26 July, 2012
Forbidden Archeology: Evidence for Extreme Human Antiquity
Forbidden Archeology: Evidence for Extreme Human Antiquity and the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis
by Michael A. Cremo
Some researchers in the UFO field explain the origin of the human species through extraterrestrial contacts. Generally, the proposed scenarios involve accepting the standard evolutionary account of hominid evolution, with a relatively late extraterrestrial intervention giving rise to anatomically modern human beings within the past few hundred thousand years. It is not my purpose here to directly discuss specific theories of human origins involving extraterrestrial intervention. Instead, I will offer a general caution that such theories should take into account the actual physical evidence for human antiquity.
According to standard ideas, the human line branched off from the ancestors of the modern chimpanzees about 5 million years ago. The first hominids, or humanlike primates, were the australopithecines. Further developments led to Homo habilis and Homo erectus. Finally, at about 100,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans like ourselves appeared. Scientists say the factual evidence supports this view and no other. But my research into the history of archeology reveals that archeologists have found much evidence showing that anatomiclaly modern humans have been present on this planet for hundreds of millions of years. These results were reported in Forbidden Archeology (Cremo and Thompson 1993) and its abridged popular version The Hidden History of the Human Race. These books provoked shockwaves among mainstream archeologists and anthropologists, as documented in Forbidden Archeology’s Impact (Cremo 1995).
So what kind of evidence are we talking about? Let’s begin with one example, which is typical of many others documented in Forbidden Archeology. In the year 1852, the journal Scientific American (June 5) carried an intriguing report of a metallic vase blasted out of solid rock at Dorchester, Massachusetts, near the city of Boston. Describing the vase, which was about 4.5 inches high, the report said: "The body of this vessel resembles zinc in color, or a composition metal in which there is a considerable portion of silver. On the side there are six figures of a flower or bouquet beautifully inlaid with silver, and around the lower part of the vessel, a vine, or wreath, also inlaid with silver.” The vase came from fifteen deep in a layer of rock called “pudding stone.” The "pudding stone" is now known to geologists as the Roxbury Conglomerate, and according to the United States Geological Survey, this rock is of Precambrian age, over 600 million years old.
Before moving on to other examples of evidence for extreme human antiquity, let me explain why I undertook this research effort. As a member of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, which is the science studies branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, I have deeply studied the ancient Sanskrit writings of India for almost thirty years. Among these writings are the Puranas, or histories. The Puranas contain accounts of human civilizations existing on this planet for hundreds of millions of years. During this time,according to these accounts, human beings like ourselves coexisted with intelligent races of apelike creatures.
As I mentioned in a paper that I presented at the World Archeological Congress (Cremo 1999), one can from the Puranic histories make two predictions about the archeological record. This first prediction is that one should expect to find a bewildering mixture of human fossils and artifacts, some appearing quite advanced and others appearing quite primitive, going back hundreds of millions of years. And in truth, one does find this.
The second prediction is that this archeological evidence for coexistence of humans and more apelike creatures will be edited by establishment scientists to conform to their linear progressive concept of time and evolution, with simple forms existing earlier and more complex one later. And in fact, one also does find this. Scientists have indeed selectively suppressed the abundant evidence for the extreme antiquity of anatomically "modern" humans. This suppression has taken place by a process of knowledge filtration, whereby reports conforming to certain preconceived notions are preserved in scientific discourse and reports not conforming to these preconceived notions are dropped from scientific discourse. UFO researchers are well aware of how this knowledge filtration process operates in suppressing evidence in their field of research.
The process of knowledge filtration in the study of human origins has been going on systematically for about 150 years. In 1849, gold was discovered in California. Miners rushed there to extract it, digging mineshafts into the sides of mountains. Many such mines were opened at Table Mountain in Tuolumne County. The deposits at Table Mountain are covered by hundreds of feet of solid basalt, preventing objects from entering from above. The gold-bearing gravels near the bedrock are said by modern geologists to be from 33 to 55 million years old (Slemmons 1966). Miners recovered human artifacts and human skeletal remains from mineshafts at this level. Such artifacts and fossils were also found in gravels from the higher sub-basaltic gravels, which are at least 9 million years old. These objects were found not only at Table Mountain, but at many other locations in the same region. Among the artifacts discovered in the mines were obsidian spear points and stone mortars and pestles, such as the stone mortar and pestle recovered by J. H. Neale 1,500 feet inside the Montezuma Tunnel mineshaft at Table Mountain. This specimen, found in the gravels near the bedrock, would thus be between 33 and 55 million years old. All of these discoveries were collected and reported to the scientific world by Dr. J. D. Whitney (1880), the state geologist of California, in a book published by Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Natural History.
So what happened to these very well documented discoveries, placing human beings in California up to 55 million years ago? William H. Holmes, a very powerful anthropologist working at the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D. C., used his prestige and influence to discredit Dr. Whitney and his discoveries. Holmes (1899, p. 424) wrote: "Perhaps if Professor Whitney had fully appreciated the story of human evolution as it is understood today, he would have hesitated to announce the conclusions formulated, notwithstanding the imposing array of testimony with which he was confronted." In other words, if the facts do not conform to the favored theory, then the facts, even an imposing array of them, must be set aside.
Someone might argue that such things may have happened in the nineteenth century but not today. Not true. In February 1996 the California gold mine discoveries and other interesting cases from my book Forbidden Archeology were featured in an NBC television special called The Mysterious Origins of Man. It was produced and directed by Bill Cote and his associates at BC Video. During the filming of The Mysterious Origins of Man, I told the producers to contact officials at the Phoebe Hearst Natural History Museum at the University of California in Berkeley for permission to film the artifacts stored there. Permission was denied.
Although we were not able to get the new video images we wanted, we were able to use published photographs taken of the objects in the nineteenth century. When broadcast, the show was very popular, and NBC decided to air it again. Establishment scientists, taken by surprise and outraged at the first showing, attempted to prevent the program from being rebroadcast. When they failed, they tried to get the U.S. government to take action against NBC. (Cremo 1998, pp. 467-534)
On June 17, 1996, Dr. Allison R. Palmer, president of the Institute for Cambrian Studies, wrote to the Federal Communications Commission, the government agency that grants licenses to television broadcasting companies: “At the very least NBC should be required to make substantial prime-time apologies to their viewing audience for a sufficient period of time so that the audience clearly gets the message that they were duped. In addition, NBC should perhaps be fined sufficiently so that a major fund for public science education can be established.” (Cremo 1998, pp. 533-534) Palmer’s attempt to get the FCC to punish NBC failed, but the very fact that such an attempt was made should tell us something. It is worth noting that copies of Palmer’s letter were sent to the executives of NBC and were widely distributed on the internet to scientists, who were invited to send their own letters of support to the FCC.
In the 1970s, Virginia Steen-McIntyre was a young geologist working for the United States Geological Survey. She took part in the dating of an archeological site in Mexico--at a place called Hueyatlaco near the city of Puebla. Anthropologist Cynthia Irwin-Williams had recovered advanced stone tools from this site. Tools of this level of sophistication are normally attributed to anatomically modern humans. Using four different methods (uranium series, tephra hydration, fission track, and stratigraphy), Viriginia Steen-McIntyre and her colleagues obtained dates of over 250,000 years for the Hueyatlaco site (Steen-McIntyre et al. 1981).
This was unexpected for two reasons. According to standard views, human beings did not enter North America until about 25,000 years ago, at most, with conservative scientists favoring an entry time of 12,000 years. Furthermore, human beings capable of making such tools did not come into existence until about 100,000 years ago. The principal anthropologist at the site was quite unhappy with the dates obtained by Viriginia-Steen McIntyre and her colleagues. She wanted a date of 25,000 or less, not 250,000 years! Virginia Steen-McIntyre, however, remained firm in her conviction that the age of 250,000 years was correct. But she paid a considerable price for her conviction. She found it difficult to get her report published, she was labeled a publicity seeker within her profession, she lost a teaching position she held at an American university, and found that her career as a geologist was blocked.
Describing her experience with the knowledge filtration process, Virginia Steen-McIntyre wrote in a letter (March 30, 1981) to Estella Leopold, associate editor of Quaternary Research: "The problem as I see it is much bigger than Hueyatlaco. It concerns the manipulation of scientific thought through the suppression of 'Enigmatic Data,' data that challenges the prevailing mode of thinking. Hueyatlaco certainly does that! Not being an anthropologist, I didn't realize the full significance of our dates back in 1973, nor how deeply woven into our thought the current theory of human evolution has become. Our work at Hueyatlaco has been rejected by most archaeologists because it contradicts that theory, period." (Cremo and Thompson 1993, pp. 364-365).
The case of Virginia Steen-McIntyre shows the suppression of evidence by very direct means. In other cases, the process of knowledge filtration is more subtle. It can take the form of inability to properly evaluate evidence because of strongly held theoretical preconceptions. For example, in 1979 researchers in Tanzania found sets of footprints in volcanic ash deposits about 3.6 million years old. According to Mary Leakey (1979) and other scientists, these footprints are indistinguishable from modern human footprints. The usual explanation is that the footprints were made by Australopithecus, the apeman of that period. But careful study shows that none of the fossil foot bones of Australopithecus fit the Laetoli prints (Tuttle 1985). Among other things, Australopithecus had toes much longer than those of modern human beings. As of today, the only creatures known to science that could make the Laetoli prints are human beings like ourselves. But most scientists would not even dream of considering this possibility. They are absolutely convinced that anatomically modern human beings evolved about 100,000 years ago and could not possibly have been present 3.6 million years ago in Africa.
One might ask if there are any human skeletal remains of that age, and the answer is yes. For example, such fossils occur at Castenedolo, in northern Italy, near Brescia. There the Italian geologist Giuseppe Ragazzoni (1880) collected bones of 4 individuals from a blue clay formation of Middle Pliocene age--about 3 or 4 million years old. The skeletal remains show the Castenedolo individuals were anatomically modern. Some have suggested that the skeletons arrived in their positions by burial in fairly recent times, but as a professional geologist Ragazzoni was well aware of this possibility. He carefully inspected the overlying layers of sediment and found them undisturbed. A skeleton of similar age was found by other researchers at Savona, Italy, and details of its discovery were reported to the scientific world by Arthur Issel (1868).
But many influential scientists opposed such discoveries on theoretical grounds. British archeologist R. A. S. Macalister provides a good example of such scientific prejudice. In 1921 (p. 183), he wrote about the Castenedolo finds: "There must be something wrong somewhere." But why? Had not the bones been discovered by a professional geologist in a layer of undisturbed Pliocene clay? That was not good enough for Macalister (1921, p. 185), who said: "The acceptance of a Pliocene date for the Castenedolo skeletons would create so many insoluble problems that we can hardly hesitate in choosing between the alternatives of adopting or rejecting their authenticity." Macalister, of course, rejected their authenticity, and given his prominent position, this rejecting carried tremendous authority.
Keep in mind that the Castenedolo fossils show that there were anatomically human beings present in Italy at the same time that the Laetoli footprints were made in East Africa, about 4 million years ago. There is also some fragmentary fossil evidence from Africa itself. In 1965, anthropologists Bryan Patterson and William W. Howells found at Kanapoi, Kenya, a fragment of a humerus (upper arm bone). Upon examining it, they found it to be almost exactly like a modern human humerus (Patterson and Howells 1967). Other researchers have found it to be different from those of the australopithecines (McHenry and Corruccini 1975). The Kanapoi humerus is 4-5 million years old.
And we can go much further back in time. The French anthropologist Gabriel de Mortillet (1883, p. 72), in his book Le Préhistorique, tells of a complete anatomically modern human skeleton found in a Miocene formation at Midi de France (at least 5 million years old and perhaps as much as 25 million years old) and another such skeleton found in an Eocene formation at Delémont, Switzerland (at least 38 million years old).
There are human artifacts of similar antiquity, among them the stone tools found by Carlo Ribeiro (1873), head of the Geological Survey of Portugal, in Miocene formations near Lisbon. These are about 20 million years old. They were originally displayed by Ribeiro at the Museum of Geology in Lisbon. Early in the twentieth century, museum workers changed the labels to indicate younger, acceptable dates, and later the artifacts were completely removed from display and placed in storage (Cremo 2000). Stone tools were found by Louis Bourgeois (1873) in a Miocene formation at Thenay, France, and more stone tools were found by Fritz Noetling (1894), of the Geological Survey of India, in a Miocene formation in Burma. These discoveries, made in the late nineteenth century, were published in scientific journals and discussed in scientific conferences. The only reason for their absence from current textbooks is that they contradict the idea of a recent human origin.
From the United States comes a human skeleton found 90 feet deep in coal in Macoupin County, Illinois. Immediately above the skeleton were 2 feet of unbroken slate rock. The coal in which the skeleton was found is from the Carboniferous period, making the fossil about 300 million years old. The report of this discovery was printed in the December 1862 edition of a scientific journal called The Geologist. The June 11, 1891 edition of the Morrisonville Times newspaper, of Morrisonville, Illinois, in the United States, carried a report of a gold chain discovered inside a solid piece of coal. The chain was found by Mrs. S. W. Culp, wife of the newspaper's publisher, when she was breaking a lump of coal. According to the Illinois State Geological Survey, the coal containing the chain is of Carboniferous age, about 300 million years old. In 1897, a coal miner working in a mine near Webster, Iowa, in the United States, found an unusual carving on a piece of stone. The Daily News of Omaha, Nebraska (April 2, 1897) said: "The stone is of dark grey color and about two feet long, one foot wide and four inches in thickness. Over the surface of the stone, which is very hard, lines are drawn at angles forming perfect diamonds. The center of each diamond is a fairly good face of an old man."
Also of interest is an iron pot found in a block of coal in the year 1912 by Frank J. Kenwood. The discovery occurred at the Municipal Electric Plant in Thomas, Oklahoma, where the coal was burned to generate power. Kenwood wrote in a notarized affidavit: "I came upon a solid chunk of coal which was too large to use. I broke it with a sledge hammer. This iron pot fell from the center, leaving the impression of mould of the pot in the piece of coal" (Rusch 1971, p. 201). The coal was traced by Kenwood to the Wilburton Mine. According to the Oklahoma Geological Survey the coal in that mine is about 312 million years old.
Such intriguing discoveries continue to be made. Over the past several decades, miners in South Africa have found hundreds of metallic spheres with grooves running around their equators. One specimen has three such parallel grooves encircling it. The spheres are composed of a very hard substance. Roelf Marx, curator of the museum of Klerksdorp, South Africa, wrote about the spheres in a letter dated September 12, 1984: "They are found in pyrophyllite, which is mined near the little town of Ottosdal in the Western Transvaal. This pyrophyllite is a quite soft secondary mineral...and was formed by sedimentation about 2.8 billion years ago. On the other hand the globes...are very hard and cannot be scratched, even by steel" (Cremo and Thompson 1993, p. 813). No one has yet come up with a satisfactory natural explanation for the spheres, which appear to be human artifacts.
I have here mentioned only a few of the hundreds of well documented cases showing the extreme antiquity of the human race on this planet. There is a fairly continuous chain of discoveries going from about 100,000 years ago to over 2 billion years ago. Hypotheses about extraterrestrial contacts and interventions should be considered within the framework of this evidence.
Bourgeois, L. (1873) Sur les silex considérés comme portant les margues d’un travail humain et découverts dans le terrain miocène de Thenay. Congrès International d’Anthropologie et d’Archéologie Préhistoriques, Bruxelles 1872, Compte Rendu, pp. 81–92.
Cremo, M. A. (1998) Forbidden Archeology’s Impact. Los Angeles. Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing.
Cremo, M. A (1999) Puranic time and the archeological record. In Murray, T., ed., Time and Archaeology. London, Routledge, pp. 38-48.
Cremo, M. A. (2000) The excavations of Carlos Ribeiro. Nexus, 8(1): 51-55.
Cremo, M. A., and Thompson, R. L. (1993) Forbidden Archeology. San Diego, Bhaktivedanta Institute.
Cremo, M. A., and Thompson, R. L. (1994) The Hidden History of the Human Race. San Diego, Govardhan Hill.
De Mortillet, G. (1883) Le Préhistorique. Paris, C. Reinwald.
Holmes, W. H. (1899) Review of the evidence relating to auriferous gravel man in California. Smithsonian Institution Annual Report 1898–1899, pp. 419–472.
Issel, A. (1868) Résumé des recherches concernant l’ancienneté de l’homme en Ligurie. Congrès International d’Anthropologie et d’Archéologie Préhistoriques, Paris 1867, Compte Rendu, pp. 75– 89.
Leakey, M. D. (1979) Footprints in the ashes of time. National Geographic, 155: 446–457.
Macalister, R. A. S. (1921) Textbook of European Archaeology. Vol. 1. Paleolithic Period. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
McHenry, H. M. and Corruccini, R. S. (1975) Distal humerus in hominoid evolution. Folia Primatologica 23: 227-244.
Noetling, F. (1894) On the occurrence of chipped flints in the Upper Miocene of Burma. Records of the Geological Survey of India, 27: 101–103.
Patterson, B., and Howells, W. W. (1967) Hominid humeral fragment from Early Pleistocene of northwestern Kenya. Science, 156: 64–66.
Ragazzoni, G. (1880) La collina di Castenedolo, solto il rapporto antropologico, geologico ed agronomico. Commentari dell’ Ateneo di Brescia, April 4, pp. 120–128.
Ribeiro, C. (1873) Sur des silex taillés, découverts dans les terrains miocène du Portugal. Congrès International d’Anthropologie et d’Archéologie Préhistoriques, Bruxelles 1872, Compte Rendu, pp. 95–100.
Rusch, Sr., W. H. (1971) Human footprints in rocks. Creation Research Society Quarterly, 7: 201–202.
Slemmons, D. B. (1966) Cenozoic volcanism of the central Sierra Nevada, California. Bulletin of the California Division of Mines and Geology, 190:199-208.
Steen McIntyre, V., Fryxell R., and Malde, H. E. (1981) Geologic evidence for age of deposits at Hueyatlaco archaeological site, Valsequillo, Mexico. Quaternary Research 16: 1-17.
Tuttle, R. H. (1985) Ape footprints and Laetoli impressions: a response to the SUNY claims. In Tobias, P. V. ed. Hominid Evolution: Past, Present, and Future. New York, Alan R. Liss, pp. 129-133.
Whitney, J. D. (1880) The auriferous gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California. Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology Memoir 6(1).