Weird Archaeology

This is the collection of the little side posts I do when I find a particularly interesting piece of pseudo-archaeology. Sometimes there is a question about a popular topic and it can be answered in a single post. This is the place to look for all those weird stories you hear, and get the real archaeology behind the myths.

All things Weird 

All things Ancent Aliens

10 Comments

10 thoughts on “Weird Archaeology

  1. corwin zelazney

    You have a talent for going straight for the point on various topics and discoveries so I’d love to hear your take on the rock with the three pronged device embedded in it. The one found by John J. Williams in 1998.

    What particularly interests me – almost more than the object itself – is the profound reluctance of anyone with legitimate credentials to even examine it. If you go to the site Mr. Williams has set up to showcase this object its very flashy, gaudy and frankly cheap looking but after doing some moderate research it appears that this is a relatively recent change in his behavior.

    By all accounts he’s been described as a normal, moderate man that no one would notice in a crowd. If you look at the site itself with that context and the context of how he’s been treated by academia you start to see this as more of an angry scream trying to get anyone credentialed to give this a fair look. He even baits professional archaeologists and no doubt is attempting to goad them into coming to test it. He also offers to sell it for a very large amount but so what? I don’t see that as a good reason to dismiss the find. Just because something is found by someone whose behavior you object to doesn’t invalidate the find or give reason to avoid it.

    The thing that strikes me and others about this particular case is that Williams clearly and unequivocally states that he will allow anyone to examine this object. His only criteria is that he be allowed to be present and that the object not be damaged. I’ve heard a few debunkers use these restrictions as indications of fraud. I’m sorry but these are perfectly reasonable requests and to be honest, smart.

    If you were in possession of what you believed to be an artifact that mainstream archaeology was absolutely hostile to (whether true or not), I believe you would demand to have it in your sights at all times. You would also be very careful to keep it intact. I think any reasonable person would make these same requests. He also does not want to pay for any of the testing but again I think that’s reasonable.

    There’s a stunningly insular attitude that comes out when things like this emerge and it doesn’t make scientists look good. If something is a fake then you expose it. Period. If not to keep the waters of your profession from getting muddy then at the very least to keep legions of new doubters from being spawned. What you don’t do, what you should never do, is ignore it. That’s why this case both fascinates and infuriates me.

    Bottom line is people need to put their money where there mouth is. If professionals want to call this thing a fraud then prove it. He’s putting it all out there with very little restrictions – certainly not enough to prevent solid testing. If not then we have a mystery on our hands. Just a mystery.

    If that’s what this truly is then we should be happy. Mysteries are kind of the point of having scientists.

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    • I’m not aware of the object in question, but I can tell by the description why no one professionally wants to examine it. If you look over the post, and now podcast episode (10) where we examine the Coso artifact that might shine some more light on it.

      As for his hostility towards archaeologists, that is reason enough not to deal with him. Most professional archaeologist don’t have enough time to work on their own projects where they are wanted, why should they take time away from their own work to go and fight with a hostile individual over whether or not he’s got a real artifact? It’s out of context anyway, unless he took immaculate notes there is nothing useful to be learned from the object.

      As to not wanting to pay for the testing, testing is expensive, archaeologists don’t have spare money to throw around, so I can understand why no one will take him up on his offer to test it.

      Finally, whether or not it’s a fraud is irrelevant. It’s out of context, lacking documentation, and we have not a clue where is was found really. One out of place artifact is not helpful to anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That all said, I did just look up the object and sorry, but just from the pictures it looks too much like a fake to take seriously. Perhaps that’s the problem he’s having?

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      • Actually everything you said reinforces the divide between lay people and scientists.

        The man who discovered this is not “hostile” to archeologists – he’s clearly annoyed by the apathy they’ve shown. Those are two very different emotions and any scientist that either can’t or won’t deal with a little annoyance shouldn’t be in the field.

        As far as being out of context that’s kind of the point of his invitation. He’s not a scientist and neither are most of the people that discover legitimate sites or artifacts. That’s why they’re desperate to get one to look things over.

        Finally, the fact that you dismiss this out of hand after seeing a photograph tells me everything I need to know about you. Sorry if that sounds derisive but curiosity has many times been cited as the number one motivation to get into any of the sciences.

        You claim that without context nothing can be learned. Are you really serious? Geology, microbiology, chemistry hell material sciences! A great many things can be learned if there were any will to discover new things.

        And please don’t patronize with your assertion that this would be expensive. I’ve been around enough universities and in enough departments to know that’s overstated. The need for the more expensive testing would only occur if the less expensive methods turned up useful data.

        I said this before and I’ll say it again: it is common practice for the department (and it’s usually a department of some institution) to cover the cost of testing once a decision has been made to investigate.

        This find – unlike almost every other fraud or fake I’ve seen – is being offered up with very few conditions. His story has been consistent from every angle. The man is hiding nothing and the world of archeology says “yawn”. Wonderful.

        Your dismissiveness indicates your own hostility toward anything that does not fit in your paradigm of archeology and in that you have a lot of company. I was attracted to this site because it appeared there were good conversations to be had. I’ve been disabused of that idea by your response so I’ll move on. Feel free to go back to your insular world and all the comforts of familiarity it brings.

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  2. Pacal

    Corwinsr feels free to continue in residing in the world of Alternative speak with all of the familiar dull clichés. And of course you then proceed has is common in the cliché to take your ball and go home when others won’t do what you want them to do.. I too saw the picture of the object in question and it is not particularly impressive has an “authentic” artifact. The onus is on the person claiming that the artifact is “real”. And the fact that the artifact in question lacks context is indeed extremely important Corwinsr’s dismissal of that says a great deal. But Corwinsr is indeed free to go back to the familiar, insular world of “Alternative” speak with its clichés of close-minded Archeologists / Scientists and comfort of believing that people like him are truly enlightened.

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  3. I’ll let my statement stand. And yours following just confirms all that I’ve said. I made my case very well and anyone that reads it will see that.

    You have this convenient term I see you use a lot called “alternative speak”. It’s a label that automatically places anyone you have issue with in a box that you can then dismiss. As anyone can see I’ve not used any grammatical tricks or cliches (please give an example). You just don’t want to address any of the points I’ve made because they push you out of your comfort zone where everything has a ready made explanation that fits in your paradigm.

    I’m curious – are you one of those that believed civilization started in Mesopotamia? Now what do you believe since Gobekli Tepe has changed the time frame? Or perhaps you just caught up with that only to find that now the clock goes back 20,000 years due to the discoveries of Paola Villa? Or do you not read the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences maybe.

    You still dismiss this case based on a photo. That’s very telling. Further, I did not take my ball and go home. I posted a comment to which you responded two months later. Were you expecting me to twiddle my thumbs and wait for you?

    You keep bringing up the artifact lacking context. I’ve already said this but I’ll repeat it. Go get context then. Why is the onus on the discoverer? When has that ever been precedent? Lay people go out in the world and find things – out of context – all the time. If it piques the interest of a professional once it’s reported then it’s investigated at which point context is either discovered or not but it’s always been the responsibility of the professional to establish. Are you actually saying you would trust any context a lay person gave? I think not.

    This lands exactly where it started and exactly where you and your colleagues have left it – ignored and untouched. Due to nothing else than an assumption based on a photo and anecdotal information that none of you have bothered to confirm.

    Everyone that reads this conversation can clearly see where the intractability lies and it is certainly not with me or this artifact.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well that got hostile quick.

      I’m very sorry that this artifact is not getting the attention you wish for it. However, context is king, and you can’t just “go find context” after the fact.

      As for a second concern of yours. Yes, there are numerous incidents of non-archaeologists finding things and those discoveries being taken seriously. The common threads to all of these is that the individuals took good records, presented the evidence to authorities, and involved experts as soon as possible.

      I do apologize that the burdens of extraordinary proof fall onto the shoulders of those making extraordinary claims. However, the best first step to fulfilling those burdens is to have impeccable context and evidence.

      You can make the ad hominem attack that those who don’t agree with you are stuck in a paradigm or closed minded, but neither of these arguments help prove the authenticity of this artifact. The facts remain that this is suspect, has no context, and isn’t verifiable. The added hostility of the discoverer and his supporters makes this even harder to accept.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve seen pictures online, and it is laughably fraudulent. it looks like a third grader’s attempt at a goofy night light made in art class.

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    • Geo

      Do folks really think that aliens bought their electronics at Radio Shack, then time-travelled back to embed them in ancient rock?

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  5. Tfergus

    Hey man, I don’t get why you are so down on Klaus Dona, you F’ing Jerk!! Must be that he single handedly,(well with the help of his researchers) has amassed the greatest collection of prehistoric artifacts ever. I guess, haters gonna hate.

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