Posts Tagged With: The Lost History of Ancient America

The Not-So-Secret Ancient Copper Workshop at Cahokia.

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The seventh article in The Lost History of Ancient America is titled “First Copper Workshop Discovered” by Wayne N. May.

May starts with a story. He tells us about Gregory Perino’s discovery of a copper workshop located on Monks Mound in Cahokia, a Mississippian mound complex located in Illinois. Which in itself is not shocking or unbelievable. However, May’s presentation of this discovery is riddled with inaccuracies.

In form with Frank Joseph’s articles in this volume, May sprinkles insults and accusations towards academics throughout his article.

“But professional archaeologists were not interested in Perino or his claims, because he was, after all, only an amateur.” (May 59:2017)

“The snobbish technicians who never made such a find themselves […]” (May 59:2017)

“God forbid, another outsider.” (May 60:2017)

And so on.

He also presents Gregory Perino as if he was an unknown amateur enthusiast that was dismissed by the archaeological community. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Gregory Perino was self-taught in the field of archaeology, but as he began his career in archaeology in the 50’s this is not shocking. He however, was not an amateur. Perino was a respected researcher, an expert in flint knapping and point identification, expert in comparative artifact analysis, and field identification. He served as a curator at the Gilcrease Museum and worked at the Center for American Archaeology in Kampsville, Illinois (Fraser N.d.). He has over 50 academic publications to his name, including a multi volume set he co-authored with Robert Bell which are THE manuals for point analysis and identification. He was a founder of the Central States Archaeological Society, and lead or participated in several excavations in his time, including early excavations at Cahokia (Fraser N.d.).

The blatant inaccuracy in May’s article don’t end with this however. Building on the idea that Perino was a dismissed amateur, May tried to claim that when Mound 34 aka Monks Mound was again investigated in 2010, that Perino was not credited for his early work. Again this is simply not true.

Quoting James A. Brown, professor of archaeology emeritus from Northwestern University in Chicago in an article originally published by George Pawlaczyk at Belleville News-Democrat in 2010:

“The irony is that a self-taught archaeologist, Greg Perino, who grew up in Belleville and pioneered a sometimes heavy handed excavation style that featured bulldozing, actually discovered the copper workshop and another nearby nearly 60 years ago. Perino died in 2005 at age 91. However, his mapping was rudimentary and it took years to relocate his find.

“Perino left us something, even with the bulldozing,” said Brown.

“You had to remember when he was working, in the ’50s, there weren’t the refined techniques we use today. He knew it was a copper workshop and he was very interested in it, but he regarded it as something that had been found elsewhere. What he didn’t know or didn’t realize or think about was there never has been one located elsewhere. Not that there couldn’t be. It’s just that no one has ever found one.”

I believe this is the same article that May drew some of his information from for his own article, due to May’s use of exact wordings from the article. However, I can’t be sure, as May, like the other authors in this volume, didn’t cite his sources or provide much in the way of footnotes.

Regardless, the idea that Perino was 1) an amateur laughed at by the archaeological community, or 2) uncredited or dismissed for his work at Cahokia is farcical. Ray Fraser sums it up best in his tribute to Perino:

“To archaeologists, Greg and his work will live on and “continue to be a source of primary information with which one may address many topics ranging from material culture to the social dimensions of mortuary practices, and from mound construction to ancient world view.” (Fraser N.d.)

So with that bit of misinformation set aside, lets look at the rest of May’s article.

May’s major argument here seems to be that there was a copper workshop at Cahokia. He’s absolutely correct. There is archaeological evidence that we’ve had since the 50’s and there are several copper artifacts that corroborate the use of copper at Cahokia.

So what’s the issue here? I really can’t tell what May’s point in this article is, other than to throw ad homin attacks at professionals in the field of archaeology. He does bring up a few things in his attempt to make an argument for things we already knew. One is the idea of the ‘Sinissippi Cross’ and this idea of Sinissippi meaning ‘Serpent Ore’.

As far as I can tell this is an idea published by Frank Joseph in his book Atlantis in Wisconsin: New Revelations about the Lost Sunken City published in 1995. The idea that a mound complex might have been recorded in the past and then later destroyed by the farmer’s plow is very much a reality. However, I can find no mention of a perfect, equilateral cross earthwork recorded near Sinissippi Lake, as Joseph claims (Joseph 90:1995). If someone has better information feel free to send it to me. Also, ‘Sinissippi’ doesn’t translate to ‘Serpent Ore’ in Algonquin. According to the Lake Sinissippi Association it means ‘lake-like river’ in Algonquin and according to well-known historian and ethnographer, Virgil J. Vogel, it means ‘Rock River in the Sauk and Foxes languages (Vogel 175:1991).

Summary:

I really can’t figure out what May’s point here was. The information he presents is almost completely re-hashed from Pawlaczyk’s article. None of it is controversial, and most of it is published and obtainable even by ‘amateurs’. The only point I can find here is May’s apparent misunderstanding of who Greg Perino was and what a major impact the man had on archaeology. The majority of May’s  attacks are based on the idea that professional archaeologists hate dealing with amateurs and outsiders. To the point where his dig about “God forbid, another outsider.” Which was made about then graduate student, Lori Belknap who was working on a master’s degree in geology, is misplaced. She was a valued member of Dr. Brown’s excavation team and is now Executive Director at Cahokia Mounds Museum Society. Hardly an outsider.

To that point, professional archaeologists work with amateur archaeologists on a daily basis. Be it through public outreach, working with the archaeological and anthropological societies like Central States, or one-on-one with landowners and enthusiasts, even *gasp* metal detectorists! Archaeologists depend on what May would call amateurs in order to learn more about the areas we work in and the people we work with. I’m not trying to paint some pie-in-the-sky image of professional and amateurs skipping hand in hand, but it’s hardly antagonistic like May seems to want it to be.

As has been stated on this blog and on the podcast I host with Jeb Card and Ken Feder, there are dual realities that are being presented here. May’s misrepresentation of Perino’s place in archaeology only highlights this. Perino was, and is, such an institution in the field that some seasoned professionals aren’t even aware of his lack of credentials. Not that finding this information required much in the way of digging. Both his profile at the Central States website and his entry on Wikipedia (a favorite resource for May and Joseph) clearly state his experience and contributions to the field of archaeology. Honestly, this whole article could have been avoided with some simple Google searches, even back in 2010, when I believe this article was originally written.

In correspondences, Feder points out that ‘amateur’ Perino is joined by other influential, self-trained archaeologists such as Don Crabtree the “Dean of American flintknappers”, who was a college dropout with an honorary doctorate from the University of Idaho and is still a revered figure in experimental archaeology; George Frison, a rancher who became Wyoming’s first State Archaeologist and was a founder of the University of Wyoming Anthropology Department; and my own alma mater patron, Glenn A. Black, who didn’t attend any college, but was awarded an honorary Ph.d. by Wabash College, he identified the Angel Mounds, worked to have them preserved, and held several offices in the Society for American Archaeology including President.

The reverse reality here is the one May presents us with. One where Perino worked and died in obscurity, being mocked by professional archaeologists who stole his important discoveries from him. In a recent correspondence, Jeb Card pointed out the reasons for this parallel reality. They prosper, he states, because the use of media, TV, magazines, podcasts, and blogs allow for the creation of an entire alternative network of “news” and “researchers”. These individuals deny easily verifiable and well supported facts, and present their own easily debunked ideas as facts. Through the use of media and closed social circles, they create an echo chamber that simply amplifies these falsehoods and demonize the work of actual researches and their actual discoveries.

Dismissing May’s strange and unrelated argument that Perino was an unacknowledged amateur, I can’t say this article furthered the overall argument of the volume that there is evidence for transoceanic travelers in ancient America.


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.


Resources:

Fraser, Ray
N.d. A tribute to Greg Perino (1914-2005). Central States Archaeological Society. http://csasi.org/2005_july_journal/a_tribute_to_greg_perino.htm Retrieved 3/21/17

Joseph, Frank
1995 Atlantis in Wisconsin: New Revelations about the Lost Sunken City. Galde Press. https://books.google.com/books?id=1Z8fGnoQK7gC&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=the+sinissippi+cross&source=bl&ots=GLsX4pdGNO&sig=3k6Wpzp2OD_NCAnWIf9Ydx_tgI4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLrMP7–fSAhWGbSYKHWpnCm4Q6AEIHzAA#v=onepage&q=the%20sinissippi%20cross&f=false Retrieved 3/21/17

Pawlaczyk, George
2010 Copper men: Archaeologists uncover Stone Age copper workshop near Monk’s Mound in Illinois. 16 Feb 2010. Belleville News-Democrat. https://www.sott.net/article/203233-Copper-men-Archaeologists-uncover-Stone-Age-copper-workshop-near-Monks-Mound-in-Illinois Retrieved 3/21/17

Vogel, Virgil J.
1991 Indian Names on Wisconsin’s Map. The University of Wisconsin Press. https://books.google.com/books?id=xrYfektNvoQC&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=sinissippi+meaning&source=bl&ots=4JvY8oZEZC&sig=sVx90RgCkOt10UQ-nKz7DdU98MY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwim2rG__OfSAhXCSyYKHcl5B-4Q6AEIKzAC#v=onepage&q=sinissippi%20meaning&f=false Retrieved 3/21/17

Categories: ArchyFantasy Reviews, The Lost History of Ancient America, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teotihuacan’s Underground Electrical Mercury Pools.

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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.

lbr-amazon-listing

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.

Summary:

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.


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.


Resources:

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

Unesco
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.

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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.”

And

“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.

Summary:

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.


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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.


 

Resources:

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

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

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

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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.


References:

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

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

A Horse is a Horse, Unless it’s an American Horse.

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Our first full chapter in The Lost History of Ancient America is ‘Horses in America Before Columbus’ by Dr. Steven E. Jones.

Dr. Jones is a retired physicist from Brigham Young University known for his 9/11 Truther theories about Muon-Catalysed Fusion melting steel beams and for his ideas about Cold Nuclear Fusion. He’s active on several websites involved in proving the Book of Mormon as factually true and has chosen American Horses as his evidence. From his interactions on these sites, it is apparent that Jones believes that the wild American horse was not brought over by the Spanish but by an earlier people. From his on-line affiliations, we can guess that these people are connected to the Mormon faith somehow, probably as the lost tribes of Israel. This is all based on Jones on-line presence, his article as presented here appears to be a rehashing of previously published posts that follow this article nearly verbatim (Jones Nd.). The subtle changes are mostly in the use of BCE/CE and BP/AP for time notation.

Jones makes several claims in his article that are a bit problematic for me. I summarize them at the end of this post, but let’s work through them as we go. There’s a fair amount to unpack here.

First I want to give a small bit of background to the history of the American Horse:

There were American horses. They existed on the continent during the Pleistocene (roughly 3 mya), and appear to have used the Bering Land Bridge to migrate themselves over to what is modern Asia, Russia, and then Europe and elsewhere. From there they split up and were eventually domesticated into what we now know and love. At some point during, or after, the land bridge was lost, American horses, like almost all American megafauna, went extinct (about 8,000 – 10,000 years ago). Is this directly due to human occupation? I can’t answer that definitively, but we do know that early Americans were hunting and eating horses, as they did with any of the other animals they could catch. Climate change probably added a helping hand, and you can factor in diseases as well, just cause.

What we don’t have, and what Jones seems to try to imply, is any evidence of either domestication or the use of American horse as beasts of burden.
The American continent wouldn’t see horses again till Spanish colonists brought domestic horses from Europe with them in the 1500’s. As soon as they arrived, these horses began to escape and quickly established large feral herds, becoming both boon and bane to Native Peoples. From this point forward, America held onto the Horse again, and do to our love affair with them, we’re probably not going to hunt and eat them into extinction again anytime soon.

Jones states that he began seeking out horse bones from North America and Mesoamerica for the purpose of radiocarbon (C14) dating them (Jones 2017). He pulled a team of researchers around him, all of which are hard to track down, some of which have dubious research along similar lines but still make the work look more legitimate.

Jones expresses his interest in finding dates that range:

“The time frame of interest can be expressed in terms of “Before Present” by convention and extends from 10,000 BP (thus after the last ice age) to 500 BP (when Spaniards soon after Columbus brought horses to America). The prevailing paradigm holds that there were no horses in the Americas during this time interval; the Book of Mormon and a number of native (sic) American oral traditions hold otherwise.” (Jones 2017)

Let’s put aside the generalized “Native American oral traditions” for now. The biggest flaw here is the use of the Book of Mormon (BoM) as a legitimate source of historical fact, and therefore a starting point for research. I know many may feel this is unfair, but as it stands, there is no reason to accept the BoM as an actual, factual document.

Jones does appear to find several samples that he appears to successfully get date ranges for. But again, treating all Equus as the same Equus causes Jones to miss major issues with his study.

The first he mentions is from Pratt Cave:

“The first of these was found in Pratt Cave near El Paso, Texas, by Prof. Ernest Lundelius of Texas A&M University. Prof. Lundelius responded to my inquiries and provided a horse bone from Pratt Cave which dated to BCE 6020 – 5890. This date is well since the last ice age, into the time frame when all American horses should have been absent according to the prevailing paradigm.” (Jones 2017)

Pratt Cave is roundly accepted to be a Holocene (starting roughly 11,700 ya) site (Harris 2013) and within the collection of artifacts associated with that time period, no extinct species are found (Harris 2013). This means, that there are no horse bones found that are related to the actual findings for the cave assemblage. Lundelius did indeed find two specimens of Equus the cave (Harris 2013). These two bones were found on or very near the surface, not in the associated artifact assemblage of Pratt Cave. Lundelius also concluded that “Their [the bones] position in the cave and their preservation indicate they represent [modern horses] (Lundelius 1979:246).” and that “they represent a small form about the size of an ass” (Lundelius 1979:246).

As for Jones’ date. Jones provides no context for the date that he apparently got from his own testing. There’s no evidence or citation proving that testing even occurred. Charitably, we could say that he failed to show his work. (Though there is a small part of me that wonders if some of this, and other articles, citations were removed at the time of editing. Though the reasoning behind this is beyond me.) He also ignores Lundelius’ own date range that places the bones firmly inside the expected date range for modern, post-Columbus, horses.

Jones next mentions a bone from Wolf Spider Cave in Colorado. Here he claims that the date range is 1260 to 1400 CE and he tells us he used thermoluminescence methods to date it (Jones 2017). He invokes the name of the late Elaine Anderson (1936-2002)  of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (formerly the Denver Museum of Natural History), saying that she was an expert of an expert on Equus identification (Jones 2017). This is only true in that Anderson was an expert in vertebrate paleontology and mammals (Graham 2002), a far cry from what Jones is trying to imply here. To be clear, I’m not saying she isn’t an expert, I am saying that Jones appears to be playing up her focus on ‘Equus’ to make his claim sound truer.

Likewise, I can find only one mention of the Wolf Cave site beyond Jones’ brief mention of it. Craig C. Downer’s paper in the American Journal of Life Sciences. Downer (2014) is using the bone to argue for better habitat preservation for Wild Horse, seeing the alternative, and frankly more plausible, theory to Jones’, that Wild Horses didn’t die out of the Americas as early as thought. (We’ll get back to that.)

Jones also mentions Horsethief Cave in Wyoming. A very popular caving destination. He states that a bone was found there that dates to roughly 1100 BCE (Jones 2017). His team tried to re-date the bone but were unable, do to a lack of collagen. He then references an unprovenanced bone, also from Wyoming. He gives it a date range of 1426-1481 CE (Jones 2017), but since we know nothing about the bone; where it’s from, how it was dated, or if it even exists, there is no reason to accept this bone as any form of evidence.

Jones then points us to a few Canadian bones, but he also says:

“The complete expiration of ancestral horse stock in Canada has yet to be completely confirmed…” (Jones 2017)

Which basically means that there is no hard extinction data for the wild horse in Canada. Personally, this statement should throw a major wrench in Jones’ whole article here, again I’ll address this in a bit.

Jones also references the oral histories of Native Americans, lumping them all together and not giving any specific examples to bolster his argument, beyond these histories mentioning horses. He does mention the Appaloosa horse breed, created and maintained by the Nez Perce people. However, he only does so to suggest that this breed may have been in the Americas earlier than thought (Jones 2017), effectively removing the Nez Perce people from the picture. He gives no evidence to support this statement, it just stands.

With that Jones wraps up his article, leaving the reader a little confused from lack of hard evidence to support his claims.

Keep in mind that, as stated by the introduction of this section, the purpose of this article was to provide us with incontrovertible evidence of transoceanic travelers in America’s prehistory. I’ve summarized my observations and criticisms below as to if the article managed to achieve this goal:

Summary:

    • Jones’ presentation of his evidence is lacking. The origin of his evidence is sketchy due to his chronic lack of citation. He doesn’t tell us where he’s gotten his information or data from. He barely tells us where the bones he’s using come from, and he never provides an explanation or examples of his dating methods. Most (basically all) professional articles will have tables showing the results of dating methods, showing the variance in the data and then the resulting data range. They will also provide a clear explanation of the methods used to obtain the data and explain any issues or outliers encountered while getting said data. None of this was present here. We were simply given dates and expected to accept them. One could say that he might have gotten them from another source, but this is where my complaint about the lack of citing comes in. If he had received this data from another source, he needed to tell us where, and briefly explain their methods. I’m not looking for an encyclopedic entry here, just a name and a publication date that ties into a paper in the reference section. Something to tell me that the data isn’t just made up.
    • Along these lines, Jones doesn’t provide adequate identification of the bones he mentions in his report. There are no provinces for the bones, no descriptions of the bones, no images of the bones, nothing to tell us anything about these artifacts other than they exist. Knowing that is not enough. We also don’t know what shape these bones are in. Beyond a single comment of a lack of collagen on one bone, we know nothing about them. Are there cut marks? Are there gnaw marks? Is there evidence of burning? Were the other bones in good condition preservation-wise? What other morphological characteristics were there about the bones? Were they from small Equus or large ones? Was it even possible to tell from the condition of the bones?
    • It’s important to know these things so we can deduce why the horses were there. If there were cut marks and gnawing marks on the bones, even evidence of burning, we can surmise the horses were being eaten. Pot-polish likewise tells us that the bones were most likely used as food. Stress marks or the like could tell us if the horses were being used as labor or not. Animal tooth marks, like those of predators gnawing on the bones, could show that the horse was simply brought down by a larger animal, or drug there by a scavenger. But we don’t know any of these things beyond possible data ranges for age.
    • The bones mentioned are small in number. There are six sites (ish) mentioned in total containing roughly the same number of bones. This is not a great sample given the vastly larger number of sites that date within Jones’ proposed date-range of 10,000 BP – 500 BP. If the dates Jones’s suggests he got are true, it’s an interesting anomaly, but still requires more evidence to support.
    • Other researchers mentioned by Jones in this article, are used in ways that either make them sound like they agree with Jones, or gives them more weight on a topic than is due.
    • Lastly, and I fear this is going to be an ongoing complaint with most of the articles in this book, is a whitewashing of history in favor of mysterious European founders. It’s perhaps more subtle here than elsewhere in the book. Jones’ suggestion that the Appaloosa horse breed, created and maintained by the Nez Perce people, is perhaps older than that. This subtly does two things simultaneously; it robs the Nez Perce of a horse breed that is clearly theirs, and it suggests that the horses must have come from some other culture. Since the point of this section is to prove transoceanic travel, it effectively says that this unknown horse breeding culture isn’t Native American.

As far as proving, or even being decent evidence for transoceanic travel, this article falls short. It certainly isn’t incontrovertible, and far from convincing. There is no evidence here that horses were reintroduced to the Americas before the Spanish. The best this article has done is created doubt that horses went extinct in America when originally thought, though this is tepid at best. This is also not a new idea among professionals. The date of the extinction of the American wild horse is not written in stone, and if adequate evidence it provided to shift the date, the date will move. Such evidence needs to be provided first, however, in both cases.


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.


References:

Clarkson, Neil
2012 Why did horses die out in North America? Horse Talk. November 29, 2012. http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2012/11/29/why-did-horses-die-out-in-north-america/. Retrieved 12/31/2016

Downer, Craig C.
2014 The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America. American Journal of Life Sciences. Vol. 2, No. 1, 2014, pp. 5-23. http://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.ajls.20140201.12.pdf. Retrieved 12/31/2016

Graham, Russell Wm and H. Gregory McDonald
2002 In Memoriam: Elaine Anderson, 1936-2002. Mammoth Trumpet, Volume 17 No 3:8-9. http://csfa.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/vol17_num3.pdf. Retrieved 12/31/2016

Harris, Arthur H.
2013 Pratt Cave. Pleistocene Vertebrates of Southwestern USA and Northwestern Mexico https://www.utep.edu/leb/pleistnm/default.htm. Last Update: 28 Jan 2013. https://www.utep.edu/leb/pleistnm/sites/prattcave.htm. Retrieved 11/16/2016

Jones, Steven E.
2017 Horses in America Before Columbus. The Lost History of Ancient America. Pg. 15-18. Frank Joseph Editor. The Career Press. Wayne, NJ.

Jones, Steven E.
Nd. Exciting article about by Ph.D. Steven Jones re: more recent surviving native horse in North America. The Wild Horse Conspiracy. http://thewildhorseconspiracy.org/2013/07/02/exciting-article-about-by-phd-steven-jones-re-more-recent-surviving-native-horse-in-north-america/. Retrieved 12/31/2016

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

Kirkpatrick, Jay F. and Patricia M. Fazio
2008 The Surprising History of America’s Wild Horses. Live Science. July, 24th. 2008.
http://www.livescience.com/9589-surprising-history-america-wild-horses.html Retrieved 12/31/2016

Lundelius, E. L., Jr.
1979 Post-Pleistocene mammals from Pratt Cave and their environmental significance. Pp. 239-258, in Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park (H. H. Genoways and R. J. Baker, eds.), National Park Service Proceedings and Transactions Series 4:1-442. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/gumo/gumo_biological_investigations.pdf. Retrieved 11/16/2016

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

Transoceanic Flora and Fauna, Not Just Swallows with Coconuts.

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The introduction to Section 1 of The Lost History of Ancient America opens with a complicated statement:

“Perhaps never before has so much incontrovertible evidence in so few words establishing beyond question that humans reached and occupied America long before 1492, …” (Joseph 2017:13)

Let’s unpackaged this statement a little. ‘Incontrovertible’ is a bit strong. Most of the evidence offered in this section is unreliable or proven false. Clearly, there is room to argue the validity of said evidence. To even call some of this ‘evidence’ is a stretch, but we’ll address this as we come to it. Yet, this opening was a misplaced humble-brag. The real impact of the opening statement is in the following description:

“… in so few words …”

This small string of words encapsulates the four articles reprinted here. They are brief, and for the most part lacking any explanation on why we should trust them. Not just in the lack of credentials of the authors, but also in the strength of the sources cited, if they cited at all. There’s so little citation in these, one is right to wonder if it’s all made up.

This little snippet also illuminates another problem the fringe communities seem to encounter with the professional world; the wordiness of academic publications. Even the briefest of reports are often filled with jargon and five-dollar words. There’s no particular reason for this beyond the professional environment and the concept of writing to one’s peers

As a professional archaeologist, I should expect that other professionals who are reading my writing should be able to understand the meaning of my words. This does, however, create an issue when the public comes in contact with such writing. Unfamiliarity with the field causes misunderstandings when trying to read archaeological jargon. Even simplified concepts that seem basic to us, but are much more complicated in practice. Is there a solution to this? Perhaps. Should we as professionals reduce or remove our professional language to make it more accessible to the public? No. What we should be doing is providing adequate explanations to the public as well.

All that aside, Joseph’s lauding of “so few words” speaks volumes to the Fringe’s ideas that simple language is best. They see the use of big words, detailed concepts, or long reports akin to obfuscating information. Yet, Joseph’s and his cohorts, over-simplification of language and reporting creates articles that are void of content, analysis, citation, and evidence. Readers are simply told what is and what isn’t, and not offered any explanation on why these things could be true.

Lastly, in the opening statement, we have:

“… that humans reached and occupied America long before 1492 …”.

This is an important concept to keep in mind as we work through this section and the book in general. The main argument of the book is that mainstream archaeologists don’t believe that anyone made it to the Americas before Columbus. That we are so invested in this belief that we actively hide any evidence that contradicts it. This argument is a problem. It overlooks completely, the presence of Native peoples, reducing them to nothing more than background noise to the clamor of all the white European, “transoceanic travelers” that Joseph and his cohorts believe came here long before Columbus, the Vikings, and in some cases the Native American’s themselves

After this dubious introductory sentence, the authors of the articles reprinted in this section are introduced. Joseph makes an attempt to provide credentials that make each author sound like an authority in their subject. A deeper look into each author shows potential problems with these claims of authority.

Frank Joseph is listed on the back of the book as a veteran scuba diver and amateur underwater excavator. It even mentions his time as past editor of Ancient American magazine (Joseph 2017).There are many issues with Joseph’s background. These issues shouldn’t be ignored when considering this edited volume. As I’ve already stated, however, they are not to focus of these critiques.

Dr. Steven E. Jones is a retired physicist from Brigham Young University (Joseph 2017:14) known for his 9/11 Truther theories about Muon-Catalysed Fusion melting steel beams and for his ideas about Cold Nuclear Fusion. He’s criticized by his peers for his ideas on the above topics. Archaeologists find his ideas about ancient American horses proving the validity of the Book of Mormon invalid as well.

Carl L. Johannessen is a professor emeritus of geography from the University of Oregon (Joseph 2017:14). He refers to himself as a Biogeographer on his website Archives of Cultural Exchange.org. He appears very invested in the idea of transoceanic contact. Archaeologists and botanists find his ideas about transoceanic trade unsupported by evidence.

Julia Patterson (1931-2015), is presented as a former professor of archeology and anthropology at London College and the University of Illinois, Urbana (Joseph 2017:14). I can’t find anything about her through my usual sources. This does not negate the book’s claims of her credentials. It is difficult to check her expertise on any particular topic, however. I can find no mention of her at either institution nor can I find any academic papers with her name on them. If anyone is familiar with her or her work, please feel free to send me a link or file, and I will update this section.

After introducing the sections authors, Joseph finishes off the section by suggesting that the Hopewell culture is somehow controversial. He makes the claim that the Hopewell people are racially and culturally different from the “indigenous societies” because they have more gracile cranial features and what appears to him to be a more elegant and sophisticated society (Joseph 2017:14). There is no reason to accept this statement, and I am unaware of any actual controversies about the Hopewell culture that run along these lines. However, it’s not the first time I’ve seen a prehistoric native culture marked as ‘other’ by the Fringe.

Joseph’s closing statement serves two purposes as far as I can tell. Firstly, to create doubt in the mind of the reader, suggesting that the Hopewell culture is in question academically and there is a controversy about it being fully ‘native’. Secondly, to create a space in prehistory that might be populated with non-native people. Said people must have originated from some other location, thus creating room for the possibility of transoceanic travelers to be real.

It is from this section that we begin delving deeper into the meat of the book itself. Keeping in mind that the purpose is to provide us with incontrovertible evidence of transoceanic travelers in America’s prehistory.


Chapters in this section:

Chapter 1: Horses in America
Chapter 2: Plants Connect the Old and New Worlds
Chapter 3: Egyptian Style Cat Burial in Illinois
Chapter 4: Eyewitness Engravings of Ancient American Mammoths


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.


References:

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

Categories: ArchyFantasy Reviews, The Lost History of Ancient America | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

ArchyFantasy Reviews: The Lost History of Ancient America: Introduction

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I was sent an early copy of Frank Joseph’s newest edited volume titled, The Lost History of Ancient America, to review. Someone thought this was a good idea.

I’ve been pouring over this, rather brief, fact free, and poorly argued volume for some time now. It’s easy to dismiss a book like this out of hand. Its editor alone is enough for some to write it off. But that’s not what we’re about here at the blog. We want to look things over, examine the arguments, look over any ‘evidence’ provided, and evaluate these claims.

Once we’re past the obvious errors of the book, we’re left with a lot to unpack here. We’ll move through the book as it is laid out, but let’s begin at the beginning.

In the introduction, written by Frank Joseph aka Frank Collins, Joseph makes a rather strange argument starting with the title of the chapter, and continuing throughout the introduction. It’s a blatant strawman argument, starts with the title “Columbus was Last” (archaeologists already know this), and continues with Joseph hounding on the false assumption that archaeologists think that Columbus was the first European to come to the Americas. He attacks a false paradigm that he desperately needs to be true in order for his arguments to hold up. Sadly, they do not.

Not long after introducing this narrative, he branches off to start making claims that this book is a “breakthrough”, “Radically Innovative”, and that this book shall reveal “The Truth”,

“Never before and nowhere else has so much valid evidence been assembled on behalf of overseas’ visitors in America before Columbus. (Joseph 2017:11)”

“With the publication of this, the fourth in a series of articles from Ancient American magazine, skeptics no longer have an academic leg to stand on…(Joseph 2017:11)”

He then begins a preemptive attack on said ‘academics’, prematurely martyring himself to argumentum ad hominem and argumentum ad verecundiam (which this book is the very definition of). He then begins his own attacks on these faceless academics,  all the while lauding himself and this collection of articles as being the real research, not just a collection of ‘dry facts, and ‘techno-jargon’.

He closes with an odd statement, more a declaration than an offering:

“History, we affirm, belongs to anyone who can appreciate it, and is not the exclusive privilege of salaried professional. But our agenda is not theirs, and we go our way.”

Here I have to break with my stated purpose, as knowing Joseph’s background and the agenda of the Ancient American magazine, make the above statement almost ludicrous. Joseph seems to be trying to make a bold statement about owning his own history, not letting ‘privileged, salaried professionals’ tell him what that history is. The chilling irony here that he’s doing this at the expense of actual native peoples, appropriating and reinterpreting, or flat out denying their recorded, known, and evidence backed histories.

It is from this launching point that we are led into the book. It promises to be both a comical and aggravating experience. There is more to this series, just follow the link: ArchyFantasies Reviews – The Lost History of Ancient America. 


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Want more on this topic? Go to: ArchyFantasies Reviews – The Lost History of Ancient America. 
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Categories: ArchyFantasy Reviews, The Lost History of Ancient America | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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