13 January 2015: Co-adventurer Carl Lehrburger on multiple archaeoastronomical field trips in the high plains drainage of the Arkansas River – see 2006 Ancient American (1.7 MB PDF) article – was interviewed on Coast to Coast AM, a nightly radio program in the USA. At Carl's suggestion C2C invited a mashup of my iTunes vodcasts adding some context to his new book Secrets of Ancient America for which he was being interviewed by host George Noory. C2C included in their online features our 10 minute video on American Archaeology's indifference, even hostility, toward advocates of mid-American petroglyphs indicative of Celtic travel centuries before the voyages of Columbus. After an orchestrated 1977 dismissal, ArchaeoPriests presumed Colorado Ogham rock inscriptions would be ignored and forgotten. Instead, similar sites have been found since 1980 in Oklahoma and since 2000 in Kansas.
For my personal 2008 published perspective on this disruptive challenge to bad authoritarian authority, please see: The Politics of Archaeoastronomy: How Wikipedia's Article was Hijacked.
18 January 2013: The fifth hour-long, weekly episode in the first season of America Unearthed hosted by forensic rock authority Scott Wolter, produced by Committee Films, concludes with a dramatic equinox sunset at Oklahoma's Anubis Cave.
"A Deadly Sacrifice" aired in the series' first season, December 21, 2012 through March 15, 2013, on the H2 History Channel, a US cable network. Most of the last half of this broadcast (Dailymotion timecode 22-29 minutes and 34-42½ minutes) was devoted to equinox heliolithic phenomenon we first documented on video in 1984, updated in our Old News DVD in 2005, and online with the video podcast of Martin Brennan's first and only visit to the site and the precise moment of spring equinox 2007 just minutes before sundown. The 2012 autumnal equinox H2 cable production featured yet another stunning sunset black-out of a rock easel protrusion whose last glimmer of equinox daylight illuminates a distinctive engraving of the Egyptian jackal deity Anubis. This ancient solar construct is the masterpiece of a talented rock artist and seasonal cusp memorializer.
"This incredible story of Mithraism that we just saw play out on the wall, it was amazing. And, really, the only reasonable people that could have done this were the Celts, 15 hundred years ago. I can't think of any other candidates. And, for that reason, this site here should be, I think, designated as a national historic site, and it absolutely changes history in a profound way." --- episode's concluding remarks by Scott Wolter, Minneapolis, MN.
Humor Alert: linking Christianity to Mithraism on a 2006 televised BBC celebrity game show in England: origins of Christmas?
21 November 2009: Hacked E-Mail is New Fodder for Climate Dispute, New York Times
"This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud" a quote by Patrick J. Michaels, climatologist skeptical of those colleagues who choose to drive man-made global warming as an incontrovertible scientific fact.
"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" --- excerpted from an email by Phil Jones, head of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia.
commentary: Beware Scientific Gate Keepers Corrupted by their own Dogma: Again and again, credentialed specialists in assorted scientific fields display adolescent pettiness and vindictiveness when their dogmatic viewpoints are challenged. Instead of rigorous adherence to a neutral, intellectually scientific moral compass, they descend into political expediency --- CYA mode --- to maintain the clubby status quo against any criticism, internal or external. So, is it any wonder why the public at large is awakening to the reality that Peer Review is simply a handy, dismissive weapon of know-it-all elitists to abort ideas threatening to their collective enlightenments, as obsolete or untrue as those perceptions may well be? These academic experts regurgitate to students and the public at large from their own blessed texts the pablum of their incestuous close-mindedness.
4 June 2008: The Politics of Archaeoastronomy: How Wikipedia's Archaeoastronomy Article was Hijacked a personal, anecdotal account (with online video) of status-quo authority using its power and prestige to control what should be told about archaeoastronomy as well as what should be hidden --- the unflattering and the unorthodox --- from a curious public. The empowered and the archaeologically-credentialled believe they alone are entitled to establish the parameters of the discussion.
See this essay at Stones of Wonder. Also, read Martin Brennan's books battling Irish archaeologists in the Boyne Valley.
17 January 2008: The Pawnee Americans is an obscure 1925 article recently brought to our attention by a reader. Author Mark E. Zimmerman cites archaeological finds along major riverways throughout mid-America as well as Native American ethnographies to theorize Celts, who came to America long before Columbus, had children with the ancestors of a Pawnee tribe, the same one mentioned by Von Del Chamberlain in his 1982 book When Stars Came Down to Earth: Cosmology of the Skidi Pawnee Indians of North America illustrated with a map of the Milky Way preserved on a tanned elk hide. (NY Times article on Adler Planetarium show "Spirits From the Sky" in late 2000). Although Zimmerman believes these "long heads" slowly migrated from the eastern seaboard, through the Ohio River valley to what is today southeastern Nebraska and northeastern Kansas, perhaps more conveniently, Celtic sailors well may have navigated the inland waterways to bring their Ogham and European archaeoastronomy to southeastern Colorado and the Oklahoma Panhandle. Zimmerman's 13 page article, highlighted and including our map, below, has just been added to our online PDF bibliography. You may download the 1.2 MB article directly here. Alternatively, for an overview of this and more, watch Celts & Indians on our videos page.
Zimmerman refers to a tribal elder Lenni Lenape historian and the Walum Olum, tree bark pictographs to aid in recalling song verses. More about the largely ignored, Native American ethnographic record on this, can be found at Frozen Trail, a web site describing Norse travels across an ice bridge from Greenland to Labrador. At the bottom of this external web page are links for more about the controversy regarding this artifact, discredited and discarded by much of academia, still simmering in 2008.
22 December 2007: Winter Solstice Sunrise at Newgrange Heritage Ireland (Office of Public Works) this year initated a live multi-camera webcast of the event December 21 and benefitted from a wondrously clear sunrise. The 6 minute compilation video was posted on YouTube by Victor Reijs. There is also an official archive of the entire live feed now available at www.heritageireland.ie/en/Solstice2007 that begins approximately 4 minutes and 45 seconds into the clip after an introductory exposition of the phenomena. Well worthwhile!
7 November 2007: Seltic or Keltic? is an explanatory 3 minute vodcast on YouTube and elsewhere, to mark Samhain, the Celtic New Year. Many who've seen and heard our videos have objected to my pronunciation with a leading soft C rather than a hard K. Indeed, the latter is common usage, other than when naming Boston's NBA team. Ironically, however, Celtic basketball fans have had it right all along! Linguistic tradition actually favors the uncommon soft C pronunciation I prefer to use. Our vodcast includes Dr. Barry Fell's article in its entirety.
9 May 2007: Chas S. Clifton's blog, Letter from Hardscrabble Creek, features his account of our four man camp-out and dawn observation on Beltane, Saturday, 5 May, at the Sun Temple with his digital images. play my 3 minute pop-up QuickTime 7 video Chas, editor of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, author of the newly published historical book Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America and a teacher at Colorado State University-Pueblo, joined authors Martin Brennan, Phil Leonard and me for the weekend excursion to a remote canyon site in southeastern Colorado, believed to have been a memorial with Ogham inscriptions to a 471 CE triple planetary alignment in the Gemini Constellation on the summer-to-fall cross quarter day in August known as Lughnasad, for which the sunrise's position on the horizon on the spring-to-summer cross quarter Beltane is an exact match.
A wall of lightning flickered silently to the north. Some 200 miles to the east, Greensburg, Kan., was being obliterated, but we did not know it. Our part of Colorado, which had been smashed by blizzards last winter, was warm and quiet. A great horned owl and a screech owl called from the cliffs.
28 February 2007: 'Lost Tomb of Jesus' Claim Called a Stunt: Archaeologists Decry TV Film, Washington Post
Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, expressed irritation that the claims were made at a news conference rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific article. By going directly to the media, she said, the filmmakers "have set it up as if it's a legitimate academic debate, when the vast majority of scholars who specialize in archaeology of this period have flatly rejected this," she said.
"This whole case [for the tomb of Jesus] is flawed from beginning to end," she said.
"I haven't even seen the film," Dr. Magness told Scientific American on 2 March. "They're presenting it or setting it up as though we have a discovery and you can react and it's all legitimate and valid which it's not."
commentary: Does science typically judge a body of evidence before it's examined? Is peer-review really any more rigorous?
The Archaeological Institute of America is running Dr. Magness' screed, Has the Tomb of Jesus Been Discovered? A reasoned look at the evidence, instead of a media circus, yields an answer of NO!, written after she saw the film. She acknowledges, "We have no contemporary accounts of the death and burial of Jesus," in outlining established archaeological views on Jewish burial customs in Jerusalem of the era. Her use of conditional phrases such as, "it would have been unusual", "presumably", "it was customary", and "if we follow Gospel accounts" hint at possible exceptions and deviations. Nonetheless, Magness blasts Tomb while failing to actually deconstruct or rebut ANY of its core logic: analyses of statistical name frequency, DNA and patina samples, fundamental to the film's alternative view. Archaeology contributing editor Sandra Scham did write a critical review of the film without any of the righteous indignation over some filmmaker exercising his freedom of speech.
Do archaeologists such as Dr. Magness feel their scientific discipline is entitled to police thought and muzzle anyone else's conjecture about what's behind historical artifacts? Peer-reviewed journals carefully screen submissions. Those out of step with what passes for legitimate inquiry face ridicule; challenges to the profession's inflexible dogma usually are rejected. This elitist barrier is why documentarians choose to take their stories directly to the public. Critical thinkers outside the bubble of accredited condescension exist in any mass audience, and they are far better equipped to determine merit or fraud than those myopic with institutional bias. By the nature of their training, archaeologists are preservationists. When any outsider tries to rattle beliefs upheld by the scholarly majority, one can ordinarily expect an icy reception and a glacial response. The predictable archaeological posture is to collectively insert heads in the sand, perhaps after hurling a choice insult at the outsider. Their peer-review in particular sifts and resifts minutia, sometimes for years without consensus, essentially a stalling mechanism to resist change. This karma vs. dogma trainwreck-in-the-making keeps trundling down the track fueled by arrogance. Many archaeologists awed by how dynastic traditions of the past conserved power and authority for centuries, long to elevate their academic club, likewise, to incontrovertible grandeur. There are exceptions, of course. See remarks below by Michael Collins in the Stone Age Columbus excerpt and by Professor Emeritus of Archaeology David H. Kelley in a rebuke to his colleagues.
Jacobovici entering tomb
©2007 Discovery Communications Inc.
Having viewed writer/director Simcha Jacobovici's docudrama on the Discovery Channel (premiere 4 March) plus the one hour debate moderated by Ted Koppel afterwards, I share concerns about the filmmaker's underlying agenda and his sometimes-tortured logic. Nevertheless, I defend the absolute right of Jacobovici and executive producer James Cameron to present a story as they see fit --- hyperbole, speculation, warts and all. They are constitutionally and morally entitled to free expression and the quality of their presentation, controversial as it may be, merits an exhibition venue such as the Discovery Channel. Jacobovici's best moment may have been in the debate when he deftly deflected an archaeologist's juvenile assertion that he was trafficking in "archaeo-porn".
It's the same sort of insulting hostility from archaeologists that I experienced --- including accusations of being "racist" and belonging to a "cult" --- as the writer/director for History on the Rocks and, later, Old News, download .pdf of Colorado Daily article. Unlike Tomb, ours is not a docudrama (yet), the logic is substantially stronger, and we include actual video archived from the 1980s. To make our case for archaeoastronomical alignments associated with ancient inscriptions, motion images of the multiple solar/shadow plays with selective, temporal graphic overlays are crucial and far superior to still images for peer-review.
20 February 2007: Eight of our 3 minute video clips are now available for viewing on YouTube. Just click on their logo to the right. You are welcome to post public remarks alongside any or all of our clips and to invite others to visit and link to our YouTube vids.
19 February 2007: Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, internationally syndicated overnight program on Premiere Radio Network, recap on 'Ancient Voyages' discussion segment:
During the middle two hours, archeologist and anthropologist Gunnar Thompson discussed the forbidden history of the world before Columbus. There were numerous ancient voyages to the New World before 1492, but most people have a tremendous ignorance of this history, he declared.
A Roman map from the fifth century AD showed a southern continent that is similar to South America, and Egyptian artifacts were found in El Salvador in the early 1900's, he continued. However, most historians adopt a dogmatic view of past explorations and discard this type of evidence as either a hoax or a fraud, he commented.
30 January 2007: Stonehenge builders' houses found, BBC News
|Archaeologists say they have found a huge ancient settlement used by the people who built Stonehenge. Excavations at Durrington Walls, near the legendary Salisbury Plain monument, uncovered remains of ancient houses. People seem to have occupied the sites seasonally, using them for ritual feasting and funeral ceremonies. In ancient times, this settlement would have housed hundreds of people, making it the largest Neolithic village ever found in Britain.
Stonehenge video, National Geographic news clip, 1:22
commentary: Ironic that archaeologists have just now discovered a large habitation site near this world-class monument, while Colorado archaeologist Al Kane clearly mocked the theory of ancient Celts in Colorado on the CBS Evening News of March 23, 1987, "If the people were here, the Celtic people were here in such numbers that they made all these inscriptions, you would have to have settlements here, and they're plain, flat are not here." English archaeologists have surely been hunting for Stonehenge's predictable companion habitation site for decades by now. Meanwhile, their mid-American counterparts refuse to turn a single shovelful of dirt in search of ancient Celtic encampments, assuming none exist. Must the only field research done be to verify an expected outcome? Likewise, why must new ideas be trashed by archaeologists demanding to be shown evidence whose absence is certified by their own complacency? Why authorize any excavation which risks contradicting a dogmatic and frozen perspective? It's a profound indictment of their lack of scientific curiosity they have ignored the potentially target-rich vicinity in and around Crack Cave. They've ignored the US Geologic Survey's Dr. Robert K. Mark's urging after his observance of the cave's targeted illumination on the autumnal equinox of 1986, "I think a lot more research has to be done. I think it would be desirable to bring to the sites more of the experts who have expertise on various aspects of either archaeoastronomy or the ancient languages. Perhaps some excavations could be planned. I'm not an archaeologist. I think that a reasonable case has been made that there's something of interest here that deserves further study and I would hope that it gets that sort of study."
Two University of Cardiff researchers have confirmed the mysterious device found in 1901 aboard a Roman shipwreck was an amazing, elaborately-geared mechanical computer designed to mimic fine eccentricities in solar and lunar movements calculated --- literally cranked in by hand --- for the past, present and future. Having sunk near the Greek island of Antikythera about 65 B.C., the Roman vessel had sailed from Rhodes. Thus, some scholars believe the enigmatic Antikythera Mechanism found in the wreckage may well have been the handiwork of ancient Roman astronomer Hipparchos.
1 December 2006: Mysteries of the ancient Antikythera Mechanism revealed, Tech.Blorge.com
Anyone who has seen pictures of the Antikythera Mechanism knows that it is a technology that seems to be a product of the 16th or 17th centuries rather than the first century BC. I remember as a kid wondering whether it was a remnant of some alien civilization, or perhaps an artifact from Atlantis.
The reality is even more interesting. Scientists now believe that the device was a complex and very accurate astronomical computer that could predict the positions of the sun, moon and planets, and even forecast lunar eclipses. The Antikythera device is the oldest-known device that used gear wheels and is by far the most sophisticated object from the ancient world.
29 Nov 2006, An Ancient Computer Surprises Scientists by John Noble Wilford, New York Times (requires NYTimes.com member log in)
A computer in antiquity would seem to be an anachronism, like Athena ordering takeout on her cellphone.
The Antikythera Mechanism, sometimes called the world's first computer, has now been examined with the latest in high-resolution imaging systems and three-dimensional X-ray tomography. A team of British, Greek and American researchers was able to decipher many inscriptions and reconstruct the gear functions, revealing, they said, "an unexpected degree of technical sophistication for the period."
commentary: Acknowledging many of our ancient ancestors had sufficient navigational skills to find their way around the world is long overdue. For far too long dogmatic archaeologists have fiercely spurned the growing evidence of worldwide diffusion by biblical era seafarers. As Gloria Farley implored in 1984, "Why do we think that people who were ancient were primitive?"
School of Physics and Astronomy
Univ. of Cardiff, Cardiff, Wales, UK
30 Nov issue of journal Nature
10 October 2006: Learning how to live off the sea may have played a key role in the expansion of early humans around the globe, BBC News
Professor Jon Erlandson says the maritime capabilities of ancient humans have been greatly underestimated.
Anthropologists have long regarded the exploitation of marine resources as a recent development in human history, and as peripheral to the development of civilisation. This view has been reinforced by a relative lack of evidence of ancient occupation in coastal areas. Shifting sea levels since the last Ice Age, combined with coastal erosion, would have erased many traces of a maritime past, Professor Erlandson explained.
"I grew up on the coast and I always thought this didn't make much sense. Coastlines are exceptionally rich in resources."
director Mel Gibson & actor
in his movie Apocalypto
in 'easter egg' flash frame
@1:46 into teaser/trailer
©2006 Touchstone Pictures
27 September 2006: Director Mel Gibson fueled new controversy with "work in progress" previews of his Mayan epic, Apocalypto, to native American audiences and a Texas film fest. See the Apocalypto page in our section on archaeoastronomy in dramatic cinema.
At the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, Gibson remarked that the USA seems to him to be following the same path that led to the tenth century CE downfall of the most advanced civilization in the western hemisphere prior to European colonization. "I don't mean to be a doomsday guy, but the Mayan calendar does end in 2012, boys and girls. Have fun!" For more details read the news article in The Australian.
Winner of the Directing and Best Picture Academy Awards® for Braveheart in 1995, Gibson directed the $30 million Passion of the Christ in 2004, to mixed reviews. His production company, Icon, budgeted under $50 million for Apocalypto. A magnet for controversy even before his vocal drunk driving arrest, Gibson is accused of taking dramatic license with the Popul Vuh, use of a modern Mayan dialect, where the film was shot and mass human sacrifices attributed to the Maya. "After what I experienced with The Passion, I frankly don't give a flying f*** about much of what those critics think," he told TIME in March.
28 August 2006: Apple today added Old News video podcasts to its iTunes library. Click the button to list our shows:
Old News ranked 59th among 105 featured podcast collections of 990 History topic submissions a year and a half later.
26 April 2006: Kennewick Man Skeletal Find May Revolutionize Continent's History, sciencedaily.com
What the experts were able to ascertain from their brief encounter with Kennewick is that he did not look like a Native American. In fact, Berryman says Kennewick's facial features are most similar to those of a Japanese group called the Ainu, who have a different physical makeup and cultural background from the ethnic Japanese.
Some of Ainu's facial features appear European. Their eyes may lack the Asian almond-shaped appearance, and their hair may be light and curly in color. However, this does not mean that Kennewick Man necessarily was European in origin. His features more closely resemble those of the natives of the Pacific Rim than those of Native Americans.
13 March 2006: TIME cover story: The Untold Saga of Early Man in America, by Michael D. Lemonick & Andrea Dorfman, time.com
The Clovis-first theory is pretty much dead, and the case for coastal migration appears to be getting stronger all the time. But in a field so recently liberated from a dogma that has kept it in an intellectual straitjacket since Franklin Roosevelt was President, all sorts of ideas are suddenly on the table.
At least a couple of archaeologists, including Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian, even go so far as to suggest that the earliest Americans came from Europe, not Asia, pointing to similarities between Clovis spear points and blades from France and Spain dating to between 20,500 and 17,000 years B.P.
All this speculation is spurring a new burst of scholarship about locations all over the Americas.
Late Winter/Spring 2006: Celebrating Cosmogenesis as the Triple Spiral in the Seasonal Wheel, by Glenys Livingstone, Ph. D., in Gaian Voices, Vol. 4, Number 1 & 2, gaianvoices.com, Fryeburg, Maine
|It is significant that places like New Grange, Stonehenge and Silbury Hill can only be comprehended when one is actually there and observes the relationship between the place and the cosmic/seasonal events - the Moon and Sun over a period of time, over years - and this is what the researchers had to do. These sites are alive texts - that still speak when the receptive observant mind is present.
Martin Brennan spent years at New Grange observing the interplay of Sunlight and the inner engravings and bowls. He was among the first to assert that New Grange was not a tomb, but was a ritual centre. Brennan says that the Triple Spiral is "perhaps the most powerful representation" of the sacred heritage of ritual celebration of eternal Creation represented in the Wheel of the Year, the phases of the Moon and the lives of all beings.
inscribed kerbstone at
entrance of Newgrange,
NW of Dublin, Ireland
19 February 2006: First Americans May Have Been European, by Bjorn Carey, LiveScience.com
19 February 2006, Ancient People Followed 'Kelp Highway' to America, Researcher Says, by Bjorn Carey
21 November 2002: Horizon radio programme on BBC Two, 'Stone Age Columbus' transcript, excerpt:
DR JIM ADOVASIO (Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute): On these surfaces that you see before us we have signs of repeated visits by Native Americans to this site. These discolorations literally represent a moment frozen in time. Just below the surface I'm standing on roughly 11,000-11,200 years ago is where the conventional Clovis first model says that the earliest material should stop basically, that there ought not to be anything beneath it, no matter how much deeper we dug.
NARRATOR: But then Adovasio did the unthinkable - he dug below the Clovis layer - and that's when the trouble started.
JIM ADOVASIO: The artifacts simply continued and we recovered blades and blade cores like this all the way down to 16,000BC.
NARRATOR: If Adovasio was right then someone had been in America thousands of years before Clovis. It was an astonishing revelation. In fact it was too astonishing. When Adovasio published his findings he was simply dismissed out of hand.
JIM ADOVASIO: The majority of the archaeological community was acutely sceptical and they invented all kinds of reasons why these dates couldn't possibly be right. People have invested in the Clovis first position for more than 70 years. For a lot of people they think that this is not only a repudiation of a well accepted dogma, it's a repudiation of themselves.
NARRATOR: And so it was for other scientists. Anyone who dug back beyond 11,500 years ago had to be either mad or worse.
MICHAEL COLLINS: The best way in the world to get beaten up professionally is to claim you have a pre-Clovis site.
DENNIS STANFORD: When you dig deeper than Clovis a lot of people do not report it because they're worried about the reaction of their colleagues.
January 2000: The Diffusionists Have Landed, Marc K. Stengel, The Atlantic Monthy, Digital Edition
[Rock Sioux tribe member Vine] Deloria bridles at what he sees as the reverse racism implicit in the establishment's dismissal of all things diffusionist. To him, the mainstream academic position that defends the Clovis-only hypothesis smacks of paternalism. He marvels at "the isolation of archaeologists today," and has written, "I have in the neighborhood of 80 books dealing in one way or another with Precolumbian expeditions to the Western Hemisphere." These books, he says, range from utter nonsense to some quite sophisticated reinterpretations of archaeological anomalies in light of new findings.
Spring 1990: Review of Archaeology, Past Issues, Volume 11, Number 1, 'Proto-Tifinagh and Proto-Ogham in the Americas (Review of Fell; Fell and Farley, Fell and Reinert, Johannessen, et al.; McGlone and Leonard, Totten),' article by David H. Kelley, Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, University of Calgary, acknowledging tempered respect for fellow epigrapher Dr. Barry Fell's breakthrough work:
I have no personal doubts that some of the inscriptions which have been reported are genuine Celtic ogham. Despite my occasional harsh criticism of Fell's treatment of individual inscriptions, it should be recognized that without Fell's work there would be no ogham problem to perplex us. We need to ask not only what Fell has done wrong in his epigraphy, but also where we have gone wrong as archaeologists in not recognizing such an extensive European presence in the New World.