant was genuine. This new announcement was quickly challenged (Meltzer and Sturtevant 1985, Lewin 1988, Griffen et al 1988) and more reasons for the artifact to be fraudulent were brought forward. A few reasons being that the orientation of the image on the pendant in relation to the boreholes was inconsistent with other known examples and the radiocarbon analysis of the shell placed it around 885 CE. much too late to be old enough to be authentic (Meltzer and Sturtevant 1985).

As it stands today, the Holly Oak artifact is not seen as an authentic artifact.

Joseph then offers up the Lenape Stone.


Ken Feder covers the Lenape stone, another gorget style pendant, fairly well in his 2011 book Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum. He points out that Mammoths probably went extinct in North America about 10,000 years ago, while most gorgets, like the Lenape stone found in other sites are less than 2,000 years old. Beyond that, the discovery of the stone is suspect. There is no proper documentation, other artifact of a similar style were found on the site, the stone was supposedly cleaned harshly rendering any testing impossible, lastly is the carving on the stone itself (Feder 2011). The Lenape stone was discovered in two pieces, and these two pieces appear to have been carved separately and do not line up (Feder 2011). It’s most likely that the stone was carved after it was broken and was carved in a way as to mimic the other actual artifacts found in the area.

Joseph offers up a suggestion that the stone used to make the gorget might have been selected because of the mammoth carving already being on it (Joseph 2017). This suggestion ignores that the actual artifacts that present a similar style only date to 2,000 years ago or that the carving doesn’t line up.

Joseph tries to use the tired old trope of “A simple farm boy would not have been capable of perpetrating a hoax (Joseph 2017)”. It’s a paradox that the fringe sets up for themselves. The claim that no simple man could do such a fraud is counter to the unspoken fringe idea that the common man can do complicated archeology and analysis.

Needless to say, the Lenape stone is not an accepted authentic artifact.

Joseph then offers up the Jacob’s Cavern Bone.


Joseph offers up a 1952 article by Ludwell H. Johnson published in The Scientific Monthy called “Men and Elephants in America”. What little I can get of the article (it’s behind a paywall) seems to show Johnson in favor of the Jacob’s Cavern Bone being authentic. Joseph even uses a lengthy quote from Johnson’s paper, which taken out of context, appears to show that Johnson is arguing for the age of the deer bone to be around the age of 14,000 years (Joseph 2017). What can’t be clear at this point is if Johnson went on to argue that the bone and the carving are both related and authentic.

It’s important to note here, that even though the bone itself might be 14,000 years old, that has no bearing on the age of the carving. No explanation of the age of the carving is offered by Joseph either.

Michael Fuller, professor emeritus of anthropology, brings up this point as well (Fuller 2007), making a note that the image typically interpreted as a mastodon doesn’t fit known examples of such from other Paleo-Indian and Archaic sites in Missouri (Fuller 2007). Honestly, the carving looks like many things, the least of which is a mastodon or mammoth. I am inclined to agree with Fuller, and a great many others, that though the bone itself is old, the carving is not. The Jacob’s Cavern Bone is not a viable artifact.

Joseph then bring up the Moab Mammoth petroglyph, particularly one that does look a lot like some kind of long nosed beast.


This petroglyph is real, can be seen by anyone who hikes out to Utah, and isn’t disputed by anyone as being an authentic image. Whether or not it’s a Mammoth is another thing, probably it’s not. I say this because it’s a whimsical image, with an undefined body, long trunk, and four distinct toes on each foot, but Mammoth’s were not known to be in Utah.

This is image #2 that is authentic that Joseph has mentioned. Two out of six.

The final bit of evidence that Joseph offers up is the Lake Michigan Sunken Petroglyph, aka, Lake Michigan Stonehenge. It’s also referred to as a variety of other things, depending on who’s looking at it. Lake Michigan has been accused of hiding everything from sunken pyramids to Masonic symbols. Needless to say there is no actual evidence supporting any of these claims, and so this is not reliable.

Joseph makes an effort to use various Native American myths to support his idea of ancestral memory. This is a murky area to wander into at best. Oral histories can be filled with historical retellings, exaggerated facts, or just plain ‘ol entertaining stories. As an outsider, it’s difficult to impossible to discern one from the next. When anthropologists interact with a native culture and their oral traditions, we try not to interpret what we are told. We accept the information given to us and leave the interpretation to the culture that created it. Taking oral traditions out of context can create a slew of issues, much like removing an artifact from it’s context. Doing what Joseph does in his article is one such issue.

Joseph tries to reinterpret the various myths he has cherry picked to be proof of an ancestral memory of Mammoths. These cannot be convincing evidence as they are basically appropriation of native American oral traditions to try to prove a fringe theory.


Once we do a bit of digging we find the connection between this article and the theme of section one.

Joseph is making the argument that since the mammoth images in America look like those in some European sites, that is evidence of transoceanic travel and cultural diffusion. He does this by obfuscating it in the twin theories that man coexisted at the same time as Mammoths (we already known this to be true) and that younger images of Mammoths were made due to reverence of ancestral memory.

The article tries but falls short of proving either the major argument or the later theory because the evidence offered is made up mostly of fake artifacts. Of the six presented, two are accepted as real, the rest have either been debunked or are not accepted as authentic.

This article is the last in section one, and like the others, provides little reason to believe the argument that the Americas were visited by Pre-columbian transoceanic travelers.

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Comment below or send an email to ArchyFantasies@gmail.com.


Feder, Kenneth L.
2011    Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum. ABC-CLIO/Greenwood. p. 159.

Fuller, Michael
2007    Jacob’s Cavern , 23MD149. Webpage prepared by Professor Michael Fuller, 2 October 2007 http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/jacob’scavern.html. Retrived 1/30/17

Griffin, James B. , David J. Meltzer, Bruce D. Smith and William C. Sturtevant.
1988    A Mammoth Fraud in Science. American Antiquity. Vol. 53, No. 3 (Jul., 1988), pp. 578-582 Published by: Society for American Archaeology DOI: 10.2307/281218. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/281218 https://www.jstor.org/stable/281218. Retrived 1/30/17

Johnson, Ludwell H.
1952    Men and Elephants in America. The Scientific Monthly Vol. 75, No. 4 (Oct., 1952), pp. 215-221 Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20754 https://www.jstor.org/stable/20754?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents Retrived 1/30/17

Kraft, J.C. & R.A. Thomas.
1976    “Early Man at Holly Oak, Delaware”. Science 192(4241): 756-761. (May 21, 1976). http://science.sciencemag.org/content/192/4241/756 DOI: 10.1126/science.192.4241.756 Retrived 1/30/17

Lewin, R.
1988    “Mammoth Fraud Exposed”. Science vol 242(issue 4883): pg 1246. (Dec 2., 1988). http://science.sciencemag.org/content/242/4883/1246 DOI: 10.1126/science.242.4883.1246 Retrived 1/30/17

Meltzer, D.J. & W.C. Sturtevant.
1985    “The Holly Oak Pendant.” Science 227(4684): 242 + 244 + 246. (Jan 18, 1985). http://science.sciencemag.org/content/227/4684/242 DOI: 10.1126/science.227.4684.242 Retrived 1/30/17

Schmid, Randolph E.
2011    13,000-Year-Old Bone With Mammoth Or Mastodon Carving May Be First In Western Hemisphere 06/22/2011 12:20 pm ET | Updated Aug 22, 2011 AP/The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/mammoth-mastodon-bone-carving-florida-photo_n_882177.html.  Retrived 1/30/17

Categories: ArchyFantasy Reviews, The Lost History of Ancient America, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bast Worshiping Hopewellian Egyptians in Pre-Columbian Ancient America.


Our third chapter in in the Lost History of Ancient America edited by Frank Joseph is an article titled Egyptian Style Cat Burial in Illinois written by Professor Julia Patterson (1931-2015). I can find nothing about Professor Patterson professionally, and other than this article in the edited volume, I can’t find anything else she may have written. She is presented in the book as a former professor of archeology and anthropology at London College and the University of Illinois, Urbana (Joseph 2017:17). So I would expect to find something with her name on it. I have nothing to compare this article too as far as her writing style. If anyone has anything they can share about Professor Patterson with me, it would be appreciated.

The article sufferers from the shortcomings of a lot of the other articles in this volume. There are exactly two footnotes in the article and they both refer to a magazine article in Science from 2015 written by David Grimm. Beyond that there are no citations, footnotes or otherwise, and the actual site is never referenced nor is the actual paper about the site. I find this strange as an academic, especially in the field of archeology working at a university or college, would have had access to the site report. Another slight anomaly is that the volume indicates that Patterson passed away in 2015, which is the same year that both the paper and the article about the site were published. It’s a quick turn-around, not impossible, just quick.

The article begins with a description of a site in St. Louis, Missouri. This is the Elizabeth Site, a 2000 year old Hopewell mound site. The article then makes an incredible claim:

“The Hopewell were a mound builder people of far-flung Traders and skilled Artisans who florist from Circa 600 BCE to their extermination at the hands of Native American tribes by 400, CE. (Patterson 2017)” (emphasis added)

There’s a great deal wrong with this statement. To start, ‘Hopewell’ refers to a culture movement that began around 200 B.C.E It encompasses a large group of Native American tribes, not a single people. Hopewell culture stretched from as far North as Michigan, as far South as Florida, as fear West as Nebraska and all the way to Virginia. The Hopewell center of culture appears to be in Ohio with its impressive Mound City, and Newark Earthworks, and Serpent Mound. Hopewell sites share artistic traditions along with their mound building skills. They also maintained an impressively large trading network taking advantage of the large waterways they routinely built their bigger settlements along. Sometime around 350-400 C.E the Hopewell tradition began to decline. There’s no clear reason for this, but several factors appear to play into the decline:

“Little is known about why Hopewell mound-building ended, either about AD 200 in the lower Illinois Valley, and about AD 350-400 in the Scioto river valley. There is no evidence of failure, no evidence of widespread diseases or heightened death rates: basically, the smaller Hopewell sites simply aggregated into larger communities, located away from the Hopewell heartland, and the valleys were largely abandoned. (Hurst 2016)”

“Around 400 A.D Hopewell culture began to decline for an unknown reason. Archaeologists hypothesize is that there was a cultural collapse within the communities, as the succeeding settlements showed signs of a large-scale societal transition to larger, permanent, more isolated communities. Also, technological developments — including the introduction of the bow and arrow — made for a shift in hunting, gathering, and war, which may have forced Hopewell societies to become more secluded for survival. Earthen mounds became less prominent and the trading routes diminished in this period; but the legacy of the Hopewell cultures can still be seen today. (OHC N.d)”

There is no evidence to support the article’s claim that ‘The Hopewell’ were wiped out by ‘Native Americans’. Most likely the Hopewell culture simple did as all culture movements do, and simple evolved and was absorbed into other culture groups around them. Spawning new traditions that then continue the pattern of one culture evolving from another.

However, this opening statement by the article set up the actual argument the article is trying to make. That the Hopewell, were not Native Americans, but some other culture that was either influenced or directly descended from Ancient Egypt. The article tries to defend this by using the unusual burial of a bobcat kitten.

The burial in question is known as Burial 22 (Perri et. al. 2015), and was originally marked as a ‘canid skeleton’ by the original excavators. It wasn’t until Angela R. Perri, Terrance J. Martin, & Kenneth B. Farnsworth reexamined the remains that they discovered the classification error.

“The burial did not appear to represent the ritual sacrifice of an animal but instead paralleled the mortuary treatment of humans from the mound, with care taken to position the remains and to include grave goods. (Perri et. al. 2015)”

Perri et. al. (2015) did an extensive look at the bobcat, and found some interesting things. One such detail that the article focuses on is the necklace found with the bobcat kitten.

“The only available plan-view photograph taken during the excavation that exposed Burial 22 indicates that the fully articulated animal was placed on its left side with its head oriented northeast (Figure 8) and was not associated with any human remains. Burial pits were not observed for any of the burials (human or felid) on the ramp extension. Two carved bone pendants and four shell beads were found posterior to the front legs and positioned in the area of the animal’s chest in an arrangement that suggested to the excavators a necklace or collar (Charles, Leigh, and Albertson 1988:165; Leigh and Morey 1988:281). (Perri et. al. 2015)”

“Included on the bobcat’s necklace (Figures 8 and 9) was a pair of effigy carnivore canine teeth that were carved from mammal bone. (Perri et. al. 2015)”

“The bulbous outline is more reminiscent of a black bear (Ursus americanus) canine than a canine from a canid or felid. The Elizabeth Mound 7 bobcat and a domesticated dog from the habitation site of Dickson Camp (Fulton County) (Cantwell 1980:484) are the only two Illinois Hopewellian animals known to have been buried with bear-canine or bear canine-effigy pendants. (Perri et. al. 2015)”

The article concludes with important, and cautious observations about what this burial means to the archaeological record:

“Nevertheless, the bobcat appears to have survived long enough for the inhabitants of the Elizabeth site to form an attachment that merited an elaborate burial in a sacred mound: the first and only of its kind known. The inclusion of grave goods commonly found in human burials, which have been strung into an apparent necklace (see Figure 1), further alludes to a close bond. Elizabeth Mound 7 Burial 22 is the only decorated wild cat burial known from the prehistoric archaeological record. Though the burial of an individual bobcat is not evidence for domestication, the Elizabeth Mound 7 bobcat burial enhances our understanding of the relationship between prehistoric people and wild cats, revealing strong evidence for the taming of at least some early felids in the Americas. (Perri et. al. 2015)”

Yet the conclusion that the article pulls from all this is a massive, unsubstantiated leap.

“It had been adorned with a necklace reminiscent of ancient Egyptian representations of Bast. (Patterson 2017)”

Bast aka Bastet, an Egyptian cat headed goddess whose history is more evidence of cultural evolution. What she doesn’t have, is any evidence of connection to this bobcat burial. Unlike what the article argues.

The author of the article makes very little effort to actually connect the two things as well. We move from talking about the bobcat burial to talking about unrelated cat burials and mummifications in Egypt, most of which predate the Elizabeth site by almost 3000 years. The author attempts to create an argument that since Egyptian households often mourned the loss of a cat, that this bobcat burial, showing signs of being an ‘elaborate burial’, must be the same thing.

The problem here is, we don’t know why the bobcat was buried. Remember, there are no human burials in relation to it and no other grave goods beyond the necklace. It is not, as the article will have you believe (Patterson 2017), in relation to one of the infant burials from the same site (Perri et. al. 2015). So the article’s divergence into some idea that Bast is a goddess of childbirth and there for the bobcat is somehow a representation of her protecting the infant (which is only one of several infant/child burials at the site) is a major leap of logic.

The article then sums up it’s original argument thusly:

“These comparisons join a vast body of complementary evidence acclimated on behalf of a pharaonic influence at work in pre-Columbian America. At very least, they suggest that, although the Hopewell or not themselves transplanted Egyptians, they were none the less inheritors of cultural legacies left behind by visitors from the Nile Valley to our continent during prehistory. (Patterson 2017)”

There is simply no evidence to support this, and the article doesn’t provide any either.


  • There are no citations beyond an already reduce popular science article that is hardly a complete report of the findings of Perri et. al. Grimm’s (2015) article does a fine job of breaking down the work that Perri et. al. did into a brief snapshot, but it shouldn’t be used a the entire basis of an article attempting to do what this article is. What’s more confusing is the lack of use of the actual work of Perri et. al. and their published findings, which are as available as Grimm’s article. There was a clear choice made here, and the one made is confusing coming from a professional archaeologist. I have a personal theory here, but will keep it to myself as I have nothing to back it up just yet.
  • The underlying statement that ‘The Hopewell’ were somehow not Native American and were subsequently destroyed by ‘The Native Americans’ is simply wrong. To continue to try and support this narrative of non-native cultures being the actual creators of Native American culture is insulting and damming. With this being the third articles in the Lost History book, the actual agenda of this edited volume is quite clear, and it’s not friendly.
  • Lastly, the jump from Hopewell bobcat kitten burial to Bast worship is unfounded and unsupported. Beyond the article simply telling us that’s what we should believe, it provided no evidence to support this. There are no identifiable similarities between the burial and Egyptian cat mummifications, just as there are no similarities between Hopewell culture and Egyptian culture.

This article is not an article I would have selected to help support an argument of pre-Columbian, transoceanic trailers coming to America. It has far too many flaws to overlook, and offerers no actual evidence of anything. It’s more like reading a book-report on a magazine article than anything resembling actual academic research. It’s a strange choice, and not a helpful one for Frank Joseph’s arguments.

If you’d like to support this blog, consider donating on Patreon or PayPal under ArchyFantasies@gmail.com
Want more on this topic? Go to: ArchyFantasies Reviews – The Lost History of Ancient America.
Comment below or send an email to ArchyFantasies@gmail.com.



Grimm, David
2015 Ancient bobcat buried like a human being . Science Magazine Online. July 2, 2015. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/07/ancient-bobcat-buried-human-being
Retrieved 1/10/17

Hurst, K. Kris
2016 Hopewell Culture – North America’s Mound Building Horticulturalists. About.com. January 09, 2016. http://archaeology.about.com/od/athroughadterms/g/adena.htm. Retrieved 1/10/17

Joseph, Frank
2017 The Lost History of Ancient America. Edited Volume. The Career Press. Wayne, NJ.

Ohio History Central (OHC)
N.d Hopewell Culture. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Hopewell_Culture. Retrieved 1/10/17

Patterson, Julia
2017 The Lost History of Ancient America. Edited Volume by Frank Joseph. The Career Press. Wayne, NJ.

Perri, Angela R., Terrance J. Martin & Kenneth B. Farnsworth.
2015 A Bobcat Burial and Other Reported Intentional Animal Burials from Illinois Hopewell Mounds. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology. Volume 40, Issue 3. Pages 282-301 | Published online: 01 Jul 2015 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1179/2327427115Y.0000000007. Retrieved 1/10/17

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New Patreon Only Content Coming In February!


I’ve been tossing this idea around for a while, and with the success of the podcast I’m interested to see how well this will work out.

Recently, I’ve been playing around with the idea of an Audio Blog. Nothing fancy really, just me literally reading the blog posts. Maybe a little background music, but no real embellishments. When I suggested this to the Facebook page, they were excited about the idea. Many people commented that listening to podcasts and audiobooks is a growing pastime, and that they would enjoy hearing the blog on top of (on instead of) reading the blog.

I’ve done a few test recordings, and found that the resulting episodes are about 10 to 15 min in length. They’re quick to record and have forced me to look at my older posts and correct or expand. So there’s that.

What I have decided to do is make these Audio-blogs available to my Patreon supporters first. I’m thinking about making them available to everyone later down the road, but I want my Patreon folks to get something unique as a thanks for their support.

So if you are interested in this new content, you can get access to it easily by joining my Patreon page and pledging a small amount, or more if you’re feeling generous!  And if you’re already a Patreon patron, get ready in February for what I think will be fun and cool new content.

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Welsh Indians and Lewis’ Murder: America Unearthed S1Ep 9.


As with previous blog posts in this series, I’m going to summarize things at the bottom for you to make following all the claims in the show easier, but I’m driven to break this down. If you don’t want to read the whole post just skip to ‘In Summary’ at the bottom. Don’t be surprised, though, if you ask me a question, I refer you to read the whole post first.

Despite the horror film introduction and the warning of the graphic nature of the imagined suicide/murder of Meriwether Lewis, this show isn’t actually about any of that. The actual premises of the show is a buried a bit and is a little hard to swallow.

The apparent premise of the episode is that Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame, was killed to keep secret the truth of the things he found out while investigating the American frontier.

Now, there is a bit of a controversy on how and why Lewis died on his trip up the Natchez Trace. Many historians agree that Lewis killed himself during a depressive episode, and this news appearers to have made sense to close friends of Lewis’ at the time (SHSND 2017). However, the Lewis family insisted it must have been murder, but no inquest into the possible murder ever apparently happened. This is all compounded by the three conflicting stored from the night of Lewis’ death by attributed to Mrs. Grinder, the innkeeper where Lewis was staying at the time of his death.

There are even newer claims that Lewis was neither killed nor committed suicide, but rather died of malaria. This newer idea is outlined by co-authors Thomas Danisi and John Jackson, who explain this theory in their book, “Meriwether Lewis: A New Biography.” Published in 2009 (Hansen 2009). This particular theory, though not particularly popular among historians, isn’t completely discounted by the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND):

“It should be noted, however, that there is the possibility that Lewis suffered from malaria, a disease that is known, in its later stages, to cause forms of dementia and erratic behavior.” (SHSND 2017)

Wolter does a good job of keeping up the ruse that this is the premise of the episode. We get a graphic recreation of Lewis’ death, we get a brief story about Lewis and Louisiana purchase, and we meet Wolter’s friend, Don Shelby who has some nice first editions books. One such book appears to be Lewis’ notebook from his expedition.


It’s around here that we start to veer from the apparent topic. Shelby tells us that Lewis and Clark didn’t record everything they saw on the trip. He claims there are missing pages from the journals, and no one knows what’s in them. But there could have been something that someone would want Lewis dead to keep secret!

So far this is in keeping with the apparent episode premise. Then Shelby drops a huge hint on us. He tells us that Lewis and Clark were instructed by President Jefferson to look for evidence of pre-Columbian Welsh in the Louisiana Purchase.

So here’s the interesting part about this bit of information. Jason Colavito on his blog took it upon himself to search through and read all of the Jefferson papers at the Library of Congress, the Monticello Museum, the New York Historical Society, and all of the existing correspondence to and from Lewis about the expedition (thanks for that BTW). What he came up with is a lot different from the prevailing story out there, bolstered no doubt by this show. Colavito comes up with an explanation that is a lot more rational.

“Jefferson wrote to Lewis on January 22, 1804 his only mention of Welsh Indians:

“In that of the 13th inst. I inclosed [sic] you the map of a Mr. Evans, a Welshman, employed by the Spanish government for that purpose, but whose original object I believe had been to go in search of the Welsh Indians, said to be up the Missouri. On this subject, a Mr. Rees of the same nation, established in the Western parts of Pennsylvania, will write to you.”” (Jefferson 1804)

Note that Jefferson is either uncertain or unconcerned whether Evans had been in search of Welsh Indians. Instead, his concern is to get Lewis a useful map that will help the expedition. It is reasonable to conclude from this letter that in order to obtain the map, Jefferson agreed to let Rhys write to Lewis about his pet subject, the Welsh Indians. However, Jefferson doesn’t seem at all interested in the subject, and is content to let Rhys write under his own name (i.e. unofficially) about any such inquiry.” (Colavito 2013)

Colavito then points out that neither Lewis nor Clark ever wrote about Welsh Indians in their journals. That was done by Joseph Whitehouse in his own journals that he apparently intended to publish (Colavito 2013). Whitehouse (1805a, 1805b) only mentions them twice and uses the descriptor of ‘Welch [sic]’ to explain their difficult language. Whitehouse makes no effort to express extraordinary interest in the group, or even to point out how these Natives were different from others they encountered beyond saying how nice they were (Whitehouse 1805a, 1805b).

I’ve read the above-mentioned letter from Jefferson (1804), and clearly, Jefferson is not telling Lewis to look for anything. He seems to be informing Lewis of why Mr. Evans has a map of the Missouri, and never mentions it again. Hardly a direct, or secretive, order to look for mysterious Welsh Indians.

So at this point you could be forgiven if you think that the premise of this episode is that Meriwether Lewis was murdered in order to keep the secret that there were Welsh Indians living in the Louisiana Purchase. You’d almost be correct too. Almost.


The show takes us to Brandenburg, KY to meet with Gerry Fischer, a retired archaeologist. He is there to present us with a new stone to add to our collection. This one is the Brandenburg Stone, and the show would have us believe it’s a land claim written in Welsh. Fischer tells us that it’s been translated by professionals, but doesn’t say who, and that he believes it’s real. Wolter is all about this stone, and tells us, that if the stone is real, then it will call into question the legitimacy of the US.

No, it really wouldn’t, it would have no discernible effect at all, but we need a little drama, so…

Wolter’s Ah-Ha moment is that the Welsh made it to America first and left this land claim stone, thereby giving them true sovereignty over the America’s. Also, that Lewis found this out through his interactions with the Welsh Indians and was killed to keep this a secret so that North America could stay firmly in the hands of the new US government. Native Americas need not apply for ownership of America, Europeans only.

And now you have the actual premises of the episode. Hidden in the attention grabbing murder mystery, is the claim that the Welsh were the first transoceanic travelers to make it to the Americas, interbred with the Native Americans they found here, and somehow that makes them the true inheritors of the Americas. Wolter and the show never come out and say this in plain English, but the claim is clear there once you realize what is being said.

The problem with this claim is that it requires two things to be true. One, that the Brandenburg Stone is authentic (it’s not) and two, that the Welsh Indians are a real people (they are not).

Wolter spends the next third of the episode trying to convince us that the stone is authentic, doing his usual “I can tell the carving is old, because reasons” routine followed by his “if I can find similar stone in the area, then it must be true!” shtick.


He tries to make a big deal out of the Oolitic limestone that the stone appears to be carved from, implying that finding similar limestone in the area somehow makes the Brandenburg Stone real. Problem with this is that according to the Kentucky Geological Survey, 50% of the surface rocks in Kentucky are limestone. There’s so much of it, that Kentucky actually exports it for use in road surfacing and making concrete. Basically, it’d be more impressive if Wolter didn’t find limestone.

As for authenticating the stone via carving. I have always had issues with Wolter’s 3D scanning magic that he never really explains or seems to understand. When I see the pictures of the scans, tool marks always look sharp and fresh to me, but Wolter always says they are eroded and weathered. And that’s assuming we even get to see the actual images and not just some weird, fast rotating 3D topo map that could possibly be anything from a ditch to a scratch mark. I know a little about 3D imaging, I don’t like what I see on this show.

All that said, it’s all basically irrelevant because of the alphabet used to create the message on the stone. According to Jon Whitfield, Baram Blackett, and Alan Wilson, the script on the stone is called Coelbren or Coelbren y Beirdd. It’s a Welsh script that supposedly shares characteristics with other ancient scripts like Etruscan, Pelasgian, and Nordic runes (Pennington 2012). The problem is that it’s fairly well documented that Coelbren is a made up language from the 1790’s (Museum of Wales N.d.). Edward Williams aka Iolo Morganwg created the runic-like language and claimed it was a druidic script (McCulloch 2010).

But to bring the show back around to what it was pretending to be about, we head out to Natchez Trace, Hohenwald, TN meet with Meriwether Lewis descendant, Keith Vanstone. Vanstone is also a proponent of exhuming Lewis’ body to have it examined by modern forensics to better determine the cause of death (Vanstone 2009, VOA 2010). This knowledge makes Wolter’s later suggesting to exhume Lewis’ body seem less shocking. However, the show doesn’t mention this so it just sounds like Wolter is being a ghoul on the show. Not sure what the reason for this editing decision was, but it was a bad one IMO.

Since we can’t dig up a 200-year-old American hero, we do the next best thing and examine the monument erected over the general area of his grave. Wolter acts surprised when he sees a Masonic grave symbol on the monument. Somehow this is a sign of a deeper conspiracy, as always. It’s not a secret that Lewis was a Mason, nor should it be surprising to anyone who knows history well. It would honestly be more surprising to me to find out that Lewis wasn’t a Mason, since pretty much every male of any public standing was in the 1800’s.

Vanstone mentions that Lewis’ Masonic apron supposedly has his blood on it and Wolter gets a new idea. If he can’t dig up Lewis, maybe he can test the blood on the apron and that would somehow prove there was a struggle. This isn’t how forensics works, but that’s not going to slow Wolter down.

We jet off to the Grand Masonic Lodge in Halana, MT. to meet Ried Gardiner, Masonic Grand Secretary and curator of the museum at the Lodge, and Thom Chisholm – Masonic grand Master of Montana. They show us Lewis’ very decorative apron. They tell us that there are traces of human and deer blood on it and that it has been tested before. They were not pleased with the former testing and that makes them reluctant to allow Wolter to test the apron now.


To his credit, Wolter is very nice and patient with the Masons, and they eventually agree to let him take swab samples.

While we wait for the DNA lab to get us results, Wolter talks with Don Shelby again. We get a translation from the stone;

“Toward strength (to promote unity), divide the land we are spread over, purely (or justly) between offspring in wisdom.”

Wolter decides this is a land deed, it sounds like gibberish to me. To be fair, most of the translations that this show produces sounds like gibberish to me. Shelby then explains the whole Coelbren being a fake language to which Wolter replies;

“Just because this isn’t real, doesn’t mean the Welsh weren’t here.”

Well, yah, it kinda does.

Wolter brings up John Dee again and suggests that he might be the originator of the whole Welsh in America thing. He pretty much admits there is no way to know if any of this is true.

So we end the episode in a DNA lab where the swabs Wolter took have been tested and we’re ready for the results. We meet Stephen Fratpietro, the forensic examiner. He tells us that none of the blood on the apron matches Lewis’, but there appear to be two individuals represented by the stains. He tries to explain that this could be a case of contamination.

Wolter’s not hearing any of it and begins to explain to everyone in the room how important a Manson’s apron is to him, and how a Mason would never have a dirty apron. Therefore the blood would have to have been deposited the night of the murder. He pulls his; “That’s all that makes sense to me!” thing that he does and begins to fabricate a story about how this supports his original idea that Lewis was murdered in order to keep the knowledge that the Welsh discovered America first secret. Everyone else in the room tries not to look uncomfortable, and we cut away to recap pictures and Wolter’s voice over telling us that he’s “blown a hole into history.”


I see what you did there. Tacky.


Despite the meandering of the episode and the show once again debunking it’s own evidence, the premise of the episode was that the Welsh were the first ones to make it to the Americas, interbred with the Native Americans they found here, and therefore are the true inheritors of the Americas. This is the typical white-washing of prehistoric America that I’ve come to expect from the show. I know a few readers don’t like when I point out this white-out tendency of shows and books like this, but I’m going to keep calling it out when I see it.

This episode is also a bit weird in that it pretty much debunks itself, but in order to beat a dead horse, we’re going forward.

1) Lewis’ Suicide/ Murder – Honestly, this is irrelevant to the whole episode. It was the attention-grabbing, click bait headline that made us all want to watch it. It doesn’t matter how Lewis died, though to be fair, there is some controversy over his death. Whether or not he was murdered, the show did not provide any reason for us to think it was to keep the Welsh land claim a secret.

2) The Brandenburg Stone – So fake the show debunks it, which is refreshing.

3) The Welsh Indians – Oh god where to start. Clearly, if you follow the reasoning behind this, you can see that the idea of the Welsh being in the Americas starts way back. It was a political move by Britain to secure their claims to the newly discovered Americas. It was then adopted by Welsh nationalists, and become popular in the 1800’s when Victorian ideals didn’t allow for ‘uncivilized’ Indians to be human enough to have any contribution to the past. It has roundly been debunked and isn’t even tolerated as a theory in academic, and decent, circles anymore. The mention of Welsh Indians to Lewis by Jefferson was clearly as a way of identifying an individual that would be sending an unrelated map to help Lewis and Clark on their expedition. It was not an order to look for them. Lewis never mentioned them in his own notes, that was done by an enlisted man on the expedition who was basically using it to say that the language of the Natives they were trading with was hard to understand.

Wolter’s use of this ‘Welsh Indians’ idea in modern times is incredibly troubling and should be seen a blatant white-washing. This show in general has an amazingly bad track record when it comes to acknowledging Native peoples. It constantly reimagines prehistory in a way as to remove Native Americans from the picture, commandeer their cultural achievements, and awarding them to a rotating collection of white, eurocentric, conquerors. Wolter’s and America Unearthed’s desperate need for there to be a white connection in America is blatant and tiresome. What’s worse, is they even often admit Native peoples were present at the time of these mysterious Europeans arrival, yet this never seems to matter. Whoever the White people were who were first to get here, they are the ones who are owed the land, not the folks who were actually here first.

4) Blood DNA – This is another one that is hard to deal with. Firstly, blood on the apron could never explain if Lewis’ death was a suicide or murder. Blood is simply blood. It can give you DNA, but without a lot more context, it can’t do much more. This particular blood was over 200 years old, had been handled by who knows how many hands, exposed to who knows what, and probably wasn’t kept in the best preservation conditions until recently. Secondly, the first DNA testing done on the apron told us there was deer blood on it, so some of that blood wasn’t even human. Take all of that and add in that the comparison sample came from decent 200 years removed, and you have a recipe for failure right off the bat. I don’t mean to say anything bad about Mr. Vanstone, but 200 years is a long time. Lots of things could have happened in 200 years that could complicate a genetic connection. Even if Vanstone is a direct genetic descendant (and I’m not saying he’s isn’t), the first and second complications alone are enough to pretty much guarantee DNA testing won’t work.

So did the show manage to prove either of its premises? No. All it did was speculate from start to finish, and then debunked its own physical evidence.


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Want more on this topic? Go to Reviews: America Unearthed.
Comment below or send an email to ArchyFantasies@gmail.com



Callahan, Jim
2000    Lest We Forget: The Melungeon Colony of Newman’s Ridge. Overmountain Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-1570721670. Retrieved 1/3/17

Colavito, Jason
2013     Did Lewis and Clark Seek Welsh Indians? http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/did-lewis-and-clark-seek-welsh-indians Retrieved 1/3/17

Hansen, Liane
2009    How Meriwether Lewis Might Have Really Died. NPR interview.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113712695 Retrieved 1/3/17

Jefferson, Thomas
1804    Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, January 22, 1804.
http://jeffersonswest.unl.edu/archive/view_doc.php?id=jef.00033 Retrieved 1/3/17

1903    The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 10
By Thomas Jefferson 1903 The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association. Washington, D.C.
https://books.google.com/books?id=4dnSClToke0C&pg=PA441#v=onepage&q&f=false Retrieved 1/3/17

Jones, Mary
2004    Edward Williams/Iolo Morganwg/Iolo Morgannwg. From Jones’ Celtic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11 June 2009 (only USA, see: WayBackMachine). Retrieved 1/3/17

Pennington, Lee
2012 Ch. 11: A Map of Pre-Columbian America. The Lost Worlds of Ancient America edited by Frank Joseph (2012). Retrieved 1/3/17

See, Larry Jr.
2008    Archaeologists gather to hear story of Brandenburg Stone”. (March 19, 2008). Meade County Messenger. Retrieved March 24, 2013. Retrieved 1/3/17

State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND)
2017    Was Meriwether Lewis Murdered or Did He Commit Suicide? Corps of Discovery. http://history.nd.gov/exhibits/lewisclark/suicide.html. Retrieved 1/3/17

Vanstone, Keith
2009    Letter to the Secretary of the Interior. http://www.solvethemystery.org/docs/vanstone_letter051909.pdf Retrieved 1/3/17

Voice of America (VOA)
2010    Mystery Still Surrounds Death of Explorer Meriwether Lewis
October 04, 2010
http://www.voanews.com/a/mystery-surrounds-death-of-explorer-meriwether-lewis-200-years-later-104375894/127388.html Retrieved 1/3/17

Whitehouse, Joseph
1805a    Journal Entry for September 5th Thursday 1805. Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. https://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/item/lc.jrn.1805-09-05#ln22090501 Retrieved 1/3/17

1805b    Journal Entry for September 6th Friday 1805. Journals of the
Lewis & Clark Expedition. https://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/item/lc.jrn.1805-09-06  Retrieved 1/3/17

Categories: America Unearthed | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hindu Corn Goddesses and Tobacco Mummies: New World Plants and Old World Trade.

IMG_20170115_061833_processed-01.jpegThe second article in The Lost History of Ancient America is titled ‘Plants Connect the Old and New Worlds’. It’s penned by Dr. Carl L. Johannessen (2017), a retired professor of geography from the University of Oregon.

Johannessen’s article is the longest in the first section of the book and claims that there are 14 plants that were present in both the Old World and the New before 1492. It’s obvious that this article was meant to be a powerhouse of evidence for the book, yet the evidence provided is less than convincing.

The article itself suffers from the same shortcomings as the rest of the articles in the book. There are no citations to back up the claims made or to document research. Everything in the article revolves around the unverified assumption that transoceanic travelers did exist and that they did participate in trade with pre-Columbia Peoples. Johannessen even goes on to assign value to certain commodities, declaring some “moneymakers”, and creating transportation methods for other “attractive” commodities. He muses that Annona was probably used to combat scurvy on long cross ocean trips and that beans and peas would have been good food stuff for these travelers because they could be dried and are high in protein.

Johannessen spends a lot of the article weaving an intriguing story about how and why “tropical sailors” would have been coming to and from the New World. He even references “new evidence of dated discoveries” (Johannessen 2017) that support the reality of these sailors, yet fails to provide any information about what these are or even provide citations in the article documenting them.

Johannessen then acknowledges the “evidence and contributions” of the Norse in pre-Columbian times:

“The fact that there is acknowledged genetic, artistic, cultural, and biological evidence for regular and repeated contact between these Nordic peoples and populations of the northeastern region of North America simply strengthens the hypothesis we are proposing about the tropical sailors of Southeast Asia, India, Africa, and the Middle East. (Johannessen 2017)”

This statement is not supported by any evidence that I am aware of, nor does Johannessen provide any. I can guess that he’s referring to the actual Viking settlement in L’Anse aux Meadows, and mixing in fringe theories such as the Kensington Runestone, the Newport Tower, and other various ‘Viking’ claims.

Johannessen then makes an appeal to authority by shoehorning a quote by Stephen J. Gould (1941-2002) into his article. With this quote, he is trying to set the groundwork for his argument of transoceanic trade by implying that the probability of an identical plant species evolving in two sperate places on earth would be astronomical. Therefore the only explanation would be trade. He then makes the correct observation that when people travel to new places they always leave behind traces of their presence and often bring back evidence of their travels. In this case, Johannessen argues the evidence is plants. What argues against Johannessen’s claim is the exact observation he made earlier, there is no physical evidence that any of the cultures Johannessen mentions interacted in any way.

There are also no shipwrecks to support pre-Columbian trade routes or massive shipping expeditions. There are no settlements that demonstrate massive (or any) transoceanic trade among pre-Colombian people. There are no artifacts here in the New World that can be traced directly to trade in the Old World that date to pre-Columbian times. Simply, there is no real evidence to support Johannessen’s claims.

Johannessen then mentions John Sorenson, a professor emeritus of anthropology at Brigham Young University. Sorenson is known for his insistence that the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) view the Book of Mormon (BoM) as a scientific document. (They rejected that request.) He’s also written several books and articles trying to prove the BoM to be factual. In one such project, Sorenson tried to catalog all known sources of available literature supposedly providing evidence of pre-Columbian transoceanic diffusion. It’s from this project that Johannessen appears to pull the majority of his claims and evidence for trade, but I can really only extrapolate this as there are no citations given.

Johannessen claims that there are an upwards of 97 plant species that could be used to prove transoceanic trade, but he narrows it down to his top 14 (Johannessen 2017).

These plants are:

  1. Tobacco
  2. Coca
  3. Marijuana
  4. Datura
  5. Prickly Poppy
  6. Corn (Zea Mays)
  7. Amaranths
  8. Agave
  9. Annona
  10. Peanut
  11. Kidney beans
  12. Lima Beans
  13. Phasey Bean
  14. Spice Basil

I’m not going to go over every one of these right now. I will fill them in as I have the time. However, I do want to go over a few that are of particular interest.

Tobacco, Coca, and Marijuana.

Using Johannessen’s list, we begin with Tobacco, Coca, and Marijuana. Johannessen brings up the mummy of Ramesses II. Legend has is that there is evidence for tobacco in the remains of Ramesses. However, Buckland and Panagiotakopu (2001) suggest, with cited documentation, that this is actually evidence of body preservation techniques in the 19th cen.

Radioimmunoassay showed that nicotine was generally distributed through the body, and it is probable that this reflects the application of tobacco water as an insecticide during conservation in the 19th century. This explanation is also probable for the group’s other findings from Central Europe (Parsche et al. 1993) and China (Balabanova et al. 1995), although the lack of care shown by many archaeologists and conservators even in the recent past makes contamination by cigarette smoke always a possibility. (Buckland and Panagiotakopu 2001)”

There is also the presence of an insect,  Lasioderma serricorne, or the tobacco beetle, that was supposedly found in association with wrappings that came from Ramesses’ mummy. Buckland and Panagiotakopu (2001) point out that L. Serricorne is native to the Old World and there is a fossil record in the Mediterranean to back this up.

“The third beetle from Rameses’ mummy, Lasioderma serricorne, has led to most speculation, inevitably, because of its vernacular names, all of which seem to refer to tobacco (Steffan 1985). Described by Fabricius (1798) from dried American plants (‘in Americae plantis siccatis’), it was assumed that the species was associated with Nicotiana tabacum, yet despite widespread earlier cultivation of tobacco, the species was first recorded in the United States in 1886 (Reed & Vinzand 1942), and has several congeners, largely feeding on thistles in the Old World (Steffan 1985); Hill (1994) regarded the species as of tropical origin. There are Mediterranean fossil records, which would support this interpretation. As well as Alfieri’s (1931) examples from the tomb of Tutankhamun, Panagiotakopulu (2000) reports the species from Bronze Age Akrotiri on Santorini in the Aegean, and has more recently [in press) found it in the midden deposits associated with the Workmen’s Village at Amarna in Egypt (Buckland and Panagiotakopu 2001).”

Buckland and Panagiotakopu also point out that this pest prevention is the most likely cause of the presence of Cocoa and THC, pointing out that Egyptian culture was more than aware of the narcotic properties of plants:

“The Egyptians were fully aware of the narcotic qualities of certain plants (cf. Emboden 1989), and Andrew Sherratt (pers. comm.) has drawn attention to the symbolism of alternating poppy, mandrake and lotus on the throne of Tutankhamun as an example, but it is surprising that the abundant archaeological, pictorial and documentary record from Egypt does not provide any evidence not only for the use of hashish, but also for the use of hemp fibres, derived from Cannabis spp., for ropes and fabrics (Germer 1985; Vogelsang-Eastwood 2000: 269). (Buckland and Panagiotakopu 2001)”

Wrapping up their paper Buckland and Panagiotakopu (2001) leave us with a warning about testing evidence out of context:

“Scientific techniques without context do not produce valid answers, and there is a real need for researching individual artefact biographies before each method is applied. Lack of information produces unacceptable stories, which often enter the literature as fact. Artefacts and their history have to be viewed as an entity, and the application of scientific techniques cannot be effectively carried out in fragments; each intervention has to be seen as a dialogue with the artefact  itself.” (Buckland and Panagiotakopu 2001)”


This one had me at a loss for a moment. It wasn’t that I believed Johannessen’s claim that there are images of corn cobs on Hindu temples. It was that I couldn’t readily discover what these cob like images were. However, it didn’t take too much research into the divine images on the shrines to finally find out what this plant is.

Johannessen says in his article that unnamed archaeologists have found evidence of corn stalks and seeds, along with peanuts and annona in an unspecified cave. As there is no citation for this discovery, we can set it aside. However, he does get a bit more specific when talking about the Hindu Temples. He mentions temples in Karnataka Pradesh, India that date to the fifth and eighth centuries. Though he provided no actual images in the article to compare his claims too, some unprovenanced images can be found on the internet (see below).

I was able to locate a few images on the internet that do seem to depict voluptuous women posing with what can be thought to be ears of corn. That said, the objects the women (and apparently some men) are holding can be identified in the context of the native plants in the area. The Muktaphala, or Whipcord Cobra Lilly, produces a vibrantly red cob of berries and are native to India, being known for their narcotic properties.

arisaema_tortuosum2_at corn3

Payak and Sachan (1993) explain how carvings, like the above images, found in Kesav Temple at Somnathpur near the city of Mysore, Karnataka State, India, couldn’t be corn. They point out that there is no connecting linguistic, religious, sculptural, archaeological, agricultural, or botanical evidence for this (Payak and Sachan 1993):

“The stone inscriptions associated with the temple list items or commodities used in worship, maize is not included. We find no evidence for maize figuring in any kind of religious ritual or worship. The word for maize used currently in the Kannada language is “Musukin Jola” which refers to a kind of millet resembling sorghum (“jola”). (Payak and Sachan 1993)”

“We hold that these temple sculptures do not represent maize or its ear but an imaginary fruit bearing pearls known in Sanskrit as “Muktaphala.” (Payak and Sachan 1993)”

It is far more likely that the cob like images in the hands of gods and goddesses on Hindu temples represent something familiar to the culture that was carving it. As there are no ancient references to corn in Hindu mythology, traditional food-stuffs, or anywhere really, it is highly unlikely that these cobs are corn. Rather, it is much more likely that this is the fruit of the  Whipcord Cobra Lilly, also known as Muktaphala. A familiar, traditional, and native plant to India.


Though I didn’t go over all 14 plants mentioned, it’s clear to see a developing pattern in the presentation of this evidence. Mainly that, Johannessen falls back on familiar habits that the fringe often exhibits.

  • There are no citations or documentation of sources for any of the plants.
  • Johannessen tell us what ‘is’ and provides no specific evidence to back it up. At best we are given vague accounts of someone, often given a generic academic title, who might have found something, somewhere, that is evidence of his claim. Who these people are and where they found these things is often left out.
  • Johannessen’s transoceanic sailors must have been a very busy lot as well. They not only needed to be expert sailors, by master botanists, traders, and farmers as well.
  • Where are the sunk ships? Every culture that has ever done trade on the water has lost ships, so where are these? Where is the other evidence of trade? What were they paying for these plant stuffs with?

Most of the evidence that Johannessen attempts to supply is far from irrefutable. Its mear presentation makes it questionable, and the easy that inconsistencies can be found in his data points to issues with its validity. His evidence is neither clear nor rock solid and falls far from the mark of proving transoceanic travel and trade.

If you’d like to support this blog, consider donating on Patreon or PayPal under ArchyFantasies@gmail.com
Want more on this topic? Go to: ArchyFantasies Reviews – The Lost History of Ancient America.
Comment below or send an email to ArchyFantasies@gmail.com.


Buckland, P.C. and E. Panagiotakopu
2001    Rameses II and the Tobacco Beetle. Antiquity Vol 75 (2001): 549-56 http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/rgroves/panagiotakopulupub4.pdf Retrieved 1/14/17

Edlin, Duncan
N.d    The Stoned Age? A look at the Evidence for Cocaine in Mummies. The Hall of Ma’at. http://www.hallofmaat.com/modules.php?name=Articles&file=article&sid=45

Johannessen, Carl L.
2017    Plants Connect the Old and New Worlds’. The Lost History of Ancient America. Edited Volume Frank Joseph. The Career Press. Wayne, NJ.

National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)
N.D    Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon. National Museum of Natural History. Smithsonian Institution Washington D.C. http://www.lds-mormon.com/smithson.shtml Retrieved 1/14/17

Panagiotakopu, E.
2003    Insect Remains from the Collections in the Egyptian Museum of Turin. Archaeometry Vol 45, 2 (2003) 355–362 http://www.eeo.ed.ac.uk/globalchange/group5b/QuatEnt/Panagiotakopulu2003Arc.pdf Retrieved 1/14/17

Payak, Mukesh and J. K. S. Sachan
1993   Maize ears not sculpted in 13th century Somnathpur temple in India. Economic Botany 47(2). April 1993. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257220756_Maize_ears_not_sculpted_in_13th_century_Somnathpur_temple_in_India Retrieved 1/14/17

Sorenson, John L.
1995     A New Evaluation of the Smithsonian Institution “Statement regarding the Book of Mormon”, (28 March 1995), Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute. http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=40 Retrieved 1/14/17

Wells, S.A.
N.d.    American Drugs in Egyptian Mummies. http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/ethnic/mummy.htm Retrieved 1/14/17

Categories: Columbus was Second-ish: Who Discovered America Anyway, The Lost History of Ancient America, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Two Years of Archeological Fantasies!



That’s right! This will be year three of the Archeological Fantasies Podcast! We’ve got two years behind us and we haven’t run out of material to debunk yet.  It helps that new stuff pops up almost daily anymore, even if it is all recycled.

We decided to christen the New Year by rehashing the goals of the podcast and letting ourselves react a little to upcoming 4 years.  Ken,  Jeb,  and Sara have a few moments of political ranting and explaining why it’s even more important now for a show like ours to be on the air.

If you haven’t given our first recorded show of the year a listen yet,  click on the link to do so.  Let us know what you think!

Categories: Archeology Podcasting Network, Podcast, Rants | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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