Pre-Review of ‘America Before’-Graham Hancock’s New Pseudoscience

Image via Wikicommons

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.

Hancock’s Claims

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.

Graham Hancock's new book 'America Before' is due out. Here's a pre-review based on promised content via his webiste.
Artist’s rendering of a mastodon via Wikicommons

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.

Hyperbolic Pseudoscience

Hancock proclaims:

“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.

About Carl Feagans 384 Articles
Professional archaeologist that currently works for the United States Forest Service at the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. I'm also a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army and spent another 10 years doing adventure programming with at-risk teens before earning my master's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington.

49 Comments

  1. Richard wrote,

    “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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Carl Feagans:
    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:

      “What quickly became clear, which Al willingly concedes, was that they were, without exception, extremely simple and generally quite small, with unifacial flake tools such as burins and small blades predominating.”

      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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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..
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Notre_Dame_Cathedral_pipe_organ.jpg

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

    Vlad Writes..

    “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.

  9. Vlad,
    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.

  10. 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.

    Example…

    The Smithsonian:

    “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.”

  11. Hi guys,

    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 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?

      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.

      Carl talks about writing a rebuttal to a book he hasn’t even read!

      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!

  12. 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.

    Carl:
    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 :).

    • 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?

      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!

  13. Why not watch this …

  14. 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
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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)
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Park

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacial_River_Warren
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Park

    If nothing else, this tread is getting Carl’s site up on the Google search ratings. – Nearly 100 comments!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    • But “Parroting” others and using their data is the bases to all sciences – its invaluable reference. Its helps us move on to new discoveries.

      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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    • 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.

      I did not insult you in any form of shape

      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.

  22. 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.

    • 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.

      I honestly didn’t know who you were until you clarified. And then I was being facetious.

  23. 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.

  24. @Richard .
    | 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.

  25. 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.

  26. @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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. Hi Al.

    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!,,:)

  31. @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”

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