The Pseudoarchaeology of America Before: A Review

America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization

  • Hancock, Graham
  • St. Martin’s Press
  • Released April 23, 2019 (U.S.)
  • 592 pages
  • $29.99
    ISBN: 978-1-250-15373-9

I received Graham Hancock’s new book in the mail from the publisher to review a little under a week ago as I write this review. I reached out to St. Martin’s Press back in February and offered to review it and, although I received a polite response indicating that I’d be considered, I was somewhat surprised to actually receive it just days ago, nearly a week ahead of its official release date in the United States (it’s been available in the UK for weeks now). My surprise was that the publisher either didn’t vet my previous reviews of pseudoarchaeology or that they did and were willing to take a chance anyway.

Having provided the above disclosure, let me say that though I didn’t spend money on the book, I will make an effort not to be swayed by the “gift.”

If you Google the word “pseudoarchaeology” then click the first link, which is probably to Wikipedia, Graham Hancock’s photograph is displayed prominently at the top of that page. If you read this review to its completion, you’ll understand why.

The Book

The book itself is thick. Weighing in at nearly 600 pages, it has 30 chapters broken down into 8 parts. That said, it reads very well. It isn’t dense by any means and, though Hancock references quite a bit if real science, it isn’t overloaded with jargon or technobabble. In fact, Hancock’s writing style is generally very good. I found myself annoyed at some of his writing habits (“the reader will recall…,” etc.) but I wouldn’t expect this to bother most others. For the average reader who isn’t scientifically inclined, Hancock does a better than average job explaining concepts. At least to the extent that he actually understands them.

Hancock begins the book with sections discussing the Serpent Mound in Ohio, the Cerutti Mastodon site in California, ancient DNA (aDNA), and earthworks and dirt in South America. Early on, he begins his love-hate relationship with archaeologists as a theme that continues as an undercurrent or sub-plot to his overall narrative. On one hand, he’s clearly enamored with archaeologists and the work that’s been done that suits his own ideas. On the other, however, he’s clearly upset that archaeologists refuse to let him in the club—to give equal deference to these ideas. If you stick to the end of this review, you’ll understand why.

Brother, can you paradigm?

The overall theme develops slowly. Hancock simmers the pot as he slowly introduces each premise he believes leads up to it. But the sub-theme is right there in our face from chapter to chapter: archaeologists aren’t to be trusted because they are resistant to “new paradigms.”

He’s immediately on the offensive and continues through to the end, accusing archaeologists and archaeology as being an institution that doesn’t want change and will ruin careers to see to it that none of it happens. The dead horse he beats over and over is the Clovis first hypothesis. That there were people prior to Clovis is something he says, “archaeologists have recently been dragged kicking and screaming to accept.” As example, he mentions the work of Jacques Cinq-Mars, who insisted years ago that he was finding pre-Clovis materials at Bluefish Caves in Alaska.

“As a result of such attitudes, funding drained away and Cinq-Mars had to stop his work, only to be proved correct, many years later, by a new scientific study…”

Hancock, p.58

I can’t speak for Cinq-Mars and the extent to which his career was affected by the Clovis-first hypothesis. But, then, neither can Hancock. Archaeologists are people. Some people excel in their jobs; others not so much. The Clovis-first “paradigm” as the fringe are so fond of saying (“paradigm” is a sciencey sounding word) went out of fashion decades ago. Are there still some old-timers clinging to it? Perhaps. But there are some very well-to-do archaeologists who were on the cusp of discovering pre-Clovis back when it was made a part of history.

Clovis point dating to 11500-9000 BCE from Sevier Co., UT. Photo by Picasa.

Here’s how it works: scientists obtain data. That data are analyzed and more data are obtained based on new research questions… and so on. Eventually, a provisional conclusion is arrived at—usually when the data reach some sort of plateau or some overriding reason exists to think the data aren’t likely to change. For the Clovis-first hypothesis (it was always a hypothesis more than a “paradigm”), older sites were just not yet found. And once they started to show up, there was evidence that peopling North America had to occur after 13,000 years ago due to the small window of opportunity provided by an “ice-free corridor” and lowered sea-levels that created a land-bridge across the Bearing Sea.

Archaeologists, rightly demanded strong evidence before accepting a pre-Clovis hypothesis. This, they demanded of themselves. And they met the challenge. All conclusions in archaeology, as with any science, are provisional. They’re waiting sufficient evidence to either support or revise them as conclusions. Sometimes they’re completely scrapped and something very new takes its place. In the case of Clovis-first, some would say the revision is small. The Clovis culture still exists in the archaeological record. Everything that was found of them is still present. But we now know that there existed cultures before this technology came about. Let’s not forget, “Clovis” describes the technology not the societal norms, kinships, and beliefs of the various peoples that made use of it.

The alternative would have been to simply accept a new hypothesis as a provisional conclusion, willy-nilly and without sufficient evidence. Of course, all would have turned out fine. Pre-Clovis is the correct way to think. But such a slippery-slope of letting just any-old hypothesis in as a provisional conclusion just won’t work. If it wasn’t hard to change a provisional conclusion for a new one, where would the line be drawn? At Vikings in Minnesota? At “bigfoot?” The nephilim? The Annunaki? Polka-dotted unicorns that breathe fire and traded corn with China 25,000 years ago?

Chances are, I lost the average fan of Graham Hancock somewhere between “Vikings” and the “unicorns.” But who gets to draw that line. Hancock would like it to include his own idea. Let’s press on to see why it’s a bad one.

Guilt By Association

I won’t spend any time on the Cerutti Mastodon site here. It has its own problems, but one of them is now Graham Hancock. I’ve written on this in the past and may again soon. But I found it interesting that Tom Deméré initially declined to meet with Hancock, then did so with what seemed to be open arms if Hancock’s account is to be believed. It’s interesting because Hancock mentions later in his book that “Egyptologists avoid me” and spends several pages discussing how different factions of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis were upset that he incorporated each other’s’ material. Apparently a video of Hancock’s was posted to an anti-pseudoscience website and one of the scientists “achieved some unwanted negative-celebrity among his colleagues. He was challenged about the wisdom of hosting [Hancock] and suffered the indignity of wondering about the effect the … video might have on his career and reputation.”

The recent association of Deméré with the pseudoarchaeological television show hosted by Megan Fox and now the pseudoarchaeological notions of Graham Hancock are likely to do little in helping him win over his colleagues.

Chopping Down a Cherry-Picked Tree

Illustration by Chumwa

In the final few sections of the book, Hancock returns to North America where he describes some of the earliest known earthen mounds in North America, such as Watson Brake and Poverty Point. Then he heads up the Mississippi River Valley, ultimately to Ohio and the more recent mounds there. All the while describing alignments, the solstices, lunar cycles, astro-archaeological features, and so on. But this is also where he dives head first into specious comparisons between Native Americans and ancient Egyptians. He readily admits he doesn’t think there were any cross-cultural transmissions of information, and that he accepts the “orthodox” explanation that geographic and temporal separation of these two cultures means that they didn’t have the chance to share information.

But it’s after his section on the global cataclysm that only affected North America that he finally comes clean on what his game truly is. He states several times through the book that he believes that there was a “lost civilization” which was a “third party” responsible for the similarities we see in multiple cultures. An example is the constellation Orion seen as relating to the land of the dead in both Egyptian and Native American cultures. Never mind that the constellation we understand to be Orion today, probably the easiest to spot north of the equator. And that it “travels” east to west, seasonally. Or that, the sun coming up in the east is so easily associated with birth and renewal and, as it sets, associated with death and ancestors. The common element need not be a “lost civilization.” It’s already people. Humans. Homo sapiens. The same common element for all of his other spurious correlations.

By this time, I’ve waded through Hancock’s cherry-picked science. I say “cherry-picked” because he avoids a lot of the parts that don’t work for him. For instance, he likes where Raghavan et al (2015) and Skoglund et al (2015) mention the “Australasian signal” among some of the ancient populations of South America. He likes it a lot. In fact, he mentions is many times after chapter 9 where he introduces it. And even though he provides the quote where Skoglund et al clarify that it was the founding population that was more closely related to indigenous Australians, New Guineans, and Andamen Islanders than to other Native American groups, he still missed the significance. Or at least he didn’t adequately share that significance with his readers.

What the Australasian genetic “signal” really tells us is that we should be on the lookout for populations that were fast-moving or small. There’s also as good a chance that this Population-Y (the Australasian population in question) began in Southeast Asia then moved both north toward Beringia and south into Melanesia and Australia and what we’re seeing is where they ended up. Hancock doesn’t share these bits along with many others. They don’t jive with his shtick.

What’s the Gist of It All?

Overall, America Before is presented as a carefully picked set of genuine scientific notions, mixed with a few pseudoarchaeological ideas (like spurious similarities between Egyptian and Native American cultures) in order to set Hancock up for his final pitch. One that he holds back until he thinks he’s won the lay-reader over. His easy-to read writing style makes the reader comfortable and probably sympathetic to him personally. He carefully poisons the well here and there with “the skeptics will say…” etc.

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. I suspect the comments below will give me ample opportunity if the Hancock acolytes and cult following (he truly is a charismatic figure with a following) respond. But the reality is, none of the premises Hancock puts forth, even if every single one were correct, would mean that his conclusion is right. He conveniently provides a conclusion that cannot be tested or evaluated by science since it isn’t within the realm of science.

Here’s his conclusion:

“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.”

In short, Hancock believes this “lost civilization” used telepathy, telekinesis, remote viewing, and healing powers to transmit their legacy to the world.

I wondered throughout the entire book what mechanism he would suggest. I honestly thought it would be the power of oral history, perhaps tied to mnemonic devices (figurines, rock art, landscapes) or religious ritual to ensure fidelity.

I was not expecting ESP.

References:

M. Raghavan, et al (2015). Genomic evidence for the Pleistocene and recent population history of Native Americans. Science, 349, p. 3884.

P. Skoglund, et al (2015). Genetic evidence for two founding populations of the Americas. Nature, 525, pp. 104-108

About Carl Feagans 387 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.

56 Comments

  1. @James Ford
    Just watched and read your links.
    You obviously have no inerest in REAL science and REAL progress!
    Your nack for “cherry picking “ is second to none !
    Dr Robert Schoch Is correct – forget your links – its psuodo crap ! Its an unfortunate truth Mr Ford !
    You accused me of cut-and-pasting a while back, what you didn’t reslise was that I have the ability to write coherently if ive got the time.
    Lets get this absolutely clear – when it comes to the Giza Pyramids and surrounding monuments, there are huge problems with main stream archaeological theories. And they are proved by science, but dismissed by Archeologists as inaccurate becase your papers, books, career, and funding rely on research that is now tens of decades old. – when it comes to early dynastic Egypt!

  2. Another Question for James Ford and the gang: why is the age of the Great Sphinx, whatever it might be, so god-awful important? An ancient, heavily weathered monument in the middle of nowhere, and it’s almost as if there’s a religious significance (to some) attached to it’s actual age….I don’t get it….

  3. Imagine the reaction of the locals here if I pasted a link to a youtube video about the discovery of Noah’s Ark, and added, “..now I don’t know who made this video, who they are, or their credentials, but it seems like a lot of people are agreeing with them….”. Howls of Pseudo-ism! Charges of anti-science! LOL….

  4. Richard: what you are dealing with here is a type “tribalism”. And, as usual, with tribalism, any thing that challenges that will be met with derision, accusations and finally a mob mentality. After all, look at what people here have leveled against Graham Hancock: he is “clearly deceptive”, a “drug addict”, and perhaps worst of all, a charlatan, meaning that not only is he wrong, but he knows he’s wrong and he does it all just “to make a comfortable living”…..and yes, I can provide the refs from prior posts to document all of that. And yet, when that stuff is said, not one of the locals will chime in and call any of it “over the top” or even downright just false…

  5. Want to have a guess? – you wont need DMT to work it out. Although its intersesting to note that before Moses asended mount Sinai he passed (the signal) a burning Acacia tree. The Acacia tree just happens to have a large content of Dimenthyltryptamine (DMT).
    After passing this, and no doubt inhailing the smoke, Moses meets God at the summit and after some tine returns with the Ten Commandments.
    Just a thought.

  6. Controversial lithics from the deepest level of the Topper excavations but no evidence of ceramics, agriculture, or domestication of animals. Unless some additional interesting evidence turns up the site simply contributes to moving back the time frame for when hunters and gatherers reached North America.Still very worthy research.

  7. Walter

    Yes anyone with reasonable reading comprehension skills should understand that I was emphasizing the published research cited in the videos and that the research involves a number of people who are not archaeologists. Including of course people from the “REAL” sciences. But what do you expect from people who ask for criticism of Schoch but then start rambling about God and acacia bushes when you provide it? Hell, the post included links to some of Shoch’s own written work so that people unfamiliar with it can have the opportunity to review it. Maybe some folks have been inhaling too much acacia smoke themselves to pick up on that tidbit

    I knew that there were some criticisms of Schoch based on work indicating that periods of regular rainfall extended for about 500 years after construction of the Sphinx, but didn’t know that this had been extended by another 1300 years. Hell, people can see pieces falling off the damn thing in front of their very eyes. If the Sphinx had been built as early as Schoch claims the head on the thing would probably be the size of a house cat’s by now (a little joke).

    I think there is a problem with Schoch extrapolating from previously published work on erosion of natural geological formations through eons to his analysis of deterioration of a manmade structure that is a newborn baby in geological time. That is brought up in the KMT article that was referred to above.

    • Just a quick note, I’m currently traveling so I may not have opportunity to approve comments. If you don’t normally add your email to the comment, it puts you in the moderation queue until you’ve had one approved comment with that email. So if you don’t see it right away it should be posted by the evening.

  8. B. Haig states: “…Controversial lithics from the deepest level of the Topper excavations but no evidence of ceramics, agriculture, or domestication of animals. Unless some additional interesting evidence turns up the site simply contributes to moving back the time frame for when hunters and gatherers reached North America.Still very worthy research…”.

    Agree 100%. One of the themes in “America Before” is the simple timeline on when anthropologists and others believe that humans arrived here, and Hancock does a nice job of laying out how that has changed. It’s a really uncontroversial idea/point if you think about it…

  9. On April 27th 2017, the prestigious journal *Nature* published a paper by Steven R. Holen and Thomas A. Demere, titled “A 130,000-year-old archaeological site in Southern California, USA”. If proven true, that’s going to create a lot of problems for the present status of the accepted timeline of the peopling of the America’s…

  10. B.Haig states: “..Controversial lithics from the deepest level of the Topper excavations but no evidence of ceramics, agriculture, or domestication of animals….”.

    As far as my understanding goes, the Topper Site (I live in a neighboring county where it’s located and had a friend who went out and talked with Dr. Goodyear) is not all that large of a dig, so I’m not sure if the absence of domesticated animals evidence is that big of a deal, at least not yet. Basically, if proven true, the primary impact will be that it pushes the peopling of the America’s back approximately 100,000 years. That, in and of itself, would be remarkable, to say the least…

  11. “Richard: Want to have a guess? – you wont need DMT to work it out. Although its intersesting to note that before Moses asended mount Sinai he passed (the signal) a burning Acacia tree. The Acacia tree just happens to have a large content of Dimenthyltryptamine (DMT).
    After passing this, and no doubt inhailing the smoke, Moses meets God at the summit and after some tine returns with the Ten Commandments.
    Just a thought.”

    Very interesting and maybe it (DMT) is something we could smoke as well..:)…?
    There is a fellow who posts here who works as an unlicensed pharmacist and who claims to have published peer-reviewed papers on “Joe’s Cannabis Blog”. Maybe he can set us straight…? LOL…

  12. What a surprise. Gleaner rags on archaeology ad nauseum until someone raises an aspect of it that gives the appearance of supporting Hancock and then he puts on his happy face. But I didn’t drop in just to take a well deserved shot at the Lord of the Flaws crowd. Since videos and Schochie are a hot topic i figured that i would post my own example of his most recent cutting edge research. The topic is Easter Island and it is..is…is….well I’m not really sure. The video starts off like a late night cable TV Scientology commerical and goes downhill from there. Schochie really lost me when he tried the “is it possible that 12 feet tall giant humans inhabited Easter Island” spiel. If anyone tries to tell you that Schoch is rejected by mainstream academics just because he made an unconventional study of the Sphinx then toss the BS flag. He is treated like a walking punchline because he decided to take the crazy up another couple notches and has gone global with it over the years. Easter Island is just one of the latest stops on the Crazy Train. If you are part of the crowd that treats a link to a peer reviewed journal article like it was a portal to hell then this is the link that you will happily click on. Enjoy!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCuIYtvSBxM

    James Ford: Some more stuff on the Sphinx dealing with weathering through groundwater seepage.

    http://www.palarch.nl/wp-content/vandecruys_g_the_sphinx_dramatising_data_and_dating_palarchs_journal_of_archaeology_of_egypt_egyptology_1_1_2006.pdf

  13. Gleaner63;

    Unless you are aware of newer age estimates for the Topper Site I am pretty sure that the most optimistic estimate is 50K to 60K years old. There is more confidence in the age estimates that place the site within the same extreme estimated range for Monte Verde. You may be confusing the Topper Site with the Cerutti Site as it relates to estimated dates. The latter is far more controversial.

    Materials from the The Topper Site represent a long period of time covering both Pre-Clovis and Clovis. Regardless of the physical size of the site the absence of evidence of ceramics, agriculture, and domesticated animals from the different occupations is a big deal relative to debates over the levels of technological sophistication that are theorized to have existed in North American prehistory.

  14. James Ford

    More apt to say that the Sphinx is barely a fertilized egg in geological time although I am quite sure that there are those here who would be happy to dispute that characterization at length in order to create a lot of space between the posts contra Schoch.

    At some point I may dig around some for information on climate trends in Egypt since circa-700 BCE. It would be interesting to see how many non-typical periods there have been when rain events were well above the norm. May come in handy the next time Carl posts an article on pseudoscience. No matter the topic we can be sure that someone will try to work in Schoch at some point even if they will dodge any actual discussion of him. Excellent opportunity to educate others though.

  15. In Schoch’s own words
    “To further test the theory of an older Sphinx, we carried out seismic studies around the base of the statue to measure the depth of subsurface weathering. Basically, we used a sledgehammer on a steel plate to generate sound waves that penetrated the rock, reflected, and returned to the surface. This gave us information about the subsurface qualities of the limestone bedrock. When I analyzed the data, I found that the extraordinary depth of subsurface weathering supported my conclusion that the core-body of the Sphinx must date back to 5000 BCE or earlier.”

  16. Richard: “The body of the Sphinx must date back to 5000 BCE or earlier.”

    Given that Golbeki Tepi is apparently far older, it doesn’t seem to be earth shattering if the Sphinx was “merely” twice it’s estimated age. Surely, to those so disposed, it could still fit into a “non-lost civlization” time frame. Of course if it’s far older than 5000 BC, then perhaps things become a bit more scary (to some at least)…

    • It wouldn’t be “earth shattering,” but it would certainly be curious since there doesn’t appear to be any civilization capable of the construction in the vicinity. When you say “twice it’s estimated age” I’m assuming you mean 8-10,000 years ago. There just aren’t any traces of Neolithic settlements in that area at the time. Probably not because we haven’t found them, rather because the area of the Sphinx was underwater most or large portions of the time. The Nile was a very different river then as Northern Africa was coming out of a “Greening” stage. This is why people began to arrive in the Nile Valley, the Greening phase was ending and they were migrating. This is all beginning at around 5,500 years ago.

      And this is one of the things that distinguishes fringe idealists from actual researchers in the field: the former has a conclusion and looks for data that are supportive. The latter is interested in data first. Conclusions, always provisional, come later. And those data are inclusive of more than just on singular monument. They also include climate data, demographics, lithics, pottery, subsistence strategies, hydrology, and so on.

      Schoch’s myopic model has been rendered a thing of the past by the work of Robert Schneiker in recent years.

  17. Richard,

    Scientists using technology and methods a little more sophisticated than a sledgehammer have determined otherwise. How Schoch “analyzed” the data to come up with “extraordinary depth of subsurface weathering” that could actually be assigned a particular date as a frame of reference is fraught with problems. Harrell criticized Schoch’s work in this area at length in the Summer 1994 issue of the journal K*M*T.
    Bottom line, because of the complex geology of the site and the fact that it was non-intrusive subsurface testing, Schoch could not reliable differentiate between weathered limestone and another rock formation. So, even if he could accurately date weathering there is no concrete proof that he was even looking at weathered limsetone to begin with. Unless there has since been extensive and intrusive subsurface investigation since 1994 that has demonstrated otherwise, Schoch’s assertion remains unsubstantiated.

    It is important to consider Schoch’s work in relation to research that has been conducted since then. Presenting a “soundbite” of his work in a historical vacuum gives the impression that it has stood the test of time when the opposite is true.

    • Well, there is weathering present. But it’s dissolution weathering that began with the acidity of the ocean since the Eocene. It continued with the cycles of greening in North Africa that have occurred in the last 20 million years. So, the weathering happened long before people arrived and continued as the Nile River Valley flooded periodically, particularly up to about 5,500 years ago when the last “Green Sahara. The Sphinx, as you probably know, was carved out of the limestone bedrock. There is, however, a weather-resistant capstone over this limestone layer of dissolution that was created during the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum, a hyperthermal period of about 40 million years ago. Limestone deposition from this period is more robust and, because it was a longer than average hyperthermal period, it’s often 8-10 meters thick. The head of the Sphinx is carved from the MECO that overlies the dissolution layers of limestone below.

      The weathering that’s happening now is related to wicking effect that occurs once the Sphinx itself was constructed at about 4,500 years ago. This started the wicking, which would have suspended during the years the Sphinx was covered in sand up to it’s neck. Once the sand was cleared, it began again as the solid limestone began wicking the groundwater, resulting in the spalling as salts precipitate the exterior.

      Interestingly enough, this same effect was present in rock shelters I worked in the southwest a few years ago and it’s actually part of the rock shelter creation process, geologically speaking.

  18. Carl,

    No doubt there is weathered limestone present at the Sphinx. As I understand it, the issue re: Harrell back in 1994 was whether Schoch’s subsurface testing was even looking at the specific deposit of stone or portion of the deposit relevant to supporting what he was trying to demonstrate in terms of dating the Sphinx through weathering. As you note it has been demonstrated that particular weathering occurred before the Sphinx was made. But I THINK that issue come up after the Harrell vs. Schoch debate. Or maybe that was part of the criticism of Schoch at the time. I can’t recall. It really doesn’t matter which way you spin the bottle. Over the years it always ends up pointing toward the conclusion that Schoch’s assertion cannot be substantiated.

    If you consider the process by which initial claims deemed to be shaky gradually become accepted as the best given the accumulation of evidence, one can see that the opposite has occurred with Schoch. As more research has been done on the topic and the relevant technology and methods have been refined that provide deeper insight into the matter, Schoch’s assertion has withered on the vine rather than grow. Unfortunately, old quotes from Schoch probably sounds impressive to those who can’t or won’t look at his assertion in proper context.

  19. Haig,

    If my memory serves me correctly there were claims back in the 1980s that materials from Monte Verde could date back to around 30,000 years BP. If Hancock’s primary goal is to simply assert that the timeline might need to be moved back for peopling of the America’s then he is very late to the game. But we know that he has a different intent that is not supported when one looks carefully at the materials recovered from Monte Verde to Topper, even if one is inclined to go with the older estimates for Topper. The guy is just piggybacking on the work of people in a discipline that fringe proponents love to hate.

  20. “Yawn”

    The expected response from someone whose only substantive contribution to a 200+ post thread is a 90ish word quote from a discredited study.

    Anything else that doesn’t involve involve deflecting to something involving DMT or demonstrating ignorance of about 25 years of scientific literature?

  21. …yes, of course, we always know someone’s (Hancock) “intent”, and naturally enough, that intent is always nefarious and knowingly deceptive, especially when it upsets our worldview. When all else fails, attack the man and not the ideas…:). Hancock’s ideas are not original, and only a person with very limited reading comprehension would suppose that he has presented them as such. Further, *any* knowledge of how history is actually written by real historians, illuminates the simple and widely accepted idea and practice that most works in that discipline necessarily rely, to some extent, on the works of others. Again, widely known and accepted, but naturally enough rejected by someone who has NO training in the field. Hopefully, in the classic WWII history, The Longest Day (1959), Ryan did not rely on any works that came before his…

  22. James Ford: ..that “expected response” is more than likely a normal reaction to someone (like you) who’s known for hurling insults in lieu of a reasoned argument. In my experience, the latter is a tactic of someone who likely knows, or strongly suspects, that his “arguments” cannot withstand any serious scrutiny…

  23. And so the discussion fades out with special pleadings and no indication that the dissenters have made even a token attempt to review the relevant literature and offer intelligent responses.

    Cue further references to drugs and World War Two movies, and those meanies with PhD’s…

  24. James Ford,

    The earliest estimated date for Monte Verde and the more conservative estimate for the Topper site roughly correspond to the same period of the opening of the Bering land bridge. Any debate about stunning revelations about the peopling of the Americas will have to wait until there is better support for something earlier or there are materials uncovered that call for a radical rethinking of the prehistory of the America’s.

  25. Richard

    Sorry but this isn’t Facebook where teenagers post a lot of fluff comments to generate a lot of likes. You made a baseless appeal to reject all the criticisms of Schoch in the posted materials. You quoted him at length and it was then demonstrated that his assertion is not substantiated. Apart from that you haven’t offered much given that you are the one who demanded that people discuss what is wrong with schoch’s work. Topper isn’t working out too well either. Maybe you should take a shot with Cerutti so we can then discuss the latest article (by a non-archaeologist by the way) that raises issues with its credibility. Then more accusations can be thrown about regarding the vitriol of archaeologists. Never mind I think I just covered what is going to happen if cerutti is discussed and saved everyone about 20 posts.

    Now if you will excuse me I have to get back to an all nighter reviewing this article manuscript submitted to Journal of Drug Issues. I am confident that I can do full justice to the review even after smoking hash for the last 14 hours.

    Carl: maybe you could talk a little more about your own experience with the wicking process and rock shelter formation. Be gentle though. Some people find facts to be insulting.

  26. And here is 22:

    I would suggest that James Ford and ‘clan’ carefully read back through this thread and realise what is actually happening here.
    If we are simply required to read Carl’s review of ‘America Before’, the pre-review and other pre-concluded analysis of Hancock’s work then so be it.
    But as we, by nature of the comments box, are allowed to state an opinion, then any of Carl’s analysis must be permitted to come under scrutiny, agreeance or dispute.
    The problem here is that none of the perfectly rational questions, queries or objections raised by the commenters have been replied to in any other manner than that of complete arrogance and insults that only reflect the totally unprofessional standards that these people work to as they try to hide behind the Dogma of their beliefs.
    From the start of this, now many months ago, the accusation of cherry picking has been the main defence of Carl and Ford’s Clan, but here in this thread we see just that – Mr Ford has repeatedly ‘cherry picked’ data from around the internet to bolster his beliefs. He has accused his opposition of citing other peoples work where he repeatedly does just that.

    OR…

    …Is it the fact Mr Ford; that you have the funding and time available to organise your own personal, elite crew of Archaeologists, Scientists and Geologists?
    Have you circumnavigated the planet with them, conducted your own research at hundreds of sites and used the resulting data to conclude that your beliefs and educational learnings are one hundred percent accurate and totally indisputable in all areas?
    I find it Frankly amazing that somebody who is obviously a world expert in absolutely all areas of Archaeology and Geology, an individual who has mastered his position as chief in the subject, is really bothered about trolling the fringe areas of an Archaeological Internet presence.

    But quite simply this is not the case. Whilst Mr Ford and clan have been sitting in their armchairs randomly insulting their ‘enemy’ with sarcastic and completely unqualified psychological profiling, they have showed only themselves as the enemy of Archaeology, and hence among the contents of a simple discussion board, created a complete picture of the problem that future Archaeologists will face.

    I have no problem in citing other peoples work if it is relevant to the discussion and holds merit. After all, and unlike Mr Ford, I do not regard myself as an Archaeological Grand-master of all knowledge where only I am right and the ‘infidels’ can never be allowed to interfere with my work!

    Before I continue I would like to point out the Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) reference began in jest – I had no idea that it was a requirement of the Archaeological clan to never express any form of humour whilst defending the realm.
    Although, as I have pointed out previously, there has been plenty of research conducted by Scientists and Doctors of Psychology into the effects of DMT and how and why it produces its hallucinatory effect.
    In one form of another DMT occurs naturally all over the planet. DMT is also naturally present in the human body, it is produced just like Serotonin and our brain needs it to function. without going into too much detail it has been theorised that larger amounts of DMT are released into our brains at the points of Birth and Death – This is likely responsible for near death experiences. It has also been found that other hallucinogenic ‘drugs’ such as Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) do not create the same effects they seem to merely emulate the DMT ‘trip’.
    “Dr Rick Strassman’s (M.D) research connected DMT with the Pineal gland, considered by Hindus to be the site of the seventh chakra and by Rene Descartes to be the seat of the soul.”
    We all know that DMT was widely used by ancient civilisations for spiritual awareness, they were as fascinated with the substance as our science is today.
    I myself have never used DMT, hence I cannot make any personal opinions, I can only cite the scientists and others involved in this research.

    As for the Sphinx debate, I’m not sure we will ever reach round two here. My question has always been “Show me, scientifically, why Schoch is wrong”.
    Not – show me another and less plausible reason for what we see on the walls of the Sphinx enclosure.
    Of course Mr Ford would have no benefit to cut and paste links to information that may, even in the slightest way, defend Schoch’s work.
    Jon Christiansen a German Geoscientist later concluded (after publishing what some people may regard as a good defence against Schoch’s findings, notably on the web site https://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2015/01/the-great-sphinx-of-egypt-nature-s-shabby-chic-trick ) that the appearance of the water erosion was merely created by something like 25 geological coincidences which had made the monument appear older to Schoch. This, I feel, is hard to accept, it appears that everything on the Giza Plateau, that does not Scientifically agree with the accepted Archaeological model, is simply coincidence.

    Schoch’s view was…

    …”They are simply wrong. It is subsurface weathering, not erosion, that is under consideration here, and postulating unknown and undocumented mechanisms of “hydraulic and capillary action” as a way to explain the data is essentially meaningless.”

    Furthermore…

    Schoch’s research also concluded that the rear of the Sphinx enclosure was far newer than the front – This would actually bolster Jon Christiansen’s explanation a little and confirm Schoch’s findings at the same time.

    In response to the criticism of Schoch’s Seismic survey and use of a sledgehammer.

    “Using seven sledge hammer shot points run along the data collection line, in general, produces an excellent seismic radar return.
    These blows, administered to an Iron plate, excite primarily P-wave energy. The plate is then struck on the side from east to west to generate an SH-wave, then west to east to generate an oppositely polarized SH-wave.
    It may all sound very crude but it is the chosen method of seismic surveyor’s worldwide, although the sledge hammer if frequently swapped for hydraulic hammer devices at larger site surveys”

    – European Journal of Seismic Surveying 2017

    Finally, if Mr Ford of the ‘All knowing clan’ cannot answer my question then I will retract it and ask another.

    (Q2) Mr Ford – have you ever been to the Giza Necropolis?

    I look forward to the coming character assassination 🙂

  27. James Ford states: “Now if you will excuse me I have to get back to an all nighter reviewing this article manuscript submitted to Journal of Drug Issues. I am confident that I can do full justice to the review even after smoking hash for the last 14 hours.”

    You are really into this whole “drug thing” aren’t you? Whatever these constant references have to do with archaeology no one knows, but man they are sure entertaining…

  28. James Ford states: “..Sorry but this isn’t Facebook where teenagers post a lot of fluff comments to generate a lot of likes…”.

    Oddly, most of your posts ARE fluff, and do sound very “facebookish”. Can anyone here be absolutely sure that you aren’t actually a teen typing on their mom’s computer in a basement somewhere??? LOL…

  29. James Ford says: “…Cue further references to drugs and World War Two movies, and those meanies with PhD’s…..”.

    Oddly, it was you and others who first referenced “drugs” here; first in relation to Hancock apparently being a known drug abuser, and then your own “background” in drug research. And then one of your fellow goons bragged about making combat vets shake in their boots. And oh by the way, you might not be aware, but The Longest Day was a book long before it became a “WWII movie”, but I’m sure you won’t see the significance in that. Now, back to your bong old boy…

  30. @gleaner63

    The funny thing here is I have never presented anything I am accused of. I have cited papers, speculated a little and offered well researched, alternative theories.
    Your patience can only be second (or equal to mine)
    I lecture twice a week on electronic engineering at a local university, this I am qualified to do! I may well ask my 53 students on friday to study this thread as an example of how not to conduct a debate – that would be fun!

  31. The date on the calendar is 2019. A lot of interesting research has been conducted and survey technology and/or methods refined in the 25+ years since Schoch made his assertion. But if you cherry pick material what works for you and ignore or discount everything else because of paranoia about a conspiracy then you can support just about any position that you want. Maybe you should debate the guy who claims that the sphinx is 80 million years old or is it 800 million? Would probably get frustrating when you realize his debate strategies sound a lot like yours.

    Carl, please discuss wicking or your favorite color or anything that doesn’t have Richard raving about Strassman. Using Strassman to condone hancock’s drug abuse is like listening to a 13 year old condone the use of vegetable oil as suntan lotion.

    Doc Rock; ever hear of the secret conspiracy to use 12 feet tall Easter islanders on D-Day during the landings. You can’t prove that it didnt happen so ignore everything those close-minded military historians say.

  32. I stand corrected as should that bastard James and everyone here with an advanced degree and an IQ above 70 should be. Richard and Gleaner are correct in all their assertions. As penance we should be forced to view a video of Richard giving a presentation to electrical engineering students on the issues covered here. Even worse, it should be a presentation attended by every archaeologist, geologist, physical anthropologist, geophysicist, astrophysicist, surveyor, and drug and alcohol researcher within a 100 miles radius. I am sure the presentation will be met with a standing ovation.

    Now, many people may be reluctant to attend a presentation on defending Hancock, Schoch, etc because of pressing issues such as laundry nite. But I am sure that if you offer free beer and BBQ that many might be persuaded to attend. Let me be the first to offer to contribute 20 bucks to a gofundme page to raise the funds to purchase the resfreshments required to persuade people in the relevant fields to attend a presentation that exposes all those charlatans here.

    A delightful intellectual exercise that will enlighten all. Yes indeedy…

    You got ’em on the ropes guys, time to deliver the coup de grace.

  33. James Ford says I’m
    “Using Strassman to condone hancock’s drug abuse” and it “is like listening to a 13 year old condone the use of vegetable oil as suntan lotion.”

    Yet again it is obvious that Mr Ford had not read any of my comments properly or been unable to understand them.
    For the record I have not used Strassman to condone Hancocks cannabis usage, I was simply stating after some sarcastic DMT comments that its effects and why the happen is of Great interest to science, especially phsycolagy.
    DMT has also played a huge spititual part in how ancient civilisations viewed life and death, this reflects in their art and atchetecture.
    Secondly if you want to see coments that could have been made by 13 year olds then lets take another look at Mr Ford suggesting that if we give any merit to Schoch’s work then we may aswell include some guy who suggests the Sphinx is 80m years old – What a rediculas thing to say!
    Lastly I do not condone the use of drugs for recreation, in allot of cases I also do not condone the use of drugs for the treatment of some phycological illnesses. Whether we sould be allowed to make are own minds up to whether we use them or not is a question for another forum.

  34. Using the old hammer and metal plate seismic testing is quite often an adequate singular testing method. Of course it wasn’t adequate to fully support the assertion that Schoch made about exactly which formation was being tested. Also, Schoch used the same method to support claims of hidden chambers and cavities under the sphinx, and even referenced the old myth of the hall of records to add mystique to his discussion of testing around the sphinx.. More recent testing has found that some of these chambers or cavities either don’t exist or are inconsequential. If one is making an extraordinary claim then extraordinary evidence utilizing a wide range of technologies is needed.

    A rather moot point anyway since schoch’s rainfall hypothesis simply doesn’t hold water, pardon the pun, when you consider all the research conducted on the age of the sphinx and related topic over the decades.

    • Yeah, the evidence of “cavities” within the Sphinx is pretty sketchy. If there are any cavities or hollow spaces it’s because some of the rock members the Sphinx itself is carved from are dissolution layers that are eroding in the solution of the Nile River. These natural cavities or spaces would be under water much of the year. It’s extremely unlikely that these are spaces that any human has visited or that they’re even very large if they exist at all. The supposed “Hall of Records” is a fantasy created by a charlatan who pretended to be a psychic who could channel a long-dead person’s “spirit” (whatever that is).

  35. Carl,

    For years I taught a course on drug use across cultures. Tightly controlled ritual use of a wide range of substances to try to gain enlightenment or to interact with the supernatural is a thing. On the other hand there are many societies that achieved the same result through practices such as meditation, fasting, sleep deprivation, drumming rituals to facilitate a hypnotic effect. However, dwelling on the drug use is a far more “sexy” sell when you are pushing a fringe narrative.

    I also taught a course more focused on drug problems and policies. I found that the typical student is far more interested in hearing about shaman snorting Ebene and conjuring up spirits than hearing about the numerous adverse consequences of heavy drug use.

    Maybe a drinking game where one chugs a beer every time fringe advocates cherry pick information no matter what topic they are discussing is in order. With all due respect to others here, something besides Natural Lite please.

    • There’s little doubt that past civilizations made use of mind-altering substances. In the Pecos Canyonlands of Texas where I worked on different projects a couple of years in a row, the use of peyote and probably daytura by ancient cultures was a pretty good assumption as both of these featured prominently in the rock art of the region. While there were ethnographic account of the use, these accounts only really speak to modern cultures. It was the rock art that let us make some provisional assumptions about the past (possibly also some residue tests of bed rock mortars that were too deep to reach an arm in, indicating that reed straws were used to ingest a tea), and even these assumptions are accepted only with the caveat that they speculations that fit the evidence along with other speculations that include no drug use; drug use by special members of society drug use by one gender and not the other(s); etc.

      My question about the DMT is what conclusive evidence is there that it was used beyond a few generations in the past?

  36. @Carl Feagans
    To answer your question:
    “Evidence of Ayahuasca usage dates to at least 1000 C.E., based on discovering in 2010 a bundle containing the residue of ayahuasca ingredients along with other various well-preserved shamanic substances in a cave in southwestern Bolivia.”
    -wikipedia (but its fairtly well accepted)

  37. As I have mentioned already the Acacia tree contains large amounts of Dimethyltryptamine (DMT).
    Acacia is portrayed hugely in Egyptian mythology. It is referred to as the tree of life, and from under it the first gods of Egypt were born. Osiris, god of the underworld, rebirth and the spirit was also born from an Acacia tree. Osiris is also believed to live inside the spirit of all Acacia trees. This is a very similar belief as held by the Amazonian Shamans and the people who have used Ayahuasca.

  38. Carl,

    It’s also worth noting that alcohol was/is used as as a mind altering substance (beyond recreational use) in a lot of settings as wells. I would imagine that beer has inspired a lot more creativity than any given substance.

    A while back I saw some reference to the rise of civilization being associated with the rise of beer brewing. But probably some issues in terms of correlation versus causation in any discussion of the importance of any given substance that flies over some heads.

    I know there are some documented “wild” rituals in Hinduism where consumption of any drug or alcohol is considered to be a by product of the ritual instead of being central to it. But to the casual observer it could appear that mind altering substances were required for it.

  39. Regarding peyote my understanding is that it was in common ritual use among a lot of groups in the southwest going back to prehistory but that wider usage came with the rise of the American Indian Church since the late 19th century.

  40. Im not sure if beer has the same effect as DMT.
    I think the point here is the belife that DMT opens the doors to another state of consciousness that is considered by some as the spirit world.
    One things for sure, researchers in this field have been very open minded about the true mechanics of DMT. The fact that test subjects seemed to have identical experiances and meet the same ‘spirits’ without knowlege of each other is quite bizarre.
    With DMT, unlike most other drugs, you are totally removed from reality.

  41. I also don’t see the evidence for an Ancient Egyptian “Hall of Records”. Even if there turns out to be such a thing, it seems that placing it underneath the Great Sphinx would have been a terrible choice for many reasons, most importantly due to the possible destruction of those records via water intrusion, either from above or below, which surely the Egyptians were aware of…

  42. @Anonymous

    I’ve always been sceptical of the Hall of Records under the Sphinx, although there are
    plenty of other huge underground complexes in Egypt, so its not out of this world to consider.
    If it was in fact there I would imagine that due to its nature the builders would have constructed it of Granite like the Osireion.
    I have contemplated that the hall of records may actually be the Serapeum at Saqqara – It looks like a place built to store something extremely important and the Granite boxes would definitely have protected their contents through millennia, also I’m not at all convinced by the Apis Bull explanation.
    Unfortunately the contents of these boxes has long gone so we will never know.

  43. After reading this entire discussion I have decided to switch my major to electrical engineering. It sounds like they have solved all the mysteries of the universe and know it all about exactly when, where and how it became possible for things like electricity to exist. There has to be some big bucks in that.

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