Graham Hancock, the pseudoarchaeologist/pseudohistorian that wrote the thoroughly debunked Fingerprints of the Gods has a new book coming out in about a month titled America Before: the Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization. Hancock’s shtick has long been that there once existed a “lost civilization” in the world that had some sort of “high technology” (whatever that means).
Naturally, such a civilization left behind zero physical evidence. No material remains at all. As Jason Colavito recently remarked, “a sloth can manage to have its bones preserved for all time, but not a […] single bolt or screw remain” of this mysterious and curiously absent civilization. No remains of their cities or infrastructure is found, yet we can find the remains of the most delicate of all other life in the same alleged period.
So why does Hancock maintain its prior existence is such a certainty? Personally, I suspect it is mostly due to the fact that he makes a comfortable living from selling the mystery to eager consumers—much the way the fishmonger depends on those with a taste for seafood.
But, assuming that he believes at least some of his claims, I’d like to explore what he has planned for his upcoming book in a sort of pre-review by looking over some of the teasers of it listed on his website. I’ve requested a review copy of the book itself, and the publisher agreed to send one, but this will do until I receive it. I’ve a feeling they might not send it out until very close to or after the availability date.
130,000 Year Old North Americans
Very quickly Hancock invokes the fairly recent publication of the Cerutti mastodon site in Nature Letters. This site in California contained mastodon bones that were dated to about 130,000 years ago that had the initial appearance of being cracked open by stone tools. There were even some scattered rocks nearby that were claimed to be the tools.
There are, however, some major problems with the site that are inconsistent with the assumption that there is a cultural explanation which dates to 130,000 years ago. Hancock likes to highlight but one of these, namely that the date is more than 115,000 years older than the currently accepted date of human migration into the Americas.
In spite of his generosity with providing a skeptical perspective, other problems with the Cerutti site are far more significant. Perhaps he’ll provide a good explanation in his book. If these points are easily answered, archaeologists would gladly embrace the possibility that humans—or at least hominids—were present in North America at that time.
The main problem is: where are the butcher marks? The paper featured in Nature Letters speaks nothing of carnivore marks. There are bones that are alleged by the authors to be cracked open to obtain their marrow. But there are no expected butcher marks on the bones. If you’re trying to get to the marrow, it means all the edible parts on the outside of the bone are gone. If you’re a prehistoric hunter and these are the bones of your kill, you’ve cut them off with stone tools.
You might say, “well, maybe these prehistoric people came across the bones, already stripped of their meat by carnivores. They then decided to break open the bones to get at the valuable and nutritious marrow that the carnivores were unable to consume.” This brings us to the second major problem that I see. There are no carnivore marks. When animals eat flesh, they leave very distinctive marks from their teeth or mandibles. Whether the meat was consumed by dire wolves and large cats or simply beetles, there would be gnaw marks.
Recently, Steven Holen, one of the original authors, gave a talk at University of Oklahoma in which he stressed that the bones had no sign of carnivore marks—the expected gnawing at the epiphyses, or ends, of long bones like femurs. When I asked how they explained the lack of either butchery or carnivore marks, his reply was essentially that the 130,000 year old hunters were skilled. His wife, Kathleen, offered that they also may not have ate or butchered all the way to the bone. Keep in mind that no small cutting tools or scrapers were found. The kind that would have been used to cut meat from the very large bones.
This was a mastodon. Not a deer. Not even a buffalo. A mastodon. There would have been more meat than a few people could carry. If they didn’t cut it all off, there would have been a lot still on the bones. Even if they took what they could and actually still had a desire to get to the marrow, the bones that were left would have been several meals for several carnivores. Ranging in size from large dire wolves and saber-toothed cats to flesh-eating beetles. And they all would have left their marks.
There are also questions about the evidence that the stones were used as tools. Or that the fractures in the bones couldn’t have been non-cultural. In fact, since that short paper was published in Nature Letters nearly two years ago, there has been much critique over the conclusions. Not because “orthodox archaeology” is “hiding the truth.” Far from it. Nearly every critical response to the Cerutti authors’ conclusions agrees that if the evidence were were truly there, hominids in North America circa 130 kya would be wonderful and exciting news. But this is the sort of thing that needs to be backed with solid evidence. And, for the Cerutti claims, the data appear specious at best.
Ancient DNA (aDNA)
Hancock has also claimed that:
“Certain tribes of the Amazon rainforest are closely related to Australian Aborigines and to Melanesians from Papua New Guinea. This extraordinary, unexpected and extremely ancient DNA signal is only present in South America and is completely absent in North America and Mesoamerica. It bears witness to something that archaeologists hitherto believed to be impossible – that the technology and skills needed to cross the Pacific Ocean, and successfully resettle a reproductively-viable population, existed more than 13,000 years ago.”http://grahamhancock.com/america-before/
This is a good example of Hancock’s propensity to cherry-pick real scientific data.
It’s true that recent discoveries through ancient DNA (aDNA) studies reveal a genetic link between modern indigenous Australian populations and ancient Amazonians. We have to assume that the reason Hancock is able to tell us about this aDNA connection is because he read the studies that explored it. Or at least read the popular science sources that discussed them. Even if all he read was a story in Science News, he would have known how and where to get the original research.
So why does Hancock leave out or exclude some of the data and conclusions? Specifically, that this is an indication that the populations tested in both Australia and Brazil have common Asian ancestors. This is completely consistent with what anthropologists have been saying about human migration for years. In fact, the cool thing discovered with all the recent aDNA research is that there appear to be migrations into the Americas by at least three separate populations.
“Such secrets of human prehistory, now revealed by cutting-edge science, call for a complete rethink of our understanding of our own remote past and hint at the existence of a lost civilization of the Ice Age.”http://grahamhancock.com/america-before/
The data, in fact, say precisely the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, there’s always room for a “rethink” of currently held assumptions in science. But, in this case, not a complete one. Instead, we have some additional pieces of the puzzle of human migration into the Americas and elsewhere in the world. Hancock exhibits true pseudoscientific thinking in that quote. He exalts the science of aDNA as “cutting edge,” but only at the expense of cherry-picking the parts of it he likes to the exclusion of those bits that go against his preconceived conclusion.
Hancock’s general thesis is, in his own words, that “the evidence points to is a shared legacy of knowledge inherited from a much earlier civilization that has been lost to history.” I predict his book will present a mix of scientific fact with specious data followed by speculations. Many speculations. Speculations that he will word as facts—the logical conclusions of his pseudoscientific perspective of the world around him. Rather than marvel at the ingenuity and clever nature of the human species, Hancock can only see an ancient world that has a far more complicated and complex society that created or gave rise to everything we should be congratulating the ancestors of the world’s diverse cultures for sorting out on their own.
References and Further Reading
Ferraro, Joseph V. ; Katie M. Binetti, Logan A. Wiest, Donald Esker,
Lori E. Baker & Steven L. Forman (2018). Contesting early archaeology in California. Nature 544, 479–483 (2017); doi:10.1038/nature22065. (Holen et al immediately follow up with a short rebuttal that seems to say, “Nuh-uh!”)
Saey, Tina hesman (2018) Ancient DNA suggests people settled South America in at least 3 waves. ScienceNews.
I think I will wait to comment after actually reading the whole book.
In the mean time it may be worth considering the following, published in the NewYork times in 1999.
“In 1997, Dr. Meltzer was a member of a blue-ribbon panel of archaeologists, including some resolute skeptics, who inspected the Monte Verde site, which had been excavated by Dr. Tom D. Dillehay of the University of Kentucky. The visitors took a close look at the stone, wood and bone artifacts, remnants of hide-covered huts and a child’s footprint. These were judged to be clear evidence that humans had reached southern Chile 12,500 years ago, more than a millennium before the first signs of Clovis hunters in North America.”
[Edit: copy/paste of the full article removed and replaced with a link after the first paragraph because of copyright]
I hope you don’t mind, but I replaced the majority of that NY Times article with a link to the original article. I left the first paragraph. This is to avoid copyright violations and keep this site within the good graces of fair use.
As far as I’m aware, Graham Hancock doesn’t claim to be a scientist. He claims to be a journalist reporting a story. The article in Nature Letters has a list of scientists claiming that their finding confirms an unidentified species of homo in the Americas. While this does not make it fact, it is difficult to see what Graham Hancock has done wrong here other than to report what actual scientists have claimed in order to tell a story. Isn’t that what a journalist does?
You even use the header “Hancock’s claims”. But that one isn’t his claim. It is the claim of some scientists (rightly or wrongly). Isn’t that misleading to say they are his?
Oh, these are definitely Hancock’s claims. This was a review of his up-coming book where he has already teased a few claims. In the review, I’ve taken an opportunity to break these claims down a bit and show how he’s cherry-picking the real science to fit a psuedoscientific narrative–a preconceived conclusion he’s been championing for years. That narrative being that there was some sort of “high civilization” or lost human civilization with “high technology” which disappeared in a cataclysm (along with all trace) that seems to have left behind everything and everyone else.
So, no. What’s misleading is pretending to be a journalist whilst putting forth a set of pseudoscientific claims that are derived from the cherry-picked and misrepresented work of real science.
Thats fine – Thankyou
After reading the NY Times article it may be worth reading an article published in 2017 by Smtithsonian.com. Excerpt and link below:
“Today, decades later, the Clovis first model has collapsed. Based on dozens of new studies, we now know that pre-Clovis people slaughtered mastodons in Washington State, dined on desert parsley in Oregon, made all-purpose stone tools that were the Ice Age version of X-acto blades in Texas, and slept in sprawling, hide-covered homes in Chile—all between 13,800 and 15,500 years ago, possibly earlier.”
That’s a wonderful article. I think I even linked it on the Archaeology Review Facebook page. But I’m not really sure what it has to do with Graham Hancock’s up-coming book. The article I wrote above was a review of that impending tome of pseudoscience.
Why it’s connected is that Hancock’s ‘America Before’ is not going to suggest that there was a race of technologically super advanced people swarming over (Now) continental America 130,000 years ago.
What Hancock brings to the table is that the continent was inhabited by anatomically modern humans at this time.
The Clovis First model, before being rightfully rubbished, was set in stone. Any attempts to challenge it where automatically rejected without consideration – Science finally proved the Clovis ‘Theory’ wrong.
Graham Handcock suggests that ‘America’ was inhabited long before 12,500 BC by people who hunted with weapons, butchered with tools and understood agriculture and the necessity to organise their meat supply instead of simply slaughtering it to extinction.
He also suggests that the extinction of Megafauna in North America was the result of huge,inescapable, floods that lasted for a short period of time. – this is certainly backed up by new and fairly indisputable data from Randell Carlson and a whole host of educated scientists – And the cause does seem to point to an extraterrestrial event, and why not?
For Graham Hancock’s ‘Model’ – Clovis first- presented a huge obstacle. But today we see it was incorrect and Hancock’s early hunch’s had not been unjustified or ludicrous.
So we have to ask if allot more of Hancock’s proposals are also correct.
Graham Hancock’s work on ancient history has matured greatly since the early 90’s. I still regard ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ as a good piece of work. OK it is flawed in places and Graham has changed his views on the cause of the ‘Cataclysmic’ Event at the end of the Ice age, but it does still hold a place on the historical bookshelf. It is full of undisputable facts as well as justified speculation.
Today Hancock’s theories are painstakingly researched, scientifically analysed, geologically examined and thoroughly documented. Hancock is also now able to put a hell of allot more money into his research.
I have heard it stated that ‘America Before’ is just an attempt to grasp the attention of an unwitting American audience and make money, but if you look at how Hancock progressed to this stage, you will realise that this is simply incorrect.
The problem for his adversaries is that Hancock’s gun now has a bullet in the chamber, and when it’s fired it may never stop smoking!
I’m not sure it’s a good idea to dismiss Hancock next book quite yet.
your website is garbage. you are a closed minded baffoon. it would be hilarious to see you debate Graham.
Thank you for at least reading the site. I genuinely appreciate the time you gave which, given the deep and insightful critique you’ve provided must have been significant. If you’d like to go into more detail with your assessment, I’m always looking for ways to improve. For instance, what points, in particular did you find spoiled or wasteful (garbage) and where, exactly, have I shown myself to be closed minded? I like to think of myself willing to revise my beliefs in the face of evidence. For instance, I used to misspell “buffoon” but then I realized it made me look silly or clownish.
Anonymous – That’s a little harsh! And it’s also why we will never find out whether or not there are inaccuracies in our past History. Even if I don’t agree sometimes, I have allot of respect for Mr Feagans.
I suggest you find a niche over on “Crazy Corner” of Youtube. – No offence.
It took me about two sentences to realize I was reading complete garbage. You sound like someone who clearly has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to this subject. I would LOVE to see you even try to debate Graham.
But I am debating Hancock. Right here. You say that I “sound like someone who clearly has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to this subject.”
Let me ask you: what is the subject at hand? What points did I get wrong? Where could I perhaps improve? I’m genuinely curious about what you believe and why and, though I understand I’ve upset you, I definitely would like to know what it is you understand about this. And if I’m actually wrong, I’m definitely open to revise my position with evidence. No need to remain anonymous. You’ve nothing to fear from open dialog.
@Anonymous _ Graham Hancock is an hypocrite. He accuses mainstream archaeology/historians of not being open minded and accept new ideas when he himself doesn’t accept anything that goes against his doctrine. What he proposes is absurd – archaeologists are wrong he is right. Accepting his ideas means that everything that mainstream science claimed so far is wrong! In other words dismiss the timeline that archaeologists ( scientists that spent decades studying artifacts) give for the evolution of humans and believe a guy that has no prior training on such a field. To say that an advanced civilization existed 12 thousand years ago is an absurd and irresponsible thing to claim. He is not proposing just a light revision of human history in the last 10 thousand years, rather a total rewriting it. Think about it, there is not a single shred of proof that an advanced civilization existed over 10 thousand years ago. Everything from that era pinpoints towards an early Neolithic civilization, early farmers that just converted to farming.
Lets consider something.
Lets say Graham Hancock had been write all along, and by what ever means it was proved beyond any reasonable doubt. What would be the consequence?
Would Archaeologists, Egyptologists, historians and alike work with Hancock’s model or would they simply ignore it and hope it went away?
This is an real question and i’m very interested to here a proper answer, without any body being insulted or belittled.
The knee-jerk response I had began with asking which of Hancock’s claims are we talking about, but as I thought about it… it doesn’t matter in the least.
This is because it isn’t about whether or not Hancock is right or wrong. Archaeology isn’t a debate (nor are any scientific observations about the world). Archaeology is about describing the best approximation of the truth possible given the data and evidence available. The contention archaeologists have with Hancock (and many others) isn’t that they don’t fit the “mainstream” or academically established view. It’s that he appears to begin with a conclusion then cherry-picks which data are suitable for him. And he often uses these data to say more than they are capable of.
So, to answer the question: if Hancock was suddenly discovered to be right all along (and this could happen given the right data), then archaeologists would not suddenly agree with him. They would, however, agree with the data. Hancock is probably completely unknown to more than 90% of all those doing archaeology. Any agreement would be completely coincidental. And I, too, would agree with the data. With the evidence. It wouldn’t be because Hancock already said it to be true. It would be because the data and evidence are saying it to be true.
Ok, I’m the second anonymous.. I didn’t call any names. Graham is right in so many ways. I encourage you to go more research into his and other people’s works on ancient civilizations. If you honestly think that we are the most advanced civilization to ever live on this planet you are wrong. There is NO WAY hunter gatherers creates sites like the Giza plateau and other sacred sites. Have you seen the Blocks of granite that weight hundreds of tons? The current model of academia will not change. Imagine you had a belief that had been accepted for generations and taught to people in universities.. and all of a sudden you were wrong?? Change is hard. This article is ridiculous. You make claims that Graham’s books have been debunked?? That’s not true to any extent. I’ve looked very heavily at both sides of this argument and I’m sorry, if you’re going to claim Graham is wrong then I’m going to claim you are wrong. Check out people like Robert Shock, Brien Forester, John Antony West, Robert Baval. It just really seems like you’ve done zero research here. Honestly it took a bout a month of serious study for me to finally accept that modern academics are wrong. And Graham is opened minded. You have to be to make these claims. It’s very hard to debate through writing and get my point access, debating works better in real life.
April, you say, “if you honestly think that we are the most advanced civilization to ever live on this planet you are wrong.”
In a lot of ways, I agree with that statement. But probably for reasons far different than you think. And it has to do with the interpretation of “advanced.” If you mean a civilization with modern electronics, automobiles, nuclear power, electrical grids, solar power, etc.–then, yes, this is something of the last few generations of humanity. For better or for worse.
If, however, you consider as advanced for a civilization to sort out complex problems and engineering obstacles by making use of their brains and the technological developments at hand, then I’d say I agree. The people who move 70 ton blocks of granite and then carve them into sarcophagi using copper tube-drills and sand along with a few chert tools are extremely clever. As clever as modern humans.
But you’re gravely mistaken when you suggest that archaeologists somehow think the Giza Plateau (assuming you mean the pyramids and other monumental architecture) was created by hunter-gatherers. You claim that you’ve “looked very heavily at both sides of this argument,” but I don’t believe you have. I mean no disrespect by that. I suspect you feel that you have. But had you actually read to the extent of “very heavily,” there is much in your comment you would not have included. By the time of the fourth dynasty in Egypt’s Old Kingdom period, Egypt was a completely stratified, agrarian nation. This is why, in part, they were capable of such grandiose, monumental architecture. Among their vast wealth was labor.
You write, “the current model of academia will not change.” But you don’t say why. Or why it should. And, in either case, academia–or more specifically: our understanding of the archaeological past–is constantly changing. We are always adding to or revising what we understand about the past. This is one of the most beautiful things about science in it’s purest form. As I said in an earlier comment, all science is incomplete. It can always be changed, upset, or modified with data. This is why science includes all data, even that which seems useless now may one day be necessary.
Seriously. Just… because? I’m not simply stating that Hancock is wrong, I’m stating what, specifically, he’s wrong about and why. If you’re going to be tit-for-tat, would I not deserve the same courtesy? Again, I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but it only seems fair.
Zero research? When you say “research,” do you mean “sitting in front of Google,” or do you mean going to the field, applying the methods and theory of sciences to actual research questions, obtaining data and artifacts, analysing it all in the lab, then synthesizing it into reports? That’s what I do professionally. I’m a professional archaeologist by trade. I just happen to have a desire to share archaeology with the public and provide a counter-voice to the junk-archaeology out there from sources like Hancock and the others you mention.
And, yes, I do read much of their works. And have many of their books on my junk-archaeology shelf. Some with dog-eared pages and notes shoved between pages.
But since you mention these folks, I ask you one favor. Read my review of Brien Foerster’s book, Beyond the Black Sea, and tell me that you can still trust what he says. This is a guy I expose as a plagiarist and violator of copyright with probably over 90% of the book lifted entirely off the internet. And he charges well-meaning people with an interest in the ancient past ten bucks for it.
If you’ve been a big fan of Foerster’s work, this review will probably upset you. I challenge you to try to see past it. Forgive me ahead of time and give it a shot. Keep in mind I think Brien Foerster is probably a really nice guy. He seems like it in his videos. I just have a hard time with the things he tells people. I’ve tried to politely provide correction to him, but he shuts this sort of thing down by blocking people in Facebook, etc. I’m at a place now where I think he is intentionally trying to fleece people and I tried hard to give him benefit of doubt in the beginning.
If you read that review and don’t entirely hate me, let me know and I’ll recommend a short, inexpensive book written in a way that doesn’t talk down to the reader, but has some really cool information on the ancient past.
Ref: 9:32pm 22/03 comment
I know its always used as “proof” – But..
..What are your views on the dating of the Sphinx by John A West and Dr R Schoch?
The do seem to have some pretty good data. Mr Schoch is by know means somebody to ignore, his only downfall seems to be the acceptance of alternative theories. He ventures where most scholars would not dare tread.
Even Dr Mark Lehnar found it difficult to dispute and the only defence he came up with was “show me the other sites”
As Hancock rightfully states, he could say that 20 years ago – But he cant today because we have found “other sites” that certainly date to the same period that J.A. West suggests for the Sphinx.
Sorry for the typo’s above – was in a rush 🙂
Brien Foerster sould not be in above comment, Although he has produced some great videos (mainly because he pays to enter places that we don’t usually have access to) he seems to label thing “evidence of high technology” even if he has no idea what he is looking at.
J.A.West on the other hand was extremely devoted to his subject and spent a great deal of his adult life doing hard historic and scientific research in the field.
His views were never too fantastic.
Hancock may win his first accreditation here:
Nature – 13th March 2019
“Sedimentary record from Patagonia, southern Chile supports cosmic-impact triggering of biomass burning, climate change, and megafaunal extinctions at 12.8?ka”
That would be about like validating a television psychic that claims, “a movie star will die this year.”
Geologists have been predicting the discovery of better evidence for impactors around this period for years. There have been various hints of it all over the world. This isn’t a claim of Hancock’s so much as it’s a coattail he’s been riding. But it is a good example of his cherry-picking nature. His actual claim is that an impactor wiped out an advanced, global civilization with “high technology” (whatever that means).
Actually Geologists have been completely against the ‘Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis’ from the beginning, as have most other associated bodies.
If you read the paper published in nature you will see that it is authored by the Comet Research Group.
Graham Hancock for years has been working with the group and also Randall Carlson.
It is Hancock who has promoted the groups work, It is Hancock who managed to raise research funding for the group when the ‘Mainstream’ was blocking all other applications by suggesting that their theories were nonsense, and it is Hancock who realised that Randell Carlson had the supporting data to geologically prove that the ice age ended abruptly due to a huge extraterrestrial impact in the vicinity of the North American Ice sheets and further fragments impacting as far away as Syria – circa 12,000Yrs BP.
Geologist have never wanted one devastating flood as an explanation for the end of the ice age. They also ignore any ‘flood myths’ as purely fictional or localised events.
Now we see that independent organisations, like the Comet Group, are drowning the commonly accepted theories with new and very solid data,
The ‘Comet Research Group’ is by no means an amateur set up – Its members are all highly educated scientists.
Whether we accept Hancock’s ‘lost civilisation’ or not, it seems that his search for the mechanism that triggered the Younger Dryas may well have been unearthed, and not by ‘cherry picking’ – Randell Carlson knew he had some answers for Hancock and also acted as his researcher, Carlson is not a man to cherry pick! His knowledge of the geology of north america is second to none, he has spent 40 years in the field carrying out pain staking research.
I suggest sitting down for an evening and watching ‘Joe Rogan #606’
Uh, nope. I’ve been reading opinions for and against YD impactors for years in both the geologic and archaeological communities. Sure, some are skeptical. Others buy into it wholesale. Still others (like me) wait for the data to fall out, be replicated, and solid hypotheses formulated based on it.
I doubt these folks are checking in with Hancock first. Or this Carlson fellow–whoever he is. I have a few colleagues that have been enamored with the idea and have been collecting data for over a decade or more. They just never had enough to publish.
I give two shits about Hancock’s “search for a mechanism to explain the YD.” He’s simply not qualified enough to bother with, particularly with all his “high tech civ” bullshit that comes with it as baggage. And this *is* the meat of his claims. That “advanced civilization” that once had a global influence and “high technology.”
Never heard of him. Where does he teach? What has he published? I really would rather not watch some pseudoscience gibberish of Joe Rogan’s. And I’m pretty sure I know some geologists to whom his alleged knowledge of N.A. geology would be eclipsed.
OK – A little about Randell Carlson who conducted allot of the research that will be published in Hancock’s new book ‘America Before’.
Randall Carlson is a master builder and architectural designer, teacher, geometrician, geomythologist, geological explorer and renegade scholar. He has 4 decades of study, research and exploration Into the interface between ancient mysteries and modern science, has been an active Freemason for 30 years and is Past Master of one of the oldest and largest Masonic lodges in Georgia. He has been recognized by The National Science Teachers Association for his commitment to Science education for young people.
The acclaimed 1997 TBS/CNN documentary “Fire from the Sky” was based upon his research into Earth change and catastrophic events. He has organized several dozen field expeditions documenting evidence for catastrophic earth change. He has received academic recognition for outstanding work as a student of geology. His work incorporates Ancient Mythology, Astronomy, Earth Science, Paleontology, Symbolism, Sacred Geometry and Architecture, Geomancy, and other arcane and scientific traditions. For over 25 years he has presented classes, lectures, and multimedia programs synthesizing this information for students of the Mysteries.
So no publications? Is he even degreed in the field?
I like how you pick tiny pieces of Richard’s comments and speak on them. His original comment before the anon troll was completely ignored. Because I doubt you can respond to those specific points. You avoid the parts that don’t fit with your model. Do you agree with Robert Schoch’s dating of the Sphinx and do you agree that Gobekli Tepe and Gunung Padong exist? Seems like you’re being a little defensive.
Hunter, thanks for taking the time to comment. I genuinely appreciate it.
I’ve no doubt there’s much of Richard’s comments I’ve not answered or responded to. Richard has had much to say. I’ve made attempt to respond to those points I found either interesting or significant. If there was some particular thing that Richard commented on that you’d like me to consider, feel free to mention it here. I think I might have avoided one or two topics either because I’m not particularly well-read on it or because I might have been considering a full post on it. For instance, I’ve been kicking the idea of creating a blog post on the YD impact hypothesis for some time.
No. Yes. Yes. I will always defend science, archaeology, and rational thinking.
Oof fragmented sentences in my comment but whatever. This “review” is a hilarious piece of work.
Thanks for commenting! And lets discuss the parts you found funny.
Maybe I do have “much to say” this is because there is much to discuss.
I’m really not a hard line alternative believer, I fully accept a huge percentage of the accepted
model of history- but anybody, whether degree accredited or simply just interested, can see that there
are some serious problems that keep cannot be simply dismissed.
Surely any archaeologist revels with the thought that he or she may make the discovery of a life time.
It cannot be ignored that there are sites, that due to advances in science, are being accurately dated to
periods that used to be reserved for the unaccepted voices of those you refer to as ‘pseudo’.
It also cannot be ignored that sites that have been previously dated to one period, using methods and data available at the time,
are now beginning to be logically questioned.
For me there is no advantage in finding a ‘Lost civilisation’ or discovering that some of the ‘facts’ about our history, we take for granted are wrong. It’s not like discovering,for instance, that a medicine I rely on doesn’t actually work.
Of course there are people who will suggest alternative theories to deliberately upset others, but a genuine suggestion that has been properly researched and well documented may be well worth considering, however unlikely it seems at face value. This is how progress is achieved in all fields.
If you don’t accept somebodies ‘alternative theories’ then that is you own personnel choice and should be respected, but it should be noted that the author, whether right or wrong, has made people stop and think – This is always a healthy way to draw a conclusion.
I personally am not voting for either Hancock or the generally accepted parties, its not a matter of trying to win but rather being conscious of possible flaws in current models.
So many accepted theories in the past have later been proved otherwise, whether in science, nature, geography Etc – due to new evidence things have had to be reassessed, determined wrong and corrected, I’m sure this will also be true for the future.
In view to the defence of the re-dating of the Sphinx, I see some pretty valid points raised, but they are by no means conclusive.
for instance – Would the classically dynastic head dress have been worn at such an earlier era ? answer is no, simply because the head was far more likely to have originally been that of a lion.
As I have already addressed , Mark Lehner found it extremely difficult to defend himself against West’s conclusions. He also didn’t get the point – It was not West’s job to find the “other evidence” of the “lost civilisation” for if West was correct then that was Lehnes problem – And a big one.
It is also very lucky that West, who did not hold a degree, was not allowed to speak at the hearing, this would have made Lehner’s defence even more shaky.
The simple truth was that Lehner had been confronted with his worst nightmare – There was West with a huge amount of thoroughly researched, highly credible data , all backed up and regarded as irrefutable by a doctorate in Geology- not to mention most of his colleges – And Lehner had no real answers.
It is also reasonable to point out that if Gobekli Tepe (and it does) dates to circa 10,000 BC then it is certainly credible that the Sphinx would have been achievable at the same period.
It’s really quite simple – It’s not a question of alternative theorists requiring the Sphinx to be much older, Its the fact that all the modern scientific data suggests that it is – and hence here is evidence of a civilisation we have completely missed.
Gunung Padong is another good example – Danny Hilman seems to have good case for the deeper areas of the site dating to possibly 20,000 or so years old, but this is far too larger subject to go into here.
To finish off – lets have the Younger Dryas article – That would be interesting !
Are people still pushing the myth that Clovis first was some set in stone paradigm? I started my undergraduate work in anthropology in the early 80s. Can’t remember a single one of the various archaeology classes that I took that ever took that position. Its certainly not one that I ever held or ever heard another anthropologist espouse, although I have no doubt that there were some archaeologists who would have been quite resistant to pre-clovis until convincing evidence was provided. I attended a presentation made by Dillehay to a room full of archaeologists around 1990 which was actually quite well received. He has been publishing peer reviewed work on the topic since at least 1982. That couldn’t be done if archaeology was locked into a Clovis First paradigm that rejected all evidence to the contrary.
Until Quite recently the Clovis Model was the accepted conclusion.
Of course there were some who questioned it, but in Circa 1988 AD 🙂 it appeared ‘set in stone’ for the speakers at university lectures I attended here in the UK. Although I had my doubts back then as well.
“Until Quite recently the Clovis Model was the accepted conclusion.”
Incorrect as I have just demonstrated. Even the reference to the 1997 panel includes the statement “…including SOME [emphasis mine]resolute skeptics”.
The existence of SOME resolute skeptics is not proof that Clovis was a widely accepted conclusion.
Considering Dillehay’s success at getting his work on Monte Verde published as early as 1982 I guess that those UK university speakers weren’t involved in the peer review of his work.
I have to agree with James. The Clovis model fell out of favor well before I even obtained my bachelors in anthropology. Every professor and every text I had at the time pointed to a pre-Clovis population or at least suggested that we should be focused on pre-Clovis periods.
I can’t speak for Uni lecturers in the UK, so perhaps we were just more ahead of the curve here in the Americas.
It’s just a factoid that fringe types try to use to support the likes of Hancock. They even have their timeline wrong. Hancock didn’t really start delving into this type of stuff until the early 90s. By that time Dillehay had been publishing on Monte Verde for at least a decade. Adovasio’s work goes back even further to around 1977. So the notion that Hancock’s work was rejected because of a universally accepted Clovis First paradigm just doesn’t wash. It’s the same old conspiracy to suppress the truth nonsense that the fringe evokes when their sloppy, unsubstantiated theories fail to gain any traction with professional scholars.
Well if anything sounds like a statement by Hancock it is indeed the above input.
Of course the Clovis model was open for debate some decades ago and James Avovasio’s arguments were there; but extremely controversial.
I’m also sure that the only reason you may have listened then and now claim to have suspected all along is that Mr Adovasio held a degree!
Just like Hancock’s theories that are automatically dismissed here, The Clovis first model only held water as long as it did because there was no supporting evidence to decisively conclude otherwise.
The conclusions from the Monte Verde site were rubbished to begin with and only became more notable when Dillehay presented the matter.
It wasn’t until the excavation of Buttermilk creek in 2011 that alternative arguments where taken more seriously by the wider archaeological community.
AND it WAS the Nature publication in 2016 that finally put the matter to bed.
So the Archaeological corner had for a long time suspected there could be an alternative to the Clovis model and America had indeed been inhabited for far longer than was commonly acknowledged? – No! They knew that the model was wrong but went along with it anyway. I’m sure I will be told that Clovis first remained the common hypothesis until the data clearly indicated otherwise, OK I will accept that, if that was the case.
The collapse of the Clovis model is an absolute parallel in its mechanism to what you describe as “Hancocks pseudo-archaeology” – with only one difference, people with degrees are allowed to debate and suggest (if they dare), and when beaten over the head with hard evidence for long enough, finally surrender.
Let’s get something absolutely clear – To have accomplished the status of being ‘degree qualified’ does not automatically make anybody more or less credible in their assertions. I have plenty of colleagues who hold masters in various subjects, but are purely academic and unable to apply their education to its full potential.
Most archaeologists–the vast majority–really do not even know who Hancock is. I know this, because I’m an advocate among archaeologists for speaking out against pseudoscience and junk-archaeology. When I bring his name up, the most consistent reaction I get is, “who?”
Then, when I tell them some of the things he proposes, they conclude he’s wrong. They don’t stop first to ask if he has a degree and if so, “how high?”
You’re focused on the “degree qualified only” filter with a profession that relies heavily on advocationalists and enthusiastic stewards, some of whom have demonstrated advanced knowledge of lithics and pottery, in order to get our day-to-day jobs done. In doing so, you’re overlooking one other possibility: that Hancock might just be wrong.
It just so happens that he’s wrong about things that have engendered a desire to be true for you. Perhaps to a point that you’d rather not think otherwise.
Hancock’s appeal as a charismatic personality is much like that of a cult leader, albeit one that is very Laissez Faire with his disciples. His methods are very much like a celebrity psychic in that he does some cold and hot readings. He gathers just enough real data behind which he dangles his invented conclusions in such a way that seems to create a logical progression. But in reality his conclusions are obfuscated by a web of non sequiturs–data which are not sufficient or necessary to support the various conclusions he supposes. But, like that celebrity psychic, if he makes enough predictions, one or two of them will stick. And his disciples–his customers–will see these as vindication.
Drop all the blah, blah, blah before and after the following statement:
“I’m sure I will be told that Clovis first was the common hypothesis until the data clearly indicated otherwise, OK I will accept that if that was the case.”
THAT WAS THE CASE AS BOTH CARL AND I HAVE TOLD YOU. You’re welcome
The few professionals who have even heard of Graham don’t discount him because he lacks an advanced degree. They do so because he spouts a lot of really stupid or unsubstantiated stuff. I’ve never seen someone with an M.A. or Ph.D. in Anthropology come anywhere near his level of stupidity and spouting unsubstantiated nonsense. So, yes, there is something to having one of those fancy smancy high powered degrees.
I must say that you have the patience of a saint. I had to deal with a certain amount of fringe nonsense from time to time in the classroom for decades. But to run a site like this where it is an every day grind, Saintly.
And on reflection I think that there may be something to your statement about we Yanks being ahead of the curve on pre-Clovis compared to the Brits. My understanding is that most if not all of the research done on Clovis related matters has been conducted by Americans in the US, discussed at American archaeological conferences, and published in US journals. So perhaps some lag time in news of pre-Clovis work making it across the pond, especially in the pre-internet days. I’m still not buying into any widespread trend among Brit academics to treat Clovis first as set in stone, though. Folks like Richard have a habit of doing things like trying to spin comments by a couple of speakers who may have represented “resolute skeptics” among the Brits into a consensus.
I’m really not sure of the way Clovis and pre-Clovis are presented outside of US higher-learning. So I’m really making a guess in that regard. I would say, however, that there are painfully few writers presenting archaeological topics to the average consumer. And that’s where Hancock’s appeal fills a ready void. Hancock is no dummy. He’s far from stupid. He writes very well. Hell, I’ve learned from reading his works if just the art and craft of writing itself.
Making science appealing to the lay-public isn’t easily mastered in any field. And archaeology is no exception. In fact, there are probably fewer science writers that consistently put out archaeologically-themed works for the average consumer than most other fields of science. I can really only think of one off the top of my head, and that’s Brian Fagan. I really like Eric Cline’s Three Stones Makes a Wall so far, so maybe he’ll catch on as a popular author.
I wonder if sometimes archaeologists aren’t a bit leery of being that popular writer (we’re often so critical of each other, contrary to the popular notion among pseudoarchaeologists that there is an “orthodoxy” in play). We need our Carl Sagans, Richard Feynmans, Neil Tysons, Sean Carrolls, and Stephen Hawkings. If you search Amazon for best sellers in archaeology, you get Hancock. We’re at fault for that.
And the result is that fine, smart folk like Richard spend years reading what we’ve allowed to dominate the best seller list and it seems dogmatic, authoritarian, and arrogant when we, professional archaeologists, write blog posts and comments on Facebook that run contrary to a “best selling author” in our own genre.
I have two books I’ve started writing, one is a “consumer’s guide” to pseudoarchaeology in which I make an effort not to be overly condescending (I’m sure some condescension will be unavoidable
) and try to offer an alternative or substitute for the thing I debunk (the word “debunk” probably won’t even be in the book). Another is going to be an rational-archaeologist’s point of view on the Lost Ark of the Covenant. I’m doing it mostly for the fun of it: there are some fascinating stories throughout history that surround Ark lore as well as some fantastic archaeology. I also have a few other book topics in mind, ranging from moonshine archaeology in Western Kentucky to early iron industry in the U.S.
I don’t expect to be that best-selling author, but I figure I can’t very well criticize archaeologists for not writing for the general public if I don’t. The public is hungry for topics in archaeology and ancient civilizations. We can either complain about what they consume, or provide them with content.
I’m starting to wonder if this comment doesn’t merit its own post.
I should have been more clear. I don’t think that people like Hancock are necessarily stupid. They are quite skilled and hardworking at selling stupidity, though. In some cases where they actually believe what they are selling it could be stupidity or simply willful ignorance.
As for archaeologists reaching the public, I think that forums such as this are probably the best play.I think that there is a growing niche for publication of books and articles by archaeologists that take on the fringe as well.
The ultimate problem is ratings and revenue. IMO books, documentaries, and TV programs about fantastical ancient civilizations that were wiped out by comets, floods, nuclear explosions, etc. are going to consistently outdraw material presented in the same settings devoted to the work of someone like Dillehay.
Years back I was asked to inspect some “mammoth bones” on some friends’ land. It was clear to me that the bones were just a jumble of shale that had fallen into a creek bed when the overhanging creek bank collapsed. I have no idea what would make them think they were bones to even begin with. But I took samples and gave them to a colleague in geology. Took him about 30 seconds to reach the same conclusion as me. I carefully explained this to my friends and thought that the issue had been addressed. But I recently heard that (20 years later) they are still claiming that they found mammoth bones on their land. I have a couple friends that believe in the Burrows Cave nonsense even though I have walked them step-by-step through all the ways that it is a hoax. Some people just have to believe. As long as you have snake oil salesmen who can tell them what they want to hear and convince them that contrary scientific explanations are just part of a conspiracy to suppress the truth, archaeologists are facing an uphill battle no matter what they do.
I forgot to mention that when I started grad school, peer reviewed books and articles in the area of “pure” research were the coin of the realm in academics. Popular writings and applied work could be viewed as distractions. However, applied work and public anthropology/archaeology started to come more into vogue in the 90s and this trend continues. That may help to explain why one is starting to see at least a bit more published writings, both scholarly and popular/semi-popular, by anthropologists that take on the fringe.
But time remains an issue too for people who view themselves as having better things to do. If someone is involved in CRM and working overtime to try to identify and preserve endangered sites, I can’t blame them if they would rather focus entirely on that instead of arguing with people who believe that space aliens built every prehistoric stone structure taller than 5 feet or that a Mu-like civilization existed in North America 100,000 years ago, or that there is a double top secret cabal of anthropologists led by the Smithsonian that is committed to enforcing Clovis First and Columbus First intellectual hegemony. I know that during the time when I was working in applied health research, I felt that I had much, much better things to do than argue with people who believed that Alexander the Great is buried in a cave in southern Illinois and was transported there by space aliens.
I have only one comment here ..
I am attending Hancock’s lecture on Thursday 4th April 2019.
Logan Hall – UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
Mr Feagans – There will be question time after the talk – Would you like me ask a question from you? – apparently the lecture will be published on Youtube.
Please think about it..
I would suggest asking him what role heavy drug abuse may have played in the development of his various fringe theories.
Released today – I’m now half way through the actual book using ‘Audible’.
There is a hell of allot of good evidence in it for Hancock’s case.
Well if continuing to pitch the same old Clovis First strawman to attack archaeology for being closeminded, and dwelling on things like the unsubstantiated Cerutti mastodon findings are good evidence then his book is just packed with “good evidence.” At least according to preliminary review. But my arm is tired and the dead horse is well tenderized so nothing else really needs to be said other than I look forward to Carl’s review.
I would like to know if he mentions which drug(s) he was abusing while developing this particular book, though? If he is still pitching Clovis First then I’m guessing maybe something stronger than pot or ayahuasca?
James Ford – I can see the methods quite clearly of which you totally refute any of Hancock’s work – and probably anything else you cant incorporate into your work (whether fact of fiction).
Please take a good look at what you refer to as “drug Abuse”
American Doctors & pharmacists superscribe drugs to pretty much anybody that are far more powerful than the ones Hancock admits to habitually taking in his past, just to be able to function in normal life – (with the exception of DMT). – Please read ‘The spirit molecule by Rick Strassman M.D’ before commenting on DMT!
Its not a good argument at the end of a thread that you and your colleagues are loosing.
I spent about nine years serving on the research faculty of a drug and alcohol abuse research center within a medical school. I have about 15 peer reviewed papers in journals like Journal of Drug Issues and Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. For years I served on the editorial boards of two peer reviewed drug journals. I have served as the peer reviewer for dozens of papers on the topic of drug use and abuse submitted to drug journals. Hancock’s self-admitted patterns drug using behavior would qualify as abuse by any objective standard.
But if you really think that you have won anything in regard to your misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Clovis First here then I can understand why you could fool yourself in this matter as well, and any further discussion is a waste of time.
Carl, this is exactly what I meant by the pool of people who are always going to provide a market for the likes of Hancock no matter what you do. To repeat, you are a saint.
Hancock brings up Clovis First to point out the fact that everyone who proposed something different in the archeological community had their careers ruined by folks by people who refused to look at new evidence.
Respond to this article and how exactly it doesn’t parallel this situation. Make sure you’re objectively considering things and not sticking to pre-existing dogma because it’s easier. Like all those archeologists who laughed at Jacques Cinq-Mars and made him feel like he was in “the Spanish Inquisition”. Huh, I wonder why people in this community would be afraid to voice their opinions.
Clovis first is gone Mr Ford, so its not even worthy of mentioning.
And as for the ‘Drug abuse’ – we are not talking about Hancock’s experiments but rather undeniable truths of the use of ‘drugs’ (if you like to call them that) that helped form beliefs and religions many millennia ago.
I’m now petitioning the Vatican to make you a living saint.
Heh, if you think I’m patient here, click over to the Archaeology Review Facebook page and look at the comments in this thread, specifically those of Jean-Baptiste: http://tinyurl.com/y6frgf3v
By the way, there are continuing questions and doubts about the Cerutti Mastodon Site as discussed in:
Ferrell, P.M., 2019. The Cerutti Mastodon Site Reinterpreted with Reference to Freeway Construction Plans and Methods. PaleoAmerica, pp.1-7.
Also, there are problems with the imaginary Saginaw Bay, Michigan, impact crater discussed by Hancock as being a possible Younger Dryas impact site. Even if this crater was a real impact crater, for which there is a complete lack of evidence for a hypervelocity impact, there are scientific publications show that Saginaw Bay and relict beach ridges and deltas fromed a couple thousand years before the start of the Younger Dryas. These landforms, which predate the start of the Younger Dryas, refute the proposal that saginaw Bay was iste the site of a Younger Dryas impact. But supporters of it as either a or the Younger Dryas impact have overlooked these facts. These landforms are discussed and illustrated in:
Connallon, C.B. and Schaetzl, R.J., 2017. Geomorphology of the Chippewa River delta of Glacial Lake Saginaw, central Lower Michigan, USA. Geomorphology, 290, pp.128-141.
Luehmann, M.D., 2015. Relict Pleistocene deltas in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Unpublished MS thesis. Michigan State University.
Wow does this website ever about some nonsense and claim it’s science. What a joke.
The focus is about showing the fake, fraudulent, and fantastic claims of archaeology. But perhaps I got something in particular wrong. What part did you have a different opinion of and why?
Still waiting to hear about why it was ok Jaques Cinq-Mars career was ruined because you guys didn’t want to look at the evidence. Heard of Alfred Wegner either? Proposed continental drift? Critics didn’t bother going to the southern hemisphere to look into his findings, so we got continental drift about 40 years later than we should have. There seems to be a continuous pattern of dogmatic and, frankly for lack of a better word “cunty” archeologists and geologists who are salty that everything they learned was either bullshit or half of a story. Now I imagine you’ll probably focus on my use of language and not the points I made but whatever. Do you guys know what a straw man is? Because your whole argument seems to be made of them. You pick a point of Graham’s you don’t really understand (like saying he thought Clovis First was still accepted) and you make a whole paragraph beating down this straw man (very impressive, really).
I’ll actually reply to you tonight (I’m on a quick lunch break). Thanks for reminding me of this comment, I forgot about it from last week and had a busy weekend.
I definitely understand the concept of the straw man argument. Essentially it’s inventing an argument you attribute to your opponent that you can easily defeat but, ultimately, this isn’t the argument they’re making. And it really doesn’t apply. While I spend a paragraph or so talking about it, Hancock spends pages on it. An entire section of a chapter and then sprinkles throughout his book. I get that he’d like to make a point, but since you’re fond of logical fallacies, you’ll enjoy the fact that he’s ultimately making a false equivalency. He’d like his reader to believe that because archaeologists are harsh among themselves about changing paradigms, he is, therefore, just as likely to be right.
But let’s get back to Jaques Cinq-Mars (JCM). Was his career really ruined because of Clovis first? Can you truly say that? He certainly didn’t fare very well, but others did. Dilahay is doing well. Al Goodyear’s office is right next to a friend of mine–he’s doing okay. Still at it. What about Adovasio at the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter? He, too, is doing well. So we can’t really say it was “Clovis first” that did JCM’s career in. More likely it was himself. Was it hard dealing with skeptics? Definitely. But he had an extraordinary claim for which he never published for peer review. Incidentally, neither has Goodyear with the Topper site, so this variable alone isn’t the reason either.
I have no desire to speculate further on why JCM’s career didn’t flourish. There are many, many archaeologists’ careers that fizzle that are never invovled with controversial sites and paradigms. Hancock’s insistence that careers were ruined is, itself, a straw man argument. It’s poppycock. Nonsense.
The Clovis first argument was largely settled before I became an archaeologist. But I’m not at all unfamiliar with it. In fact, I think it worked out as it should. For most archaeologists, Clovis first was simply a provisional conclusion to which they hoped new data would prove otherwise. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This is not simply rhetoric.
Back to Hancock’s logical fallacy. That false equivalency.
Hancock’s ultimate schtick is unchanged. He wants to sell to anyone that will pay the $24.95 for his book that there was once an ancient civilization with “high technology” that was wiped out by global cataclysm some 12,500 or so years ago. This “high technology,” to him, meets or exceeds our own. Automobiles, electricity, infrastructure, concrete buildings, iron/steel construction, etc. To him it’s a global civilization. And they’re white.
The fallacy is this: because archaeologists were wrong to object to pre-Clovis cultures in the Americas, they are, therefore, wrong to object to his fantasy civilization.
I’ll go into more detail after I’ve finished reading his book, a review copy for which I recently received.
P.S. I don’t really give two fucks about your language as long as you can be rational.
“I’ll go into more detail after I’ve finished reading his book, a review copy for which I recently received.”
One thing to watch, while you are reading “Before America” is how both Randell Carlson and Graham Hancock are completely lost in time and space when it comes to the chronology of megafloods. For example, they carelessly conflate multiple Pleistocene megafloods that occurred in different places at different times within North America into a single continental flood directly associated with a Younger Dryas impact. The widely separated times and disperse occurrence of megafloods can be seen in summaries of megaflood events as seen in Table 7.1. “Megaflood chronology” of:
Kehew, A.E., Lord, M.L., Kozlowski, A.L. and Fisher, T.G., 2009. 7 Proglacial mega?ooding along the margins of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Megaflooding on Earth and Mars, p.104.
Also looking at the ages of of megafloods listed in Table 7.1, The majority of them either predate or postdate the start of the Younger Dryas at 12,900 BP calibrated (10,900 14C BP uncalibrated) years. In case of the Kankakee and Maumee Megafloods (Torrents), which occur near to the imaginary Saginaw Bay Impact Crater, are dated respectively at 19,000 and 16,000 to 17,000 BP calibrated years, thousands of years well before the proposed Younger Dryas Impact (Curry et al. 2014; Fleming et al. 2018). It is impossible that either of them are related to a puntative Younger Dryas Impact. The River Warren, which carved the valley, now occupied by the Minnesota River, at about 13,500 or 13,400 BP calibrated years ago (Faulkner et al. 2016). Thus, the River Warren, contrary to the claims of Randell Carlson, predated a puntative Younger Dryas Impact by several hundred years and cannot be related to it. Although undated, the megafloods that created the potholes within the St. Croix Valley, Interstate Park, Minnesota and Wisconsin are stratigraphically connected to Glacial Lake Epi-Duluth (11,900 BP calibrated years) and Glacial Lake Duluth (10,800 BP calibrated years) of Lake Superior(Breckenridge 2013). This suggests that the megafloods that produced these potholes likely significantly postdate any Younger Dryas Impact and are not a resulted as claimed by Graham Hancock. Finally, Meltwater Pulse 1A started about 14,700 BP calibrated years, which predates and cannot be associated with the proposed Younger Dryas Impact. This just shows how both Randell Carlson and Graham Hancock have been quite careless in doing their homework at least in terms of Quaternary geology and with each other are the blind leading the blind. Both are also lost in space, time, and fact when talking or writing about the Spokane Flood and Palouse Loess.
Breckenridge, A., 2013. An analysis of the late glacial lake levels within the western Lake Superior basin based on digital elevation models. Quaternary Research, 80(3), pp.383-395.
Curry, B.B., Hajic, E.R., Clark, J.A., Befus, K.M., Carrell, J.E. and Brown, S.E., 2014. The Kankakee Torrent and other large meltwater flooding events during the last deglaciation, Illinois, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews, 90, pp.22-36.
Faulkner, D.J., Larson, P.H., Jol, H.M., Running, G.L., Loope, H.M. and Goble, R.J., 2016. Autogenic incision and terrace formation resulting from abrupt late-glacial base-level fall, lower Chippewa River, Wisconsin, USA. Geomorphology, 266, pp.75-95.
Fleming, A.H., Farlow, J.O., Argast, A., Grammer, G.M. and Prezbindowski, D., 2018. The Maumee Megaflood and the geomorphology, environmental geology, and Silurian–Holocene history of the upper Wabash Valley and vicinity, north-central Indiana. Ancient Oceans, Orogenic Uplifts, and Glacial Ice: Geologic Crossroads in America’s Heartland, 51, p.259-337.
Thanks for the information and references! That’ll save me some time and may help me decide which parts of the book to rebut in the review. I’m thinking of how to structure so there’s a definite review portion and maybe a part II that has some rebuttal.
Your are welcome.
Below are a couple of other items from Before America.
Chapter 27 ++ Nebraska Rainwater Basins
Refutation of Nebraska Rainwater Basins being contemporaneous
with a hypothetical Younger Dryas Impact.
Maat, P.B. and Johnson, W.C., 1996. Thermoluminescence
and new 14C age estimates for late Quaternary loesses in
southwestern Nebraska. Geomorphology, 17(1-3), pp.115-128.
Muhs, D.R., E.A. Bettis III, J.N. Aleinikoff, J.P. McGeehin, J.
Beann, G. Skipp, B.D. Marshall, H.M. Roberts, W.C. Johnson,
and R. Benton. (2008) Origin and paleoclimatic significance
of late Quaternary loess in Nebraska: Evidence from
stratigraphy, chronology, sedimentology, and geochemistry.
Geological Society of America Bulletin. 120(11/12):1378–1407.
Hanson, P.R., Young, A.R., Larsen, A.K., Howard, L.M. and
Dillon, J.S., 2017. Surficial Geology of the Fairmont 7.5
Minute Quadrangle, Nebraska. Version 1.0 Conservation
and Survey Division (Nebraska Geological Survey), School
of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
scale 1:24,000, supplement. (OSL dates in supplement)
++ Chapter 26 ++ Spokane Flood
Refutation of single Spokane Flood caused by and
contemporaneous with Younger Dryas Impact
Balbas, A.M., Barth, A.M., Clark, P.U., Clark, J., Caffee, M.,
O’Connor, J., Baker, V.R., Konrad, K. and Bjornstad, B.,
2017. 10Be dating of late Pleistocene megafloods and
Cordilleran Ice Sheet retreat in the northwestern United
States. Geology, 45(7), pp. 583-586.
Benito, G. and O’Connor, J.E., 2003. Number and size of
last-glacial Missoula floods in the Columbia River valley
between the Pasco Basin, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.
Geological Society of America Bulletin, 115(5), pp.624-638.
Spencer, P. K., and M. A. Jaffee (2002) Pre-Late Wisconsinan
Glacial Outburst Floods in Southeastern Washington—The
Indirect Record. Washington Geology. vol. 30, no. 1/2, pp. 9-16.
America Before does not really dwell on ‘the floods’ that much – It was Magicians of the Gods that covered Randell Carlson’s work.
So – Question is, has anybody (accept for me) read the entire book from cover to cover?
“Cherry picking” from a 600 page book does not sound scientific.
It hasn’t been released in the U.S. as yet. Not until the 23rd.
I have a review copy, but I haven’t made a pseudoscientific tome my first priority.
Sorry for “Accept” rather than “Except”
“America Before does not really dwell on ‘the floods’ that much – It was Magicians of the Gods that covered Randell Carlson’s work.”
I talk about floods because they are within my area of expertise and Hancock uses them in part to explain the lack of evidence at least in his LondonReal Interview. Specifically, between 108:00 and 109:51 in “Graham Hancock – America Before: The Key To Earth’s Lost Civilization,” Graham Hancock stated:
“…but what I’m making in this book is a strong case not only that there was a Lost Civilization but that its home base was almost certainly in North. I can even narrow it down I would say we’re looking at the five hundred kilometers south of Minnesota in a in a strip right across right across North America. Area which was which was massively devastated in the floods of the end of the Ice Age if there was a culture that nothing would have been left of it would all be gone…”
Go see “Graham Hancock – America Before: The Key To Earth’s Lost Civilization”
It also personally provides me with a way to evaluate the quality, or lack of, in scholarship and reliability of material in “America Before” in which I am not an expert. If he and Randell Carlson incapable of getting their facts straight about the stuff, which I am familiar with, I really cannot trust their judgment about the other stuff.
Magicians of the Gods – Junk Geoscience
You mention “Magicians of the Gods.” It also contains lot of what my Quaternary geologist friends would recognize as junk science and refer to as “geopoetry.” My favorite examples are the haystack boulders in Boulder Park National Natural Landmark, Oregon.
In case of these haystack boulders, Hancock illustrates in Figure 17 and talks about ““Boulder Park,” Washington State. Huge boulders of 10,000 tons and more were carried here in icebergs by the cataclysmic floods at the end of the Ice Age.” The problem is that the haystack boulders in figure 17 were not transported by “cataclysmic floods.” Instead they are part of the well-mapped and well-documented glacial deposits of the Withrow Moraine that was deposited by Okanogan ice lobe. Furthermore, cosmogenic dating of these very boulders demonstrated that the ice lobes transported them there about 17,000 BP calibrated. These boulders were transported and dumped by glaciers thousands of years before any hypothetical Younger Dryas impact. If Hancock and Randell are incapable of getting their facts straight about the haystacks rocks, why should I trust their reliability on other matters? At least, they could mention that their opinions are not the only interpretations of the haystack rocks and discuss their opinions as if they were facts.
Fortunately, there is a well referenced Wikipedia article that discusses the haystack rocks with links to PDF files at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boulder_Park .
The same problem exists with the Palouse Loess. In “Magician of the Gods” at the end of Chapter 4, Randell Carlson pontificate at length about how the Palouse Loess fell from the sky as “A thick, black rain” as the likely result of “stuff wafted up there by the impact“ by the 12,800 BP calibrated Younger Dryas Impact event. Again, he and Hancock completely overlook numerous stimulated luminescence dates; well-defined calcrete paleosols and erosional unconformities; paleomagnetic studies; detrital zircon dating studies; and stratigraphic relationships that show that (1) the Palouse loess accumulated episodically starting over a million years ago and at the latest episodically between about 77,000 and 16,000 and it came solely by wind from Spokane Flood deposits in the Eureka Flats area. Thus, from Hancock and Randell Carlson, we get geopoetry about Palouse Loess being associated with the Younger Dryas Impact for which no discernable evidence or data are provided to support their opinions. Again, their opinions are seemingly presented as if they are proven facts.
The details of the mainstream science about the Palouse Loess can be found in Palouse Hills at – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palouse#Geology Fortunately, someone took the time to create a decent article with references. Some other related Wikipedia articles that are well documented with references at:
Scablands – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channeled_Scablands
Rainwater Basins – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainwater_Basin
Some of the references are linked to PDF files.
‘It hasn’t been released in the U.S. as yet. Not until the 23rd.’
I am looking forward to the forthcoming reviews by you and Jason Colavito almost as much as the final season of GOT.
Graham Hancock reminds me of Gavin Menzies, who claims that the Chinese circumnavigated the globe in the early 25th century.
From one video I watched, Hancock conjectured that the ‘lost’ North American civilization he claims existed was at a technological equivalent to 18th century Europe.
Well, in that case, we can use the European explorations as a template for what we should expect to find if a globe trotting North American civilization existed 13,000 years ago.
The European explorers brought things back to Europe from the Americas such as potatoes, tomatoes, maize and tobacco. The Spanish bought horses to the Americas. If some advanced seafaring civilization existed in the Americas 13,000 years ago, we should see evidence of plants and animals from all over the world popping up in North America during that time period. Does Hancock offer any evidence for this?
From what I understand, Greenland ice core samples contain soot from Roman era forges. If an advanced civilization existed 13,000 years ago in North America, we should find similar evidence in Greenland ice core samples from that time. Is there any?
An important foundation of early civilization in Eurasia was the domestication of animals. What domestic animals did Hancock’s alleged civilization possess? And if they relied on human labor, then they must have enslaved people from around the world to provide their labor force. What happened to the descendants of those slaves?
TThose are just a few questions I have for Hancock. Would love to hear from his fans who comment here. Interested to hear from you.
Missed a typo above. Meant early 15th century for alleged Chinese circumnavigation.
Sorry, I didn’t realise the release dates were different.
Although this only makes it more incredible that Hancock’s 600 page book seems to have been completely rubbished here on the basis of a summery 1264 words long and some kind of supernatural psychic ability to for know its contents.
It’s not a good idea to draw conclusion on face values.
It was only a few decades ago when the owners health food and herbal remedy shops where being labelled as “Witch Doctors” and “pseudo pharmacists” by the medical institutes – that was until we all started dropping dead of heart attacks at 40!
Health food and herbal remedy shops *are* essentially witch doctors and pseudoscience. To be clear. Something given to treat an ailment is either medicine or it isn’t. If it’s medic6, you should be following the advice of a genuine professional. If it’s not, why bother with it?
“Although this only makes it more incredible that Hancock’s 600 page book seems to have been completely rubbished here on the basis of a summery 1264 words long and some kind of supernatural psychic ability to for know its contents”
I have a copy of the book. My wife’s relatives live in Europe. So they bought a copy there and sent it to me as a present. That is how I know that Chapter 27 (Cape Fear) discusses the Saginaw Bay “crater,” Zamora’s paper, Rainwater Basins, and Chris Moore, among other things. I am a little unhappy with Colavito’s spoilers about Chapter 30 before I could red enough to get there.
Hancock is truly a hack of epic proportions. You don’t even have to be a scholar in history/anthropology to understand that his stories are to be considered as fiction and blatant BS.
America Before – Chapter 6 “Millennia unaccounted for”
Hancock is deep in the North Carolina Woods with Albert Goodyear – Professor of archaeology at North Carolina University. (Yes a Real Archaeologist!).
Goodyear is a world renowned expert on the pre-Clovis culture.
He discovered that humans had been in North Carolina at least 50,000 years ago.
His find was instantly discredited by his adversaries.
The site he discovered is called Topper.
Hancock asks whether his discovery was a “Ar-Ha!” moment.
Goodyear replies that, for him, it was more of an “Uh Oh” moment.
“Why” asks Hancock.
“Because it was me that was going to have to stand up at international conferences and defend what we found” Says Goodyear.
Hancock asks when he began to feel “the wrath of the Clovis first lobby”.
“Immediately” Replies Goodyear “It began with – We don’t believe in pre-Clovis, there is no such thing as a pre-culture”
This all sounds too familiar – If this is the attitude of its “experts” Archaeology cannot be considered a professional body – they treat their colleges in the same way as they do Hancock, instantly discrediting new findings before examining the data – I’m surprised we are allowed to believe we have any history at all!
And, yet, Goodyear is doing just fine. His office is just down the hall from a friend of mine’s. He has yet to publish anything for peer review on the Topper site, however. And he’s absolutely correct for being cautious. If he went in, willy-nilly, to every conference announcing extraordinary claims; his peers would take that as their opportunity for peer-review and demand equally extraordinary evidence.
To date, he still hasn’t worked out why these aren’t simply geofacts and not cultural artifacts. I read the same passages, and it was clear that Hancock reports the bits he likes. The bits that confirms his own preconceived conclusions (and I’ll demonstrate this to be true in my upcoming review). So it’s anyone’s guess (other than Hancock and Goodyear) as to what Hancock left out, if anything. It seems as though Goodyear is telling him that chert is just about impervious to anything other than man, but I live and work near some very famous chert deposits called the Dover Chert. We get large nodules too. And I’ve come across many, many examples of chert banged apart naturally. It’s very difficult to exclude from intentional. We no doubt have many “geofacts” in our curation simply because we weren’t sure. I’ve no doubt left behind many a flake or shatter piece simply because I wasn’t convinced. The issue of what’s a tool and what is not, isn’t nearly as simple as Hancock would like his cult followers to believe.
These were not natural (Geo-facts), laboratory analysis confirmed they were man made and displayed all the hall marks of the ‘bend break” technique. Also we are not talking about dates that were 20,000 years BP. Both the OSL and Carbon 14 dates came back at 50,000 years BP. – and why should this matter?
And another note: Chert cobbles don’t just break and form tools by themselves!
There is plenty of flint lying around here in the UK to know that.
Or, am I going to here that a bulldozer may have run them over 20 years ago and coincidentally mage arrow shaped flints? – LOL
If Albert Goodyear is so close to your pose, then I suggest you ask him a simple question – why he is so frank with Hancock?
I’m also sure that later in the thread Myself, Hancock and Goodyear will be rubbished by Mr Ford – Who seems to troll this site.
I have no intention to insult anybody here, but – If the Clovis first model (as you have stated) was recognised as being inaccurate, and apparently well before Hancock joined the party, then the guys who ran around the Americas with flint tools, at least 20,000 years before the ‘Clovis first’ date, MUST have been a “Lost Civilisation” to historians and archaeologists – its that simple, you apparently knew yourselves!
Hancock also devotes a large section of ‘America Before’ to the huge, astrologically aligned archaeological footprints of ancient structures now visible in the Amazon region due to deforestation in the last few years – But I bet we all knew about those in 1975 as well?
Please, tell us more about the laboratory analysis that provided the confirmation. And what lab methods/equipment were used to show “arrow shaped flints.”
While you’re at it, tell us a little about bend-break patterns and how they’re created. Specifically, the mathematical vectors of force and the amount of it required.
It all sounds so sciencey doesn’t it?
You say “arrow shaped” but even Hancock understands this isn’t the case for the earliest bits that Goodyear is saying is culturally created. From that chapter:
I’ve seen the small bits of chert he and others are saying are tools. I’m not convinced. Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. There just isn’t the data to conclude that they even *could* be at this point. If he found some more obvious pieces where there’s no question that the edges were worked, then it would be far more likely. I think he’s absolutely right to be looking. So do most archaeologists I know. In fact, I can’t think of a single archaeologist that I know personally who thinks he shouldn’t be working the Topper site.
And, if my words read as though I’m a little pissed off, it’s because I am. Hancock clearly has his cult following eating out of his hand when it comes to accepting his overall straw man, bullshit argument that archaeologists don’t want to find new things; that we don’t want our currently accepted conclusions overturn or even improved upon. He says it over and over in his 500+ page rant. But, in spite of it all, we archaeologists always consider any conclusion–any archaeological and scientific conclusion–to be provisional.
But, what pisses him off most is that we simply won’t let him in the club with his bullshit conclusions. He incorrectly bitches like a small child about being called a pseudoscientist. But that’s more of him trying to control the narrative when it comes to his own reputation. Because if you Google the term “pseudoarchaeology” his face is right next to von Daniken’s on the very first link. The word “pseudoarchaeology” doesn’t seem to be in his book of pseudoarchaeology. Which is ironic.
So he creates a tome of things he finds interesting about archaeology, marvels at the advances of archaeology while at the same time deriding the same profession (as you just did above –and, yeah, I took offense, fuck you very much. But I’ll get past it after another bourbon
). And he cites a bunch of wonderful science. And he gets a ton of shit right.
But he picks and chooses what it is he wants to present (as I’ll point out in my final review). His hope is to get archaeologists arguing with his cult following (as we’re doing now) about things like the Topper site and the Cerutti site.. and so on.
And that we’ll be so busy tilting these windmills that we’ll miss the big, naked, emperor of an elephant in the room (mixed metaphors intentional): his idea that there was a magical ancient civilization (of probably white people–but haven’t got that far yet) that had “high technology” (whatever that is) and spread the good news all over the world to cultures thousands of both years and miles apart. Without leaving a trace.
In the end, Hancock’s logic is: well, if archaeologists were wrong about clovis, then they’re also wrong about my magic civilization from Pleiades (or wherever.. they’re magic so they can be from anywhere).
OK – I will reply
But absolutely shocked and following the coverage on the Notre-Dame fire.
I’m sure we can agree here.
Definitely. It’s an absolutely awful turn of events. I just caught a news item about it. I knew the cathedral was in need of nearly $200 million worth of renovations, but still.. this is a terrible thing to happen.
Woke up relieved to see that the Towers, vaulting and stone structure of Notre-dame seem to be mainly intact. Although it will we a while until we see any structural survey results. I also fear for the main pipe Organ.
I visited the Cathedral on a beautiful Autumn day in 2000 and it is truly an impressive piece of architecture, inside and out. Hopefully we will see it reconstructed without any clever 21st additions.
I know the thread is not intended for this subject, but maybe a pause for thought as we view this picture..
In Hancock’s own words:
“My first investigation of an ancient mystery was “The Sign and the Seal: A Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant,” which I began to research seriously in 1987, shortly after getting into cannabis…things changed from 1992 onward when I began to work on my next non-fiction historical mystery “Fingerprints of the Gods.” This was when I began to smoke cannabis all day long and to experiment with writing while I was stoned. I liked the result and it soon became my practice to light up my first joint (of pipe if it was hash) the moment I sat down at my desk in the morning and then just to carry on smoking all day long until I went to bed often in the small hours of the morning. This remained my habit thereafter. Smoking continuously from morning to night, whether writing or not, and gradually seeking out stronger and stronger strains of the herb.”
Hancock is a disgrace to those of us who seek true enlightenment through moderate ritual use of what Mother Earth has provided us in the form of sacred herb.
I’m not, and never have been the user of any narcotic substance stronger than caffeine.
Although I have known people who are, I also understand that the regular use of cannabis can quickly become habitual and form a part of everyday life.
Hancock freely admits he had a problem with the drug, he also states that he managed to deal with his addiction after a series of DMT sessions in the form of Ayahuasca.
To some, this may sound ludicrous, but it is widely accepted amongst scientists that DMT can be of huge benefit in the treatment of addiction and post traumatic stress disorder.
Hancock also admits that his habit did damage to his family life and made him paranoid and short tempered – this he confronted and rectified.
Hancock also admits returning to cannabis now and then, but purely recreational.
I think we should all accept that allowing ourselves to become addicted or dependant on substances like tobacco and cannabis is not uncommon and does not make us a disgrace – its purely the end result of using the drug regularly.
Also it is common for all users to seek stronger strains of a drug as regular use requires higher doses to acquire the desired effect.
“Hancock is a disgrace to those of us who seek true enlightenment through moderate ritual use of what Mother Earth has provided us in the form of sacred herb”
This comment is simply ridiculous, surely Hancock is a grown adult and able to make his own decisions? I’m sure he had no personal affect on yourself and your quest for drug induced “enlightenment”
Mother Earth has not printed dosage labels on cannabis plants, it is our society who tell us what we can and cant do.
If this herb is “Sacred” as you suggest, then why should you be the one to make observations and label some of its users as a disgrace?
Also could you please explain who “those of us” are.
In other words, Hancock is, in the parlance of my youth, a pothead to the max who left his eggs frying in the skillet way too long. His career in writing pseudoscience nonsense corresponds almost perfectly with his career of rising drug abuse. What a coincidence, eh? If he wants to engage in what is akin to a multi-decade Rastafarian reasoning session then that is his business. But expecting the scholarly community to take his BS seriously? Not gonna happen.
As for the most recent phase of the continuing Clovis First conspiracy nonsense here. Dillehay did quite well at the University of Kentucky during the early years of his work at Monte Verde. He ultimately ended up in a much much better faculty position at Vanderbuilt University in no small part because of his work on pre-Clovis. As Carl noted, Adovasio has done quite well for himself as well. These are the two guys whose careers should have been most likely to have ended up in the dumpster by circa-1980 if fringe claims were true.
Again, for the hardheads, Clovis first was a model supported by the existing evidence of the time (roughly late 30s to late 70s). Yes there were SOME hardcore skeptics who demanded hardcore evidence when research significantly challenging the model started to emerge in the late 70s. But trying to use that process to support the utter BS promoted by the likes of Hancock comes across as utterly childish. But then again, childish is an apt description for some of the recent comments here that demonstrate significant ignorance of lithic analysis, geology, etc.
I may need a bit of wacky tobacky myself when it comes time too read the responses to Carl’s official review of Hancock’s latest masterpiece.
I’m sorry but the main body of Archaeology did attempt to bury new discoveries connected with Clovis first.
These days with the Internet, you cant hide this disgraceful truth.
Do not read any further if you want to hide from the real view that Dillehay has on this topic.
“The consequences for Cinq-Mars’ discovery were severe.
At conferences, audiences paid little heed to his presentations, giving short shrift to the evidence. Other researchers listened politely, then questioned his competence. The result was always the same. ‘When Jacques proposed [that Bluefish Caves was] 24,000 [years old], it was not accepted,’ says William Josie, director of natural resources at the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow. In his office at the Canadian Museum of History, Cinq-Mars fumed at the wall of closed minds. Funding for his Bluefish work grew scarce. His fieldwork eventually sputtered and died.
Did the intense criticism of pre-Clovis sites produce a chilling effect, stifling new ideas and hobbling the search for early sites? Tom Dillehay, an archaeologist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and the principal investigator at the Chilean site of Monte Verde, thinks the answer is clear. The scientific atmosphere, recalls Dillehay, was “clearly toxic and clearly impeded science.”
And, therefore, ESP is real?
Just finished reading the article and this comment thread. Coming in as an outsider and layman I feel I have a valuable perspective on the matter, after all isn’t the purpose of these works (this rebuttal article/ Hancocks works) meant to educate and inform people like me who lack the requisite knowledge/skills/time to truly understand the subject matter?
First of all I’m somewhat disappointed in the vitriol directed towards Hancock and his writing, it’s unneccesary and only strengthens his argument that there is a mainstream block trying to stifle fringe voices. I also find it interesting how you (Carl) simultaneously call him a pseudoscientific nobody not even know by most archeologists whilst also being a best selling author in your field? Doesn’t that demonstrate a huge failure by archeologists as educators to properly inform the public if their attention is stolen by a “fringe wackjobs”?
What I can say about Hancock, whether he is accuarate or not is that he has ignited a passion for history which I didn’t have previously, I suspect that is true of many people. The ideas he presents are novel and fascinating, before I was introduced to his work I would never have heard about the younger dryas impact hypothesis, I would never have known how incredible Gobekli Tepe is. It’s the reason I’m on this site as I wanted to see the viewpoints of others. And what I’ve seen here is exactly what I’ve been led to expect, that the mainstream are arrogant, derisive and dismissive. Carl talks about writing a rebuttal to a book he hasn’t even read!
Whatever you guys think about Hancock he is a valuable advertising tool for your field. I think you’re missing a huge opportunity to bring a higher profile to archeology in general by not meaningfully engaging with him, regardless of how you view him as a scientist.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope its been useful as an outsider viewpoint, I’ll be watching this thread so feel free to ask me anything 🙂
I’m not entirely sure I understood what you’re comment is here, but I will say that I refer to many of his positions and conclusions as pseudoscientific–more accurately, pseudoarchaeological–because they aren’t premises and conclusions arrived at using scientific methods. Hancock begins with a conclusion then sorts through whatever science or fringe science (often completely fake science) agrees with him. He largely ignores those data which are not in agreement.
Just a couple points here: 1) this is something I disclose at the outset of the article and point out that I’m reviewing Hancock’s promotional material that he, himself, put on his own website. 2) I have, since, read the book and posted a review that you might find worth reading.
I did, however, take your points to heart about the perceived vitriol strengthening Hancock’s position that the real archaeologists are out to get him. That’s the sort of feedback that may influence my future critiques of him and others.
Thanks for reading!
Carl: I’m not entirely sure I understood what you’re comment is here, but I will say that I refer to many of his positions and conclusions as pseudoscientific–more accurately, pseudoarchaeological–because they aren’t premises and conclusions arrived at using scientific methods. Hancock begins with a conclusion then sorts through whatever science or fringe science (often completely fake science) agrees with him. He largely ignores those data which are not in agreement.
The point is I was trying to communicate here is that you’ve presented two conflicting statements 1) He is unknown by the majority of acrheologists in academia 2) He is a best selling author in that same field. How can he be both at the same time? I had no problem with the concept of pseudoscience or you calling him pseudo-archeological. I would be interested in any areas where you think he’s used fake science. I see him as conscientious and honest even if he’s drawn grand conclusions/ extrapolated from minimal evidence.
Just a couple points here: 1) this is something I disclose at the outset of the article and point out that I’m reviewing Hancock’s promotional material that he, himself, put on his own website. 2) I have, since, read the book and posted a review that you might find worth reading.
My concern was with your quote here: Thanks for the information and references! That’ll save me some time and may help me decide which parts of the book to rebut in the review. I’m thinking of how to structure so there’s a definite review portion and maybe a part II that has some rebuttal.
Might be me misinterpreting but that comment suggests that you’re commited to rebutting the information before you’ve read it. Critique and skepticism are healthy and necessary in science but going in with the view that the information is incorrect to start with isn’t. I think there’s a disconnect between academia and the general public, you immediately dismiss him (maybe rightfully so due to poor scientific writing in the past on Hancocks part) but to an outsider it appears as if you’re not even bothering to consider his ideas. I will read the full article later so apologies if that covers something I’ve asked about.
Thanks for responding. Hopefully this correspondence will help others in a similar boat to me :).
Ah! Yes. I don’t think I said both (or maybe even either) in the Pre-Review article, but I have echoed some semblance of both sentiments. And I definitely see how it’s contradictory on the face. I stand by both statements, but I’m certainly willing to clarify.
1) Most archaeologists either don’t know of Hancock’s work. He just isn’t on their radar. It’s nothing disrespectful or pejorative, they’re just too busy doing their own thing. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of archaeologists who aren’t aware of him. But I think the majority simply are not. I concede, however, that this isn’t a statistically scientific conclusion. It’s just based on my personal experiences speaking with archaeologists about the dangers of pseudoarchaeology to the profession. There are also archaeologists that recognize his name but really no nothing about his work other than maybe, “isn’t he one of those fringe guys?”
2) He’s definitely a best selling author. And I’ve said, “go to amazon and search for best sellers under archaeology” and his books pop up first.” (or something very close to that). But archaeologists aren’t Hancock’s audience or consumer. He’s a best seller *in spite* of archaeologists, which I often argue within our profession is problematic (I argue that *we* should be best selling authors in our own industry).
I also get what you’re saying about “rebutting before reading,” but, again, I was going off of Hancock’s promotional material which I was assuming truly related to his book as he stated. These were claims and claims can be evaluated on their own merit. But you have a fair point because the book was definitely different than I expected. There were things I agreed with and things I didn’t. I knew what Hancock’s conclusions were in the book before it was released because he made no secret of them. But, in retrospect, maybe I should have been more clear about this article being a “pre-review” that is also making some “predictions” based on Hancock’s promotional materials and that the actual text of the book may invalidate the whole thing.
I think, by and large, the pre-review and predictions held up though.
Still, your counter-critique is well-received and I hope to learn from the experience! Thanks!
Why not watch this …
What would I gain?
One matter to keep in mind is that the Glacial River Warren flood that Hancock and Randall always talk about started about 13,500 calibrated years ago, which predates the 12,900 calibrated years ago date of the hypothesized Younger Dryas Impact. Similarly, the St. Croix River potholes, which they are equally fond of date to about 10,800 calibrated years ago, which greatly postdates the date of the hypothesized Younger Dryas Impact. For either event to have been caused by the Younger they need to be contemporaneous, which they are not.
In a ddition, there are paleo-Finger Lakes, which Hancock and Randall claim to have been created by Younger Dryas impact flooding. There are paleo-Finger Lakes that date to 60,000 calendar years ago (OSL dating). The modern Finger Lakes are as old as 17,700 calibrated years ago, which also predates the 12,900 calibrated years ago date of the hypothesized Younger Dryas Impact. One reason geologists typically do not take Hancock and Randall seriously is that they are completely lost in time by claiming that the Younger Dryas impact caused megafloods thousands of years before and after it is argued to have occurred.
I seriously doubt that Younger Dryas impact was capable of time-traveling like a person sees in Star Trex. 🙂
A. Glacial River Warren
2. Gran, K.B., Finnegan, N., Johnson, A.L., Belmont, P., Wittkop, C. and Rittenour, T., 2013. Landscape evolution, valley excavation, and terrace development following abrupt postglacial base-level fall. Bulletin, 125(11-12), pp.1851-1864
3. Matsch, CL, 1983, River Warren, the southern outlet of Lake Agassiz, in Teller, J.T. and Clayton, L., eds., Glacial Lake Agassiz: Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 26, p. 232–244
B. Interstate Park, Wisconsin – Minnesota (potholes)
C. Finger Lakes
1. Mullins, H. T., Hinchey, E. J.,Wellner, R.W., Stephens, D. B., Anderson,W. T., Jr., Dwyer, T. R., and Hine, A. C., 1996, Seismic stratigraphy of the Finger Lakes: A continental record of Heinrich event H-1 and Laurentide ice sheet instability, in Mullins, H. T., and Eyles, N., eds., Subsurface Geologic Investigations of New York
Finger Lakes: Implications for Late Quaternary Deglaciation and Environmental Change: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America Special Paper 311.
2. Kozlowski, A. L., Bird, Brian, Mahan, Shannon, Feranec, Robert, Teal, Chelsea, and Leone, James, 2018, Glacial Lake Nanette–a middle Wisconsin (MIS 4 – 3) proglacial lake in the Cayuga Basin, in Thorleifson, L. H., ed., Geologic Mapping Forum 2018 abstracts: Minnesota Geological Survey Open-File Report 18-1, p. 41.
I actually cannot believe how hypocritical your comments are, Carl.
You’ve been presented with evidence that these are not Hancock’s claims directly and without even reading hte book you’ve made your conclusions. If a point as clear and concise as a direct claim either made or not by a specific person – can’t be parsed in your mind beyond your pre-conceived conclusion not much else should be taken seriously.
You then claimed to be ‘debating Hancock. Right here”. On your own comments section where he is not present and you admit to having not actually read the work you’re ‘critiquing’. Are you delusional?
P.S had you read any of his work on this particular section of his theories you’d know he has a thorough theory on where to find the remains of the ‘ancient civilization/s’ and has previously been wayyyyyy ahead of the curve in producing evidence for, at the very least, older chapters in current theories of civilization. This is just….embarrassingly hubristic.
To be clear, he hasn’t any theories. He has a few hypotheses, some of which he share with some legitimate scientists, some of which he’s formulated on his own. Go read my actual review. Let me know then if you’re still embarrassed for my hubris.
For a start I wouldn’t take Wiki as a sound reference. Also these figures are pretty ruff.
Gut the data I read on Wiki suggests different to your addition above.
1. Glacial River Warren:
“Glacial River Warren, also known as River Warren, was a prehistoric river that drained Lake Agassiz in central North America between about 13,500 and 10,650 BP calibrated years ago.”
2. Interstate Park, Wisconsin – Minnesota (potholes):
“The region of Interstate Park was deglaciated sometime between about 19,000 and 14,000 BP calibrated (16,000 and 12,000 14C uncalibrated). During this time, the Superior Lobe had retreated from the St. Croix Moraine northeastward to the Thompson Moraine. Between 14,000 and 11,500 BP calibrated (12,000 and 10,000 14C uncalibrated), an extensive set of ice marginal channels drained meltwater from the Thompson Moraine by way of the Brule channel into the newly formed St. Croix River.
It was during the regional retreat of the Lake Superior Lobe and glacial meltwater flow from deglaciation and glacial Lake Nemadji and Lake Duluth caused the entrenchment of the St. Croix River and the formation of the deep gorge of the St. Croix River of the St. Croix River valley and its famous potholes occurred. In and surrounding Polk County, Minnesoata, geomorphic and stratigraphic relationships evidence exists for at least two drainage events.”
Both Sources Wikipedia.
If nothing else, this tread is getting Carl’s site up on the Google search ratings. – Nearly 100 comments!
This may be of interest here…
Source : University of California – Santa Barbara
Major cosmic impact 12,800 years ago
Geologic and paleontological evidence unearthed in southern Chile supports the theory that a major cosmic impact event occurred approximately 12,800 years ago…
A note for this thread:
Now the book is released Carls opinion is…
“There is much within America Before that I can actually agree with. And there is much that I could “debunk” in this book if I cared to. ”
So, Carl agrees with Hancock about “much” Now – this seems like a convinient u-turn after realising that to dissagree would make you the “fringe” here .
No offence intended
Actually, I think this is a position consistent with my accusation of Hancock’s propensity to cherry-pick science to suit his needs. The stuff I agree with isn’t Hancock’s own research or work. It’s the work of others he’s parroting.
But “Parroting” others and using their data is the bases to all sciences – its invaluable reference. Its helps us move on to new discoveries.
One thing I’ll say for Hancock (which must be agreeable) is that he goes and has a look for himself and meets the “Mainstream ” guys. I’ve read allot of other investigative reports where the author has not left his office whilst writing them – relying only on information from the internet reach conclusions.
Not at all. One builds off the data of peers and prior colleagues. If all one does is “parrot” them, what’s the point? In addition, when science researchers cite previous or current research in the field (this is called the “literature review” section of any good work), they don’t simply cite that data which are helpful to their position. They explore all data related, especially–ESPECIALLY–that which are contrary or opposed to a working hypothesis.
There’s not much of that with Hancock. But then, “he’s just a journalist…” Though, I don’t know many journalists who are trying to convince readers that there was a “lost civilization” with wonderful skills in ESP and telekinesis that are responsible for all the cool stuff Native Americans and Egyptians did.
The key to all of this – and the blog writer is a saint – is that we have absolutely nothing from this ‘invisible civilization’. Now all previously found civilizations left immense amounts of archaeological data. This one – not a thing.
Hancock’s’ reported greatest comment is this one: Could readers of the book verify it?
“My speculation, which I will not attempt to prove here or to support with evidence but merely present for consideration, is that the advanced civilization I see evolving in North America during the Ice Age had transcended leverage and mechanical advantage and learned to manipulate matter and energy by deploying powers of consciousness that we have not yet begun to tap.”
Yep he doesn’t have any evidence for said civilization – yet he will insist his ‘invisible civilization’ MUST exist!
Hancock showed the paucity of his intellect in that train wtreck “Fingerprints of the Gods.” I was greatly amused to read from Richard the following: : “I still regard ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ as a good piece of work. OK it is flawed in places and Graham has changed his views on the cause of the ‘Cataclysmic’ Event at the end of the Ice age, but it does still hold a place on the historical bookshelf. It is full of undisputable facts as well as justified speculation.”
Oh, it’s a “piece of work” alright.
Hancock is a lazy researcher with a talent for the written word. He lost me permanently in F.O.G. with his many idiotic claims therein. You can refute the entire book in three words: Flash. Frozen. Mammoths.
No need to even go into the stupidity behind glomming onto EVD’s ridiculous Pakal as a spacefarer.
Hey Carl, it is very low of you to block me on Facebook. I did not insult you in any form of shape. You call yourself an archaeologist, as in a scientist, but you’re not. A real scientist debates with facts not opinions. I gave you so many facts and you couldn’t face them.
Al, I really don’t even know who you are. I generally don’t block people on Facebook at all. Though I do get blocked quite a bit.
Aren’t you the owner of the account/page
Oh.. ha. You’re the guy with silly Atlantis stuff. Yeah, I clicked “hide” because it was waaaay off topic.
I’ve got a post or two around here talking about Atlantis. Feel free to comment there if you like.
To be fair, you did call me an “moron.” My feelings were just hurt. Devastated even. Kept me awake for days.
Actually, as I looked, it wasn’t way off topic for that particular thread. It was just getting ugly on my public-facing page so I hid it. That page is mostly lay-folk who are just interested in archaeology news and I saw no good coming from leaving it.
First of all you said you didn’t know who I was. Now you’re saying you’re devastated by my comments. Then I was off topic and again I was on topic but offensive. Make up your mind. As for the silly Atlantis ideas you’re not in the position to make that assessment. You’re ignorant on the subject. I can read the story in Ancient Greek. You haven’t bothered to at least read the English version. I never offended you, quite the contrary. You posted something claiming that Atlantis was just an allegory by Plato based on your opinion. I replied by posting factual proof. Plutarch was one of them. You are just dismissive of evidence. That’s unscientific. You are judging Hancock on his handling of certain hypothesis and his dismissive behavior towards undisputed archaeological evidence. Unfortunately, you’re acting the same way. Archaeology is one of the most beautiful and incredible branches of science and to ignore it or dismiss it as Hancock is doing it’s just plain wrong. Having said that archaeologists shouldn’t act the same way. You should be open minded to all new ideas and try to prove or dismiss them only by using factual data. There is no room for personal attacks and name calling in science. If you’re wrong on something and evidence presents itself, you become the bigger man and accepted. I made a huge mistake once and accepted a date of Atlantis existence about 12 thousand years ago. Graham Hancock’s all life work is based on that date which was allegedly provided by Plato for the existence of Atlantis. For years I struggled on that point as to accept that date would mean that archaeology got everything wrong. Anyway, after years of studying plato’s Work I realized that he was saying 1,900 before 600 B.C which brings the date of distraction at 2,500 B.C which fits perfectly with the timeline given by archaeology. In 2,500 B.C all megalithic culture all over Europe just ceases to exist (Stonehenge, pyramids, Maltese temple builders) think about it. Anyway, I thought I was talking to a fellow scientist, my mistake.
I honestly didn’t know who you were until you clarified. And then I was being facetious.
There are many different ways you can inerpret the date of the destruction of Atlantis given by Plato.
Also the cronoligy used to get there:
In the Timaeus dialogue, Plato did not mention any precise date when Atlantis was supposed to exist. Dating of the events in the Critias dialogue is in line with the data given in the Timaeus dialogue, with the exception of the precise dating of the war between Atlantis and Athens. Only the paragraph inserted within the introduction to the text on Atlantis in the Critias dialogue contains a precise numerical datum on when did the war between Athens and Atlantis take place (9000 years before the Socrates’ dialogue with Critias).
Im not sure Hancock would be too upset if the Plato date is no longer of value to him, he only uses it as abit of extra amunition.
| there are many ways to interpret Plato’s date for the existence of Atlantis?!|
You must be joking, right? He gives you an exact date which is “enakis xilias” which translate as 900 thousand years. In ancient greek the numbers are read from right to left, as in 12 would be two and ten. So the right number is read first and then the next number on the left. So the number 900 thousand is read as 1900. This is the date for the war between greece and Atlantis.a year later Atlantis disappears. So Atlantis existed for few generations before that, at most 2-3 K years in total. Hancock’s all theory is that there was a civilization that was destroyed 12 thousand years ago. Again there is only one correct way to interpret Platos date, read it in Ancient Greek. Then, there are many other stupid ways, the way of conspiracy and ancient astronaut theories.
Certaily have some scientists here!
I will inform the British museum that they have been worong for 200 years.
So the Herodotus account for the building of the Great Pyramid must be around 1976 AD?
How did you come up with that date?
The dates are proven scientifically by archaeology to be around 2500 B.C for the great ones. And they stopped being build at around that time. When carbon dating says 2,500 B.C you take that to the bank. They might make an error of at most 2 centuries but not by thousand of years. As far as The date of Atlantis goes, unfortunately, we don’t have any archaeological evidence to carbon date so we rely on historical sources, in our case Egyptian info through Solon and Plato.
@Al – It’s not worth the argument, and I don’t have the time. I suggest that you really study some more ancient Greek and then inform the British Museum that they have been wrong on Plato’s scripts for centuries.
British museum? Who the fuck made the British the authorities on Atlantis? I am Greek my friend, i speak the language, not them. As for not worth the time to argue with me on the subject, I totally agree – Who has the time to argue with a person that supports Graham Hancock’s none sense theories about ice age advanced civilizations.
Im no stranger to Greece, I spent 5 years on Rhodes researching the medieval Castle and as a result I have allot of Greek friends – but you are wrong -sorry
Al vs Richard. This is classic.
And however toxic Dillehay feels that things may have been back in the day, it doesn’t change the fact that he has made a fine out of the topic and people like Carl and I never experienced Clovis First being taught as dogma in grad school back in the day. Clovis First remains a fringe strawman, sorry.
The British Museum saved the Elgin Marbles from a pile of rubble while your compatriots were sitting around in on plastic lawn chairs, wearing vests and shouting at passing women.
For al you know England WAS Atlantis before the flood!,,:)
@Richard. If you know many greek people then that makes you an expert in Atlantis.
@Nick. Plastics chairs were invented like 100 years ago and the marbles were stolen, I mean “Saved” by the British like 200 years ago. Just an observation. Anyway, if British saved them why don’t they return them? Why made them rubbles? Wasn’t the British and other conquering empires who destroyed them. As for your last comments about England being Atlantis where do I begin. So Atlantis was in England and made war with greeks in Athens? Do you know how far that is?
Ok then explain this passage”
facing the country which is now called the region of Gades in that part of the world, he gave the name which in the Hellenic language is Eumelus, in the language of the country which is named after him”