Book: Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Table of Contents


Introduction and Acknowledgments


1.1 Darwin Hesitates

1.2 The Neanderthals

1.3 Haeckel and Darwinism

1.4 The search Begins

1.5 Darwin speaks

1.6 The Incompleteness of the Fossil Record

1.7 The Geological Timetable

1.8 The Appearance of the Hominids

1.9 Some Principles of Epistemology

1.10 Theories and Anomalous Evidence

1.11 The Phenomenon of Suppression



2.1 St. Prest, France (early Pleistocene or Late


2.2 A Modern example: Old Crow River, Canada

(Late Pleistocene)

2.3 The Anza-Borrego Desert, California (Middle


2.4 Val D’arno, Italy (early Pleistocene or late


2.5 San Giovanni, Italy (late Pliocene)

2.6 Rhinoceros of Billy, France (Middle Miocene)

2.7 Colline de Sansan, France ( Middle Miocene)

2.8 Pikermi, Greece (late Miocene)

2.9 Pierced Shark Teeth from the Red Crag,

England (Late Pliocene)

2.10 Carved Bone from the Dardanelles, Turkey


2.11 Balaenotus of Monte Aperto, Italy (Pliocene)

2.12 Halitherium of Pouance, France (Middle


2.13 San Valentino, Italy (Late Pliocene)

2.14 Clermont-Ferrand, France (Middle Miocene)

2.15 Carved Shell from the Red Crag, England

(Late Pliocene)

2.16 Bone implements From Below the Red Crag,

England (Pliocene to Eocene)

2.17 Dewlish Elephant Trench, England (Early

Pleistocene to Late Pliocene)

2.18 More on implements From Below the Red

Crag (Pliocene to Eocene)

2.19 Implements from Cromer Forest Bed,

England (Middle to Early Pleistocene)

2.20 Sawn Wood from Cromer Forest Bed,

England (Middle to Early Pleistocene)

2.21 Concluding Words about Intentionally

Modified Bone


3.1 Anomalously Old Stone Tools

3.2 B. Harrison and the Eoliths of the Kent

Plateau, England (Pliocene)

3.2.1 Young Harrison

3.2.2 Neoliths and Paleoliths

3.2.3 Eoliths

3.2.4 More on the Geology of the Kent Plateau

3.2.5 The Relative Antiquity of Eoliths and


3.2.6 A.R. Wallace Visits Harrison

3.2.7 More Objections







3.2.9 The Royal Society Exhibition

3.2.10 The Problem of Forgery

3.2.11 “The Greater Antiquity of Man”

3.2.12 On the Treatment of Anomalous Evidence

3.2.13 More Honors for Harrison

3.2.14 More Opposition

3.3 Discoveries by J. Reid Moir in East Anglia

3.3.1 Moir and Harrison

3.3.2 The Age of the Crag Formations

3.3.3 Tools from Below the Red Crag (Pliocene to


3.3.4 The Foxhall Finds (Late Pliocene)

3.3.5 Cromer Forest Bed (Middle or Early


3.3.6 Moir Versus Haward

3.3.7 Warren’s Attack on Moir

3.3.8 An International Commission of Scientists

Decides in Favor of Moir

3.3.9 Continued Opposition

3.3.10 Silence Ends the Debate

3.3.11 Recent Negative Evaluations of Moir’s


3.3.12 A Slightly Favorable Modern Review of

Moir’s Finds

3.4 Breuil and Barnes: Two Famous Debunkers of


3.4.1 Breuil’s Attempt to End the Eolith


3.5 Cement Mill Eoliths?

3.6 Impact of the English Eolithic Industries on

Modern Ideas of Human Evolution

3.6.1 Eoliths of the Kent Plateau

3.6.2 East Anglian Tools and the African Origins


3.6.3 Recent Pakistan Finds (Plio-Pleistocene


3.7 Acceptable Eoliths: The Stone Tools of

Zhoukoudian and Olduvai Gorge

3.7.1 Accepted Implements from Zhoukoudian

(Middle Pleistocene)

3.7.2 The Oldowan Industry (Early Pleistocene)

3.7.3 Who Made the Eolithic and Oldowan


3.8 Recent Examples of Eolithic Implements from the


3.8.1 Standard Views on the Entry of Humans Into

North America

3.8.2 Texas Street, San Diego (Early Late

Pleistocene to Late Middle Pleistocene)

3.8.3 Louis Leakey and the Calico Site in

California (Middle Pleistocene)

3.8.4 Toca da Esperança, Brazil (Middle


3.8.5 Alabama Pebble Tools

3.8.6 Monte Verde, Chile (Late Pleistocene)

3.8.7 Early Humans in America and the Eolith


3.9 A Recent Eolithic Discovery from India



4.1 The Finds of Carlos Ribeiro in Portugal (


4.1.1 A Summary History of Ribeiro’s Discoveries

4.2 The Finds of The Abbé Bourgeois at Thenay,

France (Miocene)

4.2.1 Debates About the Discoveries at Thenay

4.3 Implements From the Late Miocene of Aurillac,


4.3.1 A Find by Tardy

4.3.2 Further Discoveries by Rames

4.3.3 Verworn’s Expedition to Aurillac

4.4 Discoveries By A. Rutot In Belgium (Oligocene)

4.5 Discoveries By Freudenberg Near Antwerp (

Early Pliocene to Late Miocene)

4.5.1 Flint Implements

4.5.2 Cut Shells

4.5.3 Incised Bones

4.5.4 Possible Human Footprints







4.6 Central Italy (Late Pliocene)

4.7 Stone Tools From Burma (Miocene)

4.8 Tools From Black’s Fork River, Wyoming

(Middle Pleistocene)


5.1 Discoveries Of Florentino Ameghino In Argentina

5.1.1 Monte Hermoso (Middle and Early


5.1.2 Hrdlicka Attempts to Discredit Ameghino

5.1.3 Willis Stacks the Geological Deck

5.1.4 A Demolition Job by W. H. Holmes

5.1.5 Other Finds by F. Ameghino

5.1.6 Evidence for the Intentional Use of Fire

5.1.7 Primitive Kilns and Foundries?

5.1.8 Ameghino on the South American Origins of


5.2 Tools Found by Carlos Ameghino at Miramar


 A 5.2.1 Age of Site Commission of Geologists


5.2.2 A Stone Point Embedded in a Toxodon

Femur (Pliocene)

5.2.3 Romero’s Critique of the Miramar Site

5.2.4 Boule on the Toxodon Femur with


5.2.5 Boman, the Excellent Ethnographer

5.3 Other Bolas and Bolalike Implements

5.3.1 The Sling Stone from Bramford, England

(Pliocene to Eocene)








5.4 Relatively Advanced North American Paleolithic


5.4.1 Sheguiandah: Archeology as a Vendetta

5.5 Neolithic Tools From The Tertiary Auriferous

Gravels Of California

5.5.1 The Age of the Auriferous Gravels

5.5.2 Discoveries of Doubtful Age

5.5.3 Tuolumne Table Mountain

5.5.4 Dr. Snell’s Collection

5.5.5 The Walton Mortar

5.5.6 The Carvin Hatchet

5.5.7 The Stevens Stone Bead

5.5.8 The Pierce Mortar

5.5.9 The Neale Discoveries


6.1 Middle and early Pleistocene discoveries

6.1.1 The Trenton Human Bones (Middle


6.1.2 Some Middle Pleistocene skeletal remains

from Europe Galley Hill The Moulin Quignon Jaw: A Possible Case

of Forgery The Clichy Skeleton La Denise, France

6.1.3 The Ipswich Skeleton (Middle Middle


6.1.4 Possible Early Man Sites With No Skeletal


6.1.5 A Human Skull from The Early Pleistocene

at Buenos Aires

6.1.6 The Lagoa Santa Calotte

6.2 Fossil Human Remains from Tertiary Formations

6.2.1 The Foxhall Jaw (late Pliocene)

6.2.2 Human Skeletons from Castenedolo, Italy (

Middle Pliocene)

6.2.3 A Skeleton from Savona, Italy (Middle


6.2.4 A Human Vertebra from Monte Hermoso

(Early Pliocene)

6.2.5 A Jaw Fragment from Miramar, argentina

(late Pliocene)

6.2.6 Human skeletal remains from the California

Gold country (Pliocene to Eocene) The Calaveras Skull Captain Akey’s Report The Hubbs Skull Fragment A Human Jaw from Below Table Mountain Human Bones from the Missouri Tunnel Dr. Boyce’s Discovery

6.2.7 More European discoveries (Miocene and


6.3 Pre-tertiary Discoveries

6.3.1 Macoupin, Illinois (Carboniferous)

6.3.2 Human Footprints from the carboniferous

6.3.3 A Central Asian Footprint (Jurassic)

6.4 Conclusion


7.1 Dubois and Pithecanthropus Erectus

7.1.1 Initial Discoveries

7.1.2 The Discoveries at Trinil

7.1.3 Reports Reach Europe

7.1.4 Dubois Journeys to Europe with Java Man

7.1.5 The Selenka Expedition

7.1.6 Dubois Withdraws from the Battle

7.1.7 More Femurs

7.1.8 Are the Trinil Femurs Human?

7.1.9 Dubois Backs Away from His Original


7.2 The Heidelberg Jaw

7.3 Further Java Man Discoveries by Von


7.3.1 The Ngandong Fossils

7.3.2 First Find at Sangiran

7.4 Later Discoveries In Java

7.5 Chemical and Radiometric Datingof The Java

Homo Erectus Finds

7.5.1 The Ages of the Kabuh and Putjangan


7.5.2 Chemical Dating of the Trinil Femurs

7.5.3 Uranium Content Testing of the Sangiran


7.6 Misleading Presentations of The Java Man



8.1 Dawson Gets a Skull

8.2 Reactions to PiltDown Man

8.3 A Canine Tooth and Nose Bones

8.4 A Second Dawn Man Discovery

8.5 One Creature or Two?

8.6 The Effect of New Discoveries On Piltdown Man

8.7 Marston’s Crusade

8.8 Evidence of Forgery

8.9 Was The Piltdown Skull Genuine?

8.10 The Identity of The Forger


9.1 Discoveries at Choukoutien

9.1.1 The First Teeth

9.1.2 Davidson Black

9.1.3 The Rockefeller Foundation Sends Black to


9.1.4 Black and the Birth of Sinanthropus

9.1.5 The Transformation of the Rockefeller


9.1.6 An Historic Find and a Cold-Blooded


9.1.7 Evidence for Fire and Stone Tools at


9.1.8 Recent Views

9.1.9 The Fossil Bones of Sinanthropus and Signs

of Cannibalism

9.1.10 Discoveries in the Upper Cave

9.1.11 Our Knowledge of Peking Man

9.1.12 The Fossils Disappear

9.1.13 An Example of Intellectual Dishonesty


9.2.1 Dating by Morphology

9.2.2 Tongzi, Guizhou Province

9.2.3 Lantian Man Morphological Dating of Lantian Man Comparison of Faunal Evidence from

Gongwangling and Chenjiawo Paleomagnetic Dates Comparison of Faunal Evidence from

Gongwangling and Zhoukoudian Analysis of Conflicting Opinions Summary

9.2.4 Maba

9.2.5 Changyang County

9.2.6 Liujiang

9.2.7 Gigantopithecus

9.2.8 Dali

9.2.9 Summary of Overlapping Date Ranges

9.2.10 Stone Tools and Hominid Teeth at

Yuanmou (Early Early Pleistocene)

9.2.11 Stone Tools at Xihoudu (Early Early


9.2.12 Concluding Words on China


10.1 Hard Evidence Is Hard To Find

10.2 Cryptozoology

10.3 European Wildmen

10.4 Northwestern North America

10.5 More Footprints

10.6 Central And South America

10.7 Yeti: Wildmen of The Himalayas

10.8 The Almas of Central Asia

10.9 Wildmen of China

10.10 Wildmen of Malaysia And Indonesia

10.11 Africa

10.12 Mainstream Science and Wildman Reports


11.1 Reck’s skeleton

11.1.1 The Discovery

11.1.2 Leakey’s conversion

11.1.3 Cooper and Watson launch their Attack

11.1.4 Reck and Leakey change their Minds

11.1.5 The Radiocarbon Dating of Reck’s skeleton

11.1.6 Probable Date Range of Reck’s skeleton

11.2 The Kanjera Skulls and Kanam Jaw

11.2.1 Discovery of the kanjera skulls

11.2.2 Discovery of the kanam jaw

11.2.3 A commission of scientists Decides on

kanam and kanjera

11.2.4 Boswell strikes Again

11.2.5 Leakey Responds

11.2.6 Kanam and Kanjera after Boswell

11.2.7 Morphology of the kanam jaw

11.2.8 Chemical Testing Of the Kanam And

Kanjera Fossils

11.3 The Birth of Australopithecus

11.3.1 The Taung Child

11.3.2 Dart Retreats

11.3.3 Broom and Australopithecus

11.4 Leakey and His Luck

11.4.1 Zinjanthropus

11.4.2 Homo Habilis

11.4.3 Leakey’s Views on human evolution

11.4.4 Evidence for Bone smashing in the Middle


11.5 A Tale of Two Humeri

11.5.1 The Kanapoi Humerus

11.5.2 The Gombore Humerus

11.6 Richard, Son of Leakey

11.6.1 Skull Er 1470

 11.6.2 Evolutionary Significance of the ER 1470


11.6.3 Humanlike Femurs From Koobi Fora

11.6.4 The ER 813 Talus

11.6.5 The Age of The KBS Tuff The Potassium-Argon Dating of the KBS


11.7 Oh 62: Will The Real Homo Habilis Please

Stand Up?

11.7.1 Implications for the eR 1481 and eR 1472


11.7.2 The Leap From Oh 62 to Knm-Wt 15000

11.7.3 Conflicting Assessments of Other Homo

Habilis Fossils The OH 8 Foot The OH 7 Hand

11.7.4 Cultural Level of Homo Habilis

11.7.5 Does Homo Habilis Deserve To Exist?

11.8 Oxnard’s Critique of Australopithecus

11.8.1 A Different Picture of Australopithecus

11.9 Lucy in the Sand with Diatribes

11.9.1 The Hadar Knee (Al 129)

11.9.2 Alemayehu’s jaws

11.9.3 Lucy

11.9.4 The First Family

11.9.5 Two Hominids at Hadar?

11.9.6 Johanson and White Decide On a Single

Hadar Species

11.9.7 A. Afarensis: Overly Humanized?

11.10 The Laetoli Footprints

11.11 Black Skull, Black Thoughts


I perceive in Forbidden Archeology an important work of thoroughgoing scholarship and intellectual adventure. Forbidden Archeology ascends and descends into the realms of the human construction of scientific “fact” and theory: postmodern territories that historians, philosophers, and sociologists of scientific knowledge are investigating with increasing frequency.

Recent studies of the emergence of Western scientific knowledge accentuate that “credible” knowledge is situated at an intersection between physical locales and social distinctions. Historical, sociological, and

ethnomethodological studies of science by scholars such as Harry Collins, Michael Mulkay, Steven Shapin, Thomas Kuhn, Harold Garfinkel, Michael Lynch, Steve Woolgar, Andrew Pickering, Bruno Latour, Karin Knorr-Cetina, Donna Haraway, Allucquere Stone, and Malcolm Ashmore all point to the observation that scientific disciplines, be they paleoanthropology or astronomy,

“manufacture knowledge” through locally constructed representational systems and practical devices for making their discovered phenomenon visible, accountable, and consensual to a larger disciplinary body of tradition. As Michael Lynch reminds us, “scientists construct and use instruments, modify specimen materials, write articles, make pictures and build organizations.”

With exacting research into the history of anthropological discovery, Cremo and Thompson zoom in on the epistemological crisis of the human fossil record, the process of disciplinary suppression, and the situated scientific handling of “anomalous evidence” to build persuasive theory and local institutions of knowledge and power.

In Cremo and Thompson’s words, archeological and paleoanthropological

“‘facts’ turn out to be networks of arguments and observational claims” that assemble a discipline’s “truth” regardless, at times, of whether there is any agreed upon connection to the physical evidence or to the actual work done at the physical site of discovery. This perspective, albeit radical, accords with what I see as the best of the new work being done in studies of scientific knowledge.

Forbidden Archeology does not conceal its own positioning on a relativist spectrum of knowledge production. The authors admit to their own sense of place in a knowledge universe with contours derived from personal experience with Vedic philosophy, religious perception, and Indian cosmology. Their intriguing discourse on the “Evidence for Advanced Culture in Distant Ages” is light-years from “normal” Western science, and yet provokes a cohesion of probative thought.

In my view, it is just this openness of subjective positioning that makes Forbidden Archeology an original and important contribution to postmodern scholarly studies now being done in sociology, anthropology, archeology, and the history of science and ideas. The authors’ unique perspective provides postmodern scholars with an invaluable parallax view of historical scientific praxis, debate, and development.

Pierce J. Flynn, Ph.D.

Department of Arts and Sciences

California State University, San Marcos,

Calif., U.S.A.

Introduction and Acknowledgments

In 1979, researchers at the Laetoli, Tanzania, site in East Africa discovered footprints in volcanic ash deposits over 3.6 million years old. Mary Leakey and others said the prints were indistinguishable from those of modern humans. To these scientists, this meant only that the human ancestors of 3.6

million years ago had remarkably modern feet. But according to other scientists, such as physical anthropologist R. H. Tuttle of the University of Chicago, fossil bones of the known australopithecines of 3.6 million years ago show they had feet that were distinctly apelike. Hence they were incompatible with the Laetoli prints. In an article in the March 1990 issue of Natural History, Tuttle confessed that “we are left with somewhat of a mystery.” It seems permissible, therefore, to consider a possibility neither Tuttle nor Leakey mentioned—that creatures with anatomically modern human bodies to match their anatomically modern human feet existed some 3.6 million years ago in East Africa. Perhaps, as suggested in the illustration on the opposite page, they coexisted with more apelike creatures.

As intriguing as this archeological possibility may be, current ideas about human evolution forbid it.

Knowledgeable persons will warn against positing the existence of anatomically modern humans millions of years ago on the slim basis of the Laetoli footprints.

But there is further evidence. Over the past few decades, scientists in Africa have uncovered fossil bones that look remarkably human. In 1965, Bryan Patterson and W. W. Howells found a surprisingly modern humerus (upper arm

bone) at Kanapoi, Kenya. Scientists judged the humerus to be over 4 million years old. Henry M. McHenry and Robert S. Corruccini of the University of California said the Kanapoi humerus was “barely distinguishable from modern Homo. ” Similarly, Richard Leakey said the ER 1481 femur (thighbone) from Lake Turkana, Kenya, found in 1972, was indistinguishable from that of modern humans. Scientists normally assign the ER 1481 femur, which is about 2 million years old, to prehuman Homo habilis. But since the ER 1481 femur was found by itself, one cannot rule out the possibility that the rest of the skeleton was also anatomically modern. Interestingly enough, in 1913 the German scientist Hans Reck found at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, a complete anatomically modern human skeleton in strata over 1 million years old, inspiring decades of controversy.

Here again, some will caution us not to set a few isolated and controversial examples against the overwhelming amount of noncontroversial evidence showing that anatomically modern humans evolved from more apelike creatures fairly recently—about 100,000 years ago, in Africa, and, in the view of some, in other parts of the world as well.

But it turns out we have not exhausted our resources with the Laetoli footprints, the Kanapoi humerus, and the ER 1481 femur. Over the past eight years, Richard Thompson and I, with the assistance of our researcher Stephen Bernath, have amassed an extensive body of evidence that calls into question current theories of human evolution. Some of this evidence, like the Laetoli footprints, is fairly recent. But much of it was reported by scientists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. And as you can see, our discussion of this evidence fills up quite a large book.

Without even looking at this older body of evidence, some will assume that there must be something wrong with it—that it was properly disposed of by scientists long ago, for very good reasons. Richard and I have looked rather deeply into that possibility. We have concluded, however, that the quality of this controversial evidence is no better or worse than the supposedly noncontroversial evidence usually cited in favor of current views about human evolution.

But Forbidden Archeology is more than a well-documented catalog of unusual facts. It is also a sociological, philosophical, and historical critique of the scientific method, as applied to the question of human origins and antiquity.

We are not sociologists, but our approach in some ways resembles that taken by practitioners of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK), such as Steve Woolgar, Trevor Pinch, Michael Mulkay, Harry Collins, Bruno Latour, and

Michael Lynch.

Each of these scholars has a unique perspective on SSK, but they would all probably agree with the following programmatic statement. Scientists’

conclusions do not identically correspond to states and processes of an objective natural reality. Instead, such conclusions reflect the real social processes of scientists as much as, more than, or even rather than what goes on in nature.

The critical approach we take in Forbidden Archeology also resembles that taken by philosophers of science such as Paul Feyerabend, who holds that science has attained too privileged a position in the intellectual field, and by historians of science such as J. S. Rudwick, who has explored in detail the nature of scientific controversy. As does Rudwick in The Great Devonian Controversy, we use narrative to present our material, which encompasses not one controversy but many controversies—controversies long resolved, controversies as yet unresolved, and controversies now in the making. This has necessitated extensive quoting from primary and secondary sources, and giving rather detailed accounts of the twists and turns of complex paleoanthropological debates.

For those working in disciplines connected with human origins and antiquity, Forbidden Archeology provides a well-documented compendium of re ports absent from many current references and not otherwise easily obtainable.

One of the last authors to discuss the kind of reports found in Forbidden Archeology was Marcellin Boule. In his book Fossil Men (1957) , Boule gave a decidedly negative review. But upon examining the original reports, we found Boule’s total skepticism unjustified. In Forbidden Archeology, we provide primary source material that will allow modern readers to form their own opinions about the evidence Boule dismissed. We also introduce a great many cases that Boule neglected to mention.

From the evidence we have gathered, we conclude, sometimes in language devoid of ritual tentativeness, that the now-dominant assumptions about human origins are in need of drastic revision. We also find that a process of knowledge filtration has left current workers with a radically incomplete collection of facts.

We anticipate that many workers will take Forbidden Archeology as an invitation to productive discourse on (1) the nature and treatment of evidence in the field of human origins and (2) the conclusions that can most reasonably drawn from this evidence.

In the first chapter of Part I of Forbidden Archeology, we survey the history and current state of scientific ideas about human evolution. We also discuss some of

the epistemological principles we employ in our study of this field. Principally, we are concerned with a double standard in the treatment of evidence.

We identify two main bodies of evidence. The first is a body of controversial evidence (A), which shows the existence of anatomically modern humans in the uncomfortably distant past. The second is a body of evidence (B), which can be interpreted as supporting the currently dominant views that anatomically modern humans evolved fairly recently, about 100,000 years ago in Africa, and perhaps elsewhere.

We also identify standards employed in the evaluation of paleoanthropological evidence. After detailed study, we found that if these standards are applied equally to A and B, then we must accept both A and B or reject both A and B. If we accept both A and B, then we have evidence placing anatomically modern humans millions of years ago, coexisting with more apelike hominids. If we reject both A and B, then we deprive ourselves of the evidential foundation for making any pronouncements whatsoever about human origins and antiquity.

Historically, a significant number of professional scientists once accepted the evidence in category A. But a more influential group of scientists, who applied standards of evidence more strictly to A than to B, later caused A to be rejected and B to be preserved. This differential application of standards for the acceptance and rejection of evidence constitutes a knowledge filter that obscures the real picture of human origins and antiquity.

In the main body of Part I (Chapters 2–6), we look closely at the vast amount of controversial evidence that contradicts current ideas about human evolution. We recount in detail how this evidence has been systematically suppressed, ignored, or forgotten, even though it is qualitatively (and quantitatively) equivalent to evidence favoring currently accepted views on human origins. When we speak of suppression of evidence, we are not referring to scientific conspirators carrying out a satanic plot to deceive the public. Instead, we are talking about an ongoing social process of knowledge filtration that appears quite innocuous but has a substantial cumulative effect. Certain categories of evidence simply disappear from view, in our opinion unjustifiably.

Chapter 2 deals with anomalously old bones and shells showing cut marks and signs of intentional breakage. To this day, scientists regard such bones and shells as an important category of evidence, and many archeological sites have been established on this kind of evidence alone.

In the decades after Darwin introduced his theory, numerous scientists discovered incised and broken animal bones and shells suggesting that tool-using

humans or human precursors existed in the Pliocene (2–5 million years ago), the Miocene (5–25 million years ago), and even earlier. In analyzing cut and broken bones and shells, the discoverers carefully considered and ruled out alternative explanations—such as the action of animals or geological pressure—before concluding that humans were responsible. In some cases, stone tools were found along with the cut and broken bones or shells.

A particularly striking example in this category is a shell displaying a crude yet recognizably human face carved on its outer surface. Reported by geologist H.

Stopes to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1881, this shell, from the Pliocene Red Crag formation in England, is over 2 million years old. According to standard views, humans capable of this level of artistry did not arrive in Europe until about 30,000 or 40,000 years ago. Furthermore, they supposedly did not arise in their African homeland until about 100,000 years ago.

Concerning evidence of the kind reported by Stopes, Armand de Quatrefages wrote in his book Hommes Fossiles et Hommes Sauvages (1884): “The objections made to the existence of man in the Pliocene and Miocene seem to habitually be more related to theoretical considerations than direct observation.”

The most rudimentary stone tools, the eoliths (“dawn stones”) are the subject of Chapter 3. These implements, found in unexpectedly old geological contexts, inspired protracted debate in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

For some, eoliths were not always easily recognizable as tools. Eoliths were not shaped into symmetrical implemental forms. Instead, an edge of a natural stone flake was chipped to make it suitable for a particular task, such as scraping, cutting, or chopping. Often, the working edge bore signs of use.

Critics said eoliths resulted from natural forces, like tumbling in stream beds.

But defenders of eoliths offered convincing counterarguments that natural forces could not have made unidirectional chipping on just one side of a working edge.

In the late nineteenth century, Benjamin Harrison, an amateur archeologist, found eoliths on the Kent Plateau in southeastern England. Geological evidence suggests that the eoliths were manufactured in the Middle or Late Pliocene, about

2 – 4 million ago. Among the supporters of Harrison’s eoliths were Alfred Russell Wallace, cofounder with Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection; Sir John Prestwich, one of England’s most eminent geologists; and Ray E. Lankester, a director of the British Museum (Natural History).

Although Harrision found most of his eoliths in surface deposits of Pliocene

gravel, he also found many below ground level during an excavation financed and directed by the British Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition to eoliths, Harrison found at various places on the Kent Plateau more advanced stone tools (paleoliths) of similar Pliocene antiquity.

In the early part of the twentieth century, J. Reid Moir, a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and president of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia, found eoliths (and more advanced stone tools) in England’s Red Crag formation.

The tools were about 2.0 – 2.5 million years old. Some of Moir’s tools were discovered in the detritus beds beneath the Red Crag and could be anywhere from 2.5 to 55 million years old.

Moir’s finds won support from one of the most vocal critics of eoliths, Henri Breuil, then regarded as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on stone tools.

Another supporter was paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. And in 1923, an international commission of scientists journeyed to England to investigate Moir’s principal discoveries and pronounced them genuine.

But in 1939, A. S. Barnes published an influential paper, in which he analyzed the eoliths found by Moir and others in terms of the angle of flaking observed on them. Barnes claimed his method could distinguish human flaking from flaking by natural causes. On this basis, he dismissed all the eoliths he studied, including Moir’s, as the product of natural forces. Since then, scientists have used Barnes’s method to deny the human manufacture of other stone tool industries. But in recent years, authorities on stone tools such as George F. Carter, Leland W.

Patterson, and A. L. Bryan have disputed Barnes’s methodology and its blanket application. This suggests the need for a reexamination of the European eoliths.

Significantly, early stone tools from Africa, such as those from the lower levels of Olduvai Gorge, appear identical to the rejected European eoliths. Yet they are accepted by the scientific community without question. This is probably because they fall within, and help support, the conventional spatio-temporal framework of human evolution.

But other Eolithic industries of unexpected antiquity continue to encounter strong opposition. For example, in the 1950s, Louis Leakey found stone tools over 200,000 years old at Calico in southern California. According to standard views, humans did not enter the subarctic regions of the New World until about 12,000 years ago. Mainstream scientists responded to Calico with predictable claims that the objects found there were natural products or that they were not really 200,000 years old. But there is sufficient reason to conclude that the

Calico finds are genuinely old human artifacts. Although most of the Calico implements are crude, some, including a beaked graver, are more advanced.

In Chapter 4, we discuss a category of implements that we call crude paleoliths.

In the case of eoliths, chipping is confined to the working edge of a naturally broken piece of stone. But the makers of the crude paleoliths deliberately struck flakes from stone cores and then shaped them into more recognizable types of tools. In some cases, the cores themselves were shaped into tools. As we have seen, crude paleoliths also turn up along with eoliths. But at the sites discussed in Chapter 4, the paleoliths are more dominant in the assemblages.

In the category of crude paleoliths, we include Miocene tools (5 – 25 million years old) found in the late nineteenth century by Carlos Ribeiro, head of the Geological Survey of Portugal. At an international conference of archeologists and anthropologists held in Lisbon, a committee of scientists investigated one of the sites where Ribeiro had found implements. One of the scientists found a stone tool even more advanced than the better of Ribeiro’s specimens.

Comparable to accepted Late Pleistocene tools of the Mousterian type, it was firmly embedded in a Miocene conglomerate, in circumstances confirming its Miocene antiquity.

Crude paleoliths were also found in Miocene formations at Thenay, France. S.

Laing, an English science writer, noted: “On the whole, the evidence for these Miocene implements seems to be very conclusive, and the objections to have hardly any other ground than the reluctance to admit the great antiquity of man.”

Scientists also found crude paleoliths of Miocene age at Aurillac, France. And at Boncelles, Belgium, A. Rutot uncovered an extensive collection of paleoliths of Oligocene age (25 to 38 million years old).

In Chapter 5, we examine very advanced stone implements found in unexpectedly old geological contexts. Whereas the implements discussed in Chapters

3 and 4 could conceivably be the work of human precursors such as Homo erectus or Homo habilis, given current estimates of their capabilities, the implements of Chapter 5 are unquestionably the work of anatomically modern humans.

Florentino Ameghino, a respected Argentine paleontologist, found stone tools, signs of fire, broken mammal bones, and a human vertebra in a Pliocene formation at Monte Hermoso, Argentina. Ameghino made numerous similar discoveries in Argentina, attracting the attention of scientists around the world.

Despite Ameghino’s unique theories about a South American origin for the

hominids, his actual discoveries are still worth considering.

In 1912, Ales Hrdlicka, of the Smithsonian Institution, published a lengthy, but not very reasonable, attack on Ameghino’s work. Hrdlicka asserted that all of Ameghino’s finds were from recent Indian settlements.

In response, Carlos Ameghino, brother of Florentino Ameghino, carried out new investigations at Miramar, on the Argentine coast south of Buenos Aires. There he found a series of stone implements, including bolas, and signs of fire. A commission of geologists confirmed the implements’ position in the Chapadmalalan formation, which modern geologists say is 3–5 million years old.

Carlos Ameghino also found at Miramar a stone arrowhead firmly embedded in the femur of a Pliocene species of Toxodon, an extinct South American mammal.

Ethnographer Eric Boman disputed Carlos Ameghino’s discoveries but also unintentionally helped confirm them. In 1920, Carlos Ameghino’s collector, Lorenzo Parodi, found a stone implement in the Pliocene seaside barranca (cliff) at Miramar and left it in place. Boman was one of several scientists invited by Ameghino to witness the implement’s extraction. After the implement (a bola stone) was photographed and removed, another discovery was made. “At my direction,” wrote Boman, “Parodi continued to attack the barranca with a pick at the same point where the bola stone was discovered, when suddenly and unexpectedly, there appeared a second stone ball. . . . It is more like a grinding stone than a bola.” Boman found yet another implement 200 yards away.

Confounded, Boman could only hint in his written report that the implements had been planted by Parodi. While this might conceivably have been true of the first implement, it is hard to explain the other two in this way. In any case, Boman produced no evidence whatsoever that Parodi, a longtime employee of the Buenos Aires Museum of Natural History, had ever behaved fraudulently.

The kinds of implements found by CarlosAmeghino at Miramar (arrowheads and bolas) are usually considered the work of Homo sapiens sapiens. Taken at face value, the Miramar finds therefore demonstrate the presence of anatomically modern humans in South America over 3 million years ago. Interestingly enough, in 1921 M. A. Vignati discovered in the Late Pliocene Chapadmalalan formation at Miramar a fully human fossil jaw fragment.

In the early 1950s, Thomas E. Lee of the National Museum of Canada found advanced stone tools in glacial deposits at Sheguiandah, on Manitoulin Island in northern Lake Huron. Geologist John Sanford of Wayne State University argued that the oldest Sheguiandah tools were at least 65,000 years old and might be as much as 125,000 years old. For those adhering to standard views on North

American prehistory, such ages were unacceptable.

Thomas E. Lee complained: “The site’s discoverer [Lee] was hounded from his Civil Service position into prolonged unemployment; publication outlets were cut off; the evidence was misrepresented by several prominent authors . . . ; the tons of artifacts vanished into storage bins of the National Museum of Canada; for refusing to fire the discoverer, the Director of the National Museum, who had proposed having a monograph on the site published, was himself fired and driven into exile; official positions of prestige and power were exercised in an effort to gain control over just six Sheguiandah specimens that had not gone under cover; and the site has been turned into a tourist resort. . . . Sheguiandah would have forced embarrassing admissions that the Brahmins did not know everything. It would have forced the rewriting of almost every book in the business. It had to be killed. It was killed.”

The treatment received by Lee is not an isolated case. In the 1960s, anthropologists uncovered advanced stone tools at Hueyatlaco, Mexico.

Geologist Virginia Steen-McIntyre and other members of a U.S. Geological Survey team obtained an age of about 250,000 years for the site’s implementbearing layers. This challenged not only standard views of New World anthropology but also the whole standard picture of human origins. Humans capable of making the kind of tools found at Hueyatlaco are not thought to have come into existence until around 100,000 years ago in Africa.

Virginia Steen-McIntyre experienced difficulty in getting her dating study on Hueyatlaco published. “The problem as I see it is much bigger than Hueyatlaco,”

she wrote to Estella Leopold, associate editor of Quaternary Research. “It concerns the manipulation of scientific thought through the suppression of

‘Enigmatic Data,’ data that challenges the prevailing mode of thinking.

Hueyatlaco certainly does that! Not being an anthropologist, I didn’t realize the full significance of our dates back in 1973, nor how deeply woven into our thought the current theory of human evolution has become. Our work at Hueyatlaco has been rejected by most archaeologists because it contradicts that theory, period.”

This pattern of data suppression has a long history. In 1880, J. D. Whitney, the state geologist of California, published a lengthy review of advanced stone tools found in California gold mines. The implements, including spear points and stone mortars and pestles, were found deep in mine shafts, underneath thick, undisturbed layers of lava, in formations that geologists now say are from 9

million to over 55 million years old. W. H. Holmes of the Smithsonian

Institution, one of the most vocal nineteenth-century critics of the California finds, wrote: “Perhaps if Professor Whitney had fully appreciated the story of human evolution as it is understood today, he would have hesitated to announce the conclusions formulated [that humans existed in very ancient times in North America], notwithstanding the imposing array of testimony with which he was confronted.” In other words, if the facts do not agree with the favored theory, then such facts, even an imposing array of them, must be discarded.

In Chapter 6, we review discoveries of anomalously old skeletal remains of the anatomically modern human type. Perhaps the most interesting case is that of Castenedolo, Italy, where in the 1880s, G. Ragazzoni, a geologist, found fossil bones of several Homo sapiens sapiens individuals in layers of Pliocene sediment 3 to 4 million years old. Critics typically respond that the bones must have been placed into these Pliocene layers fairly recently by human burial. But Ragazzoni was alert to this possibility and carefully inspected the overlying layers. He found them undisturbed, with absolutely no sign of burial.

Modern scientists have used radiometric and chemical tests to attach recent ages to the Castenedolo bones and other anomalously old human skeletal remains.

But, as we show in Appendix 1, these tests can be quite unreliable. The carbon 14 test is especially unreliable when applied to bones (such as the Castenedolo bones) that have lain in museums for decades. Under these circumstances, bones are exposed to contamination that could cause the carbon 14 test to yield abnormally young dates. Rigorous purification techniques are required to remove such contamination. Scientists did not employ these techniques in the 1969 carbon 14 testing of some of the Castenedolo bones, which yielded an age of less than a thousand years.

Although the carbon 14 date for the Castenedolo material is suspect, it must still be considered as relevant evidence. But it should be weighed along with the other evidence, including the original stratigraphic observations of Ragazzoni, a professional geologist. In this case, the stratigraphic evidence appears to be more conclusive.

Opposition, on theoretical grounds, to a human presence in the Pliocene is not a new phenomenon. Speaking of the Castenedolo finds and others of similar antiquity, the Italian scientist G. Sergi wrote in 1884: “By means of a despotic scientific prejudice, call it what you will, every discovery of human remains in the Pliocene has been discredited.”

A good example of such prejudice is provided by R. A. S. Macalister, who in 1921 wrote about the Castenedolo finds in a textbook on archeology: “There

must be something wrong somewhere.” Noting that the Castenedolo bones were anatomically modern, Macalister concluded: “If they really belonged to the stratum in which they were found, this would imply an extraordinarily long standstill for evolution. It is much more likely that there is something amiss with the observations.” He further stated: “The acceptance of a Pliocene date for the Castenedolo skeletons would create so many insoluble problems that we can hardly hesitate in choosing between the alternatives of adopting or rejecting their authenticity.” This supports the primary point we are trying to make in Forbidden Archeology, namely, that there exists in the scientific community a knowledge filter that screens out unwelcome evidence. This process of knowledge filtration has been going on for well over a century and continues right up to the present day.

Our discussion of anomalously old human skeletal remains brings us to the end of Part I, our catalog of controversial evidence. In Part II of Forbidden Archeology, we survey the body of accepted evidence that is generally used to support the now-dominant ideas about human evolution.

Chapter 7 focuses on the discovery of Pithecanthropus erectus by Eugene Dubois in Java during the last decade of the nineteenth century. Historically, the Java man discovery marks a turning point. Until then, there was no clear picture of human evolution to be upheld and defended. Therefore, a good number of scientists, most of them evolutionists, were actively considering a substantial body of evidence (cataloged in Part I ) indicating that anatomically modern humans existed in the Pliocene and earlier. With the discovery of Java man, now classified as Homo erectus, the long-awaited missing link turned up in the Middle Pleistocene. As the Java man find won acceptance among evolutionists, the body of evidence for a human presence in more ancient times gradually slid into disrepute.

This evidence was not conclusively invalidated. Instead, at a certain point, scientists stopped talking and writing about it. It was incompatible with the idea that apelike Java man was a genuine human ancestor.

As an example of how the Java man discovery was used to suppress evidence for a human presence in the Pliocene and earlier, the following statement made by W. H. Holmes about the California finds reported by J. D. Whitney is instructive.

After asserting that Whitney’s evidence “stands absolutely alone,” Holmes complained that “it implies a human race older by at least one-half than Pithecanthropus erectus, which may be regarded as an incipient form of human creature only.” Therefore, despite the good quality of Whitney’s evidence, it had

to be dismissed.

Interestingly enough, modern researchers have reinterpreted the original Java Homo erectus fossils. The famous bones reported by Dubois were a skullcap and femur. Although the two bones were found over 45 feet apart, in a deposit filled with bones of many other species, Dubois said they belonged to the same individual. But in 1973, M. H. Day and T. I. Molleson determined that the femur found by Dubois is different from other Homo erectus femurs and is in fact indistinguishable from anatomically modern human femurs. This caused Day and Molleson to propose that the femur was not connected with the Java man skull.

As far as we can see, this means that we now have an anatomically modern human femur and a Homo erectus skull in a Middle Pleistocene stratum that is considered to be 800,000 years old. This provides further evidence that anatomically modern humans coexisted with more apelike creatures in unexpectedly remote times. According to standard views, anatomically modern humans arose just 100,000 years ago in Africa. Of course, one can always propose that the anatomically modern human femur somehow got buried quite recently into the Middle Pleistocene beds at Trinil. But the same could also be said of the skull.

In Chapter 7, we also consider the many Java Homo erectus discoveries reported by G. H. R. von Koenigswald and other researchers. Almost all of these bones were surface finds, the true age of which is doubtful. Nevertheless, scientists have assigned them Middle and Early Pleistocene dates obtained by the potassium-argon method. The potassium-argon method is used to date layers of volcanic material, not bones. Because the Java Homo erectus fossils were found on the surface and not below the intact volcanic layers, it is misleading to assign them potassium-argon dates obtained from the volcanic layers.

The infamous Piltdown hoax is the subject of Chapter 8. Early in this century, Charles Dawson, an amateur collector, found pieces of a human skull near Piltdown. Subsequently, scientists such as Sir Arthur Smith Woodward of the British Museum and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin participated with Dawson in excavations that uncovered an apelike jaw, along with several mammalian fossils of appropriate antiquity. Dawson and Woodward, believing the combination of humanlike skull and apelike jaw represented a human ancestor from the Early Pleistocene or Late Pliocene, announced their discovery to the scientific world.

For the next four decades, Piltdown man was accepted as a genuine discovery and was integrated into the human evolutionary lineage.

In the 1950s, J. S. Weiner, K. P. Oakley, and other British scientists exposed Piltdown man as an exceedingly clever hoax, carried out by someone with great scientific expertise. Some blamed Dawson or Teilhard de Chardin, but others have accused Sir Arthur Smith Woodward of the British Museum, Sir Arthur Keith of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, William Sollas of the geology department at Cambridge, and Sir Grafton Eliot Smith, a famous anatomist.

J. S. Weiner himself noted: “Behind it all we sense, therefore, a strong and impelling motive. . . . There could have been a mad desire to assist the doctrine of human evolution by furnishing the ‘requisite’ ‘missing link.’. . . Piltdown might have offered irresistible attraction to some fanatical biologist.”

Piltdown is significant in that it shows that there are instances of deliberate fraud in paleoanthropology, in addition to the general process of knowledge filtration.

Finally, there is substantial, though not incontrovertible, evidence that the Piltdown skull, at least, was a genuine fossil. The Piltdown gravels in which it was found are now thought to be 75,000 to 125,000 years old. An anatomically modern human skull of this age in England would be considered anomalous.

Chapter 9 takes us to China, where in 1929 Davidson Black reported the discovery of Peking man fossils at Zhoukoudian (formerly Choukoutien). Now classified as Homo erectus, the Peking man specimens were lost to science during the Second World War. Traditionally, Peking man has been depicted as a cave dweller who had mastered the arts of stone tool manufacturing, hunting, and building fires. But a certain number of influential researchers regarded this view as mistaken. They saw Peking man as the prey of a more advanced hominid, whose skeletal remains have not yet been discovered.

In 1983, Wu Rukang and Lin Shenglong published an article in Scientific American purporting to show an evolutionary increase in brain size during the 230,000 years of the Homo erectus occupation of the Zhoukoudian cave. But we show that this proposal was based on a misleading statistical presentation of the cranial evidence.

In addition to the famous Peking man discoveries, many more hominid finds have been made in China. These include, say Chinese workers, australopithecines, various grades of Homo erectus, Neanderthaloids, early Homo sapiens, and anatomically modern Homo sapiens. The dating of these hominids is problematic. They occur at sites along with fossils of mammals broadly characteristic of the Pleistocene. In reading various reports, we noticed that scientists routinely used the morphology of the hominid remains to date

these sites more precisely.

For example, at Tongzi, South China, Homo sapiens fossils were found along with mammalian fossils. Qiu Zhonglang said: “The fauna suggests a MiddleUpper Pleistocene range, but the archeological [i.e., human] evidence is consistent with an Upper Pleistocene age.” Qiu, using what we call morphological dating, therefore assigned the site, and hence the human fossils, to the Upper Pleistocene. A more reasonable conclusion would be that the Homo sapiens fossils could be as old as the Middle Pleistocene. Indeed, our examination of the Tongzi faunal evidence shows mammalian species that became extinct at the end of the Middle Pleistocene. This indicates that the Tongzi site, and the Homo sapiens fossils, are at least 100,000 years old.

Additional faunal evidence suggests a maximum age of about 600,000 years.

The practice of morphological dating substantially distorts the hominid fossil record. In effect, scientists simply arrange the hominid fossils according to a favored evolutionary sequence, although the accompanying faunal evidence does not dictate this. If one considers the true probable date ranges for the Chinese hominids, one finds that various grades of Homo erectus and various grades of early Homo sapiens (including Neanderthaloids) may have coexisted with anatomically modern Homo sapiens in the middle Middle Pleistocene, during the time of the Zhoukoudian Homo erectus occupation.

In Chapter 10, we consider the possible coexistence of primitive hominids and anatomically modern humans not only in the distant past but in the present. Over the past century, scientists have accumulated evidence suggesting that humanlike creatures resembling Gigantopithecus, Australopithecus, Homo erectus, and the Neanderthals are living in various wilderness areas of the world. In North America, these creatures are known as Sasquatch. In Central Asia, they are called Almas. In Africa, China, Southeast Asia, Central America, and South America, they are known by other names. Some researchers use the general term

“wildmen” to include them all. Scientists and physicians have reported seeing live wildmen, dead wildmen, and footprints. They have also catalogued thousands of reports from ordinary people who have seen wildmen, as well as similar reports from historical records.

Myra Shackley, a British anthropologist, wrote to us: “Opinions vary, but I guess the commonest would be that there is indeed sufficient evidence to suggest at least the possibility of the existence of various unclassified manlike creatures, but that in the present state of our knowledge it is impossible to comment on their significance in any more detail. The position is further complicated by

misquotes, hoaxing, and lunatic fringe activities, but a surprising number of hard core anthropologists seem to be of the opinion that the matter is very worthwhile investigating.”

Chapter 11 takes us to Africa. We describe in detail the cases mentioned in the first part of this introduction (Reck’s skeleton, the Laetoli footprints, etc.). These provide evidence for anatomically modern humans in the Early Pleistocene and Late Pliocene.

We also examine the status of Australopithecus. Most anthropologists say Australopithecus was a human ancestor with an apelike head, a humanlike body, and a humanlike bipedal stance and gait. But other researchers make a convincing case for a radically different view of Australopithecus. Physical anthropologist C. E. Oxnard wrote in his book Uniqueness and Diversity in Human Evolution (1975): “Pending further evidence we are left with the vision of intermediately sized animals, at home in the trees, capable of climbing, performing degrees of acrobatics, and perhaps of arm suspension.” In a 1975

article in Nature, Oxnard found the australopithecines to be anatomically similar to orangutans and said “it is rather unlikely that any of the Australopithecines . . .

can have any direct phylogenetic link with the genus Homo.

Oxnard’s view is not new. Earlier in this century, when the first australopithecines were discovered, many anthropologists, such as Sir Arthur Keith, declined to characterize them as human ancestors. But they were later overruled. In his book The Order of Man (1984), Oxnard noted: “In the uproar, at the time, as to whether or not these creatures were near ape or human, the opinion that they were human won the day. This may well have resulted not only in the defeat of the contrary opinion but also the burying of that part of the evidence upon which the contrary opinion was based. If this is so, it should be possible to unearth this other part of the evidence. ” And that, in a more general way, is what we have done in Forbidden Archeology. We have unearthed buried evidence, evidence which supports a view of human origins and antiquity quite different from that currently held.

In Appendix 1, we review chemical and radiometric dating techniques and their application to human fossil remains, including some of those discussed in Chapter 6. In Appendix 2, we provide a limited selection of evidence for ancient humans displaying a level of culture beyond that indicated by the stone tools discussed in Chapters 3–5. And in Appendix 3, we provide a table listing almost all of the discoveries contained in Forbidden Archeology.

Some might question why we would put together a book like Forbidden

Archeology, unless we had some underlying purpose. Indeed, there is some underlying purpose.

Richard Thompson and I are members of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, a branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness that studies the relationship between modern science and the world view expressed in the Vedic literature.

This institute was founded by our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C.

Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who encouraged us to critically examine the prevailing account of human origins and the methods by which it was established. From the Vedic literature, we derive the idea that the human race is of great antiquity. To conduct systematic research into the existing scientific literature on human antiquity, we expressed the Vedic idea in the form of a theory that various humanlike and apelike beings have coexisted for a long time.

That our theoretical outlook is derived from the Vedic literature should not disqualify it. Theory selection can come from many sources—a private inspiration, previous theories, a suggestion from a friend, a movie, and so on.

What really matters is not a theory’s source but its ability to account for observations.

Our research program led to results we did not anticipate, and hence a book much larger than originally envisioned. Because of this, we have not been able to develop in this volume our ideas about an alternative to current theories of human origins. We are therefore planning a second volume relating our extensive research results in this area to our Vedic source material.

Given their underlying purpose, Forbidden Archeology and its forthcoming companion volume may therefore be of interest to cultural and cognitive anthropologists, scholars of religion, and others concerned with the interactions of cultures in time and space.

At this point, I would like to say something about my collaboration with Richard Thompson. Richard is a scientist by training, a mathematician who has published refereed articles and books in the fields of mathematical biology, remote sensing from satellites, geology, and physics. I am not a scientist by training. Since 1977, I have been a writer and editor for books and magazines published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

In 1984, Richard asked his assistant Stephen Bernath to begin collecting material on human origins and antiquity. In 1986, Richard asked me to take that material and organize it into a book.

As I reviewed the material provided to me by Stephen, I was struck by the very small number of reports from 1859, when Darwin published The Origin of

Species , until 1894, when Dubois published his report on Java man. Curious about this, I asked Stephen to obtain some anthropology books from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In these books, including an early edition of Boule’s Fossil Men, I found highly negative reviews of numerous reports from the period in question. By tracing out footnotes, we dug up a few samples of these reports. Most of them, by nineteenth-century scientists, described incised bones, stone tools, and anatomically modern skeletal remains encountered in unexpectedly old geological contexts. The reports were of high quality, answering many possible objections. This encouraged me to make a more systematic search. Digging up this buried literary evidence required another three years. Stephen Bernath and I obtained rare conference volumes and journals from around the world, and together we translated the material into English. The results of this labor provided the basis for Chapters 2–6 in Forbidden Archeology.

After I reviewed the material Stephen gave me about the Peking man discoveries, I decided we should also look at recent hominid finds in China.

While going through dozens of technical books and papers, I noticed the phenomenon of morphological dating. And when I reviewed our African material, I encountered hints of the dissenting view regarding Australopithecus .

My curiosity about these two areas also led to a fruitful extension of our original research program.

Writing the manuscript from the assembled material took another couple of years. Throughout the entire period of research and writing, I had almost daily discussions with Richard about the significance of the material and how best to present it. Richard himself contributed most of Appendix 1, the discussion of the uranium series dating of the Hueyatlaco tools in Chapter 5, and the discussion of epistemological considerations in Chapter 1. The remainder of the book was written by me, although I relied heavily on research reports supplied by Stephen Bernath for Chapter 7 and the first part of Chapter 9, as well as Appendix 2.

Stephen obtained much of the material in Appendix 2 from Ron Calais, who kindly sent us many Xeroxes of original reports from his archives.

In this second printing of the first edition of Forbidden Archeology, we have corrected several small errors in the original text, mostly typographical. The account of a wildman sighting by Anthony B. Wooldridge, originally included in Chapter 10, has been deleted because we have since learned that the author has retracted his statements.

Richard and I are grateful to our Bhaktivedanta Institute colleagues and the other reviewers who read all or part of the manuscript of Forbidden Archeology . We have incorporated many, but not all, of their suggestions. Full responsibility for the content and manner of presentation lies with us.

Virginia Steen-McIntyre was kind enough to supply us with her correspondence on the dating of the Hueyatlaco, Mexico, site. We also had useful discussions about stone tools with Ruth D. Simpson of the San Bernardino County Museum and about shark teeth marks on bone with Thomas A. Deméré of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

I am indebted to my friend Pierce Julius Flynn for the continuing interest he has displayed in the writing and publication of Forbidden Archeology . It is through him that I have learned much of what I know about current developments in the social sciences, particularly semiotics, the sociology of knowledge, and postmodern anthropology.

This book could not have been completed without the varied services of Christopher Beetle, a computer science graduate of Brown University, who came to the Bhaktivedanta Institute in San Diego in 1988. He typeset almost all of the book, going through several revisions. He also made most of the tables, processed most of the illustrations, and served as a proofreader. He made many helpful suggestions on the text and illustrations, and he also helped arranged the printing.

For overseeing the design and layout, Richard and I thank Robert Wintermute.

The illustrations opposite the first page of the introduction and in Figure 11.11

are the much-appreciated work of Miles Triplett. The cover painting is by Hans Olson. David Smith, Sigalit Binyaminy, Susan Fritz, Barbara Cantatore, and Michael Best also helped in the production of this book.

Richard and I would especially like to thank the international trustees of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, past and present, for their generous support for the research, writing, and publication of this book. Michael Crabtree also contributed toward the printing cost of this book.

Finally, we encourage readers to bring to our attention any additional evidence that may be of interest, especially for inclusion in future editions of this book.

We are also available for interviews and speaking engagements.

Correspondence may be addressed to us at Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing, Inc., 3764

Watseka Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034.

Michael A. Cremo Alachua, Florida April 24, 1995

Part I

Anomalous Evidence

The Song of the Red Lion

One evening in 1871, an association of learned British gentlemen, the Red lions, gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland, to feed happily together and entertain each other with humorous songs and speeches. Lord Neaves, known well for his witty lyrics, stood up before the assembled lions and sang twelve stanzas he had composed on “The origin of species a la Darwin.” Among them: An Ape with a pliable thumb and big brain,

When the gift of gab he had managed to gain,

As Lord of Creation established his reign

Which Nobody can Deny!

His listeners responded, as customary among the Red lions, by gently roaring and wagging their coattails (Wallace 1905, p. 48).

1.1 Darwin Hesitates

Just a dozen years after Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, growing numbers of scientists and other educated persons considered it impossible, indeed laughable, to suppose that humans were anything other than the modified descendants of an ancestral line of apelike creatures. In The Origin of Species itself, Darwin touched but briefly on the question of human beginnings, noting in the final pages only that “Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.” Yet despite Darwin’s caution, it was clear that he did not see humanity as an exception to his theory that one species evolves from another.

Other scientists were not as hesitant as Darwin to directly apply evolutionary theory to the origin of the human species. For these scientists, Darwinism helped explain the remarkable similarity between humans and apes. Even before Darwin published The Origin of Species, Thomas Huxley had been investigating anatomical similarities between apes and humans. Huxley clashed with Richard Owen, who insisted that human brains had a unique feature—the hippocampus major. At a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of science in 1860, Huxley presented evidence showing that brains of apes also had the hippocampus major, thus nullifying a potential objection to the idea that humans had evolved from apelike ancestors. Exuding his usual self-confidence, Huxley (Wendt 1972, p. 71) had written his wife before the British Association meeting:

“By next Friday evening they will all be convinced that they are monkeys!”

Huxley did not limit himself to convincing scientists of this proposition. He delivered to working men a series of lectures on the evolutionary connection between humans and lower animals, and in 1863 he published Man’s Place in Nature, in which he summarized in popular form his arguments for human descent from an apelike creature by the mechanism of Darwinian evolution. In his book, Huxley presented detailed evidence showing the similarity of the human anatomy to that of the chimpanzees and gorillas. The book, intended for general readership, inspired violent criticism but sold well. Scientists continue to use the similarity between humans and apes as an argument in favor of the evolution of humans from apelike ancestors.

Scientists have extended the argument to the molecular level, and have presented evidence showing that there is 99 percent agreement between the DNA sequences of human genes and the corresponding genes of chimpanzees. This certainly suggests a close relationship between humans and chimpanzees, and on a broader scale the shared biochemical mechanisms of living cells indicate a relationship between all living organisms. However, the mere existence of patterns of similarity does not tell us what this relationship is. From an a priori standpoint, it could be a relationship of descent by Darwinian evolution, or it could be something quite different. To actually show evolutionary descent, it is necessary to find physical evidence of transforming sequences of ancestors.

In a companion volume to this book, we will fully discuss the argument that the genealogical tree of human descent can be traced out using biomolecular studies involving mitochondrial DNA and other genetic material. For now, we shall simply point out that interpretation of patterns of molecular similarity in terms of genealogical trees presupposes (rather than proves) that the patterns came about

by evolutionary processes. In addition, the assignment of ages to such patterns of relationships depends on archeological and paleoanthropological studies of ancient human or near human populations. Thus, in the end, all attempts to show the evolution of species (the human species in particular) must rely on the interpretation of fossils and other remains found in the earth’s strata.

By the time Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, some key finds relevant to human origins had already been made. About 15 years previously, Edouard Lartet had found in Miocene strata at Sansan in southern France the first fossils of Pliopithecus, an extinct primate thought to be ancestral to the modern gibbons. About this discovery Lartet wrote in 1845: “This corner of ground once supported a population of mammals of much higher degree than those here today. . . . Here are represented various degrees in the scale of animal life, up to and including the Ape. A higher type, that of the human kind, has not been found here; but we must not hastily conclude from its absence from these ancient formations that it did not exist” (Boule and Vallois 1957, pp. 17–18).

Lartet was hinting that human beings might have existed in Miocene times, over 5 million years ago, an idea that would not win any support from today’s scientists.

In 1856, Lartet reported on Dryopithecus, a fossil ape discovered by Alfred Fontan near Sansan. This Miocene ape is thought to be anatomically related to the modern chimpanzees and gorillas. Although Pliopithecus and Dryopithecus provided Darwinists with possible distant ancestors for humans and modern apes, there were no fossils of intermediate beings connecting humans with these Miocene primates. However, in the same year Lartet reported on Dryopithecus, the first evidence that intermediate prehuman forms may have existed was found in the Neander valley in Germany.

1.2 The Neanderthals

In the latter part of the seventeenth century, a minor German religious poet and composer named Joachim Neumann sometimes wandered through the Dussel River valley, in solitary communion with nature. He used the pseudonym Neander, and after his death the local people called the valley the Neanderthal.

Two centuries later, others came to the pleasant little valley of the Dussel not for peace of mind but to quarry limestone for the Prussian construction industry.

One day in August of 1856, while excavating the Feldhofer cave high on a steep

slope of the valley, some workmen discovered human fossils and gave them to Herr Beckershoff. Beckershoff later dispatched a skullcap and some other large bones to J. Carl Fuhlrott, a local schoolteacher with a well-known interest in natural history. Recognizing the fossils as possible evidence of humanity’s great antiquity, Fuhlrott in turn gave them to Herman Schaffhausen, a professor of anatomy at the University of Bonn.

At this time, most of the scientists considering the question of human antiquity believed that Europe had once been inhabited by a roundheaded primitive race who used tools of stone and bronze. This race had later been replaced by an invading longheaded race who knew how to use iron. The two races were not, however, regarded as being linked by evolution. In 1857, Professor Schaaffhausen delivered reports to scientific gatherings in Germany, calling the newly discovered Neanderthal man a representative of a “barbarous aboriginal race,” perhaps descended from the wildmen of northwestern Europe mentioned in the works of various Roman authors such as Virgil and Ovid. Schaffhausen called special attention to the Neanderthal skull’s primitive features—its thick bone structure and its pronounced brow ridges—as evidence of its antiquity and difference from the modern racial type. Others suggested it was simply the skull of a modern man, heavily deformed by disease. And there the matter rested until 1859, when Darwin published The Origin of Species, setting off intense speculation about humanity’s possible descent from more primitive apelike creatures.

The Neanderthal discovery was then no longer a topic for discussion only among the members of the Natural History Society of the Prussian Rhineland and Westphalia. The heavyweights of European science moved in to pass judgement.

Charles Lyell, then recognized as the world’s preeminent geologist, came to Germany and personally investigated both the fossils and the cave in which they had been found. He felt nothing conclusive could be deduced from the Neanderthal skeleton. For one thing it was “too isolated and exceptional” (Lyell 1863, p. 375). How could generalizations about human prehistory be drawn from just one set of bones which happened to have some “abnormal and apelike”

features? Lyell also felt that its age was “too uncertain.” The unstratified cave deposits in which it had been found could not be assigned a place in the sequence of geological periods. Accompanying animal fossils might have helped establish the age of the Neanderthal man, but none had been found.

Many scientists, especially those opposed to evolutionary doctrines, thought the skeleton was that of a pathologically deformed individual of the recent era. The

German anatomist Rudolf Virchow, for example, believed the crude features of the Neanderthal specimen could be explained by deformities resulting from rickets and arthritis. Thirty years after first expressing this opinion in 1857, Virchow still held it, and also continued to dismiss the idea that the Neanderthal bones represented a stage in human evolution from lower species. “The idea that men arose from animals,” said Virchow, “is entirely unacceptable in my view, for if such transitional men had lived there would be evidence of it, and such evidence does not exist. The creature preliminary to man has just not been found” (Wendt 1972, pp. 57–58).

A British scientist argued that the “skull belonged to some poor idiotic hermit whose remains were found in the cave where he died” (Goodman 1982, p. 75).

Dr. F. Mayer, an anatomist at Bonn University suggested, like Virchow, that the Neanderthal man’s bent leg bones had been caused by childhood rickets, or perhaps many years of horse riding. In 1814, Cossack cavalry had moved through the area in pursuit of napoleon’s army. Was the Neanderthal man a wounded Cossack who had crawled into the cave and died? Mayer saw this as a distinct possibility. But Thomas Huxley, writing in Natural History Review (1864), asked how a dying soldier got in a cave 60 feet up a steep valley wall and buried himself. And where was his uniform?

An old skull dug up at Forbe’s Quarry, during the building of fortifications at Gibraltar in 1848, entered the discussion. on investigation, the fossil skull had turned out to be quite similar to the Feldhofer cave specimen, prompting George Busk, professor of anatomy at the Royal college of surgeons, to write in 1863:

“the Gibraltar skull adds immensely to the scientific value of the Neanderthal specimen, showing that the latter does not represent . . . a mere individual peculiarity, but that it may have been characteristic of a race extending from the Rhine to the Pillars of Hercules. . . . Even Professor Mayer will hardly suppose a rickety Cossack engaged in the campaign of 1814 had crept into a sealed fissure in the Rock of Gibraltar” (Goodman 1982, p. 77).

In 1865, Hugh Falconer said the Gibraltar skull represented “a very low type of humanity—very low and savage, and of extreme antiquity—but still a man and not halfway between a man and a monkey and certainly not the missing link”

(Millar 1972, p. 62). In similar fashion, Huxley concluded, after examining the detailed drawings of the Neanderthal skull sent to him by Lyell, that the Neanderthals were not the missing link sought by scientists. Despite the skull’s somewhat primitive features and its apparent great age, it was in Huxley’s opinion quite close to the modern type, close enough to be classified as simply a

variation. “In no sense,” he said, “can the Neanderthal bones be regarded as the remains of a human being intermediate between men and Apes” (Huxley 1911, p. 205). Most modern scientists agree with Huxley’s analysis and see the Neanderthals as a recent offshoot from the main line of human evolution. The Neanderthals are sometimes designated Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, indicating a close relationship with the modern human type.

Huxley (1911, pp. 207–208) then went on to ask, “Where then, must we look for primaeval man? Was the oldest Homo sapiens Pliocene or Miocene, or yet more ancient? In still older strata do the fossilized bones of an ape more anthropoid, or a man more pithecoid, than any yet known await the researches of some unborn paleontologist? Time will show.”

1.3 Haeckel and Darwinism

Possible intermediate forms between humans and apes were of great concern to the German anatomist Ernst Haeckel. Haeckel, whose specialty was embryology, was an avid advocate of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. He was also famous for his own theory that ontogeny, the step-by-step growth of an animal (or human) embryo, faithfully represents the creature’s phylogeny, or evolutionary development over millions of years from a simple, one-celled organism. However, this theory, which is summed up by the slogan

“ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny,” has long been rejected by twentieth-century scientists.

Haeckel had illustrated his theory with drawings of embryos of different kinds of animals. Unfortunately, some of his drawings turned out to be fakes, and he was tried before the Court of Jena University on charges of fraud. in his defense he declared: “A small percent of my embryonic drawings are forgeries: those namely, for which the observed material is so incomplete or insufficient as to compel us to fill in and reconstruct the missing links by hypothesis and comparative synthesis. I should feel utterly condemned . . . were it not that hundreds of the best observers and biologists lie under the same charge”

(Meldau 1964, p. 217). If Haeckel’s sweeping accusation is correct, this may have important bearing on the mode of anatomical reconstruction employed for the many “missing links” we will discuss in this book.

Haeckel’s enthusiasm for Darwinism was boundless, and he showed no hesitation in proclaiming the essence of the theory, the survival of the fittest, as

the foundation of his whole view of reality. An early advocate of social Darwinism, he said: “A grim and ceaseless struggle for life is the real mainspring of the purposeless drama of the world’s history. We can only see a ‘moral order’

and ‘design’ in it when we ignore the triumph of immoral force and the aimless features of the organism. Might goes before right as long as the organism exists”

(Haeckel 1905, p. 88).

In Descent of Man, Darwin himself (1871, p. 501) wrote: “With savages, the weak in body and mind are soon eliminated and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. . . . Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. . . . Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.” modern supporters of Darwin’s theory routinely downplay such unsettling statements.

Haeckel was one of the first to compose the familiar phylogenetic tree, showing different groups of living beings related to each other like branches and limbs coming from a central trunk. At the top of Haeckel’s tree is found Homo sapiens.

His immediate predecessor was Homo stupidus, “true but ignorant man.” And before him came Pithecanthropus alalus, the “apeman without speech”—the missing link. Haeckel scored another first by commissioning a highly realistic painting of Pithecanthropus alalus, thus starting the longstanding tradition of presenting hypothetical human ancestors to the general public through the medium of lifelike pictures and statues.

Haeckel published his view of human evolution in 1866, in General Morphology of Organisms, and in 1868, in Natural History of Creation. These books appeared several years before Darwin came out with Descent of Man, in which Darwin acknowledged Haeckel’s work. Haeckel believed humans had arisen from a primate ancestor in south Asia or Africa: “considering the extraordinary resemblance between the lowest woolly-haired men, and the highest manlike apes . . . it requires but a slight imagination to conceive an intermediate form connecting the two” (Spencer 1984, p. 9).

1.4 The search Begins

In his book The Antiquity of Man, first published in 1863, Charles Lyell, like Huxley and Haeckel, expressed the belief that fossils of a creature intermediate between the apes and humans would someday be found. The most likely places were “the countries of the anthropomorphous apes . . . the tropical regions of Africa and the islands of Borneo and Sumatra” (Lyell 1863, p. 498).

Of course, it should be kept in mind that the missing link was not expected to connect modern humans with modern monkeys, but instead with the fossil apes.

The first human ancestor, it was thought, must have branched off from the old World monkeys sometime before the Miocene period. As Darwin himself stated (1871, p. 520): “We are far from knowing how long ago it was when man first diverged from the Catarrhine [Old World monkey] stock; but it may have occurred at an epoch as remote as the Eocene period; for that higher apes had diverged from the lower apes as early as the upper Miocene period is shown by the existence of Dryopithecus.”

Dryopithecus is still recognized as an early precursor of the anthropoid or humanlike apes, which include gorillas, chimpanzees, gibbons, and orangutans. As previously noted, Dryopithecus was discovered by Alfred Fontan, near Sansan in the Pyrenees region of southern France. In 1856, the find was reported to the scientific world by Edouard Lartet, who also gave it its name, which means “forest ape.” in 1868, Louis Lartet, the son of Edouard Lartet, reported on fossils of the earliest fully modern humans, discovered near Cro-Magnon in southwestern France. Recently, Cro-Magnon man has been assigned a date of 30,000–40,000 years. At the time, no fossils intermediate between Dryopithecus and Cro-Magnon man, except the Neanderthal man bones from Germany and Gibraltar, had been found (or so it appears from today’s accounts).

In general, Lyell wanted to see the presence of anatomically modern humans pushed far back in time—but not too far. There were limits: “we cannot expect to meet with human bones in the Miocene formations, where all the species and nearly all the genera of mammalia belong to types widely differing from those now living; and had some other rational being, representing man, then flourished, some signs of his existence could hardly have escaped unnoticed, in the shape of implements of stone or metal” (Lyell 1863, p. 399).

This idea links the origin of humans directly with the succession in time of mammalian species, and it would be seen today as implicitly evolutionary.

However, Lyell (1863, p. 499) proposed withholding final judgement regarding

human evolution until a great many fossils confirming modern humanity’s link with Dryopithecus were discovered: “At some future day, when many hundred species of extinct quadrumana [primates] may have been brought to light, the naturalist may speculate with advantage on this subject.”

Still, Lyell clearly felt we should not let the lack of such evidence prejudice us against the idea of evolution. “The opponents of the theory of transmutation sometimes argue,” he wrote, “that, if there had been a passage by variation from the lower Primates to Man, the geologist ought ere to this have detected some fossil remains of the intermediate links of the chain” (Lyell 1863, p. 435). But Lyell went on to suggest that “what we have said respecting the absence of gradational forms between the recent and Pliocene mammalia . . . may serve to show the weakness in the present state of science of any argument based on such negative evidence, especially in the case of man, since we have not yet searched those pages of the great book of nature, in which alone we have any right to expect to find records of the missing links alluded to” (1863, pp. 435–436). He believed the proper paleontological pages were to be found in Africa and the East Indies. It is there, he felt that “the discovery, in a fossil state, of extinct forms allied to the human, could be looked for” (Lyell 1863, p. 498).

Lyell’s approach was reasonable, since he advocated withholding judgement until enough evidence was gathered. However, while rejecting arguments based on a lack of evidence, he was perhaps implicitly assuming that the discovery of semihuman forms would confirm modern humanity’s descent from those forms.

This is an error (and a perennial one), for the presence of a semihuman form does not preclude the contemporary or prior existence of fully human forms.

1.5 Darwin speaks

We have now seen that Huxley, Haeckel, and Lyell all wrote major works dealing with the question of human origins and that they did so before Darwin, who had deliberately held back from treating the question in The Origin of Species. Finally, in 1871 Darwin came out with his own book, Descent of Man.

explaining his delay, Darwin (1871, p. 389) wrote: “during many years I collected notes on the origin or descent of man, without any intention of publishing on the subject, but rather with the determination not to publish, as I thought that I should thus only add to the prejudices against my views. It seemed to me sufficient to indicate, in the first edition of my ‘Origin of Species,’ that by

this work ‘light would be thrown on the origin of man and his history;’ and this implies that man must be included with other organic beings in any general conclusion respecting his manner of appearance on this earth.”

In Descent of Man, Darwin was remarkably explicit in denying any special status for the human species. “We thus learn that man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World. . . . The higher mammals are probably derived from an ancient marsupial animal, and this through a long series of diversified forms, from some amphibianlike creature, and this again from some fish-like animal. In the dim obscurity of the past we can see that the early progenitor of all the vertebrata must have been an aquatic animal. . . . More like the larvae of the existing marine Ascidians than any other known form” (Darwin 1871, p. 911). It was a bold statement, yet one lacking the most convincing kind of proof—fossils of species transitional between the ancient dryopithecine apes and modern humans.

The absence of evidence of possible transitional forms may not provide a proper disproof of evolution, but one can argue that such forms are required in order to positively prove the theory. Yet aside from the Neanderthal skulls and a few other little-reported finds of modern morphology, there were no discoveries of hominid fossil remains. This fact soon became ammunition to those who were revolted by Darwin’s suggestion that humans had apelike ancestors. Where, they asked, were the fossils to prove it?

1.6 The Incompleteness of the Fossil


Darwin himself (1871, p. 521) felt forced to reply and sought to defend himself by appealing to the imperfection of the fossil record: “With respect to the absence of fossil remains, serving to connect man with his apelike progenitors, no one will lay much stress on this fact who reads sir c. Lyell’s discussion ( Elements of Geology 1865, pp. 583–585 and Antiquity of Man 1863, p. 145), where he shows that in all the vertebrate classes the discovery of fossil remains has been a very slow and fortuitous process. nor should it be forgotten that those regions which are the most likely to afford remains connecting man with some extinct apelike creatures, have as yet not been searched by geologists.”

Lyell (1863, p. 146) had argued that it was not “part of the plan of nature to store up enduring records of a large number of individual plants and animals which have lived.” Rather nature tends to regularly clear her files, employing “the heat and moisture of the sun and atmosphere, the dissolving power of carbonic and other acids, the grinding teeth and gastric juices of quadrupeds, birds, reptiles, and fish, and the agency of many other invertebrata” (Lyell 1863, p. 146). Lyell also pointed out that researchers who had attempted to dredge human fossils from the sediments on the sea bottom had also been unsuccessful. He cited the attempt of the team of macAndrew and Forbes who “failed utterly in drawing up from the deep a single human bone” and found no human artifacts “on a coast line of several hundred miles in extent, where they approached within less than half a mile of a land peopled by millions of human beings” (Lyell 1863, pp. 146–


To the present day, the drastic incompleteness of the fossil record has remained a critical factor in paleontology. Most popular presentations of evolution give the idea that the layers of sedimentary rock offer a complete and incontrovertible record of the progressive development of life on earth. But geologists who have studied the matter have come up with some astounding findings. For example, Tjeerd H. van Andel looked at a series of sandstone and shale deposits in Wyoming, parts of which apparently were submerged in a body of water resembling our present Gulf of Mexico. The rates at which sediment is deposited in the Gulf of Mexico are known. Applying these rates to the Wyoming strata, van Andel calculated they could have been deposited in 100,000 years. Yet geologists and paleontologists agreed that the series spans a time of 6 million years. That means that 5.9 million years of strata are missing. Van Andel (1981, p. 397) stated: “We may repeat the experiment elsewhere; invariably we find that the rock record requires only a small fraction, usually 1 to 10 percent, of the available time. . . . Thus it appears that the geological record is exceedingly incomplete.”

What about the sea bottom? Shouldn’t the lack of erosional forces present on continental land masses result in a more complete record there? Van Andel (1981, p. 397) answered: “This turned out to be far from true. In the south Atlantic, for example, barely half of the history of the last 125 Myr is recorded in the sediment. It is no better in other oceans and surely worse for shallow marine and continental environments.”

This has definite implications regarding the fossil record. Van Andel (1981, p.

398) warned that “key elements of the evolutionary record may be forever out of

reach.” J. Wyatt Durham, a past president of the Paleontological Society, pointed out that according to theory, about 4.1 million fossilizable marine species have existed since the Cambrian period some 600 million years ago. Yet only 93,000

fossil species have been catalogued. Durham (1967, p. 564) concluded: “Thus conservatively we now know about one out of every 44 species of invertebrates with hard parts that has existed in the marine environment since the beginning of the Cambrian. I think this ratio is unrealistically conservative; probably one out of every 100 is closer to reality.”

When we turn from marine organisms to the totality of living organisms, the situation only gets worse. David m. Raup, curator of Chicago’s Field museum, and Steven Stanley, a paleontologist at Johns Hopkins University, estimated that 982 million species have existed during the earth’s history, compared with the 130,000 known fossil species. They concluded that “only about .013 of one percent of the species that have lived during this 600 million year period have been recognized in the fossil record” (Raup and Stanley 1971, p. 11).

What does this have to do with human evolution? The standard idea is that the fossil record reveals a basic history, true in outline even though not known in every detail. But this might not at all be the case. Can we really say with complete certainty that humans of the modern type did not exist in distant bygone ages? Consider Van Andel’s point that out of 6 million years, only 100,000 may be represented by surviving strata. In the unrecorded 5.9 million years there is time for even advanced civilizations to have come and gone leaving hardly a trace.

Darwin’s appeal to the incompleteness of the fossil record served to explain the absence of evidence supporting his theory. It was, nevertheless, basically a weak argument. Admittedly, many key events in the history of life probably have gone unrecorded in the surviving strata of the earth. But although these unrecorded events might support the theory of human evolution, they might radically contradict it.

Today, however, almost without exception, modern paleoanthropologists believe that they have fulfilled the expectations of Darwin, Huxley, and Haeckel by positive discoveries of fossil human ancestors in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere.

We will now give a brief summary of these discoveries, placing them within the framework of the history of life on the earth as reconstructed by paleontologists.

In this summary, we shall introduce the standard system of geological dates and time divisions that we will use throughout the book.

1.7 The Geological Timetable

The story of life on earth now accepted by paleontologists can be outlined as follows. About 4.6 billion years ago the earth came into being as part of the formation of the solar system. The earliest evidences of life are fossils reputed to be of single-celled organisms. These date to 3.5 billion years ago. It is said that only single-celled organisms inhabited the earth until about 630 million years ago, when simple multicellular creatures first make their appearance in the fossil record.

Then, some 590 million years ago, there was an explosive proliferation of invertebrate marine life forms, such as trilobites. This marks the beginning of the Paleozoic era and its first subdivision, the Cambrian period. The first fish are often said to have appeared in the Ordovician period, beginning 505 million years ago, but Cambrian fish have now been reported. In the Silurian period, beginning some 438 million years ago, the first land plants entered the fossil record. We note, however, that spores and pollen from such plants have been reported from Cambrian and even Precambrian marine strata (Jacob et al. 1953, stain forth 1966, McDougall et al. 1963, Snelling 1963). In the Devonian period, which began 408 million years ago, the first amphibians came on the scene, followed by early reptiles in the carboniferous period, the beginning of which is set at about 360 million years ago. Next is the Permian period, which began some 286 million years ago and marks the end of the Paleozoic era.

The next period is the Triassic, which began some 248 million years ago and is marked by the appearance of the first mammals. In the succeeding Jurassic period, which extends from 213 million years to 144 million years ago, paleontologists note the appearance of the first birds. The Jurassic and Triassic periods, along with the following cretaceous period, are famous as the Age of the dinosaurs and are known collectively as the Mesozoic era. At the end of the cretaceous period, some 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs mysteriously died out.

Then comes the Cenozoic era. The name Cenozoic is made of two Greek words meaning “recent” and “life.” The Cenozoic is divided into seven periods: Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, and finally the Holocene or most recent period, dating back 10,000–12,000 years. The dates for these periods, and the periods comprising the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, are given in Table 1.1. These dates are taken from A Geologic Time Scale, a recent

text on radiometric dating (Harland et al. 1982).

The geological time divisions were largely formulated in the nineteenth century, on the basis of stratigraphic considerations. Initially, there was no way to assign quantitative dates to these divisions, and thus geologists referred to them qualitatively—a particular period was simply said to be earlier or later than another. In the twentieth century, scientists began to assign quantitative dates by means of radiometric methods, and they have continued to revise these dates periodically up to the present time. Thus today many roughly equivalent systems of dates are used by different geologists and paleontologists.

In general, we will use the dates in Table 1.1 throughout this book. When authors from the nineteenth century or early twentieth century assign a fossil to, say, the Miocene period, we will state that the fossil is from 5 to 25 million years old.

The author in question may have had no quantitative estimate of the age of his fossil, or he may have had an estimate quite different from 5 to 25 million years.

However, if the modern dates from Table 1.1 are correct for the Miocene, and the early author correctly assigned his fossil to the Miocene on the basis of stratigraphy, then it is valid for us to use the modern dates. We will do this since it helps us compare the old discovery with modern discoveries, which are generally given quantitative radiometric dates.

In some cases, the geological periods assigned to certain strata in the nineteenth century have been revised by modern geologists. For example, some Miocene strata have been reassigned to the Pliocene period. In general, whenever strata in a given locality have been identified, we have tried to look up the periods assigned to them in current geological literature. We have then given dates to these strata on the basis of the modern period assignments.

However, this method is often inadequate for assigning dates to nineteenth century Pliocene and Pleistocene sites. In recent years, dates ranging from 2.7 to 15.0 million years have been assigned to the start of the Pliocene, with many vertebrate paleontologists favoring 10–12 million years. Other scientists have used the potassiumargon method to assign a date of 4.5–6.0 million years to the start of the Pliocene, and in Table 1.1 this date is listed as 5 million years (Berggren and Van Couvering 1974).

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

The Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary is defined as the base of the Calabrian, a marine stratigraphic subdivision from Italy, and this is now thought to be approximately 1.8 million years old. However, for this book the terrestrial

mammalian fauna associated with the Pliocene and Pleistocene are of primary importance, since evidence pertaining to ancient human beings is typically dated on the basis of associated mammalian bones. A key faunal subdivision associated with the Pliocene and Pleistocene is the Villafranchian, which is divided into early, middle, and late sections, with dates ranging from 3.5 – 4.0

million years to 1.0 –1.3 million years. Since many vertebrate paleontologists assigned the Villafranchian entirely to the Pleistocene, the starting date of the Pleistocene was sometimes given as 3.5 – 4.0 million years. At present, however, the Villafranchian is divided between the Pleistocene and Pliocene, and the basal Calabrian date of 1.8–2.0 million years is assigned to the beginning of the Pleistocene (Berggren and Van Couvering 1974).

As a result, the best way to arrive at a quantitative date for a nineteenth century site with Villafranchian (or later) fauna is to refer to modern estimates for the age of that site in years, and we have tried to do this as much as possible.

For sites with pre-Villafranchian fauna, the period will be Early Pliocene or earlier, and it is adequate for the purposes of this book to arrive at a date using Table 1.1 and the period presently assigned to the site.

In this book, we will take the modern system for granted, accepting it, for the sake of argument, as a fixed reference frame to use in studying the history of ancient humans and near humans. However, it is clear on closer examination that this reference frame is by no means fixed, and it may be that further study will reveal as much ambiguity in the evidence for its different time divisions and fossil markers as we have found in the evidence for ancient humans.

Certainly, experts in geology have sometimes expressed dissatisfaction with the established geological time divisions. For example, Edmund m. Spieker (1956, p. 1803) made the following remarks in a lecture delivered to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists: “I wonder how many of us realize that the time scale was frozen in its present form by 1840. . . . How much world geology was known in 1840? A bit of Western Europe, none too well, and a lesser fringe of eastern North America. All of Asia, Africa, South America, and most of North America were virtually unknown. How dared the pioneers assume that their scale would fit the rocks in these vast areas, by far most of the world? Only in dogmatic assumption. . . . And in many parts of the world, notably India and South America, it does not fit. But even there it was applied! The founding fathers went forth across the earth and in Procrustean fashion made it fit the sections they found, even in places where the actual evidence literally proclaimed denial. So flexible and accommodating are the ‘facts’ of geology.”

1.8 The Appearance of the Hominids

The first apelike beings appeared in the Oligocene period, which began about 38 million years ago. The first apes thought to be on the line to humans appeared in the Miocene, which extends from 5 to 25 million years ago. These include the dryopithecine ape Proconsul africanus and Ramapithecus, which is now thought to be an ancestor of the orangutan.

Then came the Pliocene period. During the Pliocene, the first hominids, or erect-walking humanlike primates, are said to appear in the fossil record. The term hominid should be distinguished from hominoid, which designates the taxonomic superfamily including apes and humans. The earliest known hominid is Australopithecus, the “southern ape,” and is dated back as far as 4 million years, in the Pliocene.

This near human, say scientists, stood between 4 and 5 feet tall and had a cranial capacity of between 300 and 600 cubic centimeters (cc). From the neck down, Australopithecus is said to have been very similar to modern humans, whereas the head displayed some apelike and some human features.

One branch of Australopithecus, known as the “gracile” or lighter branch, is thought to have given rise to Homo habilis around 2 million years ago, at the beginning of the Pleistocene period. Homo habilis appears similar to Australopithecus except that his cranial capacity is said to have been larger, between 600 and 750 cc.

Homo habilis is thought to have given rise to Homo erectus (the species that includes Java man and Peking man) around 1.5 million years ago. Homo erectus is said to have stood between 5 and 6 feet tall and had a cranial capacity varying between 700 and 1,300 cc. most paleoanthropologists now believe that from the neck down, Homo erectus was, like Australopithecus and Homo habilis, almost the same as modern humans. The forehead, however, still sloped back from behind massive brow ridges, the jaws and teeth were large, and the lower jaw lacked a chin. It is believed that Homo erectus lived in Africa, Asia, and Europe until about 200,000 years ago.

Paleoanthropologists believe that anatomically modern humans ( Homo sapiens) emerged gradually from Homo erectus. Somewhere around 300,000 or 400,000 years ago the first early Homo sapiens or archaic Homo sapiens are said to have appeared. They are described as having a cranial capacity almost as large

as that of modern humans, yet still manifesting to a lesser degree some of the characteristics of Homo erectus, such as the thick skull, receding forehead, and large brow ridges. Examples of this category are the finds from Swanscombe in England, Steinheim in Germany, and Fontechevade and Arago in France.

Because these skulls also possess, to some degree, Neanderthal characteristics (Gowlett 1984, p. 85; Bräuer 1984, p. 328; stringer et al. 1984, p. 90), they are also classified as pre-Neanderthal types. Most authorities now postulate that both anatomically modern humans and the classic Western European Neanderthals evolved from the pre-Neanderthal or early Homo sapiens types of hominids (Spencer 1984, pp. 1– 49).

In the early part of the twentieth century, some scientists advocated the view that the Neanderthals of the last glacial period, known as the classic Western European Neanderthals, were the direct ancestors of modern human beings.

They had brains larger than those of Homo sapiens sapiens. Their faces and jaws were much larger, and their foreheads were lower, sloping back from behind large brow ridges. Neanderthal remains are found in Pleistocene deposits ranging from 30,000 to 150,000 years old. However, the discovery of early Homo sapiens in deposits far older than 150,000 years effectively removed the classic Western European Neanderthals from the direct line of descent leading from Homo erectus to modern humans.

The type of human known as Cro-Magnon appeared in Europe approximately 30,000 years ago (Gowlett 1984, p. 118), and they were anatomically modern.

scientists used to say that anatomically modern Homo sapiens sapiens first appeared around 40,000 years ago, but now many authorities, in light of the Border cave discoveries in south Africa, say that they appeared around 100,000

years ago (Rightmire 1984, pp. 320–321).

The cranial capacity of modern humans varies from 1,000 cc to 2,000 cc, the average being around 1,350 cc. As can be readily observed today among modern humans, there is no correlation between brain size and intelligence. There are highly intelligent people with 1,000 cc brains and morons with 2,000 cc brains.

exactly where, when, or how Australopithecus gave rise to Homo habilis, or Homo habilis gave rise to Homo erectus, or Homo erectus gave rise to modern humans is not explained in present accounts of human origins. However, one thing paleoanthropologists do say is that only anatomically modern humans came to the new World. The earlier stages of evolution, from Australopithecus on up, are all said to have taken place in the Old World. The first arrival of human beings in the new World is generally said to have occurred some 12,000

years ago, with some scientists willing to grant a Late Pleistocene date of 25,000


Even today there are many gaps in the presumed record of human descent. For example, there is an almost total absence of fossils linking the Miocene apes with the Pliocene ancestors of modern apes and ancestral humans, especially within the span of time between 4 and 8 million years ago.

Perhaps it is true that fossils will someday be found that fill in the gaps. Yet, and this is extremely important, there is no reason to suppose that the fossils that turn up will be supportive of evolutionary theory. What if, for example, fossils of anatomically modern humans turned up in strata older than those in which the dryopithecine apes were found? Even if anatomically modern humans were found to have lived contemporaneously with Dryopithecus (or even a million years ago, 4 million years after the late Miocene disappearance of Dryopithecus), that would be enough to throw the current accounts of the origin of humankind completely out the window.

In fact, such evidence has already been found, but it has since been suppressed or conveniently forgotten. Much of it came to light immediately after Darwin published The Origin of Species, before which there had been no notable finds except Neanderthal man. In the first years of Darwinism, there was no clearly established story of human descent to be defended, and professional scientists made and reported many discoveries that now would never make it into the pages of any journal more academically respectable than the National Enquirer.

Most of these fossils and artifacts were unearthed before the discovery by Eugene Dubois of Java man, the first protohuman hominid between Dryopithecus and modern humans.

Java man was found in Middle Pleistocene deposits generally given an age of 800,000 years. The discovery became a benchmark. Henceforth, scientists would not expect to find fossils or artifacts of anatomically modern humans in deposits of equal or greater age. If they did, they (or someone wiser) concluded that this was impossible and found some way to discredit the find as a mistake, an illusion, or a hoax. Before Java man, however, reputable nineteenth-century scientists found a number of examples of anatomically modern human skeletal remains in very ancient strata. And they also found large numbers of stone tools of various types, as well as animal bones bearing signs of human action.

1.9 Some Principles of Epistemology









paleoanthropological evidence, we shall outline a few epistemological rules that we have tried to follow. Epistemology is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary (1978) as “the study or theory of the origin, nature, methods, and limits of knowledge.” When engaged in the study of scientific evidence, it is important to keep the “nature, methods, and limits of knowledge” in mind; otherwise one is prone to fall into a number of illusions.

One important illusion, sometimes called the illusion of “misplaced concreteness,” is that a scientific study deals directly with facts, and that scientific arguments appealing to the facts can prove statements about reality.

For example, one might suppose that an argument involving facts in the form of fossil bones can prove that anatomically modern humans really did arise in Africa 100,000 years ago. Thinking this, one might strongly argue, on the basis of certain facts, that the statement “anatomically modern humans arose in Africa 100,000 years ago” represents the truth. If the facts are part of reality, and the arguments are sound, then surely the conclusion must be true. Or, at least, granting our human fallibility, we can be reasonably confident that it is true.

The problem here is that in the field of paleoanthropology the facts being considered are not directly part of reality. Indeed, if a “fact” is examined closely it is found to resolve into (1) arguments based on further “facts,” or (2) claims that someone has witnessed something at a particular time and place. Thus

“facts” turn out to be networks of arguments and observational claims.

To some extent, this is true of the facts discussed in any field of science. But the facts of paleoanthropology have certain key limitations that should be pointed out. First, the observations that go into paleoanthropological facts tend to involve rare discoveries that cannot be duplicated at will. For example, some scientists in this field have built great reputations on the basis of a few famous discoveries, and others, the vast majority, have spent their whole careers without making a single significant find.

Second, once a discovery is made, key elements of the evidence are destroyed, and knowledge of these elements depends solely on the testimony of the discoverers. For example, one of the most important aspects of a fossil is its stratigraphic position. However, once the fossil is removed from the earth, the direct evidence indicating its position is destroyed, and we simply have to depend on the excavator’s testimony as to where he or she found it. Of course, one may argue that chemical or other features of the fossil may indicate its place of origin. This is true in some cases but not in others. And in making such

judgements, we also have to depend on reports concerning the chemical and other physical properties of the strata in which the fossil was allegedly found.

Persons making important discoveries sometimes cannot find their way back to the sites of those discoveries. After a few years, the sites are almost inevitably destroyed, perhaps by erosion, by complete paleoanthropological excavation, or by commercial developments (involving quarrying, building construction, and so forth). Even modern excavations involving meticulous recording of details destroy the very evidence they are recording, and leave one with nothing but written testimony to back up many key assertions. And many important discoveries, even today, involve very scanty recording of key details.

Thus a person desiring to verify paleoanthropological reports will find it very difficult to gain access to the “real facts,” even if he or she is able to travel to the site of a discovery. And, of course, limitations of time and money make it impossible to personally examine more than a small percentage of the totality of important paleoanthropological sites.

A third problem is that the facts of paleoanthropology are seldom (if ever) simple. A scientist may testify that “the fossils were clearly weathering out of a certain Early Pleistocene layer.” But this apparently simple statement may depend on many observations and arguments involving geological faulting, the possibility of slumping, the presence or absence of a layer of hillwash, the presence of a refilled gully, and so on. If one consults the testimony of another person present at the site, one may find that he or she discusses many important details not mentioned by the first witness.

Different observers sometimes contradict one another, and their senses and memories are imperfect. Thus, an observer at a given site may see certain things, but miss other important things. Some of these things might be seen by other observers, but this could turn out to be impossible because the site has become inaccessible.

Then there is the problem of cheating. This can occur on the level of systematic fraud, as in the Piltdown case. As we shall see, to get to the bottom of this kind of cheating one requires the investigative abilities of a super Sherlock Holmes plus all the facilities of a modern forensic laboratory. Unfortunately, there are always strong motives for deliberate or unconscious fraud, since fame and glory await the person who succeeds in finding a human ancestor.

Cheating can also occur on the level of simply omitting to report observations that do not agree with one’s desired conclusions. As we will see in the course of this book, investigators have sometimes admitted that they have observed

artifacts in certain strata, but never reported this because they did not believe the artifacts could possibly be of that age. It is very difficult to avoid this, because our senses are imperfect, and if we see something that seems impossible, then it is natural to suppose that we may be mistaken. Indeed, this may very well be the case. Thus, cheating by omitting to mention important observations can have an important effect on paleoanthropological conclusions, but it cannot be eliminated. It is simply a limitation of human nature that, unfortunately, can have a considerably deleterious impact on the empirical process.

The drawbacks of paleoanthropological facts are not limited to excavations of objects. Similar drawbacks are also found in modern chemical or radiometric dating studies. For example, a carbon 14 date might seem to involve a straightforward procedure that reliably yields a number—the age of an object.

But actual dating studies often turn out to involve complex considerations regarding the identity of samples, and their history and possible contamination.

They may involve the rejection of some preliminary calculated dates and the acceptance of others on the basis of complex arguments that are seldom explicitly published. Here also the facts can be complex, incomplete, and largely inaccessible.

The conclusion we draw from these limitations of paleoanthropological facts is that in this field of study we are largely limited to the comparative study of reports. Although “hard evidence” does exist in the form of fossils and artifacts in museums, most of the key evidence that gives importance to these objects exists only in written form.

Since the information conveyed by paleoanthropological reports tends to be incomplete, and since even the simplest paleoanthropological facts tend to involve complex, unresolvable issues, it is difficult to arrive at solid conclusions about reality in this field. What then can we do? We suggest that one important thing we can do is compare the quality of different reports. Although we do not have access to the real facts, we can directly study different reports and objectively compare them.

A collection of reports dealing with certain discoveries can be evaluated on the basis of the thoroughness of the reported investigation and the logic and consistency of the arguments presented. One can consider whether or not various skeptical counterarguments to a given theory have been raised and answered.

Since reported observations must always be taken on faith in some respect, one can also inquire into the qualifications of the observers.

We propose that if two collections of reports appear to be equally reliable on the

basis of these criteria, then they should be treated equally. Both sets might be accepted, both might be rejected, or both might be regarded as having an uncertain status. It would be wrong, however, to accept one set of reports while rejecting the other, and it would be especially wrong to accept one set as proof of a given theory while suppressing the other set, and thus rendering it inaccessible to future students.

We apply this approach to two particular sets of reports. The first set consists of reports of anomalously old artifacts and human skeletal remains, most of which were discovered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These reports are discussed in Part I of this book. The second set consists of reports of artifacts and skeletal remains that are accepted as evidence in support of current theories of human evolution. These reports range in date from the late nineteenth century (the Pithecanthropus of Dubois) to the 1980s, and they are discussed in Part II. Due to the natural interconnections between different discoveries, some anomalous discoveries are also discussed in Part II.

Our thesis is that in spite of the various advances in paleoanthropological science in the twentieth century there is an essential equivalence in quality between these two sets of reports. We therefore suggest that it is not appropriate to accept one set and reject the other. This has serious implications for the modern theory of human evolution. If we reject the first set of reports (the anomalies) and, to be consistent, also reject the second set (evidence currently accepted), then the theory of human evolution is deprived of a good part of its observational foundation. But if we accept the first set of reports, then we must accept the existence of intelligent, toolmaking beings in geological periods as remote as the Miocene, or even the Eocene. If we accept the skeletal evidence presented in these reports, we must go further and accept the existence of anatomically modern human beings in these remote periods. This not only contradicts the modern theory of human evolution, but it also casts grave doubt on our whole picture of the evolution of mammalian life in the Cenozoic era.

In general, if A contradicts B it is not necessary to prove that A is right in order to prove that B is wrong. To discredit B, all that is required is to show that A and B are both equally well supported by arguments and evidence. Then they cancel each other out. That is the case with our two sets of reports.

In making this study, there are a number of basic features of modern geology and paleontology that we are accepting as a fixed reference framework. These are the system of geological time divisions, the modern radiometric dates for these divisions, the succession of faunal types in successive time divisions of the

Cenozoic era, and the basic principles of stratigraphy.

It might be argued that if we are going to advocate a conclusion as radical as the one we just mentioned, then we might as well challenge these items as well.

After all, if scientists can be completely wrong about the geological time range of human beings, why should we expect them to be right about the time ranges of various mammals?

The answer to this objection is that the various elements in our fixed reference frame may well be in need of reevaluation. However, in this study it would be impractical to delve into these matters in sufficient detail to demonstrate the specific defects that may exist in this geological and paleontological framework.

Given the total body of available paleoanthropological evidence, we can only conclude that something must be seriously wrong with our current scientific picture of human evolution.

The point could be made that even if human beings existed in much earlier periods than is currently believed possible, this still does not contradict the theory of evolution. The evolution of humans could simply have taken place at earlier times. Our answer is that the material we are presenting can be interpreted in that way, and indeed it was so interpreted by most of the scientists who originally presented it. In fact, no matter what evidence is presented for the existence of human beings at a particular date, it is always possible to suppose that they evolved from lower forms at an earlier time.

It can also be said, however, that if the empirical basis for the current view of human evolution proves faulty, then the credibility of evolutionary theory in general is brought into question. After all, if the imposing empirical edifice of evolution from Australopithecus to Homo sapiens is just a house of cards, then how quick should one be to accept another elaborate evolutionary scheme?

1.10 Theories and Anomalous Evidence

We have spoken of “anomalous evidence” and “evidence accepted in support of modern theory.” in general, a piece of evidence is anomalous only in relation to a particular theory. If one could look at the world without any theoretical presuppositions (conscious or unconscious), one would see nothing anomalous. Unfortunately, one would probably experience little but a welter of meaningless sense perceptions, since it is through theoretical understanding that we give meaning to what we perceive.

In this connection a famous remark by Einstein is worth considering: “it may be heuristically useful to keep in mind what one has observed. But on principle it is quite wrong to try grounding a theory on observable quantities alone. In reality the opposite happens. It is the theory which determines what we can observe”

(Brush 1974, p. 1167).

If Einstein is right, then as theories change, observations should also change.

And this is indeed what we find in paleoanthropology. As we shall see, large amounts of paleoanthropological evidence were amassed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in support of a theory that humans or near humans were living in the Pliocene, Miocene, or earlier periods. This evidence was not regarded as anomalous by the scientists who introduced it, since they were contemplating theories of human origins (mainly along the lines of Darwinian evolution) that were compatible with this evidence. Then, with the development of the modern theory that humans like ourselves evolved in the Pleistocene, this evidence became highly unacceptable, and it vanished from sight.

One prominent feature in the treatment of anomalous evidence is what we could call the double standard. All paleoanthropological evidence tends to be complex and uncertain. Practically any evidence in this field can be challenged, for if nothing else, one can always raise charges of fraud. What happens in practice is that evidence agreeing with a prevailing theory tends to be treated very leniently.

Even if it has grave defects, these tend to be overlooked. In contrast, evidence that goes against an accepted theory tends to be subjected to intense critical scrutiny, and it is expected to meet very high standards of proof.

This double standard is described in the following way by the archeologist George carter (1980, p. 318): “When a new idea is advanced, it necessarily challenges the previous idea. This disturbs the holders of the previous idea and threatens their security. The normal reaction is anger. The new idea is then attacked, and support of it is required to be of a high order of certainty. The greater the departure from the previous idea, the greater the degree of certainty required, so it is said. I have never been able to accept this. It assumes that the old order was established on high orders of proof, and on examination this is seldom found to be true.”

Of course, in this study the “new” ideas that we are bringing forward are actually older than the established ideas they contradict. One might say that these old ideas were properly repudiated many years ago, and it is absurd for us to resurrect them today. After all, science has advanced, and the methods we use today are far superior to those used a hundred years ago. For example, today we

can date samples using nuclear physics, and the science of taphonomy has been developed to explain how materials are transformed when they are buried.

The answer to this objection is that we cannot accept a priori that the paleoanthropological studies of today are so superior in thoroughness, concept, and methodology to those of a hundred years ago. The existence of new dating methods does not rule out the validity of old stratigraphic studies. Indeed stratigraphy remains an essential tool in paleoanthropology. New methods can also create new sources of error, and some apparently new fields of study (such as taphonomy) were studied extensively in the past using different nomenclature.

The only way to really be sure of the relative value of new and old paleoanthropological reports is to undertake an actual comparative study of these reports, and that is what we attempt to do in this book. Another point, of course, is that anomalous findings are also being made today, and as we shall see, some of these involve the latest paleoanthropological techniques.

In discussing the anomalous and accepted reports in Parts I and II, we have tended to stress the merits of the anomalous reports, and we have tended to point out the deficiencies of the accepted reports. It could be argued that this indicates bias on our part. Actually, however, our objective is to show the qualitative equivalence of the two bodies of material by demonstrating that there are good reasons to accept much of the rejected material, and also good reasons to reject much of the accepted material. It should also be pointed out that we have not suppressed evidence indicating weaknesses in the anomalous findings. In fact, we extensively discuss reports that are highly critical of these findings, and give our readers the opportunity to form their own opinions.

1.11 The Phenomenon of Suppression

As George carter pointed out, some ideas or observations deviate more than others from an accepted theoretical viewpoint. If a finding is slightly anomalous, it may win acceptance after a period of controversy. If it is more anomalous, it may be studied for some time by a few scientists, while being rejected by the majority. For example, today we see that some scientists, such as Robert Jahn of Princeton University, publish parapsychological studies, while most scientists completely disregard this subject. Finally, there are some observations that so violently contradict accepted theories that they are never accepted by any scientists. These tend to be reported by scientifically uneducated

people in popular books, magazines, and newspapers.

As time passes and theories change, the status of anomalous observations also changes. In some cases (as shown, for example, by the theory of continental drift), evidence once considered anomalous may later attain scientific acceptability. In other cases, evidence which was acceptable, or marginally acceptable, may become so anomalous that professional scientists will completely reject it.

This process of rejection does not usually involve careful scrutiny of the evidence by the scientists who reject it. Human time and energy are limited, and most scientists prefer to focus on positive research goals, rather than spend time scrutinizing unpopular claims. In the scientific community, the word will go out that certain findings are bogus, and this is enough to induce most scientists to avoid the rejected material.

When theories change, and a certain body of ideas and discoveries becomes unacceptable, there is generally a period of time during which prominent scientists will publish systematic attacks against the unwanted findings. (In the parlance of some scientists at the British museum, these attacks are known as

“demolition jobs.”)

If the attacks are successful, then after some last attempts at rebuttal by diehard supporters, scientists will realize it is not in their best interest to defend the unwanted material or be associated with it. A shroud of silence descends over the rejected evidence, and it continues to exist only in fossilized form in the moldering pages of old scientific journals. As time passes, a few dismissive mentions may be made in occasional footnotes, and then a new generation of scientists grows up, largely unaware that the earlier evidence ever existed.

This process of suppression of evidence is illustrated by many of the anomalous paleoanthropological findings discussed in this book. This evidence now tends to be extremely obscure, and it also tends to be surrounded by a neutralizing nimbus of negative reports, themselves obscure and dating from the time when the evidence was being actively rejected. Since these reports are generally quite derogatory, they may discourage those who read them from examining the rejected evidence further.

However, the negative reports generally provide many references to earlier positive reports. When these are examined in detail, it is often found that they contain a wealth of detailed information and reasoning not adequately dealt with in the later negative critiques. Thus to properly evaluate anomalous evidence, there is no alternative to examining in detail the arguments and evidence

presented in the original reports. And that is what we now propose to do.

Incised and Broken Bones: The Dawn of


Intentionally cut and broken bones of animals comprise a substantial part of the evidence for human antiquity. They came under serious study in the middle of the nineteenth century and have remained the object of extensive research and analysis up to the present.

In the decades following the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, many scientists found incised and broken bones indicating a human presence in the Pliocene, Miocene, and earlier periods. Opponents suggested that the marks and breaks observed on the fossil bones were caused by the action of carnivores, sharks, or geological pressure. But supporters of the discoveries offered impressive counterarguments. For example, stone tools were sometimes found along with incised bones, and experiments with these implements produced marks on fresh bone exactly resembling those found on the fossils. Scientists also employed microscopes in order to distinguish the cuts on fossil bones from those that might be made by animal or shark teeth. In many instances, the marks were located in places on the bone appropriate for specific butchering operations.

Nonetheless, reports of incised and broken bones indicating a human presence in the Pliocene and earlier are absent from the currently accepted stock of evidence.

This exclusion may not, however, be warranted. From the incomplete evidence now under active consideration, scientists have concluded that humans of the modern type appeared fairly recently. But in light of the evidence covered in this chapter, the soundness of that conclusion is somewhat deceptive.

2.1 St. Prest, France (early Pleistocene or Late


Just above the famous cathedral town of Chartres in northwestern France, at St. Prest, in the valley of the Eure River, there are gravel pits, where, in the

early nineteenth century, workmen occasionally turned up fossils. These were first reported to the scientific world in 1848 by Monsieur de Boisvillette, the engineer in charge of the local bridges and causeways. The numerous fossils, including many extinct animals such as Elephas meridionalis, Rhinoceros leptorhinus, Rhinoceros etruscus, Hippopotamus major, and a giant beaver called Trogontherium cuvieri, were judged to be characteristic of the Late Pliocene (de Mortillet1883, pp. 28–29).

A further indication of the fossils’ great antiquity was the fact that the gravels in which they were found lay at an elevation of 25 to 30 meters [82 to 98 feet]

above the present level of the Eure, where an ancient river once ran in a different bed. The geological reasoning is as follows. When rivers cut valleys into a plain, the most recent gravels will normally be found near the bottom of the valley.

Gravels found further up on the sides of the valley were deposited earlier by the same river, or other rivers, before the valley reached its present depth. The higher the gravels, the greater their age.

In April of 1863, Monsieur J. Desnoyers, of the French National Museum, came to St. Prest to gather fossils. From the sandy gravels he recovered part of a rhinoceros tibia, upon which he noticed a series of narrow grooves, longer and deeper than could have resulted from minor fracturing or weathering. To Desnoyers, some of the grooves appeared to have been produced by a sharp knife or blade of flint. He also observed small circular marks that could well have been made by a pointed implement (de Mortillet 1883, p. 43). Later, upon examining collections of St. Prest fossils at the museums of Chartres and the School of Mines in Paris, Desnoyers recognized upon a diverse assortment of bones the same types of marks. He then reported his findings to the French Academy of Sciences, maintaining that while some of the marks could possibly be attributed to glacial action others were definitely the work of humans.

If Desnoyers concluded correctly that the marks on many of the bones had been made by flint implements, then it would appear that human beings had been present in France before the end of the Pliocene period. One might ask, “What’s wrong with that?” In terms of our modern understanding of paleoanthropology, quite a bit is wrong. The presence at that time in Europe of beings using stone tools in a sophisticated manner would seem almost impossible. It is believed that at the end of the Pliocene, about 2 million years ago, the modern human species had not yet come into being. Only in Africa should one find primitive human ancestors, and these were limited to Australopithecus and Homo habilis, considered the first toolmaker.

At this point, some will inevitably question whether the nineteenth-century scientists were correct in assigning the St. Prest site to the Late Pliocene. The short answer to this question is a qualified yes.

As we mentioned in our discussion of the geological time periods in the previous chapter (Section 1.7), the dating of sites at the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary remains a matter of intense controversy. Since the St. Prest site lies roughly in this period, one might expect various authorities to place it differently. And it turns out that this is in fact the case.

The American paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn (1910, p. 391) placed St.

Prest in the Early Pleistocene. In times closer to our own, Claude Klein (1973, pp. 692–693) reviewed French opinion regarding the age of the St. Prest fauna.

In 1927, Charles Deperet characterized St. Prest as Late Pliocene. G. Denizot placed St. Prest in the Cromerian interglacial stage of the Middle Pleistocene, a view he consistently maintained into the late 1960s. In 1950, P. Pinchemel referred St. Prest to the Late Pliocene. More recently, F. Boudier, in 1965, placed St. Prest in the Waalian temperate stage of the late Early Pleistocene, with a quantitative date of about 1 million years (Klein 1973, p. 736).

Others have arrived at different quantitative dates for St. Prest. Tage Nilsson (1983, p. 158) stated that two sites in the Central Massif region of France, Sainzelles and Le Coupet, yielded potassiumargon dates of 1.3–1.9 million years. Nilsson (1983, p. 158) then said: “St. Prest, near Chartres in northern France, is held to be closely related.” Nilsson considered the three sites Late Villafranchian, or Early Pleistocene.

Let us now consider some of the species that were listed as present at St. Prest.

Elephas meridionalis (sometimes called Mammuthus meridionalis) is said by modern authorities ( Maglio 1973, p. 79) to have existed in Europe from about 1.2 million to 3.5 million years ago. Osborn (1910, p. 313) places Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus) leptorhinus in the Plaisancian (or Piacenzian) age of the Pliocene.

Osborn placed the Plaisancian age in the Early Pliocene, but Romer (1966, p.

334) places the Plaisancian in the Late Pliocene. Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus) etruscus, according to Nilsson (1983, p. 475), occurs in Europe from the Villafranchian, which begins in the Late Pliocene, to the early Middle Pleistocene. But Savage and Russell (1983, p. 339) list occurrences of Dicerorhinus etruscus as early as the Ruscinian age of the Early Pliocene.

According to Osborn (1910, p. 313), Hippopotamus major, a larger version of the modern hippopotamus, is found in the Late Pliocene and throughout the Pleistocene in Europe. Hippopotamus major is sometimes referred to as

Hippopotamus amphibius antiquus. This species is listed by Savage and Russell (1983, p. 351) as part of the Pliocene Villafranchian fauna of Europe.

Trogontherium cuvieri, the giant extinct beaver, is found in Pliocene faunal lists (Savage and Russell 1983, p. 352) and persisted until the Mosbachian age of the early Middle Pleistocene (Osborn 1910, p. 403). Thus all the above species were in existence during the Pliocene period.

Add it all up, and it can be seen that a Late Pliocene date for St. Prest is not out of the question. And, as noted previously, some twentieth-century scientists (Pinchemel and Deperet) have in fact assigned St. Prest to this period. That would place toolmaking hominids in Europe at over 2 million years ago.

How recent could St. Prest possibly be? The presence of Elephas meridionalis, which survived in Europe until 1.2 million years ago (Maglio 1973, p. 79) would appear to impose a late Early Pleistocene limit. The potassiumargon dates of 1.3–1.9 million years for French sites having a fauna similar to that of St. Prest (Nilsson 1983, p. 158) offer another guidepost. Kurtén (1968, p. 24), like Boudier (1965), assigns St. Prest to the Waalian temperate stage of the Early Pleistocene. Some authorities place the Waalian stage at about 1.1–1.2 million years (Nilsson 1983, p. 144). But Senéze, a French site tentatively attributed to the Waalian temperate stage, is estimated to be about 1.6 million years old (Nilsson 1983, p. 158). From all this, one could conclude that the St. Prest site, at the more recent end of its probable date range, might be just 1.2–1.6 million years old. Even at this date, incised bones would still be anomalous. The oldest undisputed evidence for the presence of Homo erectus in Europe dates back only about 700,000 years (Gowlett 1984, p. 76). Also, the oldest occurrences of Homo erectus in Africa have dates of about 1.5 million years.

Even in the nineteenth century, Desnoyers’s discoveries of incised bones at St.

Prest provoked controversy. Professor Bayle, a paleontologist at the School of Mines, responded to Desnoyers’s report by claiming that it was he, with his own instruments, who had incised and otherwise marked the bones of St. Prest during the process of cleaning them. Dr. Eugene Robert accepted this explanation and communicated it to the French Academy of Sciences.

In response, Desnoyers (1863) protested that his careful scientific presentation had been attacked by means of a brief rumorlike report, submitted without any credible evidence. To his accusers, Desnoyers went on to reply, in a paper published in the proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences, that the bones of St. Prest, found in sand, did not require metal instruments in order to be cleaned. Furthermore, the grooves and other markings were visible on bones that

had not needed any kind of cleaning whatsoever. Perhaps the professor of paleontology at the School of Mines, Dr. Bayle, truly had been sufficiently clumsy to have extensively damaged the valuable bones under his care. But Desnoyers did not believe anyone could say the same of the many capable and careful collectors who also had specimens of fossil bones from St. Prest bearing the exact same striations and incisions. In the words of Desnoyers (1863, p.

1201): “Let us admit, against all probability, that the memoir of the preparator and conservator of the collection is true, and all the bones of St. Prest in his possession have been subjected to the kind of alteration to which he pleads guilty. Very well. That assertion itself serves to demonstrate the action of the hand of man on all the other bones from the same locality, which, fortunately, have been preserved in other collections, from dangerous influences. The marks on them are incontestably primitive, and are completely identical to those produced by the chisels and burins of the functionary of the School of Mines.”

Desnoyers (1863, p. 1201) was further annoyed that persons who had never even seen the bones claimed that the impressions on them were made by the tools of the workmen in the St. Prest sand pits. He pointed out that this supposition is clearly disproved by the fact that the grooves were covered with the same magnesium deposits and dendrites found on other sections of the bone. Dendrites are crystalline mineral deposits that form branching treelike patterns. If the cuts on the fossil bones had been made by the tools of modern excavators or museum employees, the dendrites would have been scraped away. In some cases, the grooves and marks were still tightly filled with compacted sand from the deposits in which they were discovered.

Desnoyers (1863, p. 1201) suggested that doubters examine the actual specimens: “One would see that the incisions, which furrow the bones across their width and cut their edges, are frequently crossed by the longitudinal cracks resulting from dessication. These cracks were unquestionably produced after the marks made when the bone was fresh; they were produced during the course of fossilization. The distinct characteristics of these two kinds of markings are proof that the one is older than the other.”

Recent tool marks probably would have cut through the dessication markings in recognizable fashion, erasing the lighter and shallower cracks. Desnoyers’s careful analysis foreshadows the modern discipline of taphonomy, the scientific study of the changes undergone by bone and other objects in the course of entombment and fossilization.

About one of his finds, Desnoyers (1863, p. 1201) noted, “One would see on the

horn of a giant deer a large incision at the base, an incision difficult to distinguish from those found on the horns of deer from caverns of later geological eras.” In other words, the incision on the deer horn was placed appropriately for a human cut mark.

The prominent British geologist Charles Lyell agreed that the St. Prest gravel beds were of Pliocene age. He observed, however, that among the fauna was the large extinct beaver, Trogontherium, and asked how one could be certain it was not the teeth of this animal that produced the marks on the fossil bones (Lyell 1863, appendix p. 4). Gabriel de Mortillet, professor of prehistoric anthropology at the École d’Anthropologie in Paris, stated in his book Le Préhistorique (1883, p. 45) that Lyell’s supposition was inadmissible because the marks on the bones of St. Prest were not at all of the character of those of a rodent’s teeth. In particular, they were too narrow to have been made by the strong and powerful incisors of Trogontherium.

De Mortillet had his own ideas about the cause of the marks on the fossil bones of St. Prest. Some authorities had suggested glaciers had been responsible for the markings. But de Mortillet said that glaciers had not reached that particular region of France. Modern authorities (Nilsson 1983, p. 169) agree on this point

—the extreme southern limit of the North European glaciation passed through the Netherlands and Central Germany. De Mortillet also rejected human action as the cause of the marks on the bones.

The key to understanding the marks, according to de Mortillet, could be found in the statement by Desnoyers that they appeared to have been made by a sharp blade of flint. According to de Mortillet (1883, pp. 45–46), that was true, only the flint, instead of being moved by the hand of man, had been moved by natural force—a very strong underground pressure that caused the sharp flints to slide across the bones with force sufficient to cut them. As evidence, de Mortillet cited the fact that he had observed flints from the St. Prest gravels and elsewhere that displayed on their surfaces deep scratches. At this point it should be mentioned that in Le Préhistorique de Mortillet rejected every single one of the many discoveries of incised bones made up to that time, almost always offering the same explanation—that the marks were caused by sharp stones moved by subterranean geological pressures.

But in the case of the St. Prest bones, Desnoyers (1863, p. 1201) responded to de Mortillet’s objections, observing: “many of the incisions have been worn by later rubbing, resulting from transport or movement of the bones in the midst of the sands and gravels. The resulting markings are of an essentially different

character than the original marks and striations, and offer superabundant proof of their different ages.” In other words, marks from subterranean pressure may indeed be found upon the bones, but, according to Desnoyers, they can be clearly distinguished from the earlier marks attributed to human action.

So who was right, Desnoyers or de Mortillet? Some authorities believed the question could be settled if it could be demonstrated that the gravels of St. Prest contained flint tools that were definitely of human manufacture. This same demand—for the tools that made the marks—is often made today in cases of anomalous discoveries of incised bones (Section 2.3). The Abbé Bourgeois, a clergyman who had also earned a reputation as a distinguished paleontologist, carefully searched the strata at St. Prest for such evidence. By his patient research he eventually found a number of flints that he believed were genuine tools and made them the subject of a report to the Academy of Sciences in January 1867 (de Mortillet 1883, p. 46). Even this did not satisfy de Mortillet (1883, pp. 46–47), who said of the flints discovered by Bourgeois at St. Prest:

“Many others that he found there, and which are now deposited in the collection of the School of Anthropology, do not have conclusive traces of human work.

The slidings and pressures that resulted in striations on the surfaces of the flints have also left on their sharp edges a number of chips that greatly resemble retouching by humans. This is what deceived Bourgeois. In effect, of the flints discovered at St. Prest, many present a false appearance of having been worked.”

It appears that in our attempt to answer one question, the nature of cut marks on bones, we have stumbled upon another, the question of how to recognize human workmanship on flints and other stone objects. This latter question shall be fully treated in the next chapter. For now we shall simply note that judgements about what constitutes a stone tool are a matter of considerable controversy even to this day. It is, therefore, quite definitely possible to find reasons to question de Mortillet’s rejection of the flints found by Bourgeois. Certainly, the bare observation that some of the flints collected by Bourgeois did not, in de Mortillet’s opinion, show signs of human work does not change the fact that others, however few, did in fact show such signs. And the presence of stone tools at St. Prest would satisfy a key demand for the verification of intentional cuts on fossil bones found there.

The famous American paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn (1910, p. 399) made these interesting remarks in connection with the presence of stone tools at St. Prest: “the earliest traces of man in beds of this age [Early Pleistocene by his estimation] were the incised bones discovered by Desnoyers at St. Prest near

Chartres in 1863. Doubt as to the artificial character of these incisions has been removed by the recent explorations of Laville and Rutot, which resulted in the discovery of eolithic flints, fully confirming the discoveries of the Abbé Bourgeois in these deposits in 1867.”

So as far as the discoveries at St. Prest are concerned, it should now be apparent that we are dealing with paleontological problems that cannot be quickly or easily resolved. Certainly there is not sufficient reason to categorically reject these bones as evidence for a human presence in the Pliocene. This might lead one to wonder why the St. Prest fossils, and others like them, are almost never mentioned in textbooks on human evolution, except in rare cases of brief mocking footnotes of dismissal. Is it really because the evidence is clearly inadmissible?

Or is, perhaps, the omission or summary rejection more related to the fact that the potential Late Pliocene antiquity of the objects is so much at odds with the standard account of human origins? In theory, scientists proclaim themselves ready to follow the facts wherever they might lead. But in practice, the social mechanisms of the scientific community set limits beyond which its members in good standing may cross only at their peril. When eminent authorities announce their rejection of certain categories of evidence, others hesitate to mention similar evidence out of fear of ridicule. Thus anomalous evidence gradually slides from disrepute into complete oblivion.

Along these lines, Armand de Quatrefages, a member of the French Academy of Sciences and a professor at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, wrote in his book Hommes Fossiles et Hommes Sauvages (1884, p. 90): “The objections made to the existence of humans in the Pliocene and Miocene periods seem to habitually be more related to theoretical considerations than to direct observation.” De Quatrefages (1884, p. 91) further stated: “The existence of man in the Secondary epoch is not at all contrary to the principles of science, and the same is true of Tertiary man.”

This is quite a shocking statement, considering that the most recent Secondary period is the Cretaceous, which ended approximately 65 million years ago.

Supposedly, only very small and primitive mammals existed in the Cretaceous, dodging the last of the dinosaurs. Evidence for human beings in the Cretaceous would most certainly cast a great thundering cloud of doubt over Darwin’s seemingly invincible hypothesis. But for now, our focus is on the more recent Tertiary epoch. Even if anatomically modern human beings were found to have existed in the latest Pliocene, at a mere 2 million years ago, that would still call

into question the evolutionary picture of human origins.

In Hommes Fossiles et Hommes Sauvages, de Quatrefages gave a summary of the evidence for his assertions about humans existing in the very distant past and then stated (1884, p. 96): “The preceding historical samples are incomplete and abbreviated. But they suffice, I believe, to make comprehensible that the conviction, agreed upon by many modern scientists of diverse disciplines, relative to the existence of Tertiary man, is not formed lightly but is the result of serious and repeated study.”

Concerning the presence of ancient man at St. Prest, de Quatrefages (1884, pp.

89–90) wrote: “Mr. Desnoyers has affirmed his existence, based on the examination of incisions manifestly intentional found on the bones of Elephas meridionalis and other great mammals of the same age. This discovery was greatly contested, by among others Lyell, who declared he was not able to accept that the incisions on the bones were demonstrably the work of man until he could be shown the instruments that did it. The Abbé Bourgeois responded to this desire. But 20 years later, de Mortillet, in opposing all the results of this research, simply raises objections which when made the object of attentive study turn out to have little foundation.”

Elsewhere in Hommes Fossiles et Hommes Sauvages, de Quatrefages (1884, p.

17) succinctly reaffirmed the evidence for the presence of humans in the Pliocene at St. Prest: “The researches of Mr. Desnoyers and the Abbé Bourgeois do not leave any doubt in this regard. Mr. Desnoyers first discovered in 1863, on bones found in the gravel pits of St. Prest, near Chartres, imprints that he did not hesitate to report as being made by the action of flint implements in the hands of human beings. A little later, the Abbé Bourgeois confirmed and completed this important discovery when he found in the same place the worked flints that had made the incisions on the bones of Elephas meridionalis, Rhinoceros leptorhinus, and other animals. I have examined at leisure the bones studied by Desnoyers, as well as the scrapers, borers, lance points, and arrowheads collected by the Abbé Bourgeois. From the start, I have had little doubt, and everything has been confirming that first impression. Thus man lived on the globe at the end of the Tertiary era. And he left traces of his industry; he had at this time both arms and tools. The honor of the first recognition of this fact, so little in accord with all that was believed only a short time ago, goes incontestably to Mr. Desnoyers.”

Here it should be noted that it would of course be possible to more briefly summarize and paraphrase reports such as these. There are two reasons for not

doing so. The first is that paleoanthropological evidence mainly exists in the form of reports, some primary and others secondary. Very few individuals, even experts in the field, have the opportunity to engage in firsthand inspection of the fossils themselves, scattered in collections around the world. Even if one is able to do so, one is still not able to be sure about the exact circumstances of the discovery. This is critical, because the interpretation of the significance of a fossil depends as much on the exact position in which it was found as on the fossil itself. In most cases, for all investigators except the original discoverers, the real evidence is the reports themselves, which give the details of the discovery, and we shall therefore take the trouble to include many selections from such reports, the exact wording of which reveals much. Contemporary discussions of these original reports, both those which are positive and those which are negative, are also illuminating.

A second consideration is that the particular reports referred to in this chapter are extremely difficult to obtain. Almost no reference to them will be found in modern textbooks. Most of them come from rare nineteenth-century paleontological and anthropological books and journals, the majority in languages other than English. This being the case, translated excerpts of the original reports have been judged preferable to paraphrases and footnotes, and will serve as a unique introduction to a vast store of buried evidence.

A final consideration is that proponents of evolutionary theory often accuse authors who arrive at nonevolutionary conclusions of “quoting out of context.” It therefore becomes necessary to quote at length, in order to supply the needed context.

The controversy over the St. Prest finds was noted by S. Laing, a popular British nonfiction author of the late nineteenth century, whose well-researched books on scientific subjects, intended for the general public, reached a wide audience.

After discussing the site at St. Prest, Laing (1893, p. 113) stated: “In these older gravels have been found stone implements, and bones of the Elephas Meridionalis with incisions evidently made by a flint knife worked by a human hand. This was disputed as long as possible, but Quatrefages, a very cautious and competent authority, states in his latest work, published in 1887, that it is now established beyond the possibility of doubt.”

2.2 A Modern example: Old Crow River, Canada

(Late Pleistocene)

Before moving on to further examples of nineteenth-century discoveries that challenge modern ideas about human origins, let us consider a more recent investigation of intentionally modified bones. One of the most controversial questions confronting New World paleoanthropology is determining the time at which humans entered North America. The standard view is that bands of Asian hunter-gatherers crossed over the Bering land bridge about 12,000 years ago.

Some authorities are willing to extend the date to about 30,000 years ago, while an increasing minority are reporting evidence for a human presence in the Americas at far earlier dates in the Pleistocene. We shall examine this question in greater detail in coming chapters (Sections 3.8, 4.8, 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, and 5.5). For now, however, we want only to consider the fossil bones uncovered at Old Crow River in the northern Yukon territory as a contemporary example of the type of evidence dealt with in this chapter.

In the 1970s, Richard E. Morlan of the Archeological Survey of Canada and the Canadian National Museum of Man, conducted studies of modified bones from the Old Crow River sites. Morlan concluded that many bones and antlers exhibited signs of intentional human work executed before the bones had become fossilized. The bones, which had undergone river transport, were recovered from an Early Wisconsin glacial floodplain dated at 80,000 years b.p.

(before present).

But R. M. Thorson and R. D. Guthrie (1984) published a taphonomic study showing that the action of river ice could have caused the alterations that suggested human work to Morlan. Thorson and Guthrie performed experiments in which large blocks of ice containing bones frozen within them were dragged behind trucks over various surfaces, reproducing the effect of river ice scraping against rocks and gravels. In a 1986 reappraisal of his previous work, Morlan, considering the taphonomic experiments of Thorson and Guthrie, admitted “the observed effects are impressive for the hazards they might pose to recognition of artificial alterations among redeposited fossils.” He went on to note: “However some critical variables probably were not simulated adequately (e.g., texture and hardness of the substrate, buoyancy of the ice block), and it is noteworthy that many of the experimental bones are more profoundly altered than those recovered from natural environments. Certainly these experiments have not shown that all the altered fossils from Old Crow Basin can be attributed to river icing and breakup” (Morlan 1986, p. 29).

Nevertheless, Morlan did in fact back away, in almost all cases, from his earlier assertions that the bones he had collected had been modified by human agency.

He gave alternate explanations, such as the river ice hypothesis, but cautioned:

“The alternate interpretations do not prove that humans were not present in Early Wisconsinan time, but they show that such ancient presence of people cannot be demonstrated on the basis of evidence gathered thus far” (Morlan 1986, p. 27).

He went on to say: “This conclusion differs from earlier statements, but it is not necessarily a retraction of those statements. I have definitely changed my mind about some of my earlier interpretations, but in most cases I am simply trying to enlarge our conceptual framework and to stimulate further observations and discussions” (Morlan 1986, pp. 28–29).

But even though Morlan recanted his previous assertions of human work on 30

bone specimens, he believed four others still bore signs of being definite human artifacts. At Johnson Creek, near Old Crow valley, he found a “freshfractured Bison sp. radius” in situ. The radius is one of the long bones of the lower forelimb. “Although it is not out of the question that the bison bone was broken by carnivores,” stated Morlan (1986, p. 36), “its massive size and micro-relief features indicative of dynamic fracture suggest that it was broken by man. The enclosing matrix of organic silt is suggestive of a thaw-lake deposit and yields a date of >37,000 b.p.”

At another locality, Morlan found two large mammal long bones and a bison rib, all three bearing incisions. Morlan (1986, p. 36) stated about these three bones and the bison radius discussed in the previous paragraph: “The cuts and scrapes .

. . are indistinguishable from those made by stone tools during butchering and defleshing of an animal carcass. These four specimens comprise the most formidable barrier to a global dismissal of our supposed Early Wisconsinan archaeological record.”

Morlan (1986, p. 36) then added: “While this paper was in press . . . two cut bones . . . were sent to Dr. Pat Shipman, Johns Hopkins University, for examination under the scanning electron microscope. The marks were examined with reference to a collection of more than 1000 documented marks on bones, and the provenience [source] of the specimens was not made known until after the marks had been identified. The surface of the large mammal long bone fragment is damaged and difficult to evaluate, but Dr. Shipman positively identified the mark on the Bison rib as a tool mark.” Morlan (1986, p. 28) noted that stone implements have been found in the Old Crow River area and in nearby uplands, but not in direct association with bones.

What this all means is that the bones of St. Prest, and others like them, cannot be so easily dismissed. Evidence of the same type is still considered important today, and the methods of analysis are almost identical to those practiced in the nineteenth century. De Quatrefages and other scientists of that era compared specimens of cut bone with bones bearing undisputed signs of human workmanship. They also performed experiments on fresh bone. Like modern students of taphonomy, they gave detailed consideration to the changes that bones would undergo during the process of entombment and fossilization. They examined bones with a microscope. It should be noted that an electron microscope is not required for such study. A modern authority, John Gowlett (1984, p. 53), said: “Under a microscope, marks made by man are distinguishable in various ways from those made by carnivores. Dr. Henry Bunn (University of California) observed through an optical microscope at low magnification that stone tools leave V-shaped cuts, which are much narrower than rodent gnawing marks.”

As the Old Crow River case clearly shows, modern scientists use methods not much different from those practiced in the nineteenth century. We can just picture Thorson and Guthrie, in previous nineteenth-century incarnations, driving a horsedrawn cart, rather than a truck, and dragging behind them a big block of ice filled with bones over a rough gravel road in northern France, trying to prove the bones of St. Prest were marked by natural forces. Amusing as the image may appear, this is the type of technologically unsophisticated yet important work that still goes into resolving questions about incised bones. But as Morlan’s study shows, all questions about the Old Crow bones have not been clearly decided one way or another. He changed his mind about some of his specimens, but remained convinced about others. This ambiguity and inconclusiveness is typical of the empirical approach to such evidence.

In addition to debating whether or not the cut marks on the Old Crow bones were made by stone tools or natural forces, scientists were concerned about the age of the bones. If the bones were seen as bearing signs of human work and if they were also dated to the Early Wisconsin period, that would challenge the date for the earliest entry of humans into North America. The view now dominant is that Siberian hunters crossed the Bering Strait land bridge in the latest Pleistocene and passed through an ice-free corridor into what is now the United States about 12,000 years ago. Nevertheless, as we shall see throughout this book, there is a lot of controversial, hotly debated evidence showing that human beings were present in the Americas far before 12,000 years ago. Those

scientists favoring the 12,000-year date tend to believe the marks on the Old Crow bones were caused by geological action of some kind, even though the marks have in some cases been judged identical to those caused by stone tools.

This is something we shall encounter again and again. Similarly, preconceptions about the relatively recent origin of anatomically modern humans often influence scientists to reject evidence that they would otherwise take as proof of a human presence.

2.3 The Anza-Borrego Desert, California (Middle


Another recent example of incised bones like those found at St. Prest, again related to the presence of humans in the New World, is a discovery made by George Miller, curator of the Imperial Valley College Museum in El Centro, California. Miller, who died in 1989, reported that six mammoth bones excavated from the Anza-Borrego Desert bear scratches of the kind produced by stone tools. Uranium isotope dating carried out by the U.S. Geological Survey indicated that the bones are at least 300,000 years old, and paleo-magnetic dating and volcanic ash samples indicated an age of some 750,000 years (Graham 1988).

One established scholar said that Miller’s claim is “as reasonable as the Loch Ness Monster or a living mammoth in Siberia,” while Miller countered that

“these people don’t want to see man here because their careers would go down the drain” (Graham 1988). Here, perhaps, we see preconceptions influencing the established scholar to reject evidence which, if given a more suitably recent date, he might have accepted.

The incised mammoth bones from the Anza-Borrego Desert came up in a conversation we had with Thomas Deméré, a paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum (May 31, 1990). Deméré said he was by nature skeptical of claims such as those made by Miller. He called into question the professionalism with which the bones had been excavated, and pointed out that no stone tools had been found along with the fossils. Furthermore, Deméré suggested that it was very unlikely that anything about the find would ever be published in a scientific journal, because the referees who review articles probably would not pass it. We later learned from Julie Parks, the present curator

of George Miller’s specimens, that Deméré had never inspected the fossils or visited the site of discovery, although he had been invited to do so (Parks, personal communication, June 1, 1990).

As of June 1990, the Anza-Borrego mammoth bones were still under study.

Deposits of sandy matrix were being painstakingly removed from the incisions on the bones, so that the incisions could be examined by a scanning electron microscope. Hopefully, inspection of the minute striations on the surfaces of the cuts under high magnification will confirm whether or not they are characteristic of stone tools. Parks (personal communication, June 1, 1990) said that one incision apparently continues from one of the fossil bones to another bone that would have been located next to it when the mammoth skeleton was articulated.

This is suggestive of a butchering mark. Accidental marks resulting from movement of the bones in the earth after the skeleton had broken up probably would not continue from one bone to another in this fashion.

The lesson to be learned from the marked bones found at Old Crow River and in the Anza-Borrego Desert is this: the marked bones of St. Prest and others like them discovered in the nineteenth century should be kept in the active file of paleoanthropological evidence. Even today, scientists are not always able to immediately determine whether or not marks on bones were made by natural forces, animals, or humans. Much careful study and analysis is required to arrive at a conclusion, and even then not all experts will agree. Therefore the marked bones discussed in this chapter and the reports about them should be seriously examined, and be available for reexamination. If fossils do not pass the test of a certain investigator or school of investigators at a particular point in time, they should not be cast into the outer darkness, so that later researchers will not even know they exist. Rather they should be placed in a category of disputed evidence. In that way, in the event of improvements in the methods of analysis or changes in theoretical constructs of human prehistory, the evidence will be available for further study. Who knows? In the future, new pieces to the puzzle of human origins may give new meaning to old pieces that previously did not quite fit.

2.4 Val D’arno, Italy (early Pleistocene or late


Specimens incised in a manner similar to those of St. Prest were found by Desnoyers in a collection of bones gathered from the valley of the Arno River

(Val d’Arno) in Italy. The grooved bones were from the same types of animals found at St. Prest—including Elephas meridionalis and Rhinoceros etruscus.

They were attributed to the Late Pliocene stage called the Astian (de Mortillet 1883, p. 47). This would yield a date of 2.0–2.5 million years. Some authorities (Harland et al. 1982, p. 110) put the Astian in the Middle Pliocene, at 3– 4

million years ago.

Modern scientists divide the fauna from the Val d’Arno into two groups— the Upper Valdarno and Lower Valdarno. The Upper Valdarno is assigned to the Late Villafranchian, which is given a quantitative date of 1.0–1.7 million years (Nilsson 1983, pp. 308–309). The Lower Valdarno is placed in the Early Villafranchian, or Late Pliocene, at around 2.0–2.5 million years ago (Nilsson 1983, pp. 308–309).

It is not clear to which group the incised bones reported by Desnoyers belong.

But the fact that de Mortillet referred them to the Astian stage of the Late Pliocene seems to indicate that they might be assigned to the Lower Valdarno.

On faunal grounds this would not be out of the question. We know that Elephas meridionalis occurs in the Lower Valdarno (Maglio 1973, p. 56). As mentioned in our discussion of St. Prest, Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus) etruscus is reported in the Late Pliocene (Nilsson 1983, p. 475) in Europe, and even as far back as the Early Pliocene (Savage and Russell 1983, p. 339). De Mortillet listed Equus arnensis as present at Val d’Arno. Equus is typical of Pleistocene faunal assemblages, but examples of Equus are known from the Early Villafranchian (Kurtén 1968, p. 147), which is generally thought to extend into the Late Pliocene.

2.5 San Giovanni, Italy (late Pliocene)

In addition, grooved bones also were discovered in other parts of Italy.

On September 20, 1865, at the meeting of the Italian Society of Natural Sciences at Spezzia, Professor Ramorino presented bones of extinct species of red deer and rhinoceros bearing what he believed were human incisions (de Mortillet 1883, pp. 47–48). These specimens were found at San Giovanni, in the vicinity of Siena, and like the Val d’Arno bones were said to be from the Astian stage of the Pliocene period. De Mortillet (1883, p. 48), not deviating from his standard negative opinion, stated that he thought the marks were most probably made by the tools of the workers who extracted the bones.

2.6 Rhinoceros of Billy, France (Middle Miocene) On April 13, 1868, A. Laussedat informed the French Academy of Sciences that P. Bertrand had sent him two fragments of a lower jaw of a rhinoceros. They were from a pit near Billy, France. One of the fragments had four very deep grooves on it. These grooves, situated on the lower part of the bone, were approximately parallel and inclined at a 40-degree angle to the longitudinal axis of the bone. They were 1–2 centimeters (a half inch or so) in length, and the deepest was 6 mm (a quarter inch) in depth (Laussedat 1868, p.

752). According to Laussedat, the cut marks appeared in cross section like those made by a hatchet on a piece of hard wood. And so he thought the marks had been made in the same way, that is, with a handheld stone chopping instrument, when the bone was fresh. That indicated to Laussedat (1868, p. 753) that humans had been contemporary with the fossil rhino in a geologically remote time.

Just how remote is shown by the fact that the jawbone was found in a calcareous sand stratum at a depth of 8 meters (26 feet), in between other strata of the Mayencian age of the Middle Miocene. Furthermore, the incised jawbone was from a species, Rhinoceros pleuroceros, judged by Laussedat to be characteristic of the Early Miocene. According to modern authorities (Savage and Russell 1983, p. 214), Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus) pleuroceros occurs in the Agenian land mammal age of the Early Miocene.

At the meeting of the Academy of Sciences, Mr. Hebert asked if one could be sure of the authenticity of the incisions on the fossil. Edouard Lartet responded with a demonstration that the marks, the surfaces of which had the same appearance as the other parts of the bone, indeed dated from the time of burial (de Mortillet 1883, p. 49).

By what agency were the marks produced? De Mortillet (1883, p. 50) rejected straightaway the idea of gnawing by carnivores, because the incisions did not display the appropriate characteristics. Animal gnawing tends to be accompanied by significant destruction of the bone, whereas the rhinoceros jawbone from Billy bore only the four rather clear incisions. Were they produced by human beings? De Mortillet thought not. The imprints of a stone edge used as a saw are easily recognizable, and there were no traces of sawing on the bone. Because of their irregular edges, cutting instruments of stone generally leave small striations along the longitudinal axis of the V-shaped groove produced. But on the markings of the Billy fossil the striations were said to be transverse to this axis, i.e., running from the top of the cut, vertically down to the bottom of the groove.

Furthermore, the marks on the jawbone were wider and deeper than might be expected from the action of a thin stone blade drawn across the bone.

De Mortillet thought the marks were not produced by a stone chopping instrument as proposed by Laussedat. The blow of a stone handaxe, according to de Mortillet, leaves an imprint with rounded sides. The marks on the jawbone of Billy, however, were straight-sided, and could not, in the opinion of de Mortillet, have been the result of a stone hatchet blow. Furthermore, he noted that the mark of the blow of a hatchet is distinguished by a surface clean and sharp on the side hit by the blade, and abrupt and rough on the side from which the splinter of bone separates. In the imprints on the jaw of Billy, this feature was, said de Mortillet, absent (1883, p. 50).

What then had been the cause? De Mortillet, sticking to his usual explanation, wrote in Le Préhistorique (1883, pp. 50 –51): “They are simply geological impressions. All geologists know that there exist in many terrains, especially Miocene, rocks that have profound impressions on them. The cause is not easily recognized, but the fact that it has been observed is incontestable. There is a great similarity between the marks on some of these rocks and those on the jaw of Billy. I have collected at Tavel (Gard), and given to the museum of Saint-Germain, a quartzite rock, a very hard rock, bearing marks completely analogous to those on the specimen presented by Mr. Laussedat. On examining with care and at length this bone, one notices on one of the extremities a small impression produced by crushing. There is no removal of material, simply compression.

This impression, which is of the same aspect as the other marks on the bone, is their contemporary and serves to explain them.”

About marks on stones from Miocene formations, de Mortillet, as mentioned above, admitted that “the cause is not easily recognized.” It is known that glaciers can groove bedrock, but this phenomenon is not applicable to grooved stones (or fossil bones) from preglacial Miocene formations. De Mortillet mentioned a grooved piece of quartzite. But quartzite is a very hard rock (7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, with talc at 1 and diamond at 10). It would thus require a harder mineral, which de Mortillet did not name, and extreme pressure, which de Mortillet did not explain, to mark quartzite with deep grooves. One must also consider the possibility that grooves in quartzite might be caused by chemical corrosion and recrystallization rather than cutting.

It is apparent that neither we nor de Mortillet know for certain what produced the grooves in the quartzite rock he found at Tavel. But it is probably not the same agency that would produce grooves on bone, a very different material, found in a

freshwater deposit of calcified sand (de Mortillet 1883, p. 49). In essence, we find de Mortillet proposing that we should accept a completely unknown geological mechanism to explain the marks on the rhinoceros jaw of Billy, in preference to the known mechanism of human action. Although de Mortillet may be right, he offers insufficient evidence to justify his view.

Another factor to consider is the character and placement of the marks on the rhinoceros jaw of Billy. A highly regarded modern authority on cut bones is Lewis R. Binford, an anthropologist from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. In Bones: Ancient Men and Modern Myths, a comprehensive study of incised faunal remains, Binford pointed out that a key element in distinguishing human incisions from others is the exact placement of the marks.

Extensive research has shown that in almost all cultures, ancient and modern, butchering marks tend to occur, though with some degree of variation, on specific bones and in specific locations on those bones, as dictated by the anatomy of the animal. For example, Binford (1981, p. 101) stated: “Marks on the mandible [lower jaw] tend to be slightly oblique incised marks on the inside of the mandible generally opposite the M2 tooth [second molar]. The marks are believed to originate from the underside of the mandible and to be related to the severing of the mylohyoid muscle during the removal of the tongue.” The marks described by Laussedat appear to conform to this general description, but because no drawing or photo accompanied the available reports on the Billy jawbone, this remains to be more exactly confirmed.

The marks on the jawbone of Billy, which Laussedat described as a group of short parallel cuts, also appear to be consistent with the type of pattern that might be made by stone implements. According to Binford (1981, p. 105):

“Most of the cut marks made on bones with metal tools are almost hairline in size. . . . the marks are generally long, resulting from cuts running across tissue for considerable distances. Cutting with stone tools requires a much less continuous action, more of a series of short parallel strokes. . . . Marks from stone tools tend to be short, occurring in groups of parallel marks, and to have a more open cross section.”

It seems difficult to categorically reject human action on the rhinoceros jawbone of Billy, at least on the basis of the available published information. The action of carnivores can be safely ruled out. The geological explanation proposed by de Mortillet appears unlikely. The cut marks are on a bone that typically would be cut in butchering operations, and they appear to be in an appropriate location on the bone. In addition, the short length and parallel grouping of the marks

resembles the pattern to be expected from the use of stone tools. So despite de Mortillet’s objections, it does not seem impossible that a stone instrument pressed forcefully on a bone could make the kind of marks found on the Miocene rhinoceros fossil from Billy, France.

2.7 Colline de Sansan, France ( Middle Miocene)

The report of the rhinoceros jaw of Billy led to the opening, at the meeting of the French Academy of Sciences on April 20, 1868, of a sealed packet deposited at the Academy on May 16, 1864 by the researchers F.

Garrigou and H. Filhol. These gentlemen wrote on that date: “We now have sufficient evidence to permit us to suppose that the contemporaneity of human beings and Miocene mammals is demonstrated” (Garrigou and Filhol 1868, p.

819). This evidence was a collection of bones, apparently intentionally broken, from Sansan (Gers), France. Especially noteworthy were broken bones of the small deer Dicrocerus elegans. The bone beds of Sansan were judged to be of Middle Miocene age (Mayencian). One may consider the devastating effect that the presence of human beings about

15 million years ago would have on current evolutionary doctrines.

Were the nineteenth-century scientists correct in their determination of the age of the site? Once more, the answer to this question is yes. Modern authorities (Romer 1966, p. 334) still place Sansan in the Middle Miocene, and Dicrocerus elegans is assigned to the Helvetian land mammal stage, which is considered Middle Miocene (Klein 1973, p. 566; Romer 1966, p. 334).

According to de Mortillet, Edouard Lartet, who also excavated fossils from Sansan and himself sent to Garrigou some of the bones on which Garrigou and Filhol founded their assertions, did not believe in human action on the bones.

There were many broken bones at Sansan, and de Mortillet (1883, pp. 64 –65), in his usual fashion, said that some were broken at the time of fossilization, perhaps by dessication, and others afterward by movement of the strata.

Garrigou, however, maintained his conviction that the bones of Sansan had been broken by humans, in the course of extracting marrow. He made his case in 1871

at the meeting in Bologna, Italy, of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology. Garrigou (1873) first presented to the Congress a series of recent bones with undisputed marks of butchering and breaking. For comparison, he then presented bones of the small deer ( Dicrocerus elegans) collected from Sansan. Among them was a humerus (the long bone of the upper

forelimb) with a set of breaks exactly resembling those on a cow humerus from the Neolithic age. On its inner surface, the deer bone bore a profound incision, filled up with material from the stratum in which it was found.

Garrigou also displayed a radius (one of the bones of the lower forelimb) presenting a longitudinal fracture terminating at a right angle to the end of the bone. The fracture had the same patina as the rest of the bone, indicating the break was made when the bone was fresh, and the broken part had a surface so clean and sharp that it was impossible to see it as a natural geological effect.

Subterranean pressure and shifting, if it had occurred, would have almost certainly damaged the perfectly intact edges and joint surfaces of the fractured long bone. In making these observations, Garrigou showed a good grasp of taphonomic principles. He also pointed out that the longitudinal fracture on the specimen he showed was identical to those encountered on hundreds of similar bones at Sansan.

Here we may note that longitudinal fracturing is characteristic of breaking bone for the purpose of obtaining marrow. Binford (1981, p. 162) stated: “Marrow is primarily contained in the medullary cavity of the body or shaft of long bones.

This shaft is shaped like a cylinder, so access to the medullary cavity and hence the marrow is facilitated by collapsing or fracturing the cylinder longitudinally.

Transversal fractures in the center of long-bone shafts do not provide ready access to the marrow.”

Garrigou also showed that many of the bone fragments had very fine and delicate striations such as found on broken bones of the Late Pleistocene. The marks could be indications of processing the bone for marrow breaking, as described by Binford: “The secret of controlled breakage of marrow bones is the removal of the periosteum [the sheath of connective tissue covering bone surfaces] in the area to be impacted. The Nunamiut invariably do this by scraping it back with the edge of a knife, a rough surface on a hammerstone, or almost any handy crude scraping tool. This means that longitudinal scratches and striations along the shafts of long bones are commonly produced when bones are prepared for cracking during marrow processing. Such marks are noted in Mousterian [Neanderthal] assemblages” (Binford 1981, p. 134).

Garrigou also displayed two metacarpals (foot bones), each with the smaller end removed by a direct blow. He pointed out that since flint tools had been found in the Miocene, one should not be astonished to find the effects of their usage.

Food is the primary human need, so one should expect to observe signs of human attempts to secure it (Garrigou 1873, p. 137). In the next three chapters,

we shall consider in detail the evidence for flint tools in the Miocene and Pliocene, but for now we should keep in mind that reports of such discoveries were very common at this time, and were accepted by many reputable scientists.

Garrigou did, however, meet with strong opposition at the Congress, from, among others, Professor Japetus Steenstrup, secretary of the Danish Royal Society of Science and director of the Museum of Zoology in Copenhagen.

Steenstrup argued that a broken bone should have a percussion mark (Garrigou 1873, p. 140). The fractured edges of a bone fragment should converge at this point, where a blow had been struck. According to Steenstrup, the bones displayed by Garrigou did not show percussion marks and converging fractures.

Steenstrup therefore believed that the bones had been broken by the gnawing of carnivores.

Garrigou disagreed that fragments must show a percussion mark; its absence would not, in the case of any particular fragment, rule out direct impact as the cause of fracturing. In experiments, Garrigou had seen fresh bones broken into many flakes by a blow, and only one or two flakes would have the percussion marks. And if the instrument used happened to be sharply pointed, the bone would split immediately like a piece of wood, with no percussion imprint whatsoever (Garrigou 1873, p. 141).

The observations of both Steenstrup and Garrigou are in line with modern test data. In support of Steenstrup, we find that Binford stated (1981, p. 163):

“Impact scars from hitting the bone during marrow cracking are quite distinctive.

First, they are almost always at a single impact point, which results in driving off short but rapidly expanding flakes inside the bone cylinder. At the point of impact the bone may be notched, in that a crescent-shaped notch is produced in the fracture edge of the bone.” But Binford’s surveys showed that only about 14–17 percent of bone splinters in marrow cracking assemblages will have impact notches on them, indicating human action; this lines up with Garrigou’s assertion that the vast majority of fragments will not have the impact marks. It would seem appropriate to analyze some Sansan bone splinter assemblages in terms of Binford’s impact notch frequency criterion to test for human or animal action.

Garrigou also pointed out that Steenstrup’s assertion that the bone breakage was caused by animal gnawing was incorrect, because the bones should then have displayed the marks of their canines and molars, and such was not the case.

Animal gnawing results in extensive bone destruction, and the clean edges of the longitudinal fractures described by Garrigou contradicted that hypothesis.

Binford (1981, pp. 179–180) advised: “If one observes a pattern of bone destruction and knows that destruction is the normal consequence of animal behavior, one should view one’s task as disproof of the proposition that animals were responsible for the observed patterns. . . . One might suspect that the reverse strategy might prove helpful when a pattern of bone breakage or modification by percussion is noted. Namely, knowing that breakage is a normal consequence of human behavior, one should view one’s task the disproof of the proposal that man was responsible.” The bones of Sansan seem to fit in the category of breakage rather than destruction.

What sort of tests might be applied to disprove human action? Binford pointed out that animals typically destroy the articulator (or joint) ends of long bones during gnawing, whereas human breakage normally does not result in articulator destruction. Binford (1981, p. 173) suggested that it should therefore be possible to examine ratios of articulator ends to shaft pieces in broken bone assemblages as a method of discriminating between animal and human action. In the case of animal action, one would expect a low ratio of articulator ends to be present. Of course, the possibility that animals might scavenge bones left by humans introduces a complicating factor.

So in the case of the broken bones of Sansan we once more encounter evidence for a human presence in very ancient times. This evidence certainly cannot be ruled out in the absence of further study. Garrigou’s methodology and analysis appear to be quite rigorous, relying on sound taphonomic principles, extensive comparison with bones indisputably broken by human action, and evidence gathered from direct experiments in bone breakage patterns. We can only wonder why this report has remained buried. Whatever the reason, it would appear that the present data collection upon which ideas about human origins are based may be quite incomplete.

2.8 Pikermi, Greece (late Miocene)

At a place called Pikermi, near the plain of Marathon in Greece, there is a fossilrich stratum of Late Miocene (Tortonian) age, explored and described by the prominent French scientist Albert Gaudry. During the meeting in 1872 at Brussels of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology, Baron von Dücker reported that broken bones from Pikermi proved the existence of humans in the Miocene (von Dücker 1873, pp. 104 –107).

Modern authorities still place the Pikermi site in the Late Miocene (Nilsson 1983, p. 476; Jacobshagen 1986, pp. 213, 221).

Von Dücker first examined numerous bones from the Pikermi site in the Museum of Athens. He found 34 jaw parts of Hipparion (an extinct three-toed horse) and antelope as well as 19 fragments of tibia and 22 other fragments of bones from large mammals such as rhinoceros. All showed traces of methodical fracturing for the purpose of extracting marrow. According to von Dücker (1873, p. 104), they all bore “more or less distinct traces of blows from hard objects.”

He also noted many hundreds of bone flakes broken in the same manner. It would thus appear that these fractured bones would satisfy the requirements of nineteenth-century authorities such as Steenstrup as well as modern authorities such as Binford with regard to impact notches as a sign of intentional breakage.

In addition, von Dücker observed many dozens of crania of Hipparion and antelope showing methodical removal of the upper jaw in order to extract the brain. The edges of the fractures were very sharp, which may generally be taken as a sign of human breakage, rather than breakage by gnawing carnivores or geological pressures. One might question whether the bones in the museum collection actually belonged to the Miocene stratum of Pikermi, but many of them had a matrix of red clay clearly confirming the layer from which they were recovered. The museum personnel said, however, that no stone tools or traces of fire had been found with the bones.

Von Dücker then journeyed to the Pikermi site itself to continue his investigation. During the course of his first excavation, he found dozens of bone fragments of Hipparion and antelope and reported that about one quarter of them bore signs of intentional breakage. In this regard, one may keep in mind Binford’s finding that in assemblages of bones broken in the course of human marrow extraction about 14 –17 percent have signs of impact notches. “I also found,” stated von Dücker (1873, p. 105), “among the bones a stone of a size

that could readily be held in the hand. It is pointed on one side and is perfectly adapted to making the kinds of marks observed on the bones.”

Von Dücker’s second excavation was made in the presence of one of the founders of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology, Professor G. Capellini of Bologna, Italy. Capellini, who believed that broken bones were by themselves insufficient to demonstrate the presence of human beings at a site, did not attach as much significance to the Pikermi finds as did von Dücker. Nevertheless, he thought the bones had been fractured before the time of deposit.

Capellini reported that he had visited the museum and found the majority of bones were not broken by humans, as believed by von Dücker. Capellini pointed out that in fact there were many bones and skulls on display that remained whole and in good condition. Von Dücker replied that the fact that some bones were not broken did not change the fact that others were broken, and these in a way that suggested intentional work. He noted that Gaudry had naturally selected the best bones for his museum displays (von Dücker 1873, p. 106). Von Dücker stated that Capellini’s very brief examination could hardly compare with his own lengthy and careful study, lasting for a period of several months, both in the museum and at the site.

De Mortillet stated that von Dücker’s report was submitted to Gaudry, who found no evidence of human work. De Mortillet also examined the bones, and agreed with Gaudry and Capellini that the breakage was “accidental.” It is, however, interesting to note that von Dücker, after communicating his observations to Gaudry, received the following statement from Gaudry: “I find every now and then breaks in bones that resemble those made by the hand of man. But it is difficult for me to admit this” (von Dücker 1873, p. 107). In Gaudry’s remark surfaces one of the central questions confronting us in our examination of the treatment of paleoanthropological evidence. The evidence appears in general to be quite ambiguous. So on what basis can one draw conclusions? Gaudry hinted that his preconceptions were in subtle conflict with his perceptions. Humans in the Miocene? It was too difficult for him to admit.

Preconception triumphed, however quietly, over perception.

In the final analysis, what are we to make of the fractured bones of Pikermi?

Any clear answer to that question shall have to wait until such time as the final analysis is made. And it remains doubtful whether any totally “final” analysis ever can be made. Ambiguity is inherent in the enterprise. Surely, we cannot yet conclude, on the basis of the available reports, that humans were not responsible

for the breakage observed on Hipparion bones from the Miocene formations at Pikermi, Greece.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some modern researchers believe that in general evidence for human breaking of bone has been neglected or gone unrecognized. Robert J. Blumenschine and Marie M. Selvaggio, anthropologists at Rutgers University, conducted experiments in which they used pieces of sandstone to break African mammal (gazelle, impalla, wildebeest) longbones in order to extract marrow. According to Science News of July 2, 1988: “The resulting pits and grooves or ‘percussion marks’ on the bones, usually found near the notches created by the impact of stone, look much like carnivore tooth marks at first glance, the researchers report in the June 24 Nature. ” But the scanning electron microscope revealed “patches of distinctive parallel lines” different from those made by hyaena teeth. Blumenschine and Selvaggio maintained, stated Science News, that “researchers probably have underestimated or overlooked the breaking of bones by early humans to obtain marrow.”

2.9 Pierced Shark Teeth from the Red Crag,

England (Late Pliocene)

At a meeting of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, held on April 8, 1872, Edward Charlesworth, a Fellow of the Geological Society, showed many specimens of shark ( Carcharodon) teeth, each with a hole bored through the center, as is done by South Seas islanders for the purpose of making weapons and necklaces. The teeth were recovered from the Red Crag formation, indicating an age of approximately 2.0–2.5 million years (Nilsson 1983, p. 106).

The record of the meeting, published in the journal of the Anthropological Institute, informs us: “Mr. Charlesworth pointed out the conditions under which boring molluscs, as Pholas and Saxicava, perforate the texture of stones or other solid substances, and glanced at the perforating action of burrowing sponges ( Cliona) and destructive annelides ( Teredo). Reasons were given at length why these could not have produced such perforations as those now exhibited. The most searching and cautious examination was also bestowed to demonstrate that the perforating body, whatever it was, was coeval with the crag period; i.e., that specimens existed in which the true crag matrix filled up the hole from end to end, thus showing that it had been immersed in the crag sea after the period of its perforation” (Charlesworth 1873, p. 91).

Charlesworth (1873, pp. 91–92) did not personally suggest human agency, but did show a letter from Professor Owen, who had carefully examined the specimens and stated: “the ascription of the perforations to human mechanical agency seemed the most probable explanation of the facts.”

During the ensuing discussion, Mr. Whitaker suggested tooth decay as the cause, noting one specimen with holes in various stages, from slight indentation to perforation (Charlesworth 1873, p. 92). Then Dr. Spencer Cobbold, an expert on parasites, suggested parasites as the agent of perforation but admitted, according to the summary report: “it might be said with truth, perhaps, that no entozoon

[internal animal parasite] had hitherto been known to take up its abode in the bones or teeth of fishes” (Charlesworth 1873, p. 92).

At that point Dr. Collyer gave his opinion in favor of human action. The record of the meeting summarized his remarks as follows: “He had carefully examined by aid of a powerful magnifying glass the perforated shark’s teeth. . . . The perforations, to his mind, were the work of man. His reasons were—First, the bevelled conditions of the edges of the perforations. Secondly, the irregularity of the borings. Thirdly, the central position of the holes in the teeth. Fourthly, the choice of the thin portions of the tooth where it would be most easily perforated.

Fifthly, the marks of artificial means employed in making the borings. Sixthly, they are at the very place in the tooth that would be chosen in making an instrument of defence or offence, or for ornament in the form of a necklace.

Seventhly, the fact that rude races—as the Sandwich Islanders or New Zealanders—have from time immemorial used sharks’ teeth and bored them identically with those exhibited. His reasons for supposing the perforations not to have been produced by molluscs, or boring-worms, or any parasitic animal, were—First, those creatures invariably had a purpose in making a hole for lodgement; it was therefore evident they would not choose the thin portion of the tooth, which would be totally unadapted for the object sought. Secondly, there was not a case on record of any parasite or mollusc or worm boring a fish’s tooth. Thirdly, those animals had no idea that the exact centre of the tooth would be preferable to the lateral portion. Fourthly, had the holes been the result of animal borings, they would have presented a uniform appearance. As to the tooth being perforated by decay, that seemed to him the most extraordinary proposition. The appearance of a decayed tooth had no analogy whatever to the borings presented. Moreover, sharks were not subject to decayed teeth”

(Charlesworth 1873, p. 93).

Mr. T. McKenny Hughes then argued against human boring, pointing out that in

some cases the holes on the front and back sides of the tooth are not perfectly lined up with each other. It is not, however, obvious how this would preclude human action. Just to consider one possibility, one could easily imagine a worker partially boring the tooth on one side, turning it over, and completing the perforation by boring in from a slightly different angle starting on the other side.

Hughes then offered another curious objection. He observed that the same types of perforation are found on fossils not only in the Crag, a formation on the Plio-Pleistocene boundary, but also on shells in other deposits more ancient, such as the green sandstone strata of Secondary age. He asserted that it was clearly impossible for humans to have existed at this remote time; therefore the perforations in fossils in the green sandstone were clearly natural in origin. And, by analogy, so were the perforations in the shark teeth from the Red Crag. Here is yet another very typical example of preconceptions determining what kind of evidence for human antiquity can be accepted. Another possible way to look at the perforated shells found in the older green sandstone strata is that they also could be the result of the action of human beings. As previously mentioned, the most recent Secondary period is the Cretaceous, which ended about 65 million years ago.

In any case, Hughes suggested that the perforations in the Red Crag shark teeth were caused by a combination of wear, decay, and parasites (Charlesworth 1873, p. 93). Mr. G. Busk presented the same conclusion at the 1872 meeting of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology in Brussels.

In Le Préhistorique, de Mortillet (1883, p. 68) sarcastically remarked that it was really curious how some people searched so obstinately for proof of the existence of Tertiary humans in marine deposits.

But in looking at the arguments presented in this case, both those in favor of human work and those opposed, it would seem that obstinacy is more clearly evident in those who refused to accept the possibility of human action. What are the alternatives that were presented? Some suggested tooth decay, although sharks are not known to have cavities; others suggested parasites, although one of Britain’s leading experts admitted there was no known instance of a parasite inhabiting the teeth of fish or sharks. Others suggested wear had a role to play, though one would be hard pressed to find examples in nature of wear causing clean round holes through the centers of teeth.

2.10 Carved Bone from the Dardanelles, Turkey


In the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Frank Calvert (1874, p. 127) reported: “I have had the good fortune to discover, in the vicinity of the Dardanelles, conclusive proofs of the existence of man during the Miocene period of the tertiary age. From the face of a cliff composed of strata of that period, at a geological depth of eight hundred feet, I have extracted a fragment of the joint of a bone of either a dinotherium

[ Deinotherium] or a mastodon, on the convex side of which is deeply incised the unmistakable figure of a horned quadruped, with arched neck, lozenge-shaped chest, long body, straight fore-legs, and broad feet. There are also traces of seven or eight other figures which, together with the hind quarters of the first, are nearly obliterated. The whole design encircles the exterior portion of the fragment, which measures nine inches in diameter and five in thickness. I have found in different parts of the same cliff, not far from the site of the engraved bone, a flint flake and some bones of animals, fractured longitudinally, obviously by the hand of man for the purpose of extracting the marrow, according to the practice of all primitive races.”

Calvert (1874, p. 127) added: “There can be no doubt as to the geological character of the formation from which I disinterred these interesting relics. The well known writer on the geology of Asia Minor, M. de Tchihatcheff, who visited this region, determined it to be of the miocene period; and the fact is further confirmed by the fossil bones, teeth, and shells of the epoch found there.

I sent drawings of some of these fossils to Sir John Lubbock, who obligingly informs me that having submitted them to Messrs. G. Busk and Jeffreys, those eminent authorities have identified amongst them the remains of dinotherium, and the shell of a species of melania, both of which strictly appertain to the miocene epoch.” The Deinotherium is said by modern authorities to have existed from the Late Pliocene to the Early Miocene in Europe (Romer 1966, p. 386). It is thus quite possible that Calvert’s dating of the Dardanelles site as Miocene was correct. The Miocene is now said to extend from 5 to 25 million years before the present. According to the current dominant view, only exceedingly apelike hominids are supposed to have existed during that period. Even a Late Pliocene date of

2.5–3.0 million years for the Dardanelles site would predate the first toolmaking hominid ( Homo habilis).

Calvert appears to have been sufficiently qualified to estimate the date of the Dardanelles site. David A. Traill (1986a, pp. 53–54), a professor of classics at the University of California at Davis, gives this information about him: “Calvert

was the most distinguished of a family of British expatriates that was prominent in the Dardanelles . . . . he had a good knowledge of geology and paleontology.”

Calvert conducted several important excavations in the Dardanelles region.

Calvert also played a very important role in finding the site of the famous city of Troy. Scholars usually give the credit for this to Heinrich Schliemann. But Traill (1986a, pp. 52–53) said of Calvert: “After excavating the ‘Tumulus of Priam’ on the Balli Dag (1863) and reading Charles Maclaren’s A Dissertation on the Topography of the Plain of Troy (Edinburgh 1822), he decided that Hissarlick must be the site of Troy. He purchased part of the mound and started to excavate in 1865, but lack of funds and the pressure of other commitments caused him to abandon the task. . . . After Schliemann’s unsuccessful diggings at Bunarbashi in 1868, Calvert persuaded him . . . that Hissarlick, not Bunarbashi, was the true site of Troy. Schliemann later downplayed both the significance of Calvert’s excavations and his role in awakening his interest in Hissarlick and successfully appropriated all the glory for himself. Calvert, however, was much the better scholar.”

During his excavations, Schliemann came upon a group of weapons, utensils, and ornaments that he called “Priam’s Treasure.” Calvert reviewed this find and Schliemann’s excavations in general. Traill (1986b, p. 120) stated: “He pointed out, with remarkable acuity, that the excavated material should be dated before 1800 b.c. and after 700 b.c. but that nothing was attributable to the period between these dates. Since the missing period included the time of the Trojan War, these findings enraged Schliemann. His response was to ridicule Calvert’s views and misrepresent his role in the excavation of Hissarlick. . . . Calvert was, as far as I have been able to determine from extensive reading of his correspondence, scrupulously truthful.” The so-called treasure of Priam, thought Calvert, was genuine, but not of the classical Trojan era, and this view conforms with the opinion of modern scholars.

Altogether, Calvert seems to have been a quite competent field investigator, with a reputation for truthful and careful reporting. It thus seems that in the case of his Miocene discoveries, he would not have missed any obvious sign that the carved bone, broken bones, and stone implements he discovered had been recently cemented into the deposits. It should be noted that the carved bone from the Dardanelles was no less securely positioned stratigraphically than a great many thoroughly accepted discoveries. Most of the Java Homo erectus finds and most of the East African Australopithecus, Homo habilis, and Homo erectus finds occurred on the surface and are presumed to have washed out from underlying

formations varying from Middle Pleistocene to Late Pliocene in age.

In Le Préhistorique, de Mortillet did not dispute the age of the Dardanelles formation. Instead he commented that the simultaneous presence of a carved bone, intentionally broken bones, and a flint flake tool was almost too perfect, so perfect as to raise doubts about the finds (de Mortillet 1883, p. 69). This is quite remarkable. In the case of the incised bones of St. Prest, de Mortillet complained that no stone tools or other signs of a human presence were to be found at the site. But here, with the requisite items discovered along with the carved bone, de Mortillet said the ensemble was “too perfect,” hinting at cheating.

De Mortillet then alluded to the well-publicized disputes between Calvert and Schliemann, which he claimed had discredited both men. In addition to Calvert’s disagreements with Schliemann about the dates of his archeological discoveries at Hissarlick and their relation to the classical Troy of Homer, there were also some financial bickerings. Calvert and Schliemann had an agreement that they would share the proceeds from the sale of any discoveries at Hissarlick. A particularly fine statue was the source of some controversy, with Calvert charging that Schliemann paid him far less than it was actually worth (Traill 1986a, pp. 53 –54). But it seems that Calvert emerges from all this as an honorable and truthful person, who had a better grasp of the archeology of the Hissarlick site than Schliemann. This tends to increase, rather than decrease, the credibility of Calvert’s reporting about his Miocene discoveries.

Finally, de Mortillet (1883, p. 69) stated that because no further reports of a serious nature or new discoveries of human artifacts had emerged from the Dardanelles site, the original Miocene finds reported by Calvert should be considered unconfirmed. But perhaps if new finds had been made, de Mortillet would have reacted as he had to the first ones—by calling them “too perfect,”

questioning the character of the discoverer, and demanding more discoveries.

2.11 Balaenotus of Monte Aperto, Italy (Pliocene)

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, fossil whale bones bearing curious marks turned up in Italy. On November 25, 1875, G. Capellini, professor of geology at the University of Bologna, reported to the Institute of Bologna: “Recently as I was cleaning a bone that I myself extracted from the blue Pliocene clay, synchronous with that of the Grey Crag of Anvers, of Astian age, I saw to my great surprise on the dorsal surface a notch and an incision. The former, especially, was so clean cut and deep as to indicate it was made by a very

sharp instrument. I am able to say that the bone found is so completely petrified as to preserve all the most delicate details of its microscopic structure; furthermore, it has acquired such hardness that it is not possible to scratch it with a steel point. This circumstance enables us to completely reject suggestions that tend to attribute the marks to modern action” (de Mortillet 1883, p. 56). During further cleaning Capellini discovered three other lighter marks on the bone. He announced this discovery and others that followed at the Academy of Lynxes at Rome and the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology meetings at Budapest in 1876 and Paris in 1878. Capellini, a founding member of the Congress, was a prominent member of the European scientific community.

The whale bones studied by Capellini were from the extinct small baleen whale Balaenotus, which is characteristic of the Late Pliocene of Europe (Romer 1966, p. 393). This confirms Capellini’s assignment of his discoveries to the Pliocene.

In 1876, Capellini showed his principal specimens at the Congress at Budapest, where he told the members (1877, pp. 46–47): “For fifteen years I have been researching and studying cetacean fossils. After my work on the Balaenopteridae in the province of Bologna, I decided to undertake researches into the baleen whales of Tuscany. . . . By the kindness of Professor D’Ancona, I was able to examine at my leisure the remains of fossil baleen whales at the Museum of Natural History of Florence. I then became convinced of the great importance of extending my researches beyond the specimens in the glass cases and dusty vaults of the museums. I was certain that direct investigations in the strata that had already yielded much precious material would be extremely fruitful for further progress in the study of fossil whales.”

We shall now consider Capellini’s extensive report in detail, making liberal use of direct quotations, translated from the original French. This procedure is being followed for the two reasons previously mentioned: (1) a report, in this case a very important one, is itself, for all practical purposes, the evidence; and (2) readers could not otherwise obtain the original report except by referring to a rare nineteenth-century volume of conference proceedings.

“In October of 1875,” continued Capellini (1877, p. 47), “I journeyed to Siena to continue my stratigraphic studies of that region’s Tertiary terrains and at the same time examined the remains of fossil cetaceans in the museum of the Académie des Fisiocritici. On the advice of Dr. Brandini, I also began excavations at Poggiarone, in the neighborhood of Monte Aperto. I was greatly fortunate to make a double discovery: first, I recovered numerous remains of a

skeleton of Balaenotus, a fossil cetacean first recognized by van Beneden, and heretofore found only in the Grey Crag of Anvers; and secondly on these very same bones I noticed the first traces of the hand of man, demonstrating the coexistence of human beings with the Pliocene whales of Tuscany.”

Capellini went on to display some samples of his discoveries. “I have the honor,”

he said, “of presenting remarkable specimens that bear marks which, by their form and placement on the fossil bones, demonstrate in an irrefutable manner the action of a being manipulating an instrument. This is the opinion of all the most experienced naturalists and anatomists, not only in Italy, but from all over Europe, who have examined these specimens, judging them without preconceived ideas” (Capellini 1877, p. 47). It may be noted that by considering the “form and placement” of the cuts, Capellini was adhering to modern criteria for distinguishing human workmanship from animal gnawing on bone. His reference to scientists tending to have “preconceived ideas” is particularly relevant to our discussion.

Regarding the geological age of the strata in which the Balaenotus fossils had been discovered, Capellini observed in his report: “The geological position of the strata in which the Balaenotus was found in the neighborhood of Monte Aperto and the shells that were found in the same bed do not permit us to doubt their Pliocene age and their resemblance to the Grey Crag of Anvers. The alternation of beds entirely of sand with others of clay and sand, give evidence that the animal was beached in the shallows along the shore of an island of the Pliocene archipelago that occupied what is now central Italy during the last part of the Tertiary epoch.”

Capellini (1877, p. 48) then described the placement of the cut marks on the fossil bones: “The marks on the skeleton of the Balaenotus are found on the lower extremities, the exteriors of the ribs, and on the apophyses [ spines] of the vertebrae.” The presence of cuts on the vertebral spines, or apophyses, conforms with the observations of Binford (1981, p. 111), who stated that in flesh removal, cuts are made to free flesh from the dorsal spines of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, producing “cut marks . . . commonly oriented transversely or slightly obliquely to the dorsal spines of the thoracic vertebrae.” As far as the ribs are concerned, Binford (1981, p. 113) stated that in the most common butchering operation “transverse marks, derived from the removal of the tenderloin, occur along the dorsal surface of the rib just to the side of the proximal end of the rib.”

The marks observed by Capellini, all on the dorsal (exterior) surface of the rib, correspond to this description.

Applying principles of taphonomic analysis, Capellini (1877, p. 49) then stated:

“On the dorsal apophysis of an almost complete lumbar vertebra, I have moreover marked the presence of intersecting cutmarks and next to them one sees tiny oysters, evidence that indicates the deposition took place in very shallow water not far from the shore. One should not forget that the entire region formerly occupied by the sea in the environs of Siena has been raised and lowered many times, which accounts for the alternation of marine, brackish, and freshwater deposits one is able to observe and study at Siena.” These alternations are indications of a littoral, or shoreline, area, which is important. Some critics believed the marks had been made by the teeth of sharks, and according to their analysis this would necessitate deep water.

For example, in his book Le Préhistorique, de Mortillet (1883, p. 59) stated that some Italian naturalists (Strobel and de Stefani) were of the opinion that the beds yielding bones of Balaenotus were not littoral but deep ocean. This seems to be at variance with the firsthand observations of Capellini, who was himself an experienced geologist. In his review, de Mortillet does not mention the evidence that Capellini cited in support of his conclusion that the location where the Balaenotus bones were found represented the shallows along the beach of the Pliocene sea.

“Having surveyed the excavations of the remains of the skeletons of Balaenotus in the environs of Siena,” Capellini (1877, pp. 49–50) went on to say, “I was able to easily account for the existence of the marks on only one side, and always the same side. In effect, it is evident that for the specimen in question the marks were made by a human being that came upon the animal beached in shallow waters, and by means of a flint knife or with the aid of other instruments attempted to detach pieces of flesh.” Capellini (1877, p. 50) added: “From the position of the remains of the Balaenotus of Poggiarone, I am convinced that the animal ran aground in the sand and rested on its left side and that the right side was thus exposed to the direct attack of humans, as is demonstrated by the places in which marks are found on the bones.” The fact that only the bones on one side of the whale were marked would tend to rule out any purely geological explanation as well as the action of sharks in deep water.

Capellini (1877, p. 50) noted: “That which happens at present to the Balaenopteridae and cachalots [sperm whales] that from time to time become beached on our shores also happened to the Balaenotus of Poggiarone and to other small whales on the shores of the islands of the Pliocene sea.” Capellini (1877, p. 50) then made an important observation: “After an attentive

examination of skeletons found in the majority of Europe’s museums of natural history, it is very easy to convince oneself that all of these, which were prepared by humans, present the same kinds of markings as those on the bones you have seen and others which I will show you.” Comparison with examples of undoubted human work is still one of the main methods scientists use in determining whether incisions on bones are of human origin.

Capellini (1877, p. 51) then reported that he had found examples of the kind of tool that might have made the cuts on the bones: “In the vicinity of the remains of the Balaenotus of Poggiarone, I collected some flint blades, lost in the actual beach deposits.” He added: “with those same flint implements I was able to reproduce on fresh cetacean bones the exact same marks found on the fossil whale bones” (Capellini 1877, p. 51).

“Before leaving the environs of Siena,” Capellini (1877, p. 51) went on to explain, “I should point out that the remains of a human being found in 1856 by the Abbé Deo Gratias in the marine Pliocene clays of Savona in Liguria can be referred to approximately the same geological horizon as Poggiarone and other locales in Tuscany where I have found numerous cetacean remains.” The details of the discovery of human skeletal remains in the Pliocene at Savona will be discussed at length in Chapter 6, which also contains many other such reports.

For now, it will be sufficient to note that the discoveries of incised bones in the middle and late nineteenth century were accompanied by a great many simultaneous discoveries of flint implements and actual human skeletal remains in Pliocene and Miocene strata. These discoveries are practically never mentioned in modern textbooks. It bears repeating that the existence of human beings of the modern type in the Pliocene period would completely demolish the presently accepted evolutionary picture of human origins.

Capellini then discussed another find of human skeletal remains that he believed to be contemporary with the incised whale bones he had discovered in Pliocene strata. “In my first notice on Pliocene man in Tuscany (Nov. 1875) I mentioned the human cranium discovered by Professor Cocchi in the upper valley of the Arno, in Tuscany, and for the moment I accepted the conclusions given by my associate concerning the age of the strata in which the cranium was found.”

Cocchi had given them a Pleistocene date.

“Dr. F. Major, however,” said Capellini (1877, pp. 51–52) to his colleagues at the Congress of Budapest, “has for many years been particularly interested in studying the fossil vertebrates of the upper valley of the Arno, and after new researches into the geological position of the human skull found at Olmo has

reached an opinion contrary to that of Professor Cocchi. According to Dr. Major, the fossils of the strata in which the cranium of Olmo was found and those collected with the cranium itself by Professor Cocchi prove the Pliocene age of the stratum and that it is contemporary with the marine deposits containing incised bones of small whales.” Modern authorities, however, assign a Pleistocene date to the Olmo skull (Appendix 1.2.1).

“Some months after the discovery of the Balaenotus of Poggiarone,” continued Capellini (1877, p. 52), “I was, by means of similar discoveries, able to conclude that Pliocene man was present on other islands in the Tuscan archipelago. In examining the numerous remains of fossil cetaceans which Sir R. Lawley recently contributed to the museum of Florence, I discovered a fragment of a humerus and three fragments of cubitus with marks just as well-defined and instructive as those in question. Among the remains of Balaenotus from La Collinella, near Castelnuovo della Misericordia in the valley of the Fine, there have been recovered a good number with incrustations of gypsum. It was in the course of removing these incrustations, aided by the preparator E. Bercigli, that I noticed the markings. Shortly thereafter, the specimens were examined and the marks confirmed by M. d’Ancona, professor of paleontology, M. Giglioli, professor of zoology and comparative anatomy, Dr. Cavanna, Dr. Ch. Major, and others.”

Many of Italy’s leading scientists concurred with Capellini’s judgement that the markings were caused by sharp instruments manipulated by human beings.

Capellini (1877, p. 53) said: “The unanimous opinion of the naturalists of Florence, confirmed by that of the anatomists and naturalists of Bologna, all of whom examined the specimens with great care, was also supported by the academicians of the Rome Society of Lynxes, the names of whom may be found at the end of my published memoir.”

Returning to consideration of the actual specimens, Capellini (1877, p. 53) said:

“The Museum of Florence has allowed me to present these precious specimens for the inspection of the members of the Congress. I am very pleased to present them to the assembly because all of you interested in this question can verify that drawings alone do not allow one to appreciate all the fine details that permit us to exclude explanations other than that of a human being or other animal, who operated with the aid of instruments, and who by means of cuts in several directions, mostly deep and confined to a very limited area, was often able to facilitate the breaking of the bone.”

“On one of the fragments of cubitus,” said Capellini (1877, p. 53), “I left intact a

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portion of the gypsum incrustation that covered a deep incision, a section of which is visible. If one removed the gypsum one would see that the entire mark had been made on the bone while it was fresh, and then conserved by fossilization and incrustation.” This was good proof that the cut marks were not made in recent times.

Capellini (1877, pp. 53–54) also found similar cut marks on the apophyses of vertebrae he saw in the whale bone collection of Lawley. “The fragment of the dorsal apophysis of a lumbar vertebra, in the space of a few centimeters,” stated Capellini (1877, p. 54), “presents on the right side nine different incisions oriented in different directions. In examining the original with the aid of a lens, one can assure oneself that these marks, and the other marks that you will see, were made when the bone was fresh. One may also note that one side of the cut is smooth while the other is rippled, as occurs when one, with a knife or other instrument, marks a bone, either by a direct blow or by manipulation of the instrument in the manner of ordinary cutting [Figure 2.1]. It is to be remarked that the side of the bone opposite that bearing the marks is intact, and whatever incisions have been inflicted on the bone are so profound as to have been able to break it off. Two fragments of the apophyses of vertebrae broken at the place where they were cut or grooved are represented . . . in my memoir.” The marks on the spine of the lumbar vertebra are in a location that according to Binford typically displays cut marks from butchering operations.

Figure 2.1. Magnified cross section of a cut on a fossil whale bone from a Pliocene for mation at Monte Aperto, Italy (de Quatrefages 1887, p.


Capellini then returned to geological considerations, describing the location at which several of his specimens were found. “The pieces . . . come from San Murino, near Pieve Santa Luce on the coast of the ancient Pliocene

island of Monte Vaso, on La Collinella, in the valley of the Fine. Some meters from where M. Paco, a fossil hunter, found bone fragments of small whales, the ancient limestone rocks, which formed the shore of the Pliocene sea, are regularly pierced by lithophages. Because the depth at which these creatures establish their residences and leave their traces is well known, it is, in the valley of the Fine near Santa Luce, quite easy to establish the ancient level of the sea frequented by the small whales that human beings came upon in the Pliocene period, just as in our own day we come upon small whales beached on the shores of the Mediterranean.” Here is more evidence that the whale bones were most probably deposited in shallows by the shore. It is surprising that de Mortillet neglected to mention this in his review, where he gave the impression that scientific opinion is decidely in favor of a deep water interpretation.

Returning to the question of the age of the strata in which the fossil whale bones were found, Capellini, himself a professor of geology, then stated (1877, pp. 55–

56): “Among those who recognize without difficulty the work of humans in the markings on the whale bones, are some who are not persuaded that they are ancient, and who have demanded to know if there is perhaps not some doubt about the judgement that the beds bearing the bones of Balaenotus are really Pliocene in age. This question has been discussed by me in my memoir presented to the Rome Society of Lynxes in the presence of eminent geologists and paleontogists from Central Italy, such as Messrs. Sella, Meneghini, Ponzi, and others, who confirmed all that I had said. Their exact knowledge of the locality sufficed to allow them to appreciate the geological drawings by which I sought to decipher and record the stratigraphic series of the ancient fjord (presently the valley of the Fine) where the cetaceans perished in the Pliocene.

After the publication of my memoir, complete with geological notices, I believe it useless to here repeat all the facts about the age of the strata of the small whales and the circumstances favoring the opinion that the whales were captured by human beings.”

After Capellini’s presentation, the members of the Congress engaged in discussion. Sir John Evans accepted the geological age of the fossils, but said he thought the bones had some marks that appeared to have been made by the teeth of fish. This suggested to him that the bones had lain on the bottom of the sea, where the other more prominent marks were perhaps made by the teeth of sharks. He believed that proof for the strata being on the shoreline was lacking.

Thus, questioned Evans, if humans did exist in the Pliocene, how could it be that they were getting food from the deep sea? Furthermore the marks were so sharp

that if it were an instrument that made them, it would seem to have been one of metal rather than stone. He also maintained that marks made accidentally by humans in detaching flesh would be of a different nature (Capellini 1877, pp. 56


These appear to be fairly weak objections. Capellini gave adequate geological reasons to suggest at least the strong probability that the strata in which the fossils were found were littoral. Capellini had also examined, in museums, many skeletons of whales from which the flesh had been detached by humans, and had found the markings practically identical to those on the fossil bones of the Tuscan Balaenotus. Capellini (1877, p. 51) had in at least one case found flint implements near fossil whale bones and demonstrated that the flint blades could make marks identical to those found on the bones. Evans simply seems to have had some strong bias against the presence of humans in the Pliocene.

Next to speak was Paul Broca, a surgeon and secretary general of the Anthropological Society, headquartered in Paris. Broca was famous as an expert on the physiology of bones, particularly the skull. He lined up on the side of Capellini. Interestingly enough, Broca was a Darwinist, but the evidence he supported at the Congress of Budapest in 1876 would, if accepted now, completely destroy the modern Darwinian picture of human evolution.

“The discovery of Quaternary [Pleistocene] man was the greatest event in modern anthropology,” said Broca. “It opened a great field of investigation, and none here can fail to recognize its importance, because, it was this event, one could say, that was most responsible for the grand movement of ideas that resulted in the founding of our Congress. The discovery of Tertiary man could be an even greater event, because the period it could add to the life of humanity is incomparably greater than that we know at present” (Capellini 1877, p. 57). The Tertiary includes the Pliocene, Miocene, Oligocene, Eocene, and Paleocene periods.

“This is not the first time this question has arisen in our discussions,” continued Broca. “Already in 1874, at the Congress at Brussels, Abbé Bourgeois showed a series of flints from Tertiary strata and in which he believed he could see proof of human work, but few shared his opinion. For my part, I examined many times the flints of Abbé Bourgeois, and remained among those not accepting his demonstrations. The other facts relative to Tertiary man that have been put forward, from Europe and America, have not been conclusive enough for me. To this day I remain doubtful about the stratigraphic location and about the work attributed to human hands” (Capellini 1877, p. 57). In the next few chapters of

this book, one will have the chance to draw one’s own conclusions about the many discoveries of flint implements and human skeletal remains referred to here by Broca.

“But today,” confessed Broca, “for the first time, I sense my doubts disappearing. I would declare myself entirely convinced, if I were relying totally on my own judgement. But I should also take into account the judgement of my colleagues. I should fear that I might be mistaken when I find myself opposed by such competent men as Franks and Evans. With these reservations, I shall explain the evidence that leads me to admit the interpretation of Capellini”

(Capellini 1877, pp. 57–58).

Broca then proceeded to present arguments against the hypothesis that the marks on the fossil bones of Balaenotus had been produced by the teeth of sharks. “In the first place,” he said, “it is evident that the marks shown to us have been produced by cutting. All the world agrees on this point. We are only discussing the question of whether these cuts were made by the sharp pointed teeth of sharks or by the human hand armed with sharp flint. There is another point which seems to me incontestable. That is that all the incisions, in their diverse forms, those perpendicular as well as oblique, can be easily reproduced, with all their characteristics, with a flint implement on fresh whale bones. The hypothesis of Capellini explains very well the observed facts, while the other hypothesis encounters very strong objections. Capellini has remarked with reason that every bite should produce two imprints corresponding to the two jaws that seize the bone at two opposite points. But without exception all the incisions are on the convex surface of the ribs, with the concave surface totally exempt from all markings. I do not believe that one can respond to this argument” (Capellini 1877, p. 58).

Here Broca seems to be thinking that the shark would completely devour the whale carcass, thus breaking apart the rib cage. Given the feeding frenzies of sharks, especially the great white shark, present in the Pliocene as Cacharodon megalodon, one might expect this to happen. Otherwise, it is difficult to see how the shark could place bite marks on both sides of the rib.

Some years later, de Mortillet (1883, p. 62) suggested, in Le Préhistorique, that the particular nature of a shark’s jaw and method of biting would result in tooth marks being placed on only one side of a bone subjected to its attack. As usual, however, de Mortillet only painted speculative scenarios and did not present any hard experimental evidence.

Broca continued: “Among the incisions, the majority penetrate obliquely into the

bone. One of the sides of the Vshaped incision slices into the bone at a small angle, departing only slightly from the horizontal plane of the surface of the bone; while the opposite side, shorter than the first, is abrupt, almost vertical.

The incision shows breakage. That is to say, the cutting action results in the separation of a small shaving of bone, broken at its base [Figure 2.1]. The cutting action of a sharp edge produces marks of this type. I don’t believe that the teeth of any animal could produce the same effect” (Capellini 1877, p. 58).

The same thing was admitted by de Mortillet himself, who raised the point in his discussion of the bones of St. Prest (Section 2.1).

“Finally,” said Broca, “—and I insist on this point, which Capellini touched upon only lightly—the direction of certain of the marks is incompatible with the idea of a bite. The jaws do not execute such a movement. They open and they close.

The sort of curve described by a tooth rests always on the same plane. The incision produced by a pointed tooth on a hard surface, convex and immobile, is of determinate form. It is that of a plain curve, from one point to another by the shortest path, like a meridian on the surface of a sphere. The majority of incisions before our eyes do not present such a character. Here is one among others in which the direction changes many times [ Figure 2.2]. . . . the whole incision is made up, first, of a path perpendicular to the axis of the rib, then another longitudinal path, and finally an oblique one. It is a turning movement that a jaw could not make. The human hand, on the contrary, is capable, because of its multiple articulations, of perfect mobility, of guiding and inclining in every direction over the surface the instruments with which it is armed” (Capellini 1877, pp. 58–59).

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Figure 2.2. A Pliocene whale scapula from Monte Aperto, Italy, with cut marks similar to those described by Broca (de Quatrefages 1887, p. 97).

Even though there may be some justification for pursuing the shark hypothesis with regard to the markings on the Pliocene whale bones of Italy, there is no reason to immediately abandon the hypothesis of human action, for which there is a great deal of evidence.

It is interesting that Broca, one of the foremost authorities on bone physiology of his time, favored Capellini’s view that the marks on the fossil whale bones were the product of intentional human work. Perhaps not all of Broca’s observations about the action of teeth on bone are correct. But this does not detract from Capellini’s conclusions, which were founded on years of painstaking research, and not on Broca’s extemporaneous statements.

After Broca’s remarks, Capellini (1877, p. 60) himself offered some concluding words: “I have of course taken into consideration bones gnawed by different animals. At the same time, I have not neglected to examine all the kinds of fish teeth found in the same strata as the small whales, of which Mr. Lawley possesses a truly extraordinary collection. If one comes to tell me that with such teeth (using them as tools) he has been able to make such marks as you see on the fossil bones, I am ready to admit this, but if he pretends that the fish itself made the marks, that is another thing. In that case I would invite my illustrious contradictor to bring to my consideration the species of fish to which he would attribute marks identical to those we know as the work of man.” Capellini (1877, p. 61) pointed out that such objections had not been raised by the naturalists who were knowledgeable about fish, but rather by archeologists.

One naturalist suggested the marks had been made by a swordfish, and to demonstrate this had taken a swordfish beak in hand, delivering thrusts that left some impressive marks on pieces of fresh whalebone. But even de Mortillet

(1883, p. 61), on seeing them and comparing them with the incisions on the Tuscany fossils, rejected this view.

De Quatrefages was among the scientists accepting the Monte Aperto Balaenotus bones as being cut by sharp flint instruments held by a human hand.

He wrote: “However one may try, using various methods and implements of other materials, one will fail to duplicate the marks. Only a sharp flint instrument, moved at an angle and with a lot of pressure, could do it” (de Quatrefages 1884, pp. 93–94). De Quatrefages believed a band of Pliocene hunters found the whale beached and set upon it with stone knives of the type used by the present-day Australian aboriginals.

The whole issue was nicely summarized in English by S. Laing, who wrote in 1893 (pp. 115–116): “An Italian geologist, M. Capellini, has found in the Pliocene strata of Monte Aperto, near Siena, bones of the Balaeonotus, a well-known species of a sort of Pliocene whale, which are scored by incisions obviously made by a sharp-cutting instrument, such as a flint knife guided by design, and by a human hand. At first it was contended that these incisions might have been made by the teeth of fishes, but as specimens multiplied, and were carefully examined, it became evident that no such explanation was possible.

The cuts are in regular curves, and sometimes almost semi-circular, such as a sweep of the hand could alone have caused, and they invariably show a clean cut surface on the outer or convex side, to which the pressure of a sharp edge was applied, with a rough or abraided surface on the inner side of the cut.

Microscopic examination of the cuts confirms this conclusion, and leaves no doubt that they must have been made by such an instrument as a flint knife, held obliquely and pressed against the bone while in a fresh state, with considerable force, just as a savage would do in hacking the flesh off a stranded whale. Cuts exactly similar can now be made on fresh bone by such flint knives, and in no other known or conceivable way. It seems, therefore, more like obstinate prepossession, than scientific skepticism, to deny the existence of Tertiary man, if it rested only on this single instance.”

Continuing his commentary, Laing (1893, p. 116) stated: “As regards the evidence from cut bones it is very conclusive, for experienced observers, with the aid of the microscope, have no difficulty in distinguishing between cuts which may have been made accidentally or by the teeth of fishes, and those which can only have been made in fresh bone by a sharp cutting instrument, such as a flint knife.”

A modern authority, Binford, stated (1981, p. 169): “There is little chance that an

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observer of modified bone would confuse cut marks inflicted during dismembering or filleting by man using tools with the action of animals.”

Binford (1981, p. 169) further noted: “The marks of animals’ teeth are somewhat different. They follow the contours of the bone’s surface. . . . Tooth marks may frequently take the form of depressed or mashed lines. . . . On many of the wolf specimens, the tooth mark under magnification appears as a ‘cracked’ surface scar rather than as a cut or incision in the bone.”

But the teeth of sharks are sharper than those of terrestrial mammalian carnivores such as wolves and might produce marks on bone that more closely resemble those that might be made by cutting implements. After inspecting fossil whale bones in the paleontology collection of the San Diego Natural History Museum, we concluded that shark’s teeth can in fact make marks closely resembling those that might be made by implements. However, we also concluded that it is nevertheless possible, in some cases, to distinguish marks made by implements from those made by shark teeth.

Figure 2.3. Tooth of Carcharodon megalodon, a Pliocene great white shark (G. de Mortillet and A. de Mortillet 1881, plate 4, figure 19).

The bones we saw were from a small Pliocene species of baleen whale.

The marks on one bone, a jaw fragment, were the subject of a report by Thomas A. Deméré and Richard A. Cerutti (1982 ) of the San Diego Natural History

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Museum. The ventral margin of the jaw fragment showed a pair of Vshaped grooves that ran transversely to that surface (Deméré and Cerutti 1982, p. 1480).

One of the marks measured 16 mm (0.63 inch) long, and slightly curved. The other one ran 11 mm (0.43 inch) in a straight line. Our inspection of the incisions through a magnifying lens showed evenly spaced parallel longitudinal striations such as one would expect from the serrated edge of a shark’s tooth ( Figure 2.3).

Even so, Deméré, who showed us the marked fossil at the San Diego Natural History Museum paleontology collection on May 31, 1990, stated that as far as he was concerned these Vshaped incisions alone were inconclusive. That is to say, they might have been caused by something other than shark teeth.

More useful for diagnostic purposes was another mark on the bone. Deméré and Cerutti (1982, p. 1480) described this as a beveled surface “characterized by 12

sinuous but parallel small-scale ridges and grooves.” Deméré and Cerutti (1982, p. 1480) went on to state: “This very distinctive pattern has been duplicated by us using a piece of paraffin and a tooth from the Pliocene great white shark, Carcharodon sulcidens Agassiz, 1843. . . . The teeth of Carcharodon are characterized by serrated

Figure 2.4. Pattern of grooves and ridges produced by a serrated shark tooth moving across the surface of a whale bone (Deméré and Cerutti 1982, p. 1481).

margins.” The pattern of grooves and ridges observed on the fossil whale bone (Figure 2.4) could have been produced by a glancing blow, with the edge of

the tooth scraping along the surface of the bone rather than cutting into it. With this knowledge, it should be possible to reexamine the Pliocene whale bones of Italy and arrive at some fairly definite conclusions as to whether or not the marks on them were made by shark teeth. Patterns of parallel ridges and grooves on the surfaces of the fossils, such as those described by Deméré and Cerutti, would be an almost certain sign of shark predation or scavenging. And if close examination of deep Vshaped cuts also revealed evenly spaced, parallel longitudinal striations, that, too, would have to be taken as evidence that shark teeth made the cuts. One would not expect the surfaces of marks made by flint blades to display evenly spaced striations.

Even so, care would have to be taken to examine each and every cut on the fossil whale bones. Deméré and Cerutti (1982, p. 1480) reported that carcasses of sea otters, with the bones marked by shark teeth, have been found washed up on the California coast. One can imagine that in the past a whale carcass, partially devoured by sharks, might similarly have washed ashore, and then been butchered by humans. Therefore fossil whale bones might bear both the marks of shark teeth and human implements.

The following statement by Deméré and Cerutti (1982, p. 1480) calls attention to one of the drawbacks of the way anomalous evidence is treated by the scientific community: “It appears then that our fossil specimen preserves a late Pliocene scavenging and/or predator event by Carcharodon on cetaceans. To our knowledge this represents the first well-documented report of such activity.” It is significant that two working paleontologists, with a special interest in shark teeth and whale bones, were unaware of the extensive debate that occurred in the nineteenth century on the topic of possible Carcharadon (versus human) markings on Pliocene cetaceans. Therefore, rather than casting controversial evidence into oblivion, it would be wiser, perhaps, to somehow keep it readily available for further study. That is one purpose of this book.

2.12 Halitherium of Pouance, France (Middle


In 1867, L. Bourgeois caused a great sensation when he presented to the members of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology, meeting in Paris, a Halitherium bone bearing marks that appeared to

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

be human incisions (de Mortillet 1883, p. 53). Halitherium is a kind of extinct sea cow, an aquatic marine mammal of the order Sirenia.

The fossilized bones of Halitherium had been discovered by the Abbé Delaunay in the shell beds at Barriére, near Pouancé in northwestern France (Maine-et-Loire). Delaunay was surprised to see on a fragment of the humerus, a bone from the upper forelimb, a number of cut marks ( Figure 2.5). The surfaces of the cuts were of the same appearance as the rest of the bone and were easily distinguished from recent breaks, indicating that the cuts were quite ancient. The bone itself, which was fossilized, was firmly situated in an undisturbed stratum, making it clear that the marks on the bone were of the same geological age.

Furthermore, the depth and sharpness of the incisions showed that they had been made before the bones had fossilized.

Figure 2.5. Cut marks on Halitherium bone from the Miocene at Pouancé, France (de Mortillet 1883, p. 54).

Some of the incisions appeared to have been made by two separate intersecting strokes. Evende Mortillet (1883, pp. 53–55) admitted that they did not appear to be the products of subterranean scraping or compression. But he would not admit they could be the product of human work, mainly because of the age of the stratum in which the bones were found. The shell beds of this region were said to date to the period represented by the Mayencian formation of the Middle Miocene. But they could be somewhat older. The marine layers in which the Halitherium bone was discovered, known as the Faluns of Anjou, are assigned by modern authorities to the Early Miocene (Klein 1973, table 6).

Halitherium is generally thought to have existed in Europe from the Early Miocene to the Early Oligocene (Romer 1966, p. 386).

De Mortillet (1883, p. 55) wrote in his book Le Préhistorique, “This is much too

old for man.” It is easy enough to see how a scientist who was committed to the evolutionary hypothesis would think so—the Middle Miocene dates as far back as 15 million years, and the Early Miocene to somewhere around 25 million years.

Here again, we have a clear case of theoretical preconceptions dictating how one will interpret a set of facts. De Mortillet (1883, p. 55) attributed the marks on the bones to large sharks of the requin family: “It is a fact that the shell beds of Anjou contain an abundance of sharp pointed teeth of fish of this family. These fish, encountering Halitherium beached on the coast, then ate them and left on their bones the numerous marks of their voracity and the strength of their teeth.”

De Mortillet (1883, p. 55) also stated that on May 5, 1879 Mr. Tournouër presented to the Geological Society of France an incised Halitherium bone, attributing the marks to shark teeth. However, in light of the foregoing discussion, it seems the case of the Halitherium bone of Pouancé should remain open for further investigation.

On the general subject of cut bones as a category of viable evidence, Laing (1894, pp. 353–354) wrote in his book Human Origins, which went through five reprintings: “cut bones afford one of the most certain tests of the presence of man. The bones tell their own tale, and their geological age can be certainly identified. Sharp cuts could only be made on them while the bones were fresh, and the state of fossilization, and presence of dendrites or minute crystals alike on the side of the cuts and on the bone, negate any idea of forgery. The cuts can be compared with thousands of undoubted human cuts on bones from the reindeer and other later periods, and with cuts now made with old flint knives on fresh bones. All these tests have been applied by some of the best anthropologists of the day, who have made a special study of the subject, and who have shown their caution and good faith by rejecting numerous specimens which did not fully meet the most rigorous requirements. . . . The only possible alternative suggested is, that they might have been made by gnawing animals or fishes. But as Quatrefages observes, even an ordinary carpenter would have no difficulty in distinguishing between a clean cut made by a sharp knife, and a groove cut by repeated strokes of a narrow chisel; and how much more would it be impossible for a Professor trained to scientific investigation, and armed with a microscope, to mistake a groove gnawed out by a shark or rodent for a cut made by a flint knife.”

Laing’s observations are significant in that they counter certain modern prejudices about the caliber of scientific work at that time. On first encountering

reports like those concerning the cut bones of St. Prest, Monte Aperto, or Pouancé, one might think something like this: “How quaint these nineteenth-century scientists were, in those old days of the infancy of paleoanthropological investigation. How quick they were to accept questionable evidence upon cursory inspection.” But from Laing’s statements we can see that scientists like de Quatrefages, Desnoyers, and Capellini were carefully applying standards of investigation and evaluation comparable to those of the present day. In particular, they displayed a considerable grasp of the principles of the modern discipline of taphonomy. One might also postulate something like the following:

“Well, perhaps in the nineteenth century, before there were many actual human fossils uncovered, these naturalists focused undue attention on these cut bones, reading too much into them, because they had nothing else to concern themselves with.” But even today, many researchers are investigating the presence of humans at certain sites solely on the basis of animal bones bearing signs of intentional workmanship. And, as we shall see in coming chapters, it is not true that nineteenth-century naturalists interested in human antiquity had nothing but cut bones to study. They also extensively investigated many finds of stone tools and human skeletal remains that have since slipped into near total obscurity.

2.13 San Valentino, Italy (Late Pliocene)

In 1876, at a meeting of the Geological Committee of Italy, M. A. Ferretti showed a fossil animal bone bearing “traces of work of the hand of man, so evident as to exclude all doubt to the contrary” (de Mortillet 1883, p. 73). This bone, of elephant or rhinoceros, was found firmly in place in Astian ( Late Pliocene) strata in San Valentino ( Reggio d’Emilie), Italy. The bone’s dimensions are 70 mm (2.8 inches) by 40 mm (1.6 inches). Of special interest is the fact that the fossil bone has an almost perfectly round hole at the place of its greatest width. According to Ferretti, the hole in the bone was not the work of molluscs or crustaceans. The next year Ferretti showed to the Committee another bone bearing traces of human work. It was found in blue Pliocene clay, of Astian age, at San Ruffino. This bone appeared to have been partially sawn through at one end, and then broken. De Mortillet, who included the above-mentioned information in his book, stated (1883, p. 77) that he had not seen the bones nor heard any further discussion about them. This indicated to him that they had not been (and thus should not be) taken seriously. It would perhaps have been more

appropriate, and scientific, for de Mortillet to have inspected the bones before concluding they were of little scientific value. Many modern scientists react in a similar fashion when confronted with unfamiliar, little-discussed anomalous evidence. They assume it is not of any importance; otherwise they would have seen it discussed in the published works of scientists committed to the established views.

At a scientific conference held in 1880, G. Bellucci, of the Italian Society for Anthropology and Geography, called attention to recent discoveries in San Valentino and Castello delle Forme, near Perugia. Found there were bones of different animals bearing incisions, both straight and intersecting, and with imprints probably made with rocks employed for the purpose of breaking the bones. Bellucci said there were also two specimens of carbonized bones, and finally flint flakes. All were recovered from lacustrine Pliocene clays, characterized by a fauna like that of the classic Val d’Arno. According to Bellucci, these objects proved the existence of man in the Tertiary period in Umbria (Bellucci and Capellini 1884).

2.14 ClermontFerrand, France (Middle Miocene)

Turning once more to France, we note that in the late nineteenth century the museum of natural history at ClermontFerrand had in its collection a femur of Rhinoceros paradoxus with grooves on its surface. The specimen was found in a freshwater limestone at Gannat, in a quarry said to be dated by fossils to the Mayencian age of the Middle Miocene (de Mortillet 1883, p. 52). M. Pomel presented this piece to the anthropological section of the French Association for the Advancement of Science meeting of 1876 in Clermont. Pomel said the marks were from carnivores, which were numerous in the French Middle Miocene. But de Mortillet disagreed that an animal could have been responsible. He pointed out that the grooves on the Miocene rhinoceros femur could not have been made by a rodent, because rodent incisors usually leave pairs of parallel marks. The grooves on the rhinoceros femur were not arranged in pairs. De Mortillet also believed that the marks were not caused by larger carnivores, because, as noted by Binford (1981, p. 169) in modern times, carnivore teeth leave many irregular impressions and cause distinctive patterns of bone destruction. Binford stated that “association of scoring with patterns of destruction is not expected when man dismembers an animal with tools.” According to this standard, the Miocene rhinoceros femur, which displayed scoring but no pattern of destruction, might

very well have been cut by ancient humans using stone tools.

For de Mortillet, however, the marks were a purely geological phenomenon. He concluded that the grooves on the rhinoceros femur of ClermontFerrand were probably produced by the same subterranean pressures responsible for the marks on the Billy specimen (de Mortillet 1883, p. 52). But de Mortillet’s own description (1883, p. 52) of the markings on the bone leaves this interpretation open to question: “The impressions occupy a portion of the inner surface near the condyles. They are parallel grooves, somewhat irregular, transverse to the axis of the bone.” The condyles are the rounded prominences on the articulator, or joint, surfaces at the end of the femur, or thighbone. The orientation and position of the marks on the fossil were identical to those of incisions made in the course of butchering operations on a long bone such as the femur. Binford’s studies (1981, p. 169) revealed: “cut marks are concentrated on articulator surfaces and are relatively rare as transverse marks on long bone surfaces. . . .

cut marks from stone tools are most commonly made with a sawing motion resulting in short and frequently multiple but roughly parallel marks. Such marks are generally characterized by an open cross section. Another characteristic of cut marks derived from the use of stone tools is that they rarely follow the contours of the bone on which they appear. That is, the cut does not show equal pressure in depressions and along prominent ridges or across the arc of a cylinder.” As described by de Mortillet, the short parallel grooves found on the Miocene rhinoceros femur conform to these criteria, leaving one to wonder how it is possible that chance geological pressures could so closely duplicate, in terms of position and character, the distinctive marks of human butchering.

The Miocene dating of the ClermontFerrand site is confirmed by the presence of Anthracotherium magnum, an extinct mammal of the hippopotamus family. In fact, the site could be older than Middle Miocene. According to one modern authority, Anthracotherium existed in Europe from the Late Miocene to the Early Eocene (Romer 1966, p. 389). Savage and Russell (1983, p. 245) last report Anthracotherium in the Orleanian land mammal stage of the Early Miocene.

2.15 Carved Shell from the Red Crag, England

(Late Pliocene)

In a report delivered to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1881, H. Stopes, F.G.S. (Fellow of the Geological Society), described a shell, the surface of which bore a carving of a crude but unmistakably human

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

face. The carved shell was found in the stratified deposits of the Red Crag (Stopes 1881, p. 700). The Red Crag, part of which is called the Walton Crag, is thought to be of Late Pliocene age. According to Nilsson (1983, p. 308), the Red (Walton) Crag is between 2.0 and 2.5 million years old.

Figure 2.6. Carved shell from the Late Pliocene Red Crag formation, England (M. Stopes 1912, p. 285).

Just how the discovery ( Figure 2.6) was received was detailed by Marie C. Stopes, the discoverer’s daughter, in an article in The Geological Magazine (1912, p. 285): “in 1881, when it was brought forward by Mr. Henry Stopes at a British Association meeting, it was considered wrong to suggest that man could have been alive at so early a date.” Arguing against forgery, Marie Stopes (1912, p. 285) stated: “It should be noted that the excavated features are as deeply coloured red-brown as the rest of the surface. This is an important point, because when the surface of Red Crag shells are scratched they show white below the colour. It should also be noticed that the shell is so delicate that any attempt to carve it would merely shatter it.” It is therefore quite possible that this shell was carved and deposited in the Red Crag strata during the Late Pliocene. If true, this would place intelligent human beings in England as far back as 2.0 million and maybe as much as 2.5 million years ago. One should keep in mind that in terms of conventional paleoanthropological opinion, one does not encounter such works of art until the time of fully modern Cro-Magnon man in the Late

Pleistocene, about 30,000 years ago.

Discoveries of incised bones dating back to the Pliocene or earlier persisted into the early part of the twentieth century. Opposition to them also persisted, and eventually prevailed. For example, Hugo Obermaier, professor of prehistoric archeology at the University of Madrid, wrote (1924, pp. 2–3): “traces (chiefly fluted, engraved, or grooved) have been observed on the bones of animals and shells of molluscs in Tertiary deposits at Saint-Prest, Sansan, Pouancé, and Billy, France; in the Tertiary basin of Antwerp, Holland; at Monte Aperto near Siena, Italy; in North and South America; and in several other places. . . . it is easy to explain supposed traces of human activity as the result of natural causes—such, for example, as the gnawing or biting of animals, earth pressure, or the friction of coarse sand.” But can we say for certain that this “easy” explanation is the correct one?

2.16 Bone implements From Below the Red Crag,

England (Pliocene to Eocene)

In the early twentieth century, J. Reid Moir, the discoverer of many anomalously old flint implements (Section 3.3), described “a series of mineralised bone implements of a primitive type from below the base of the Red and Coralline Crags of Suffolk” (1917a, pp. 116–131). The top of the Red Crag in East Anglia is now considered to mark the boundary of the Pliocene and Pleistocene, and would thus date back about 2.0–2.5 million years (Romer 1966, p. 334; Nilsson 1983, p. 106). The older Coralline Crag is Late Pliocene and would thus be at least 2.5–3.0 million years old. The beds below the Red and Coralline Crags, the detritus beds (Table 2.1, p. 78), contain materials ranging from Pliocene to Eocene in age (Section 3.3.2). Objects found there could thus be anywhere from 2 million to 55 million years old. One group of Moir’s specimens is of triangular shape (Figure 2.7). In his report, Moir (1917a, p. 122) stated: “These have all been formed from wide, flat, thin pieces of bone, probably portions of large ribs, which have been so fractured as to now present a definite form. This triangular form has, in every case, been produced by fractures across the natural ‘grain’ of the bone.” Moir (1917a, p. 116) then began to describe some of his attempts to reproduce the specimens: “having conducted a number of experiments in which mineralised and unmineralised bones were subjected to the effects of fortuitous blows and pressure, and after having

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

fractured numerous modern shank bones of the bullock by striking and cutting them with flints and other stones held in the hand with a view of thus shaping them to the forms of the sub-Crag examples, he [the author] is compelled to regard these latter specimens as undoubted works of man.” According to Moir, the triangular pieces of fossilized whale bone discovered in the strata below the Coralline Crag might have once been used as spear points.

Figure 2.7. Three bone tools from the detritus bed beneath the Coralline Crag, which contains materials ranging from Pliocene to Eocene in age.

These implements could thus be anywhere from 2 to 55 million years old (Moir 1917a, plate 26).

Moir had himself collected most of the specimens, but he also described one discovered by another naturalist, a Mr. Whincopp, of Woodbridge in Suffolk, who had in his private collection a “piece of fossil rib partially sawn across at both ends” (Moir 1917a, p. 117). This object came from the detritus bed below the Red Crag and was “regarded by both the discoverer and the late Rev. Osmond Fisher as affording evidence of human handiwork” (Moir 1917a,

p. 117). Indications of sawing would be quite unexpected on a fossil bone of this age. A piece of sawn wood was recovered from the more recent Cromer Forest Bed in the same region (Section 2.20).

Osmond Fisher, who was a Fellow of the Geological Society, made some interesting discoveries of his own. In a review published in The Geological Magazine, Fisher (1912, p. 218) wrote: “When digging for fossils in the Eocene of Barton Cliff I found a piece of jet-like substance about 9½ inches square and 2¼ inches thick. . . . It bore on at least one side what seemed to me marks of the chopping which had formed it into its accurately square shape. The specimen is now in the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge.” Jet is a compact velvety-black coal that takes a good polish and is often used as jewelry. The Eocene period dates back about 38–55 million years from the present.

2.17 Dewlish Elephant Trench, England (Early

Pleistocene to Late Pliocene)

Osmond Fisher also discovered an interesting feature in the landscape of Dorsetshire—the elephant trench at Dewlish. Fisher (1912, pp. 918 – 919) stated in his 1912 review: “This trench was excavated in chalk and was 12 feet deep, and of such a width that a man could just pass along it. It is not on the line of any natural fracture, and the beds of flint on each side correspond. The bottom was of undisturbed chalk, and one end, like the sides, was vertical. At the other end it opened diagonally on to the steep side of a valley. It has yielded substantial remains of Elephas meridionalis, but no other fossils. . . . This trench, in my opinion, was excavated by man in the later Pliocene age as a pitfall to catch elephants; and if so, it proves that he was already an intelligent and social being.” Elephas meridionalis, or “southern elephant,” was in existence in Europe from 1.2 to 3.5 million years ago (Maglio 1973, p. 79). Thus, while the bones found in the trench at Dewlish could conceivably be Early Pleistocene in age, they might also date to the Late Pliocene.

In Fisher’s original reports in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, we find the following more detailed description: “The trench was . . .

followed for about 103 feet, until it suddenly terminated in a smooth ‘apse-like’

end. . . . It was a deep, narrow trench, with nearly vertical sides of undisturbed chalk. Mr. [Clement] Reid says: ‘The fissure (or rather trough) ended abruptly, without any trace of a continuing join; it was not a fault, for the lines of flint-nodules corresponded on each side’” (O. Fisher 1905, p. 35). The base of the

trench was reported to be a smooth surface of chalk, twelve feet down (O. Fisher 1905, p. 36). Photographs accompanying the report show the vertical walls of the trench, carefully chipped as if with a large chisel.

In response to suggestions that flowing water might have excavated the trench, Fisher (1905, p. 36) stated: “A stream in such a locality would be unlikely to excavate a deep and narrow channel, much less, if it did so, would it come to an abrupt ending. And, even if we could account for the natural formation of such a trench, how came it that the remains of so many elephants were found in it, and (so far as appears) no other animals?”

Fisher (1905, p. 36) referred to reports showing that primitive hunters of modern times made use of similar trenches: “Sir Samuel Baker describes this method of taking elephants by natives of Africa. He says that an elephant cannot cross a ditch with hard perpendicular sides, which will not crumble nor yield to pressure. Pitfalls 12 to 14 feet deep are dug in the animals’ routes towards drinking-places, and covered with boughs and grass. The pits are made of different shapes, according to the individual opinions of the trappers. When caught, the animals are attacked with spears while in their helpless position, until they at last succumb through loss of blood. . . . If the stream which now runs at the bottom of the hill, despite subsequent changes in the contour of the country already existed, then this trench would have been made in a position suitable to intercept the route to the drinking place.”

Some critics pointed out that the trench appeared too narrow to accommodate a fully grown elephant, but evidently the deep trench was simply meant to incapacitate an adult animal by injuring its legs or to capture a young animal.

Also, further excavation of the trench by the Dorset Field Club, as reported in a brief note in Nature (October 16, 1914; p. 511), revealed that “instead of ending below in a definite floor it divides downward into a chain of deep narrow pipes in the chalk.” But it is not unlikely that ancient humans might have made use of small fissures to open a larger trench in the chalk. It would be worthwhile to examine the elephant bones found in the trench for signs of cut marks or selective preservation.

2.18 More on implements From Below the Red

Crag (Pliocene to Eocene)

Ten years after his first report (Section 2.16), J. Reid Moir (1927, pp. 31–

32) again described fossilized bone implements taken from below the Red Crag formation (Figure 2.7): “In the sub-Red Crag Bone Bed where these flint implements are found, there are a number of bones comprising, chiefly, pieces of whale rib, very highly mineralised. Among these I have found certain specimens that have every appearance of having been shaped by man. Such pieces are of great rarity and assume, usually, a definite pointed form which cannot well have been produced by any natural, non-human means. The ‘worked’ portions of these bones show the same deep and ancient coloration of the other parts of the specimens, and experiments which I have carried out demonstrate that, in the present mineralised state of the bones, it is not possible to shape them to the forms they have assumed. In order to produce such forms from bone I found it necessary to operate on fresh specimens, and that these, by ‘flaking’ and rubbing with a hard quartzite pebble, could be made into shapes quite comparable with those found below the Red Crag. I have little doubt, therefore, that these latter specimens have been shaped by man and represent the most ancient bone implements yet discovered.”

Bone implements, like incised bones, remain a major category of paleoanthropological evidence. For example, Mary Leakey (1971, p. 235) has reported from Olduvai Gorge in Africa: “It is probable that the majority of the broken mammalian bones found on living sites in Bed I and II at Olduvai merely represent food debris. Some may also have been further broken by carnivores after the sites were abandoned. There is, however, a relatively small number which appear to have been artificially flaked and abraded.”

Leakey (1971, p. 235) then gave the following example: “Part of an equid [horse family] first rib showing evidence of polishing and smoothing at the fractured end. . . . There is an oblique fracture of the shaft of the rib, towards the proximal end, which runs transversely from the lower to the upper margin. One edge of the fracture is abraded and smooth, showing that the bone was used after it had been broken.”

She also described a series of humeri (the bones of the upper forelimb): “A proportion of these specimens appears to represent the ends of bones in which the shafts were shattered to extract the marrow and which have been subsequently utilised, but others, including the pointed series and those split longitudinally, seem to have been expressly shaped” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 236).

Leakey qualified her apparent acceptance of these implements with only this statement: “At the time of this writing there is, as yet, no general agreement regarding the extent to which bone was worked and used in Lower and Middle

Pleistocene times. It is evident that more basic research on the effect of artificial fracture and use of bone, as distinct from damage caused by natural means, is required before bone debris from early living sites can be satisfactorily interpreted” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 235).

Despite this cautionary remark, Mary Leakey’s statements about the bone implements of Olduvai Gorge seemed positive. The question is this: will scientists show the same openmindedness in the case of the sub-Crag bone tools reported by J. Reid Moir? If the answer is yes, then paleoanthropologists will have to rework their ideas about human origins to include toolmaking humans over 2 million years ago, and maybe as much as 55 million years ago, in England.

2.19 Implements from Cromer Forest Bed,

England (Middle to Early Pleistocene)

J. Reid Moir (1927, pp. 49–50) also wrote of bone tool finds from the Cromer Forest Bed: “During this year (1926) Mr. J. E. Sainty found upon the beach at Overstrand a piece of heavily mineralized bone which is evidently referable to the Cromer Forest Bed. . . . the bone is of a markedly implemental form; in fact, on the surface figured and at the butt-end, it exhibits flaking and hacking, which, judging from the experiments I carried out in shaping this material, I think has been intentionally produced. . . . Sir Arthur Keith, F.R.S.

[Fellow of the Royal Society], who examined the specimen, has kindly given me the following opinion upon it: ‘There can be no doubt, I think, that your implement has been fashioned out of the lower jaw of the larger whalebone whales. None of the original surface of the bone is left; it has been removed by flaking.’ From the extreme fossilization of this specimen, I judge it to belong to the earliest Cromer Forest Bed deposit, and to be contemporary with the great flint implements found at that horizon. Remains of whales have been discovered in the Forest Bed and it was doubtless the skeleton of one of these that supplied the material from which this implement was made by one of the earliest Cromerian men.”

The most comprehensive recent study of the Cromer Forest Bed formation is by R. G. West. According to West (1980, p. 201), the oldest part of the Cromer Forest Bed is the Sheringham member. West identified the lower part of the Sheringham member, representing the base of the Cromer Forest Bed, with the Pre-Pastonian cold stage of East Anglia ( Table 2.1, p. 78).

Even after much study, West was not able to give a conclusive date for the Pre-Pastonian. He suggested that the lowest level of the Pre-Pastonian, might be equivalent to the basal part of the northwestern European cold stage called the Erburonian. This would give the Pre-Pastonian cold stage a maximum age of about 1.75 million years (West 1980, fig. 54). But Nilsson (1983, p. 308) puts the base of the Erburonian at 1.5 million years.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

According to West (1980, fig. 54), the Pre-Pastonian cold stage of East Anglia might also be identified, on paleomagnetic grounds, with the Menapian

glaciation of northwestern Europe at .8–.9 million years. The Pre-Pastonian might also be identified with the early part of the northwestern European Cromer complex, a series of alternating glacials and interglacials extending from about .4

million to .8 million years ago ( West 1980, p. 120; Nilsson 1983, p. 308). The early part of the Cromer complex of glacials and interglacials can be estimated at about .6–.8 million years according to the correlation table of Nilsson (1983, p.


Therefore, according to West, the Cromer Forest Bed series might be as old as 1.75 million years or as young as .6–.8 million years. Nilsson (1983, p. 308) shows the Cromer Forest Bed series beginning at about .8 million years ago.

So if the heavily mineralized bone implement reported by Moir actually did come from the lowest levels of the Cromer Forest Bed, as he surmised, it might be as much as 1.75 million years old. The oldest Homo erectus fossils from Africa only date back about 1.6 million years.

If, however, we take the younger of the possible dates for the oldest levels of the Cromer Forest Bed (about .6 million years) that would still be quite anomalous for England. According to Nilsson (1983, p. 111), the oldest stone tools from England come from Westbury-sub-Mendip deposits equivalent to the terminal phase of the Cromer Forest Bed, at about .4 million years ago.

Of course, Moir could have been wrong about the source of the mineralized bone implement. The beds at Overstrand cover almost the entire span of Cromer Forest Bed time (West 1980, p. 159). Thus the implement from Overstrand might have come not from the earliest but from the latest part of the Cromer Forest Bed sequence, making it the same age as the stone tools from Westbury-sub-Mendip, about .4 million years old—quite within the range of conventional acceptability.

This possibility makes it all the more remarkable that the bone tool reported by Moir is not given serious attention by modern paleoanthropologists.

In some additional remarks on the Cromer Forest Bed discoveries, Moir (1927, p. 50) went on to describe incised bones rather than bones modified as tools:

“The discovery of flint implements in the Forest Bed induced me to make a close examination of the mammalian bones from this deposit, in the possession of Mr.

A. C. Savin of Cromer. This examination revealed three specimens, all found in the peat, representing the upper part of the Forest Bed at West Runton, by Mr.

Savin, which show on their surface clearly defined cuts which, I think, can only have been produced by flint knives in removing flesh . . . the Cromer examples are quite comparable with others exhibiting cuts which I have discovered in various later prehistoric epochs. The lines are fine, and straight, and were

evidently produced by a sharp-edged flint. Some of the smaller mammals might cut a bone with their teeth in a similar way, but they could not produce such long cuts as are present on the bones from West Runton. Nor is it possible to regard these markings as due to glacial action.”

The part of the Cromer Forest Bed sequence represented especially well at West Runton is the Upper Freshwater Bed. According to West, the Upper Freshwater Bed, as defined during Moir’s time, contained elements as old as the Pastonian temperate stage. The Pastonian stage of East Anglia was thought by West (1980, fig. 54) to be equivalent to the latter part of the Waalian temperate stage of northwestern Europe, dated at 1 million years (Nilsson 1983, p. 308).

Alternatively, the Pastonian temperate stage might correlate with an interglacial within the Cromer glacial complex, at about .5 million years. In any case, West (1980, p. 116) believed most of the Upper Freshwater Bed was within the time range of the Cromer complex of northwestern Europe, giving it an age of .4–.8

million years (Nilsson 1983, p. 308).

Taken together, the different estimates of the age of the Upper Freshwater Bed would give the cut bones from West Runton a possible date range of between 0.4

and 1.0 million years. At the older end of the date range, the cut bones would be extremely anomalous; at the younger end, less so.

Moir observed that the marks on the West Runton bones were not of the kind produced by glaciers and further noted that the bed in which the specimens were found contained many fragile, unbroken shells and thus appeared undisturbed.

“The bones comprise part of the humerus of a large bison, and portions of the lower jaws, with teeth in place, of deer,” stated Moir (1927, p. 50). The cuts, he also observed, ran under thick ferruginous deposits, indicating their great age. “I have recently carried out some experiments in scraping modern bones with a sharp flake of flint,” continued Moir (1927, p. 51), “and find that the cuts so produced are in every way comparable with those upon the Cromer examples. It was noticed that these latter specimens, in addition to the easily recognised cuts, exhibited a large number of minute incisions which could only be examined adequately by means of a lens. Upon the experimental bones I found that a precisely similar assemblage of small cuts was present, and I have no doubt that these are due to the microscopic projections present on the cutting-edge of the flint which I used.” The specific identifying characteristics of incisions made with flint flakes

on bone have been confirmed by modern investigators such as Rick Potts and Pat Shipman. John Gowlett (1984, p. 53) stated: “Their work involved use of the

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

electron microscope, at a very high magnification. They found that many bones from Olduvai preserved carnivore gnawing marks, as well as stone tool cutmarks. Very close parallel striations were indisputable evidence of the stone tools, for no edge of a flake is perfectly straight, and each protruding sharp piece leaves its mark.” It is apparent that Moir’s methods of identification compare favorably with those employed by modern professional paleoanthropologists.

2.20 Sawn Wood from Cromer Forest Bed,

England (Middle to Early Pleistocene)

J. Reid Moir (1927, p. 47) also described a piece of cut wood from the Cromer Forest Bed ( Figure 2.8) that suggested human action: “the late Mr. S. A.

Notcutt of Ipswich dug out of this deposit, at the foot of the cliff near Mundesley, a piece of wood which, in my opinion, was shaped by man. The bed in which the wood was found consisted of undisturbed sand and gravel, and was overlain by Lower Glacial Clay in situ.

Figure 2.8. Piece of wood from the Cromer Forest Bed, England. The piece of wood, apparently sawn at the right end, is between 0.5 and 1.75

million years old (Moir 1917b).

The beds at Mundesley extend from the lattermost Cromer Forest Bed times, at about .4 million years, to the lower part of the Pre-Pastonian cold stage, estimated variously at 0.8 or 1.75 million years (West 1980, p. 182; Nilsson 1983, p. 308). But most of the Mundesley strata are identified with the Cromerian temperate stage of East Anglia (West 1980, p. 201). One should note that the Cromerian temperate stage of East Anglia, dated roughly at .4–.5 million years, is not the same as the Cromer complex of northwestern European glacials and interglacials, dated at .4–.8 million years (Nilsson 1983, p. 308).

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 2.9. Cross section of a piece of cut wood from the Cromer Forest Bed. The arrow indicates a groove, possibly from an initial cut by a sawing implement (Moir 1917b).

In the course of his comments about the piece of cut wood, Moir (1927, p. 47) made these observations: “The specimen, which is quite comparable with other wood found in the Forest Bed, is . . . slightly curved, four-sided, and is flat at one end and pointed at the other. . . . The flat end appears to have been produced by sawing with a sharp flint, and at one spot it seems that the line of cutting has been corrected [Figure 2.9], as is often necessary when starting to cut wood with a modern steel saw. The present form of the specimen is due to the original round piece of wood—which has been identified by Dr. A. B. Rendle, F.R.S., as yew—having been split four times longitudinally in the direction of its natural grain. The pointed end is somewhat blackened as if by fire, and it is possible that the specimen represents a primitive digging stick used for grubbing up roots.”

While there is an outside chance that beings of the Homo erectus type might have been present in England during the time of the Cromer Forest Bed, the level of technological sophistication implied by this sawn wood tool is extraordinary and suggestive of sapiens-like capabilities. In fact, it is hard to see how this kind of sawing could have been produced even by stone implements.

Small flint chips mounted in a wooden holder, for example, would not have produced the clean cut evident on the specimen because the wooden holder would have been wider than the flint teeth. Hence one could not have cut a narrow groove with such a device. A saw blade made only of stone would have been extremely brittle and would not have lasted long enough to perform the operation. Furthermore it would have been quite an accomplishment to make such a stone blade. Thus it seems that only a metal saw could produce the observed sawing. Of course, a metal saw at .4–.5 million years is quite anomalous.

It is remarkable that the incised bones, bone implements, and other artifacts from the Red Crag and Cromer Forest Beds are hardly mentioned at all in today’s standard textbooks and references. This is especially true in the case of the Cromer Forest Bed finds, most of which are, in terms of their age, bordering on the acceptable, in terms of the modern paleoanthropological sequence of events.

In Gowlett’s Ascent to Civilization (1984, p. 88), we read: “There is a possibility that some finds from Britain are older than the Hoxnian [an interglacial period dated approximately 330,000 years ago]: for example the high terrace finds from Fordwich and from Kent’s Cavern near Torquay. The importance of such finds lies in the demonstration that perhaps as much as 500,000 years ago, man was

able at least for a time to colonize Europe out to its extremities. At Westbury-sub-Mendip, in south-west England, remains of extinct animals associated with very few stone tools suggest contemporaneity with the Cromerian phase, estimated at c. 0.7–0.5 million years, and named after beds in eastern England, where there are faunal remains but no archaeological traces.” Elsewhere Gowlett stated “it is safest to assume that the first occupation of Europe would have been by toolmaking men in the earlier Pleistocene.” This would “imply a date about 1.5 million years ago” (Gowlett 1984, p. 76).

Considering that Gowlett was prepared to find evidence of toolmaking humans in Europe at 1.5 million years ago, it is odd to find him stating that the Cromer Forest Bed contains “no archaeological traces” (Gowlett 1984, p. 88). Gowlett, a professor at Oxford University, should have been knowledgeable about the recent history of paleoanthropology in England. Was he unaware that in the early twentieth century Moir and others found bone tools, incised bones, and other artifacts (including a whole flint industry) in the Cromer Forest Bed? That would seem unlikely. Did he think the finds to be not genuine? Perhaps he was aware of the discoveries and considered them genuine but deliberately avoided including them in his discussion, even though they would have helped his case. Why? It could be that mentioning them would have implied his acceptance of the still older sub-Red Crag discoveries of Moir and others, which pose a strong challenge to the whole scenario of human origins and antiquity.

2.21 Concluding Words about Intentionally

Modified Bone

It is really quite curious that so many serious scientific investigators in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century independently and repeatedly reported that marks on bones from Miocene, Pliocene, and Early Pleistocene formations were indicative of human work. Among the researchers making such claims were Desnoyers, de Quatrefages, Ramorino, Bourgeois, Delaunay, Bertrand, Laussedat, Garrigou, Filhol, von Dücker, Owen, Collyer, Calvert, Capellini, Broca, Ferretti, Bellucci, Stopes, Moir, Fisher, and Keith.

Were these scientists deluded? Perhaps so. But cut marks on fossil bones are an odd thing about which to develop delusions—hardly romantic or inspiring. Were the above-mentioned researchers victims of a unique mental aberration of the last century and the early part of this one? Or does evidence of primitive hunters really abound in the faunal remains of the Tertiary and early Quaternary?

Assuming such evidence is there, one might ask why it is not being found today.

One very good reason is that no one is looking for it. Evidence for intentional human work on bone might easily escape the attention of a scientist not actively searching for it. If a paleoanthropologist is convinced that toolmaking human beings did not exist in the Middle Pliocene, he is not likely to give much thought to the exact nature of markings on fossil bones from that period.

Even for those prepared to find signs of human work, the interpretation of marks on fossil bones is a difficult matter. This led Binford (1981, p. 181) to write:

“One might reasonably ask at this point that if we cannot establish a pattern of bone modification unambiguously referable to man, why study the faunal products of man and seek greater understanding of his highly variable behavior?

The answer to this is simply that the basic task of anthropology—of which archaeology is a part—is to seek an understanding of man’s variable cultural behavior.” Binford clearly defined the dilemma inherent in the empirical approach to such questions—it is imperfect, yet there appears to be no other choice. So it seems that great caution is required. In fact, our study of the empirical methods used by paleoanthropologists suggests these methods cannot give a completely reliable picture of the past, and of human origins in particular.


3.1 Anomalously Old Stone Tools

Even when considered alone, the evidence gathered from incised and broken bones, as detailed in the preceding chapter, inflicts heavy damage on the conception that toolmaking hominids emerged only in the Pleistocene. But we now turn to a more extensive and significant category of evidence—ancient stone implements.

Nineteenth-century scientists turned up large quantities of what they presumed to be stone tools and weapons in Early Pleistocene, Pliocene, Miocene, and older strata. These were not marginal discoveries. They were reported by leading anthropologists and paleontologists in well-established journals, and were thoroughly discussed at scientific congresses. But today hardly anyone has heard

of them. One wonders why. As in the case of the bones discussed in the previous chapter, the hard facts of these discoveries, though disputed, were never conclusively invalidated. Instead, reports of these ancient stone implements were, as time passed, simply put aside and forgotten as different theoretical scenarios of human evolution came into vogue.

Here is what appears to have taken place. In the 1890s, Eugene Dubois discovered and promoted the famous, yet dubious, Java ape-man (Section 7.1).

Many scientists accepted Java man, found unaccompanied by stone tools, as a genuine human ancestor. But because Java man was found in Middle Pleistocene strata, the extensive evidence for toolmaking hominids in the far earlier Pliocene and Miocene periods no longer received much serious attention. How could such toolmaking hominids have appeared long before their supposed ape-man ancestors? Such a thing would be impossible; so better to ignore and forget any discoveries that fell outside the bounds of theoretical expectations.

And that is exactly what happened—whole categories of facts were interred beneath the surface layers of scientific cognition. By patient research we have, however, managed to locate and recover a vast hoard of such buried evidence, and our review of it shall take us from the hills of Kent in England to the valley of the Irrawady in Burma. We shall also give consideration to anomalously old crude stone tool industries discovered by researchers in the late twentieth century.

The anomalous stone tool industries we shall consider fall into three basic divisions: (1) eoliths, (2) crude paleoliths, and (3) advanced paleoliths and neoliths.

According to some nineteenth-century authorities, eoliths (or “dawn stones”), were stones with edges naturally suited for certain kinds of uses. These, it was said, were selected by humans and used as tools with little or no further modification. Often one or more of the natural edges of the stone would be chipped to make it more suitable for a desired function. To the untrained eye, Eolithic stone implements were often indistinguishable from ordinary broken rocks, but specialists in lithic technology developed criteria for identifying upon them signs of human modification and usage.

In the case of more sophisticated stone tools, called paleoliths, the signs of human manufacture were more obvious, involving an attempt to form the whole of the stone into a recognizable tool shape. Questions about such implements centered mainly upon the determination of their correct age. Some Paleolithic implements, such as those used in Europe during the Late Stone Age and in

recent historical times by the American Indians, display a high degree of artistry and craftsmanship, with very fine and elaborate chipping and graceful, symmetrical shapes. Most of the implements we shall be examining, however, are far more rudimentary. In fact, some researchers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have categorized them among the eoliths. But we have chosen to make a rough distinction between eoliths and crude paleoliths. While the eoliths are formed from naturally broken pieces of stone, perhaps with some slight chipping on a working edge, the crude Paleolithic industries include some specimens that have been deliberately flaked from stone cores and then modified by more extensive chipping into definite tool shapes. In distinguishing crude paleoliths from eoliths, we have also relied on experts who have testified that anomalously old paleoliths from the Pliocene, Miocene, and earlier periods are identical to accepted Paleolithic implements of the Late Pleistocene.

Our third division, advanced paleoliths and neoliths, refers to anomalously old stone tools that resemble the very finely chipped or smoothly polished stone industries of the standard Late Paleolithic and Neolithic periods.

Over the years, the terms eolith, paleolith, and neolith have been used in various ways. For most researchers, they have denoted not only levels of technical development but also a definite temporal sequence. Eoliths would be the oldest implements, followed in turn by the paleoliths and neoliths. But in the course of our discussion we will mainly use these terms to indicate degrees of workmanship. The evidence, we propose, makes it impossible to assign dates to stone tools simply on the basis of their form.

In this chapter, we shall discuss anomalous eoliths. In Chapter 4, we shall discuss anomalous crude paleoliths, and in Chapter 5, we shall discuss anomalous advanced paleoliths and neoliths. This threefold division is not perfect. We were confronted with borderline cases in which assignment to one chapter or another was difficult. Within the cruder stone tool industries are often found individual implements and groups of implements that might be classified as more sophisticated; and similarly, among the more sophisticated industries are found examples of implements that might be classified among the most crude.

Also, some individual researchers discovered a number of industries, of varying levels of complexity, and for the sake of convenience, these have been grouped together. Because of this, it has not been possible, or practical, to achieve a complete segregation of tool types in different chapters. Still, we have found it useful to attempt to make a rough division between (1) the Eolithic, (2) the crude Paleolithic, (3) and the advanced Paleolithic and Neolithic types.

Having expressed these cautions, we can now embark upon our examination of the Eolithic stone tools, beginning with those found by Benjamin Harrison in England and proceeding to tools found in other countries during the latter part of the nineteenth century. We shall then consider the discoveries of J. Reid Moir in England. In the last sections of this chapter, we shall examine attempts by H.

Breuil and A. S. Barnes to discredit Eolithic industries, and finally we shall review modern examples of Eolithic industries.




3.2.1 Young Harrison

The small town of Ightham, in Kent, is situated about twenty-seven miles southeast of London. Nearby one finds the home of the unfortunate second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, who lost her head to the executioner’s blade. In the more sedate years of the Victorian era, a respectable small businessman named Benjamin Harrison kept a grocery shop in Ightham. On holidays he roamed the nearby hills and valleys, collecting flint implements which, though now long forgotten, were for decades the center of protracted controversy in the scientific community.

Even as a boy, Harrison was interested in geology and read Lyell’s Principles of Geology at age thirteen. In the course of his walks, he grew well acquainted with the landscape around Ightham. This region of southeastern England, known as the Weald of Kent and Sussex, had a complex geological history. In the past, it was a broad rise. In later times, the central part of the rise was eroded away by the forces of nature (Figure 3.1), leaving hills to the north (the North Downs) and south (the South Downs).


Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 3.1. The Weald region of Kent and Sussex, England. The dotted line shows the ancient land surface, now eroded away, leaving the present North Downs (N) and South Downs (S) (Moir 1924, p. 638). The Kent Plateau is in the North Downs region.

The North Downs rise to the Kent Plateau near Ightham, and it is on the Kent Plateau that Harrison made some of his most significant discoveries. Young Harrison developed into an accomplished amateur paleoanthropologist. Perhaps semi-professional would be a better word than amateur, for Harrison did much of his work in close consultation with, and sometimes under the direct supervision of, Sir John Prestwich, the famous English geologist, who lived in the vicinity.

Harrison also corresponded regularly with other scientists involved in paleoanthropological research and carefully catalogued and mapped his finds, according to standard procedures.

A room over Harrison’s shop served as a museum where he kept his flint tools.

On the walls he displayed geological maps of the Weald region of Kent and Sussex, water colors of implements he had found, and portraits of Charles Darwin, Sir John Prestwich, and Sir John Evans.

3.2.2 Neoliths and Paleoliths

Harrison’s first finds were not of the very crude Eolithic variety. They were Neolithic implements. Neoliths are smooth-surfaced, polished stone artifacts, displaying highly sophisticated craftsmanship. According to modern opinion, Neolithic cultures date back only about 10,000 years, and are associated with agriculture and pottery. Harrison found neoliths scattered over the present land surfaces around Ightham.

In the early 1860s, the discoveries of Boucher des Perthes in France were attracting the attention of British scientists. Boucher des Perthes had found

paleoliths in the gravels of the Somme River valley. These implements were older and somewhat cruder than the neoliths Harrison was collecting. Having learned of the finds of Boucher des Perthes, Harrison himself began to search for similar specimens. These Paleolithic implements, although cruder than Neolithic implements, are still easily recognized as objects of human manufacture. They are thus distinct from Eolithic implements. Modern authorities would assign European Paleolithic tools to the Middle and Late Pleistocene. Harrison looked for paleoliths in ancient deposits of gravel on river terraces, and in 1863

discovered his first paleolith in a gravel pit near Ightham (E. Harrison 1928, p.

46). In addition to searching himself, Harrison trained local workmen to recognize flint implements and collect them for him. Over the years, he amassed a substantial collection of paleoliths.

In 1878, William Davies, a geologist of the British Museum, saw some of Harrison’s flint implements and agreed that some of them were paleoliths.

Harrison sent a report and some specimens to Sir John Lubbock, who also stated that some of the implements were definitely Paleolithic. G. Worthington Smith, of the Royal Anthropological Institute, visited Ightham and after inspecting the flints initially agreed that some were paleoliths but then later changed his mind (E. Harrison 1928, p. 81).

In 1879, Harrison first met Sir John Prestwich, an eminent geologist, who had a country house eight miles away, at Shoreham. Harrison asked Prestwich some questions about the geological position of the discoveries of Boucher des Perthes in relation to the present level of the Somme River. From Prestwich’s window, they could see the Darent River valley. Prestwich said: “If we take the Darent to be the Somme, the gravels would lie at about the level of the railway station.”

The author of Benjamin Harrison’s biography, Sir Edward R. Harrison, wrote (1928, p. 84): “As this remark was made, it flashed through Harrison’s mind that some of his own palaeoliths had been found in gravels that were higher, in relation to the level of the streams to which they belonged, than was the level of the railway station in respect to the Darent. Broadly speaking, greater relative height meant greater antiquity, and, consequently, amongst his finds were implements that might be older than those found by Boucher des Perthes in the Somme valley.”

To further clarify the matter, let us suppose we have a river running on a level plain a million years ago. As it excavates a channel, it will deposit gravel on the terraces of its banks. As the river descends through the strata, it will deposit more gravels at successively lower levels. In this way, it may be seen that the

oldest river gravels, about one million years old, would be found at the higher levels of the valley, while the most recent ones would be found at the lowest levels, on the banks of the present river. The ages of the different levels of gravel are therefore the reverse of the ages of a typical sequence of geological strata, in which the higher strata are the youngest and the lower strata are the oldest. It should, however, be kept in mind, that in actual practice, the assignment of ages to river terraces and gravels is rarely so simple as in this hypothetical illustration.

On September 11, 1880, Harrison made a typical discovery. Sir Edward R.

Harrison (1928, p. 87) informs us: “He walked to examine a bed of gravel lying on High Field, at the head of the gorge of the Shode. In this gravel, far above the present level of the stream, he found a palaeolithic implement. His thoughts, on making this discovery, must have been somewhat as follows. The gravel was a very ancient gravel, even in a geological sense, and in it was an implement that had been made by man and carried down afterwards by a stream running at a much higher level than the present stream, to the position in which it was found.

So man was older than the very old gravel. Harrison sent news of his find to Prestwich, who came at once to Ightham to see for himself the geological position in which the implement had been found.” Prestwich pronounced it a very old bed and advised further research. Prestwich himself and workers under his direction made similar finds.

As word of the newly discovered stone implements spread, James Geikie, one of England’s leading geologists, wrote about them on May 2, 1881 to G.

Worthington Smith: “They will yet be found in such deposits and at such elevations as will cause the hairs of cautious archaeologists to rise on end. I hope other observers will take a hint from you and search for paleolithic implements in places which have hitherto been looked upon as barren of such relics” (E.

Harrison 1928, p. 91).

Geikie’s remarks about searching for stone tools “in places which have hitherto been looked upon as barren of such relics” help clarify why modern scientists do not often report finding evidence for a human presence in very ancient times.

Because of their preconceptions, they do not look for such evidence in all the places where it might be found. For example, since modern scientists do not accept a fully human presence in the Pliocene, they do not look for advanced stone tools in Pliocene deposits. And if they do find such tools in unexpectedly old deposits, they explain them away. But in the nineteenth century, it was not clear to scientists that they should not be looking for evidence of a human presence in the Pliocene and earlier. So they looked for it, and when they found

it, reported it straightforwardly.

In 1887, Harrison read an article by Alfred Russell Wallace on human antiquity in America and then wrote Wallace a letter. Wallace, famous for publishing a scientific paper on evolution by natural selection before Darwin, wrote to Harrison: “I am glad you find my article on ‘The Antiquity of Man in America’

interesting. It is astonishing the amount of incredulity that still prevails among geologists as to any possible extension of the evidence as to greater antiquity than the paleolithic gravels. The wonderful ‘Calaveras skull’ has been so persistently ridiculed, from Bret Harte upwards, by persons who know nothing of the real facts, that many American geologists even seem afraid to accept it”

(E. Harrison 1928, p. 130).

The Paleolithic gravels referred to by Wallace are equivalent to those of the Somme region, in which Boucher des Perthes found stone tools. These belong to the Middle Pleistocene period of the Quaternary. The Calaveras skull as well as many stone tools were found in far older Tertiary strata in California. The Tertiary includes the Pliocene, Miocene, Oligocene, Eocene, and Paleocene periods. We shall discuss the Calaveras skull and several related discoveries later in this book (Sections 6.2.6, 5.5). The tactic of persistent ridicule mentioned by Wallace was, however, so effective that a good many modern students of paleoanthropology have never even heard of the California finds.

Prestwich and Harrison considered some of the stone implements found near Ightham to be Tertiary in age. The geological reasons for this opinion were discussed by Prestwich in a paper presented to the Geological Society of London in 1889. In preparation for his report, Prestwich asked Harrison to catalog and map his finds. Harrison did so, with the following results: 22 flint implements had been found at elevations over 500 feet, 199 at elevations between 400 and 500 feet, and 184 at elevations under 400 feet, amounting to a total of 405

implements found since 1880 (E. Harrison 1928, p. 129).

In his presentation to the Geological Society, with Harrison sitting in the audience, Prestwich first demonstrated that the higher formations of gravel around Ightham could not have been deposited by the present streams, at any point in their history. He gave evidence showing that the Shode could not have flowed any higher than the 340-foot level (Prestwich 1889, p. 273). Thus the tools in the gravels at elevations over 400 feet must have been quite old, having been deposited by ancient rivers.

This analysis is confirmed by modern authorities. Francis H. Edmunds, in a study published by the Geological Survey of Great Britain, wrote (1954, p. 59):

“Occasional patches of gravel, unassociated with any present river system, have been recorded at various localities in the Wealden District. . . . they cap hilly ground and occur usually about 300 ft. above sea level. They consist of a few feet of roughly-bedded flint or chert gravel in a clayey matrix.”

Prestwich, having discussed the geological history of the high-level gravels, which he called hill drifts, then dealt with an important question regarding the implements found in them. Could these implements, perhaps of recent origin, have been dropped into the very old hill drift gravels in an age not long past?

Prestwich believed that this was true of some of the implements, the Neolithic ones. But along with the Neolithic tools, dropped in the ancient hill drift gravels within the last few thousand years, there were, according to Prestwich, far older Paleolithic tools. These could be distinguished from the Neolithic tools by their deeply stained surfaces and the wear on their edges. Prestwich (1889, p. 283) stated that the paleoliths “exhibit generally the deep uniform staining of brown, yellow, or white, together with the bright patina, resulting from long imbedment in drift-deposits of different characters.” In addition, he said that some of the paleoliths were “more or less rolled and worn at the edges by drift-action—some very much so” (Prestwich 1889, p. 283). The neoliths were relatively unstained and unworn.

Sir John Prestwich (1889, p. 286) went on to say about the paleoliths found by Harrison near Ightham: “It is clear from the condition of the implements that, although now occurring on the surface of the ground, they, unlike the neolithic flints, which are unstained and unaltered except by atmospheric agencies, have been imbedded in some matrix which has produced an external change of structure and colour; while the matrix itself, which has been removed by denudation, has nevertheless in several instances left traces on the implements sufficient to indicate its nature.”

Describing the remnants of one kind of matrix, Prestwich (1889, p. 289) stated:

“a considerable portion of these paleolithic implements are studded on one side with small dark-brown concretionary incrustations of iron peroxide and sand. . . .

From this we may infer that both the flint implements and the flints have at one time been imbedded in a sandy, ferruginous matrix, just as the film of calcite on the under side of some of the St. Acheul specimens shows them to come from one of the seams of calcareous sand or chalky gravel common in the drift there, or as the ferruginous concretions on the Dunks Green specimens indicate their origin in that drift.”

The identity of the matrix is hinted at by Edmunds (1954, p. 47): “At intervals

along the higher parts of the North Downs, and near the crest of the Chalk escarpment, patches of rusty brown sand are present.” The hill drifts of the North Downs and the plateau drifts of the Chalk Escarpment are the locations where Harrison found most of his implements. Edmunds (1954, p. 47) further noted:

“similar blocks of fossiliferous ironstone or ferruginous sandstone occur on the South Downs near Beachy Head. The fossils have been proved to be of Pliocene age.”

“Unfortunately,” stated Edmunds (1954, p. 47), “no fossils have been found in the sand resting on the top of the Downs, but their general resemblance to the fossiliferous sandstones . . . leads to the conclusion that they are the remains of an extensive sheet of sands laid down during a marine transgression which is thought to have taken place subsequent to the Miocene.” Ferruginous sandstone like that of the South Downs also occurs in the Lenham Beds of the Weald region. Some modern authors (Klein 1973, table 6) date the Lenham Beds to the Early Pliocene or Late Miocene. According to Edmunds, the sandy deposits on the North Downs, the Lenham Beds, and the ferruginous sandstone of the South Downs would all three be of the same Pliocene age.

Granting Edmunds’s explanation of the history and age of the iron-stained sands found on the North Downs and Chalk Escarpment, we can consider two hypothetical accounts about how stone implements might have come to be present in them.

The first account involves a Miocene origin for the implements. In the Late Miocene, toolmakers might have left implements on a land surface in the Weald region of southern England, which was later submerged by rising sea levels in the Early Pliocene. The implements were then embedded in marine deposits.

Later in the Pliocene, the region again became a land surface, the central portion of which was uplifted (Figure 3.1). Rivers flowing down from the central uplands, in a northerly direction, eroded the ferruginous marine sands. The flint implements and ferruginous sands were deposited in the places where they are now found—as hilltop drifts at very high elevations on the North Downs and as plateau drifts on the Chalk Escarpment (Figure 3.2). During the Pleistocene glacial periods that followed, a different river system carved out valleys and deposited valley drift gravels on terraces below the North Downs hilltops and the Chalk Plateau, with their deposits of sands and gravels from the Pliocene.

Our second account involves a Pliocene origin for the tools. As above, a marine transgression took place in the Early Pliocene, depositing layers of sediment.

Later in the Pliocene, the region again became a land surface, drained by rivers.

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Figure 3.2. The relationships of gravel deposits (drifts) to generalized Weald landscape.

(1) Plateau drift deposited by rivers flowing north over the Early Pliocene land surface.

(2) Hilltop drifts deposited by a now vanished Late Pliocene river.

(3–5) Progressively younger valley drifts deposited by the present river in the Middle and Late Pleistocene.

People living along the banks of these rivers left stone tools, which were transported by the river to their present locations on the North Downs hilltops and the Chalk Plateau. This took place before the present river systems came into being. Embedded in the gravel deposits for long periods of time, the flint implements acquired their coloration and patina. These implements, their edges worn by transport, could not be any younger than the now-vanished northwardflowing rivers. Any implements more recently dropped into these gravels would have remained unrolled and unworn because no water was flowing at that high level. The new rivers were flowing at much lower levels.

How old were the Paleolithic flint implements on the Kent Plateau and in the hilltop drifts? Prestwich (1889, p. 292) concluded: “physiographical changes and

the great height of the old chalk plateau, with its ‘red clay with flints’ and

‘southern drift’ high above the valleys containing the Postglacial deposits, point to the great antiquity—possibly Preglacial—of the palaeolithic implements found in association with these summit drifts.”

According to current opinion, glaciers approached, but did not actually cover the Kent Plateau. The Cromer Till of East Anglia, north of the Kent Plateau, represents the earliest definite geological evidence of glaciation in southern England (Nilsson 1983, pp. 112, 308). A till is a deposit of stones left by retreating glaciers. The Cromer till is .4 million years old. But evidence of an arctic climate occurs somewhat earlier than the Cromer Till, in the Beestonian cold stage at around .6 million years ago (Nilsson 1983, pp. 108, 308).

So strictly speaking, the preglacial period in southern England might be said to begin in the Middle Pleistocene. Interpreted in this light, Prestwich’s statement that the implements found in the summit drifts were preglacial could thus mean they were as recent as the early Middle Pleistocene. But, as we have seen, Edmunds (1954, p. 47) has proposed that the summit drifts, the ferruginous sands, are in fact Pliocene in age.

Hugo Obermaier (1924, p. 8), a leading paleoanthropologist of the early twentieth century, stated that the flint implements collected by Harrison from the Kent Plateau “belong to the Middle Pliocene.” J. Reid Moir, a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, also referred Harrison’s discoveries to the Tertiary (Section 3.3.1).

A Late or Middle Pliocene date for the implements of the Kent Plateau would give them an age of 2–4 million years. Modern paleoanthropologists attribute the Paleolithic implements of the Somme region of France to Homo erectus, and date them at just .5–.7 million years ago. The oldest currently recognized implements in England are about .4 million years old (Nilsson 1983, p. 111). So the Paleolithic implements of the Kent Plateau pose a number of difficulties for modern paleoanthropology.

3.2.3 Eoliths

Among the Paleolithic implements collected by Benjamin Harrison from the Kent Plateau were some that appeared to belong to an even more primitive level of culture. These were the eoliths, or dawn stones (Figure 3.3). This name eventually came to be used for a wide variety of very crude stone tool industries

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

from England and other countries.

Figure 3.3. An eolith from the Kent Plateau (Moir 1924, p. 639).

The Paleolithic implements discovered by Harrison, although somewhat crude in appearance, had been extensively worked in order to bring them into definite tool and weapon shapes (Figure 3.4). The Eolithic implements, however, were, as defined by Harrison, natural flint flakes displaying only retouching along the edges.

Figure 3.4. These implements from the Kent Chalk Plateau were characterized as paleoliths by Sir John Prestwich (1889, plate 11). Prestwich (1889, p. 294) called the one on the left, from Bower Lane, “a roughly made implement of the spear-head type.”

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Such tools are still used today by primitive tribal people in various parts of the world, who pick up a stone flake, chip one of the edges, and then use it for a scraper or cutter.

The question then arises as to how such eoliths could be distinguished from broken pieces of flint unmodified by human action. There were, of course, difficulties in making such distinctions, but even modern experts accept lithic assemblages resembling the eoliths collected by Harrison as genuine human artifacts. We shall consider this subject in greater detail in the course of this chapter, but for now we shall mention as an example the crude cobble and flake tools of the lower levels of Olduvai Gorge (Figure 3.5).

Figure 3.5. Top: Stone implements from Olduvai Gorge (M. Leakey 1971, pp. 45, 113). Bottom: Implements found by Benjamin Harrison on the Kent Plateau, England (Moir 1924, p. 639; E. Harrison 1928, p. 342).

The Olduvai Gorge implements are extremely crude, but to our knowledge, no paleoanthropologists have ever challenged their status as intentionally manufactured objects.

Harrison believed that the Kent eoliths belonged to an older period than that represented by his paleoliths. But in his 1889 report, Sir John Prestwich did not make a distinction between the two forms. Of the eoliths, Sir Edward R.

Harrison stated: “Prestwich in his paper made no attempt to claim for them a higher antiquity than that of the Plateau paleoliths, with which they seemed to be associated” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 145). As we have seen, the nature of the drift gravels on the Kent Plateau and the hilltops of the North Downs suggested a Late Pliocene age for the implements.

In the aftermath of Prestwich’s presentation, Harrison found himself somewhat of a celebrity. His name appeared in newspapers, and scientists from all parts of the world began to make the pilgrimage to his museum above his grocery shop in Ightham. In June of 1889, the members of the Geological Society of London visited Ightham for a tour of the sites from which the stone implements had been recovered.

Even the considerable authority of Prestwich was, however, not enough to end all controversy regarding Harrison’s discoveries, particularly the eoliths. Many scientists still saw in the eoliths nothing but the result of purely natural, rather than artificial forces. Nevertheless, Harrison was gradually winning converts. On September 18, 1889, A. M. Bell, a Fellow of the Geological Society, wrote to Harrison: “I am glad that you saw the veteran Professor [Prestwich], and that his verdict on these unbulbed scrapers coincides with our own. I have looked again and again at the edges of those which I selected, and with an increasing feeling that there is a human purpose dimly visible in the working. There seems to be something more in the uniform though rude chipping than mere accidental attrition would have produced. I have come to this conclusion with diffidence: first, because I had hitherto regarded the bulb or trace of artificial blow as a sine qua non; second, and more important, because I feel and have all along felt that the real enemy to such a story as ours is the too enthusiastic friend who sees what is not there; but having made my conclusion, I hold it with all firmness.

Until I see flints carefully and uniformly chipped all round their edges, and only in one direction of blow, by natural action, I shall believe that these are artificial”

(E. Harrison 1928, p. 151).

A modern expert in lithic technology, Leland W. Patterson, also believes it is possible to distinguish even very crude intentional work from natural action.

Considering “a typical example of a flake that has damage to its edge as a result of natural causes in a seasonally active stream bed,” Patterson (1983, p. 303) stated: “Fractures occur randomly in a bifacial manner. The facets are short,

uneven, and steeply transverse across the flake edge. It would be difficult to visualize how random applications of force could create uniform, unidirectional retouch along a significant length of a flake edge. Fortuitous, unifacial damage to an edge generally has no uniform pattern of retouch.” Unifacial tools, those with regular chipping confined to one side of a surface, formed a large part of the Eolithic assemblages gathered by Harrison and others.

Prestwich, however, was at first very cautious about the eoliths, feeling more comfortable with the more readily identifiable paleoliths. But gradually he began to change his mind. On September 10, 1890, Harrison and Prestwich were searching the West Yoke ocherous gravels, which were stained red (ocher) by iron compounds. Harrison wrote: “Professor Prestwich was impressed by the great spread of worn gravel, and remarked that it was a ‘capital exhibition of ochreous drift in an important position.’ At his request I filled my satchel with the water-worn flints, which were scattered over the field in abundance. It was the dawn of the era of the eoliths, for on this day he pressed me to take home specimens that only a few months earlier he would have regarded as too doubtful to be preserved” (E. Harrison 1928, pp. 155–156).

In 1891, Prestwich presented at the Geological Society of London another paper, titled “On the Age, Formation, and Successive Drift-Stages of the Valley of the Darent; with Remarks on the Palaeolithic Implements of the District and on the Origin of its Chalk Escarpment.” In this paper, Prestwich (1891, p. 163) described a paleolith found by Harrison in a hole dug for the planting of a tree:

“I have now seen the fine specimen. . . . It is 6 inches long by 3¾ in. wide, very flat and round pointed, and shows no wear. It more resembles one of the large St.

Acheul types. It was found on the top of the soil last thrown out of the hole.” It is not clear what kind of sediments the tool was found in, but the manner in which Prestwich related the find suggests that he regarded it as a demonstration that the paleoliths were to be found not only on the surface, but in situ.

In addition to the paleoliths, Prestwich mentioned some of the cruder Eolithic implements. This brought some inquiries from William Topley, a fellow of the Geological Society and the author of a Geological Survey memoir on the Weald region. Harrison wrote in his diaries: “Mr. William Topley at the reading of the Darent paper said that he wished to know if there was any clear case of the flints being found in place. He added that the antiquity of the gravels in such an elevation [on the Plateau] was beyond question and certainly preceded the excavation of the great Chalk valleys and the present features of the Weald. In consequence of these remarks I went to the Vigo inn, and searched in and near

the post holes dug for a fence. I found worked stones and thus recorded my first finds in situ” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 161). Thus the eoliths as well as paleoliths were to be found within the earth, and not just on the surface.

Harrison also noted that in most cases his eoliths occurred in places where there were no paleoliths. To him, this indicated a different age for the two types of implements.

A. R. Wallace, who was greatly interested in Harrison’s finds, asked him for a copy of Prestwich’s Darent paper. Harrison forwarded the paper to Wallace, who later replied: “I read Mr. Prestwich’s paper with great interest, especially with regard to the rude type of implements, which I had never seen represented before. They are certainly very distinct from the well-formed palaeolithic weapons, and their having a separate area of distribution is strong proof of their belonging to a different and earlier period” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 370).

3.2 .4 More on the Geology of the Kent Plateau

In 1891, Sir John Prestwich presented a third major paper on the stone implements of the Kent Plateau. In this paper, delivered to the Royal Anthropological Institute, Prestwich pointed out that the Chalk Plateau of Kent, where Harrison found paleoliths and eoliths, is bounded by a large valley running across its southern border. According to Prestwich, this valley was scooped out by water action during the glacial period. The Kent Plateau, however, contained drift gravels like those present on the South Downs, the hills that still exist on the other side of the southern valley. Prestwich (1892, p. 250) stated: “as the flint implements are closely associated with this plateau drift, and are limited to the area over which it extends, we are led to infer the preglacial or early glacial age of the men by whom they were fabricated.” Just to clarify the reasoning, let us imagine ourselves in the Late Pliocene, looking south from the present North Downs and Kent Plateau. Instead of the valley now there, we would see the rising surface of the Weald dome (Figure 3.1, p. 88). At this time, according to Prestwich, the now-vanished dome uplands would have been inhabited by humans who made crude stone tools. Rivers and streams running down from the uplands flow north, depositing their gravels and sediments, along with stone tools, on the surface of the region now occupied by the North Downs and Kent Plateau. The rivers also flow south from the divide of the central dome

uplands, to the South Downs.

This process continues until the Pleistocene, a time of increased precipitation.

Torrents of water flowing along an east-west axis, carve out a large valley where the Weald uplands once rose. Now the landscape is considerably changed, leaving the Kent Plateau and hills in the north separated by a deep, wide valley from hills to the south. At this point, the rivers no longer flow onto the plateau, but rather empty into the valley. But the old gravels and sediments, containing eoliths, remain on the Kent Plateau surface. They could only have been deposited there before the excavation of the valley. The proof of the accuracy of this scenario: the gravels and sediments found today on the Kent Plateau surface greatly resemble those found on the South Downs, now separated from the Kent Plateau by the great transverse valley. As we have seen, Edmunds (1954, p. 47) has identified the ferruginous deposits topping the North Downs with those now found in the South Downs. Since certain kinds of tools were found only in the ferruginous gravels and other such deposits on the North Downs and Kent Plateau, Prestwich concluded that these tools were made by the humans who lived on the central dome uplands, before the glacial period.

Modern authorities relate the geological history of the rivers of the Weald region and their gravel deposits in much the same way as outlined above. For example, Francis H. Edmunds, in a study published by the Geological Survey of Great Britain, wrote (1954, p. 69): “The original rivers of the Wealden district . . .

flowed either northward or southward from an east-to-west watershed along the main axial line of the Weald.” These rivers left north-south gaps in the Weald landscape, some of which are not used by the present river systems. Edmunds (1954, p. 63) stated: “Certain physical features, notably the position of the river gaps through the North and South Downs, connect modern topography with that of the pre-Pliocene epoch.” A map by Edmunds (1954, p. 71) shows the Plateau gravels as having been deposited by the rivers flowing from south to north. This tends to confirm the views of Prestwich, who believed the Plateau gravels were laid down by rivers flowing north from the central dome uplands during the Pliocene and perhaps the preglacial Pleistocene.

Concerning the Plateau deposits (Clay-with-flints), Edmunds thought some were produced locally by dissolution of the underlying chalk formations, which contain flint. But Edmunds (1954, p. 56) added: “The Clay-with-flints in several Wealden localities, however, contains a major proportion of material which could not have been so derived, but which represents remainié Tertiary beds, of Eocene and Pliocene ages.”

This suggests that the worn and patinated eoliths (and paleoliths) found in the Plateau deposits could very well be of Tertiary age.

Maps supplied by Edmunds (1954, p. 71) show that the north-south river systems, which laid down the Tertiary Plateau gravels and the hill drifts, were later diverted into their present east-west channels. These east-west rivers deposited the Pleistocene gravels on terraces below the hill drifts, the higher terraces being the oldest (Figure 3.2, p. 93). This process of gravel deposition began during the glacial period.

The stone implements found in the higher terrace gravels of the present rivers were, according to Prestwich, similar to the Paleolithic implements encountered in the Somme region of France, where Boucher des Perthes conducted his investigations. In his address to the Anthropological Institute, Prestwich explained that in the Kent Plateau region Neolithic implements were mainly found in the lower, more recent, river beds along with fossil remains of mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, reindeer, and other Ice Age mammals.

To summarize, the eoliths were found mainly in the Pliocene drift gravels on the top of the Plateau, crude paleoliths mainly in the hilltop drifts of Pliocene rivers, better paleoliths mainly in the Pleistocene higher gravels of the present rivers, and polished neoliths in the lower more recent river gravels.

Most of the high Plateau discoveries were surface finds. But Prestwich (1892, p.

251) noted that “from the deep staining of the implements, and their occasional incrustations with iron oxide, we have reason to believe that they have been imbedded in a deposit beneath the surface.” This is significant. If the implements were embedded beneath the surface of the now-vanished dome uplands for a long time before they were transported to the Plateau, that would indicate an indefinitely great age for them. In other words, they were at least Late Pliocene in age, and perhaps far older.

Some of the Plateau implements were found not on the surface but in situ deep within the preglacial Plateau drift gravels. This would tend to rule out the supposition that the implements were of fairly recent origin and had been dropped on the drift gravels by the later inhabitants of the Plateau region.

Prestwich (1892, p. 251) stated: “A fine specimen was found at South Ash in making a hole two feet deep for planting a tree, but as it was picked up on the thrownout soil, its exact position beneath the surface remains of course uncertain. It was the same with the one obtained in a post-hole at Kingsdown.

For two others we have, however, the personal testimony of Mr. Harrison. One he took out of a bank of the red-clay-with-flints on the side of a pond and at the

depth of two and a half feet, and the other from a bed of ‘deep red clay,’ two feet in depth, at the Vigo.”

In a footnote to the above passage, Prestwich (1892, p. 251) went on to say: “Mr.

Bullen has just had a trench dug on the top of Preston Hill. It was nearly five feet deep, through surface soil (one foot); and the red-clay-with-flints in which, at a depth of three feet ten inches from the surface, he found an unworn white flint—

apparently the broken point of a small implement.” As we have seen, Edmunds (1954, p. 56) characterized major portions of the clay-with-flints deposits as remainié beds of Tertiary age, some Pliocene, some even Eocene.

3.2.5 The Relative Antiquity of Eoliths and


Returning to the eoliths found on the surface of the Plateau, Prestwich (1892, p. 252) asked: “could these implements, like the neolithic implements which occur on the same ground, have been dropped on the surface where they are now found, at some later date?” Although most of the Neolithic implements were found in the lower river terraces, some did occur on the Plateau. Prestwich (1892, p. 252) went on to state, in response to his own question: “The answer to this is, that these neolithic implements show only weathering by exposure on the surface, and are found at all levels, whereas the plateau implements, besides their wear and colour, present all the physical characteristics due to having been imbedded in a special drift, and are confined to a special area. The two sorts, although found on the same ground, remain perfectly distinguishable.”

Prestwich (1892, p. 252) then gave an extensive answer to an objection raised by Sir John Evans: “Then again, is it not possible that similar rude specimens occur in the valley drifts, and have been overlooked owing to the prevalence of the better finished implements to which attention had been exclusively given.” If eoliths were found in connection with the paleoliths or neoliths in the valleys, that might weaken Prestwich’s argument for their great age, which was based on the fact that they tended to be found only in the very ancient Plateau drifts.

Prestwich (1892, p. 252) answered as follows: “A large number of rude and badly finished specimens have been collected in the valley drifts, but they all belong to one set of types, and though I have seen and handled many hundreds of these, I question whether, with the exception of the derived specimens [those

washed down from the Plateau] to be named presently, there were any like the ruder and most primitive of the plateau types. The distinction is as well marked as that between the ruder specimens of Roman pottery and rude early British pottery.” Prestwich (1892, p. 252) went on to state: “Boucher de Perthes collected everything in the Somme district, which showed any traces of workmanship, howsoever indistinct, or even of similitude, yet I do not remember that in his great collection there were specimens of the peculiar character of these plateau implements.” In other words, the evidence from the Somme region confirmed Prestwich’s hypothesis that the Kent Plateau eoliths were of a distinct type, different from superficially similar crude implements of later periods. In a footnote, Prestwich (1892, p. 252) added: “I do have one specimen given me by M. Boucher de Perthes, from near St. Riquier, five miles north-east of Abbeville, which may belong to this group. It is said to have been found at a depth of four metres [about 13 feet], and evidently comes from the red clay drift, which there caps, as it does here, the higher chalk hills. It is four inches long by one and half inches wide, rod-shaped, very roughly chipped all around and at ends, and has a white patina, to which some of the red clay as yet adheres.” This discovery would appear to be well worth looking into, and is representative of the intriguing items one comes across in old journal articles. It might represent a stone implement far older than the others discovered by Boucher de Perthes in the river gravels of the Somme valley at Abbeville, now dated to the Middle Pleistocene, about a half million years old.

After giving testimony about not finding specimens like the Plateau eoliths in Boucher des Perthes’s collection, Prestwich (1892, pp. 252–253) stated: “Nor had Mr. Harrison, during his rigorous examination of the Shode Valley, discovered any specimens in the valley drifts of the Ightham district to correspond with the group of plateau implements. At my request, he has reexamined several of these localities, as well as the large pit at Aylesford in the Medway Valley, and the pits at Milton Street (Swanscombe) in the Thames Valley, with this special object in view. He reports to me that he finds no contemporary specimens of the plateau type, and very few derived specimens of that type.”

Prestwich (1892, p. 268) then cited evidence from De Barri Crawshay, who stated: “I find that on examination of my collection of over 200 specimens of implements and scrapers from the 100 foot level around Swanscombe, Kent, I have but one . . . which is a plateau specimen undoubtedly derived. . . . I have always made specially careful search for all these ochreous flints in the low level

gravels, and have rarely found one at all.”

Derived specimens are those washed down from the Plateau and left in the lower level gravels. Prestwich (1892, p. 253) stated: “The derived plateau specimens are easily distinguished, by their greater wear, distinct colour, and peculiar shapes, from the implements contemporary with these valley drifts.”

The valley Paleolithic specimens were very extensively worked, with fine, regular chipping, and generally took the form of points meant, perhaps, to be used as spear heads. There were some crude, unfinished specimens among them, but they were obviously of the same type as the finished paleoliths, and not of the Plateau type (Prestwich 1892, p. 255).

About the Plateau eoliths, Prestwich (1892, p. 256) stated: “The trimming slight though it may be, is to be recognised by its being at angles or in places incompatible with river drift agencies, and such as could not have been produced by natural causes.” Prestwich admitted that some specimens resembling the more advanced valley paleoliths were found along with the Plateau eoliths, and stated (1892, p. 257): “It is not easy to account for the presence of these abnormal specimens. If contemporaneous with the others, we might assume that there were then some workmen more skilled than their neighbors in the fabrication of flint implements.” Working against this hypothesis, according to Prestwich, was the fact that the rude Eolithic specimens were heavily patinated and were very worn, whereas the finished Paleolithic specimens were unpatinated and had perfectly sharp edges. Prestwich surmised the latter might have been left on the Plateau by Paleolithic men in more recent times, long after the eoliths had been deposited. Prestwich (1892, p. 258) then made a very important observation: “Though the work on the plateau implements is often so slight as scarcely to be recognisable, even modern savage work, such as exhibited for example by the stone implements of the Australian natives, show, when divested of their mounting, an amount of work no greater or more distinct, than do these early palaeolithic specimens.” This implies that it is not necessary to attribute the Plateau eoliths to a primitive race of ape-men. Since the eoliths are practically identical to stone tools made by Homo sapiens sapiens, there is no reason to rule out, a priori, the possibility that the eoliths (and the paleoliths) may have been made by humans of the fully modern type in England during the Late Pliocene. As we shall demonstrate later on (Section 6.2), scientists of the nineteenth century made several discoveries of skeletal remains of anatomically modern human beings in strata of Pliocene age.

In the discussion that followed Prestwich’s presentation of his report, Sir John

Evans repeated his point that the presence in the Plateau drift gravels of paleoliths made it possible that eoliths were contemporary with them and thus more recent than Prestwich and Harrison believed (Prestwich 1892, p. 271).

Years later Harrison wrote in a letter, dated June 3, 1908, to W. M. Newton: “At the meeting of the Anthropological Institute in 1891, Dr. Evans closed his observations with the following sentence, ‘Before we accept these’ [the Eolithic implements] — l ooking at Prestwich —‘we must think twice,’—looking at me

— ‘we must think thrice, and’—looking round the whole meeting— ‘we must think again’” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 165).

Other members of the Anthropological Institute also commented. General Pitt-Rivers maintained that stones resembling the eoliths were to be found in all gravels, insinuating that eoliths were simply a product of purely natural forces (Prestwich 1892, p. 272). In support of Prestwich, J. Allen Brown reported that some flints from the upper terraces of the Thames River resembled the Ightham ones, and might be of the same age and origin (Prestwich 1892, p. 275). The journal of the Anthropological Institute recorded a summary of Prestwich’s concluding remarks: “In reply, Professor Prestwich said that he had looked forward to the possibility of there being some substantial objections to his views which might have escaped him. He had, however, heard nothing but an amplified repetition of the very same difficulties which had occurred to him, and had been discussed and explained in the paper” (Prestwich 1892, p. 275).

Careful study of the report bears out Prestwich’s statement. With regard to the doubts of General Pitt-Rivers, Prestwich had already demonstrated that the chipping on the eoliths was quite different from that produced by purely natural forces on river gravels. He had also offered explanations for the presence of both paleoliths and eoliths in the Plateau gravels, explaining that some of the paleoliths, which were sharp and unworn, had probably been introduced into the Plateau gravels at a much later period than the deeply stained and much worn eoliths.

Sir Edward R. Harrison (1928, p. 166) gave a summary of the three papers presented by Prestwich: “The first paper opened up the subject of Harrison’s discoveries by describing the palaeolithic implements found around Ightham in the post-glacial valley gravels, in the glacial high-level gravels, and in the very ancient, preglacial gravels of the high Chalk Plateau. . . . The second paper, on the drift stages of the Darent valley, added to the evidence contained in the Ightham paper. . . . The third paper was directed to the character of the rude implements, the nature of the chipping upon their edges, the classification of the

specimens in groups representing different kinds of tools, and the other reasons that existed for attributing them to the hand of man.” In light of Prestwich’s testimony, it is remarkable that most modern studies of stone implements generally do not mention Harrison’s eoliths, and those few that do give only brief, highly critical, and often sarcastic notices of dismissal.

3.2.6 A. R. Wallace Visits Harrison

On November 2, 1891, Alfred Russell Wallace, who was at that time one of the world’s most famous scientists, paid an unannounced visit to Benjamin Harrison at his grocery shop in Ightham. Harrison recorded the incident in his notebooks: “Dr. A. R. Wallace, accompanied by Mr. Swinton of Sevenoaks, dropped in unexpectedly at 10.30. I had previously purchased Dr. Wallace’s Travels on the Amazon, and from his portrait, which forms the frontispiece to this work, I recognized him before he entered my shop. I therefore greeted him with ‘Dr. Wallace, I presume,’ a recognition which puzzled him until I explained that I had many times studied his portrait. This evidently pleased him. A long and patient examination was made of the old types of implement and of some later paleoliths” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 169). Harrison then took Wallace on a walking tour of the sites where the implements had been found.

Harrison also noted: “When I was showing him my rude implements and placing them in groups, he asked, ‘Was it not a pleasure to you to find such agreement in form and work when first you became certain of them?’ I answered that it was a supreme time. . . . Our conversation turned to the subject of the new and startling find of implements in the auriferous gravels of North America, startling in the fact that although their positions indicated a high antiquity, yet their forms were similar to those of implements in use by the Indians at the time of the discovery of the continent in the fifteenth century” (E. Harrison 1928, pp. 169–170). The stone implements from the auriferous, or gold bearing, gravels were of Neolithic type (Section 5.5). As we shall show, they provided evidence for the presence of humans of the modern type in the very early Pliocene, or perhaps even as far back as the Eocene.

The day following his visit to Ightham, Wallace wrote in a letter to Harrison: “I was very greatly interested in your collection of the oldest paleoliths. Could you not write a popular article giving an account of your discovery of them, with all the main features of their form and peculiarities, and the special areas in which they are found, illustrated by outline sketches of all the chief types of form, and

laying particular stress on the fact that each of these types, however made, is illustrated by numbers of specimens showing how natural flint pebbles of suitable form have been selected, and by being chipped on one side only, have been brought to the required shape and edge? If you could write as you speak, I think such a paper would be published by one of the good reviews” ( E. Harrison 1928, p. 171). Harrison did not write such an article immediately, but, according to Sir Edward Harrison, in 1904 he published a pamphlet along the lines suggested by Wallace.

On March 14, 1892, the noted Scottish geologist Sir Archibald Geikie wrote to Benjamin Harrison about the paper presented by Prestwich at the Anthropological Institute: “I was delighted to receive a copy of Mr. Prestwich’s paper [on eoliths] a few days ago, and to read his account of your very successful investigations. It is a strange tale which these implements tell, and you may be congratulated on the successful result of your long and laborious, but, no doubt, very interesting quest. Yes, paleolithic man is old. . . . I am at present preparing a work the object of which is to show the results of glacial and archaeological researches into the antiquity of man which have been obtained up to the present time.

The more one investigates the question, the further into the past does paleolithic man seem to recede” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 175).

3.2.7 More Objections

Worthington G. Smith, repeating a common objection, wrote to Harrison on March 26, 1892: “It appears to me that the importance of your discovery of implements rests on your lighting on genuine undoubted examples on the high levels. I don’t attach much importance myself to the dubious and disputed forms

[the eoliths], because such forms occur with genuine implements in all paleolithic gravels. The very rudest forms can never mean anything, unless such forms are exclusive, and pertain only to certain deposits” (E. Harrison 1928, p.

175). Here Smith appears to have ignored all the evidence amassed by Prestwich for the greater antiquity of the Plateau eoliths, even when found in association with more advanced Paleolithic types. Among other things, Prestwich repeatedly emphasized that the eoliths, and some of the paleoliths, are very much worn and patinated whereas other paleoliths and neoliths retain the original color of the flint and have sharp edges.

All that aside, however, it appears that Harrison did find locations in which the

eoliths occur by themselves. Sir Edward R. Harrison (1928, p. 176) has stated of the eoliths: “Harrison was influenced principally by their rude character, and he thought it likely that they were, for that reason, the tools of a race older than paleolithic man. Subsequently, when excavations had been made in the drifts, he found confirmation of his views in the fact that whilst certain drifts produced occasional paleoliths in apparent association with rude implements, there was also on Parsonage Farm and elsewhere, an older drift or ‘buried channel’ which, in his experience, contained rude implements alone.”

Of course, the fact that the eoliths are sometimes found by themselves had already been reported by Prestwich. All this reveals much about scientific discussion concerning anomalous evidence. Scientists whose preconceptions dispose them to reject certain evidence often tend to repeat their objections even after they have been met with apparently adequate responses, as if the response had never been made. Doctrinaire scientists also set conditions they believe should be met, even when such conditions have already been met. All of this makes for an Alice-in-Wonderland type of discourse: “My dear sir, I have found crudely chipped stone tools alone.” “Well sir, I really think you should find these chipped stone tools alone.” “But I have sir.” “Then you very well should do so, or I shall never believe you.” Or: “Dear sir, let me demonstrate how this set of stone tools is older than this other set.” “Very well, but I really think you should now demonstrate that this set of tools is older than the other set.” “But I already have.” “Yes, but you should do it, and until you do so, I shall never believe you.”

Sir John B. Evans provides a good example of this kind of interchange. Evans wrote to Harrison on October 29, 1892: “A certain number of flints, such, for instance, as several from Ash, are to my mind undoubtedly fashioned by man; there are others which probably have been worked, and others again which possibly have had their edges retouched. The great majority, however, seem to me to have assumed their present forms by natural agency. . . . When the more perfect implements are found with these ruder forms, there is no reason for regarding them as otherwise than contemporary . . . everyone will accept the ordinary forms of paleolithic implements as having been found at the high levels, and I am doubtful as to the desirability of complicating the question with a second race of men and a set of implements of extremely questionable character” (E. Harrison

1928, p. 184). Here Evans admitted that some of the rude implements display signs of human work. If he admitted that some, however few, were the result of human work, this conclusion was not nullified by the fact that the “great

majority” appeared to have been the result of natural action. As for the relative ages of the eoliths and the paleoliths, he appears to have either missed or deliberately ignored all the evidence suggesting that the Eolithic implements could have been more ancient.

A troubled Harrison wrote to Prestwich, who replied on November 15, 1892: “No explanation necessary. Your collection stands on its merits.

Differences of opinion there will always be. All you have to say is that Sir John Evans accepts some specimens and rejects others. Let everyone judge for himself ” ( E. Harrison 1928, p. 185).

Despite the continuing controversy, the British Museum still thought enough of the eoliths to purchase, in 1893, a set of representative specimens ( E. Harrison 1928, p. 186 ). Harrison, meanwhile, continued his investigations, with the special intention of proving that the eoliths occurred not in all gravels, as some critics asserted, but only in special locations, in the very old Pliocene drift. In many gravel deposits around Ightham, Harrison noted the complete absence of any stones resembling his Eolithic implements. For example, Harrison’s notebook entry for September 3, 1893 read: “To Fane Hill—a long search, but not a single specimen of old old work.” Sir Edward R. Harrison (1928, p. 188) stated: “This negative evidence confirmed Harrison in his opinion that the eoliths had been artificially chipped. Had they been merely the work of natural forces it was to be expected that they would be found in large numbers in all flint-bearing gravels alike.”

For years, Harrison’s eoliths continued to be a topic of serious discussion in scientific societies, including the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Sir Edward R. Harrison (1928, p. 192) wrote: “A. M. Bell championed the cause of the rude implements at the meeting of the British Association at Edinburgh in 1892. It fell to Professor T. Rupert Jones to undertake a like service in 1894, when the meeting was held at Oxford.” The 1894 meeting was, according to A. M. Bell, who wrote to Harrison on August 10, 1894, “not a triumph . . . not a defeat, but leaves things much as they were” ( E. Harrison 1928, p. 193).

3.2.8 The British Association Sponsors


In order to resolve the controversy over the age of the eoliths, the British Association, a prestigious scientific society, financed excavations in the high-

level Plateau drift and other localities in close proximity to Ightham (E. Harrison 1928, p. 194). The purpose was to show definitively that eoliths were to be found not only on the surface but in situ, deep within the Pliocene preglacial gravels. Alfred R. Wallace had also expressed a desire for such proof, having written to Harrison on November 8, 1893: “I suppose you have not found any of your old flints yet, in situ by digging, or in the undisturbed gravel at some distance below the surface. When you do that you will have more converts” (E.

Harrison 1928, p. 189). It would appear that Harrison had already found some eoliths in situ (such as the ones from the post holes dug near Vigo Inn, see Section 3.2.4), but this excavation, financed by the respected British Association, would be more conclusive.

It should be noted that many accepted flint industries were initially discovered on the surface. For example, John Gowlett (1984, p. 72) described the finds at Olorgesailie, in Kenya: “Hand axes were found weathering out on the surface by Louis and Mary Leakey, and it soon became evident that this was one of the major Middle Pleistocene localities of East Africa.” Today there is an open-air museum at Olorgesailie, where visitors may walk on catwalks above a land surface covered with stone implements. A similar situation is found at Kilombe in the Kenya rift valley. Gowlett (1984, p. 68) stated: “Kilombe is a massive Acheulean site in Kenya. Artifacts on this site were first noticed in 1972 by geologist Dr. W. B. Jones as an extensive scatter on the surface, evidently weathered out from nearby Pleistocene beds.” Describing the Kilombe hand axes, which were made from flakes of stone, Gowlett (1984, p. 70) stated:

“many of these large flakes were only gently retrimmed in the final shaping and the original form is quite apparent.” The Kilombe flake implements, with only slight human modification, conform to the description of eoliths. At both Kilombe and Olorgesailie, stone implements were later found in situ. The same was true of the sites on the Kent Plateau.

The British Association selected Harrison himself to supervise the Plateau excavations, under the direction of a committee of scientists. Harrison recorded in his notebooks that he found many examples of eoliths in situ, including “thirty convincers” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 189).

3.2.9 The Royal Society Exhibition

In 1895, the same year that the Geological Society of London awarded

him part of the Lyell Fund (E. Harrison 1928, p. 196), Harrison was invited to exhibit his eoliths at a meeting of the Royal Society. He was quite pleased to have the chance to show his specimens to this scientific elite (E. Harrison 1928, p. 197). Sir Edward Harrison (1928, p. 197) stated: “This was an opportunity not to be missed, and he informed Prestwich of his intention to send for exhibition the specimens found in situ in the excavation in the drift at Parsonage Farm.

Prestwich did not dissent from this proposal, but he advised the exhibition also of carefully selected surface specimens, arranged in groups. Harrison followed this counsel in the main, but he included too large a proportion of specimens from the pit, and amongst them specimens which did not impress those who saw them so much as he had hoped.”

Some scientists, however, were quite impressed, among them E. T. Newton, a Fellow of the Royal Society and paleontologist of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, who wrote to Harrison on December 24, 1895: “I hope you will not mind your specimens remaining with me until after the Christmas holidays. I feel satisfied that most of them, to say the least, show human work, and some of these are definitely from one of the pits. . . . Some of the specimens I should be very doubtful about, but there are others that I cannot bring myself to believe are accidental; they have been done intentionally, and, therefore, by the only intellectual being we know of, Man” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 202). Here we have an example of a qualified scientist fully accepting as genuine human artifacts some of the eoliths excavated from the Pliocene Plateau drifts. Modern authorities, who have never examined the specimens in question, might thus be cautious of prematurely dismissing them.

3.2.10 The Problem of Forgery

Of course, recognizing intentional human work is always beset with many difficulties, and in his notebooks Harrison mentioned one of the most vexing—forgery. On March 26, 1896, Harrison was visited by William Cunnington, a Fellow of the Geological Society. Harrison wrote: “He was well acquainted with Flint Jack, the notorious forger of flint implements. Flint Jack’s first appearance was characteristic. He entered Mr. Cunnington’s office, and, taking from his pocket some flints wrapped in paper, said, ‘I hear you buy flint arrowheads.’ ‘You are Flint Jack.’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘I am, and as I was passing I thought you would like to see some arrowheads made!’ On one occasion Mr.

Cunnington set him up in life and gave him decent clothing, hoping to reform

him, but in vain. Mr. Cunnington sent him to Farmingham to get some fossils.

On his return he produced a stone which he said he had bought for a shilling from a shepherd. Recognizing at once that the stone was a forgery, Mr.

Cunnington accused him of making it, and refused to have anything more to do with him. The forged implement was made of sandstone. Flint Jack had shaped it with a pick, and had afterwards rubbed it over with earth to disguise its new appearance” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 205).

Harrison was not without his own experience of forgers. In his notebook entry for May 29, 1894, he stated that Smith, an Ightham laborer, had told him: “When Seldon and I were working on the railway he said to me, ‘I wonder whether we shall find any flints for Mr. Harrison.’ We did not find any of the right sort, not your sort, you know. He said, ‘Here’s a big ’un. I’ll take him home and hammer him up a bit, file him, and make him look like one of the right sort.’ When he brought it to you, he thought you would not know it, but would think it was one of the right sort. He asked you if it was one of the right sort, and you said, ‘This is one of your own make, Seldon.’ Seldon said, ‘I thought he would not know, but I was too tricky, he know’d it. Its no use taking home-made ones to him, he knows too much. But he give me some tobacco for being tricky’” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 195). It should, however, be noted that it is not only laborers who are responsible for forgery. As we shall see, in the case of Piltdown man the finger of guilt points in the direction of the scientists themselves.

3.2.11 “The Greater Antiquity of Man”

In 1895, Sir John Prestwich published in Nineteenth Century, a popular magazine directed at the intelligent public, a review of the Ightham implements titled “The Greater Antiquity of Man.” Since it gives, in layman’s terms, an excellent summary of the scientific issues involved in the eolith question, we shall here reproduce some sections of the article.

Prestwich (1895, p. 621) first described the Kent Plateau, as it existed in the Pliocene epoch: “It then, was a high level plain of chalk covered by argillaceous

[clayey] and drift beds, which thus became furrowed by the escaping rainfall; and as the furrows gradually deepened they ended in the formation of the existing chalk valleys. It will, therefore, be seen that these valleys must be newer than the hills through which they are cut, and consequently that the beds of sand and gravel, with the remains of extinct mammalia, together with the flint implements of Palaeolithic man, found in these valleys, must also be newer than

the drift scattered on the summit of those hills.”

It was in the Plateau drift that the eoliths were to be found. Prestwich distinguished them from Paleolithic implements. Paleolithic implements were very elaborately worked into recognizable tool and weapon forms. Describing the much more crudely fashioned eoliths, Prestwich (1895, p. 622) wrote: “Other scrapers have been formed out of split Tertiary flint-pebbles, sometimes split naturally, and at other times artificially. The edges are trimmed generally all round, so as to act as a rough scraper in whatsoever position the pebble may best be held. At the present day a similar practice prevails among some North American Indians, who, whenever in want of a scraper, select a pebble, which they split and then trim the edges. They rarely keep the old scraper, fresh ones being so easily obtained. This tool is called a pashoa, or scraper, and is used by the Shoshone Indians to dress skins.”

Prestwich then pointed out that these rude Eolithic implements from the Pliocene Plateau drifts had features that distinguished them from rude implements that might be found in more recent deposits. “But says one critic, rudeness of form is no test of age, and leaves it to be inferred that these specimens are no older than other rude forms of later ages. Who of the advocates of the plateau implements ever said that it was? I know of none. We particularly remarked in 1892 that rudeness of form alone was no proof of antiquity, and that there were plenty of very rude specimens of the valley types. We would again emphasise the fact that there are rude implements not only of the valley gravels, but also of neolithic times, whilst among the stone implements of living savages there are many as rude as those of the plateau group” (Prestwich

1895, p. 624).

Prestwich (1895, p. 624) went on to say: “Each epoch had, however, its typical forms, and these are broadly persistent, howsoever rude the specimens may be.

In the neolithic period axe and chisel shapes predominate; in the valley gravels the long pointed and spatula-shaped implements are characteristic of the period; and in the plateau group various forms for scraping and hammering prevail.

There are, no doubt, pointed forms in the plateau group, but they have a different cachet from those of the valley group, as these again differ from those of the subsequent Stone period. There are, besides, certain generalised forms which persist throughout all the periods, though perhaps varying a little in some minor details. Simple flakes likewise, more or less worked, are found in all three periods.”

Prestwich then pointed out that many Eolithic implements had been found not on

the surface but in excavations into the drift deposits. Of these drift deposits on the Plateau, Prestwich (1895, p. 624) stated: “The drift on that surface is certainly not of local origin, as is shown by the presence in it of fragments of strata derived from the hills some miles distant to the south.” As previously noted, the drift could only have arrived in its present position on the Plateau before the chalk valleys, which now intervene between the Plateau and the southern hills, were excavated.

Answering the charge that the eoliths were perhaps naturefacts rather than artifacts, Prestwich (1895, p. 625) stated: “It has also been frequently asserted that these implements are natural forms produced by the friction of the shingle on the shore or in the beds of rivers. Challenged to show any such natural specimens, those who have made the assertion have been unable, although nearly three years have elapsed since the challenge was given, to bring forward a single such specimen. If, moreover, implements were formed in that manner, they should be found in gravel beds of all ages and origins. So far from running water having this constructive power, the tendency of it is to wear off all angles, and reduce the flint to a more or less rounded pebble.”

So here one of Britain’s foremost geologists, a Fellow of the Geological Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Society, made quite a coherent case for the human origin and Pliocene date of the Eolithic implements collected by Benjamin Harrison. He answered in a convincing manner all possible objections to his interpretation. Of course, some scientists maintained their opposition, as might be expected of persons with strongly held beliefs. Nevertheless, we must still wonder why, as far as modern paleoanthropology is concerned, the Plateau eoliths have completely disappeared from view. Apparently there is no place in the modern views on human origins for toolmaking hominids in England at least 2–4 million years ago in the Pliocene period.

3.2.12 On the Treatment of Anomalous Evidence

In 1896, Prestwich died, but Harrison, in his prominent patron’s absence, continued with the Plateau excavations and answered the doubters. On May 18, 1898, Harrison wrote to W. J. Lewis Abbott, reproducing in his letter a poem called “That Chocolate Stone,” written by his son ( E. Harrison 1928, p. 219): If only that chocolate stone could explain what the dickens it did in the past,

That those sages might cease from exciting the brain, and the hatchet be

buried at last,

Whether eolith, neolith, nature, or man, could they but of that question dispose, Why, those eminent men might relinquish the pen—till a new controversy arose.

This verse, light and humorous though it may be, strikes at the very heart of an important epistemological consideration. In the absence of direct knowledge of the past, any discussion of paleoanthropological evidence, which is always somewhat ambiguous, is certain to involve controversy, because of the differing preconceptions and methods of analysis of the participants in the debate. Empiricism thus becomes inextricably entangled with speculative modes of thought and deeply held emotional biases and prejudices. In most cases, the speculation and bias are carefully masked with a thin veneer of fact. But as imperfect as this process may be, it is, for scientists, the only one that can be applied; therefore, one can at least insist on consistent application of principles and close reasoning from the observed facts. This granted, the case made by Prestwich and Harrison held up quite well against the arguments thrown by their opponents, who simply seemed to be searching for ways to reject something they were a priori not prepared to accept.

An interesting example of this may be found in G. Worthington Smith’s continued opposition to Harrison’s eoliths. On March 22, 1899, Benjamin Harrison wrote in a letter to Sir Edward R. Harrison (1928, p. 224): “After I became acquainted with Mr. Worthington Smith in 1878, he from time to time sent me interesting trifles, which were duly marked and placed in a drawer. In going through this lot yesterday, I came upon some interesting rude specimens from Basuto Land. These are about as rude as can be, and are facsimiles of those now found in Bushmen’s caves in Central Africa. They feature [resemble] my rude implements. Strange that Smith classes all my Plateau finds [eoliths] as cretins, make-beliefs, casuals, travesties—anything but human made. And yet, as long ago as 1880, he sent me those then-acknowledged stones, as if to encourage me to look for similar specimens. When I find them, he scouts [rejects] them!”

Here we have an apparent instance of inconsistent application of principles on the part of Smith.

Harrison wrote to Smith about this, who replied, in a somewhat humorous tone, on March 23, 1899, that although he vaguely recalled perhaps having sent some flakes and stones, he failed to see what bearing they had on the present question:

“I don’t quite see what . . . modern flakes have to do with high-level

implements.” Smith then stated that he himself had found stones resembling eoliths but never took them home. He then concluded his letter to Harrison with more humor: “Now I hope you are quite well and blessed with a happy and peaceful mind, without preglacial nightmares . . . and palaeolithic tailless apes”

(E. Harrison 1928, pp. 224–225). The not so subtle ridicule of the very idea of Homo sapiens existing in the Tertiary is typical of the unscientific methods used by scientists to dismiss evidence that falls outside their particular circle of comprehension. Smith’s admission that he himself had deliberately avoided collecting specimens of eoliths is also somewhat damaging to the notion of evenhanded scientific treatment of controversial questions. It often happens that anomalous evidence is ignored. Smith’s statement that he failed to see any connection between modern flakes and ancient ones is also quite curious, for such comparative studies of lithic technologies were, and presently are, recognized as an appropriate method for evaluating intentional human work on stone objects.

Smith once wrote to Harrison, who had asked him to consider certain points bearing on the eolith question: “As for answering questions and giving opinions about dubious subjects, it is not always easy, and silence, philosophic doubt, or no settled convictions are better, especially in face of a high priest like you. It is like a Salvation Army captain full of zeal, coming here and asking me about Noah and his ark, Balaam and his ass, and Jonah and his whale. The better plan, according to my view, is to bolt and say nothing” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 187).

When one considers the support given to Harrison’s discoveries by reputable scientists such as Sir John Prestwich, Smith’s characterization of Harrison seems a bit unfair. As we shall see, the put-offs and put-downs from Smith’s repertoire are, for a good many scientists, still the favored methods for dealing with evidence that has uncomfortable implications for established views on human evolution. They avoid acknowledging anomalous evidence, never discuss it on its merits, and if pressed, simply ridicule it and those who support it.

3.2.13 More Honors for Harrison

As time passed, however, Harrison continued to receive more honors and his eoliths more attention. In 1899, upon recommendation by Prime Minister Balfour, Queen Victoria awarded him a prestigious Civil List pension “in consideration of your researches on the subject of prehistoric flint implements”

(E. Harrison 1928, p. 230). The Royal Society also granted him an annuity. That

same year, T. Rupert Jones made a presentation about eoliths at the British Association meeting in Dover, exhibiting some small implements that attracted much attention (E. Harrison 1928, p. 231). In August of 1900, Arthur Smith Woodward of the British Museum and Professor Packard of Brown University paid Harrison a visit. Packard accepted all of Harrison’s finds as genuine and Woodward agreed that the Plateau drift in which the eoliths were found was probably Pliocene in age (E. Harrison 1928, p. 237). On August 21, 1900, Harrison received a letter from Dr. H. P. Blackmore, who stated that he accepted the eoliths because of “the fairly uniform heights of deposits in which eoliths are found: differing greatly in age of deposit from the more recent river drift or paleolithic gravels” (E. Harrison 1928, pp. 237–238). In 1902, at the British Association meeting in Belfast, W. J. Knowles and F. J. Bennett came out in favor of the eoliths, while Boyd Dawkins was opposed. Some of Harrison’s eoliths were placed on exhibition in the British Museum.

Ray E. Lankester, who was a director of the British Museum (Natural History), became a supporter of Harrison’s Kent Plateau eoliths. On April 15, 1904, Lankester wrote to Harrison: “Good health and happiness to you— courageous and indomitable discoverer of pre-paleolithic man” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 271).

Sir Edward R. Harrison stated: “Professor Ray Lankester, who expressed publicly his belief that the eoliths were artificial, and in the Romanes lecture in Oxford, in 1905, declared that they carried ‘the antiquity of man at least as far back beyond the paleoliths as these are from the present day’, desired to emphasize the value, as evidence of purpose, of similarity of shape of certain eoliths, and wrote to Harrison for specimens to illustrate a book that he had in course of preparation. He was impressed by the large number of implements with a ‘tooth-like prominence rendering the flint fit for use as a “borer”’ and also by a group he called trinacrial, from their resemblance in shape to the island of Sicily” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 270). In his presidential address to the British Association in 1906, Lankester affirmed his belief in “the human authorship” of Harrison’s eoliths (E. Harrison

1928, p. 270).

As time passed, Benjamin Harrison continued to win more and more converts.

Sir Edward R. Harrison (1928, pp. 287–288) wrote: “A visit from Professor Max Verworn of Göttingen, who had come to England in connexion with the centenary of Charles Darwin’s birth, gave Harrison great pleasure. Professor Verworn, who stated that he did not at first believe in eoliths or in any of the supposed evidence of Tertiary man, but had modified his views after personal

investigation of the Miocene deposits of the Cantal [Section 4.3.3], spent five days at Ightham. The fullest use was made of the time available, both in Harrison’s museum and in the field. Professor Verworn found an interesting old paleolith in situ in the Plateau gravel at the Vigo, an implement that from its position near the crest of the Chalk escarpment, and its rolled condition, could only have come from the vanished Wealden hills. . . . Harrison could not have wished for a more striking discovery to have been made by his visitor in order to satisfy him of the great antiquity of man in Kent.” If Sir Edward Harrison is using the word paleolith in its then accepted sense, we have here an account of an implement more technically advanced than the Eolithic type being found in the very old gravels of the Plateau, and having the worn appearance of implements belonging to those gravels. This gives added support to the possibility that humans of the modern type may have existed in later Tertiary times in England, perhaps 2– 4 million years ago.

On July 25, 1909, Professor Verworn wrote to Harrison from Göttingen: “If up to then I had the slightest doubt of the artificial nature of the eoliths of Kent, my visit on the spot and your splendid collection would have quite converted me”

(E. Harrison 1928, p. 288).

3.2.14 More Opposition

The controversy over the eoliths continued well into the twentieth century. On April 28, 1911, Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbock) wrote to Harrison:

“I am satisfied that many, if not most of your eoliths are worked, though the numbers are staggering. I am not satisfied, however, that palaeolithic implements are in all cases younger” (E. Harrison 1928, pp. 294–295). In his last edition of his book Prehistoric Times, Lord Avebury fully accepted the eoliths of Harrison, as well as the implements of J. Reid Moir, which we shall discuss in the next section of this chapter ( E. Harrison 1928, p. 305). The opposition, however, continued to criticize the eoliths. In 1911, F. N. Haward published a paper purporting to show that natural forces were able to chip flints in a way that gives the impression of human work. We shall discuss Haward’s objections in connection with the flint implements of J. Reid Moir.

At this point, one may question the necessity of giving such a detailed treatment of the Harrison eoliths. There are several good reasons for doing so. The authors have discovered that modern students of paleoanthropology are generally not at all acquainted with many nineteenth-century discoveries demonstrating the

presence of humans of the modern type in Tertiary times. And when these discoveries are brought to the attention of modern students, they tend to categorize them as “crackpot” or “oddball” cases that somehow gained some public notoriety and were quickly dismissed when brought to the attention of scientific authorities. We have also noted a strong prejudice against anomalous evidence that is “old.” Old accepted evidence is honored— for example, Java man, highlighted in all modern textbooks, was a nineteenth-century discovery.

But the less familiar nineteenth-century evidence, which goes against the theories presented in modern textbooks, is tainted with suspicion, more so if one has never even heard of it before. In such cases, one often encounters in modern students a very strong assumption that if one has not even heard of some anomalous evidence, then it must have been completely rejected on purely scientific grounds long ago. One reason for presenting a detailed account of anomalous evidence is to show that it was not always of a marginal, crackpot nature. Rather anomalous evidence was quite often the center of serious, longstanding controversy within the very heart of elite scientific circles, with advocates holding scientific credentials and positions just as prestigious as those of the opponents. By presenting detailed accounts of the interplay of conflicting opinion, we hope to give the reader a chance to answer for himself or herself the crucial question—was the evidence actually rejected on purely scientific grounds, or was it dropped from consideration and forgotten simply because it did not lie within the parameters of certain circumscribed theories?

In his book Ancient Hunters and their Modern Representatives, W. J. Sollas of Oxford rejected Harrison’s finds ( E. Harrison 1928, p. 298 ). In response, Harrison sent him an eolith. On February 1, 1912, Sollas wrote to Harrison: “The specimen you send for my inspection is one of the most interesting of your finds that I have seen. I read its history as follows: (1) Natural agencies detached it as an irregular flake from a flint nodule. . . . (2) It lay in the bed of a stream with the rough side uppermost and was battered on the exposed surface by pebbles, which have left percussion cones as their mark. . . . (3) Still later, it was chipped in a remarkable manner over a portion of its margin” ( E. Harrison 1928, p. 298

). Here Sollas attributed a remarkable sequence of manufacturing steps to purely natural forces. The end result was a sharp-edged flint implement, something not usually to be expected from the movement of stones in a stream, the random battering of which, as modern authorities point out and anyone can see, tends to produced rounded pebbles.

Sollas then observed: “It is the chipping which is of especial interest to both of

us. Two explanations may be given: (1) That the chipping is the result of superincumbent pressure acting upon a yielding substratum. In favour of this it may be pointed out that the chipping is confined to the margin, which we might judge from the general shape of the stone to have thinned off a blunt edge. (2) That the chipping was done by man. In favour of this is the fact that over one part of the specimen the chipping is such as to remove all sharp edges, as if it had been intended for a comfortable hold for the hand . . . while on the opposite side the chipping has produced a projecting point which would be very effective if the flint were used as a weapon for striking a blow. In fact this flint would make a splendid ‘knuckle duster.’ I should not wonder if this was its true nature.

But I should not like to commit myself to the assertion that it was” (E. Harrison 1928, pp. 298–299). One wonders why he should not like to commit himself.

The points raised here by Sollas himself seem to run very much in favor of the hypothesis that the stone object was of human manufacture.

Sollas then stated (E. Harrison 1928, p. 299): “Granting that it was, however, what does it prove? The patina of the latest chipping is not deep, it looks to my eyes remarkably fresh, and, since palaeolithic implements are found in your deposits, what evidence have you to show that this was not also palaeolithic?”

Here the same old question, to which Prestwich long ago had given a detailed and convincing scientific response, came up again. To repeat Prestwich’s basic points, the Eolithic implements, being quite well worn, were distinctly different in appearance from the paleoliths; furthermore, they were sometimes found by themselves in specific deposits. Despite his doubts, Sollas did, however, request more samples for the Oxford museum and Harrison sent six.

At the beginning of the First World War, the British Army, perhaps fearing a German invasion, dug trenches on the hills around Ightham, creating more exposures of gravel for Benjamin Harrison to search. Sir Edward R. Harrison (1928, p. 317) wrote that one of the local flint hunters trained by Benjamin Harrison “joined up at the outbreak of war in 1914, was stationed in the Somme valley, found a palaeolith when digging a trench, carried it with him ‘over the top’, and finally brought it safely to Ightham, and to Harrison, when he came home on leave.”

Harrison died in 1921, and his body was buried on the grounds of the parish church, St. Peter’s, in Ightham. On his gravestone one finds the words: “He found in life, ‘books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything’” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 331). A memorial tablet, set in the north wall of St. Peter’s on July 10, 1926, bears this inscription: “IN MEMORIAM.—

Benjamin Harrison of Ightham, 1837–1921, the village grocer and archaeologist whose discoveries of eolithic flint implements around Ightham opened a fruitful field of scientific investigation into the greater antiquity of man. A man of great mind and of kindly disposition” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 332). Factually speaking, however, the “fruitful field of scientific investigation into the greater antiquity of man” opened by the eoliths of the Kent Plateau was buried along with Harrison.

3.3 Discoveries by J. Reid Moir in East Anglia

Our journey of exploration now takes us to the southeast coast of England and the discoveries of J. Reid Moir. Starting in 1909, Moir found flint implements in and beneath the Red and Coralline Crags of East Anglia (Suffolk).

We shall first give an overview of Moir’s discoveries and then discuss in detail the scientific controversies they sparked, concluding with a survey of recent opinion.

3.3.1 Moir and Harrison

J. Reid Moir, a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and president of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia, was acquainted with Benjamin Harrison’s eoliths. Moir (1927, p. 17) believed the gravels on the Kent Plateau, from which Harrison had recovered his eoliths, were the remnants of an old Tertiary land surface, perhaps as old as the Eocene. But, as we have seen, some authorities would assign the gravels of the Kent Plateau to the Pliocene (Sections 3.2.2,

3.2.4). Moir wrote: “It is probable that these flints were shaped by a race of apelike people who lived on a land surface which existed at one time over what is now the Weald of Kent, which was then enjoying a tropical climate. . . . They were probably small, squat men, with very apelike skulls and projecting jaws, and in many ways more like animals than men” (1927, pp. 17–18, 19).

Moir was an evolutionist. He believed that the degree of primitiveness shown by a very old stone tool industry was indicative of the correspondingly primitive physiological character of the toolmaker. But even today tribal people, physiologically identical to MIT computer scientists, make implements just like the crudest ever found in ancient strata. Furthermore, skeletal remains of fully human character have been found in strata dating back to the Pliocene and even further (Sections 6.2, 6.3). It is therefore possible that the eoliths discovered by Harrison were made by human beings of the type Homo sapiens sapiens.

Harrison found many eoliths during excavations sponsored by the British Association for the Advancement of Science. But he found most on the surface and although geologist Sir John Prestwich argued strongly for their Tertiary age, stubborn critics remained doubtful. The geological position of Moir’s finds was more secure, for most of them were found in situ, deep below the land surface in various locations in East Anglia.

3.3.2 The Age of the Crag Formations

The Red Crag formation (Table 2.1, p. 78), in which Moir made some of his most significant discoveries, is composed of the shelly sands of a sea that once washed the shores of East Anglia. At some places beneath the Red Crag is found a similar formation called the Coralline Crag. Some authorities have placed the Red Crag wholly within the Early Pleistocene. For example, J. M.

Coles (1968, p. 19) proposed that the boundary between the Red and Coralline Crags represents the boundary between the Pleistocene and the Pliocene. Others have said that the Red Crag spans the Pleistocene-Pliocene boundary. W. H.

Zaguin (1974), for example, placed the lower part of the Red Crag in the Pliocene (Nilsson 1983, p. 108). And still others, such as A. S. Romer (1966, p.

334), put the Red Crag entirely within the Pliocene. Claude Klein (1973, table 6) also placed the Red Crag in the Pliocene and gave it a date of 2.5– 4.0 million years.

Tage Nilsson (1983) called attention to potassium-argon dates for Icelandic formations that some experts correlate with those of East Anglia. Nilsson (1983, p. 106) stated: “If the correlation of the uppermost Tjörnes Beds with the Butley Red Crag is justified, this would imply a probable age of 2.5–3.0 million years for the youngest Red Crag in Britain.” According to Nilsson, this view is supported by paleomagnetic data, which suggest a date of over 2.5 million years for the Red Crag. Paleomagnetic dating relies on the fact that the magnetic field of the earth periodically reverses. Signs of this can be detected in various formations, which are thus labeled normal and reversed in terms of their magnetic polarity. Nilsson (1983, p. 106) stated: “the Red Crag in East Anglia is normally magnetized and probably referable to the later part of the Gauss Normal Epoch, and [is] thus more than 2.5 million years old.”

After studying the range of geological opinion, we have arrived at a conservative age estimate of at least 2.0–2.5 million years for the Red Crag. The range of dates assigned to the Red Crag raises an important question. The conventionally

accepted evidence for human evolution comes from sites representing only the last 2 or 3 million years of the earth’s history. Much depends upon being able to arrange fossils from these sites in an accurate temporal sequence. But if the quantitative age determinations of fairly recent formations can vary by hundreds of thousands of years, or even a million or more years, then the integrity of proposed evolutionary sequences, at least insofar as they are founded on stratigraphic evidence, becomes problematic.

Below the Crags of East Anglia are found detritus beds, sometimes called bone beds, composed of a mixture of loose materials—sands, gravels, shells, and bones derived from a variety of older formations. According to Moir, the detritus beds also contain stone implements.

It is certain that these stone implements are older than the Late Pliocene Red Crag. But how much older they actually are depends upon how one interprets the detritus bed below the Red Crag. J. Reid Moir (1924, pp. 642–643) wrote: “The sub-Red Crag detritus bed, which is sometimes as much as three feet in thickness, is, as its name implies, composed of materials of different periods occurring prior to the time when the deposit was laid down. Sir Ray Lankester has shown that these varying materials have been derived from the following sources:—(a) the chalk, [Cretaceous] (b) the London Clay [Eocene], (c) a Miocene land surface, (d) a marine Pliocene deposit (the Diestian Sand), (e) the earlier sweepings of a land surface which submerged after the Diestian deposit, and (f) later sweepings of the same land surface. It will thus be seen that the flint implements, now to be described, that were found in the detritus bed, may be referable to any of the periods represented by c, e, or f of the above list. We have no reason to think that at the epochs when the chalk and the London Clay were being laid down, man was present upon this planet, nor can he well be associated with the marine accumulation (d).”

Modern authorities give similar accounts of the detritus bed below the Red Crag.

Tage Nilsson (1983, p. 105) stated: “At the bottom of the Red Crag deposits there is often a stony layer, constituting a kind of basal conglomerate, the Red Crag Nodule Bed. This mainly consists of flint pebbles and phosphorite nodules, washed out from older bedrock. It contains usually densely mineralized and often well-rounded and polished mammal fossils, which must in part be reworked from Eocene and other pre-Quaternary deposits.”

According to Nilsson (1983, p. 105), some fossils of Villafranchian species (such as Mammuthus meriodionalis) were found in the detritus bed. The Villafranchian land mammal stage spans the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary. This might suggest

that the Red Crag detritus bed contains materials from the Early Pleistocene.

Arguing against this is the fact that the detritus beds are often found in situ beneath the intact Red and Coralline Crags (Moir 1924, p. 641), which can be safely referred to the Pliocene. Thus the Villafranchian component of the detritus bed fauna can be assigned to the Pliocene (rather than Pleistocene) part of the Villafranchian stage.

We note that potassium-argon dates obtained for a Villafranchian site in France reached 2.5–3.0 million years (Nilsson 1983, pp. 24, 158). We can therefore conclude that the age of the materials in the detritus beds at the base of the Crags range from Late Pliocene to perhaps Cretaceous in age. The Cretaceous chalk is, however, a marine formation, making the Eocene London Clay the earliest habitable land surface in the stratigraphic sequence of East Anglia.

3.3.3 Tools from Below the Red Crag (Pliocene to


J. Reid Moir found in the sub-Crag detritus beds many types of stone tools, showing varying degrees of intentional work (Figure 3.6). He concluded that the cruder tools were older. Since the detritus beds, according to this scheme, appeared to contain a succession of stone tools from different periods, perhaps as far back as the Eocene, Moir (1935, pp. 360–361) wrote: “then it becomes necessary to recognize a much higher antiquity for the human race than has hitherto been supposed. I am fully aware of the implication of such a conclusion and the responsibility attaching to those who support it. Nevertheless, after a very careful and painstaking examination of all the available facts, I have been compelled to accept this conclusion as true, and have no hesitation in stating that such is the case.”

Moir connected the crudest tools, resembling the Harrison eoliths, with the Miocene elements of the detritus bed below the Red Crag. He considered them to be contemporary with the flint implements discovered in French Miocene formations at Aurillac (Section 4.3). But further than that he would not go, having stated, as above mentioned: “We have no reason to think that at the epochs when the chalk and the London Clay were being laid down, man was present upon this planet” (Moir 1924, p. 643).

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Figure 3.6. Pointed implement from below the Red Crag (Moir 1935, p. 364). This specimen is over 2.5 million years old.

J. Reid Moir may have thought in that way, but, as we shall demonstrate later in this book, there is evidence that humans of the fully modern type were in fact present throughout the Tertiary, including the Eocene period, during the time when the London Clay was being deposited upon the underlying Cretaceous chalk (Sections 3.4.2, 5.5, 6.2, and 6.3; also Appendix 2).

So the stone implements collected by Moir from beds below the Red Crag formation could be of that age. In fact, it is quite possible that any of the stone implements, from the crudest to the most sophisticated, could be referred to any period from the Late Pliocene to the Eocene.

At the very least, then, the implements are Late Pliocene in age. But according to present evolutionary theory one should not expect to find signs of toolmaking humans in England at 2–3 million years ago. Two million years before the present, our toolmaking hominid ancestors (of the Homo habilis type) should still have been confined to their homeland in Africa. Three million years before the present, we should expect to find in Africa only the apelike australopithecines, who are not generally recognized as makers of stone tools.

Of his Miocene inhabitants of England, Moir (1927, p. 31) wrote:

“Unfortunately, no actual bones of the people who made these implements have yet been discovered, but, judging from these specimens, we conclude that their makers were possessed of considerable strength, and represent an early and brutal stage in human evolution.”

We do not deny the possibility that ape-man-like creatures might have been

responsible for the implements reported by Moir. But even today, modern humans are known to manufacture very primitive stone tools. It is thus possible that beings very much like Homo sapiens sapiens could have made the crudest of the implements recovered by Moir from below the Red Crag. In the absence of skeletal evidence directly connected with the stone tools, it is impossible to say with certainty what kind of creature manufactured them. All may have been made by humanlike creatures, all may have been made by ape-man-like creatures, or perhaps some were manufactured by humanlike creatures and others by apeman-like creatures.

The implements themselves were a matter of extreme controversy. Many scientists thought them to be products of natural forces rather than of human work. Nevertheless, Moir had many influential supporters. These included Henri Breuil, who personally investigated the sites (Section 3.4.7). He found in Moir’s collection an apparent sling stone from below the Red Crag (Section 5.3.1).

Another supporter was Archibald Geikie, a respected geologist and president of the Royal Society (Millar 1972, p. 100). Yet another was Sir Ray Lankester, a director of the British Museum. Lankester identified from among Moir’s specimens a representative type of implement he named rostrocarinate. This word calls attention to two prominent characteristics of the tools. “Rostro” refers to the beaklike shape of the working portion of the implements, and “carinate”

refers to the sharp keellike prominence running along part of their dorsal surface (Moir 1927, p. 26).

Lankester presented a detailed analysis of the “Norwich test specimen” (Figure 3.7). A particularly good example of the rostrocarinate type of implement, it was discovered beneath the Red Crag at Whitlingham, near Norwich (Moir 1927, p.

28; Osborn 1921, p. 576). If the Norwich test specimen is from below the Red Crag, it would be over 2.5 million years old. If it is from below the Norwich Crag as suggested by Sparks and West (1972, p. 234), it would be over 2.0

million years old (Table 2.1, p. 78). The Norwich test specimen combined a good demonstration of intentional work with clear stratigraphic position Sir Ray Lankester wrote in a Royal Antropological Institute report in 1914: “it is not possible for anyone acquainted with flint-workmanship and also with the nonhuman fracture of flint to maintainthatitiseveninaremotedegree possible that the sculpturing of this Norwich test flint was produced by other than human agency” (Coles 1968, p. 27).

Professor J. M. Coles of Cambridge University (1968, p. 27) later noted: “His description was full and was accompanied by drawings and photographs

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

showing that approximately 40 flakes had been removed from various angles and positions around the flint, consisting of two cleaving fractures, a group of large conchoidal flakings, and a third group of smaller flakings directed upon specific parts, particularly the beaked portion.”

Figure 3.7. The Norwich test specimen. J. Reid Moir (1927, p. 28) said it was found beneath the Red Crag at Whitlingham, England. The beak (arrow) forms the working portion of the implement, which, if from below the Red Crag, would be over 2.5 million years old.

At a lecture before the Royal Society in London, Lankester said he hoped

“that no one would venture to waste the time of the society by suggesting that sub-crag flints had been flaked by natural causes, as by so doing it would be plain that they had a very scanty knowledge of such matters.” Someone present did, however, venture to suggest exactly that. Lankester said it was “the sort of thing I would expect to hear from a savage.” Another time G. Worthington Smith, known to us for his skeptical exchanges with Benjamin Harrison of Ightham, said of the eoliths and pebble tools: “We have here choppers that do not chop and borers that do not bore.” Lankester retorted: “You, sir, are a bore who does bore” (Millar 1972, p. 100).

About the age of the rostrocarinate tools, Lankester stated in 1941: “I do not intend to proceed without caution to any conclusion on this subject, but it seems to me quite possible that there is a close relationship between the men who made

the Upper Miocene rostrocarinate implements of Aurillac [Section 4.3] and those who made similar implements in Suffolk before the deposit of the Red Crag”

(Moir 1935, p. 359).

Moir (1935, p. 360) himself also observed that intact counterparts of the beds that provided the materials for the detritus layer below the Red Crag could be found elsewhere in Europe and contained stone implements: “the Upper Miocene deposits of France [Sections 4.2, 4.3] and some older beds in Belgium

[Section 4.4] have already yielded flaked flints, claimed by certain competent investigators as of human origin.”

3.3.4 The Foxhall Finds (Late Pliocene)

One important set of discoveries by Moir occurred at Foxhall, where he found stone tools (Figure 3.8) not in the detritus bed but in the middle of the Red Crag formation. Some authorities, including Moir, have placed the upper part of the Red Crag in the Early Pleistocene, but our review of the range of geological opinion has led us to place the entire Red Crag formation in the Late Pliocene.

The Foxhall implements would thus be over 2.0 million years old. Moir (1927, p. 33) wrote: “The finds consisted of the debris of a flint workshop, and included hammerstones, cores from which flakes had been struck, finished implements, numerous flakes, and several calcined stones showing that fires had been lighted at this spot. The Foxhall implements are, in the majority of cases, of a yellowish white colour, and more finely made than the still more ancient specimens found at the base of the Crag, and give us a very clear idea of the type of workmanship of which these ancient Suffolk people of Early Quaternary times were capable.

While if the famous Foxhall human jaw-bone, which was apparently not very primitive in form, was, indeed, derived from the old land surface now buried deep beneath the Crag and a great thickness of Glacial Gravel, we can form the definite opinion that these ancient people were not very unlike ourselves in bodily characteristics.” The jaw spoken of by Moir has an interesting history (Section 6.2.1). For now, we shall simply note that some scientists who examined it considered it like that of a modern human being.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 3.8. Front and rear views of two stone tools from the Red Crag at Foxhall, England. They are Late Pliocene in age. Henry Fairfield Osborn (1921, p. 572) said of the tool on the left: “Two views of pointed flint implement flaked on the upper and lower surfaces and with a constricted base, from sixteen-foot level of Foxhall pit. Primitive arrowhead type, which may have been used in the chase.” Of the implement on the right, Osborn wrote: “Borer ( perçoir) from sixteen-foot level of Foxhall.”

It is unfortunate that the Foxhall jaw is not available for further study, for it might offer further confirmation that the flint implements from Foxhall were of human manufacture. But even without the presence of actual human skeletal remains, the tools themselves point strongly to a human presence in England during the Late Pliocene, perhaps 2.0–2.5 million years ago.

The American paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn (1921, p. 573) came out strongly in favor of the implements having been manufactured by human beings and argued for a Pliocene date: “Proofs which have rested hitherto on the doubtful testimony of irregular eoliths generally considered by archaeologists as not of human manufacture, now rest on the firm foundation of the Foxhall flints in which human handiwork cannot be challenged; these proofs have convinced the most learned and most conservative expert in flint industry in Europe today, namely Abbe Henri Breuil of the Institut de Paleontologie Humaine. ” According to Osborn (1921, p. 573), the Foxhall specimens included borers, arrowheadlike

pointed implements (some hafted), scrapers, and side scrapers very much like early Mousterian racloirs.

Osborn (1921, p. 566) concluded: “This discovery of man in Pliocene time delights the present writer for a personal reason, namely, because it tends to render somewhat more probable his prophecy made in April 1921, before the National Academy of Sciences at Washington that one of the great surprises in store for us in science is the future discovery of Pliocene man with a large brain.” This sort of talk would not go down very well today.

Osborn (1921, p. 565) backed not only the Foxhall flints but the rest of Moir’s work as well: “The discoveries of J. Reid Moir of evidences of the existence of Pliocene man in East Anglia open a new epoch in archaeology. . . . they bring indubitable evidence of the existence of man in southeast Britain, man of sufficient intelligence to fashion flints and to build a fire, before the close of the Pliocene time and before the advent of the First Glaciation.”

But whether one accepts Osborn’s Pliocene date or Moir’s Early Pleistocene estimate, neither is to be expected if one accepts the standard version of hominid evolution in an African homeland. This is especially true if, as the Foxhall jaw indicates, the maker of the Foxhall flint tools was fully human. The first Homo sapiens are thought to have come into existence only a couple of hundred thousand years ago at most, and the standard textbook version is that fully modern Homo sapiens sapiens is only about 100,000 years old.

Another scientist won over by the Foxhall finds was Hugo Obermaier, previously a consistent and vocal opponent of Eolithic discoveries. Obermaier was one of those scientists who believed that eoliths were produced by natural forces similar to the forces operating in cement and chalk mills (Section 3.5).

But Obermaier (1924, p. 41) wrote: “Very recently a large bed of flints with evidences of fire has been found on the eastern coast of England near Norwich and beneath the Late Pliocene deposits known as the

‘Red Crag’ and the ‘Norwich Crag.’ The authenticity of the flints as of human origins is disputed by some archaeologists, but is accepted by others, including Louis Capitan, the veteran archaeologist of France, and Henri Breuil, who is frequently quoted in these pages. This discovery of Foxhall is the first evidence we have of the existence of Tertiary man.”

Someone might have asked Obermaier if, having accepted the Foxhall flint tools as proof of human existence in the Tertiary, he might reevaluate any of the Tertiary Eolithic industries he had once rejected.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 3.9. Pointed tool from the Cromer Forest Bed, East Runton, England (Moir 1927, p. 45). It could be from about .8 million to 1.75 million years old, depending upon how one dates the Cromer Forest Bed.

3.3.5 Cromer Forest Bed (Middle or Early


Thus far we have considered Moir’s discoveries in the Tertiary bone bed below the Late Pliocene Red Crag and his finds in the Red Crag itself at Foxhall.

We shall now turn to some discoveries in the more recent Cromer Forest Bed of Norfolk. As we have seen (Section 2.19; Table 2.1, p. 78), the Cromer Forest Bed dates from about .4 million years to about .8 million years ago, or perhaps even as much as 1.75 million years ago. During this period, according to Moir, the delta of the Rhine extended to East Anglia.

Moir found specimens of a stone industry (Figure 3.9), including large handaxes, lying on the beach at Cromer and East Runton in Norfolk. He stated that they originated from a stone bed exposed in the base of the cliffs along the shore.

Moir (1924, p. 649) wrote: “The Cromer specimens are found chiefly upon the foreshore. . . . They lie upon the chalk, and have evidently been derived from a formation at the very base of the Cromer Forest Bed series of deposits, which form the lowermost strata of the high bluffs of the Norfolk coast. . . . In some places, as at East Runton, about two miles northwestward of Cromer, large areas of the implementiferous bed can be seen in situ upon the chalk, and from this deposit have been recovered several very definite examples of Early Paleolithic hand axes.” If the implements are, as Moir stated, from the lowest part of the Cromer Forest Bed formation, they would, according to modern estimates, be at least .8 million and perhaps as much as 1.75 million years old.

Moir (1924, p. 652) went on to describe the implements: “There is no doubt that the Cromer industry shows an advance from the sub-Crag culture, but it is nevertheless closely related to it. The ancient Cromerians, using probably large hammerstones of flint, were able to detach in some cases enormous flakes of flint, and the whole industry is on a large and massive scale. On the foreshore at Cromer the contents of a workshop site were found, comprising hand axes, choppers, side scrapers, points, and numerous flakes. . . . Their skill in flint-flaking is evidenced by the immense flake scars produced by the primary quartering blows, the well-formed striking platforms, and the regular and accurate secondary flaking.” Critics of anomalous stone tools often ask for just the type of evidence reported by Moir—a variety of finished tool types and flakes in close association, indicating a workshop site.

3.3.6 Moir Versus Haward

Having briefly reviewed Moir’s discoveries beneath the Red and Coralline Crags, in the Red Crag at Foxhall, and from the Cromer Forest Bed, we shall now examine the history of the scientific controversies surrounding them. J. M. Coles (1968) of Cambridge gave a rare modern summary of the disputes.

In 1919, F. N. Haward attacked Moir’s discoveries, claiming that they were the product of geological pressure acting on flint. Moir and A. S. Barnes replied to Haward in articles published in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Moir (1919, p. 158) made the following comments: “It appears that Mr. Haward has found in the Norwich Stone Bed a flint, or flints, which exhibit a flake detached, but not removed from the parent block, and he concludes, and rightly concludes, that such flakes have become so detached since the bed in

which they occur was laid down. He draws attention to the well-known fact that flints in the chalk, and, I may add, in other deposits as well, break up into pieces of varying size, and that such breakage is of natural origin. And once more I am in agreement. But here, I fear, we take widely different paths.”

Haward believed the cause of breakage to be pressure. Moir agreed that this was indeed one possible cause, and pointed out that he had himself published a paper on this topic (“The Fractured Flints of the Eocene ‘Bull-Head’ at Coe’s Pit, Bramford, near Ipswich”) in the Journal of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Moir (1919, pp. 158–159) went on to state: “But I know also that pressure flakes exhibit certain peculiarities of their surfaces which differentiate them markedly from other flakes which have been removed by percussion, and so far as I can ascertain, Mr. Haward has not yet demonstrated, scientifically, that the few flakes upon which he bases his portentous argument have without doubt been detached by pressure. It may also be recalled that the Norwich Stone Bed, as I can testify from actual observation, contains very often fragile bones of mammals, and the sands above it, at Whitlingham, where a large proportion of the sub-crag implements described by Mr. Clarke have been found, have embedded in them even more fragile shells. And it is legitimate to ask why, if pressure is fracturing the hard, resistant flints in the Stone Bed, the easily-broken organic remains mentioned are quite frequently found intact.” Rejecting the pressure hypothesis, Moir suggested another explanation. Before being embedded in the deposit a flint nodule might have been subjected to blows strong enough to produce incipient bulbs of percussion. Later, under the influence of heat, for example, the flakes might have come off. Moir (1919, p.

159) added that Haward himself had noted that some flaked flints he studied bore signs of percussion.

Moir (1919, p. 159) then stated: “But whatever the exact cause of such fracturing may be, it is clear that such cases are very rare, and moreover, when they are found, only one or two flakes are seen to be in contact with the parent block. Yet Mr. Haward does not hesitate to infer that all the other flints exhibiting numerous flake-scars upon their surfaces, and a definite implemental form, have been produced by this same natural fracturing. When also it is remembered that many, if not most, of these latter specimens show by their colouration and condition that they are definitely more ancient than the bed in which they now occur, it will be seen that this inference rests upon a very attenuated and shaky basis. But if this is the case in regard to the Norwich Stone Bed flints, what is one to say about the extension of Mr. Haward’s inference to the specimens found under

totally different conditions beneath the Red Crag of Suffolk, and where, up to the present, no evidence of any fracturing in situ has been seen?” Moir (1919, pp.

160–161) pointed out that the specimens found below the Red Crag displayed only signs of flake removal by percussion, with no sign of pressure fracturing.

Moir (1919, p. 161) concluded his remarks with this affirmation: “students of human and animal bones have regarded the existence of man in the Pliocene as almost a necessity, and from my later researches I incline to the belief that not only was man present on this earth at that period, but that he was then culturally much more advanced than has hitherto been imagined.”

3. 3.7 Warren’s Attack on Moir

Still the opposition to Moir continued, with scientists clinging with remarkable tenacity to variations of the natural pressureflaking hypothesis. Coles (1968, p. 27) stated: “A more scholarly attack on the authenticity of the

‘industries’ was made by S. Hazzledine Warren in 1921, who claimed that mechanical movement of flint upon flint under pressure produced flaking comparable to that seen on not only the Kentish eoliths but also the rostrocarinates and other Crag assemblages. Warren based his argument upon his observations of fractured flints in Eocene deposits in Essex, and upon experiments. Moir and Barnes defended themselves vigorously, and claimed that natural pressure flaking could easily be distinguished from the edge-flaking on the Kentish eoliths and on the Crag series. The naturally-produced specimens claimed by Warren to be of rostrocarinate form from the Essex gravels were said to be entirely different.” In1923, an international commission of scientists concluded that the flaking on the specimens collected by Warren was in fact different from that on Moir’s implements (Section 3.3.8).

Warren’s report was delivered in an address to the Geological Society of London, and was later published in the Society’s journal. In the Eocene location studied by Warren, the flints were lying beneath layers of sediment, upon a chalk surface, where he claimed that they had been subjected to pressure and differential movement by “solution of the chalk surface.” In other words, the

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

flints had been crushed by the pressure of overlying layers as they slipped into holes eroded in the chalk by the action of ground water. Warren claimed to have found, in locations where such crushing had occurred, many specimens resembling not only eoliths but Mousterian implements as well.

Of one such specimen ( Figure3.10), Warren (1920, p. 248) stated: “This, a good example of a trimmed-flake point, is the most remarkable specimen of the group.

Figure 3.10. S. Hazzledine Warren said that this object, which he believed to be the product of natural pressure flaking, almost exactly resembled a Mousterian trimmed point implement ( MacCurdy 1924b, p. 657). But although found in an Eocene formation, it could in fact be of human manufacture.

If considered by itself, upon its own apparent merits, and away from its associates and the circumstances of its discovery, its Mousterian affinities could scarcely be questioned. But, like all the other specimens illustrated, I dug it out of the Bullhead bed myself in circumstances which preclude the possibility of mistake.” In this connection George Grant MacCurdy, director of the American School of Prehistoric Research in Europe, wrote: “Warren states that if the best selected flakes from the Bullhead Bed were mingled with flakes from a prehistoric workshop floor, they could never be separated again unless it were by their mineral condition” (1924b, pp. 657–658).

Much depends upon whether or not the flaking on Warren’s specimens actually resembled that of Paleolithic humans. If the flaking was different, then Warren’s argument against Moir becomes irrelevant. If, on the other hand, the flaking was similar, then what are we to make of specimens, such as the one depicted in Figure 3.10, which are so very much like accepted Paleolithic stone tools?

Warren appeared to take for granted, in a fashion typical of those who shared his prejudices, that it was impossible to find in Eocene strata implements of human manufacture, particularly those displaying a relatively high level of stoneflaking technique. Moir, as we have seen, expressed the same view—no toolmaking beings could have existed in the Eocene (Section 3.3.3). But those who are free from such prejudices might justifiably wonder whether Warren had actually discovered, in the Eocene strata of Essex, a genuine object of human manufacture.

A similar event occurred some years earlier in France, where H. Breuil, in attempting to prove the natural origin of eoliths by geological pressure, also found in an Eocene formation specimens exactly resembling Late Paleolithic stone tools (Section 3.4.2). Breuil, however, was convinced that humans could not have existed in the Eocene.

As we noted in a previous chapter (Section 2.9), T. McKenny Hughes also expressed a conviction that humans could not have existed as far back as the Eocene, despite the presence in an Eocene formation of pierced shark’s teeth like those made by today’s inhabitants of the South Pacific. Other finds of objects of human manufacture in formations that might be as old as the Eocene occurred in California (Section 5.5). In this context, Warren’s Bullhead Bed discoveries, if regarded as genuine implements, do not seem so out of place.

In the discussion that followed Warren’s report, Mr. Dewey, one of the scientists present, pointed out that in some cases the Kent eoliths and Moir’s rostrocarinates are found in the middle of Tertiary sedimentary beds and not directly on the hard chalk. This circumstance, said Dewey, would rule out the particular pressure explanation given by Warren.

Warren had displayed some specimens during his talk. But Reginald Smith complained that Warren (and Breuil in France) had compared their natural productions with only a few of the very poorest eolith specimens. Smith accused Warren of discouraging research in early deposits.

The record stated: “Mr. H. Bury thought it unfortunate that such a discussion should have been raised without a fair representation of both sides of the case among the exhibits. The author [Warren] and Mr. Haward had brought forward the best specimens that they could find in support of their case; but for comparison they only produced some half dozen very inferior Kentish eoliths, and no sub-Crag implements at all. It was a mistake to suppose that believers in Pliocene man had ignored these pressureflaked flints from the Eocene beds; on the contrary, the differences in detail which they observed between the two

categories formed an essential factor in their argument” (Warren 1920, p. 251).

Bury’s point is well worth noting, for one often encounters something like the following in discussions of eoliths by their detractors. The skeptical authority will point out that such and such scientist found in Tertiary strata stone objects he incautiously believed to be of human manufacture and that the discovery was a matter of controversy for some years until such and such scientist delivered his definitive report that conclusively demonstrated that the stone objects had been produced by the pressure of the overlying layers. But in recounting this history the skeptical authority ignores the fact that the original discoverer had carefully considered and dismissed that very possibility. In considering the eolith question with an open mind, one learns to be suspicious of definitive disproofs, which often turn out to be quite rickety intellectual contraptions.

The notes of the discussion also recorded the following ironic remarks by one of the members of the Geological Society: “Mr. A. S. Kennard congratulated the author [Warren] on an important discovery, and considered that the paper strongly supported the claim for the human origin of the Kentish eoliths. He agreed with the author that it was unfair to decide from a few examples, and that the proper test was the whole group. Judged by this standard, neither of the series shown [by Warren] resembled the Kentish eoliths, since the more numerous and characteristic specimens [shown by Warren] were quite unknown on the Plateau” (Warren 1920, p. 251). Kennard thus turned the tables on Warren, taking his attempt to dismiss the eoliths as proof of their genuineness.

3.3.8 An International Commission of Scientists

Decides in Favor of Moir

At this point, the controversy over Moir’s discoveries was submitted to an international commission of scientists for resolution. Coles (1968, p. 27) related that this group “was overwhelmingly in support of Moir’s conclusions, that the flints from the base of the Red Crag near Ipswich were in undisturbed strata, and that some of the flaking was indubitably of artificial origin.” In the words of the commission report: “The flints are found in a stratigraphic position, without trace of resorting, at the base of the Red Crag. A certain number of the flints do not appear to have been made by anything other than voluntary human action”

(Lohest et al. 1923, p. 44).

The commission, formed at the request of the International Institute of Anthropology, was composed of Dr. L. Capitan, professor at the College of

France and the School of Anthropology; Paul Fourmarier, professor of applied geology at the University of Liége and the School of Anthropology; Charles Fraipont, professor of paleontology at the University of Liége and the School of Anthropology; J. Hamal-Nandrin, professor of the School of Anthropology at Liége; Max Lohest, professor of geology at the University of Liége and the School of Anthropology; George Grant MacCurdy, professor at Harvard University; Mr. Nelson, archeologist of the National Museum of Natural History of New York; and Miles Burkitt, professor of prehistory at the University of Cambridge (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 54).

The commission wanted to settle the following questions (Lohest et al. 1923, p.

53): “(1) At the point where the flints considered worked were discovered, is it established that the strata in which they were found are definitely Pliocene and that no action of resorting or intrusive deposition is responsible for the introduction into ancient beds of modern objects? (2) Are the flints found among rocks or other conditions that could have produced pseudoretouching by impact or pressure?” Concerning the flints themselves, the commission was to answer the following questions: “(1) Are the flints of the Crag worked, retouched, or utilized? (2) Can the retouching be compared to that produced by natural physical action? (3) Can one affirm that the flaking and retouching are due to intelligent and voluntary work?”

To answer these questions, the commission visited the principal sites where Moir had collected his specimens, including locations at Ipswich, Thorington Hall, Bramford, and Foxhall Road. They also examined the collection at the Ipswich Museum, the personal collection of Moir, and Warren’s collection of pressureflaked flints from the Bullhead Eocene beds. Also visited were the collections at the Cambridge Museum and the British Museum at South Kensington, as well as the collection of Mr. Westlake at Fordingbridge near Salisbury, which included his enormous collection of flints from Puy Courny and Puy de Boudieu near Aurillac, France (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 54).

The geologists Max Lohest and Paul Fourmarier reported on the stratigraphy of Moir’s discoveries. Lohest and Fourmarier stated: “The purpose of our mission to Ipswich was to verify whether flints showing indisputable signs of intentional work are in fact encountered in undisturbed Tertiary strata” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 54). These two experts confirmed, at Thorington Hall, that the Red Crag lies upon the Eocene London Clay, and that at the bottom of the Red Crag there is a

“detritus bed,” which contains flints (not rolled), flint pebbles, phosphate nodules, fossil remains of deer, and also flints showing signs of intentional work.

Lohest and Fourmarier reported: “After minute examination, we believe we can affirm that the Red Crag, because of its cross-bedded stratification and numerous fossils at the pit at Thorington Hall, constitutes incontestably a primary deposit in place, not reformed, and that the deposit is Pliocene and formed in the immediate vicinity of the seashore. If the flints of this deposit are really the work of an intelligent being, then there is no doubt, according to us, that this being existed in England before the great marine invasion of Trophon antiquum, considered by all geologists as dating to the late Tertiary epoch” (Lohest et al. 1923, pp. 55–56).

J. Hamal-Nandrin and Charles Fraipont also reported on the geological considerations: “The detritus bed from which the flints are recovered is surmounted by several meters of Red Crag deposits containing Pliocene shells.

The Red Crag is apparently an ancient shore, and the shells accumulated in the sand on the actual shore. There are very delicate shells, such as bivalves; many are found whole, and the least pressure, the least touch, causes them to break. A deposit of this type is primary, not composite or resorted ( remanié). It is in the underlying detritus bed that the flints are found. At Thorington Hall the detritus bed lacks many rocks. It contains coprolites, phosphate nodules, and only some small flint pebbles. The superimposed Red Crag is also almost without rocks”

(Lohest et al. 1923, p. 57).

Hamal-Nandrin and Fraipont then stated: “The rarity of rocks does not permit us to suppose that the flints may have been retouched by shocks or pressure in situ.

It had to be done, either naturally or artificially, before their incorporation into the beds. Below the detritus bed is the London clay, from which some rolled blocks have been incorporated into the detritus bed. The detritus bed contains, along with bones of whales, fossils of terrestrial mammals certainly characteristic of the Pliocene. This gives evidence that it was upon an ancient land surface that the sea of the Late Pliocene deposited the Red Crag, a shoreline formation at this point. If the flints from below the Red Crag at Thorington Hall, in undisturbed strata, give signs of intelligent work, the being that used them is Pliocene” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 57).

Hamal-Nandrin and Fraipont then turned their expertise to determining the presence of signs of intentional work on the sub-Crag flints: “A certain number of the pieces collected from below the Red Crag, and now found in the collections of Mr. Reid Moir and the Ipswich Museum, present, in our opinion, the characteristics that distinguish worked flints: a striking platform, clear bulb of percussion, and edges with series of small flakes removed, indicating

intentional retouching and utilization as a tool. If you were to find these in strata of the Mousterian period, you would not hesitate to say that they are tools showing intentional work and utilization. . . . In our present state of knowledge, we cannot see that anything other than intelligent action could be capable of producing such effects. . . . At Thorington Hall, the rarity of stones and their dispersal does not permit us to suppose that the flints have been naturally retouched by impact or pressure. One can observe that in the level where the specimens are found one does not find any worn and fractured flints other than the ones appearing to be the result of intentional work. The worked flints are not only rare, but extremely rare, according to prehistorians who have studied the strata” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 58).

After studying several of the collections of flints previously mentioned, Hamal-Nandrin and Fraipont declared themselves in favor of Moir’s view that the sub-Crag flints were implements of human manufacture. They further stated: “The chipped edges of the flints collected by Mr. Warren from the Eocene Bullhead beds, along with those produced artificially by him, are very different from the edges of those belonging to the detritus beds below the Crag at Ipswich” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 58).

Capitan’s report also supported Moir’s position, both on the sub-Crag finds and those from the Cromer Forest Bed and related formations on the Norfolk coast.

Capitan noted that the Pleistocene Boulder Clay had yielded to Moir and others some rare specimens of Mousterian type. But the middle glacial gravels below the Boulder Clay, according to Capitan, contained an enormous number of flints modified by glacial action. The flakes and their pseudoretouching from purely natural causes became an object of special study and consideration, for the precise purpose of comparison with the flints recovered from below the Red Crag. Certain pieces from the glacial gravels did, however, appear to be clearly worked, resembling the Chellean and preChellean types of tools. They were chipped in simple fashion and had a bright characteristic patina (Lohest et al.

1923, p. 59).

Capitan described the Red Crag as a sandy clay, colored red by oxides of iron, containing isolated siliceous stones, phosphate concretions of round small size, fragments of shells, rare shark teeth and even more rare whale bones, and also relatively small pieces of fractured flint. These elements, he noted, were concentrated in a layer at the base of the Crag. Capitan stated: “This is the detritus bed. It is here exclusively (except at Foxhall where there is a second bed almost the same as this) that one finds, only after great trouble, isolated in the

midst of the sands, and never in contact with other flints, some flakes and pieces of broken flint, and even more rarely the typical Red Crag specimens” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 60).

Members of the commission carried out four excavations into the detritus bed over the course of four days and found five or six typical specimens. Capitan stated: “I will not neglect to say that the flints were absolutely in place in compact terrain; two reposed at Thorington Hall on the underlying clay. . . . at Thorington Hall you have a detritus bed covered by marine sands. So everything there is from either before or contemporaneous with the sea that deposited the Crag” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 60).

Studying the specimens of Moir and those at the Ipswich Museum, Capitan categorized them as doubtful, probable, and definite. About half the total specimens were in the doubtful category, with almost another half in the probable category. In the probable group were all those flakes that showed traces of adaptation or retouching identical to that on accepted tools. Capitan stated:

“We consider that the greatest number of these pieces are genuine tools bearing diverse traces of intentional work which one can distinguish, with practice, from natural fracturing and flaking. But if someone wants to express doubts, then we leave the discussion to them and will not seek to demonstrate the intentional work” (Lohest et al. 1923, pp. 61–62).

But Capitan stated that in addition to the many specimens in the probable category the commission recognized twenty pieces as indisputably worked:

“They are of definite form, exactly like accepted Mousterian pieces. These are not freaks of nature or naturally broken stones used without modification as tools

—they were products of volition, and show signs of a definite intent to construct a particular kind of tool” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 62). The commission selected eleven pieces for reproduction in their report: two Mousterian-like side scrapers ( racloirs), two discoidal end scrapers ( grattoirs), two points, two blades (one with much retouching), an actual handaxe, a sort of big chisel, and a big retouched piece of the grattoir form.

Capitan, praising the rigorous scientific procedures applied by Moir and his collaborators, then stated: “One might object that the small number of definite specimens is not sufficient, but this is due to the extremely rigorous process of selection. We are persuaded that a great many of the ones not selected are also worked” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 62). Capitan added: “The small number selected for this demonstration is deliberate because their legitimacy as products of human industry cannot in the least be challenged even by technical experts”

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

(Lohest et al. 1923, p. 62).

Capitan concluded: “We need not uselessly continue the discussion about whether these pieces are worked or not, giving undue attention to explanations from incompetents. For any person who has any real acquaintance with the characteristics of worked flints, such questions will not come up” (Lohest et al.

1923, pp. 62–63). If one rejected Moir’s finds, stated Capitan, then one would have to reject about 80 percent of the generally accepted Mousterian pieces (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 63).

Figure 3.11. A side scraper (racloir) discovered beneath the Red Crag at Thorington Hall, England (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 63).

Capitan next described some of the undisputed specimens. These came from Thorington Hall, Bramford, and the Bolton Company brickfield. From Moir’s reports (1924), it appears that the primary tool-bearing layer at each of these sites is the detritus bed below the Red Crag. This would make the flint tools Capitan described at least 2.5 million years old. And because the detritus bed contains materials from ancient Eocene land surfaces, the tools might be up to 55 million years old.

Concerning an implement from below the Red Crag at Thorington Hall (Figure 3.11), Capitan said: “The very best piece . . . is a great and thick racloir (side scraper) fashioned from an irregular oval flake, with numerous bulbs of percussion. It is of the same form as many of the most typical Mousterian racloirs, and like them it is retouched on all sides. On the outer surface, near the point of the instrument . . . a carefully retouched depression accommodates a finger for gripping the implement. In truth, this is a piece that can just as much

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

be said to have been manufactured by humans as the best Mousterian racloirs.

On the plane surface, on the other end of the implement . . . is an enormous bulb of percussion” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 63).

Of two discoidal grattoirs (end scrapers) recovered from Thorington Hall (Figure 3.12), Capitan stated: “Made from thick flakes, and carefully retouched all around, they both have in the middle of the upper surface a long deep flake removed.

Figure 3.12. Two discoidal scrapers from below the Red Crag at Thorington Hall, England (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 64).

On the other side of each, which is smooth, there is a bulb of percussion”

(Lohest et al. 1923, p. 63).

In using a grattoir, or end scraper, the scraping edge of the implement is held lengthwise along the line of force (or end first). In using a racloir, or side scraper, the tool’s scraping edge is held perpendicular to the line of force (or sideways).

In addition, Capitan drew attention to a particular implement (Figure 3.13) that he described as being “well retouched on every side and having an extremity terminating in a bevelled edge carefully made by regular retouching” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 64).

Capitan also noted “a big racloir, with the cortex partially removed and with the cutting edge carefully dressed and adapted by a series of regular and multiple retouchings. This edge is so perfectly rectilinear as to give clear indication it is of human origin” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 65).

Another implement (Figure 3.14) was retouched on two of its edges and displayed on its face three long flake scars. The fact that the three flake scars on

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

the implement were parallel was, according to Capitan, a certain sign they were deliberately removed in succession. He believed this specimen from below the Red Crag appeared to be a handaxe absolutely identical to the best preChellean types from the Somme region of France.

Capitan (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 66) described another specimen as follows: “A thin blade with a bulb on the inferior surface, and a very precise imprint of a second blade removed from the upper part.

Figure 3.13. An implement from below the Red Crag (Lohest et al.

1923, p. 65).

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 3.14. An implement from below the Red Crag at Bramford, England (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 66).

This work is absolutely human” (Figure 3.15). Yet another object illustrated in Capitan’s report was a pointed implement, with an apparent bulb of percussion visible at the base ( Figure 3.16).

In concluding his analysis, Capitan definitively stated that “there exist at the base of the Crag, in undisturbed strata, worked flints (we have observed them ourselves). These are not made by anything other than a human or hominid which existed in the Tertiary epoch. This fact is found by us prehistorians to be absolutely demonstrated” (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 67).

Surprisingly, even after the commission report, Moir’s opponents, such as Warren, persisted in attempting to show that the flint implements from beneath the Red Crag and elsewhere were the product of some kind of natural pressure flaking.

Moir and Barnes kept defending their position and picked up supporters. Coles (1968, p. 29) stated: “In 1932 T. D. Kendrick outlined some of the different viewpoints, and came down strongly in support of Moir, not so much on the geological problems involved as on the character of some of the flints.” About Moir’s flints and other Eolithic industries, Kendrick said that “many of them are to be regarded as ‘probably artifacts,’ while there are one or two (in the British Museum) . . . that I feel certain are man’s handiwork” (Coles 1968, p. 29).

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 3.15. A blade implement found beneath the Red Crag formation at Bramford, England (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 66).

Figure 3.16. A pointed implement from below the Red Crag formation, England, thought to be from Late Pliocene to Eocene in age (Lohest et al. 1923, p. 65).

3.3.9 Continued Opposition










counterexplanations became more strained; indeed, it seems no proposal was too extreme to win the support of those who for one reason or another could not find room for Moir’s discoveries within the bounds of their paleoanthropological parameters.

Coles (1968, p. 29) informs us: “One of the final statements was made by Warren in 1948 in an address to the geological section of the Southwestern Union of Scientific Societies. . . . He agreed with Moir in considering that, at the present day, wave action was not an effective process in the fracturing of flint in a way comparable to that seen on Moir’s Crag specimens, but tried to find some other natural process that could have flaked the submarine flints exposed by erosion of that Chalk. Warren concluded that during the formation of the Crag deposits, the area must have been subject to the arrival of icebergs from the north. Such ice, grounding near the shores of the Crag sea, might well have caused the pressurecrushing and striation of the flints exposed on the sea bed.

These arguments, apart from being practically the last word in the controversy, also neatly disposed of many of the points made by Moir about the differences between sea action fractures and his ‘implements,’ and allowed the exposure and deposition of fragile marine shells amidst the ice-fractured stone beds.”

We do not yet have in our possession a copy of Warren’s 1948 address, but one gets the impression, from Coles’s account, that the iceberg hypothesis was a somewhat desperate exercise in pure speculation. One wonders whether icebergs move onto shorelines in the manner suggested by Warren; and granting that they may, is there at present any hard evidence, anywhere in the Arctic or Antarctic regions, suggesting they have produced implementlike objects in the manner suggested by Warren? To our knowledge, no one has given any proof that icebergs can produce the numerous bulbs of percussion and elaborate retouching reported above by Capitan. Furthermore, as pointed out previously, many of the Red Crag specimens are lying in the middle of sediments and not on hard rock surfaces against which an iceberg might have crushed them. In addition, Coles (1968, p. 29) reported that at Foxhall implements occur in layers of sediment that appear to represent land surfaces and not beach deposits. This would also

rule out the iceberg action imagined by Warren.

3.3.10 Silence Ends the Debate

After Warren put forward his iceberg explanation, the controversy faded.

Coles (1968, p. 28) wrote: “That . . . the scientific world did not see fit to accept either side without considerable uncertainty must account for the quite remarkable inattention that this East Anglian problem has received since the days of active controversy.” This may be in part true, but there is another possible explanation—that the scientific community decided silence was a better way to bury Moir’s discoveries than active and vocal dissent. By the 1950s, with scientific opinion lining up solidly behind an Early Pleistocene African center for human evolution, there would have been little point, and perhaps some embarrassment and harm, in continually trying to disprove evidence for a theoretically impossible Pliocene habitation of England. That would have kept both sides of the controversy too much alive. The policy of silence, deliberate or not, did in fact prove highly successful in removing Moir’s evidence from view.

There was no need to defeat something that was beneath notice, and little to gain from defending or supporting it either.

3.3.11 Recent Negative Evaluations of Moir’s


Although most modern authorities do not even mention Moir’s discoveries, a rare notice of dismissal may be found in The Ice Age in Britain, by B. W. Sparks and R. G. West (1972, p. 234): “The beginnings of tool manufacture are shrouded in doubt by the similarity of primitive tools to naturally-occurring flaked pebbles. The earliest dated tools identified are found in Africa (Lower Pleistocene,

1.75 million years) and are of the so-called chopper tool or pebble tool type, made by striking a few flakes from the side of a pebble in one or two directions.

Such an industry has been associated with Homo habilis and Homo erectus. In Britain such Lower Pleistocene industries have not been found. But early in this century many flints from the Lower Pleistocene Crags were described as being artifacts, such as the flints, some flaked bifacially, in the Red Crag near Ipswich, and the so-called rostrocarinates from the base of the Norwich Crag near Norwich. All are now thought to be natural products. They do not satisfy the requirements for identification as a tool, namely, that the object conforms to a set

and regular pattern, that it is found in a geologically possible habitation site, preferably with other signs of man’s activities (e.g. chipping, killing, or burial site), and that it shows signs of flaking from two or three directions at right angles.” Sparks and West, of Cambridge University, are experts on the Pleistocene in Britain.

Briefly responding to Sparks and West, we may note that Moir and other authorities, such as Osborn and Capitan, were able to classify the Crag specimens into definite tool types (handaxes, borers, scrapers, etc.) comparable to those included in accepted Paleolithic industries, including the Mousterian.

The Foxhall site, with the Foxhall jaw, was taken by many authorities to represent a geologically possible habitation site. Moir (1927, p. 33) considered it to be a workshop area and noted signs of fire having been used there. As far as flaking from several directions at right angles is concerned, this is not the only criterion that might be applied for judging human workmanship upon stone objects. Even so, M. C. Burkitt of Cambridge (1956, p. 104) did find flaking from several different directions at right angles on some of the implements that were collected by J. Reid Moir.

Among other scientists who opposed Moir’s discoveries and saw fit to say so in print was K. P. Oakley. Coles (1968, p. 29) stated: “Although Oakley (1961) goes so far as to say that ‘the chipping in some cases suggests intelligent design,’

he believes that none can be accepted without some reserve.” As have many other opponents of crude stone tool industries, Oakley included in his book some illustrations of natural products that supposedly resembled objects thought to be implements. Leland W. Patterson (1983, p. 303) has responded: “As an example of superficial observation, the author has received comments that the edge damage on natural flakes illustrated by Oakley resembles retouch patterns of unifacial tools. A careful examination of Oakley’s illustrations shows that the flake scars do not form a uniform pattern as is characteristic of the results of perpendicular force applications in making unifacial tools. In Oakley’s illustrations, flake scars at the edge go at a variety of angles from the plane of the ventral face of the specimens, instead of being parallel flake scars mainly perpendicular to the plane of the ventral face. Flake scars also vary widely in size.”

Yet another late-twentieth-century opponent of eoliths was F. Clark Howell.

Coles (1968, pp. 27-30) stated: “Howell [1966, p. 89] dismisses all of this material by stating that ‘the angles of fracture and the nature of the flake removal

. . . fall outside the range of variation of specimens known otherwise to be of

human manufacture,’ but this is surely not a valid basis for rejection, particularly in view of the variability of known industries of the Lower and early Middle Pleistocene throughout the Old World.” We fully agree with Coles on this point and shall more fully discuss the important matter of angles of fracture later in this chapter.

3.3.12 A Slightly Favorable Modern Review of

Moir’s Finds

Coles himself provides an exception to the usual instinctive rejection of Moir’s discoveries (or complete silence about them). He felt it “unjust to dismiss all this material without some consideration” (Coles 1968, p. 22). But as we shall see, Coles did, after some consideration, dismiss almost all of it.

Concerning the Forest Bed discoveries, Coles (1968, pp. 24, 27) stated: “Of the immense quantity of flints available, only a small proportion were flaked, and Moir believed, rightly it seemed, that wave-action could not have caused this fracturing. Most of the flaked pieces were irregular, but a few straight-edged retouched flakes occurred. Moir examined other areas of foreshore, to serve as a check on natural flaking in exposures, and claimed that there were no struck flakes outside his ‘workshop-sites,’ which had yielded both fractured flakes and cores.”

But then Coles (1968, p. 27) shifted to negative expressions: “These sites, however, are not generally accepted as showing any sign of man’s activity.” In fact, there is no “general acceptance” of any of Moir’s sites. But to what extent does general acceptance reflect the actual truth regarding the human manufacture of Moir’s implements? Coles himself admitted that the flaking on the Forest Bed specimens had probably not been accomplished by the action of waves but did not himself propose any specific alternative explanation.

Coles (1968, p. 24) went on to say: “The sites lay on the foreshore, and Moir believed that the occupation had taken place on the Stone Bed, and that it should therefore extend under the cliffs at Cromer.” But Coles (1968, p. 27) asserted that “the flint deposit is believed to occur only on the foreshore, and not to extend under the Cromer Forest Bed in the cliffs at Cromer.”

Coles appears to have been wrong about this. West (1980), who conducted extensive geological research on the Cromer Forest Bed Formation, made several references to the Cromer Stone Bed underlying the Cromer Forest Bed formations. He identified it as the source of the flints found on the foreshore at

various locations and said it was of the same general age as the top part of the Norwich Crag (Table 2.1, p. 78). The Stone Bed, and any implements from it, would thus be about 1.0 to 1.5 million years old.

And about the Foxhall implements, from bands of black sediment in the middle of the Red Crag, Coles (1968, p. 29) had this to say: “they, and they alone, were stratified in such a position as to make their presence and fracturing in situ under the conditions envisaged by Warren most unlikely.”

This statement is not completely accurate. Capitan reported that the implements from the detritus bed below the Red Crag were also found in conditions that ruled out natural fracture by either pressure or impact (Section 3.3.8). As at Foxhall, the implements were found in sandy deposits, distant from other pieces of flint. Burkitt made similar observations (Section 3.3.13).

In any case, Coles (1968, p. 24) made this favorable comment about the implement-bearing layers at Foxhall: “Above and below were horizontally stratified clean sand deposits, showing no evidence of natural agencies sufficient to flake the flints found sporadically in the two dark layers.” The flints were also unrolled. Their sharp edges indicated to Coles that the flaking was human in origin. The random battering of natural forces tends not to preserve sharp edges.

Coles (1968, p. 29) further explained that the dark layers in which the flints were found “may represent temporary periods of land exposure during a general marine phase in this area.” In other words, the layers represent a probable habitation site. Coles (1968, p. 29) added that the relative rarity of the flints, as well as the fact that it was hard to account for their presence by natural means, indicated that they arrived at their positions in the dark layers in the Red Crag by artificial (that is to say, human) agencies.

“Unfortunately, however,” said Coles (1968, p. 29), “few of the flints found by Moir are convincing; a number are small flakes little over one inch in length, others are larger with edge flaking. One or two are bifacially retouched.”

The presence of bifacial retouch (retouching on both sides of an edge) is an extremely good indication of human manufacture. Leland W. Patterson, an expert on lithic technology, stated (1983, p. 304): “random forces could seldom produce a long interval of bifacially retouched edge that is sharp. Natural fractures tend to produce blunt and rounded bifacial edges, because of the steep transverse nature of most natural fracture.” That even one bifacially retouched implement was found at Foxhall is highly significant. It means that the other flakes cannot be so easily dismissed.

The fact that many of the flaked objects found at Foxhall are small does not rule

out human manufacture. At many sites, small flakes are regarded as byproducts of the tool manufacturing process. Another possibility is that the small flakes themselves might have been used as implements. John Gowlett (1984, p.144) wrote in Ascent to Civilization: “Microliths are very small stone tools, generally 3 cm long [about 1.2 inches] or less, made from small flakes or segments of blades. Usually one side has been blunted by the ‘backing’ technique, a form of retouching in which tiny flakes are struck off the edge. . . . flakes which lack retouch are just as likely to have been used as tools.”

In fact, microliths, which occur principally in the Middle and Late Stone Ages, are regarded as a technological advance upon the earlier large handaxe industries. They are typical of Homo sapiens, and are identified with highly evolved cultural activities such as agriculture and bow-and-arrow hunting. For example, Gowlett (1984, p. 145) stated that “the tools were sometimes fitted end-to-end, in a row, into a curved blade desirable in a sickle.” Therefore, small size alone should not lead one to label stone flakes “unconvincing” as tools.

Coles himself (1968, p. 29) noted that one should be careful in ruling out human workmanship simply because stone objects do not appear convincing: “it must be born in mind that a number of the flakes from a site such as Vértesszölös . . .

might also not have been accepted as demonstrating human workmanship if they had not been found on an undoubted working floor, in association with other human activities.”

Is there any evidence at Foxhall, in addition to the flaked flints, that might lend support to a human presence? The answer to this question is yes. First of all, the variety of flints and flakes found at Foxhall suggested a workshop location.

Second, Moir noted the presence of burned stones, a sign that fire had been used at the site. And, finally, as previously noted, a fully human jawbone was recovered at Foxhall, from the same levels that contained the stone implements.

Confronted with this uncomfortable fact, Coles (1968, p. 28) lapsed into the reflexlike response typical of scientists with strong preconceptions about what might and might not be found in strata of certain ages: “As far as Foxhall is concerned, the presence of the jawbone, quite clearly Homo sapiens, suggests disturbance of some sort. Perhaps local landslip has occurred, bringing an upper Crag deposit on top of a recent land surface, which itself overlay Crag sands in situ. ” But Coles did not provide any actual geological evidence that such a

“landslip” had actually occurred. Coles’s proposal adds nicely to our collection of examples demonstrating how scientists adhering to the particular view of human evolution now in vogue must often engage in speculative mental

exercises in order to bring anomalous evidence within the bounds of an acceptable time frame.

But despite his generally negative opinion about Moir’s discoveries, Coles nevertheless felt that three particular implements were worthy of further study.

These were: (1) “the undoubted handaxe apparently from the Cromer Till at Sidestrand in Norfolk” (Coles 1968, p. 29); (2) a handaxe from the Stone Bed at Whitlingham; and (3) a handaxelike implement from the detritus bed below the Red Crag at Bramford. According to Coles (1968, p. 29), these three objects were the “one positive source of support for Moir’s views.” Otherwise, Coles felt that Warren’s iceberg hypothesis was essentially correct.

Here we would like to emphasize that we do not share Coles’s suspicion that Warren’s highly speculative iceberg hypothesis is preferable to the findings of the international commission of geologists and anthropologists, who held that Moir’s implements were definitely made by humans. Therefore, we do not believe that the final decision about Moir’s discoveries must rest solely on the interpretation of the three test specimens mentioned by Coles. Nevertheless, they are significant, and we shall now examine them, beginning with the Sidestrand find.

Moir (1923, p. 135) gave this description of the Sidestrand handaxe discovery (Figure 3.17): “The specimen was discovered lying upon its flat undersurface, and firmly embedded in Boulder Clay at the foot of the cliff, which passed directly into, and was apparently part of, the underlying mass.”

Coles (1968, p. 27) mentioned that the Boulder Clay at Sidestrand, Norfolk, in which the “undoubted handaxe” was found, was apparently the Cromer Till. The Cromer Till is from the Anglian glacial period (Table 2.1, p. 78), which began about .4 million years ago. But the handaxe “is believed to have been transported by glacial action from the upper part of the Cromer Forest Bed” (Coles 1968, p.


In this regard, Moir (1923, pp. 136–137) stated: “The occurrence of this specimen in Boulder Clay, a deposit composed solely of derived material, makes it certain that the land surface, upon which the implement originally lay, must be looked for in some deposit more ancient than the Till at Sidestrand. Examination of the Cromer Forest Bed immediately underlying the Lower Glacial deposits of the Norfolk Coast has shown me that flints, exhibiting flake-scars of the same colour as those of Mr. Sainty’s specimen, occur freely in the Upper Freshwater Bed (the highest division of the Cromer Forest Bed series), and it seems to me very probable that the implement originally belonged to this deposit.”

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Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

The implement was quite unworn. Moir (1927, p. 47) explained this as follows:

“the glacial clay . . . very frequently contains portions of the Freshwater Bed, which were torn up by the glacier in its advance.” The sharp edges of the implement could thus have been preserved by the surrounding Freshwater Bed materials.

According to West (1980, p. 116), the Upper Freshwater Bed, as defined by J.

Reid Moir and his contemporaries, includes materials ranging from the last part of the Cromerian temperate stage, at .4–.5 million years b.p., to the beginning part of the Pre-Pastonian cold stage, at 1.50–1.75 million years b.p. (Table 2.1, p.


At 1.5 million years ago, the Sidestrand specimen, accepted by Coles as a definite handaxe, would be quite anomalous. Handaxes of this sort are usually attributed to Homo erectus, but according to the standard human evolutionary theory, at 1.5 million years ago, Homo erectus should still have been confined to Africa, where he should only recently have come into being. At .4–.5 million years, however, the Sidestrand specimen would be barely within the range of conventionally accepted stone implements in England. Let us now consider the two remaining test specimens mentioned by Coles. The first is an implement (Figure 3.18) “apparently from the Stone Bed at the base of the Norwich Crag, at Whitlingham.” The Whitlingham site is at the foot of a cliff near Thorpe, on the Norfolk coast.

Figure 3.17. Four views of a stone implement from the Cromer Till at Sidestrand (Moir 1927, p. 46). Coles (1968, p. 29) called it an “undoubted handaxe.”

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Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 3.18. Implement from Whitlingham, England (Coles 1968, p.

26, after Moir). Coles (1968, p. 29) called it “convincing as a handaxe.” J.

Reid Moir said it came from the Stone Bed bed beneath the Norwich Crag, giving it an age of about 2 million years.

Coles stated (1968, p. 29): “On the face of it, this object is convincing as a handaxe. Unfortunately, it was not discovered in situ but lay with fallen material at the foot of a tall section. . . . It is possible that this object came from the till and not from the Stone Bed although Sainty and Moir claimed it was definitely from the latter.”

But Coles (1968, p. 24) also said: “This implement is in fresh condition, and it is unlikely that it could have survived transport in this condition.” This observation suggests that the implement might have come not from the glacial till but from the much older Stone Bed. An implement crushed beneath a moving glacier would probably have had its sharp edges removed. In our discussion of the Sidestrand specimen earlier in this section, we noted that Moir offered an explanation why the handaxe found there was not worn by glacial action— it might have been incorporated within a large piece of Forest Bed sediment taken up by the advancing glacier. Moir backed up this assertion by stating that the glacial clay at Sidestrand does in fact contain intact pieces of the Upper Freshwater Bed. But this special explanation (which Coles did not mention) does not necessarily apply at the Whitlingham site. Therefore, the unworn condition of the Whitlingham handaxe is consistent with its being incorporated in the Stone Bed. Coles (1968, p. 24) noted that the Stone Bed at Whitlingham contained “abundant shells, in situ, and unbroken,” as well as “many slender nodules of flint . . . also undamaged.”

In addition to the handaxe, a good many other flaked flint objects were recovered from the Stone Bed at Whitlingham, England. In regard to these discoveries, Breuil said (1922, pp. 228–229): “Mr. Reid Moir was able to

retrieve some pieces in a stratigraphic position at the base of a cliff. That the enormous flakes found there were made by very violent human percussion cannot be doubted.”

Coles (1968, p. 24) stated: “Many of these Thorpe flakes were believed to exhibit deliberate flaking. The flakes include irregular forms with even retouch along one or two edges.” The presence of these other flaked implements “in a stratigraphic position” at the base of the cliff at Whitlingham tends to confirm the Stone Bed as the source of the handaxe.

The Whitlingham handaxe, if from the glacial gravels that make up the Cromer Till, would be not much more than .4 million years old. But if, as is most likely, the handaxe is from the Stone Bed underlying the Early Pleistocene Norwich Crag, it would be about 2 million years old (Table 2.1, p. 78).

Coles (1968, p. 29) said that his last test specimen (Figure 3.19) “was found at the base of the Red Crag at Bramford in Suffolk and its stratigraphical horizon is not in doubt.” He added: “It lay in the Detritus Bed in London Clay and was sealed by Crag sands. It is reminiscent of Chellean axes with triangular sections, but is considerably rolled; although it bears some 25 flake scars, and has lost all its cortex, the irregular nature of the object itself is not convincing.”

In another description of the same piece, Coles (1968, p. 24) stated that it was

“superficially of handaxe form, with thirteen flake scars upon one face, and twelve upon the other.” He added: “These scars appear to have been directed from a multiplicity of positions on the edges, and are sufficiently elongated to overlap at the center of one face, producing thereby a triangular sectioned ‘tool’”

(Coles 1968, p. 24).

The position of this specimen in the detritus bed beneath the Red Crag means that it is at least Pliocene in age (2–5 million years old). But because the detritus bed contains materials from land surfaces dating back as far as the Eocene, the handaxe could be as much as 55 million years old.

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Figure 3.19. Handaxe from below the Red Crag at Bramford, England (Moir 1935, p. 364). It could be anywhere from 2 million to 55

million years old.

All in all, Coles, in spite of his negative conclusions, can be commended for his willingness to discuss Moir’s discoveries. At the end of his review, he stated: “A fair comment on the East Anglian material would, I think, be concerned to point out that the typology of the claimed implements was not necessarily outside the range of variation known from humanly worked industries in Europe and Africa, but that we have very little information about the natural flaking processes available in East Anglia in early Pleistocene times, some of which might well have been capable of producing flaked flints including bifacially-worked ‘handaxes’; no natural sources are known today which could do this under observation. Our greatly augmented evidence about the chronology of early toolmaking in other parts of the world continues, however, to suggest how extraordinary it would be if the East Anglian Crag industries were of human manufacture” (Coles 1968, p. 30). This is an incredible line of reasoning. No natural forces known to today’s scientists can account for the production of the handaxes and other flaked implements. Nevertheless, Coles hesitates to accept them as the product of intentional human work.

It may be that in terms of the “greatly augmented evidence” available to Coles, human manufacture of the East Anglia specimens would seem extraordinary in terms of “chronology,” that is to say, their unexpected age. But in terms of the even more greatly augmented evidence presented in this book, human manufacture of the East Anglia implements during the late Tertiary and earliest Pleistocene would seem quite within the bounds of the ordinary.

In this regard, a modern authority, Gowlett (1984, p. 76), reported that four flakes and five pebble choppers were found at Le Vallonet, southern France, in old beach sediments dated 1–2 million years old. If we assign these eolithlike stone tools to the oldest part of their probable date range, they would be roughly contemporary with some of the East Anglia specimens, such as those from Foxhall. Gowlett called the Le Vallonet specimens doubtful, yet he mentioned them in his book. He did not, however, mention Moir’s discoveries.

3.3.13 Positive References to Moir’s Finds

We shall now consider some isolated examples of positive scientific reporting on J. Reid Moir’s discoveries from the latter half of the twentieth century. Cambridge University archeologist and anthropologist, M. C. Burkitt, who served on the international commission that examined Moir’s implements in the 1920s, gave favorable treatment to them in his book The Old Stone Age, published in 1956.

Burkitt was particularly impressed with the site at Thorington Hall, 2 miles south of Ipswich, where flint implements had been collected from the Crag deposits.

“At Thorington Hall bivalve shells with the hinges still intact have been collected from just above the artifacts. This is very important evidence for the prehistorian, as no subsequent differential movement of the gravel, such as might have caused fracturing of the contained flints, can have taken place, since it would certainly have led to the smashing of the delicate hinges of these shells.

Incidentally, too, at this site, as well as at Foxhall, the deposit in which the specimens occur is of a sandy nature and not packed with pebbles. So even if differential movement had occurred no fracturing due to the pressure of one stone against another could have resulted” ( Burkitt 1956, p. 108). That the implements were found isolated in apparently undisturbed sandy deposits also appears to rule out Warren’s suggestion (Section 3.3.9) that they were formed by icebergs crushing flint against the underlying chalk.

As far as Foxhall was concerned, Burkitt (1956, pp. 108, 110) stated: “At Foxhall the chipped flints were found at two different levels only, and this can be best explained if we consider that these levels were actually old land surfaces on which man lived, in other words that we are dealing with ‘floors’ or actual occupation sites.”

Burkitt ( 1956, p. 110 ) further stated: “The argument that the flints were chipped elsewhere by natural forces and later incorporated in these late pliocene gravels

cannot always be maintained. Small flakes, as well as large specimens, occur together and this would not happen under such circumstances, as the selective action of flowing water would cause the smaller and lighter specimens to be collected together at one site and the larger and heavier objects at another.”

Burkitt’s strong arguments in favor of actual living floors at Foxhall help resolve the doubts expressed by Coles and others about human manufacture of the flint objects found there.

Regarding Moir’s discoveries from the Cromer Forest Bed formations, Burkitt (1956, pp. 112 – 113) wrote: “For the most part these consist of large flakes carefully struck off from a core, the striking platform being unfaceted and frequently inclined at a high angle to the main flake surface. Although there is not always any further trimming, a sharp cutting edge has often been obtained. . .

. Occasionally more finished tools are found and rarely specimens of a core-tool type such as choppers, etc. have been collected. Essentially, however, it is a flake industry with which we are dealing. . . . It would appear that these chipped specimens were made by men who lived at a time when the earlier beds of the Cromer Forest series were being laid down, for a few undoubted artifacts have been discovered in them, and the horizon at which they occur probably represents the ancient land surface on which these makers of the Cromerian industries wandered, collecting the raw material for their tools from exposures of the stone bed below. Actually most of the Cromer Forest Bed is now also masked by talus.”

Burkitt (1956, p. 112) then delivered a striking conclusion about the implements discovered in and below the Red Crag: “the eoliths themselves are mostly much older than the late pliocene deposits in which they were found. Some of them might actually date back to pre-pliocene times.” In other words, he was prepared to accept the existence of intelligent toolmaking hominids in England over 5

million years ago. Because there is much evidence, including skeletal remains (as we shall show in our coming chapters), that humans of the fully modern type existed in pre-Pliocene times, there is no reason to rule out the possibility that Moir’s implements from the below the Crag formations were made by Homo sapiens over 5 million years ago.

Another supporter of Moir’s finds was Louis Leakey (1960d, pp. 66, 68), who wrote: “It is more than likely that primitive humans were present in Europe during the Lower Pleistocene, just as they were in Africa, and certainly a proportion of the specimens from the sub-crag deposits appear to be humanly flaked and cannot be regarded merely as the result of natural forces.”

Implements from below the Crags would, however, be not Early ( Lower) Pleistocene but at least Late Pliocene in age.

Leakey (1960d, p. 68) then made an important point: “It must be constantly borne in mind that although simple pebble chopping tools without any more elaborate forms are typical of the Kafuan and Oldowan, similar tools continued to be made and used by the makers of much more advanced cultures, just as we ourselves still use candles although we also have electric light.” This observation is essential to understanding lithic remains. There is no reason to suppose that crude stone tools, found in Early Pleistocene or Tertiary beds, must have been made by correspondingly primitive hominids. This is especially true when we consider that examples of much more sophisticated tools, of kinds universally attributed to Homo sapiens, occur in beds of the same Early Pleistocene and Tertiary ages (Chapter 5), as do skeletal remains indistinguishable from those of modern human beings (Chapter 6).

These discoveries are not well known, having been forgotten by science over the course of many decades or in many cases eliminated by a biased process of knowledge filtration. The result is that modern students of paleoanthropology are not in possession of the complete range of scientific evidence concerning human origins and antiquity. Rather most people, including professional scientists, are exposed to only a carefully edited selection of evidence supporting the currently accepted theory that protohuman hominids evolved from apelike predecessors in Africa during the Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene, and that modern humans subsequently evolved from the protohuman hominids in the Late Pleistocene, in Africa or elsewhere. This book is intended to supply those concerned with paleoanthropological studies access to the full range of evidence. Objectively reviewed, the totality of evidence, in the form of incised bones (Chapter 2), stone implements (Chapters 3–5), and human skeletal remains (Chapter 6), suggests that the current theory of an African evolution is erroneous. It appears that toolmaking hominids indistinguishable from Homo sapiens sapiens were present in habitable areas all over the planet far back into the Tertiary epoch. This does not, however, rule out the simultaneous presence of more apelike hominids, some of whom may have manufactured some of the most primitive stone implements. In Appendix 2, we catalog selected radical evidence suggesting higher cultural levels in the Tertiary and even earlier.

3.4 Breuil and Barnes: Two Famous Debunkers

of Eoliths

In paleoanthropology, we sometimes encounter the definitive debunking report—a report that is repeatedly cited as having decisively invalidated a particular discovery or general category of evidence. In the case of European eoliths, two papers are good examples of definitive debunking reports. These are H. Breuil’s paper claiming that pseudoeoliths were formed by geological pressure in the French Eocene formations at Clermont (Oise), and A. S. Barnes’s paper claiming to demonstrate, by statistical analysis of platform striking angles, the natural origin of Eolithic industries. We shall now review these two papers.

3.4.1 Breuil’s Attempt to End the Eolith


In 1910, Abbé Henri Breuil conducted investigations he thought would put an end to the eolith controversy. In his often cited report (“Sur La Présence d’Éolithes a la Base de l’Éocene Parisien”), Breuil said that for several years his attention had been drawn to the gravel pits of BelleAssise, near Clermont, in the department of Oise, northeast of Paris. Excavations there had exposed a bed of chalk, which formed the stratigraphic base for the overlying formations. Above the chalk was a bed of clay containing layers of angular pieces of flint, interspersed with layers of gravel and sand. Above the flint-bearing clay was a very thick deposit of greenish Bracheux sands, which belong to the Thanetian formation, at the base of the Eocene (Obermaier 1924, p. 12). Breuil concluded that the flint-bearing beds below the sands must therefore belong to the very beginning of the Eocene. They would thus be about 50–55 million years old according to modern dating. Some modern authorities put the Thanetian formation as far back as the Late Paleocene, at 55–60 million years (Marshall et al. 1977, p. 1326). Above the Bracheux sands were gravel deposits from the Pliocene and Pleistocene.

“With the onset of the discussions concerning the question of how the eoliths were produced, ” wrote Breuil (1910, p. 386), “I frequently thought that an examination of the broken flints at the base of the Bracheux sands of the Thanetian at BelleAssise would yield some interesting observations.” Breuil gathered specimens over the course of three years, carefully observing patterns of breakage. “I always avoided using metal tools to extract the flints, and also took care to reject those that had been subjected to contact from the picks of the

workers. It is somewhat easy, at the moment one extracts a flint, to examine its surfaces, to see if the fracturing has been produced recently, or if the breakage took place before the excavation. The surfaces of ancient fractures always have thin deposits of iron or manganese” (Breuil 1910, p. 386).

Breuil (1910, pp. 386–387) then stated: “Having noted, without any possibility of doubt, the presence of flints with fractures indicative of intentional work and retouching, and thus resembling what are called eoliths, I invited many persons to come and confirm the fact. Capitan, Cartailhac, and Obermaier were able, along with me, to collect these characteristic flint objects with their own hands.

Mr. Commont, with whom I had the pleasure of making an inspection of the flint-bearing strata, also collected some specimens. Furthermore, Commont found flints with features resembling intentional work and retouching in various Eocene exposures in Picardy. The stratigraphic position of the discoveries was the same as at BelleAssise.”

Breuil then described specimens that displayed retouching, bulbs of percussion, and striking platforms. Some showed regular bifacial flaking, typical of Late Paleolithic implements. Others had chipping confined to the side of the flake opposite the bulb of percussion, another characteristic of human work. But Breuil (1910, p. 388) warned: “If in our descriptions we use terminology that normally is applied to proper tools of human manufacture, that is nothing more than a convention, a manner of expression, and does not at all signify that we suppose for an instant we are dealing with ancient implements made by people of Eocene or pre-Eocene times.”

Breuil felt that human action could be ruled out with complete certainty because the flints were found in an Eocene formation. Like many other scientists, he could not imagine human beings existed in the Eocene, when the mammals known from fossils were, apparently, quite different from those of today. Breuil (1910, p. 406) wrote of “the absolute unlikelihood of the presence, before the deposit of the Bracheux sands or during their deposit, of an intelligent being, a worker of flint.”

But if human action were to be excluded, how, then, had the flint objects been produced? Searching for a natural explanation, Breuil (1910, pp. 387–388) wrote: “It is easy to observe that the flints have not been subjected to transport, for their sharpest edges remain intact. From among the processes that could have resulted in their fracture, one can therefore eliminate the mechanical action of water, either of oceans or rivers. Further examination of the fracturing gives evidence of a different kind of mechanical action, which was able to produce

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

facets and impressions analogous to those produced by intentional human work, or by energetic localized force. A bulb of percussion, more or less clearly present, is often found at the point where a flake was taken off from the surface of the parent block. One can totally eliminate a thermal origin of the fractures, because fractures produced by heat, in the form of surface flaking or cracking of the entire flint block, are completely different.”

Breuil (1910, p. 403) then presented specimens that he believed shed a very clear light on the mode of production of the “pseudotools” he had reviewed: “They are pieces of flint which were flaked while in their positions in the interior of the beds, the fragments remaining in contact with each other. It is easy to see that these fragments present conchoidal fracturing, with the production of positive and negative bulbs of percussion” (Figure 3.20).

Figure 3.20. Henri Breuil (1910, p. 405) found examples of flakes removed from parent blocks of flint by geological pressure in an Eocene formation in Clermont (Oise), France. Such specimens, he believed, showed that eoliths were not made by human beings.

Conchoidal fracturing is fracturing that results in elevations or depressions shaped like the curved inner surface of a shell. A positive (raised) bulb of percussion is found on the surface of a flake detached from a flint core.

The core retains a negative impression of the bulb. Breuil held that the fracturing that produced these bulbs of percussion was the result of geological pressure.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

But what about the further signs of modification that normally are present on even the

crudest eoliths?

To account for this, Breuil also described a few flakes, found adjacent to parent blocks of flint, that had some chips removed from an edge. According to Breuil (1910, p. 403), geological pressure caused this apparent retouching. He proposed that as a flake was detached, it rotated, causing chips to be removed from its thinner edge as it scraped over the surface of the parent block of flint (Figure 3.21).

We shall give careful attention to Breuil’s arguments, because similar reasoning has been used in attempts to discredit many of the discoveries discussed in this book.

For example, Hugo Obermaier (1924, p. 4) observed in his book Fossil Man in Spain: “The controversy concerning Thenay [France did not subside until the year 1901, when L. Capitan and G. d’Ault du Mesnil showed how purely natural agencies might produce effects very similar to human handiwork, one of the most important being earth pressure above the brittle flint.”

Figure 3.21. (1) Parent block of flint, found in an Eocene formation at Clermont (Oise), France. (2) Flake, apparently removed by geological pressure, found in contact with parent block of flint. (3) Opposite side of flake, with one edge chipped, apparently by geological pressure (Breuil 1910, p. 406).

In his report on the flints found in the gravel pit at BelleAssise, Breuil (1910, pp. 403–404) stated: “From the fact that the flakes found in connection bore signs of retouching, it can be concluded that retouching, bulbed flakes, and

blocks with conchoidal flake scars were produced here exclusively by compression within the interior of the soil. . . . If one attempted to reproduce, on an intact block of flint, either the retouching or the flaking, one would have to employ the processes of percussion and vigorous compression used in working stone.”

This might lead one to wonder whether geological pressure was in fact the actual cause for the observed effects. A modern authority (L. Patterson 1983) stated that pressure flaking very rarely produces clearly marked bulbs of percussion. It is not apparent from Breuil’s drawings how well developed the bulbs of percussion are on his specimens. Breuil (1910, p. 388) himself described the bulbs of percussion as only “more or less” clearly present. But if the bulbs are well developed, this would, according to Patterson’s view, make it unlikely that they were produced by geological pressure.

In general, the bulb of percussion, as the name itself indicates, is taken as a sign of intentional percussive fracturing. But perhaps Breuil was correct in his supposition that geological pressure flaking could produce clear bulbs and retouching, like those found on implements made by humans. In that case, no crudely chipped stone object should be recognized as a genuine tool unless found directly in contact with other unambiguous evidence of human involvement. Applying this standard across the board, one would have to reject numerous conventionally accepted stone tools, such as the many crude Oldowan tools of East Africa that were not found in the immediate vicinity of hominid fossils.

As we shall see, Breuil (Section 3.4.2), like S. Hazzeldine Warren in England (Section 3.3.7), found Eocene objects resembling not only crude eoliths but advanced tools of the Late Stone Age. Breuil and Warren nevertheless believed that all of these toollike specimens—the most sophisticated as well as the crudest

— were the product of natural geological forces. This implies that even specimens resembling very good Paleolithic implements should not be securely identified as tools unless found along with definite signs of human habitation. Of course, if geological pressure can produce very good “tools,” then even if such

“tools” were found along with signs of human habitation, one could not tell if they were produced by nature or by humans. In order to satisfy skeptics like Breuil, it seems one would have to find even the best sort of implement clutched in the fossil fingers of a human hand.

But perhaps Breuil was wrong to suppose that geological pressure caused the bulbs of percussion on the many specimens he found in the Eocene at

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

BelleAssise. His only evidence was the few bulbed flakes he found directly in contact with parent blocks of flint. Here we can refer to J. Reid Moir’s explanation of the same phenomenon (Section 3.3.6). F. N. Haward had found flakes in contact with parent blocks of flint in the stone bed below the Norwich Crag. Haward said they were removed by geological pressure alone, but Moir suggested the following. Before the flints were covered by the deposit, intentional (presumably human) percussion caused the formation of incipient bulbed flakes, which were later completely removed from the parent blocks by geological pressure or heat.

In any case, taking Breuil’s specimens as examples of pressure flaking, there is yet another problem to consider. It can be safely assumed that the specimens pictured by Breuil are among the better examples of flints found with flakes in contact with the parent block. But in studying the illustrations (Figures 3.20, 3.21), it is readily apparent that the flaking and retouching are extremely crude, far more so than that manifest on the other specimens of cores and flakes selected by Breuil as examples of pseudoeoliths ( Figure 3.22).

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 3.22. These objects, from an Eocene formation at Clermont (Oise), France, were characterized by H. Breuil as “pseudoeoliths” (Breuil 1910, pp. 389, 392, 400, 401).

Figure 3.23. A stone object discovered in the Eocene strata at Clermont (Oise), France (Breuil 1910, p. 394). It was characterized by Breuil as a pseudoeolith, produced by geological pressure. As evidence Breuil cited the presence in the same formation of detached flakes lying very close to the parent blocks of flint (Figures 3.20, 3.21). But implementlike objects as sophisticated as the one pictured here were not found with detached flakes lying nearby. This raises serious doubts about the viability of Breuil’s geological pressure hypothesis.

It seems, therefore, unfair to insist that the numerous better looking

“pseudoeoliths” from the Eocene at Clermont, such as those shown in Figure 3.22, must have been formed by the same process of natural geological pressure flaking that had produced the extremely crude flakes.

But that is just what Breuil did in his report: “By means of this simple mechanical process, which one is able to perceive quite literally, there have nevertheless resulted the fractures, cleavages, terminal and marginal retouchings

that simulate with extreme perfection the action of a voluntary agent with the preconceived intention of producing various elementary industrial artifacts, and, in exceptional cases, pseudomorphs of definite implements, not only eoliths”

(1910, pp. 403–404).

This assertion does not, however, very easily follow from the examples presented by Breuil. He would have been justified in making such a statement only if he could have pointed to examples of the better looking eoliths found in contact with the parent blocks. And this he did not do.

Also, some of the implementlike objects from the Eocene formation at Clermont were themselves whole pieces of flint, from which chips had been removed to form the working edge. The object depicted in Figure 3.23 provides a good example. The unidirectional chipping concentrated on the upper edge is typical of intentional human work. If Breuil had discovered the implement shown in Figure 3.23 with a dozen or more chips lying alongside the chipped edge, we might be less doubtful about his argument. But in the absence of such a demonstration, intentional human work remains a more viable explanation.

3.4.2 “Two Truly Exceptional Objects” (Eocene)

The unsatisfactory nature of Breuil’s geological pressure hypothesis becomes even clearer when we turn our consideration to what Breuil (1910, p.

402) called “two truly exceptional objects, of which the site of discovery, in the interior of the beds, is absolutely certain.”

Describing the first object (Figure 3.24), which he characterized as a grattoir, or end scraper, Breuil (1910, p. 402) wrote: “The grattoir presents a blackish green patina, extremely brilliant, which is present on only a small number of small pieces of flint found in the sands.”

The formation of patina occurs where the cortex, or rough outer surface of the flint, is chipped away, exposing the glassy interior to the atmosphere. Breuil (1910, p. 403) observed: “The great majority of the flints are without patination, and their fracturing occurred in the interior of the soil at undetermined times and places.”

Breuil believed the presence of a brilliant patina on a small number of the flaked flints in the Eocene formation at Clermont meant they were fractured before they were incorporated into that formation. “Consequently,” said Breuil (1910, p.

403), “it can be concluded that the fracturing of these flints occurred in pre-

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Eocene times.” Therefore the pressure fracturing mechanism that Breuil used to explain the eolithlike objects at Clermont would not necessarily apply to the grattoir now under discussion.

In further describing the grattoir from the Eocene of Clermont, France, Breuil (1910, p. 402) observed: “Its plane of fracture shows a clear bulb of percussion; the other face shows fine and regular retouching, principally on the working edge, with a point at the apex, and on the left border.

Figure 3.24. This flint object was found by H. Breuil and H.

Obermaier in an Eocene formation at Clermont (Oise), France (Breuil 1910, p. 402). Breuil said it was identical in form to certain Late Pleistocene implements, but he nevertheless considered it the product of natural geological pressure.

The chipping is less well-defined on the right side. This object is a veritable pseudomorph of an Azilio-Tardenoisian grattoir. ” Scientists generally attribute the Azilio-Tardenoisian stone implements to Homo sapiens sapiens in the Late Pleistocene of Europe .

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 3.25. A flint object found in an Eocene formation at Clermont (Oise), France (Breuil 1910, p. 402).Although H. Breuil said it resembled a Late Pleistocene pointed tool, he claimed it was formed by geological pressure.

Breuil (1910, p. 402) then stated about the grattoir : “That it was discovered in place, at the base of the Eocene sands of Bracheux at BelleAssise, is a cause of profound stupefaction.” Indeed it is. We can see no justification for attributing the highly sophisticated flaking on this piece to the kind of crude pressure flaking exemplified by the few specimens cited above by Breuil. It thus appears that we are confronted with yet another example of a stone object displaying definite signs of intentional human work being found in very ancient strata, in this case over 50 million years old. Significantly, it was found by Breuil and Obermaier in person. So it seems that even these two stalwart eolith debunkers may have unwittingly discovered an anomalously old implement of advanced type.

Describing the second exceptional object (Figure 3.25), which he characterized as “another very curious pseudomorph,” Breuil (1910, p. 402) wrote: “It is a very fine lamellar, or scalelike, flake, a little short, with, on its dorsal surface, multiple traces of longitudinal flaking, equally lamellar. At the point, the left side has some fine flaking on the dorsal surface; the other side shows fine chipping, like that produced by a burin. This object itself could be a micro-burin of Eyzies.” Les Eyzies is a Late Pleistocene site in France. It would have been quite remarkable to find a piece like this as a flake in contact with the parent block, and with the chips taken from it lying next to it. But nothing remotely approaching this was reported by Breuil. The examples he did cite and illustrate were of the crudest sort possible, being essentially nothing more than randomly fractured pieces of stone.

It is quite remarkable that Breuil should have included two technologically sophisticated specimens, of Late Paleolithic type, in his report without recognizing they were sufficient to demolish his entire argument. He skipped right over them, apparently genuinely unaware of their significance. But objects exactly resembling implements of the Late Paleolithic type, especially when found in an undisputed Eocene stratum, should not be skipped over. We can only request the reader to carefully consider what damage the demonstrated presence of toolmaking human beings over 50 million years ago in France would do to all current evolutionary explanations of human origins and antiquity.

Of course, one can always insist that the two remarkable objects reported by Breuil were products of nature. In that case, one could dismiss any stone tools, including conventionally accepted Late Pleistocene tools, for the same reason.

3.4.3 An Attempt to Trap Rutot

After describing the finds he had made at Clermont, France, Breuil launched an attack on the Belgian scientist A. Rutot, who had found a series of crude stone tool industries during the first decade of the twentieth century (Section 4.4). Breuil (1910, pp. 404–406) wrote: “Is it possible to distinguish the real eoliths from those produced by nature? We have read, from the pen of Mr.

Rutot [1906], that ‘the recognition and appreciation of eoliths is not simple or elementary, as many persons believe. . . . It can be in certain cases very difficult to distinguish a pseudoeolith from a real one, just as the task of determining the difference between the closely related Cerithes and Pleurotomes is not easy to accomplish at first glance.’ If Mr. Rutot were confronted with our flints from BelleAssise, would he judge them the work of an intelligent being, or simply curious and troubling pseudomorphs? Shown by Mr. Capitan a choice selection of our best specimens, Mr. Rutot, in the absence of information about their stratigraphic position, was willing to formulate his judgement. He considered them to be so well fashioned as to belong to the transition from the Eolithic to the Paleolithic, the Strepyan, according to his system, the primitive Chellean in French usage. According to Rutot, certain specimens ‘bear rudimentary traces of intentional work, as might be found in trial attempts.’ In others ‘the intentional work is of a much better character.’Another ‘has been utilized as a scraper, of which it has the character.’ Another long piece ‘bears on its end attempts at work, for making a dagger or piercer.’ Another is ‘a very good racloir [side scraper], very well worn from use and retouched.’ Another is ‘a very good

grattoir [end scraper], equally well worn from use and retouched.’ Finally there is a very good ‘throwing stone.’ Mr. Rutot considers the morphology of the flints of BelleAssise as characteristic of intentional work, surpassing the simple retouching of natural flakes found in eoliths, and marking the appearance of real intentional manufacture of definite tool types in the dawn of the Paleolithic.

Shown the series collected by Mr. Commont, from both BelleAssise and Picardy, Rutot gave the same diagnosis, though honestly acknowledging he had trouble with the Eocene age of such objects.”

If one accepts Breuil’s explanation that all of the specimens from BelleAssise were formed by geological pressures, as demonstrated by a few examples of crudely chipped flakes found in contact with parent blocks of flint, then, of course, Rutot comes off very badly. One can only conclude that the unwitting Belgian geologist foolishly accepted naturally flaked flints as objects of human manufacture. But, as we have shown, Breuil’s attempted explanation does not adequately account for all of the implementlike objects found in the early Eocene beds at BelleAssise and elsewhere. Breuil (1910, p. 287) wrote:

“Although parts of broken blocks of flint are frequently found still lying in close connection, this is not the rule, and one does not often find such cases, especially in the sand which is less compacted.” It would thus appear that examples of flakes lying next to their parent blocks (Figures 3.20, 3.21) were not all that numerous. Furthermore, the flakes found in contact with the parent blocks did not very closely resemble the many other specimens that Breuil called

“pseudotools” (Figures 3.22, 3.23). In particular, the flakes in contact with parent blocks did not at all resemble the two Late Paleolithic type implements found at BelleAssise (Figures 3.24, 3.25).

Therefore the assumption that all the specimens shown to Rutot were produced by natural forces is unwarranted. The presence of a few naturally broken flints at BelleAssise does not rule out the possibility that many others, resembling implements, were in fact made by humans, especially since the latter category display more elaborate patterns of chipping than visible in the few specimens demonstrably broken by geological pressure. It is, therefore, quite possible that Rutot’s judgements about the specimens shown to him by Capitan were entirely correct, and that Breuil had inadvertently been the discoverer of a new Eolithic industry in the Eocene. Worthy of note is the fact that Rutot found signs of utilization on the edges of many of the specimens. The hypothesis that implemental shapes with signs of wear on the appropriate working edges could have been produced by blind natural forces will induce in at least some

unprejudiced minds a sense of improbability.

3.4.4 The Role of Preconception in the Treatment

of Eolith Evidence

It can thus be seen that Breuil’s main support was simply his unfounded belief that humans or protohumans capable of manufacturing even the crudest stone tools could not have existed in the Eocene. His view was shared by Hugo Obermaier. Many supporters of eoliths have pointed out that modern tribal people, such as the Australian aboriginals, make eolithlike implements. But Obermaier (1924, p. 16) protested: “If, then, from the actual [modern] eoliths we should draw the conclusion that, for the sake of consistency, similar forms from the Tertiary must also be considered as artefacts, we should find ourselves forced to admit the existence of man in Oligocene and perhaps even Eocene times. For these Tertiary products are in no way less ‘human’ than the corresponding modern forms, and must therefore presuppose similar cultural demands. Both Rutot in regard to Boncelles [Section 4.4], and Verworn in regard to Cantal

[Section 4.3], urge the point that the flints from these sites—which really do conform most admirably to the human hand—‘appear to have been expressly made for it.’ Well, the same is true of BelleAssise!” It is obvious that Obermaier, like Breuil, was a prisoner of a belief that humans could not have existed in the Eocene. But this belief appears to have been arrived at independently of the available evidence.

Obermaier, citing the work of Max Schlosser, who studied fossil apes at Fayum in Egypt, further stated: “Viewed from the standpoint of palaeontology all this is untenable. The forms most closely related to the Eocene man of Clermont would be the Pachylemurae [lemurs]! The oldest known fossil anthromorph, the Oligocene Propliopithecus, was probably no larger than a baby. No one can seriously believe [wrote Schlosser] ‘that so small a creature could use such large stones as the eoliths. Neither could this be said of Anthropodus, which certainly did not attain the size of a twelve-year-old child. According to this, the theory of Pliocene eoliths must also be abandoned’” (Schlosser 1911, p. 56; Obermaier 1924, pp. 16–17). It should, however, be kept in mind that these statements were founded upon a carefully edited version of the fossil record that deliberately excluded discoveries of fully human fossil skeletal remains in Pliocene, Miocene, Eocene, and even more ancient strata (Sections 6.2, 6.3). But even taking Obermaier’s statements as they stand, they exhibit a questionable logic.

Obermaier should not have absolutely ruled out the existence of humanlike primates in the Tertiary simply because the only primate fossils recovered up till that time were nonhumanlike.

3.4.5 The Double Standard in Operation

Seeing the eolith question from another point of view, Breuil (1910, p.

406) stated: “It is established that the criterion for distinguishing these natural productions from flints truly used by man, or flints rudimentarily worked by him, has not yet been discovered, and probably does not exist.” Many authorities, from the nineteenth century up to the present, would disagree with this observation. The works of Leland W. Patterson (L. Patterson 1983, L.

Patterson et al. 1987), outline a combination of criteria (including bulbs of percussion, retouching, striking platform geometry, repetition of particular forms, etc.) for judging human workmanship in even the crudest assemblages.

Patterson (1983, p. 303) has stated: “Any experienced lithic analyst with a 10-power magnifier can distinguish fortuitously shaped flakes from unifacial tools.”

Breuil (1910, p. 407) did, however, admit: “One is not able to conclude from the discoveries at BelleAssise that there is no such thing as an Eolithic industry, no intentional work on natural stone flakes, no first manifestation of rudimentary tool types.” He then stated that “in order to determine the presence of an intelligent being something more than calling attention to signs of adaptation is required, because the work of nature and that of human beings can be easily confounded. The objects should possess a degree of intentional work that is particularly clear, or should occur in an assembly of circumstances that rule out natural causes, or demonstrate, by the association of food debris or signs of fire, that human beings lived there” (Breuil 1910, p. 407).

But in many cases supporting evidence of the type specified by Breuil has been found in connection with stone implements. The stone tools discovered by Florentino Ameghino in an Early Pliocene formation at Monte Hermoso, Argentina, were accompanied by burned earth, remnants of hearths, burned and broken animal bones, and even human fossil remains, yet these implements were not generally recognized by the scientific community (Section 5.1.1).

Summarizing his case, Breuil (1910, p. 407) stated: “It is clear that we have here many pseudomorphs that show extreme signs of ‘wear,’ not only eoliths, but types truly recognized as Paleolithic, such as the marvelous small scraper in figure 67 [our Figure 3.24]. If nature, in exceptional circumstances without

doubt, is able to produce objects that resemble advanced industrial types, perfectly defined and discovered in their normal geological position outside all possibility of error, there is thus very good reason to show caution regarding manifestations of the most elementary type of human activity, and to show great care before basing overambitious theories on such problematic findings. All this has been established in a definite manner and with all clarity.”

This statement hinges on accepting Breuil’s opinion that forces of nature are actually responsible for “types truly recognized as Paleolithic.” Nothing in his report demonstrated that this is in fact true. As we have seen, the examples he gave of flints obviously broken in place (Figures 3.20, 3.21) do not compare very well with even the cruder “pseudomorphs” he collected at the BelleAssise site (Figure 3.22). He also gave no real explanation for the highly organized chipping on the more advanced “pseudomorphs” (Figure 3.25). It would thus seem that Breuil himself was the one who was guilty of constructing overambitious theories on the shaky foundations of problematic findings.

3.4.6 How Scientists Cooperated in Propagating

Untruths about Eoliths

Breuil’s paper was quite influential and is still cited today as proof that eoliths are natural rather than artificial productions. As an example of how Breuil’s study was used shortly after it appeared, we can point to The Origin and Antiquity of Man (1912) by G. F. Wright, an American geologist. In a discussion of eoliths, Wright (1912, pp. 338–339) recounted how S. Hazzeldine Warren had shown that cart wheels rolling on gravel roads produced chipped flints like eoliths, and how Marcellin Boule had collected chipped flints resembling eoliths from machinery used for the production of cement. Wright, after lamenting that some scientists, like Rutot, were still promoting eoliths, wrote: “Within the year past, however, Abbé Breuil has apparently been able to give a finishing touch to the evidence discrediting the artificial character of the eoliths. We will content ourselves with quoting the summary of this evidence given by Professor Sollas”

(Wright 1912, p. 340).

Wright then quoted from Ancient Hunters by W. J. Sollas (1911, pp. 67–69):

“These [eoliths] were found by the Abbé Breuil in Lower Eocene sands (Thanétien) at Belle-Assize, Clermont (Oise). M. Breuil shows in the most convincing manner that they all owe their formation to one and the same process, i.e. to movements of the strata while settling under pressure of the soil.

The flint nodules crowded together in a single layer are thus squeezed forcibly one against the other, and flaking is the inevitable result. . . . In many cases the flakes are still to be found in connection with the parent nodule, lying apposed to the surface from which they have been detached.” Wright published a reproduction of Breuil’s drawing of some very crude flakes lying next to parent blocks of flint. Sollas had used the same drawing in his book. As we noted in our previous discussion, the degree of “workmanship” on the flakes pictured in these drawings (Figures 3.20, 3.21) hardly approaches that of even the crudest of eoliths.

The quotation from Sollas (1911) about Breuil’s pseudoeoliths continued: “They display just the same forms as other Tertiary ‘eoliths,’ ranging from the obviously purposeless to those which simulate design and bear bulbs of percussion and marginal retouches. Among the most artificial looking are a few which present an astonishing degree of resemblance to special forms of genuine implements; attention may be directed to two in particular, which are compared by the Abbé Breuil, the one to Azilio-Tardenoisian flakes, and the other to the small burins of Les Eyzies; in their resemblance to artificial forms these simulacra far transcend any ‘eoliths’ which have been found on other horizons of the Tertiary series” (Wright 1912, p. 341). Sollas implied that Breuil found at Clermont examples such as these last two, with flakes in place. There is, however, a little dishonesty in this presentation. Sollas should have mentioned that although some pieces of flint were found with flakes lying nearby, these were, although displaying, in some cases, bulbs of percussion and secondary chipping, decidedly nonimplemental in character. Of course, most of the blame lies with Breuil, who wrote the original report.

Sollas concluded: “On the important question of man’s first arrival on this planet we may for the present possess our minds in peace, not a trace of unquestionable evidence of his existence having been found in strata admittedly older than the Pleistocene” (Wright 1912, pp. 341–342). This view is still prominent today, although there are hundreds of discoveries, a good many of which are discussed in this book, that invalidate it.

The case of Wright and Sollas shows how researchers who share a certain bias (in this case a prejudice against evidence for Tertiary humans) cooperate by citing a poorly constructed “definitive debunking report” (in this case by Breuil) as absolute truth in the pages of authoritative books and articles in scientific journals. It is a very effective propaganda technique. After all, how many people will bother to dig up Breuil’s original article, in French, and, applying critical

intelligence, see for themselves if what he had to say really made sense?

3.4.7 Breuil Supports Moir

It is interesting to note that Breuil’s “definitive” 1910 report came before most of J. Reid Moir’s discoveries in East Anglia. Eventually, when Moir’s finds began to attract considerable attention, Breuil, and other scientists, went to England to conduct firsthand evaluations. Surprisingly enough, Breuil backed Moir.

M. C. Burkitt (1956, p. 107) wrote: “Messrs Breuil and Boule, who came over to see the finds, still maintained their skeptical attitude. Mr. Moir, however, was undaunted and continued his researches at new sites until finally at Foxhall, a few miles from Ipswich, he collected a series of specimens of such a nature that an examination of them by M. Breuil caused him to change his ideas completely and to join the ever-growing company of those prehistorians who believed in the existence of man as early as late tertiary times.”

It is noteworthy that such a conservative and cautious researcher as Breuil should have come out in favor of Moir. During his visit to England, Breuil had specifically searched Moir’s sites for any evidence of soil movement and pressure. But he found none. George Grant MacCurdy, director of the American School of Prehistoric Research in Europe, wrote in Natural History: “Breuil is authority for the statement that conditions favoring the play of natural forces do not exist in certain . . . deposits of East Anglia, where J. Reid Moir has found worked flints” (MacCurdy 1924b, p. 658).

Some of these deposits are found in the middle of the Red Crag at Foxhall.

About Foxhall, Breuil (1922, p. 228) stated: “There is a twin layer in the superior part of the Red Crag, representing without doubt land surfaces that temporarily emerged shortly before the final retreat of the sea during the upper Pliocene.” As we have seen, modern authorities still place the Red Crag in the Late Pliocene (Section 3.3.2). Breuil (1922, p. 228) added: “Here there are no causes of natural mechanical fracturing—no rolling, no scraping, no contusion, no flints found in great quantities of stone. The flints are scattered, not numerous, have sharp angles, and are small in size, just as occurs in a level where the products and byproducts of lithic industry are present. The signs of intentional flaking are very well defined, and one also finds waste products of such flaking. One finds flint cores. Bulbs of percussion are very certain. One finds the same types as at the base of the Red Crag [in the sub-Crag detritus

beds]. Furthermore I have noted instances of parallel successive flake removal.”

Moir himself (1924, p. 647) informs us that Breuil “definitely accepted the view that the sub-Crag implements were made by man.” In 1922, after visiting sub-Crag sites at Thorington Hall and Bramford, Breuil (1922, p. 228) wrote: “The level in which the flints are found represents a land surface that existed prior to the invasion of the Red Crag seas, which occurred in the upper Pliocene, bringing in a fauna adapted to the cold. There certainly does exist cause for mistaken identification of implements, such as intense compression of the soil, which, by means of mechanical action, many times produced examples of flaking and fracturing, including bulbed flakes, with edges showing chipping resembling retouching and signs of utilization. Nevertheless, there are some flint specimens that bear very well-defined bulbs of percussion, manifesting patterns of flaking that could only be obtained by removing successive flakes by repeated blows in the same direction. This flaking oftentimes gives the appearance of retouching, and absolutely resembles flaking of human origin. I am not aware of any action of compression that could produce these results. The mechanical action of rivers or the sea can also be eliminated as causes, as can thermal action.

There are some flints that show evidence of having been burned. I reject the majority of rostrocarinates [a type of eolith] as not being the product of intentional work, but I do accept as the true product of intentional work an important number of specimens. These are not simply eoliths but are absolutely indistinguishable from classic flint implements.”

Breuil’s statement that some of the objects from below the Red Crag were

“absolutely indistinguishable from classic flint implements” is highly significant.

The sub-Crag formations, which lie between the Late Pliocene Red Crag and the Eocene London Clay, could be anywhere from 2 to 55 million years old. We thus have a situation analogous to that at the BelleAssise site in France, where Breuil found in Eocene formations two “pseudomorphs” resembling classic Paleolithic implements of the Late Pleistocene. In the case of the sub-Crag implements Breuil stated he was “not aware of any action of compression that could produce these results.” This differed from the position he took regarding the two specimens from the Eocene of BelleAssise, namely, that they were produced by geological compression. Breuil’s views about the authenticity of some of Moir’s implements nevertheless add considerable weight to the conclusion that the objects found at BelleAssise were also the product of intentional human work rather than geological compression. One wonders why, if Breuil was prepared to accept the sub-Crag objects were manufactured by humans, he did not change

his views about the two objects found at BelleAssise.

Breuil, once an avid supporter of Moir’s finds, apparently became noncommital later on. In a late edition of Men of the Old Stone Age, published posthumously, Breuil and Raymond Lantier (1965, p. 56), in considering the Crag specimens, stated only that “traces of fire and a certain number of flakes might be accepted, though their angle of cut is generally against it.” One wonders why there is no mention of the objects Breuil (1922, p. 28) previously said were “not simply eoliths but are absolutely indistinguishable from classic flint implements.”

3.4.8 Barnes and the Platform Angle Controversy

Another important element in the eolith controversy was the platform angle test, promoted by Alfred S. Barnes. Barnes, who defended Moir against attacks by Haward and Warren in the 1920s, later became opposed. In 1939, he delivered what many authorities still regard as the death blow to the Red Crag and Cromer Forest Bed tools. But Barnes did not limit his attention to East Anglia. In his study, titled “The Differences Between Natural and Human Flaking on Prehistoric Flint Implements,” Barnes (1939, p. 99) considered stone tool industries from France, Portugal, Belgium, and Argentina, as well as those of Moir.

Supporters of the view that implements from the above sites were of human manufacture generally argued that natural forces could not produce the kinds of chipping observed on the objects in question. Barnes admitted that random concussion would not produce effects such as regular, unidirectional chipping along a single edge. He also felt that simple pressure from overlying beds, as proposed by Breuil (Section 3.4.1), was also not a very satisfactory agent, because it did not produce specimens with good striking platforms or clearly marked bulbs of percussion (Barnes 1939, pp. 106–107). But Barnes went on to give some examples of natural forces that, in his opinion, were capable of producing objects resembling eoliths. He called attention to some flints collected from the Blackheath Eocene marine beds at Stanstead in Surrey. At this site, by a process called foundering, flint nodules had descended 20 to 40 feet into cavities eroded in the chalk, where they were crushed by masses of large pebbles from the overlying beds. Some chipped flints were found lying in contact with the parent blocks (Barnes 1939, p. 103).

Besides foundering, another natural force that could, according to Barnes (1939, p. 106) and others, produce eolithlike specimens was solifluction, in which a

large mass of frozen gravel thaws and then flows rapidly down a slope.

Barnes admitted that judgements based on simple visual inspection of chipping thought to have been caused by foundering or solifluction were liable to be very subjective. So he proposed that attention should be focused on some measurable feature of the implements that could be objectively evaluated. For this purpose, Barnes chose what he called the “angle platform-scar.”

Barnes (1939, p. 107) explained: “It may be said of natural fractures in general that some really good pseudomorphs of human work may be found, but when a number of specimens are examined, examples of aberrant flaking will be present. These aberrant flakes either serve no useful purpose in connection with the supposed tool or occur in positions where they would not be found in human work, or present angles platform-scar which are obtuse. The angle platform-scar is the angle between the platform or surface on which the blow was struck or the pressure was applied which detached the flake, and the scar left on the tool where the flake has been detached.”

We find Barnes’s description of the angle to be measured somewhat ambiguous.

We have spoken with experts in lithic technology at the San Bernardino County Museum, including Ruth D. Simpson, and they have also been unable to specify exactly what angle Barnes was measuring.

In any case, in the angle platform-scar, Barnes believed he had found the objectively measurable feature by which one could distinguish natural chipping from human work. However, as noted later in this section, modern authorities such as Leland W. Patterson have extensively critiqued Barnes’s methodology.

Barnes (1939, p. 109) made these observations: “When we examine the tools of Paleolithic man we find that they are furnished with acute edges (less than 90

degrees) for cutting and scraping, for such edges are more effective for these purposes than edges with obtuse angles (90 degrees and over). There is a further reason why on humanly made tools we find that the majority of angles platform scar are acute and that is because the tool maker must be able to control the flakes he removes. . . . In the author’s experience of making flint implements he finds that for satisfactory control of the flaking the angles platform-scar lie between 20 degrees and 88 degrees.”

In order to be effective, the measurement had to be applied not to a single specimen, but to a large sample of specimens from the industry in question.

Barnes (1939, p. 111) stated that a sample “may be considered of human origin if not more than 25% of the angles platform-scar are obtuse (90 degrees and over).” Having established this, Barnes (1939, p. 111) delivered a devastating

conclusion: “None of the eoliths examined by the author . . . (Pre-Crag Suffolk, Kent, Puy Courny, Belgium, etc.) . . . comply with the criterion and therefore they cannot be considered to be of human origin.”

Interestingly enough, it appears that Moir himself was aware of the Barnes criterion and believed his specimens were within the required range. In 1935, four years before Barnes came out with his report, Moir analyzed his own specimens in terms of angles. He first noted that flint implements “are all, of necessity, made upon the same general plan,” utilizing “a more or less flat striking-platform in the production of the implements” (Moir 1935, p. 355). He then decided to examine “the angle of the secondary edge-flaking exhibited by a series of pre-Crag implements, a factor largely under the control of the flint flaker” (Moir 1935, p. 355).

The term “secondary edge-flaking” appears to refer to flakes removed from the edge of a selected piece of naturally broken flint in order to fashion it into an implement. Although one cannot say so with absolute certainty, the angle of this secondary edge flaking apparently corresponds to the “angle platform-scar” of Barnes. Moir (1935, p. 355) noted “Professor A. S. Barnes was the first to draw attention to the significance of such measurements of flint implements.”

Moir (1935, pp. 355–356) then gave the results of his study: “A quantity of pre-Crag implements to the number of 181, composed of 55 specimens of Group No.

1, 55 specimens of Group No. 2, 13 specimens of Group No. 3, 55 specimens of Group No. 4, and 3 specimens of Group No. 5, were measured with the following results. It was found that the average angle of edge-flaking of Group No.1 was 88½ degrees, of Group No. 2, 75½ degrees, of Group No. 3, 82

degrees, of Group No. 4, 79 degrees and of Group No. 5, 69 degrees.”

From these average figures alone we cannot verify that Moir’s samples met Barnes’s statistical requirement that at most 25 percent of the measured angles in each group exceed 90 degrees. But the angles Moir measured clearly tended to be acute, and he believed his tools satisfied Barnes’s requirement.

Nevertheless, Barnes believed he had demolished, in his brief 1939 report, every anomalously old stone tool industry found by scientists over the previous 75

years. For Barnes, and almost everyone else in the scientific community, the controversy was over. But factually speaking, Barnes was beating a dead horse, because the controversy about the eoliths and other Tertiary stone tool industries had long since ceased to be a burning issue. With the discoveries of Java man and Peking man, the scientific community had become increasingly convinced that the key transition from apelike precursors to toolmaking humans (or

protohumans) had taken place in the Early to Middle Pleistocene, thus making the lithic evidence for Tertiary humans a sideshow topic of little serious concern.

Barnes, however, could be seen as performing the valuable, if menial task, of sweeping away some useless remnants of irrelevant evidence. Thereafter, whenever the topic of very old stone tool industries happened to come up, as it still does from time to time, scientists could conveniently cite Barnes’s report.

Even today scientists studying stone tools apply the Barnes method.

Barnes’s 1939 paper is typical of the definitive debunking report, which can be conveniently cited again and again to completely resolve a controversial question, making any further consideration of the matter superfluous. But on close examination, it appears that Barnes’s definitive debunking report may be in need of some debunking itself.

Alan Lyle Bryan, a Canadian anthropologist, recently wrote (1986, p. 6): “The question of how to distinguish naturefacts from artifacts is far from being resolved and demands more research. The way the problem was resolved in England, by application of the Barnes’ statistical method of measuring the angles of platform scar, is not generally applicable to all problems of differentiating naturefacts from artifacts.” During a phone conversation with one of us on May 28, 1987, Bryan stated that application of the Barnes criterion would, for example, eliminate any blade tools struck from polyhedral cores. He also expressed a cautious belief that Barnes may have gone too far in trying to eliminate all of the anomalous European stone tool industries. Giving attention to more recent discoveries, Bryan said that Peter White has shown there are Late Pleistocene Australian tools that do not conform to Barnes’s specifications.

An example of an industry that apparently does not conform with the Barnes criterion is the Oldowan, from the lower levels of the Olduvai Gorge. At site DK

at the bottom of Bed I, 242 whole flakes were recovered. A striking platform angle could be measured on 132 of these. Mary Leakey (1971, p. 39) recorded the following results:

70–89° 90–109° 110–129° 130°+4.6% 47.7% 46.2% 1.5%

As can be seen, over 95 percent of the angles are obtuse. However, it is not clear from Leakey’s report exactly which angle was being measured. We discussed this with Ruth D. Simpson and her colleagues at the San Bernardino County Museum of Natural History, near Redlands, California. They were also unable to tell from Mary Leakey’s report exactly what angle was being measured. This is a general problem that we have encountered in our review of angle studies on stone tool industries. The vagueness of the descriptions of the angles being

measured by various investigators makes it difficult to compare findings and calls into question the scientific usefulness of such reporting.

As far as the implements from Olduvai are concerned, if the angle being measured was the angle used by Barnes, or an equivalent angle, then the Oldowan industry, although universally accepted, does not meet the Barnes criterion. Considering the extremely crude nature of the objects, which Louis Leakey said were comparable to Moir’s implements, it is remarkable that they have never been subjected to the slightest challenge by the scientific community.

This is probably because the Oldowan industry offers support to the African evolution hypothesis of human origins, which is accepted as dogma.

During the 1950s, the Barnes method was criticized by George F. Carter, who had discovered crude stone implements at various sites in the San Diego area, principally at Texas Street. The tools, mostly pebble choppers and quartzite flakes, were referred to the last interglacial. They were assigned dates of about 100,000 years, which violates the currently accepted idea that humans entered the Americas no more than 30,000 years ago, with most authorities adhering to a more conservative figure of approximately 12,000 years.

Reacting to attempts to dismiss the tools by the same methods used to reject the European eoliths, Carter (1957, p. 323) stated: “Comparison of the San Diego County material with that of Europe has severe limitations placed upon it that seem to have been missed by some people. The lithic materials are extremely different—quartzite and porphyries in California versus glassy rocks of the flint family in Europe. There is no frost action of solifluction or any related phenomenon in the San Diego area now nor was there any during the Pleistocene. There is no limestone area to founder and produce pressures.”

Specifically referring to the Barnes method, Carter (1957, p. 329) noted:

“Clearly, many of the usual criteria for judging the human authorship of stonework do not apply to such a tradition. Regrettably this seems to apply especially to the platform-angles method of testing which was so useful in distinguishing between human and natural work in England. Barnes’ (1939) platform-angles on a bifacially flaked tool are much lower than 90 degrees.

Those on flakes and cores of an industry such as that of Texas Street are normally about 90 degrees. It should not be overlooked that plano-convex tools normally have high platform angles.” Plano-convex tools are those that are flat on one side and convex on the other. So here we have another example of an industry that was accepted (at least by Carter and his supporters) as being of human manufacture and that does not conform to the Barnes criterion.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have reviewed a number of stone tool industries that appear to be exceptions to the criterion proposed by Barnes. If these industries can be considered exceptions, then why not any or all of the various Eolithic industries that Barnes rejected?

Leland W. Patterson, the principal author of a recent study on the stone implements discovered at the Calico site in California, has also examined the application of the Barnes method. At Calico, stone objects believed to be of human manufacture have been found in strata dated by uranium series analysis to about 200,000 years before the present. They are, therefore, like the Texas Street implements, highly anomalous. We shall discuss these and similar finds relating to the human settlement of the Americas more fully in Section 3.8. For now, we shall confine ourselves to studying the application of the Barnes method to the Calico specimens, which are quite similar to Eolithic implements.

Barnes angle measurements were used by L. A. Payen (1982) to dismiss the Calico specimens. But L. Patterson and his coauthors (1987, p. 92) believed that measurement of Barnes’s angle was not suitable for this purpose. Patterson defined the Barnes angle, or beta angle (Figure 3.26), as “the angle between the ventral surface and the platform plane” (L. Patterson et al. 1987, p. 92).

Patterson, however, preferred to measure the striking platform angle, which he defined as the angle between the dorsal surface of the flake and the platform plane (Figure 3.26).

Patterson observed: “For general lithic analysis, the striking platform angle is a better attribute than the ‘beta’ angle . . . because prominent bulbs of force on ventral surfaces of flakes can frequently interfere with ‘beta’angle measurement”

(L. Patterson 1983, p. 301).

When Patterson and his coworkers measured striking platform angles rather than beta angles, their results differed from Payen’s: “Acute platform angles were found on 94.3% of the Calico flakes with intact platforms as compared with 95.5% of the experimental sample. The average platform angle of the Calico flakes was 78.7%, with a standard deviation of 8.3%. This is consistent with the usual products of intentional flaking” (L. Patterson et al. 1987, p. 97).

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 3.26. (1) The Barnes, or beta, angle, measured on a stone core. (2) The Barnes, or beta, angle, measured on a flake detached from the stone core. (3) L. Patterson’s striking platform angle, also measured on a detached flake.

Why such a difference from Payen’s findings? Patterson and his coauthors stated: “A question can be raised as to the nature of Payen’s sample.

Only specimens that are candidates for representation as products of controlled flaking should be subject to analysis of platform geometry. A large amount of analytical ‘noise’ can be introduced by analyzing miscellaneous specimens of broken stone that possibly are not the result of controlled flaking. It is common in many lithic industries to find large quantities of non-diagnostic broken stone that are not the products of controlled flaking” (L. Patterson et al. 1987, p. 92).

This might be true of some of the anomalously old European stone tool sites.

From Barnes’s report, it appears that he was measuring mainly secondary flake scars on possible implements. He said that he would measure 100 angles, from about 30 tools. Thus he would measure an average of 3.33 angles per object. As far as eoliths are concerned, they are mostly natural flint flakes or blocks that have been subjected to some limited intentional retouching. So they should have

both intentional and natural flake scars. If Barnes randomly picked 3 flake scars per eolith for his measurements, it is quite possible that this would introduce enough obtuse angles to violate his requirement that no more than 25 percent of the measured angles should exceed 90 degrees.

Patterson and his coauthors (1987, p. 92) then stated: “Another source of error in the analysis of striking platform geometry is the confusion of secondary planes with true residual striking platforms on flakes.” Patterson (1983, p. 301) had earlier pointed out: “In collections both of man-made and naturally fractured stone . . . Barnes identified many specimens with flake-scar angles greater than 90 degrees. These observations must result either from incorrect identification of striking platform geometry or from incorrect angle measurements, if man-made controlled flaking or simulated controlled flaking by nature is being identified.

Core flake-scar edge angles, and corresponding ‘beta’ angles on product flakes, cannot be obtuse in controlled flaking. On a flake, the striking platform and

‘beta’ angles are most often incorrectly identified when a secondary fracture has removed the true residual surface of the striking platform and has left another flake scar surface which gives the incorrect impression that these angles are obtuse. It must be emphasized that intact examples of controlled flaking will have striking platform and ‘beta’ angles under 90 degrees. . . . Studies such as that published by R. E. Taylor and L. A. Payen that use

‘beta’ angles on flakes as the basis for concluding that the sites of Calico and Texas Street do not have man-made specimens are questionable for the reasons given here.”

Further emphasizing this fundamental flaw in the Barnes method, Patterson (1983, pp. 301–302) stated: “Previous investigators have obtained the impression that collections of naturally produced lithic flakes have many striking platforms with obtuse angles, but this appears mainly to be a case of incorrect identification of striking platform geometry. . . . Collections of naturally fractured rock often superficially appear to have a high percentage of flakes with striking platforms that have obtuse angles simply because so many residual striking platforms are missing and secondary fracture planes are incorrectly identified as remnant striking platforms.”

Thus even collections of naturally broken stone should satisfy the Barnes criterion, if the original striking platform angles can be properly identified. It would thus appear that the method devised by Barnes is not appropriate for distinguishing between the effects of natural forces and intentional human work on pieces of stone.

“Probably the greatest problem with the Barnes method,” observed Patterson, “is that it considers only a single attribute, and it is very difficult to conclusively demonstrate the presence or absence of human workmanship in that manner” (L.

Patterson et al. 1987, p. 92). In another paper, Patterson gave some guidelines for a more suitable method of determining whether or not flaked stone objects are of human manufacture: “Demonstrate the likelihood of human manufacture by combinations of key attributes. Studies of single attributes will always remain unconvincing” (L. Patterson 1983, pp. 298–299).

Among the key attributes that Patterson suggested were the presence of clearly marked striking platforms (especially those modified for better flaking), multiple examples of tool types, platform angle measurements, the presence of bulbs of percussion and associated ripple lines, and the geological context. Other attributes that might be considered are the presence of regular retouching, sharp edges (nature tends to produce rounded edges), and signs of parallel flake removal. This balanced approach is typical of the methodology applied by the original discoverers of the stone tool industries discussed in the preceding pages.

Let us now consider in greater detail some of the key attributes identified by Leland W. Patterson and others. Patterson considered the bulb of percussion to be the single most important identifying factor. With regard to Calico, Patterson and his coauthors stated: “Of the 3,336 flakes from five Calico units, 26.1% had force bulbs and were classified as diagnostic flakes. In the experimental knapping project, using hard percussion, 24.3% of the 473 flakes possessed force bulbs and were classified as diagnostic flakes. By comparison, flakes produced by mechanical crushing (pressure force) usually have a very low percentage of distinguishable force bulbs, as shown by samples of flakes from mechanical gravel crushers” (L. Patterson et al. 1987, p. 95).

Patterson (1983, p. 300) also pointed out that percussive fracturing tends to produce prominent ripple lines radiating from the impact point, whereas pressure fracturing produces finer ripple lines. In addition, percussion fracturing can result in the presence of eraillures, small chips removed from the ventral surface of the force bulbs.

Patterson stressed the bulb of percussion, force ripples, and eraillures as very important in making an identification because stone flaking by humans almost always involves percussive techniques, whereas naturally broken stone is generally the result of pressure flaking. Patterson and his coauthors stated: “To date there is no documented situation where natural forces have produced large concentrations of percussion made flakes” ( L. Patterson et al. 1987, p. 96).

In some controversial cases, Patterson has suggested that “the geological context of a lithic collection becomes important in determining if nature would have had the probable capability of fracturing rock, especially in a percussive manner” (L.

Patterson 1983, p. 299). He added: “The only published manner that nature can do much percussive fracturing is under high-energy, ocean-beach storm conditions. . . . viscous liquids and slurries inhibit high-velocity percussive interactions of rocks. Pressure fracturing gives different lithic attributes than the percussive-type flaking used by early man. . . . Another condition in which nature can break rock is when flint nodules are held in a secure limestone matrix and there is a shift in the mass. Here, it is common to see shear fractures that have none of the key attributes of percussive fracture patterns” (L. Patterson 1983, p. 299). Here we see that Patterson, in common with the original proponents of many early stone tool industries, believed that it is possible to clearly distinguish natural pressure fracturing from that caused by intentional percussion flaking techniques.

In regard to tool type analysis and distribution patterns, Patterson commented:

“Even if nature can produce lithic objects resembling simple man-made items, nature is not likely to do this often. Therefore, the frequency of occurrence at a given location of specimens with similar morphologies is important in demonstrating probable manufacturing patterns. Production of numerous lithic specimens with consistent morphology is certainly not a habit of nature.

Quantitative data on amounts of each specimen type should therefore always be presented” (L. Patterson 1983, p. 298).

Patterson warned against the type of purely speculative interpretation often encountered in the writings of critics of anomalous lithic industries. An example would be Warren’s suggestion that grounding icebergs were responsible for Moir’s specimens. Patterson stated: “Even the personal opinion of a lithic expert is of little value if explicit technological reasons cannot be given to explain an opinion, either positive or negative. . . . The comments of [C. V.] Haynes on the Calico site lithic collection are a good example of subjective comments, without consideration of specific lithic attributes that could distinguish man-made manufacturing patterns. A list is given of ways that stone could fracture from natural causes, and then an opinion is given that the Calico lithics are the result of natural fractures, without presenting any detailed specific qualitative and quantitative studies of the attributes of the lithic materials in question. This type of subjective discussion should be avoided, as it unduly influences general opinion without any real basis” (L. Patterson 1983, p. 298).

In light of the views presented by Bryan, Carter, and Patterson, it is clear that wholesale rejection of the Eolithic and other early stone tool industries by application of the Barnes criterion is unwarranted. As a rule, the proponents of the anomalously old industries appear to have reached their conclusions by sounder analytic techniques than the opponents of such industries, whose objections mainly take the form of suggesting, with inadequate supporting evidence, various ways in which natural forces, principally pressure flaking, could have produced the objects in question.

So what are we left with? At this stage in our review of ancient stone implements, we find that we have some very credible reports, by reputable scientists, of stone tool industries dating well back into the Tertiary epoch. We should, however, point out that our investigations, although thorough, are by no means complete. In the course of our research, which we can only characterize as a preliminary survey, we have had to leave many leads unpursued (Eolithic industries from Tunisia, Egypt, etc.). We fully expect that future editions of this book will contain increasing numbers of authenticated examples of very ancient stone tool industries, as they come to our attention either in the course of our own investigations or through submissions by others.

3.5 Cement Mill Eoliths?

From the late 1800s to the present, some scientists have challenged the human manufacture of eoliths and other crude stone implements, claiming that flakes of flint just like them are produced by machinery at cement factories.

Alfred Russell Wallace wrote to Benjamin Harrison on June 8, 1907: “I suppose you know that a considerable number of eoliths have been found recently on the high gravels of the New Forest, near Fordingbridge, by Mr. Westlake and others.

But the most important thing recently is the attack on the human origin of eoliths by the production during some process of crushing flints on the Continent of forms which are alleged to be identical with those of the eoliths in every detail.

Opinion seems to be strongly divided, but I have seen no really careful judgement after close comparison. Have you seen them? Can you not get a set of them in exchange for yours, and give us a careful comparison? That would be worth while” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 278).

“Harrison was alive to the challenge to the eoliths arising out of the alleged resemblances of battered mill-made specimens of rude implements,” observed Sir Edward R. Harrison (1928, p. 278). “He visited several brickyards and

cement works in order to examine the stones that had been struck by the revolving rakes of the machines, and came away convinced that the chipped stones so produced were distinguishable from the typical Kent eoliths.”

In one of his notebook entries for the year 1907, Harrison wrote of a visit to a cement mill: “Had over an hour’s search on the waste heap, but could find no

‘eoliths.’ Two bulbed flakes found. One or two stones, having been accidentally rehit near the same place, bore some resemblance to poor eoliths, but still with a difference” (E. Harrison 1928, p. 275).

The charge that stones randomly chipped in mills resembled crude tools was also made in regard to other Eolithic industries in England and elsewhere in Europe.

In 1905, Hugo Obermaier, with A. Laville, M. Boule, and E. Cartailhac, visited a chalk mill at Guerville, near Mantes, close to the Seine. Obermaier (1924, p. 11) wrote: “These mills consist of tanks filled with water, in which lumps of chalk with flint nodules embedded in them are rapidly rotated. In order to separate these nodules from the chalk and to pulverize the latter, chalk-lumps and water are subjected by means of turbines to a centrifugal motion of four meters

[thirteen feet] per second. . . . The eoliths produced by the chalk mills, equally with those found in river deposits, showed forms with either partial or entire retouch around the edges, notched edges more or less deeply incurved, specimens that might be classed as scrapers, burins, and even planing tools.”

But a modern expert, Leland W. Patterson, has pointed out a method for distinguishing between random natural chipping on edges of stone and intentional human chipping. Patterson (1983, p. 304) stated: “Lithic objects in nature are generally free to move or are loosely held by surrounding materials.

Randomly applied forces under this condition will tend to be very oblique to the edge of the flake. Fractures then occur transversely to flake edges in the direction of least mass resistance.” This kind of random chipping quickly removes sharp edges from flakes of stone. Furthermore, the chip scars tend to be of various sizes, rather than uniform in size, and tend to be oriented in many directions, rather than in a single direction.

Patterson’s own studies of crushed gravel from cement factories demonstrated:

“In crushed gravel there are few objects that resemble man-made cores. There are also no long sections of flake edges with uniform, unifacial retouch” (L.

Patterson 1983, p. 306). Eoliths and other early stone implements, it may be recalled, are characterized by unifacial retouch—chipping confined to one side of a sharp edge.

It thus seems that a careful student of lithic technology would be able to offer a

response to the challenge by Obermaier, who believed running water was a better explanation of eoliths than human action. One might ask if any pieces with sharp edges were found at the chalk mill at Mantes? Obermaier said he saw

“sharp edged types, and others in which the edge had been completely worn away.” He observed, “The sharp-edged types resulted after remaining in the mill from eight to ten hours, the others after a longer time in the water” (Obermaier 1924, p. 11). This evidence supports Patterson’s observation that random natural action tends to quickly wear away sharp edges, making it probable that sharp-edged Eolithic specimens with regular unifacial retouch were manufactured by human beings. Rapidly running water does not produce such effects.

Obermaier, however, tried to overcome this difficulty by proposing mechanisms that would result in only brief random percussive action on flints, a few hours over the course of perhaps millions of years. Here, as many times previously, we find a scientist eager to discredit unwelcome discoveries moving into the realm of extremely improbable special explanations. Obermaier referred to a deposit of Quaternary eoliths discovered by P. Wernert and R. R. Schmidt at Steinheim in the valley of the Stuben, near Württemberg, Germany. Wernert and Schmidt stated: “We were able to show at the site itself how the fragments of flint were borne along by the stream in the principal valley and suddenly drawn into whirlpools caused by the inflow of a tributary stream. By this means the flints were subjected to a strong rotary movement which, however, was limited and intermittent in action, and therefore did not result in such continuous wearing away as would transform the flints into rounded pebbles” (Obermaier 1924, pp.


Even if the whirlpool explanation is granted, application of Patterson’s method of analyzing edge damage should result in identification of these specimens as the product of random natural forces rather than intentional human work. In fact, Obermaier himself (1924, p. 12), reported that A. Rutot, who discovered a famous series of crude stone implements in Belgium (Section 4.4), visited the German site in 1911 and pronounced the objects found there to be

“pseudoeoliths.” Even a supporter of eoliths was apparently not as eager to see a human implement in every piece of broken stone as his opponents might have believed. He was able to distinguish a pseudoeolith produced by natural forces from eoliths of human manufacture.

Rutot’s own specimens were more sophisticated than Harrison’s eoliths. They were, nevertheless, sometimes called eoliths by authors who applied the term to almost any anomalously old and relatively unrefined tools. In the course of the

debate about whether or not Rutot’s specimens were made by humans, the German scientist H. Hahne concluded they were distinct from machine-chipped rocks. In his book Human Origins: A Manual of Prehistory, George Grant MacCurdy, a professor of prehistoric anthropology at Yale University, wrote (1924a, pp. 91-92): “After a careful comparison of machine-made eoliths from both Mantes and Sassnitz with eoliths from Belgium, Hahne’s conclusions are as follows: (1) the chalk-mill flints are all scratched and otherwise marked by the iron teeth of the mill; (2) the sides of all the larger pieces are bedecked with scars from blows that were not properly placed to remove a flake; (3) almost every piece shows more or less of the original chalky crust of the nodule; (4) anything like a systematic chipping of an edge or margin is never found, except for a very short stretch, where one would expect it to be carried along the entire margin; this is quite different from the long retouched margins of most eoliths; (5) the same edge is often rechipped first on one side and then on the other, absolutely without meaning or purpose (the ‘reverse working’ of true eoliths is quite another thing); (6) in the mill product, coarse chipping alternates with fine retouches along the same margin, while on the eolith there is a regularity and orderly sequence of chipping; (7) the repeated rechipping of the same edge, while others are left untouched, does not occur in machine-made eoliths; (8) the chief difference is between the haphazard and meaningless on one hand, and the purposeful on the other. The most prominent and easily breakable parts suffer most in passing through the mill. They are often retained intact, or only slightly altered to serve as a handhold on the eolith, and there is a logical relationship between the worked and unworked portion.”

During the early decades of the twentieth century, the recurring cement-mill accusations were also leveled against the finds of J. Reid Moir in England. But M. C. Burkitt, a Cambridge archeologist and anthropologist, rejected the various attempts to account for the chipping on crude stone implements by reference to mechanical agencies. In 1905, Marcellin Boule had published a long article about cement-machine chipping that produced pieces of stone resembling eoliths. In his book The Old Stone Age, Burkitt (1956, p. 104) noted: “It is certainly true that specimens showing a remarkable series of chippings are produced by such machines, but no mechanical machine or natural force can chip a flint, dealing the blows from only two or three directions, more or less at right angles to one another.” Burkitt (1956, p. 104) believed that some of Moir’s flint specimens met that criterion and pointed out that “a number of serious students believe that the Kent specimens [of B. Harrison] are really the result of

human workmanship.”

It therefore appears that in no case were opponents of anomalously old crude stone tool industries able to conclusively demonstrate that implements representative of these industries could be duplicated by the action of cement and chalk mills. Thus they failed to show that the implements were in fact the product of purely natural forces rather than intentional human work. Instead, various researchers, from the late nineteenth century to the present, have presented criteria by which crude stone implements can be distinguished from the products of random battering of lithic materials, and have shown that the stone tool industries under consideration satisfied these criteria.

3.6 Impact of the English Eolithic Industries on

Modern Ideas of Human Evolution

If scientists were to resurrect the eoliths of the Kent Plateau and East Anglia, at least granting them some serious consideration, then how would they fit into the current scenario of human evolution?

3.6.1 Eoliths of the Kent Plateau

First let us consider the implements discovered by Benjamin Harrison on the Kent Plateau. For the sake of the discussion that follows, let us set aside all the evidence for stone tool industries in the Miocene and earlier geological periods (see for example, Sections 4.1–4, 4.7, 5.5), and let us consider just the Kent Plateau implements. The reasoning behind this approach is as follows. If we take seriously the evidence for the presence of toolmaking beings in Europe during the Miocene period, then the whole story of human evolution currently accepted, with the Homo line originating in Africa and migrating to Europe and Asia during the Early Pleistocene, must be completely wrong. For the present, we just want to consider why the Eolithic implements of England, by themselves, present problems for advocates of the currently accepted doctrines of human evolution.

We have seen that the eoliths of the Kent Plateau may be referred to the Pliocene period in England. The end of the Pliocene is generally placed at about 2 million years ago, although some place it at about 1.6 million years ago (Gowlett 1984, p. 200). Hugo Obermaier, one of the important scientists working in the field of paleoanthropology during the early twentieth century, wrote of “the eoliths from the chalk plateau of Kent in southern England, which belong to the Middle

Pliocene” (1924, p. 8).

A Middle Pliocene date would make the eoliths of Kent 3–4 million years old.

Most paleoanthropologists now put the origin of Homo sapiens of the fully modern type (technically known as Homo sapiens sapiens) at a maximum of 100,000 years before the present. The immediate forerunner of Homo sapiens sapiens, technically known as archaic Homo sapiens or early Homo sapiens, would date back only 200,000–300,000 years. Homo erectus, the supposed ancestor of early Homo sapiens, dates back roughly 1.5 million years in Africa (Johanson and Edey 1981, p. 283), and Homo habilis, the supposed ancestor of Homo erectus, dates back only 2 million years. According to the standard account, the hominids of the Late and Middle Pliocene would have been very primitive australopithecines, none of which are thought to have been makers of stone tools.

Just for the sake of argument, let us suppose that the eoliths of the Kent Plateau can be referred to the very latest Pliocene, at about 2 million years b.p. This is, of course, too early for Homo sapiens. It is also too early for Homo erectus.

Even if we push the first appearance of Homo erectus back further than 1.5

million years, the 2-million-year minimum age for the Eolithic implements of the Kent Plateau still causes some problems. According to the most widely accepted scenario of human evolution, Homo erectus was the first hominid to leave Africa, and did not do so any earlier than about a million years ago. Thus even an Early Pleistocene date for the Harrison implements from the Kent Plateau would be problematic.

Up to now, we have been speaking of the standard evolutionary account of human origins, with the major transitions taking place in Africa. But there is a second, less widely held version of the human evolutionary process. According to this account, the transition to Homo erectus and Homo sapiens took place not in Africa alone but across a wider geographical range (Gowlett 1984). This means that the precursors of Homo erectus, creatures like Homo habilis, must have already been existing outside Africa, perhaps as much as 2 million years ago. According to some scientists, Homo habilis made the very primitive stone tools found in the lower levels of Olduvai Gorge, tools very much like eoliths. It is therefore within the realm of theoretical possibility (for some paleoanthropologists) that a creature like Homo habilis may have made the eoliths found by Benjamin Harrison in England.

One would thus have to make relatively few changes in current theory to accommodate the Harrison eoliths. But once such evidence has been condemned,

it must apparently remain so perpetually, with no chance of rehabilitation. Even scientists whose theories the tainted evidence might support ignore it. Why?

Perhaps because if some relatively benign evidence of this kind were to be resurrected, then more threatening evidence might also emerge from the crypt.

3.6.2 East Anglian Tools and the African Origins


The implements discovered by J. Reid Moir pose a similar set of problems, which were, interestingly enough, recognized by a modern researcher (Coles 1968). Some of Moir’s discoveries in the Cromer Forest Bed were referred to the Middle Pleistocene. Others, from the Red Crag, were referred to the Early Pleistocene or Late Pliocene. For the purposes of this discussion, we shall set aside implements from the detritus bed below the Red Crag, which could be dated anywhere from the Pliocene to the Eocene.

J. M. Coles (1968, p. 30) summarized his review of Moir’s East Anglian discoveries by stating: “in view of the evidence of early man in North Africa and in Southern Europe, there is nothing basically startling about the presence of human industries in East Anglia at the beginning of the Middle Pleistocene. The axe from Sidestrand, if it is, in fact, a paleolithic tool and not a neolithic roughout in an erosion pocket, suggests that man was present during the Cromerian interglacial period, or early in Mindel times. This would not be out of step with the evidence of man’s presence in Europe . . . during these periods, but the character of the handaxe is rather surprising. But even more surprising would be the existence of a handaxe tradition encompassing the Whitlingham axe in the Norwich Crag phase, or pre-Günzian age, which at the moment would seem radically out of step with our evidence for early man and early industries, in both Africa and Europe. The evidence for humanly-struck flints at Foxhall, certainly the most puzzling of all the East Anglian sites, if accepted, would extend back to the earliest Villafranchian, and would indicate that an enormous gap in our evidence for early man existed, if we were to maintain our belief in an African origin.”

In suggesting, however obliquely, that the belief in an African origin might be open to question, Coles is, in the light of the most widely accepted view, verging on heresy. The early Villafranchian stage, in which Coles placed the Foxhall tools, belongs to the Late Pliocene, extending from 2.0 to 3.5 million years ago (Section 1.7). According to our conservative estimate, the Foxhall site would

most likely fall toward the latter part of the early Villafranchian stage, between 2.0 and 2.5 million years before the present (Section 3.3.4). One would not expect to find toolmaking humans present in England at that time. According to the African origins story, one should find during that period, in Africa alone, just apelike Australopithecus, who is not thought to have been a toolmaker.

In Coles we see a modern establishment scientist approaching the point of giving serious consideration to one of the conclusions warranted by the evidence presented in this book, namely, that an African origin for the Homo line is a myth. Coles found himself confronted with a spectrum of anomalous evidence.

Some of it was mildly surprising to him, some of it more surprising. This is to be expected—that there should be, in the range of evidence ignored by the scientific establishment, a certain number of cases that approach the borderlines of acceptability. However, in light of the evidence we have thus far considered, and evidence we shall consider in coming chapters, it is clear that the Late Pliocene discoveries Coles found most surprising are just the tip of an iceberg of anomalous evidence that extends into the depths of the Tertiary and beyond.

We suggest it is the threatening nature of this vast body of anomalous evidence that might cause establishment science to steadfastly refuse to consider even the borderline evidence. One thing leads to another. If the borderline evidence is admitted, then the more surprising evidence comes one step closer to acceptance.

And then what very quickly happens, as Coles hinted, is that the African origins hypothesis evaporates. And then where would paleoanthropology be? Lost in a raging sea of evidence suggesting all kinds of impossible things. A strong sense of vertigo is bound to arise, because there is a lot of evidence, every bit as good as Moir’s discoveries, that puts human beings back as far as the Miocene (Sections 4.1–3), Oligocene (Section 4.4), and Eocene (Section 5.5). At that point, not only the idea of an African origin but also the whole concept of an evolutionary origin of the human species becomes untenable. And if scientists are forced to give up an evolutionary explanation of human origins, what does that say about the whole theory of evolution?

Those who have staked their prestige on the slogan “evolution is a fact not a theory” might counter that the evidence for evolution in general is

“overwhelming.” There are, of course, millions of species that might be considered, but here we are focusing on one, the human species, and testing the hypothesis of its evolutionary origin. In this defined area of investigation, we have documented overwhelming evidence contradicting the proposal that the modern human type evolved from more apelike predecessors. Trying to avoid

the implications of this thought-provoking evidence by bringing in ex cathedra claims of evolutionary progressions in the fossil histories of myriad other species is inappropriate.

3.6.3 Recent Pakistan Finds (Plio-Pleistocene


Resistance to the idea that representatives of the Homo line may have been present outside Africa around 2 million years ago is apparent in reactions to some recent discoveries in Pakistan. These were reported in a New York Times News Service story appearing in the San Diego Union edition of August 30, 1987. The story told of “reports from British archaeologists working in northern Pakistan that they have found 2-million-year-old chopping tools believed to have been made by early humans.” The reports were from the British journal New Scientist. The news article continued: “If such a significantly earlier time of migration is established, it would presumably mean that a more primitive species in the human lineage, Homo habilis, was the first to leave Africa and did so soon after learning to make stone tools. The prevailing view now is that the later Homo erectus, which had a considerably larger brain capacity, initiated the human migration about a million years ago.” To those accepting the prevailing view, the English eoliths, discovered in the nineteenth century, and the new Pakistani stone tools, both at least 2 million years old, present a problem.

The article went on to explain how mainstream scientists considering the Pakistan tools dealt with this problem—they tried to discredit the discovery.

“Sally McBrearty, an anthropologist at William and Mary College who has done research in Pakistan, complains that the discoverers ‘have not supplied enough evidence that the specimens are that old and that they are of human manufacture.’” Our review of anomalous stone implements should make us suspicious of this sort of claim. As we have seen, it is fairly typical procedure for scientists to demand higher levels of proof for anomalous finds than for evidence that fits within the established ideas about human evolution.

The New York Times News Service article then stated: “Like many experts, McBrearty was skeptical of the 2-million-year date because the discovery was made in a river plain, which is ‘not a good stratigraphical context.’ The sediment layers there have been so mixed up by flowing water over time that geologists have a hard time determining whether artifacts are embedded in their original sediments.” As previously noted, if this standard were to be applied uniformly, then there should be similar skepticism regarding many important paleoanthropological finds, which were also made in river plains and other places, such as caves, with poor stratigraphy. One good example is the famous Java man, the first bones of which were taken from a flood plain directly on the edge of a river.

Finally, the news service article stated: “Anthropologists also noted that pebbles

fracture easily as they roll through flowing water, resulting in shapes that can be mistaken for artifacts.” Do these anthropologists think that the British scientists who discovered the implements in Pakistan were unaware of this problem, which has been the object of serious study for over a century? As we have seen earlier in this chapter (Sections 3.2.3, 3.2.5, and 3.2.11), authorities ranging from Sir John Prestwich (1892, p. 256; 1895, and p. 625) to Leland W. Patterson (1983, p.

108) have pointed out that fortuitous damage to stones in stream beds can be clearly distinguished from intentional human work.

Now let us look at the report on the discovery of the Pakistani tools published in New Scientist, and see how it matches up with the newspaper statements of scientists critical of the find. In the New York Times New Service story, Sally McBrearty strongly suggested that the reported 2-million-year date for the Pakistani implements was very uncertain, but New Scientist stated: “These artefacts are surprisingly old, but the date is convincing” (Bunney 1987, p. 36).

McBrearty also claimed that the stratigraphic context was not good, hinting that if the objects were tools, they did not belong to the beds where they were found.

But the New Scientist stated: “Such doubts do not apply in the case of the stone pieces from the Soan Valley southeast of Rawalpindi, argues Robin Dennell, the field director of the Paleolithic Project of the British Archaeological Mission and the University of Sheffield. He and his colleague Helen Rendell, a geologist at the University of Sussex, report that the stone pieces, all of quartzite, were so firmly embedded in a deposit of conglomerate and gritstone called the Upper Siwalik series, that they had to chisel them out” (Bunney 1987, p. 36).

According to the New Scientist, the dating was accomplished using a combination of paleomagnetic and stratigraphic studies.

The New York Times News Service article left the reader with the strong impression that the objects in question were quite probably formed by random concussion in stream beds, and it did not mention any of the evidence in favor of their human manufacture. However, the New Scientist gave its readers with a more balanced treatment: “Of the pieces that they extracted, eight, Dennell believes are ‘definite artefacts.’In Dennell’s view, the least equivocal artefact is a piece of quartzite that a hominid individual supposedly struck in three directions with a hammer stone, removing seven flakes from it [Figure 3.27]. This multifaceted flaking together with the fresh appearance of the scars left on the remaining ‘core’ make a ‘very convincing’ case for human involvement, Dennell told New Scientist” (Bunney 1987, p. 36). So what is going on with the find in Pakistan? It appears we may have a recent example of scientists being unable to

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

objectively evaluate evidence that contradicts their preconceptions about the progress of human evolution.

Figure 3.27. A stone tool discovered in the Upper Siwalik formation in Pakistan (Bunney1987, p. 36). British scientists estimated its age at about 2 million years.

In this case, we find that scientists holding the view that Homo erectus was the first representative of the Homo line to leave Africa, and did so about a million years ago, were apparently quite determined to discredit stone tools found in Pakistan, about 2 million years old, rather than modify their ideas. We can just imagine how such scientists would react to stone tools found in Miocene contexts.

3.6.4 Siberia and India (Early Pleistocene to Late


Many other discoveries of stone implements around 2 million years old have been made at other Asian sites, in Siberia and northwestern India. Turning first to Siberia, let us consider what A. P. Okladinov and L. A. Ragozin called the riddle of Ulalinka. These two scientists reported in 1984: “Quite recently it was thought that the Siberia Paleolithic was not more than 20–25,000 years ago.

Everything changed after a Paleolithic site, bearing no similarities with any site known before, was discovered in 1961 on the slopes of the steep bank of the Ulalinka River, at the edge of the city of Gorno-Altaisk, the capital of the autonomous oblast. Stone tools of primeval man were found here in the form of cobble stones only partially worked over by a coarse chipping. Half or even two-thirds of such a stone retained its original pebbly surface, a kind of scale, which had been removed only at the working end of the tool, at its cutting edge. A person not acquainted with the technology of those remote times would have tossed this stone away, seeing nothing striking in it. But the stone from Ulalinka can tell an archaeologist, a specialist in such things, a great deal” (Okladinov and Ragozin 1984, p. 5). Six hundred such tools were found at Ulalinka.

After the discovery of the implements, geologists dated the Ulalinka site at 40,000 years. This dating poses no particular problems for modern ideas about human evolution. The tools could have been made by anatomically modern Homo sapiens, or perhaps by some late survivals of a Neanderthal population in Siberia. But subsequent studies put the Ulalinka site in the late Middle Pleistocene, giving ages that range from 150,000 to 400,000 years (Okladinov and Ragozin 1984, pp. 5–6). Then, in 1977, Okladinov and Ragozin conducted new excavations and determined that the implement-bearing stratum was much older than scientists previously thought. They stated: “the pebble tools belong to the middle part of the Kochkov horizon, the Podpusk-Lebiazh’e layers, formed roughly 2.5 million to 1.5 million years ago. This conclusion was confirmed by thermoluminescent analysis done by A. I. Shliukov, Director of the Geochronology Group of the Faculty of Geography of the Moscow State University. . . . it was found that the cultural layer with the Ulalinka pebble tools was more than 1.5 million years old” (Okladinov and Ragozin 1984, pp. 11–12).

The faunal remains at the site were comparable to the middle Villafranchian (Early Pleistocene or Late Pliocene) of Europe (Okladinov and Ragozin 1984, p.


Okladinov and Ragozin (1984, p. 12) also reported: “Similar pebble tools were found in China, together with two knives made of hominid incisor teeth. This is the so-called Yuanmou man. His age, according to paleomagnetic data, is from 1.5 to 3.1 million years; the accepted date is 1.7 million years.”

Okladinov and Ragozin (1984, p. 14) then posed a question: “was the Ulalinka man an aborigine or did he come in from somewhere else?” It was possible, they stated, that the ancestors of Ulalinka man had migrated from Africa. If so, the migration must have occurred well over 1.5 million years ago, and the being that

migrated would therefore have been Homo habilis.

But the Russian scientists apparently had some patriotic impulse, and favored the idea that the ancestors of the Ulalinka hominid had not migrated from elsewhere.

Okladinov and Ragozin (1984, pp. 15–19) therefore proposed an extensive search for skeletal remains of a possible ancestor of Ulalinka man in Siberia, hinting that Siberia, not Africa, might very well have been the cradle of humanity. In a paleoanthropological reflection of the wider Sino-Soviet conflict, Okladinov and Ragozin (1984, p. 18) proposed: “It is not impossible that Sinanthropus [Peking man] stems from the Ulalinka hominids.” In other words, China man came from Russia man. The Chinese, however, believed the reverse to be true.

Okladinov and Ragozin were not the first scientists to broach the idea that human beings evolved within the borders of the former Soviet Union. Alexander Mongait, an archeologist, wrote (1959, p. 64): “today it may be surmised that Transcaucasia was within the vast zone where man first appeared. . . . In 1939, the remains of an anthropoid ape, which lived at the end of the Tertiary period, was found in Eastern Georgia in a locality called Udabno. It was named Udabnopithec. This find confirmed the possibility that mankind originated in Trans-Caucasia (in addition to other regions embracing South Asia, South Europe, and Northeast Africa). But in order to substantiate this hypothesis, science needed the chief link—if not the remains of primitive man himself, then at least the most ancient implements of labor. In 1946–48, S. M. Sardaryan and M. Z. Panichkina, while surveying Satani-dar (Mount Satan), which is situated close to Mount Bogutlu in Armenia, found crude obsidian implements of the most ancient forms dating from the Chellean period; to date, these implements are the most ancient of the archaeological finds in the U.S.S.R. and make up yet another link in the chain of facts proving that the southern areas of the Soviet Union were part of the region where man grew out of the animal state.”

Another scientist, Yuri Mochanov, discovered stone tools resembling the European eoliths at a site overlooking the Lena River at Diring Yurlakh, Siberia.

The formations from which these implements were recovered were dated by potassium-argon and magnetic methods to 1.8 million years before the present.

Mochanov, leaving aside the standard African origins concept, proposed the simultaneous emergence of man in Siberia and Africa during the very early Pleistocene. Mochanov stated: “I couldn’t believe my eye, at first. After all, I had always argued against finding such primitive pebble tools in this part of Siberia” (Daniloff and Kopf 1986). Some have argued that Siberia was too cold

for human habitation. But Pavel Melnikov, director of the Permafrost Institute at Yakutsk, stated that “paleobotanists, studying pollens and seeds in ancient layers, have concluded that the Siberian climate a million years ago was much like today and could have supported people” (Daniloff and Kopf 1986). There is no reason to rule out the possibility that these toolmaking people might have been very much like modern Homo sapiens. And here is something else to consider—

if the climate was like that of today these ancient Siberians surely would have needed clothing, indicating an advanced level of culture.

Recent evidence from India also takes us back about 2 million years. Many discoveries of stone tools have been made in the Siwalik Hills region of northwestern India. The Siwaliks derive their name from the demigod Shiva (Sanskrit Siva), the lord of the forces of universal destruction. Roop Narain Vasishat, an anthropologist at Punjab University, objected strongly to the idea that “the Siwalik hominoids did not evolve into hominids and the prehistoric stone tool making man in this region was an intruder from outside” (1985, pp.

xiv–xv). Some Indian scientists, like the Russians and Chinese, believe that the key steps in human evolution took place within their nation.

In 1981, Anek Ram Sankhyan, of the Anthropological Survey of India, North Western Region, reported: “the author recovered a Palaeolithic implement from the Upper Siwalik horizon, about 8 kms [5 miles] east of Haritalyangar village”

(1981, p. 358). Sankhyan offered this description of the implement: “The stone tool under reference is a typical Bifacial Chopper made on a large darkcoloured quartzite cobble, 12.5 cm [4.9 inches] in length, 9.3 cm [3.7 inches] in breadth, and 6.5 cm [2.6 inches] in maximum thickness at the butt end. The core exhibits multiple flaking scars on nearly half of its surface on both sides forming a sharp and broad cutting edge. One surface is smoothly flaked and tapering whereas the other carried a large and deep flake scar, besides other smaller flake scars near the edge. The butt end is unworked and rounded for a comfortable grasp” (1981, pp. 358–359).

On the age of the implement, Sankhyan (1981, p. 358) reported: “The stone tool was recovered from a thin band of pebbles distributed in patches over a grey shale horizon. . . . Prasad (1971) assigns these beds to the Tatrot Formation (Upper Pliocene).” Sankhyan subsequently discovered many more stone tools apparently from the same Tatrot horizon (1983, pp. 126–127). Other Indian researchers have made similar finds in the same area.

The above-mentioned Siberian and Indian discoveries, at 1.5–2.5 million years old, do not agree very well with the standard view that Homo erectus was the

first representative of the Homo line to emigrate from Africa, doing so about a million years ago. But, as previously mentioned, they might agree with the view that creatures like Homo habilis migrated from Africa about 2 million years ago.

One prominent scientist expressing this view is John Gowlett of Oxford. Gowlett wrote (1984 p. 59): “Although it is sometimes suggested that human occupation of the East only started with the migration of Homo [ erectus] from Africa at the beginning of the Pleistocene, this seems unlikely. Some of the very first fossil hominid remains ever found are those of Homo erectus from Java, which can hardly have been the first stop on a migration route. In addition to these historic finds made by Eugene Dubois in 1891 near the Solo River, other more primitive specimens have since been discovered in the older Djetis beds.” The Djetis beds were given a potassium-argon date of 1.9 million years (Jacob 1972; Gowlett 1984, p. 59). But subsequent tests (Bartstra 1978; Nilsson 1983, p. 329) gave the Djetis beds a far younger date of less than 1 million years. In Chapter 7, we shall see that the Java Homo erectus discoveries are, however, all highly questionable, because they are practically all surface discoveries. This means that the stratigraphic context, and consequently the dates, are not firmly established.

In any case, Gowlett (1984, p. 58) proposed: “Human evolution is likely to have taken place across a continuous band of the tropics and subtropics. . . . our only certain evidence comes from a thin scattering of archaeological sites and human remains. These testify directly to the early occupation of large areas, including southern Africa and the Far East, from 2 or 3 million years ago.” Gowlett did not offer very much further in the way of detail, but from the whole of his discussion it would appear he was suggesting that Homo habilis and perhaps even the australopithecines were spread widely throughout this region 2–3 million years ago. In this case, why did Gowlett not mention the Eolithic implements of England, also 2–3 million years old? It would seem they would have lent support to his hypothesis.

There come to mind at least three reasons why Gowlett did not mention the English eoliths in connection with his hypotheses about human evolution: (1) he was aware of the discoveries of Harrison, Moir, and others, but accepted the verdict of Barnes and others that they were products of natural forces; (2) he was aware of the Early Pleistocene and Late Pliocene eoliths of England but hesitated to mention them because of their embarrassing connection with older eoliths from the Early Pliocene, Miocene, and earlier periods; (3) he was unaware of the discoveries.

Many modern students of paleoanthropology are in fact completely unaware of

reports of crude stone tool industries from the Tertiary and early Quaternary.

Why? The eolith evidence was buried decades ago by skeptical scientists, at a time when it did not fit in so well with then current theories of human evolution.

During the 1930s, the oldest human ancestors completely accepted by science were the Java Homo erectus and Peking Homo erectus, which dated back to the Middle Pleistocene, about a half million years ago. This did not leave any place for a toolmaking being in England during the Early Pleistocene, 1–2 million years ago or Late Pliocene, 2–3 million years ago. Now, the understanding of human evolution has changed, and there are some versions with which the English eolith evidence seems somewhat compatible. But hardly any scientists are now familiar with the discoveries of Harrison or Moir. So here is a good argument for not burying controversial evidence so deeply that it is hardly remembered—it may become relevant in light of future developments.

Again, it should be kept clearly in mind that in discussing how the English eoliths relate to modern evolutionary scenarios centering on a Late Pleistocene origin of the human species, we are deliberately excluding from consideration the extensive evidence (in the form of incised and broken animal bones, stone implements, and modern human skeletal remains) that places humans of the modern type in the Early Pliocene, the Miocene, and even more distant geological periods. When this evidence is admitted into the discussion, as we believe it should be, the discovery of stone implements in the Pliocene in England or anywhere else poses no particular problems.

Where has all of the preceding discussion left us? The main conclusion is that most modern paleoanthropologists are unable to cope with stone tools from periods and places that even slightly deviate from entrenched ideas about the time for the migration of the Homo line out of its Africa homeland. Evidence is submitted to intense negative criticism for no other reason than that it conflicts with established views. If this is true of evidence that lies on the very borderline of acceptability, then what kind of treatment can one expect for otherwise good evidence that happens to lie completely beyond the range of current expectations, such as the Miocene implements discovered in France and Portugal (Sections 4.1–3)? Silence and ridicule are the receptions most likely to be encountered.

Of course, even after having heard all of the arguments for eoliths being of human manufacture, arguments which will certainly prove convincing to many, some might still legitimately maintain a degree of doubt. Could such a person, it might be asked, be forgiven for not accepting the eoliths? The answer to that

question is a qualified yes. The qualification is that one should then reject other stone tool industries of a similar nature. This would mean the rejection of large amounts of currently accepted lithic evidence, including for example, the Oldowan industries of East Africa and the crude stone tool industry of Zhoukoudian (Choukoutien) in China.

3.7 Acceptable Eoliths: The Stone Tools of

Zhoukoudian and Olduvai Gorge

We shall now examine some stone tools broadly similar to but in some cases even more primitive than European eoliths such as those found by Benjamin Harrison and J. Reid Moir. Unlike the European eoliths, these implements are unquestioningly accepted by modern paleoanthropologists. It would seem, however, that if tools comparable to the European eoliths are considered genuine, then to be consistent, the European eoliths should also be accepted as genuine.

3.7.1 Accepted Implements from Zhoukoudian

(Middle Pleistocene)

One industry similar to the European Eolithic industries is that found at Zhoukoudian, the site of the Peking man discoveries. The Zhoukoudian tools, comprising natural flakes modified with unifacial chipping, compare favorably with the European eoliths. In fact, the crudeness of the tools at Zhoukoudian (Figure 3.28) was unexpected. Peking man was classified as Homo erectus, who in Europe and Africa was usually associated with the more advanced bifacially flaked Acheulean implements. Anthropologist Alan Lyle Bryan (1986, p. 7) stated: “less than 2% of the 100,000 artifacts recovered from the living floors at Zhoukoudian Locality I exhibit bifacial edge retouch.”

Zhang Shensui of China described the implements from the lower levels of Locality 1 at Zhoukoudian: “Tools fashioned from cores, pebbles and small chunks of stone outnumber those made on flake blanks. This assemblage is typologically simple, consisting primarily of choppers and scrapers. Points and gravers occur only rarely and are very crudely retouched” (Zhang 1985, p. 168).

When illustrations of the eoliths found on the Kent Plateau and in East Anglia (Figures 3.3, p. 95; 3.6, p. 121; 3.12, and p. 136) are set alongside those of tools

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

from Zhoukoudian, we do not notice much of a difference in workmanship.

Figure 3.28. These tools from the Zhoukoudian cave seem cruder than the anomalously old Pliocene and Miocene eoliths of Europe (Black et.

al. 1933, pp. 115, 131, 132).

3.7.2 The Oldowan Industry (Early Pleistocene)

A second industry very much like the European eoliths is the Oldowan industry, initially discovered by Mary and Louis Leakey in Beds I and II of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, during the 1930s. Many of the Oldowan implements were described by Mary Leakey in the third volume of Olduvai Gorge, published by the Cambridge University Press in 1971.

From the published reports, which is all we really have to go on, it is not possible to easily distinguish European eoliths, such as those collected by Harrison on the Kent Plateau, from some of the Oldowan tools. This is readily seen in the illustrations in Mary Leakey’s book, which show the apparent identity between the two types. Although made of different kinds of stone, they look remarkably alike. Furthermore, Leakey’s verbal descriptions could just as well be applied to eoliths. One might say that there are subtle distinctions not revealed in the reports, but then what does that say about the quality of scientific reporting on stone tool industries?

Mary Leakey stated that the Oldowan industry was found in locations ranging from upper Bed I to the base of Bed II at Olduvai Gorge. Describing the primary Oldowan industry, she stated: “It is characterised by choppers of various forms, polyhedrons, discoids, scrapers, occasional hammer stones, utilised cobbles and

lightduty utilised flakes” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 1). In Bed II, Leakey found an industry she called Developed Oldowan, which contained more spheroid types than the Oldowan. Bed II also yielded a second industry, Developed Oldowan B, which contained some bifacially flaked tools (less than 40 percent of the assemblage). Bifacially flaked tools are those with chipping on both surfaces of the edges. In the upper part of Middle Bed II, there occurred Acheulean assemblages, in which more than 40 percent of the tools were bifacially flaked.

Even these were still quite crude. According to Leakey, “The Acheulean appears to be an early form in which the bifaces exhibit minimal flaking and considerable individual variation” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 2). The Acheulean type of Olduvai appears to correspond with the Paleolithic implements described by Harrison and Prestwich, while the Oldowan type, especially its unifacially flaked specimens, appears to roughly correspond with the flint implements described as eoliths. We shall mainly concern ourselves with the Oldowan industry.

The majority of the Oldowan tools were classified as “choppers,” made of volcanic cobblestone and also of quartz and quartzite. Leakey stated: “These are essentially jagged and lack secondary trimming, although utilisation has often resulted in the edges having been chipped and blunted” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 1).

In other words, these are even cruder than the eoliths of the Kent Plateau, most of which display some form of intentional secondary trimming. Careful searching, however, has failed to reveal a single published challenge to the authenticity of the Oldowan specimens as genuine human artifacts.

One might argue that hominid fossils have been recovered at Olduvai Gorge, while none were found on the Kent Plateau. It should, however, be noted that crude stone tools were being excavated at Olduvai Gorge by Louis and Mary Leakey for decades before any currently accepted hominid fossil remains were recovered. In 1959, the Leakeys discovered the first fossil bones of a new primitive apelike hominid, which they regarded as humanlike and named Zinjanthropus (Section 11.4.1). They initially attributed the stone tools of Olduvai Gorge to Zinjanthropus. Not long thereafter, however, the bones of a more advanced hominid, Homo habilis, were found nearby (Section 11.4.2).

Zinjanthropus was demoted from his status as toolmaker, and Homo habilis replaced him.

But although the designation of the toolmaker was changed, the tools themselves remained unquestioned. The principal reason why the implements discovered in Olduvai Gorge have not been subjected to the same sorts of challenges directed at the eoliths discovered in Europe is hinted at in the following statement made

by Mary Leakey (1971, p. 280): “evidence for the manufacture of tools by means of using one tool as an instrument to make another is one of the most important criteria in deciding whether any particular taxon has reached the status of man. . . . If evidence of toolmaking is not counted as a decisive factor for the human status it is difficult to see what alternative can be used for determining at what point it had been reached. Evolutionary changes must have been so gradual that it will never be possible for the threshold to be recognised on the evidence of fossil bones alone. This would be true even if a far more complete evolutionary sequence of material were available for study: with the scanty and often incomplete material that has survived it is clearly out of the question. An arbitrary definition based on cranial capacity is also of doubtful value, since the significance of cranial capacity is closely linked with stature or body size, of which we have little precise information in respect of early hominids.”

Scientists almost unanimously accept the idea that the genus Homo arose in Africa, developing from the australopithecine hominids around 2 million years ago. The strong need for stone tools as corroborating evidence of humanlike status may thus explain, at least in part, the extremely lenient treatment of the Oldowan industry. If they were not accepted as tools, that would greatly detract from the status of the African hominids as human ancestors.

In her report on Olduvai Gorge, Mary Leakey identified, besides the choppers previously mentioned, several other types of implements, which, from her descriptions, appear to correspond to the eoliths found in Europe. She described

“various fragments of no particular form but generally angular, which bear a minimum of flaking and some evidence of utilisation” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 6).

Another category of Oldowan tools was scrapers of various types. Leakey described the heavy-duty scrapers of Bed II, which were fashioned from quartzite flakes, as follows: “Many of the heavy-duty scrapers are impossible to assign to any particular type and consist merely of amorphous pieces of lava, quartz, or quartzite, with at least one flat surface from which steep trimming has been carried out along one edge” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 6). About “discoidal scrapers,” Leakey wrote: “the tools are seldom entirely symmetrical and they are usually trimmed on only part of the circumference” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 6).

These scrapers conform to the descriptions of the eoliths discovered on the Kent Plateau of England.

Another type similar to a common variety of eolith was the nosed scraper. About this type of tool, Leakey stated: “There is a median projection on the working edge, either bluntly pointed, rounded, or occasionally spatulate, flanked on either

side by a trimmed notch or, more rarely, by straight convergent trimmed edges”

(M. Leakey 1971, p. 6). Hollow scrapers, with a broad curved indentation on one side of the stone forming the working edge, are another type common both to the Eolithic and Oldowan assemblages. Leakey described this type as follows:

“Specimens in which the notch is unquestionably prepared are relatively scarce in both the heavyand lightduty groups, although lightduty flakes and other fragments with notches apparently caused by utilisation are common” (M.

Leakey 1971, p. 6). In other words, on these Oldowan specimens, as in the case of eoliths, the working edge of the stone had simply been modified by slight chipping or use.

One of the more remarkable coincidences of form may be found in the presence of tools called awls or borers in both Eolithic and Oldowan assemblages. Of the awls in the Developed Oldowan, Mary Leakey (1971, p. 7) stated: “They are characterized by short, rather thick, pointed projections, generally at the distal ends of flakes, but sometimes on a lateral edge. In the majority, the points are formed by a trimmed notch, on either one or both sides, but occasionally by straight convergent trimmed edges. The points are often blunted by use and have sometimes been snapped off at the base.” This description perfectly applies to the awls collected and displayed by both Harrison and Moir. The identity of the Oldowan and English specimens is very much evident in Figure 3.5 (p. 96).

About the above-mentioned lightduty flakes and fragments, Leakey wrote:

“Flakes and other small fragments with chipping and blunting on the edges occur in both the Oldowan and developed Oldowan but are more common in the latter.

They fall into three groups: (a) with straight edges; (b) with concave or notched edges; (c) with convex edges. There is also a miscellaneous group with indeterminate chipping. In specimens with straight edges, chipping is usually evident on both sides, while in the notched and convex series it is usually only present on one face” (M. Leakey 1971, pp. 7–8). Leakey also described

“lightduty utilised flakes” (Figure 3.29). Of these, she stated: “The utilised edges are sharp, with ‘nibbled’ one-directional flaking, which is sometimes present on two of the edges” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 37). The above descriptions could also apply to many of the European eoliths.

3.7.3 Who Made the Eolithic and Oldowan


Now comes a crucial question: to what sort of being should the

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

manufacture of the quite similar Oldowan and Eolithic tool types be assigned?

Most of the tools in both the Oldowan and Eolithic assemblages are very crude.

Scientists are prepared to accept practically without question that the Oldowan implements were made by Homo habilis, a primitive hominid species which, according to modern paleoanthropological thought, marks the initial transition from the australopithecine hominids to the genus Homo. It should not, therefore, be completely unthinkable for scientists to entertain the possibility that a creature like Homo habilis might also have made the eoliths from East Anglia and the Kent Plateau, some of which are roughly comparable in age to the Oldowan tools.

Figure 3.29. Top: Lightduty utilized flakes from Olduvai Gorge, Africa (M. Leakey 1971, p. 38). Bottom: Flaked flint implements from the Red Crag formation at Foxhall, England (Moir 1927, p. 34). The Olduvai specimens appear cruder and look less like implements than the specimens from England.

But of some of the Oldowan tools J. Desmond Clark wrote in his forward to Mary Leakey’s study: “Here are artefacts that conventional usage associates typologically with much later times (the late Paleolithic or even later)—

diminutive scraper forms, awls, burins . . . and a grooved and pecked cobble”

(M. Leakey 1971, p. xvi). The same is true of the European Eolithic assemblages. As we noted in our introduction to this chapter, implements of a more advanced character sometimes turn up in even the crudest of industries.

We note, however, that tools of the type found in the “late Paleolithic and even later” are considered by modern scientists to be specifically the work of Homo sapiens rather than Homo erectus or Homo habilis. We might thus entertain the possibility that anatomically modern humans were responsible for some if not all of the Oldowan and Eolithic tools.

The standard reply will be that there are no fossils showing that humans of the fully modern type were around then, in the Early Pleistocene or Late Pliocene, roughly 1–2 million years ago, whereas there are fossils of Homo habilis. But the history of events at Olduvai Gorge demonstrates that one should be careful about connecting fossil bones with stone tools. As we have seen, the Leakeys first found stone tools but no hominid fossils. When fossils of Zinjanthropus were found, this creature was designated as the toolmaker. But when additional fossils of the more advanced Homo habilis were found, Homo habilis replaced Zinjanthropus as the toolmaker. One cannot predict what further fossils might be found in the lower levels of Olduvai Gorge. Perhaps scientists might uncover fossils of Homo sapiens, who would then replace Homo habilis as the toolmaker.

Even in the absence of Homo sapiens remains, the advanced nature of some of the Oldowan tools raises questions about the correctness of attributing their manufacture to a creature as primitive as Homo habilis. The Leakeys found in Bed I of Olduvai Gorge bola stones and an apparent leather-working tool that might have been used to fashion leather cords for the bolas (Section 5.3.2).

Using bola stones to capture game would seem to require a degree of intelligence and dexterity beyond that possessed by Homo habilis. This concern is heightened by the recent discovery of a relatively complete skeleton of Homo habilis, which shows this hominid to have been far more apelike than scientists previously imagined (Section 11.7).

It should be kept in mind that Homo sapiens fossils are quite rare even at Late Pleistocene sites where, according to conventional views, they should be expected to be found. Marcellin Boule (Boule and Vallois 1957, p. 145) noted that scientists searching for human fossils in the Prince’s Cave at Grimaldi in

southern Europe sifted through four thousand cubic yards of deposits without finding a single human bone. Nevertheless, stone tools and animal remains were both abundant in the cave. Thus the absence of Homo sapiens fossils at a particular site does not eliminate Homo sapiens as the maker of stone tools found there.

Furthermore, as described in Chapters 6 and 11, fossil skeletal remains of human beings of the fully modern type have been discovered by scientists in strata at least as old as the lower levels of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Among them may be numbered the fossil human skeleton discovered in 1913 by Dr. Hans Reck in Bed II of Olduvai Gorge (Section 11.1), and some fossil human femurs discovered by Richard Leakey at Lake Turkana, Kenya, in a formation slightly older than Bed I at Olduvai (Section 11.3). Bed I is now dated at approximately 1.75 million years, and the top of bed II is dated at about 0.7–1.0 million years (M. Leakey 1971, pp. 14–15).

It is, therefore, not correct to say that there is no fossil evidence whatsoever for a fully human presence in the lower levels of Olduvai Gorge. In addition to fossil evidence, we have a report from Mary Leakey (1971, p. 24) about a controversial circular formation of stones at the DK site in lower Bed I: “On the north side, where the circle was best preserved, there were groups of stones piled up into small heaps. It is possible to identify six of these piles which rise to a height of 6–9 in. and are spaced at intervals of 2–2.5 ft., suggesting that they may have been placed as supports for branches or poles stuck into the ground to form a windbreak or rough shelter.”

Leakey then continued: “In general appearance the circle resembles temporary structures often made by present-day nomadic peoples who build a low stone wall round their dwellings to serve either as a windbreak or as a base to support upright branches which are bent over and covered with either skins or grass” (M.

Leakey 1971, p. 24). For the purpose of illustration, Mary Leakey provided a photograph of such a temporary shelter made by the Okombambi tribe of South West Africa (now Namibia).

Not everyone agreed with Leakey’s interpretation of the stone circle. But accepting Leakey’s version, the obvious question may be raised: if she believed the structure resembled those made by “present-day nomadic peoples” like the Okombambi, then why could she not assume that anatomically modern humans made the Olduvai stone circle 1.75 million years ago?

The same assumption might easily be made about even the crudest stone tools.

Leakey stated in her book: “An interesting present-day example of unretouched

flakes used as cutting tools has recently been recorded in SouthWest Africa and may be mentioned briefly. An expedition from the State Museum, Windhoek, discovered two stone-using groups of the Ova Tjimba people who not only make choppers for breaking open bones and for other heavy work, but also employ simple flakes, unretouched and un-hafted, for cutting and skinning” (M. Leakey 1971, p. 269). Nothing, therefore, prevents one from entertaining the possibility that anatomically modern humans might have been responsible for even the crudest stone tools found at Olduvai Gorge and the European eolith sites.

At present, we find that humans manufacture stone tools of various levels of sophistication, from primitive to advanced. We also find evidence of the same variety of tools in the Pleistocene, Pliocene, Miocene, and even as far back as the Eocene. There are examples of relatively crude stone tools, such as those found by Ribeiro in Miocene formations in Portugal (Section 4.1). And there are also advanced stone tools, similar to those used by modern Indians in North America, from formations of Eocene antiquity in California (Section 5.5).

The simplest explanation is that anatomically modern humans, who make such a spectrum of tools today, also made them in the past. Continuity of tool types suggests continuity of toolmakers. We might call this the hypothesis of stasis.

Alternatively, the evolutionary hypothesis requires us to reject all advanced stone tool industries from periods earlier than the Late Pleistocene. As for the remaining crude stone tools, we must reject the ones found in geological contexts older than the earliest Pleistocene or the latest Pliocene. We must then propose that various grades of subhumans made crude stone tools in the Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene, and then when modern humans came along in the Middle and Late Pleistocene, they also made identical crude tools along with more advanced ones.

All in all, the hypothesis of stasis allows us to account for all the reported evidence in a more straightforward fashion. The only anomaly in this account of stasis is the absence of evidence for advanced civilization, with its intricate metallic productions and complex stone architecture, in very ancient times.

Abundant evidence for such civilization appears to extend back only a few thousand years. There are, however, intriguing hints of the existence of advanced civilization millions of years ago. This evidence, reported in Appendix 2, is, however, not very extensive.

Granting the stasis hypothesis, we must therefore ask the following question.

Why are there so many scientific reports of stone tools and cut bones indicating the presence of anatomically modern humans tens of millions of years ago yet so

little evidence of more advanced civilization for the same time periods?

Here is one possible explanation. Although the scientists who reported much of the evidence contained in this book were prepared to find signs of a human presence in times far more ancient than allowed by current evolutionary theory, these scientists were themselves evolutionists. As such, they believed that in the past culture was more primitive than today. Therefore, they probably would not have given serious consideration to any evidence of advanced culture in very ancient times.

Did they encounter such evidence but refuse to report it? We cannot say for certain. What we do know is that evidence for advanced civilizations in very ancient times has been reported, but not often by scientists. Many of the reports have come from miners. Such reports are far more likely to turn up in old newspapers than scientific journals. We suspect that many finds suggestive of advanced civilizations in very ancient times have not been reported at all.

It is thus possible that our data base for the study of human origins and antiquity is quite incomplete. But what evidence we do have suggests that anatomically modern humans have been manufacturing stone tools of various degrees of sophistication since the Miocene and earlier.

To further complicate the picture, one could imagine Homo sapiens coexisting millions of years ago with species of humanlike apes, unrelated to human beings in any evolutionary sense. These humanlike creatures may have also been able to manufacture very crude stone implements. There are in fact reports from Central Asia of a living ape-man-like creature, the Almas, which is said to break stones for use as tools (Section 10.8), just like modern humans. Indeed, this is what the unedited record of skeletal remains and stone implements actually suggests—

that human beings of modern type and more primitive creatures have been coexisting since time immemorial and manufacturing a whole array of tool types, from the crudest to the most advanced.

3.8 Recent Examples of Eolithic Implements from

the Americas

Several anomalously old crude stone tool industries of Eolithic type have been discovered in the Americas. A careful study of the debates about these industries will add to our understanding of why and how the stone tools from Pliocene and Miocene sites in Europe have largely disappeared from view, as far as modern science is concerned.

3.8.1 Standard Views on the Entry of Humans Into North America

The debates about various anomalous stone tool industries discovered in the Americas takes place in the context of the standard theory of the entry of humans into the New World. According to this theory, Siberian hunters crossed over the Bering Strait into Alaska on a land bridge that existed when the last glaciation lowered sea levels. During this glacial period, the Canadian ice sheet blocked southward migration until about 12,000 years ago, when the first American immigrants followed an ice free passage to what is now the United States. These people were the so-called Clovis hunters, famous for their characteristic doubly fluted spearpoints. These would correspond to the highly evolved stone implements of the later Paleolithic in Europe.

According to Jared Diamond (1987), these Clovis hunters quickly multiplied and peopled the entire habitable region of North and South America. Because a site in Patagonia, in the southernmost part of South America, is now dated at 10,500

years, the immigrants must have gone from the arctic, to the tropics, and on to the near antarctic regions of South America in little more than a thousand years.

In their long march, these Clovis hunters exterminated over 70 percent of the large mammalian genera of the New World in an orgy of rapacious exploitation rivaled only by the European heirs of the territory they conquered (Diamond 1987, pp. 82–88).

The following arguments in favor of this theory were published in the popular science magazine, Discover, in June of 1987: “at excavated Clovis sites, conclusive evidence for artifacts made by other peoples has been found above but not below the level with Clovis tools; and there are no irrefutable human remains with irrefutable pre-Clovis dates anywhere in the New World south of the former Canadian ice sheet. Mind you, there are dozens of claims of sites with pre-Clovis human evidence, but all are marred by serious questions about whether the material used for radiocarbon dating was contaminated by older carbon, or whether the dated material was really associated with human remains, or whether the tools supposedly made by hand were just naturally shaped rocks.

In contrast, the evidence for Clovis is undeniable, widely distributed, and accepted by archaeologists” (Diamond 1987, pp. 84, 86).

To put this theory into perspective, we should note that before World War II, anthropological authorities insisted that human beings first entered America just 4,000 years ago. Their initial reaction to the Clovis hunter theory was summed

up by the anthropologist John Alsoszatai-Petheo (1986, pp. 18–19): “For . . .

decades, American archaeologists would labor under the view of man’s relative recency in the New World, while the mere mention of the possibility of greater antiquity was tantamount to professional suicide. Given this orientation, it is not surprising that when the evidence of the antiquity of man in America was finally reported from Folsom, Clovis, and other High Plains sites, it was rejected out of hand by established authorities despite the clear nature of the evidence at multiple locations, uncovered by different researchers, and seen and attested to by a large variety of professional visitor/observers. . . . The mind set of conservatives of the day left no room for acceptance.”

Alsoszatai-Petheo argued that the history of the rejection of the Folsom and Clovis discoveries is now being repeated as conservative archeologists of the present day staunchly reject evidence for pre-Clovis man in America. Certainly, there are now many cases of archeological excavations using modern methods that have yielded dates as great as 30,000 years for humans in America.

For example, geological, archeological, and paleontological research at El Cedral, in the state of Sinaloa, northern Mexico, revealed human artifacts along with bones of extinct animals in “undisturbed stratified deposits on horizons radiocarbon-dated at 33,000 b.p., 31,850 b.p., 21,960±540 b.p., and older than 15,000 b.p.” (Lorenzo and Mirambell 1986, p. 107). The date of 31,850 b.p.

corresponds to a hearth found in situ and consisting of “a circle of proboscidean tarsal bones surrounding a zone of charcoal about 30 cm [a foot] in diameter and 2 cm [almost an inch] thick” (Lorenzo and Mirambell 1986, p. 111).

Proboscideans are elephants of various kinds. Tarsal bones come from the ankle region.

Another case involves a fire pit found on California’s Santa Rosa Island, off Santa Barbara, and investigated by archeologist Rainer Berger of UCLA.

Laboratory testing showed that charcoal samples taken from the pit contained no measurable carbon 14. They are thus older than the 40,000-year limit imposed by the conventional radiocarbon dating method. The find is significant, since the fire pit contained crude chopping tools along with the bones of a bull-sized species of mammoth ( Science News 1977a, p. 196).

Yet another interesting excavation took place in northeastern Brazil. At the rock-shelter of Boquierão do Sitio da Pedra Furada, a joint French-Brazilian team of archeologists dug through a stratified 3-meter [10-foot] deposit of sediment that was found to contain human occupational debris at all levels. The lowest levels included big circular hearths with large quantities of charcoal and ash. There

were pebble tools, denticulates, burins, retouched flakes, and double-edged flakes, all made from local quartz and quartzite. There were also painted fragments of rock spalled or broken from the cave walls, which suggests that the tradition of rock painting well known in this part of Brazil may have existed during the earliest occupational period (Guidon and Delibrias 1986, pp. 769–


Charcoal from the lowest hearth in the deposit yielded carbon 14 dates of 31,700±830 years and 32,160±1,000 years. In addition, carbon 14 dates were obtained at a series of levels running throughout the entire deposit. These dates formed the following consistent series in years b.p.: 6,160, 7,750, 7,640, 8,050, 8,450, 11,000, 17,000, 21,400, 23,500, 25,000, 25,000, 25,200, 26,300, 26,400, 27,000, 29,860, 31,700, and 32,160 (Guidon and Delibrias 1986).

This excavation is of particular interest because it involved a controlled study of stratified cave deposits yielding hearths, artifacts, and a series of radiocarbon dates. These are some of the criteria often insisted upon by defenders of orthodox archeological theories. However, one can always point to flaws in unwanted evidence, and thereby adopt a double standard.

Of course, a small but increasing number of archeologists are now accepting that humans may have been living in South America as long as 30,000 years ago. It might therefore be argued that the resistance to new findings exhibited by successive schools of archeologists is simply a healthy and unavoidable part of the scientific process. By applying the braking action of skepticism, science can make slow but steady progress, while avoiding wild, speculative excesses.

One answer to this is that by sticking to conservative viewpoints in anthropology one certainly does not avoid extreme speculation. The theory that Clovis hunters marched from northern Canada to the Tierra del Fuego in a few centuries is certainly speculative. And the sweeping denial of certain possibilities—such as the existence of humans in America at a certain date—can be just as much a speculative excess as their uncritical affirmation. In addition, it may happen that evidence suppressed as a result of such policies of denial is permanently lost, and important advancements in understanding will be delayed until similar evidence manages to surmount the barriers to acceptance in the future.

An alternative approach would be to recognize that in fields such as archeology, most empirical evidence is of a doubtful nature, whether it corroborates our views or contradicts them. Therefore, it would be best (though difficult in practice) to maintain all relevant evidence in a readily accessible form, without giving absolute credence to any current positive or negative interpretations. If

this cannot be done, one should at least recognize that one may be aware of only a fraction of the evidence that has already been seriously studied—what to speak of the evidence that may be uncovered in the future.

The present method of rendering final judgement on controversial evidence by how well it fits with currently established theories does not seem to be scientifically healthy, and it can be argued that it may do irremediable damage not only to the progress of scientific knowledge, but also to the reputations of persons who happen to find controversial evidence. This is especially true when politics and intrigue enter into the scientific process. Such considerations appear to have played a major role in the negative treatment of evidence suggesting that human beings were living in the New World long before both the 12,000-year limit still favored by a majority of paleoanthropologists and the 30,000-year limit currently accepted by a growing minority. We shall now discuss a few recent examples of this evidence, in the form of anomalously old crude stone tool industries, with the aim of shedding more light on the social processes of acceptance and rejection of evidence in the scientific world.

3.8.2 Texas Street, San Diego (Early Late

Pleistocene to Late Middle Pleistocene)

A good example of a controversial American early stone tool industry reminiscent of the European eoliths is the one discovered by George Carter (1957) in the 1950s at the Texas Street excavation in San Diego. At this site, Carter (1957) claimed to have found hearths and crude stone tools at levels corresponding to the last interglacial period, some 80,000–90,000 years ago.

Critics scoffed at these claims, referring to Carter’s alleged tools as products of nature, or “cartifacts”, and Carter was later publicly defamed in a Harvard course on “Fantastic Archeology” (Williams 1986, p. 41). However, Carter gave clear criteria for distinguishing between his tools and naturally broken rocks, and lithic experts such as John Witthoft (1955) have endorsed his claims.

In 1973, Carter conducted more extensive excavations at Texas Street and invited numerous archeologists to come and view the site firsthand. Almost none responded. Carter (1980, p. 63) stated: “San Diego State University adamantly refused to look at work in its own backyard.”

Carter found evidence for a human presence during the last interglacial period at several other sites in San Diego and elsewhere in the southwestern United States.

But he found it difficult to get his findings published in standard scientific

journals. In 1960, an editor of Science, the journal of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, asked Carter to submit an article about early humans in America. Carter did so, but the article was rejected. The editor wrote to Carter on February 1, 1960: “It was good of you to prepare a paper ‘On the Antiquity of Man in America’ for possible publication in our Current Problems in Research series in Science. In view of the fact that I invited you to prepare the paper for us, I especially regret to say that your paper, although it is interesting and deals with an important subject, is too controversial for publication in a general scientific magazine such as ours. I sought the advice of two highly competent advisers and they were in essential agreement with each other in their recommendations. They both thought that the paper was unsuitable for Science

(T. E. Lee 1977, p. 3).

Carter replied in a letter to the editor, dated February 2, 1960: “I must assume now that you had no idea of the intensity of feeling that reigns in the field. It is nearly hopeless to try to convey some idea of the status of the field of Early Man in America at the moment. But just for fun: I have a correspondent whose name I cannot use, for though he thinks that I am right, he could lose his job for saying so. I have another anonymous correspondent who as a graduate student found evidence that would tend to prove me right. He and his fellow student buried the evidence. They were certain that to bring it in would cost them their chance for their Ph.D’s. At a meeting, a young professional approached me to say, ‘I hope you really pour it on them. I would say it if I dared, but it would cost me my job.’ At another meeting, a young man sidled up to say, ‘In dig x they found core tools like yours at the bottom but just didn’t publish them’” ( T. E. Lee 1977, p.


The inhibiting effect of negative propaganda on the evaluation of Carter’s discoveries is suggested in the following statement by archeologist Brian Reeves: “Were actual artifacts uncovered at Texas Street, and is the site really Last Interglacial in age? . . . Because of the weight of critical ‘evidence’

presented by established archaeologists, the senior author [Reeves], like most other archaeologists, accepted the position of the skeptics uncritically, dismissing the sites and the objects as natural phenomena” (Reeves et al. 1986, p. 66).

But when he took the trouble to look at the evidence himself, Reeves changed his mind. He wrote: “While visiting San Diego in 1976 the senior author had the opportunity to view some of George Carter’s . . . collections from Texas Street . .

. in Mission Valley. Among the fractured quartzite cobbles were many objects that appeared to Reeves and R. S. MacNeish to be culturally produced, modified,

and utilized quartzite cobble artifacts” (Reeves et al. 1986, p. 66). Ten years later Reeves conducted several onsite investigations near Texas Street.

Many of the specimens he studied, although made from quartzite rather than flint, appear to be Eolithic: “In summary, the Mission Ridge quartzite cobble complex includes naturally produced sharp-pointed and edged bipolar cores, blocky quartzite pieces and irregular-shaped sharp-edged flakes. These fragments were not only utilized by man, but also modified into more formed flakes and tools (the horseshoe chopper, for example) as well as culturally manufactured, unifacially retouched and utilized flakes” (Reeves et al. 1986, p.


Reeves concluded: “The bulk of the fractured quartzites recovered from Mission Ridge were, in our opinion, naturally broken but collected elsewhere and brought to the site by man for use primarily as ready-made expediency tools”

(Reeves et al. 1986, p. 78). In light of Reeves’s change of heart about Carter’s tools, one wonders what would result from an openminded review of the European eoliths.

Reeves then made the following commentary on the unfair treatment professional scientists gave to the San Diego implements: “The fractured quartzite complex, as first claimed by Carter, is part of a Late to Middle Pleistocene quartzite cobble core/unifacial flake tradition of Pacific coastal-adapted people. . . . Had Carter’s claims been taken seriously enough by professional archaeologists to undertake detailed field studies instead of simply dismissing them, we would have had a major body of data on Late Pleistocene North American coastal settlement” (Reeves et al. 1986, pp. 78–79). Reeves believed some of Carter’s implements to be 120,000 years old.

Over several decades, many ancient human occupation sites were investigated around San Diego, and Carter (1957, pp. 370–371) constructed a tentative history of stone tool usage in this region over the last 90,000 years. After the Texas Street phase, characterized by crude stone tools, came the following developments: (1) The period of 55,000 to 80,000 years ago, represented by

“strongly weathered manos and metates from basal positions in alluvium over interglacial beaches at Scripps campus and about La Jolla and Point Loma.”

There were also biface and plano-convex cobble core tools, and used flakes.

Manos and metates are grinding tools. Plano-convex tools are flat on one side and rounded, or convex, on the other. (2) The period of 30,000 to 55,000 years ago, with large, crude, percussively flaked, ovate knives, tending to be unifacial.

(3) The period of 15,000 years to 30,000 ago with small, slender, leaf-shaped,

double-convex knives, broad-stemmed knives, and abundant fine plano-convex tools. (4) Then came the recent San Dieguito and Yuman cultures.

According to standard views, practically all of the variegated lithic forms in this list would have to be either (1) incorrectly dated, or (2) products of human imagination applied to naturally broken stone. The manos and metates are especially interesting, since these grinding tools are generally associated with Neolithic, or very late Stone Age, culture. The oldest accepted examples, from Egypt, are thought to be only 17,000 years old (Gowlett 1984, p. 152).

3.8.3 Louis Leakey and the Calico Site in

California (Middle Pleistocene)

As we have several times seen in previous chapters (and will see again in later chapters), some famous scientists have occasionally nurtured heretical ideas, despite the personal risks involved in opposing prevailing academic views.

One example is Louis Leakey, world renowned for his discoveries in Africa. He began to have radical ideas about the antiquity of humans in America at a time when the entry date for the Siberian hunters was thought to be no greater than some 5,000 years ago. Eventually, Leakey journeyed to America and discovered a crude stone tool industry, of Eolithic type, at Calico, in southern California.

The site was dated at over 200,000 years.

Leakey recalled: “Back in 1929–1930 when I was teaching students at the University of Cambridge, I began to look into the question of the antiquity of man in the Americas. Although there was no concrete evidence to indicate a remote age, I was so impressed by the circumstantial evidence that I began to tell my students that man must have been in the New World at least 15,000 years. I shall never forget when Ales Hrdlicka, that great man from the Smithsonian Institution, happened to be at Cambridge, and he was told by my professor (I was only a student supervisor) that Dr. Leakey was telling students that man must have been in America 15,000 or more years ago. He burst into my rooms—

he didn’t even wait to shake hands—and said, ‘Leakey, what’s this I hear? Are you preaching heresy?”’ Leakey said, “No, Sir!” Hrdlicka replied, “You are! You are telling students that man was in America 15,000 years ago. What evidence have you?” Leakey replied, “No positive evidence. Purely circumstantial evidence. But with man from Alaska to Cape Horn, with many different languages and at least two civilizations, it is not possible that he was present only the few thousands of years that you at present allow” (L. Leakey 1979, p.


Leakey continued to harbor unorthodox views on this matter, and in 1964 he made an effort to collect some definite evidence by initiating an excavation at a site known as Calico in the Mojave Desert of California. This site is situated near the shore of now-vanished Pleistocene Lake Manix, on the eroded remains of an alluvial fan of sediments washed down from the nearby Calico mountains.

Over a period of eighteen years of excavation, some 11,400 artifacts were recovered from a number of levels. The oldest artifact-bearing level has been dated by the uranium series method to about 200,000 years b.p. (Budinger 1983).

There is general agreement among geologists about the great age of the Calico site, and ages as great as 500,000 years have been seriously proposed. However, as happened with Texas Street, mainstream archeologists have tended to reject the artifacts discovered at Calico as products of nature, and the Calico site tends to be passed over in silence in popular accounts of archeology. Indeed, it seemed that the iconoclastic Leakey, famous for so many revolutionary archeological discoveries, had committed a grave error in judgement in his foray into the New World. Leakey’s biographer Sonia Cole (1975, p. 351) said, “For many colleagues who felt admiration and affection for Louis and his family, the Calico years were an embarrassment and a sadness.”

Yet the artifacts of Calico also have their defenders, who give elaborate arguments showing that they were human artifacts, not “geofacts” resulting from natural processes. These archeologists include Phillip Tobias, the well-known associate of Raymond Dart, discoverer of Australopithecus. Tobias (1979, p. 97) declared: “when Dr. Leakey first showed me a small collection of pieces from Calico . . . I was at once convinced that some, though not all, of the small samples showed unequivocal signs of human authorship.” Tobias went on to point out that the presence of naturally broken stones is to be expected, and does not detract from the validity of artifacts that are mixed in with them.

The arguments presented are reminiscent of the controversy over eoliths in Europe. Detractors such as archeologist C. Vance Haynes (1973, pp. 305–310) claimed that the natural banging together of stones in streams and shifting earth can simulate all the alleged Calico stone tools. On the other hand, defenders pointed out that these alleged natural processes did not occur at sites such as Calico, and could not have produced the observed, systematic patterns of lithic flaking even if they did occur (L. Patterson et al. 1987, pp. 91–105).

Geological evidence indicates that the Calico implements lie in an ancient mud flow context. In this regard, Ruth D. Simpson stated: “Natural forces in a mud

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

flow would be expected to give mainly bidirectional random damage to flake edges. It would be difficult for nature to produce many specimens resembling manmade unifacial tools, with completely unidirectional edge retouch done in a uniform, directed manner. The Calico site has yielded many completely unifacial stone tools with uniform edge retouch. These include end scrapers, side scrapers, and gravers. Some gravers have bifacial retouch on points, which can be expected in even unifacial flake tool industries” (Simpson et al. 1986, p. 96).

Flake tools with unifacial, unidirectional chipping, like those found at Calico, are typical of the European eoliths. Examples are also found among the Oldowan industries of East Africa. Among the best tools that turned up at Calico was an excellent beaked graver (Figure 3.30). Bola stones have also been reported (Minshall 1989, p. 110).

At an international archeological conference held in Mexico City, Mexico, in 1981, three of the defenders of Calico listed 17 criteria for human flaking which, according to them, were met by the artifacts discovered at the Calico site. Some of these criteria were (1) the presence of ripple lines and force bulbs with bulb scars, (2) striking platform angles under 90 degrees, (3) crushing of striking platforms, (4) no remaining cortex on either striking platforms or dorsal surfaces, (5) prismatic flakes and blades, (6) unifacial edge retouch, (7) flaking on certain edges and not others, (8) well-defined bifacial objects, and (9) specific workshop areas with evidence of stone working (Simpson et al. 1981).

Figure 3.30. Abeaked graver—a stone tool from Calico in southern

California, dated at about 200,000 years (Bryan 1979, p. 77).

Herbert L. Minshall stated that in 1985 several of the best small Calico implements were displayed at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Denver, Colorado. Minshall wrote (1989, p. 111): “The tools were finally accepted as manmade, but now the objection was that they could not possibly have so great an age, even though 200,000 years was modest compared to many estimates for the age of the fan sediments. . . . One highly respected archaeologist actually suggested that the tools he was shown must have somehow fallen into the excavation from the surface.”

In 1986, George Carter and Fred Budinger discovered an additional site at Calico. Minshall (1989, p. 111) stated that Carter and Budinger found “small stone specimens apparently worked by man and more than 20 feet below the dated volcanic ash stratum at the foot of the Calico/Mule Canyon fan” near the main Calico site. Fossils of typical Pleistocene mammals such as the sabertooth tiger, camel, horse, and mammoth were also found beneath the ash, which yielded a potassium-argon date of 185,000 years.

In general, however, the Calico discoveries have met with silence, ridicule, and opposition in the ranks of mainstream paleoanthropology. Ruth Simpson nevertheless stated: “The data base for very early man in the New World is growing rapidly, and can no longer simply be ignored, because it does not fit current models of prehistory in the New World. With the present data gaps that exist in our knowledge of the prehistory of man in the New World, any current proposed

‘final’ solutions to the early origins, migrations, and cultures of Pleistocene man in the New World are premature. At the present state of knowledge in early man research, there is a need for flexibility in thinking to assure unbiased peer reviews” (Simpson et al. 1986, p. 104). The same might also be said of the larger question of human evolution.

3.8.4 Toca da Esperança, Brazil (Middle


Support for the authenticity of the Calico tools has come from a find in Brazil. In 1982, Maria Beltrao found a series of caves with wall paintings in the state of Bahia. In 1985, a trench was cut in the Toca da Esperança (Cave of

Hope), and excavations in 1986 and 1987 “yielded stone tools associated with Quaternary fauna in a defined stratigraphic context” (de Lumley et al. 1988, p.


There were four layers in the cave. The first layer was a hard carbonate crust, 20

to 60 centimeters (about 8 to 24 inches) thick. Beneath this were 3 layers of sand and sandy clay. In the lowest, Layer 4, stone implements were discovered along with abundant mammalian fossils. De Lumley et al. (1988, p. 241) commented:

“Three bones . . . were dated by the uranium-thorium method using alpha and gamma-ray spectrometries, [giving] ages between 204,000 and 295,000 years.”

These tests were performed at three different laboratories— Gif-sur-Yvette, France; the University of California at Los Angeles; and the laboratory of the U.S. Geological Survey at Menlo Park, California (de Lumley et al. 1988, p.


The tools were fashioned from quartz pebbles and were somewhat crude, like those from Olduvai Gorge. The implements included “a chopper with cuttingedge trimmed by three adjacent removals” (de Lumley et al. 1988, p.

243). The report pointed out that the nearest source of quartz pebbles is about 10

kilometers from the cave.

De Lumley et al. (1988, p. 242) stated: “the evidence seems to indicate that Early Man entered into the American continent much before previously thought.” They went on to say: “In light of the discoveries at the Toca da Esperança, it is much easier to interpret the lithic industry of the Calico site, in the Mojave Desert, near Yermo, San Bernardino County, California, which is dated at between 150,000 and 200,000 years” (de Lumley et al. 1988, p. 245).

According to de Lumley and his associates, humans and protohumans entered the Americas from northern Asia several times during the Pleistocene. The early migrants, who manufactured the tools in the Brazilian cave, were Homo erectus (de Lumley et al. 1988, p. 242). While this view is in harmony with the consensus on human evolution, there is no reason why the tools in the Toca da Esperança could not have been made by anatomically modern humans. As we have several times mentioned, such tools are still being manufactured by humans in various parts of the world.

Toca da Esperança provides a clear example of how the scientific community hesitates to change deeply held convictions. The discovery was made by a team headed by a famous French scientist, respected in his field. The site was systematically excavated according to strict principles. The implements were discovered in situ, in a defined stratigraphic context. They were clearly

intentionally manufactured. They were found in conjunction with a typical Middle Pleistocene fauna, with many extinct species. The researchers admitted that it was not possible to assign a direct age to the cave on the basis of the biostratigraphic evidence (the Middle Pleistocene goes from about 100,000 to 1,000,000 years ago), but multiple uranium series tests gave ages of between 204,000 and 295,000 years. Of course, the uranium series dates could be wrong.

But if these are wrong, then every uranium series date, including the ones used to buttress more acceptable finds, could also be wrong. Altogether, it is hard to see what more one could desire in the way of empirical evidence that would confirm the presence of intelligent toolmaking beings in the Americas in the Middle Pleistocene. Yet the consensus that humans entered the Americas fairly recently remains intact.

3.8.5 Alabama Pebble Tools

The crude stone tools of Bed I in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, are also paralleled, interestingly enough, by pebble tools from Alabama, U.S.A. that are almost identical in form (Figure 3.31, p. 208). These stone tools, reported by archeologist Daniel Josselyn (1966), can be found in great numbers in certain surface sites, where they are mixed in with artifacts from a variety of native American cultures.

Pebble tools are usually associated with very primitive levels of culture not thought to have ever existed in America. Thus, when Josselyn tried to acquaint other American archeologists with his finds, he did not receive an encouraging reaction. “Rather,” as he put it, “to my horror, I learned that Pavlov could have studied ‘conditioned reflexes’ about as well in archaeologists as in dogs. Please, please, believe that I say this with no critical rancor” (Josselyn 1966, p. 25). It was apparently “known” by some that no pebble tools were made in the New World.

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Figure 3.31. Pebble chopper, from Alabama, U.S.A., undated (Josselyn 1966). Such tools usually imply very primitive cultures not thought to have existed in America.

Josselyn said that since theAlabama tools were not from stratified sites, they could not be dated, and he had no suggestion about their age. They could thus be quite recent, posing no threat to dominant views about the arrival of humans in the Americas. The problem here seems to be a fixation on the questionable idea that pebble tools must have been made by protohumans such as Homo habilis or Homo erectus. But human beings have used pebble tools in Asia and Africa in historic times.

3.8.6 Monte Verde, Chile (Late Pleistocene)

Another archeological site that has bearing on the evaluation of crude stone tools is the Monte Verde site in south central Chile. According to a report in Mammoth Trumpet (1984), this site was first surveyed by archeologist Tom Dillehay in 1976. Although the date of 12,500 to 13,500 years b.p. for the site is not highly anomalous, the archeological finds uncovered there challenge the standard Clovis hunter theory. The culture of the Monte Verde people was completely distinct from that of the Clovis hunters. Although these people made some bifacial implements, their lithic technology was based mainly on minimally modified pebble tools. Indeed, to a large extent, they obtained stone tools by selecting naturally occurring split pebbles. Some of these show signs of nothing more than usage; others show signs of deliberate retouching of a working edge. This is strongly reminiscent of the descriptions of the European eoliths.

In this case, the vexing question of artifacts versus geofacts was resolved by a fortunate circumstance: the site is located in a boggy area in which perishable plant and animal matter has been almost indefinitely preserved. Thus two pebble tools were found hafted to wooden handles. Twelve “architectural foundations”

were found, made of cut wooden planks and small tree trunks staked in place.

There were large communal hearths, as well as small charcoal ovens lined with clay. Some of the stored clay bore the footprint of a child 8 to 10 years old.

Three crude wooden mortars were also found, held in place by wooden stakes.

Grinding stones (metates) were uncovered, along with the remains of wild potatoes, medicinal plants, and sea coast plants with a high salt content. All in all, the Monte Verde site sheds an interesting light on the kind of creatures who might have made use of “crude pebble tools” during the Pliocene and Miocene in Europe or at the Plio-Pleistocene boundary in Africa. In this case, the culture was well equipped with domestic amenities made from perishable materials. Far from being subhuman, the cultural level was what we might expect of anatomically modern humans in a simple village setting even today.

By an accident of preservation, we thus see at Monte Verde artifacts representing an advanced culture accompanying the crudest kinds of stone tools. At sites millions of years older, we see only the stone tools, although perishable artifacts of the kind found at Monte Verde may have once accompanied them.

Finally, we note that Tom Dillehay found in the deepest stratum at Monte Verde a split basalt pebble, some wood fragments, two modified stones, and some charcoal dated at about 33,000 years b.p. (Bray 1986, p. 726).

3.8.7 Early Humans in America and the Eolith


The arguments about American sites tens and hundreds of thousands of years old are similar to those that took place among European scientists when the first evidence for prehistoric humans was coming to light. This was noted by anthropologist Alan Lyle Bryan, who wrote (1986, p. 5): “The present controversy over Early Man in America is analogous to that in Europe more than a century ago because the intellectual climate has been dominated for over 50

years by a particular paradigm which has seemed to fit most of the evidence but which fails to explain an increasing body of data. Rather than considering a new paradigm which might make the evidence sensible, skeptics have demanded that all evidence for ‘pre-Clovis’ be judged by more rigid standards of evidence and argument than are applied to later sites. . . . Arbitrary application of such rigid criteria to later sites, including Clovis sites, would relegate nearly all archaeological evidence to the ‘not proven’ category.” It should, however, be noted that the European controversy of the nineteenth century, the full

dimensions of which Bryan was probably unaware, is, like the debate on the antiquity of humans in the Americas, still very much an open question. The seriousness with which a modern paleoanthropologist might consider reports of stone tools apparently made by humans in the European Pliocene and earlier is likely to vary in inverse proportion to his commitment to the now-accepted views on human evolution.

Eolithic tools have been found not only in America and Europe but in Australia (R. A. Gould et al. 1971). They have been described as featuring “the casual use of available materials; the lack of emphasis on technological sophistication; the regular discarding of tools after a specific job had been completed; and an attitude which de-emphasizes symmetry, refinement, and systematic continuity in tool types, but instead focuses on the most convenient means of accomplishing the job at hand” (Alsoszatai-Petheo 1986, p. 22).

The human manufacture of the Australian specimens has been widely recognized in the scientific community. So why are not similar tools found in America granted equal recognition? Alan Lyle Bryan (1986, pp. 7–8) stated: “some definitely shaped tool (preferably something ‘diagnostic’) must be present in order to have acceptable ‘proof’ for the presence of Early Man. Anything less is now being labelled a ‘myth,’ and believers of myths cannot be scientific archaeologists. But if the Australian archaeologists had adhered to such strict criteria they would not have searched for and thereby recovered evidence for Pleistocene man on that continent. . . . It was realized that the only ‘diagnostic’

artifact categories may be simple flakes and cores. It was realized that simple retouched flakes are adequate to demonstrate the presence of early man, if they are recovered from datable stratigraphic contexts. . . . It is illogical to require the presence of diagnostic shaped tools in America and not to require their presence in Australia in order to prove that that continent was populated at least 40,000

years ago.” But if simple retouched flakes are adequate to prove the existence of humans 40,000 years ago in Australia, and 200,000 years ago in America, why are they not adequate to prove the existence of toolmaking hominids 2 million years ago in England and even earlier elsewhere?

Obviously, the great mass of evidence for a human presence in the Pliocene and earlier, as presented in this book, does not fit within the narrow limits of current ideas on human evolution. Many will therefore hesitate to even consider such evidence. This being the case, it can be said that evolutionary preconceptions impose unreasonable constraints on what evidence may be introduced into discussions of human origins and antiquity. Evidence is excluded for no other

reason than that it violates evolutionary expectations. If one were, however, to give even-handed treatment to all of the available evidence, then it would become impossible to coherently set forth any temporally sequential and physiologically progressive path of hominid development. Only a ruthlessly selective editing of the totality of paleoanthropological evidence allows an evolutionary picture of human origins to be sustained.

3.9 A Recent Eolithic Discovery from India


We shall conclude our discussion of very crude stone tools, from as far back as the Eocene, with a recent example that shows the relevance of the issues raised in this chapter to modern paleoanthropological research.

K. N. Prasad (1982, p. 101) of the Geological Survey of India wrote in an abstract of his report: “A crude unifacial hand-axe pebble tool recovered from the late Mio-Pliocene (9–10 m.y. b.p.) at Haritalyangar, Himachal Pradesh, India is described. This crude flaked tool is assigned to Ramapithecus. The occurrence of this pebble tool in such ancient sediments indicates that early hominids such as Ramapithecus fashioned tools, were bipedal with erect posture, and probably utilized the implements for hunting.” Prasad (1982, p. 102) added: “The implement was recovered in situ, during remeasuring of the geological succession to assess the thickness of the beds. Care was taken to confirm the exact provenance of the material, in order to rule out any possibility of its derivation from younger horizons.” He also pointed out that Ramapithecus jaw fragments and teeth were found in the same horizon, the Nagri formation of the Middle Siwaliks.

Describing the tool itself, Prasad (1982, p. 102) stated: “The quartz artefact, heart-shaped (90 mm × 70 mm) [3.6 inches × 2.8 inches] was obviously fabricated from a rolled pebble, the dorsal side of which shows signs of rough flaking. . . . On the ventral side much of the marginal cortex is present at the distal end. Crude flaking has been attempted for fashioning a cutting edge.

Marginal flaking at the lateral edge on the ventral side is visible.” Prasad reminded his readers that another Indian scientist had recovered stone tools from the lower part of the Pinjor formation, corresponding to the Villafranchian stage of the European Late Pliocene. He then stated: “It is not improbable that fashioning tools commenced even as early as the later Miocene and evolved in a time-stratigraphic period embracing the Astian-Villafranchian” (Prasad 1982, p.

103). We agree, but the real question the identity of the toolmaker. As we shall see, Ramapithecus has not remained a viable candidate.

Ramapithecus first came to the attention of scientists in the 1930s. This creature, initially regarded as a fossil ape, was named after Rama, an incarnation of God described in the Vedas. In 1964 Ramapithecus achieved worldwide fame when Elwyn Simons and David Pilbeam reconstructed an upper jaw from two fragments, giving it a characteristically human parabolic shape. Simons and Pilbeam pronounced Ramapithecus to be a hominid, an erect, bipedal primate. In 1964, Elwyn Simons wrote in Anthropology: “Ramapithecus punjabicus is almost certainly man’s forerunner of 15 million years ago. This determination increases tenfold the approximate time period during which human origins can now be traced with some confidence” (Fix 1984, p. 20). This was a bit of an overstatement, because between Australopithecus and Ramapithecus there was, and still is, a gap of several million years in the hominid fossil record.

In any case, Ramapithecus quickly received acclaim, in textbooks and journal articles, as the earliest human ancestor. As Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin wrote in 1977: “Ramapithecus . . . as far as one can say at the moment . . . is the first representative of the human family—the hominids” (Fix 1984, p. 20).

Others, however, maintained a more cautious attitude. In 1972, Maitland A.

Edey wrote in The Missing Link: “On grounds of pure logic, it is tempting to regard Ramapithecus as a sort of proto-Australopithecine; after all, the Australopithecines had to start somewhere. But, however tempting such an idea may be, it is premature. We have no knowledge whatsoever of the nature of the rest of Ramapithecus’s body. We do not know what its skull was shaped like or how large its brain was. We know nothing about its hand or foot. We do not know if it stood upright” (Fix 1984, p. 21). Herbert Wendt also expressed some doubts in Ape to Adam: “Whether Ramapithecus, which some experts think does not really belong to the race of hominids in the narrow sense of the term, was already a toolmaker we do not know” (Fix 1984, p. 21).

In 1979, information confirming the doubtfulness of Ramapithecus appeared in the journal Natural History. A. L. Zihlman and J. M. Lowenstein stated that a complete lower jaw of Ramapithecus, the first ever found, was V-shaped, unlike either the human jaw, which has a parabolic shape, or the ape jaw, which has parallel sides (Fix 1984, p. 21). In response, Pilbeam modified his position on Ramapithecus, placing it in a separate category related neither to apes nor humans. But three years later, Ramapithecus’s status changed again. William R.

Fix (1984, pp. 21–22) wrote: “the February 6, 1982 issue of Science News added

a new twist to the Ramapithecus story. Compiling information from an article in Nature (January 21, 1982) and a telephone interview with Pilbeam, Science News now has Ramapithecus as ‘part of the orangutan lineage.’” This newly defined Ramapithecus was definitely not a maker of stone tools.

As late as 1981, however, A. R. Sankhyan of the Anthropological Survey of India was writing (1981, pp. 358–359): “The Sivalik Group of rocks exposed in Haritalyangar area of district Bilaspur is famous for the well known Mio-Pliocene Hominoidea— Dryopithecus, Gigantopithecus, and Ramapithecus, the last of which is considered as the earliest hominoid ancestor of man and also believed to be an ad hoc toolmaker.”

But a short time later this view was history. R. N. Vasishat, an anthropologist at Punjab University, wrote (1985, p. xiv): “Until the year 1982, scientists all over the world had unanimously been considering the genus Ramapithecus to be the earliest known hominid in the world and [ it] was also presumed to be ancestral to Australopithecus and Homo. When this species was taken out of the family Hominidae, the Siwaliks became devoid of any evidence for the antecedents of Early Man. But the author is very sure, the void thus created is very temporary and there is no reason for us to believe that the Siwaliks will never yield fossil evidence or physical evidence of Early Man in the future.”

It is interesting to note that with Ramapithecus demoted, the Siwaliks became

“devoid of any evidence” for Early Man. But what about the above-mentioned stone tools reported by Prasad and Verma? Were these not still evidence? Here is yet another example of the curious manner in which scientists treat anomalous discoveries. Prasad’s discovery of a Miocene implement is particularly significant in that it shows that evidence of the type reported by nineteenth-century scientists is still turning up and still being subjected to the same unfair treatment.

Crude Paleolithic Stone Tools

In the previous chapter, we considered anomalous stone tools of the crudest type, the eoliths. We shall now turn our attention to other stone tools, which, although also crude when compared with the sophisticated implements of the conventional Late Stone Age, represent an advance over the eoliths. These we have chosen to designate as crude paleoliths.

For some researchers, the terms eolith and paleolith represent a chronological

succession, but we use these terms principally to make a distinction in the morphology of tool types. Eoliths, it may be recalled, are naturally broken pieces of stone that are used as tools with little or no further modification. A working edge might be retouched and show signs of wear. Paleoliths, however, are often deliberately flaked from stone cores and then more extensively modified.

As we have previously mentioned, arriving at clear-cut distinctions between eoliths and crude paleoliths is not always possible. Furthermore, a particular group of discoveries often includes implements of various levels of sophistication. In making decisions about what industries to put in this chapter, we have been guided by statements of scientists who favorably compared individual implements, and groups of implements, to recognized tools from much later periods. Anomalously old stone tool industries containing a good many implements comparable to the cruder kinds of classical Paleolithic implements have been selected for inclusion.

4.1 The Finds of Carlos Ribeiro in Portugal (


We first turn our attention to Carlos Ribeiro’s discoveries in the Miocene of Portugal. The first hint of Ribeiro’s work came to our attention quite accidentally. While going through the writings of the nineteenth-century American geologist J. D. Whitney, who reported evidence for Tertiary human beings in California, we encountered a sentence or two about Ribeiro having discovered flint implements in Miocene formations near Lisbon. We found more brief mentions in the works of S. Laing, a popular English science writer of the late nineteenth century. Curious, we searched libraries, but turned up no works under Ribeiro’s name and found ourselves at a dead end. Sometime later, Ribeiro’s name turned up again, this time in the 1957 English edition of Fossil Men by Boule and Vallois, who rather curtly dismissed the work of the nineteenth-century Portuguese geologist. We were, however, led by Boule and Vallois to the 1883 edition of Le Préhistorique, by de Mortillet, who gave a favorable report of Ribeiro’s discoveries, in French. By tracing out the references mentioned in de Mortillet’s footnotes, we gradually uncovered a wealth of remarkably convincing original reports in French journals of archeology and anthropology from the latter part of the nineteenth century. The search for this buried evidence was very illuminating, demonstrating how the scientific establishment treats reports of facts that no longer conform to accepted

views. Keep in mind that for most current students of paleoanthropology, Ribeiro and his discoveries simply do not exist. You have to go back to textbooks printed over 30 years ago to find even a mention of him. Did Ribeiro’s work really deserve to be buried and forgotten? We shall present the facts and allow readers to form their own conclusions.

4.1.1 A Summary History of Ribeiro’s Discoveries

Carlos Ribeiro was not an amateur. In 1857, he was named to head the Geological Survey of Portugal, and he would also be elected to the Portuguese Academy of Sciences. During the years 1860– 63, he conducted studies of stone implements found in Portugal’s Quaternary strata. Nineteenth-century geologists generally divided the geological periods into four main groups: (1) the Primary, encompassing the periods from the Precambrian through the Permian; (2) the Secondary, encompassing the periods from the Triassic through the Cretaceous; (3) the Tertiary, encompassing the periods from the Paleocene through the Pliocene; and (4) the Quaternary, encompassing the Pleistocene and Recent periods. During the course of his investigations, Ribeiro learned that flints bearing signs of human work were being found in Tertiary beds between Canergado and Alemquer, two villages in the basin of the Tagus River, about 35– 40 kilometers (22–25 miles) northeast of Lisbon.

Ribeiro immediately began his own investigations, and in many localities found

“flakes of worked flint and quartzite in the interior of the beds.” Ribeiro (1873a, p. 97) said: “I was greatly surprised when I forcefully extracted, with my own hand, worked flints, from deep inside a bed of limestone which had been inclined at an angle of 30–50 degrees from the horizontal.” The geology of the region indicated the limestone bed was of Tertiary age, yet the presence of the stone implements, so obviously the work of humans, placed Ribeiro in a dilemma. The discovery of the implements “deep inside” the beds seemed to rule out the possibility that they had been artificially introduced at some later period.

So if he accepted the beds as Tertiary, then humans must have existed during that time. But Ribeiro felt he must submit to the prevailing scientific dogma that human beings were not older than the Quaternary. To this very day authorities hold that humans of the modern type did not appear until the very latest part of the Pleistocene. So Ribeiro looked for and found a way to designate the limestone formation as Quaternary. He remained troubled at heart, however, for the geological facts he himself had observed were leading him to the forbidden

conclusion that humans had existed in times more ancient than the Quaternary (Ribeiro 1873a, p. 97).

In 1866, on the official geological maps of Portugal, Ribeiro reluctantly assigned Quaternary ages to certain of the implement-bearing strata. Upon seeing the maps, the French geologist de Verneuil took issue with Ribeiro’s judgement, pointing out that the so-called Quaternary beds were, according to geological evidence, certainly Pliocene or Miocene.

Meanwhile, in France, the Abbé Louis Bourgeois, a reputable investigator, had reported finding stone implements in Tertiary beds, and some authorities had supported him. Thus, under the twin influences of de Verneuil’s criticism and the discoveries of Bourgeois, Ribeiro resolved his inner conflict and decided that the geological and paleontological facts could no longer be ignored. He began openly reporting that implements of human manufacture were being found in Pliocene and Miocene formations in Portugal (Ribeiro 1873a, p. 98).

From the standpoint of modern geology, Ribeiro’s assessment of the age of the formations in the Tagus River valley near Lisbon is generally correct. Modern authorities have observed seven Miocene cycles of sedimentation and one Pliocene cycle (Antunes et al. 1980, p. 136). The Late Tertiary (including the Pliocene and Miocene) is sometimes called the Neogene. In a study focusing on the Neogene formations of Europe, Ivan Chicha (1970, p. 50) said about Portugal: “The Neogene beds are known from the basin situated in the lower reach of the river Tejo [Tagus], in the environs of Lisbon. The Oligocene beds, prevalently of freshwater continental origin . . . are overlain by beds . . . which are placed in the oldest Miocene—Aquitanian.” According to Chicha, these Aquitanian beds are surmounted by limestones and claystones that ascend to the Tortonian stage of the Late Miocene. Another recent study (Antunes et al. 1980, p. 138) included a chart showing the lithostratigraphic units in the Tagus basin.

Limestones, such as those in which Ribeiro found stone tools, occur in the Middle and Early Miocene.

In considering stone implements, three questions must be answered: (1) is the specimen really of human manufacture? (2) has the age of the stratum in which it was discovered been properly determined? (3) was the implement incorporated into the stratum at the time the stratum was laid down, or was the implement introduced at a later date? As far as Ribeiro was concerned, he was convinced that he had satisfactorily answered all three questions. The toollike flint objects he studied were of human manufacture, they were found in strata mostly of Miocene age, and many appeared to be in primary position, although some of his

specimens were found on the surface.

In 1871, Ribeiro presented to the members of the Portuguese Academy of Science at Lisbon a collection of flint and quartzite implements, including those gathered from the Tertiary formations of the Tagus valley. In 1872, at the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology meeting in Brussels, Ribeiro gave a similar report on his discoveries and displayed more specimens, mostly pointed flakes. At that time, Bourgeois said that none appeared to be of human manufacture. Upon a new examination of Ribeiro’s specimens, Bourgeois found one flint that he thought displayed signs of human work, but unfortunately it had not been found in situ. He therefore suspended judgement (de Mortillet 1883, p. 95). The English authority, A.W. Franks, who served as Conservator of National Antiquities and Ethnography at the British Museum, gave a more positive opinion. An expert in cultural remains, including tools, Franks stated that some of the specimens did appear to be the product of intentional work, but he reserved judgement on the age of the strata in which they had been found (Ribeiro 1873a, p. 99).

Ribeiro himself (1873b, p. 100) then addressed the Congress on the question of

“the exact geological situation of the beds in which he had found worked flint flakes, the authenticity of which has been recognized by Mr. Franks and other members of the Congress.” Ribeiro reported that one of the flints had been found in the reddish-yellow Pliocene sandstone on the left bank of the Tagus, to the south of Lisbon. He noted that these beds cover Miocene marine deposits (Ribeiro 1873b, p. 101). Modern authorities (Antunes et al. 1980, pp. 136–138) still show this basic sequence—Miocene marine deposits surmounted by Pliocene sandstone formations—in the Lisbon region.

“Concerning the other flints which Mr. Franks has declared bear evident traces of human workmanship,” said Ribeiro (1873b, p. 102), “they were found in Miocene strata.” He explained that on the way north from Lisbon to Caldas da Rainha, between the towns of Otta and Cercal, one comes to the steep hill of Espinhaço de Cão. According to Ribeiro (1873b, p. 102), it was in the sandstone beds of this hill, which lie under marine Miocene strata, that he found “flints worked by the hand of man before they were buried in the deposits.” This would indicate the presence of human beings in Portugal at least 5 million years ago and perhaps as much as 25 million years ago. Figure 4.1 shows an implement from Espinhaço de Cão.

Ribeiro’s Miocene flints made an impressive debut at Brussels, but remained controversial. At the Paris Exposition of 1878, Ribeiro displayed 95 specimens

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of Tertiary flint tools in the gallery of anthropological science. De Mortillet visited Ribeiro’s exhibit and, in the course of examining the specimens carefully, found that 22 had indubitable signs of human work. This was quite an admission for de Mortillet, for, as described in Chapter 2, he habitually rejected all evidence for human work on incised and broken bones from the Tertiary.

Figure 4.1. Implement found by Carlos Ribeiro, of the Geological Survey of Portugal, in a Miocene layer at Espinhaço de Cão (G. de Mortillet and A. de Mortillet 1881, plate 3). The ventral surface shows: (1) a striking platform, (2) bulb of percussion, and (3) eraillure.

Gabriel de Mortillet, along with his friend and colleague Emile Cartailhac, enthusiastically brought other paleoanthropologists to see Ribeiro’s specimens, and they were all of the same opinion—a good many of the flints were definitely made by humans. Cartailhac then photographed the specimens, and de Mortillet later presented the pictures in his Musée Préhistorique (1881).

De Mortillet (1883, p. 99) wrote: “The intentional work is very well established, not only by the general shape, which can be deceptive, but much more conclusively by the presence of clearly evident striking platforms and strongly developed bulbs of percussion.” The bulbs of percussion also sometimes had eraillures, small chips removed by the force of impact. In addition to the striking

platform, bulb of percussion, and eraillure, some of Ribeiro’s specimens had several long, vertical flakes removed in parallel, something not likely to occur in the course of random battering by the forces of nature.

De Mortillet’s method of analysis is comparable to that employed by modern experts in lithic technology, who, like de Mortillet, emphasize that the toollike shape of a flint does not in itself establish human work. Leland W. Patterson, a contemporary expert in distinguishing artifacts from naturefacts, believes that the bulb of percussion is the most important sign of intentional work on a flint flake. If the flake also shows the remnants of a striking platform, then one can be even more certain that one is confronted with a flake struck deliberately from a flint core and not a piece of naturally broken flint resembling a tool or weapon.

“There can be no doubt,” wrote de Mortillet (1883, p. 99) about Ribeiro’s stone implements. “The diverse specimens are formed from big flakes, almost all of them triangular and without retouch, some in flint, some in quartzite. In looking at the collection, one believes oneself to be seeing Mousterian tools, only somewhat coarser than usual.” Mousterian is the name given to the type of stone tool usually considered to have been made by the Neanderthals ( Homo sapiens neanderthalensis), who are thought to have lived in the latter part of the Pleistocene. By making the comparison with the Late Pleistocene Mousterian implements, de Mortillet was pointing out that Ribeiro’s specimens almost exactly resemble those that are universally acknowledged as being of human manufacture. Figure 4.2 shows one of Ribeiro’s Miocene tools from Portugal and for comparison an accepted stone tool from the Mousterian cultural stage of the European Late Pleistocene. They share the typical features of intentional human work on stone: the striking platform, bulb of percussion, eraillure, and parallel removal of flakes.

De Mortillet (1883, pp. 99 –100) further observed: “Many of the specimens, on the same side as the bulb of percussion, have hollows with traces and fragments of sandstone adhering to them, a fact which establishes their original position in the strata. The sandstone is inserted among strata of clays and limestones in the valley of the Tagus, together comprising a formation that attains in some places a depth of 400 meters [over 1,300 feet]. The beds have been dislocated and are in some places now resting almost in a vertical position. It is very evidently Tertiary terrain. Of the 22 worked specimens, 9 are indicated by Ribeiro to be Miocene. The others are Pliocene.”

Plate 3 in de Mortillet’s publication Musée Préhistorique (G. de Mortillet and A.

de Mortillet 1881) featured illustrations of Ribeiro’s Miocene and Pliocene

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discoveries. We have selected two for reproduction. Figure 4.3 depicts both sides of a flint flake recovered from a Tertiary formation at the base of Monte Redondo. This formation is said to belong to the Tortonian stage of the Late Miocene (de Mortillet 1883, p. 102). The ventral surface of the flint flake shows

“a large striking platform, bulb of percussion, and eraillure” (G. de Mortillet and A. de Mortillet 1881, plate 3). The dorsal surface of the flake bore proof that it was found in the Tertiary sandstones of Otta. Sandstone, just like that found at the base of Monte Redondo, adhered to the surface.

Figure 4.2. Left: Dorsal and ventral views of a stone tool recovered from a Tertiary formation in Portugal (de Mortillet 1883, p. 98). It would be over 2 million years old. Right: An accepted stone tool, less than 100,000

years old, from the Mousterian cultural stage of the European Late Pleistocene (de Mortillet 1883, p. 81). Both implements clearly display the following features of intentional human work: (1) striking platforms, (2) eraillures, (3) bulbs of percussion, and (4) parallel flake removal.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 4.3. Ventral and dorsal surfaces of a flint tool found in a Late Miocene formation at Monte Redondo, Portugal (G. de Mortillet and A. de Mortillet 1881, plate 3).

The quartzite flake shown in Figure 4.4 was found in a Pliocene formation at Barquinha, 103 kilometers (about 64 miles) northeast of Lisbon, Portugal. The ventral surface of the flake displays a striking platform, bulb of percussion, and eraillure (G. de Mortillet and A. de Mortillet 1881, plate 3).

While this flake was still attached to the quartzite core, another flake was struck from it, as shown by a negative bulb of percussion on the dorsal surface of the flake.

In a report published in 1879, Cartailhac 1 2 said about some of Ribeiro’sspecimens:“Onewould believe himself to be viewing a series of Mousterian stone implements, though somewhat cruder. The bulbs of percussion are 3 generally quite prominent. . . . These pieces bear the proof that they were not found on the surface.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 4.4. Quartzite tool found in a Pliocene formation at Barquinha, Portugal (G. de Mortillet and A. de Mortillet 1881, plate 3). The ventral surface (left), shows (1) a striking platform, (2) bulb of percussion, and (3) eraillure.

Figure 4.5. An implement found in a Miocene formation at Carregado, Portugal (Cartailhac 1879, plate 8).

On the faces of the flakes and in the hollows are found fragments of the sandstone which had encased them” (Cartailhac 1879, p. 439). One of the pieces (Figure 4.5) was found at Carregado in a Miocene formation and was described by Cartailhac as displaying “a bulb of percussion and retouch.” Retouching, in the form of regular chipping along the edges of a flint flake, is a good indicator of intentional work.

4.1.2 An International Committee Vindicates Ribeiro

At the 1880 meeting of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology, which was held in Lisbon, Portugal, Ribeiro, now on his home ground, delivered another report and displayed more specimens that were “extracted from Miocene beds” (1884, p. 86). In his report (“L’homme Tertiaire en Portugal”), Ribeiro (1884, p. 88) stated: “The conditions in which the worked flints were found in the beds are as follows: (1) They were found as integral parts of the beds themselves. (2) They had sharp, well-preserved edges, showing that they had not been subject to transport for any great distance. (3) They had a patina similar in color to the rocks in the strata of which they formed a part.”

The second point is especially important. Some geologists claimed that the flint implements had been introduced into Miocene beds by the floods and torrents that periodically washed over this terrain. According to this view, Quaternary flint implements may have entered into the interior of the Miocene beds through fissures and been cemented there, acquiring over a long period of time the coloration of the beds (de Quatrefages 1884, p. 95). But if the flints had been subjected to such transport, then the sharp edges would most probably have been damaged, and this was not the case.

The Congress assigned a special commission of scientists the task of directly inspecting the implements and the sites from which they had been gathered. In addition to Ribeiro himself, the commission included G. Bellucci of the Italian Society for Anthropology and Geography; G. Capellini, from the Royal University of Bologna, Italy, and known to us from Chapter 2 for his discoveries of incised Pliocene whale bones; E. Cartailhac, of the French Ministry of Public Instruction; Sir John Evans, an English geologist; Gabriel de Mortillet, professor of prehistoric anthropology at the College of Anthropology, Paris; and Rudolph Virchow, a German anthropologist. The other members were the scientists Choffat, Cotteau, Villanova, and Cazalis de Fondouce.

On September 22, 1880, at six in the morning, the gentlemen of the commission boarded a special train and proceeded north from Lisbon. During the rail journey, they gazed at the old forts topping the hilltops, and pointed out to each other the Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary terrains as they moved through the valley of the Tagus River. They stepped off the train at Carregado. It is on a line from Carregado north to Cercal that Ribeiro discovered most of his flints. They then proceeded to nearby Otta and two kilometers ( just over a mile) from Otta arrived at the hill of Monte Redondo. At that point, the scientists dispersed into

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

various ravines in search of flints.

Paul Choffat, a member of the commission and its secretary, later reported to the Congress: “Of the many flint flakes and apparent cores taken from the midst of the strata under the eyes of the commission members, one was judged as leaving no doubt about the intentional character of the work” (1884a, p. 63). This was the specimen found in situ by the Italian naturalist Bellucci ( Figure 4.6). Choffat then noted that Bellucci had found on the surface other flints with incontestable signs of work. Some thought they were Miocene implements that had been removed from the Miocene conglomerates by atmospheric agencies, such as rain and wind, while others thought that the implements were of a much more recent date.

Figure 4.6. Flint implement found by G. Bellucci in an Early Miocene formation at Otta, Portugal (Choffat 1884b, figure 1). It was judged by a commission of scientists to be identical to Late Pleistocene implements of similar type.

In his book Le Préhistorique, Gabriel de Mortillet gave an informative account of the events that took place at the Congress at Lisbon: “While the printer was preparing the first pages of this book,” wrote de Mortillet (1883, p.

100), “I went to the meeting of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology in Lisbon, one of my purposes being to complete the table of strata containing evidence for the presence of humans. I was able to confirm in a very exact and positive manner the actuality of Ribeiro’s discoveries, including the precise geological position of certain of his worked flints.” De Mortillet (1883, pp. 100 –101) then proceeded to describe the scientists’ excursion to Otta and Bellucci’s remarkable discovery: “The members of the Congress arrived at Otta, in the middle of a great freshwater formation. It

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

was the bottom of an ancient lake, with sand and clay in the center, and sand and rocks on the edges. It is on the shores that intelligent beings would have left their tools, and it is on the shores of the lake that once bathed Monte Redondo that the search was made. It was crowned with success. The able investigator of Umbria

[Italy], Mr. Bellucci, discovered in situ a flint bearing incontestable signs of intentional work. Before detaching it, he showed it to a number of his colleagues. The flint was strongly encased in the rock. He had to use a hammer to extract it. It is definitely of the same age as the deposit. Instead of lying flat on a surface onto which it could have been secondarily recemented at a much later date, it was found firmly in place on the under side of a ledge extending over a region removed by erosion [ Figure 4.7]. It is impossible to desire a more complete demonstration attesting to a flint’s position in its strata.” All that was needed was to determine the age of the strata. Study of the fauna and flora in the region around the Monte Redondo site showed that the formations present there can be assigned to the Tortonian stage of the Late Miocene period (de Mortillet 1883, p. 102).

“ The refore,” concluded de Mortillet “during the Tortonian epoch there existed in Portugal an intelligent being who chipped flint just like X Quaternary humans” (1883, p. 102). Some modern authorities 1 con sider the O tta conglomerates to be from the Burdigalian stage of the Early Miocene (Antunes et al. 1980, p. 139 ).

Figure 4.7. Stratigraphy of the site at the base of Monte Redondo hill in Otta, Portugal, where G. Bellucci found the implement pictured in Figure 4.6: (1) sandstone; (2) Miocene sandstone conglomerate with flints; (3) surface deposit of eroded flints. The arrow marked “X” indicates the position of the implement (de Mortillet 1883, p. 101).

Choffat (1884b, pp. 92– 93) presented, in the form of answers to four questions, the conclusions of the commission members, who had not only examined the specimens Ribeiro exhibited at the Congress but also journeyed to Otta to conduct field investigations. The first two questions and answers dealt with the flints themselves: “(1) Are there bulbs of percussion on the flints on exhibition and on those found during the excursion? The commission declares unanimously that there are bulbs of percussion, and some pieces have several.

(2) Are bulbs of percussion proof of intentional work? There are different opinions. They may be summarized as follows: de Mortillet considers that just one bulb of percussion is sufficient proof of intentional work, while Evans believes that even several bulbs on one piece do not give certitude of intentional chipping but only a great probability of such.” Here it may once more be noted that modern authorities such as Leland W. Patterson (1983) consider one or more bulbs of percussion to be very good indicators of intentional work.

The remaining two questions concerned the positions in which the flints were found: “(3) Are the worked flints found at Otta from the interior of the beds or the surface? There are diverse opinions. Mr. Cotteau believes all are from the surface, and that those found embedded within the strata came down through crevasses in the beds. Mr. Capellini, however, believes that pieces found on the surface were eroded from the interior of the beds. De Mortillet, Evans, and Cartailhac believe there are two time periods to which the flints may be referred, the first being the Tertiary, the other being the Old and New Stone Ages of the Quaternary. The flints of the two periods are easy to distinguish by their form and patina. (4) What is the age of the strata of the worked flints? After only a moment’s discussion the members declared they were in perfect accord with Ribeiro.” In other words, the strata were Miocene, although some members of the commission believed that the flints found lying on the surface had not weathered out of the Miocene rock but instead had been dropped there in fairly recent times.

In the discussion that followed the presentation of Choffat’s report, Capellini said: “I believe these flints to be the product of intentional work. If you do not admit that, then you must also doubt the flints of the later Stone Ages” (Choffat 1884b, pp. 97–98). According to Capellini, Ribeiro’s Miocene specimens were almost identical to undoubted Quaternary flint implements. Capellini’s remarks strike at one of the central issues in the treatment of scientific evidence—the application of a double standard in determining what evidence is to be accepted and what is to be rejected. If the standards used by the scientific establishment to reject finds such as Ribeiro’s were applied in the same manner to conventionally accepted finds, then the accepted finds would also have to be rejected. And this would deprive the theory of human evolution of a substantial portion of its evidential foundation.

The next speaker, Villanova, provided a good example of the double standard treatment. Villanova was very doubtful, even about the Bellucci find. He said that in order to remove all cause for suspicion one would have to discover an unmistakably genuine implement firmly embedded not in a Miocene conglomerate but in the middle of undifferentiated Miocene limestone and alongside characteristic fossils (Choffat 1884b, p. 99). A conglomerate is a mass of rock composed of rounded stones of various sizes cemented together in a matrix of sandstone or hardened clay. Apparently, Villanova felt there was some reason to doubt the age of a stone tool found in a conglomerate—there was perhaps a chance it had entered recently and been cemented in with other stones.

Or perhaps he doubted the age of the conglomerate at Otta, but the majority opinion was that this conglomerate was in fact Miocene.

Maybe it would have been better if the flint had been found in an undifferentiated stratum. The crucial point, however, is this: if Villanova’s criterion were to be applied in all cases, this would wipe out most of the paleoanthropological evidence now accepted. The number of human fossils found in undifferentiated strata directly alongside characteristic fossils is rather small. For example, as we shall see in Chapter 9, the initial Java Homo erectus discovery was made in strata that had undergone considerable mixing, and almost all of the later Java Homo erectus finds were made on or quite near the surface. Beijing Homo erectus was found in cave deposits. Another point that will emerge in our discussion is this: sometimes anomalous finds are made in undifferentiated strata alongside characteristic fossils, and then some other means will be found to discredit them. Indeed, as previously mentioned, in his report to the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology

at Brussels in 1872, Ribeiro (1873a, p. 97) did tell of finding flint implements

“deep inside” undifferentiated Miocene limestone beds.

Following Villanova, Cartailhac spoke. He said that if the question of the Miocene age of the implements were to be decided on the grounds of actual scientific evidence, the answer would have to be affirmative. Cartailhac believed that the coloration of many of the surface finds indicated they were eroded from Miocene beds, and he pointed out that some specimens had remnants of Miocene sediments adhering to them.

Cartailhac then asked the members to consider a particular specimen from Ribeiro’s collection, which he had previously studied at the anthropological exposition in Paris. He stated: “I have seen on it two bulbs of percussion, and possibly a third, and a point that seems to truly be the result of intentional work.

It has on its surface not a coloration that could be removed by washing but rather a surface incrustation of Miocene sandstone tightly adhering to it. A chemist would not permit us to say that such a deposit could form and attach itself to a flint lying, for whatever amount of time, on a sandstone surface” (Choffat 1884b, p. 100). In other words, the flint must have been lying within the Miocene bed itself, when it was formed. Cartailhac admitted that natural action might in rare occasions produce a bulb of percussion, but to have two on the same piece would be an absolute miracle. He believed that the many very good specimens discovered on the Miocene surface, where there was absolutely no trace of any other deposit, were really Miocene implements that had weathered out of the rock.

One may certainly disagree with Cartailhac. But then we may here note that in more recent times, the famous Lucy australopithecine fossils were found by D.

C. Johanson on the surface of Pliocene deposits in Ethiopia, from which they were presumed to have weathered out (Johanson and Edey 1981, pp. 16 –18). As we shall see in Chapter 9, the same is also true of many of the Java Homo erectus finds. Are these discoveries also to be doubted? Perhaps, but the real point is that the application of standards should be consistent. Unfortunately, as we shall see throughout this book, standards tend to be applied selectively, in conformity with the biases and expectations of the researcher.

After Cartailhac finished his remarks, Bellucci recounted his own noteworthy discovery of an implement (Figure 4.6, p. 221) in the Miocene conglomerate at Otta (Choffat 1884b, pp. 101–102). Before extracting it, he had shown it to many members of the commission, who saw that it was firmly integrated into the stratum (Figure 4.7, p. 222). It had been so firmly fixed in the Miocene

sandstone conglomerate that he had not been able to remove it with his wooden tool, and had needed to use Cartailhac’s iron pick to break the sandstone.

Bellucci stated that the inner surface of the implement, the one adhering to the conglomerate, had not only the same reddish color as the conglomerate but also incrustations of tiny grains of quartzite that could not be detached even by vigorous washing.

Bellucci further pointed out that the elements composing the intact conglomerate corresponded perfectly with those found loose on the surface. This led Bellucci to conclude that the loose stones found on the surface at Otta were the result of weathering of the conglomerate. This indicated that flint implements found on the surface might also have come from the conglomerate, which was of Miocene age (Choffat 1884b, p. 103). By itself, this was, however, a fairly weak argument. Although the flints on the surface may have weathered out of the Miocene conglomerate, they also could have been dropped on the surface during the Late Pleistocene. But the fact that the implements had incrustations of Miocene sediments on them, and were the same color as the Miocene conglomerate, strongly supported the conclusion that the implements were themselves Miocene.

As for the signs of intentional work on the piece found in situ, Bellucci noted:

“Mr. Evans says he believes in bulbs of percussion. Well look. This piece was detached from the surface of a flint core, and it not only has a magnificent bulb of percussion, but also one of its surfaces presents marks showing that another flake had been previously detached, in the same direction, when the implement had been still part of the flint nucleus” (Choffat 1884b, p. 104).

The last feature described by Bellucci, successive parallel flake removal from a core, is recognized today by experts in lithic technology as one of the surest signs of intentional work. The striking of two successive flakes from a flint core requires a considerable degree of expertise, and is quite beyond what might be expected from random shocks by purely natural forces. Patterson stated:

“Humans will often strike multiple flakes in series from a single core, usually resulting in the production of some flakes with multiple facets on the dorsal face.

In contrast, the removal of a few flakes from cores by random natural forces would not be expected to occur often by serial removals. . . . It is characteristic in human lithic manufacturing processes to use the same striking platform for multiple flake removals” (L. Patterson et al. 1987, p. 98).

When Cotteau’s turn to speak came, he argued, like Villanova, that, in order to be accepted, finds of implements should be made only in undifferentiated, intact

strata (Choffat 1884b, pp. 105 –106). Cotteau observed that unless finds were made in undifferentiated, intact strata, the possibility always existed that the implements might have been washed in through fissures from the surface and cemented in place. In time, the fissure might be filled in, hiding its existence to researchers. It should, however, be noted, that Cotteau did not specifically address the conditions of Bellucci’s discovery. Was there in fact a filled-in fissure near the place where Bellucci found the flint implement? Cotteau does not say. Furthermore, the position in which Bellucci found his implement, firmly in place on the underside of an overhanging section of the Miocene formation, argues against Cotteau’s hypothesis. In general, Bellucci’s opponents at the Congress offered only vague hypothetical objections.

Altogether, there seems little reason why Ribeiro’s discoveries should not be receiving some serious attention, even today. Here we have a professional geologist, the head of Portugal’s geological survey, making discoveries of flint implements in Miocene strata. In appearance the implements resembled accepted types, and they displayed characteristics that modern experts in lithic technology accept as signs of human manufacture. To resolve controversial questions, a congress of Europe’s leading archeologists and anthropologists deputed a committee to conduct a firsthand investigation of one of the sites of Ribeiro’s discoveries of Miocene implements. There a scientist discovered in situ an implement in a Miocene bed, a fact witnessed by several other members of the committee. Of course, objections were raised, but upon reviewing them, it does not appear to us that they were conclusive enough to cause an unbiased observer to categorically reject Bellucci’s find in particular or Ribeiro’s finds in general.

4.2 The Finds of The Abbé Bourgeois at Thenay,

France (Miocene)

We now turn our attention to the discoveries of the Abbé L. Bourgeois, rector of the seminary at Pontlevoy, Loire-et-Cher, France. On August 19, 1867, in Paris, Bourgeois presented to the International Congress for Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology a report on flint implements he had found in Early Miocene beds at Thenay, in north central France, near Orleans (de Mortillet 1883, p. 85). Bourgeois, who had conducted research near Thenay for over twenty years, said that although the instruments were crudely made, they resembled the types of Quaternary implements (scrapers, borers, blades, etc.) he

had found on the surface in the same region. He found on almost all of the Miocene specimens the standard indications of human work: fine retouching, symmetrical chipping, and traces of use. He also noted multiple examples of particular forms. Some of the flints, naturally translucent, were opaque, a sign that they had been burned. By performing experiments with fire and flint, Bourgeois had been able to reproduce the exact effect. The signs of fire on the flints were another strong indication that humans had made and used them.

The flint implements of Thenay were recovered from below the Calcaire de Beauce, a well-known Early Miocene limestone formation. Bourgeois recognized that the presence of stone tools in this geological position was indeed remarkable, having serious implications with regard to human antiquity. Yet, for him, the facts, uncomfortable though they might be to contemplate, spoke for themselves. De Mortillet (1883, p. 86) said that the layers of clay in which the flints were found were of Early Miocene or even Oligocene age. This would push back the presence of human beings in France to around 20–25 million years before the present. If this sounds impossible, one should ask oneself why. If the answer is that modern science’s ideas about human evolution prevent one from seriously considering such a thing, one should honestly admit that one is allowing preconceived notions to unduly influence one’s perception of facts and that this is unscientific. One with faith in the scientific method should maintain a willingness to change one’s notions, even the most dearly held, in the face of facts that contradict them.

Modern geologists still agree with the determination that the deposits at Thenay are Miocene. As stated above, the implementbearing layers lie below the Calcaire de Beauce. This limestone formation is now referred to the Aquitanian stage (Pomerol and Feugeur 1974, p. 142), which lies within the Early Miocene (Romer 1966, p. 334). Some French authorities (Klein 1973, p. 566) put the deposits of Thenay at the base of the Helvetian stage. The Helvetian stage is placed in the Middle Miocene (Romer 1966, p. 334). The base of the Helvetian would thus mark the boundary between the Middle and Early Miocene.

4.2.1 Debates About the Discoveries at Thenay

Bourgeois displayed his specimens at the house of the Marquis de Vibraye, and the members of the Paris congress of 1867 were allowed to examine them at their leisure. Although the form and appearance of the flints

had been sufficient to convince Bourgeois they were of human manufacture, most of the visitors were hesitant to acknowledge this. De Mortillet (1883, p. 86) stated that “the ancient age of the strata in which they were found involuntarily indisposed the geologists and paleontologists.” Here again we find a clear case of preconceptions (of what could and should be) dominating a decision whether or not to accept evidence.

Thus the flints from the Miocene of Thenay did not win much approval at their Paris debut. Only a few scientists, prominent among them the Danish naturalist Worsaae, admitted they were actual artifacts. Undeterred, Bourgeois continued his work, finding more and more specimens, and convincing individual paleontologists and geologists they were the result of intentional work. De Mortillet said he was one of the first to be so convinced. He and other scientists not only examined the collection of Bourgeois at Pontlevoy but also carefully studied the site at Thenay.

Some scientists questioned the stratigraphic position in which the flints had been found. The first specimens collected by Bourgeois, many of which showed signs of burning by fire, came from the slopes of rocky debris along the sides of a small valley cutting through the plateau at Thenay. Geologists such as Sir John Prestwich objected that these were essentially surface finds. In response, Bourgeois dug a trench in the valley and found flints showing the same signs of human work (de Mortillet 1883, p. 94).

Still unsatisfied, critics proposed that the flints found in the trench had come to their positions through fissures leading from the top of the plateau, where Quaternary implements were often found. To meet this objection, Bourgeois, in 1869, sank a pit into the top of the plateau (de Mortillet 1883, p. 95). In the course of the excavation, he came to a layer of limestone 32 centimeters (about one foot) thick, with no fissures through which Quaternary stone tools might have slipped to lower levels.

Deeper in his pit, at a depth of 4.23 meters (13.88 feet) in Early Miocene strata of the Aquitanian stage, Bourgeois discovered many flint tools. De Mortillet (1883, pp. 95–96) stated in Le Préhistorique: “There was no further doubt about their antiquity or their geological position.” In the layer of Early Miocene clay containing the flint implements, Bourgeois found a hammer stone bearing evident signs of percussion. Hammer stones are primarily used to strike flakes from flint cores. In his collection, Bourgeois (1873, p. 90) had several other examples of hammer stones.

Despite the clear demonstration provided by the pit sunk in the middle of the

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

plateau at Thenay, many scientists retained their doubts. A showdown came in Brussels, at the 1872 meeting of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology. There Bourgeois

Figure 4.8. A pointed implement from a Miocene formation at Thenay, France (Bourgeois 1873, plate 1).

delivered a report summarizing the history of his discoveries. In addition, he presented many specimens, figures of which were included in the published proceedings of the Congress. Describing a pointed specimen (Figure 4.8), Bourgeois (1873, p. 89) stated: “Here is an awllike specimen, on a broad base.

The point in the middle has been obtained by regular retouching. This is a type common to all epochs. On the opposite side is a bulb of percussion, which although rare in the Tertiary flints of Thenay, here shows itself very well.”

Bourgeois described another implement: “A very regularly shaped fragment of a flake that deserves the designation knife or cutter.” He continued: “The edges have regular retouching, and the opposite side presents a bulb of percussion”

(Bourgeois 1873, p. 49). On many of his specimens, noted Bourgeois, the edges on the part of the tool that might be grasped by the hand remained unworn, while those on the cutting surfaces showed extensive wear and polishing.

Another specimen ( Figure 4.9), was characterized by Bourgeois (1873, p. 89) as a projectile point or an awl.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 4.9. A pointed artifact from Miocene strata at Thenay, France, with retouching near the point (Bourgeois 1873, plate 2).

He noted the presence of retouching on the edges, obviously intended to make a sharp point. Bourgeois (1873, p. 89) also saw among the objects he collected “a core with the two extremities retouched with the aim of being utilized for some purpose.” He observed: “The most prominent edge has been chipped down by a series of artificial blows, probably to prevent discomfort to the hand grasping the implement. The other edges remain sharp, which shows this flaking is not due to rolling action” ( Bourgeois 1873, p. 89). If the flint had been subjected to transport by water or another natural agency, one would expect that the resultant random chipping and fracturing should have damaged all the edges, and not just one. For the sake of comparison, we show in Figure 4.10 the implement from the Early Miocene of Thenay alongside a similar accepted implement from the Late Pleistocene.

Then Bourgeois (1873, p. 90) described a final specimen: “A short scraper, with numerous and well-marked retouchings, in all respects resembling the Quaternary types found every day on the surface. On the other side, it presents . .

. a bulb of percussion.”

Bourgeois did not specify the exact places from which the above-mentioned specimens were taken—that is, from the exposed sections in the valley, from the valley trench, or from the pit sunk in the top of the plateau. But his reports suggest that implements recovered from all three places were quite similar.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 4.10. Top: A Late Pleistocene flint implement (Laing 1894, p.

366). Bottom: An implement from Early Miocene strata at Thenay, France (Bourgeois 1873, plate 2).

In order to resolve any controversy, the Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology nominated a fifteen-member commission to judge the discoveries of Bourgeois. A majority of eight members, including de Quatrefages and Capellini, voted that the flints were of human manufacture (de Mortillet 1883, p. 87). An additional member voted in favor of Bourgeois, but with some reservations. Only five of the fifteen found no trace of human work in the specimens from Thenay. One member expressed no opinion.

De Mortillet stated that if instead of considering just the numbers of votes that were cast, one considered their scientific merit, then the victory of Bourgeois was even greater. De Mortillet pointed out that among those voting in support of Bourgeois were the scientists who had especially devoted themselves to the study of flint tools, while among the dissenters were the scientists who had little or no experience in this area. Indeed, one of them, Dr. Fraas, of Germany, claimed at the Congress that the handaxes of the Quaternary gravels of the Somme region of France, accepted by almost all authorities as genuine human artifacts, were “an invention of French chauvinism” (de Mortillet 1883, p. 88).

Bourgeois gave a choice collection of flint tools from Thenay to the national museum of antiquities at St. Germain and also exhibited his best specimens at

the exposition of anthropological science held in 1878. After his death, specimens were given to the museum of the School of Anthropology in Paris.

Many of the flints of Thenay have finely cracked surfaces indicating exposure to fire. Others, much more altered, have surfaces pitted with irregular holes. Was the cracking and pitting caused by weathering? De Mortillet (1883, p. 90) said that cracking resulting from fire and weathering could be very easily distinguished. Significantly, the normally translucent flints had become opaque.

Experiments showed that it took a great deal of heat to discolor flints as much as those found at Thenay. The heat of the sun could not have done it. But if fire was the cause, was it fire used by humans or some kind of accidental fire?

In considering the possible causes of accidental fire, de Mortillet suggested that the three most likely possibilities were volcanic action, spontaneous vegetable combustion, or vegetation ignited by lightning. De Mortillet pointed out, however, that there were no volcanoes in the region and no layers of combustible plant material such as peat. Furthermore, the burned flints were found scattered at many locations throughout diverse levels in the same general area. This indicated to de Mortillet that the signs of burning were not the result of fires ignited by lightning. He appears to have reasoned as follows. The many localized signs of fire at numerous levels indicated continuous intentional use of small fires over a long period of time rather than occasional general conflagrations, such as might have occurred when grass, brush, or forest was ignited by lightning. The evidence strongly suggested that humans had regularly used fire to help fracture the flints.

Bulbs of percussion were rare on the Early Miocene flints of Thenay, but most displayed fine retouching of the edges. De Mortillet (1883, p. 92) stated that even though there were not many bulbs of percussion, retouching alone was a good sign of intentional work. The retouching tended to be concentrated on just one side of an edge, while the other side remained untouched; this is called unifacial flaking. De Mortillet, like modern authorities, believed that in almost all cases unifacial flaking is not the result of chance impacts but of deliberate work. Some researchers have suggested that in special instances unifacial flaking might result from natural forces that press one side of a flint against a hard surface, taking small chips off the edge (Section 3.4.1). De Mortillet (1883, pp.

92-93) admitted that this sometimes occurred; however the resultant chipping was generally very crude and irregular. In his book Musée Préhistorique, de Mortillet included reproductions of some Thenay flints that displayed very regular unifacial retouching—flakes removed in the same direction along one

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

side of an edge (Figure 4.11). Some of the critics of Bourgeois commented that among all the Early Miocene flint pieces he collected at Thenay, there were only a very few good specimens, about thirty. But de Mortillet (1883, p. 93) stated:

“Even one incontestable specimen would be enough, and they have thirty!”

A modern expert on stone implements, Leland W. Patterson, has stated (1983, p.

303): “Unifacially retouched stone tools are generally an important class of tools on archeological sites, and comprise a major portion of lithic artifacts of early man sites. This group can include well-known types of stone tools such as gravers, perforators, scrapers, notched tools, and some types of knives, choppers, and denticulates.” The Thenay implements conformed to this description.

Figure 4.11. Unifacially retouched implements from the Early Miocene at Thenay, France (G. de Mortillet and A. de Mortillet 1881, plate 1).

Figure 4.12. Left: A flint implement from an Early Miocene formation at Thenay, France (G. de Mortillet and A. de Mortillet 1881, plate 1). Right: An accepted implement from the lower middle part of Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Africa (M. Leakey 1971, p. 113). The lower edges of both specimens show roughly parallel flake scars, satisfying the requirements of L. Patterson (1983) for recognition as objects of human manufacture.

According to L. Patterson (1983, p. 303): “Completely unifacial tool shapes would be one of the most difficult items for nature to reproduce by random forces. It would be difficult for random forces unidirectionally to fracture flake edges only on one face. It would be even more difficult for fortuitous forces to create the long, uniform, parallel flake scars characteristic of purposefully made unifacial tools. . . . It follows, then, that it would be extremely difficult to conceive of nature fortuitously creating an entire group of various well-made unifacial tools, with multiple examples of each tool type, that is the usual demonstration of a kit of man-made stone tools.” Patterson (1983, p. 303) added: “Any experienced lithic analyst with a 10-power magnifier can distinguish fortuitously shaped flakes from unifacial tools.”

Illustrations of the flints from the Early Miocene of Thenay show the parallel flake scars of approximately the same size that, according to Patterson, are indicative of intentional human work. Figure 4.12 shows a unifacial implement from Thenay along with a similar accepted unifacial implement from Olduvai Gorge.

Through the writings of S. Laing, knowledge of the Thenay tools from the Early Miocene reached the intelligent reading public of the English-speaking countries. Because we desire to make this work a sourcebook of primary and contemporary secondary reports about anomalous evidence relating to human antiquity, we will include relevant passages from Laing’s works.

Laing (1893, p. 113) wrote of the tools found at Thenay: “When these were first produced, the opinion of the best authorities was very equally divided as to their being the work of human hands, but subsequent discoveries have produced specimens as to which it is impossible to entertain any doubt, especially

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 4.13. A scraper or borer (top) and a flint knife (bottom) from an Early Miocene formation at Thenay, France, reproduced by S. Laing (1894, pp. 364–365) from a book by A. de Quatrefages.

the flint knife and two small scrapers [the knife and one scraper appear in Figure 4.13] figured by M. Quatrefages at p. 92 of his recent work on Races humaines. They present all the characteristic features by which human design is inferred in other cases, viz.: the bulb of percussion and repeated chipping by small blows all in the same direction, round the edge which was intended for use.”

Laing (1893, pp. 113 –115) continued his review: “The human origin of these

implements has been greatly confirmed by the discovery that the Mincopics of the Andaman Islands manufacture whet-stones or scrapers almost identical with those of Thenay, and by the same process of using fire to split the stones into the requisite size and shape. These Mincopics are not acquainted with the art of chipping stone into celts or arrowheads, but use fragments of large shells, of which they have a great abundance, or of bone or hard wood, and the scrapers are employed in bringing these to a sharper point or finer edge. The main objection, therefore, at first raised to the authenticity of these relics of Miocene man, that they did not afford conclusive proof of design, may be considered as removed, and the objectors have to fall back on the assumption, either that the implements were fabricated by some exceptionally intelligent Dryopithecus, or that the Abbé Bourgeois may have been deceived by workmen, and mistaken in supposing that flints, which really came from overlying Quaternary strata, were found in the Miocene deposit. This hardly seems probable in the case of such an experienced observer, and had it been so, the implements might have been expected to show the usual Quaternary types of celts, knives, and arrowheads, fashioned by percussion, whereas the specimens found all bear a distinct type, being scrapers and borers of small size, and partly fashioned by fire. . . . On the whole, the evidence for these Miocene implements seems to be very conclusive, and the objections to have hardly any other ground than the reluctance to admit the great antiquity of man.” Here we may note that collections of Quaternary implements often include scrapers and borers of the type found at Thenay, in addition to the more sophisticated projectile points and handaxes.

As an example of popular science writing, Laing’s work is satisfactory. His mode of expression was reasonable and lucid. He did not oversimplify. The evidence he cited was faithfully reproduced from original scientific reports and was presented in an honest fashion. Especially strong was his report that the Andaman islanders made tools similar to those of Thenay by using fire to flake the stone. Modern authorities regard studies of present-day lithic technologies as useful in recognizing intentional human work on stone materials gathered from ancient sites.

In his book Human Origins, Laing (1894, p. 363) again wrote of the flint implements of Thenay: “The general form might be the result of accident, but fractures from frost or collisions simulating chipping could hardly be all in the same direction, and confined to one part of the stone. The inference is strengthened if the specimen shows bulbs of percussion, where the blows had been struck to fashion the implement, and if the microscope discloses parallel

striae and other signs of use on the chipped edge, such as would be made by scraping bones or skins, while nothing of the sort is seen on the other natural edges.” As we have seen, some of the flint objects from Thenay do have bulbs of percussion and signs of wear confined to working edges, in addition to regular unifacial retouching. Laing also mentioned that the Thenay specimens closely resembled later implements of undoubted human manufacture.

Laing (1894, p. 356) listed the flint implements found in the Early Miocene at Thenay as one of many cases “in which the preponderance of evidence and authority in support of Tertiary man seems so decisive, that nothing but a preconceived bias against the antiquity of the human race can refuse to accept it.”

Laing (1894, pp. 363–364) told the history of the finds: “When specimens of the flints from Thenay were first submitted to the Anthropological Congress at Brussels in 1867, their human origin was admitted by MM. Worsae, de Vibraye, de Mortillet, and Schmidt, and rejected by MM. Nilson, Hebert, and others, while M. Quatrefages reserved his opinion, thinking a strong case made out, but not being entirely satisfied. M. Bourgeois himself was partly responsible for these doubts, for, like Boucher de Perthes, he had injured his case by overstating it, and including a number of small flints, which might have been, and probably were, merely natural specimens. But the whole collection having been transferred to the Archeological Museum at St. Germain, its director, M.

Mortillet, selected those which appeared most demonstrative of human origin, and placed them in a glass case, side by side with similar types of undoubted Quaternary implements. This removed a great many doubts, and later discoveries of still better specimens of the type of scrapers have, in the words of Quatrefages, ‘dispelled his last doubts,’ while not a single instance has occurred of any convert in the opposite direction, or of any opponent who has adduced facts contradicting the conclusions of Quatrefages, Mortillet, and Hamy, after an equally careful and minute investigation.”

Laing (1894, p. 370) then went on to say: “The scraper of the Esquimaux and the Andaman islanders is but an enlarged and improved edition of the Miocene scraper, and in the latter cases the stones seem to have been split by the same agency, viz. that of fire. The early knowledge of fire is also confirmed by the discovery, reported by M. Bourgeois in the Orleans Sand at Thenay, with bones of mastodon and dinotherium, of a stony fragment mixed with carbon, in a sort of hardened paste, which . . . must be the remnant of a hearth on which there had been a fire.”

In any case, the evidence that an intelligent being of the human type produced the flints of Thenay around 20 million years ago in the Early Miocene seems overwhelming. But some authorities believed the being was not of the modern human type, but rather a more primitive ancestor, as required by evolutionary theory. The controversy was vehement. As this question will come up again and again in our review of evidence for the presence of humans in Tertiary times, we shall now give this matter some detailed consideration.

4.2.2 Evolution and the Nature of Tertiary Man

In his book Hommes Fossiles et Hommes Sauvages, A. de Quatrefages (1884, p. 80) noted: “The problem of Tertiary man is singularly obscured by the fact that solutions are too often dictated by opinions held a priori, deriving from extremely opposing theories.” The opposing theories and opinions were those of the Darwinists and the Biblical creationists. Uncomfortable with the views of both these groups, de Quatrefages (1884, p. 80) went on to say: “The elements of a conviction based on purely scientific and rational grounds are not numerous. It is easy to see that men of equal intelligence and experience can have different opinions or hesitate to give any opinion whatsoever. But Darwinian doctrines and dogmatic religious convictions have obviously influenced scientific discussion on this matter.”

As of the late nineteenth century, the only fossil remains relating to human origins yet discovered were those of the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man. As previously mentioned (Section 1.2), scientists favoring evolution thought that the Neanderthals, although somewhat primitive, were too humanlike to qualify as a missing link with the Miocene apes; and Cro-Magnon man, of course, was fully human. But Cro-Magnon man did put the fully human type well back into the Quaternary, contemporary with ice age mammals such as the mammoth and woolly rhinoceros.

This naturally led Darwinists to place the origin of the human species from apelike ancestors much further back in time. De Quatrefages (1884, pp. 80–81) noted: “Haeckel was the first to make a proposal. He put his Homo alalus (speechless man) and Homo pithecanthropus (ape-man) in the Pliocene, or late Tertiary. Darwin, taking after his German disciple, proposed that the initial transition from ancient apes to the precursors of modern humans, as signified by the loss of the ape’s primitive coat of hair, occurred as early as the Eocene.

Wallace cautiously suggested the middle Tertiary as the time during which an

unspecified variety of ape attained the human form after a prolonged process of morphological evolution.”

At this time, however, the visions of ape-men propounded by Darwin and Haeckel were purely hypothetical. No fossils of creatures truly transitional between the early Tertiary apes and Cro-Magnon man had been found. But what about the stone tools discovered in Miocene formations by Ribeiro in Portugal and by Bourgeois in France?

Anatole Roujou, a French evolutionist, reacted in an interesting fashion to the stone tools found at Thenay. Roujou said: “Being convinced of the transformation of species, I did not have to wait for the discovery of Miocene flints to demonstrate the existence of Tertiary man, because his existence is a necessary consequence of transformation, as currently understood, and an indispensable corollary to the ideas I hold about the morphological affinities of the mammals and their mode of descent” (de Quatrefages 1884, p. 81).

De Quatrefages (1884, p. 81) observed: “Roujou traced back to Tertiary man, whose existence he accepted on purely theoretical grounds, the several distinct present races of humans which, he believed, have existed since the Quaternary.

Roujou saw no reason to suppose that humans like those presently existing could not have existed at the time the flint implements of Thenay were being made.”

This is quite an interesting admission from an evolutionist. Today, evolutionists put the emergence of anatomically modern humans in the Late Pleistocene.

Nevertheless, even from the standpoint of current evolutionary theory, there is, strictly speaking, no reason to rule out in advance the existence of modern human beings, or a closely related species, in the Miocene. After all, advocates of punctuated equilibrium no longer envision an uninterrupted process of gradual change from one species to another. The paleontological evidence, they say, shows that species remain static for long periods of time, millions of years, and that new species appear quite abruptly in the fossil record (Gould and Eldredge 1977). Accepting this point of view, we should not necessarily expect our ancestors to become progressively more primitive and apelike as we trace them back further and further. After all, there are many present-day creatures, turtles and alligators to name a couple, that have not changed substantially for tens of millions of years.

De Mortillet, also a Darwinist, took a somewhat different approach than Roujou.

“He tries to accommodate the ideas of Darwin with the paleontological facts,”

wrote de Quatrefages (1884, p. 81). De Mortillet himself said: “The mammalian fauna has been replaced several times, at least thrice, since the implementbearing

deposits at Thenay were laid down. . . . Can human beings, who display one of the most complex levels of biological organization, have escaped from that law of transformation?” (de Quatrefages 1884, p. 81).

But from the standpoint of modern theory, species may change at different rates.

Even if it is agreed that some mammalian species have been replaced several times since the Miocene, there is no reason to reject evidence that suggests the human species might not have been replaced. According to current thinking, speciation is a relatively abrupt and unpredictable occurrence rather than the result of an ongoing process of gradual, progressive change.

As can be seen from the different conclusions of Roujou and de Mortillet, evolutionary theory is quite flexible, perhaps too flexible. It seems almost any piece of paleoanthropological evidence can be accommodated within the elastic evolutionary framework.

De Mortillet went on to make the following observation. “If we see in the flint objects found at Thenay signs of intentional work, we can only conclude that it was the work not of anatomically modern human beings but of another human species, probably representative of a genus of human precursors that fills the gap between humans and animals” (de Quatrefages 1884, pp. 81–82).

De Mortillet called this precursor genus Anthropopithecus, existing in three species, the oldest, that of Thenay, being the link with the apes. The other two species were the makers of flint tools found by Ribeiro in Portugal (Section 4.1) and by Rames at Aurillac in southern France (Section 4.3.2).

“For de Mortillet,” stated de Quatrefages (1884, pp. 82–83), “the existence of the anthropopitheques in Tertiary times is a necessary consequence of Darwinist doctrines. Their successive appearances and disappearances are equally indispensable for maintaining the accord between the progressive development of the human type and that of mammalian fauna. Encountering in the ancient layers of the earth flints bearing signs of intentional work, it was natural for him to interpret them as the first manifestations of primitive industry by a precursor of modern humans.” De Mortillet’s objections to anatomically modern humans in the Tertiary were, it seems, primarily theoretical, based on his Darwinian preconceptions.

Looking back on this formative era of modern paleoanthropology, one should carefully note the great strength of de Mortillet’s faith in the existence of an apelike precursor of modern human beings. Darwinists were awaiting the appearance of the missing link just as expectantly as others awaited the coming of the Messiah. We may well ask: was it perhaps this strong faith and conviction,

more than any other factor, that motivated later paleoanthropologists to designate certain apelike fossil creatures as the biological ancestors of the modern human type?

De Quatrefages (1884, p. 83) then continued: “De Mortillet is the first to admit that no one has as yet found the slightest remains of the anthropopitheques; and he combats the theory of Mr. Gaudry, who is disposed to attribute the worked flints of Thenay to the Miocene ape Dryopithecus fontani. But it remains for de Mortillet to reveal to us the exact character of that being, which evidently has, except in his own eyes, nothing but a completely theoretical existence. Others, however, are more daring. Haeckel and Darwin, on the basis of diverse considerations, have indicated some characteristics which would, in their opinion, enable us to recognize their ape-men. Finally Hovelacque, carrying to extremes the theory of transformationism, has compared point for point the corresponding traits of the highest anthropoid apes with those of the lowest forms of humanity; from this exercise, he has derived an intermediate form and believes he is able to trace a fairly complete portrait of the being that immediately preceded the first human of the modern type.”

Such speculative visualization continues even today. Whereas Hovelacque had not a single fossil bone to work with, paleoanthropologists of later years had at least some starting point. But even so, the few fragments of bone they came to possess were, as we shall see in later chapters, quite insufficient to justify the countless elaborate technicolor visions of body types and lifestyles that to this day decorate museum exhibits and the pages of popular science publications.

The main point to be gathered, however, is that the existence of apelike precursors of modern humans was, as de Quatrefages so perceptively noted, more a matter of dogmatic assertion than scientific fact. If this is kept in mind, the subsequent developments in paleoanthropology can be seen in a new light.

Were the later “discoveries” of fossil apelike human ancestors the product of unbiased scientific investigation or of a fanciful prophetic quest that ended in true believers seeing in broken iron cups the holy grail?

“The majority of the authors responsible for the evolutionary views I have discussed speak very loudly in the name of free thought,” stated de Quatrefages (1884, p. 83). The term “free thought,” in this context, refers not to the modern constitutional guarantee of freedom of conscience but to the atheistic and deistic philosophies that arose in Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in opposition to established churches and their doctrines.

After commenting on the views of the Darwinist free thinkers, de Quatrefages

(1884, p. 83) observed: “It is very curious to see how other authors arrive at the very similar conclusions starting from a quite different position, namely, the Mosaic tenets shared by the Christian faiths.” De Quatrefages then went on to discuss the beliefs of Boucher de Perthes, the discoverer of the flints of Abbeville, who from Christianity derived the idea of pre-Flood humans, very different from present humans. Some Christian thinkers believed that the time before the Flood was of inestimable length and that the earth had once been inhabited by pre-Adamite humans, who were “rough sketches” of the present species. For such thinkers, including Boucher de Perthes, it was these primitive humans who made the crude stone tools of Tertiary times. Boucher de Perthes suggested that the fossil bones of the antediluvian race had already been found but had perhaps been mistaken for those of anthropoid apes. The pre-Adamite race of apelike humans, constitutionally incapable of understanding and worshiping God, was thought to have been destroyed by an inundation (not the Flood of Noah’s time). After this catastrophe, and others, came the six days of the new creation during which the modern race of humans, capable of worshiping God, was brought into being, starting with Adam and Eve (de Quatrefages 1903, p. 31; 1884, pp. 84–88). The new human species was completely distinct from the old, with no connection by descent.

“On the other hand, for de Mortillet and Darwin and his disciples,” observed de Quatrefages (1884, p. 89), “the successive creations are continuous. The present human being is connected to the ancient anthropopitheque by an uninterrupted line of descent. His form has been somewhat modified, the intelligence increased; but we are nothing else than, in the accepted physiological sense of the word, his great grandson. I will not here combat this last opinion. Everyone already knows the negative nature of my views toward the doctrine of transformationism. So likewise with the religious theories just reviewed.” The question of Tertiary humans, in de Quatrefages’s view (1884, p. 89), had become

“as so much else which should have remained exclusively scientific, a theater of conflict between religious dogmatism and free thought.” The same is still true today, as demonstrated by the ongoing debates between advocates of Darwinian evolution and Biblical creationism, particularly in the United States.

We share the views of de Quatrefages, in the sense that we are not satisfied with the dogmatic accounts of human origins given by either the Darwinian evolutionists or the Biblical creationists. The available empirical evidence appears to be at variance with both, which suggests that it would be advisable to seriously consider other theoretical systems. In a forthcoming book, we shall

present an alternative account of human origins that agrees with all the facts more completely than the accounts given by either of the traditional opponents in the long-running debate on human origins.

4.2.3 Who Made the Flints of Thenay?

So the question remains: who made the flint implements of Thenay? Even if one assumes the presence of some primitive ape-man, how can one rule out the presence of human beings of the modern type in the same period? If you can bring Homo habilis or Homo erectus back to the Miocene, why not Homo sapiens?

Laing (1894, p. 370) said of the flints of Thenay: “their type continues, with no change except that of slight successive improvements, through the Pliocene, Quaternary, and even down to the present day. The scraper of the Esquimaux and the Andaman islanders is but an enlarged and improved edition of the Miocene scraper.” If humans make such scrapers today, it is certainly possible, if not probable, that identical beings made similar scrapers back in the Miocene period.

And, as we shall see in coming chapters, scientists did in fact uncover skeletal remains of human beings indistinguishable from Homo sapiens in Tertiary strata.

It thus becomes clearer why we no longer hear of the flints of Thenay. At one point in the history of paleoanthropology, several scientists who believed in evolution actually accepted the Thenay Miocene tools, but attributed them to a precursor of the human type. Evolutionary theory convinced them such a precursor existed, but no fossils had been found. When the expected fossils were found in 1891, in Java, they occurred in a formation now regarded as Middle Pleistocene. That certainly placed any supporters of Miocene ape-men in a dilemma. The human precursor, the creature transitional between fossil apes and modern humans, had been found not in the Early Miocene, 20 million years ago by current estimate, but in the Middle Pleistocene, less than 1 million years ago (Nilsson 1983, pp. 329–330). Therefore, the flints of Thenay, and all the other evidences for the existence of Tertiary humans (or toolmaking Tertiary ape-men), were quietly, and apparently quite thoroughly, removed from active consideration and then forgotten.

The alternative to burying the evidence from Thenay and elsewhere was uncomfortable—perhaps anatomatically modern humans had coexisted with dryopithecine apes. This would have meant discarding the emerging evolutionary picture of human origins or revising it to such an extent as to make

it appear far less credible. What to speak of anatomically modern humans, any kind of toolmaking hominids would have been, after the discovery of Java man, quite out of place in the Early Miocene of France.

Of course, this scenario about the treatment of evidence is somewhat hypothetical, but it would appear that something like this actually did occur within the scientific community, over the course of several decades in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The extensive evidence for the presence of toolmaking hominids in the Tertiary was in fact buried, and the stability of the entire edifice of modern paleoanthropology depends upon it remaining buried. If even one single piece of evidence for the existence of toolmakers in the Miocene or Early Pliocene were to be accepted, the whole picture of human evolution, built up so carefully in this century, would begin to disintegrate. Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene tools found outside Africa also present difficulties.

According to currently dominant ideas, Homo erectus was the first hominid to leave Africa and did so about one million years ago.

4.3 Implements From the Late Miocene of

Aurillac, France

4.3.1 A Find by Tardy

Further discoveries of Tertiary stone tools were made at two principal sites (Puy Courny and Puy de Boudieu) near the town of Aurillac in the department of Cantal in south central France. In 1870, Anatole Roujou reported that Charles Tardy, a geologist well known for his Quaternary research, had removed a flint knife [Figure 4.14] from the exposed surface of a Late Miocene conglomerate at Aurillac. To describe the removal, Roujou (1870) used the word arraché, which means the flint had to be extracted with some force. According to Roujou, the stratum was proven to be Late Miocene

in age by a characteristic fauna, including Dinotherium giganteum and Machairodus latidens ( de Mortillet 1883, p. 97). De Mortillet, who thought the signs of intentional work on the flint were incontestable, declared that the object resembled undoubted Quaternary tools. Yet de Mortillet (1883, p. 97) believed

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Tardy’s flint tool had only recently been cemented onto the surface of the Late Miocene conglomerate and therefore chose to assign it a Quaternary date.

Figure 4.14. The first stone tool found at Aurillac, France (Verworn 1905, p. 9).

4.3.2 Further Discoveries by Rames

The French geologist J. B. Rames was doubtful that the object found by Tardy was actually of human manufacture, but in 1877 Rames made his own discoveries of flint implements in the same region, at Puy Courny. De Mortillet stated that the flints collected by Rames were found in beds of white quartzite sand and whitish clay containing fossils of Hipparion, Mastodon angustidens, and other species of Late Miocene (Tortonian) age. Instead of being split by the action of fire, like the flints of Thenay, the specimens from Puy Courny were obviously chipped by percussion (de Mortillet 1883, p. 97).

S. Laing (1894, p. 357) provides a good review of the positive case for the implements found by Rames at Puy Courny: “The first question is as to the geological age of the deposits in which these chipped implements have been found. In the case of Puy Courny this is beyond dispute. In the central region of Auvergne there have been two series of volcanic eruptions, the latest towards the close of the Pliocene or commencement of the Quaternary period, and an older one, which from its position and fossils, is clearly of the Upper Miocene. The gravels in which the chipped flints were discovered by M. Rames, a very

competent geologist, were interstratified with tuffs and lavas of these older volcanoes, and no doubt as to their geological age was raised by the Congress of French archaeologists to whom they were submitted. The whole question turns therefore on the sufficiency of the proofs of human origin, as to which the same Congress expressed themselves as fully satisfied.”

Modern geologists still refer the fossiliferous sands of Puy Courny to the Miocene (Peterlongo 1972, pp. 134–135). The fauna ( Dinotherium giganteum, Mastodon longirostris, Rhinoceros schleiermacheri, Hipparion gracile, etc.) is said to be reminiscent of that of Pikermi, Greece, and is judged to be characteristic of the end of the Pontian (Peterlongo 1972, p. 135). In the past, the Pontian was equated with the Early Pliocene, but Nilsson (1983, p. 19) stated that modern radiometric dating methods indicate that “the whole Pontian stage should be assigned to the latest Miocene time.” According to French authorities also, the Pontian marks the end of the Miocene, and can be given a quantitative date of about 7–9 million years (Klein 1973, table 6).

Laing (1894, p. 358) then gave a detailed description of the signs of human manufacture that Rames had observed on the flints: “The specimens consist of several well-known palaeolithic types, celts, scrapers, arrowheads, and flakes, only ruder and smaller than those of later periods. They were found at three different localities in the same stratum of gravel, and comply with all the tests by which the genuineness of Quaternary implements is ascertained, such as bulbs of percussion, conchoidal fractures, and above all, intentional chipping in a determinate direction. It is evident that a series of small parallel chips or trimmings, often confined to one side only of the flint and which have the effect of bringing it into a shape which is known from Quaternary and recent implements to be adapted for human use, imply intelligent design, and could not have been produced by the casual collisions of pebbles rolled down by an impetuous torrent.”

According to Laing, de Quatrefages noted fine parallel scratches on the chipped edges of many specimens, indicating usage. These use marks were not present on other unchipped edges. The flint implements of Puy Courny were accepted as genuine at a congress of scientists in Grenoble (Laing 1893, p. 118).

In conclusion, Laing (1894, pp. 358–359) repeated another very important point that was made by de Quatrefages: “The chipped flints from Puy Courny also afford another very conclusive proof of intelligent design. The gravelly deposit in which they are found contains five different varieties of flints, and of these all that look like human implements are confined to one particular variety, which

from its nature is peculiarly adapted for human use. As Quatrefages says, no torrents or other natural causes could have exercised such a discrimination, which could only have been made by an intelligent being, selecting the stones best adapted for his tools and weapons.”

Leland W. Patterson (1983, pp. 305–306), a modern expert on lithic technology, has written: “The selective occurrence of certain types of raw material can be useful in identifying human activity at a specific location. The lack of a local source for a raw material is an argument in favor of transport by humans to a site. Another consideration is the selective occurrence of only certain types of raw materials for specimens proposed to be man-made. Man would tend to be selective in use of lithic raw materials, while nature would tend to fracture a wide variety of stone types in a random manner.”

But Marcellin Boule gave a geological explanation for the fact that the objects thought to be tools were formed from only one of the many kinds of flint present at Puy Courny. As noted by Rames, the various kinds of flint all came from different layers of the underlying Oligocene formation. In 1889, Boule suggested that during the Late Miocene, only the layer containing the particular type of flint in question had been eroded. According to Verworn (1905, p. 10), that meant only this particular type of flint, lying loose on the surface, was available for toolmaking by intelligent beings in the Late Miocene.

But Boule completely rejected the idea that the flint objects of Aurillac were manufactured by humans or human evolutionary ancestors. His analysis of the erosion of flint at Aurillac was intended to demonstrate that in the Late Miocene, only a certain type of flint had been subjected to purely natural forces tending to create toollike forms.

Boule’s account of the successive erosion of the various flint-bearing Oligocene layers may not, however, have been correct. Perhaps several layers eroded simultaneously. If so, this would preserve the point Rames made about intelligent selection of one kind of flint from among many for the purpose of toolmaking. But even if we do accept the sequence of geological events outlined by Boule, this still would not allow one to conclude that the chipped flint objects from the Late Miocene of Puy Courny were produced by purely natural forces. It would seem that all the other kinds of flint that later eroded from layers below the one described above should also have been shaped by natural forces into forms resembling tools. Considered in this way, Boule’s explanation tends to explicitly confirm human rather than natural action.

Furthermore, Boule’s geological explanation, if correct, merely accounts for the

selection of a particular kind of flint. It does not explain the special character of the chipping on the flints. As previously mentioned, the chipping on the flints, confined to one side of one edge, with the chips removed consecutively and in parallel, was not of the type one would expect from random natural battering or geological pressures. In fact, the flint objects were, according to many authorities, identical to accepted unifacially flaked flint tools from the Late Pleistocene.

4.3.3 Verworn’s Expedition to Aurillac

In the first part of the twentieth century, some professional scientists continued to recognize specimens from the sites near Aurillac as the work of human beings in the Late Miocene. Among them was Max Verworn of the University of Göttingen in Germany.

In his introduction to a lengthy report on the implements of Aurillac (Cantal), published in 1905, Verworn pointed out that the existence of human beings in the Pleistocene period had been established beyond doubt by skeletal remains, stone artifacts, and other objects of human manufacture. Verworn (1905, pp. 3–4) stated: “The fact that the skeletal remains so far discovered in our Pleistocene investigations can be recognized by their morphology as genuinely human should indicate, in the most lucid manner, to every modern researcher who stands upon the ground of the theory of descent, that the beginning of our race and its specific human characteristics must reach far beyond the Pleistocene, and, at very least, deep into the Tertiary. Yet despite this theoretical advancement in the investigation of natural history, science is very reluctant to enter fully into the question of the existence of Tertiary man, and any discussion of the evidence in this regard has been treated with utmost distrust and skepticism in the scientific community. Of course this is justifiable, because in all true science every provisional truth must pass the test of the critical fire of doubt before it can be granted full recognition.”

In Verworn we have an excellent example of a scientist with Darwinian credentials accepting evidence (in this case, evidence for a human presence in the Miocene) that would completely contradict current Darwinian ideas about the origin of the human species. The present scientific establishment propagates the belief that only fundamentalist creationists and early scientists opposed to evolution have ever presented evidence contradicting the current evolutionary understanding of human origins. But this is far from the truth. Scientists who

believed in evolution have been the main source of the information compiled in this book.

Scientific discussion of Tertiary humans peaked in the 1880s and decreased markedly in the final years of the nineteenth century. The question was reopened by Rutot’s discoveries of flint implements in Belgium, which we shall consider later in this chapter (Section 4.4). Verworn, working in the very early years of the twentieth century, was himself at first quite doubtful about the human manufacture of eoliths, or “dawn stones,” as the crudest of the early stone tools had come to be known.

Verworn (1905, pp. 4–5) wrote in his report on Aurillac: “I must confess that less than a year ago I was still skeptical about accepting the implemental nature of eoliths, and expressed my doubts at the meeting of the Göttingen Anthropological Society on July 22, 1904. Of course, I had seen with my own eyes only the finds of Dr. Hahne from the Pleistocene of the Magdeburg region, and I can say that regarding the greater part of Hahne’s eoliths, in view of the strong inorganic influences upon them and the conditions of their occurrence, I still today maintain my skepticism, though I do recognize some isolated pieces that bear signs of human work. Meanwhile Herr Rutot was, in the course of the past year, kind enough to send to me as a gift a great collection of typical eoliths from the various levels of the Belgian Pleistocene, and after carefully analyzing them I could no longer maintain any doubts about their implemental nature. I was overcome with strong excitement. With these discoveries the traces of primitive culture extended far beyond all previous boundaries.” Verworn, in these passages, is using the term eolith in a very broad sense. But as we shall see, he will later employ distinctions similar to the ones adopted in this book.

Verworn (1905, pp. 5–6) continued: “The question then arose for me, whether such evidence might extend back into the Tertiary. The evidence supporting this proposal gathered in earlier times, which in some cases had been introduced with great precision, had not been able to win general recognition. For me there was no doubt about the theoretical possibility of man existing in the Tertiary; the real question was whether or not the Tertiary ancestors of humankind had been capable of manufacturing stone tools, which would give evidence of their existence to those of us in a far removed time. I was still skeptical on this point.

When Rutot and Klaatsch had become convinced of the existence of Tertiary eoliths and published some illustrations of such, I could not, from their descriptions and illustrations alone, reach any positive conclusion about their implemental nature. There is no alternative, for anyone who wants to come to his

own decision, to having the objects in his own hands, to being able to turn them around and analyze all their features. Furthermore, it is necessary to understand the objects in terms of their circumstances of discovery by visiting the places from which they came, especially in order to come to firm conclusions about their geological age, which is required. So just as for years I had conducted my own experimental flint-flaking studies in order to understand flint objects bearing the characteristic signs of human work, I decided to conduct my own onsite excavations, and thus be in a position to be able to reach a definite decision, for or against the implemental nature of the Tertiary flints in question. I can honestly say that I entered upon my investigation without any preconceived opinions. I would have been just as happy to answer the question negatively as positively.”

Verworn then had to decide where to conduct his search for implements. He was aware that France had furnished investigators with many examples of reputed Tertiary flint tools. The site at Thenay was a possibility, but two scientists, L.

Capitan and P. Mahoudeau, had recently published an extremely negative report about the flint objects found there, so Verworn decided to look elsewhere.

Aurillac, in Cantal, where several discoveries of Late Miocene implements had been made over the course of many decades, seemed a more profitable place to conduct his study. Verworn also considered the valley of the Tagus at Lisbon, where Ribeiro had uncovered his Miocene specimens, but because no further discoveries had been made in that region, Verworn ruled out going there. At other sites, such as the Kent Plateau in southeast England and St. Prest in France, the geological context was thought to be Pliocene, not as suitable for Verworn’s purposes as the older Miocene age of the implementbearing formations at Aurillac. So Aurillac it would be (Verworn 1905, pp. 6–7).

On his way to France, Verworn visited Rutot in Brussels and examined specimens of stone implements in the Royal Museum of Natural History, including some from Aurillac. These had been forwarded to Brussels by the French geologists Pierre Marty and Charles Puech.

Verworn (1905, p. 7) noted: “Even these collections had pieces that I could not easily account for as being other than the product of human work, and the same was true of L. Capitan’s large collection of flints from the same site that I soon thereafter had the opportunity to see. . . . Capitan has like Klaatsch personally conducted excavations at Aurillac, but has not yet published his findings.

Despite the fact that my firsthand observation and testing of these discoveries was leading me to belief in a Miocene flint culture in the Auvergne, I must

nevertheless state that my scientific skepticism, and my own previous negative convictions in this matter, were strong enough to inspire new doubts that brought my positive decision again into question. I knew that I had to see the things on the spot, that I must personally get to know the circumstances of discovery, that I must with my own hand remove specimens from the ground— otherwise, I would not be certain. So I traveled to Aurillac.”

Verworn remained at Aurillac for six days. Pierre Marty, a local geologist who had written a monograph on the Late Miocene fauna of Joursac (in Cantal), explained to him the geology of the region. Marty also showed Verworn a site he had himself discovered at Puy de Boudieu, and Verworn’s excavations there yielded him the majority of his specimens. Charles Puech, a geologist and engineer of roads for the department of Cantal, also gave Verworn extensive geological information.

Verworn (1905, p. 8) reported: “It happened that in the course of my very first excavation at Puy de Boudieu I had the luck to come upon a place where I found a great number of flint objects, whose indisputable implemental nature immediately staggered me. I had not expected this. Only slowly could I accustom myself to the thought that I had in my hand the tools of a human being that had lived in Tertiary times. I raised all the objections of which I could think.

I questioned the geological age of the site, I questioned the implemental nature of the specimens, until I reluctantly admitted that all possible objections were not sufficient to explain away the facts. In what follows, I shall attempt to show all this in detail. At the same time, if anyone doubts the facts as presented, then let him, as I did, go and see.”

Concerning de Mortillet’s proposal that the maker of the implements of Aurillac was a small apelike human precursor called anthropopithecus (later homosimius), Verworn (1905, p. 11) said: “It hardly seems necessary to mention that these speculations, insofar as they are based on the flint tools, are completely arbitrary.”

Describing his own discoveries at Aurillac, Verworn (1905, p. 16) wrote: “I especially noted at Puy de Boudieu, where I had the good fortune to come upon a very productive site, that the worked stones, sometimes 5, 10, or 15, would be grouped quite close to each other, separated only by a little tuff or clay, while for 50 to 80 centimeters [roughly 2 to 3 feet ] around there would be no such nests or only a few single specimens. As far as appearance goes, the unworked stones appeared to be quite rolled. The worked specimens showed little or no evidence of rolling.” Verworn (1905, p. 16) added: “at Puy de Boudieu I was almost

exclusively excavating specimens with edges as sharp as when they had been made. All the quartz stones found among the flints are rolled until almost round.” The presence of sharp-edged flint objects amidst rolled and rounded pebbles of other kinds of rock at Puy de Boudieu signified that the flint objects had not been subjected to much movement since their deposition and that the flaking upon them was therefore of human rather than geological origin. The fact that the sharp-edged implemental flints were found in groups suggested the presence of workshop sites.

Summarizing the geological context of the discoveries, Verworn gave the following account. The basal layers are Oligocene freshwater and brackish sedimentary deposits containing beds of flint. Above these are Miocene layers of fluviatile sands, stones, and eroded chalk containing fossils of Dinotherium giganteum, Mastodon longirostris, Rhinoceros schleiermacheri, Hipparion gracile, etc., along with flint implements. Layers of basalt from volcanic eruptions cover these Late Miocene implementbearing layers and in some cases go under them. Above the basalt and the Miocene layers, there are some Pliocene layers, with Elephas meridionalis and other Pliocene mammals.

Volcanic layers from Pliocene eruptions cover these. There was no further volcanic action, and the cold periods of the Pleistocene followed. Paleolithic and Neolithic implements of the standard types are found in the upper terraces (Verworn 1905, p. 17). The basic volcanic sequence outlined by Verworn is still accepted today (Autran and Peterlongo 1980, pp. 107–112).

Verworn pointed out that those who disputed the Miocene age of the Cantal flints had not visited the sites. Verworn (1905, p. 19) stated: “In fact, in connection with the age of the flints there is, among the geologists who have actually visited the sites, not the slightest degree of reservation. They are all in agreement, and outside of Noetling and Keilhack, I am not aware of any other who have expressed doubt.”

Keilhack suggested that perhaps the volcanic eruptions, said by Verworn to have ended in the Pliocene, had in fact continued into the Quaternary. If this were true, then perhaps the implements, some of which were found between layers of lava, were more recent than the Pliocene or Miocene. But what about the fact that the implements were found together with Miocene fossils? Keilhack proposed that the action of streams had mixed in bones from older Miocene layers with more recent Quaternary flint implements.

To these objections Verworn replied as follows. First of all, in no case were fossils of mammals that lived only in the Pleistocene found together with flint

implements beneath the lava at Aurillac. This indicated that there had been no Quaternary eruptions. Therefore, any flint-bearing beds found under the several layers of lava were definitely Pliocene or older. Furthermore, the layers of basalt and other volcanic rock were separated by freshwater sedimentary beds with sharply characteristic fossil remains. For example, one might find under a particular layer of basalt a sedimentary bed containing Pliocene fossils and under this another layer of basalt. Under this second bed of basalt, one might then find another sedimentary layer, this with fossil remains of Miocene plants and animals along with flint implements. And under a third layer of basalt one might find another Miocene sedimentary layer containing flint implements, this layer lying upon the Oligocene basement formation. From such evidence, Verworn concluded that the flint-bearing sedimentary beds below or directly above the lowest layer of basalt at Aurillac were Miocene rather than Pliocene in age.

Verworn (1905, p. 20) concluded: “So we find these implementbearing layers always directly over the Oligocene or directly upon the basalt from the oldest eruptions, which directly cover the Oligocene layers. The fact that over these oldest eruptive masses one finds beds that contain a typical Late Miocene fauna, like that found at Joursac, with Hipparion, Dinotherium, etc., means that the underlying implementbearing beds cannot be any more recent than the Late Miocene. Thus the second doubt of Keilhack, namely that the Miocene fauna has been secondarily introduced into the implementbearing layers from below, is cleared away.”

Verworn (1905, p. 21) then discussed at length various ways to identify human work on a flint object. He divided evidence of such work into two groups: (1) signs of percussion resulting from the primary blow that detached the flake from a flint core; (2) signs of percussion resulting from secondary edge-chipping on the flake itself.

On a flint flake, the principal signs of percussion from the main blow that detached the flake from a flint core would be a striking platform, bulb of percussion, and eraillure. According to de Mortillet, the presence of a striking platform, bulb of percussion, and eraillure together on a flake is a very good indicator of intentional work (Verworn 1905, pp. 21–22).

In addition to the three features mentioned above, Verworn (1905, pp. 22–23) described several more signs of percussion that can be observed on flint flakes (Figure 4.15). Concentrated near the point of impact on the top of the flake one can see a small formation of concentric circular cracks. Radiating from the point of impact and extending over the entire surface of the flake there is also visible a

series of curved percussion marks, or force ripples. The stronger the blow that separated the flake from the flint core, the stronger the ripples. Raylike cracks, emanating from the point of impact, intersect the curved force ripples. Verworn also pointed out that in a flake made by percussion the plane of fracture is not straight. If one looks at the flake, edge on from the side, one sees that the ventral surface of the flake is convex at the bulb of percussion, near the top of the flake, and concave at the lower portion, giving an S-shaped contour. Sometimes one can also see on the striking platform a crush mark from a previous blow that failed to detach the flake from the flint core. Negative impressions of some of the above-mentioned features are sometimes visible on the core from which the flake was taken.

It would seem that the presence of combinations of these percussion signs would make it easy for one to identify human work on a flint object. But according to Verworn, this is not necessarily so. All the above-mentioned characteristics are symptoms of just one thing—a blow of sufficient force directed at a given point.

But if nature could deliver the blow, then the presence of all the symptoms of percussion is not enough to establish human workmanship (Verworn 1905, p.


The question as to whether nature can actually deliver such a blow has been much debated. Verworn (1905, p. 24) wrote: “It is generally recognized that extreme fluctuations of temperature and moisture, and the action of frost, do not result in fracturing that produces the above-mentioned features. It is otherwise with the question whether or not strongly agitated water, as in flooded mountain streams, waterfalls, or ocean shores, can throw stones together in such a way as to bring about the typical characteristics of percussion. I do not rule this out, but I would tend to believe that such things, if they occur, do so only in very isolated instances.” In this respect, Verworn is in agreement with modern authorities on lithic technology such as Leland W. Patterson (1983) and George F. Carter (1957, 1979).

Verworn (1905, p. 24), willing to consider all possibilities, further stated: “I could also imagine that falling stones, loosened by erosion, could produce such effects, but again, very rarely. Finally it would appear to me that stones pressed against each other by glacial action could produce the characteristic symptoms.

In summary, the possibility that purely inorganic factors could act on flint to produce the above-mentioned signs of percussion is something I do not wish to dispute. Therefore the bulb of percussion, eraillure, striking platform, force ripples, etc., are not, contrary to de Mortillet’s view, definite criteria for

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

intentional flaking.” Here Verworn was perhaps showing too much caution. Even in terms of his own analysis of evidence indicating percussion, it is not very likely that nature would, except in extremely rare circumstances, produce such combinations of effects.

Figure 4.15. Diagnostic features of a struck flake (Verworn 1905, p.

22): (1) striking platform; (2) bulb of percussion; (3) eraillure; (4) point of impact, with concentric circular cracks; (5) curved force ripples; (6) cracks emanating from the point of impact; (7) S-shaped curve of the plane of fracture; (8) crush mark from a previous blow that failed to detach the flake from the flint core.

Verworn believed that retouched edges on flint flakes were good, but again not absolutely certain, evidence of human manufacture. He recommended very careful study of the features of such retouching, including the depth and size of individual marks, the similarity of their planes of impact, and their arrangement in regular rows along the edges of the presume flint implement (Verworn 1905, pp. 24–25).

Unidirectional flaking on one side of an edge is generally taken as a very sure sign of human work, but Verworn (1905, pp. 27–28) stated he could “imagine

circumstances in which you might have a sharp piece of flint sticking out from a wall of limestone, and then have pieces of rock falling from above, hitting the edge many times, producing unidirectional flaking.”

Verworn recommended that special attention be given to signs of use on the edges of possible flint implements. One would expect that an implement used for scraping wood, bones, or skin, or for digging the earth, would display certain characteristic markings. Verworn conducted extensive experimental research in this area.

He concluded: “It is characteristic of use-patterns that there are only small marks on the edge, on the average no greater than 1–2 mm [.04-.08 inch]. Even when an edge is used with great pressure on the hardest materials, the use marks are no longer than 5 mm [.2 inch]” (Verworn 1905, pp. 25–26). Use marks should, of course, be confined to the edge employed in scraping and be arrayed in the appropriate direction, in a regular parallel fashion. Less pressure can be applied with a small flint, so use marks should be smaller on small pieces than on big pieces (Verworn 1905, p. 26).

Considering all the various characteristics of percussion and use, Verworn suggested that none of them are in themselves conclusive. Verworn (1905, p. 29) stated: “I propose that in each separate case a critical diagnosis must be made, founded on a deep and thorough analysis of the characteristics of each specimen in connection with the circumstances of its discovery. The diagnosis of each specimen should not be concerned with just one, but with a whole series of symptoms, just as a doctor analyzes internal diseases by a complex of symptoms.

. . . What must concern us is therefore not the discovery of a single, all-embracing, universally applicable criterion for recognizing manufacture in stone implements; such a criterion does not exist in reality and every attempt to find one is fruitless. What we must concern ourselves with is the development of a critical diagnostic method, similar to that employed by physicians. The more carefully we develop this diagnostic method through observation and experiment, the more we shall be able to reduce the number of questionable factors. The critical analysis of a given combination of symptoms is the only thing that will put us in a position to make decisions.”

This is the same methodology suggested by L. W. Patterson (1983). Patterson does, however, give more weight than Verworn to bulbs of percussion and unidirectional flaking along single edges of flakes, especially when numerous specimens are found at a site. Patterson’s studies showed that natural forces almost never produce these effects in significant quantities.

Verworn (1905, p. 29) then provided an example to illustrate how his method of analysis might be applied: “Suppose I find in an interglacial stone bed a flint object that bears a clear bulb of percussion, but no other symptom of intentional work. In that case, I would be doubtful as to whether or not I had before me an object of human manufacture. But suppose I find there a flint which on one side shows all the typical signs of percussion, and which on the other side shows the negative impressions of two, three, four, or more flakes removed by blows in the same direction. Furthermore, let us suppose one edge of the piece shows numerous, successive parallel small flakes removed, all running in the same direction, and all, without exception, are located on the same side of the edge.

Let us suppose that all the other edges are sharp, without a trace of impact or rolling. Then I can say with complete certainty—it is an implement of human manufacture.”

Verworn, after conducting a number of excavations at sites near Aurillac, analyzed the many flint implements he found, employing the rigorously scientific methodology described above. He then came to the following conclusion: “With my own hands, I have personally extracted from the undisturbed strata at Puy de Boudieu many such unquestionable artifacts. That is unshakable proof for the existence of a flintworking being at the end of the Miocene” (Verworn 1905, pp. 29–30).

At his main excavation site at Puy de Boudieu, Verworn (1905, p. 30) found that the implements were sharp, showing no movement since they were deposited.

Verworn (1905, p. 32) stated: “I find that in terms of size, shape, and adaptation to the human hand, these specimens are not different from Paleolithic implements. That, as is evident, rules out de Mortillet’s supposition that the small size of the tools meant that the bodily size of the hypothetical homosimius was inferior to that of a human being. The tools do not give grounds for such a conclusion.”

Verworn discovered in the Miocene formations at Aurillac 199 worked pieces of flint, 98 with bulbs of percussion. In reality, more should have been counted as having bulbs of percussion, for, in many cases, although the part of the flake with the bulb was broken off, the remainder of the flake showed all the usual signs of percussion. Most of the tools were 4–5 centimeters (about 2 inches) in size, although some went up to 10 centimeters (4 inches).

Verworn (1905, p. 33) wrote: “The typical signs of percussion, such as striking platform, bulb of percussion, eraillures, fissures of percussion, and curvature of the plane of fracture, were clearly evident. Only the force ripples on the plane of

fracture were not very strongly developed, and the circular percussion marks near the point of impact were not to be seen very clearly, perhaps because of the opaqueness of the material and its strong, dark patination. The backs of the flakes sometimes bear upon them the cortex, but for the most part they display the scars of earlier flakes that always have been removed in the same direction.

Sometimes four or five flake scars run over the back, and often the negative bulbs of percussion from these flakes are still well preserved. Next to them one often sees the strong crush marks of blows delivered in the same direction.”

Verworn (1905, p. 33) performed his own experimental flint flaking and reported: “With hammer stones, I have struck from the flat pieces of flint from the Miocene beds a number of flint flakes, and these flakes closely resemble the old ones.” Verworn stated that because of the cortex covering the flint, the blows had to be quite hard, resulting in well-marked bulbs of percussion like those on the Miocene flakes. The cushioning effect of the relatively soft cortex also accounted for the lightness of the rings of percussion on the flakes detached from the flint core.

In addition to flakes, Verworn also found many cores from which flakes had been struck. Verworn (1905, p. 34) analyzed the situation as follows: “In fact one finds a great number of slabs of flint, on the edges of which one finds characteristic flake scars with negative bulbs of percussion. . . . One might have taken a good slab and removed one or more flakes from the edge. One finds a number of flake scars next to each other on the edge, mostly removed by blows in the same direction, though there are some cases where they have been removed at different angles.”

Most of the implements found by Verworn in the Miocene beds of Aurillac were scrapers of various kinds: “Some scrapers show only use marks on the scraping edge, while the other edges on the same piece are quite sharp and unmarked

[Figure 4.16]. On other specimens the scraping edge displays a number of chips intentionally removed in the same direction. This chipping displays quite clearly all the usual signs of percussion. Even today the edges of the impact marks of previous blows on the upper part of some implements are perfectly sharp [Figure 4.17]. The goal of the work on the edges is clearly and without doubt recognizable as the removal of cortex or the giving of a definite form. On many pieces there are clearly visible handgrip areas, fashioned by the removal of sharp edges and points from places where they would injure or interfere” (Verworn 1905, pp. 37–38).

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 4.16. Four views of a flint scraper found in Late Miocene strata at Aurillac, France (Verworn 1905, p. 37). Top left: Ventral surface with large bulb of percussion. Bottom left: Ventral surface tilted to show the lower edge, with numerous small use marks. Top right: Dorsal surface of the scraper, showing removal of five large parallel flakes. Bottom right: Dorsal surface tilted to show the lower edge, with use marks on the left and remnants of cortex on the right.

Figure 4.17. Left: Ventral surface of Late Miocene flint scraper from

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Aurillac, France, showing (1) bulb of percussion and (2) striking platform.

The cortex of the flint has been removed from the lower edge by percussion, leaving numerous flake scars oriented in approximately the same direction.

Right: Dorsal surface, showing five large parallel scars of flakes removed before the scraper itself was struck from the parent flint core. The upper left corner of the implement shows impact damage from one of the previous blows (Verworn 1905, p. 38).

Figure 4.18. Late Miocene flint scraper from Aurillac, France, with large flakes removed in parallel (Verworn 1905, p. 39). This feature reminded Verworn of Late Pleistocene examples.

Figure 4.19. A pointed flint implement from the Late Miocene at Aurillac, France (Verworn 1905, p. 40).

About the object in Figure 4.18, Verworn (1905, p. 39) said: “the flake scars on the scraper blade lie so regularly next to each other in parallel fashion that one is reminded of Paleolithic or even Neolithic examples.” In the accepted sequence, Paleolithic and Neolithic tools are assigned to the later Pleistocene.

Verworn also found many pointed scrapers (Figure 4.19): “Among all the flint objects, these show most clearly the intentional fashioning of definite tool shapes, at least in the area of the working edges. In fact, the points are generally made in such a way that one can speak of genuine care and attention in the technique. The edges have been worked by many unidirectional blows in such a

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

way as to make the intention of fashioning a point unequivocal. I characterize as pointed scrapers those tools on which the chips on both sides of the point run in the same direction” (Verworn 1905, p. 40).

Also found at Aurillac were notched scrapers (Figure 4.20), with rounded concave openings on the working edge suitable for scraping cylindrical objects like bones or spear shafts. Verworn (1905, p. 41) observed: “In most cases the notched scrapers are made by chipping out one of the edges in a curved shape by unidirectional blows.”

Figure 4.20. Left: Ventral surface of a notched scraper from the Late Miocene of Aurillac, France (Verworn 1905, p. 40). Right: Dorsal surface, showing removal of cortex on the working edge, upon which Verworn observed tiny use marks.

Verworn also un covered several tools adapted for hammering, hacking, and digging. Describing the one in Figure 4.21, Verworn (1905, p. 41) wrote: “A large pointed tool for chopping or digging. It is formed from a natural slab of flint by the working of a point. One sees on the surfaces of the piece the cortex

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

of the flint and at the top a point made from numerous flakes, mostly removed in the same direction.” About another pointed tool, Verworn (1905, p. 41) stated:

“This tool has on the side directly below the point a handgrip made by removing the sharp, cutting edges. It might have been a primitive handaxe used for hammering or chopping.” Verworn also found tools he thought were adapted for stabbing, boring, and engraving.

Figure 4.21. A Late Miocene flint tool from Aurillac, France. The point is formed by removal of many flakes in the same general direction (Verworn 1905, p. 41).

Verworn (1905, pp. 44–45) concluded: “At the end of the Miocene there was here a culture, which was, as we can see from its flint tools, not in the very beginning phases but had already proceeded through a long period of development. . . . this Miocene population of Cantal knew how to flake and work flint.” The only visible signs of human work upon the Eolithic tools (Chapter 3) were use marks and perhaps slight chipping to improve the working edge.

Verworn saw signs of more extensive intentional work on the tools of Aurillac (Cantal)—removal of cortex (the rough outer surface of the flint) to expose a sharp edge and the subsequent shaping of the edge for a particular purpose. But the modification was confined to the specific edge that was meant for use.

Modification did not extend to the shaping of an entire implement, as in the Late Paleolithic and Neolithic. A third sign of intentional work on the tools from Aurillac was the removal of sharp edges to form a comfortable handgrip (Verworn 1905, pp. 44– 47). For these reasons, we have placed the flint

implements found by Verworn at Aurillac in the category of crude paleoliths.

Verworn (1905, p. 50) designated the implements of Aurillac as archaeoliths, placing them between eoliths and paleoliths. Eolithic industries, according to Verworn, are those in which the natural edges of pieces of stone are used as tools without any further modification. Use marks would be the only sign of human action upon them. In Archeolithic industries, the working edges of the tools are modified for specific purposes, and in Paleolithic industries the entire piece of stone is worked with some degree of artistry into a specific tool shape.

Verworn (1905, p. 50) believed that purely Eolithic cultures—with implements displaying no retouch, just use marks—had not yet been found. As can be seen, Verworn’s definition of an eolith is somewhat different than the one we employ, which encompasses slight retouching as well as use marks on naturally produced stone flakes. Our category of crude paleoliths differs from the category of eoliths in that an industry of crude paleoliths would contain at least some tools deliberately struck from cores and subjected to more extensive retouching.

Verworn felt that geological considerations are primary in determining the age of stone tools, because different levels of culture exist at different times. Even today, he said, there are people who make and use the crudest sort of stone tools (Verworn 1905, p. 50). Verworn’s methodology protects one from automatically assuming that a technologically advanced stone tool found in very old strata must in fact be recent or that a crude tool must necessarily be old.

Verworn (1905, p. 47) further stated: “Concerning the Miocene culture of Cantal, the facts teach us that we must guard against a mistake, often encountered in the field of prehistoric research when an ancient culture level is discovered. That mistake is forming too low an estimate of the culture in question. The Tertiary age of the culture in this case should in no circumstances force us into underestimating it.” We fully agree with Verworn on this point.

Verworn (1905, pp. 48–49) went on to say: “Concerning the physiological status of the Miocene inhabitants of Cantal, I would like to make a few observations. I have already indicated that de Mortillet’s conclusion from his study of the implements that the manufacturers were of small bodily size is fallacious, because the supposition that the tools are especially small is not supported by observation. I would, on the contrary, with a great deal of certainty say that the size of the implements points toward a being with a hand of the same size and shape as our own, and therefore a similar body. The existence of large scrapers and choppers that fill our own hands, and above all the perfect adaptation to the hand found in almost all the tools, seems to verify this conclusion in the highest

degree. Tools of the most different sizes, which show with perfect clarity useful edges, use marks, and handgrips, lie for the most part so naturally and comfortably in our hands, with the original sharp points and edges intentionally removed from the places where a hand would grasp, that one would think the tools were made directly for our hands.”

Of the manufacturers of the implements found at Aurillac, in Cantal, south central France, Verworn (1905, p. 49) stated: “While it is possible that this Tertiary form might possibly have stood closer to the animal ancestors of modern humans than do modern humans themselves, who can say to us that they were not already of the same basic physical character as modern humans, that the development of specifically human features did not extend back into the Late Miocene? Perhaps the Miocene inhabitants of Cantal were so highly developed that we could unquestionably give them the title of human being. Such a proposition is neither more nor less likely than de Mortillet’s hypothesis of an intermediate form. On the other hand, what would prevent us from seeing in this Tertiary being a line of development parallel to the main line of human descent?

All of these are simply possibilities that do not allow for proof or disproof, for the simple reason that we do not have any right to connect a specific culture level with a specific level of physiological development. So long as we have no bodily remains of the Tertiary inhabitants of Cantal, all we say will be speculation without meaning. On the same grounds, all attempts at linkage with Pithecanthropus of Trinil (Java man) are worthless. In one case we have cultural remains with no bodily remains, and in the other bodily remains with not a trace of cultural remains. We have simply a comparison of two unknowns. Nothing will come of it. We need patience and more material.”

Verworn here makes an important point. From a viewpoint ranging from hundreds of thousands to several million years after the fact, it is very difficult to connect stone implements with particular sets of physiological remains from the same period, if such exist. As we explain in Chapter 6, fossil skeletal remains indistinguishable from those of fully modern humans have been found in Pliocene, Miocene, and even Eocene and earlier geological contexts. When we also consider that humans living today make implements not much different from those taken from Miocene beds in France and elsewhere, then the validity of the standard sequence of human evolution begins to seem tenuous. In fact, the standard sequence only makes sense when a lot of very good evidence is ignored. When all the available evidence, implemental and skeletal, is considered, it is quite difficult to construct any kind of evolutionary sequence.

What we are left with is the supposition that there have been various types of human and humanlike beings, living at the same time and manufacturing stone tools of various levels of sophistication, for tens of millions of years into the past.

4.3.4 A Footnote on Aurillac

Shortly after Verworn’s excavations at Aurillac (Cantal), the French researcher L. Mayet delivered a report about his own investigations, which led him to the conclusion that the objects found there were products of nature rather than the result of intentional human work. In a footnote to his famous report on the “pseudoeoliths” of Clermont (Section 3.4), Breuil referred to “Mayet’s study of Cantal, where in the dislocated strata he found broken blocks of flint resembling eoliths.” Breuil (1910, p. 407) stated: “There you also have some broken flints with the pieces still held in place by the sandy matrix.” This was obviously to be taken as conclusive and final proof that the stone tools of Puy Courny, like those of Clermont, were produced by geological pressures rather than human action.

But not everyone responded as favorably as Breuil to Mayet’s report, originally delivered at a meeting of the French Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Lyon in 1906. Dr. Hermann Klaatsch (1907, p. 765) later wrote:

“At a time when the problem of primitive stone artifacts is in a phase permeated with complete lack of clarity, we must happily receive every work that without prejudiced views attempts a factual solution to the eolith puzzle, and we should also give due recognition to the courage of the author who attempts to deal with such troublesome material. In every genuine discussion, opposition is just as welcome as agreement. In this spirit, the authorities who, like myself, are in favor of the human manufacture of the Tertiary flint objects of Cantal, will find especially worthy of attention any work that attempts to demonstrate they were formed by purely natural causes.” Klaatsch (1907, p. 765) added something Breuil neglected to mention: “It must be noted that L. Mayet in no way shares the radically negative standpoint of Boule, but instead fully recognizes the artifactual nature of the Belgian eoliths [Section 4.4].”

Mayet had twice visited the classic Cantal sites (Puy Boudieu and Puy Courny) and conducted excavations. Klaatsch (1907, p. 765) wrote: “After his introductory lecture, in which Mayet gave assurances that he could supply proofs of the natural process by which the flint objects had been formed, I was

extremely disappointed by the way he sought to demonstrate his point. I had hoped that he would clearly inform me about the ways in which natural forces had acted so ingeniously as to transform the site at Puy Boudieu into ‘a veritable eolith factory.’ That significant shifting and partial resorting of the beds have occurred here is well known to anyone who has conducted excavations. But it remains for L. Mayet to make it plausible that these forces were responsible for the very sophisticated way in which pieces of flint have been broken and worked. Instead he puts off the knowledge-thirsty listener with the suggestion that one cannot precisely describe the action of these natural forces, among which he numbers ‘atmospheric agents, variations in temperature, torrential waters, shifting of geological beds, and certainly other factors about which we remain ignorant.’ It is as if he were trying to silence an unruly child by intimidating him with a multitude of hints of terrible future events, the consequences of which one could not even imagine.” Breuil (1910, p. 407) had tried to do the same thing in his study: “It is clear that the observations made at Belle-Assise do not explain all the natural formations of the Eolithic type; the process that is observed can be juxtaposed with others, such as the action of torrents of water, periods of flooding, the trampling of animals and men, etc.”

In discussing Mayet’s conclusions about the Puy de Boudieu site, Klaatsch (1907, p. 765) made the following observation: “But about the fact that animal teeth in this frightful topsy-turvy have remained quite whole, as if that were possible, we hear nothing.” In other words, if the geological pressures were sufficient to crush blocks of flint, why not the accompanying animal fossils?

Klaatsch (1907, pp. 765–766) then stated: “I am therefore not satisfied by Mayet’s concluding assertion that ‘the action of the intense natural forces that have mixed together the sands and flints at this point are perfectly able to have produced the eoliths, eliminating the necessity of suggesting the intervention of human industry.’ People who simply accept these closing words at face value will repeat them as wisdom, and it will afterwards appear that Mayet has proved the natural origin of the Tertiary flint implements. But no, we cannot proceed in this fashion. One should really demand that our adversaries in this debate should fight us on experimental grounds. This reasonable request to solve by experimentation the puzzle of how the flint objects could be produced by the

‘intelligent’ action of natural forces is not weakened by the fact that Mayet was unsuccessful in producing anything resembling a flint implement by the process of banging blocks of stone together.”

Klaatsch (1907, p. 766) then turned his attention to Mayet’s statements about the

other site at Aurillac, Puy Courny: “Regarding Puy Courny, Mayet cannot call attention to any geological disturbances such as were present at the other site.

Instead he seeks, by heaping up questions, to lead one around the complete lack of reasonable arguments and evidence in favor of his point of view. He simply states with utter complacency in his ‘conclusions’ that the eoliths of Puy Courny

‘are in all likelihood the products of the same natural forces.’ The fact that countless fossils found in the same beds remain completely unchanged by these forces is here also not mentioned.”

Klaatsch (1907, p. 766) then answered one of Mayet’s specific objections: “The great number of specimens at Puy de Boudieu startled him. But in another publication I have pointed out the great masses of artifacts that are to be found at stone workshops in Tasmania. Were such sites to be covered by a stream of lava and then again exposed, this would present much the same sort of scene that confronts one at Puy de Boudieu.” In Africa also, there are sites with thousands of stone tools scattered about. “On the whole,” stated Klaatsch (1907, p. 766), “I must sadly conclude that the work of Mayet has not brought us one step closer to solving the eolith problem.”

4.3.5 A Final Report

As late as 1924, George Grant MacCurdy, director of the American School of Prehistoric Research in Europe, reported in Natural History about the flint implements of Puy Courny (Cantal). Finds similar to those of Rames at Puy Courny and Verworn at Puy de Boudieu had been made in England by J. Reid Moir. Some critics argued that natural forces, such as movements of the earth, had fractured flints by pressure, thus creating stone objects resembling tools. But scientists showed that in the particular locations where the flint tools were found, the geological evidence did not suggest the operation of such natural causes.

MacCurdy (1924b, p. 658) wrote: “Breuil is authority for the statement that conditions favoring the play of natural forces do not exist in certain Pliocene deposits of East Anglia, where J. Reid Moir has found worked flints. . . . Can the same be said of the chipped flints from Upper Miocene deposits near Aurillac (Cantal)? Sollas and Capitan have both recently answered in the affirmative.

Capitan finds not only flint chips that suggest utilization but true types of instruments which would be considered as characteristic of certain Palaeolithic horizons. These not only occur but reoccur: punches, bulbed flakes, carefully retouched to form points and scrapers of the Mousterian type, disks with borders

retouched in a regular manner, scratchers of various forms, and, finally, picks.

He concludes that there is a complete similitude between many of the chipped flints from Cantal and the classic specimens from the best-known Palaeolithic sites.” William Sollas held the Chair of Geology at Oxford, and Louis Capitan, a highly respected French anthropologist, was professor at the College of France.

4.4 Discoveries By A. Rutot In Belgium


From France, let us now proceed to Belgium, where A. Rutot, conservator of the Royal Museum of Natural History in Brussels, made a series of discoveries that brought the question of anomalous stone tool industries into new prominence during the early twentieth century. Most of the industries identified by Rutot dated to the Early Pleistocene. The oldest of his Pleistocene industries, the Reutelian, was named after the small village of Reutel, east of Ypres. Then came the Mafflian and Mesvinian, named after the villages of Maffle and Mesvin. Last in the series was the more highly developed Strepyan industry, named after the town of Strépy. Rutot regarded the Strepyan as marking the transition to the true Paleolithic industries of the later Pleistocene (Obermaier 1924, p. 8).

But in 1907, Rutot’s ongoing research resulted in much more startling finds, this time in the Oligocene, from 25 to 38 million years ago. Georg Schweinfurth gave an initial report in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, using the term eolith in its broadest sense to describe the new finds. But on the basis of Rutot’s later published descriptions, we have classified the tools as crude paleoliths.

Schweinfurth (1907, pp. 958–959) stated: “The continuing search for eoliths in the high plateau of the Ardennes led to this discovery. . . . As Rutot searched a sand pit near Boncelles, 8 kilometers [5 miles] south from Lüttich, he found an eolith-bearing stone bed under the sands at a depth of 15 meters [49 feet]. The sand is generally regarded as Oligocene, but there were no fossils in it, and therefore the age of the bed is not certain. But in the course of further research Dr. Rutot found in another sand pit a well-developed marine fauna of the Late Oligocene, and at the bottom of this sand there was also a stone bed containing eoliths. Among them were choppers, anvil stones, knives, scrapers, borers, and throwing stones, all displaying clear signs of intentional work that produced forms exquisitely adapted for use by the human hand. Rutot has now brought together a complete series of these artifacts and is preparing for publication a

comprehensive report, with illustrations, for the bulletin of the Geological Society of Belgium. On September 30, the fortunate discoverer had the pleasure to show the sites to

34 Belgian geologists and students of prehistory. They all agreed that there could be no doubt about the position of the finds.”

Schweinfurth (1907, p. 959) then reproduced this preliminary statement by Rutot about the geology of the Boncelles region: “On the plateau (between the Maas and Ourthe rivers) the primary stone was covered with flint-bearing chalk, and during the Eocene period the chalk was eroded away, leaving behind heaps of flint that later formed the flint beds. At the beginning of the Late Oligocene a marine intrusion covered the flint beds, depositing 15 meters [49 feet] of fossilbearing sands over them. Finally, during the Middle Pliocene, streams deposited an additional 3 meters [10 feet] of white quartz gravel (a formation now called the Kieselöolithe) along with beds of sand and clay. Then began the excavation of the present valleys.” Rutot believed that human beings manufactured the Boncelles eoliths before the Oligocene marine intrusion, when the land surface was a flint-heaped lowland bordering the sea.

Rutot’s complete report on the Boncelles finds appeared in the bulletin of the Belgian Society for Geology, Paleontology, and Hydrology and provided extensive verification of the preliminary reports cited above. Rutot (1907, p.

479) also supplied information that stone tools like those of Boncelles had been found in Oligocene contexts at Baraque Michel and the cavern at Bay Bonnet. At Rosart, on the left bank of the Meuse, stone tools had also been found in a Middle Pliocene context, thus making them as old as the eoliths of the Kent Plateau.

In his report on Boncelles, Rutot (1907, p. 442) stated that the initial discovery of implements had been made by E. de Munck, in a sand pit situated alongside the main roadway from Tilff to Boncelles, about 500 meters (1640 feet) from a crossroad at the place called “Les Gonhir.” In the very bottom of the sand pit, workmen had excavated a hole about half a meter (a foot and a half) deep in order to extract flint to be used as gravel for roadbeds. This enabled de Munck to gather from the matrix of clayey yellow sand many flint flakes showing signs of fine retouching and utilization (Rutot 1907, p. 442). “It was these implements, including a scraper with a clear bulb of percussion and nicely retouched sharp edge, which convinced me that at the place pointed out by de Munck there existed a deposit of Tertiary eoliths that deserved to be explored and studied,”

said Rutot (1907, pp. 442– 443). A bulb of percussion indicates the scraper was

intentionally flaked from a flint core for the purpose of tool manufacture, which, according to our conventions, places such an implement in the category of the crude paleoliths, rather than the eoliths.

Rutot and de Munck worked together at Boncelles, enlarging and deepening the original excavation. The flint bed was about 1 meter (3 feet) thick and rested on a Devonian sandstone base, surmounted by 15 meters (49 feet) of Oligocene marine sands and clays (Rutot 1907, p. 443). Rutot and de Munck recovered over a hundred specimens, which Rutot (1907, p. 444) said represented

“numerous examples of all the various Eolithic types, that is to say percuteurs (choppers), enclumes (anvils), couteaux (cutters), racloirs (side scrapers), grattoirs (end scrapers), and perçoirs (awls).” Rutot (1907, p. 444) stated:

“These tools display, in all their detailed features, the same characteristics as other well-known and authenticated Tertiary and Quaternary Eolithic industries.”

Rutot called the industry the Fagnian, after the name of the region, Hautes-Fagnes.

Another pit 500 meters (1640 feet) to the northwest of the first also yielded tools. Furthermore, this site provided confirmation of the Oligocene dating of the flint bed bearing the tools. Whereas the first site did not furnish any fossils, the layers of sediment above the flint bed at the second site contained many shell imprints. About a dozen species were recognized (Rutot 1907, p. 444). It was obvious that the shells represented a typical Oligocene assemblage. The most common species was Cytherea beyrichi. Rutot (1907, p. 447) stated: “This shell is characteristic of the Late Oligocene of Germany, notably the beds at Sternberg, Bünde, and Kassel. . . . The other recognizable species ( Cytherea incrassata, Petunculus obovatus, P. philippi, Cardium cingulatum, Isocardia subtransversa, Glycimeris augusta, etc.) are all found in the Late Oligocene.”

Rutot (1907, p. 448) concluded: “Therefore, the Eolithic industry found in the flint bed at the base of the Late Oligocene sands is at least Middle Oligocene in age.” The Oligocene ranges from 25 million years ago to 38 million years ago.

Rutot’s interpretation of the stratigraphy at Boncelles is upheld by other authorities. Maurice Leriche (1922, p. 10) and Charles Pomerol (1982, p. 114) both characterize the sands of Boncelles as Chattian, or Late Oligocene.

“We are thus confronted with a grave problem, or rather a fact the importance of which one cannot escape,” wrote Rutot (1907, p. 448). Referring to the controversies regarding the discoveries of some of the tools we discussed earlier, Rutot (1907, p. 448) observed: “In fact, it is not without a certain repugnance that some have been obliged to accept, in recent times, the idea of the existence

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of intelligent beings who made and used tools in the Late Miocene. And it is almost with a sense of relief that some have been able to decrease the importance once

accorded to the site at Thenay, reported as Aquitanian [Early Miocene].”

“But now it appears,” said Rutot (1907, p. 448), “that the notion of the existence of humanity in the Oligocene, at a time more ancient than that represented by Thenay, has been affirmed with such force and precision that one cannot detect the slightest fault. This is something that offends our old ideas, which have barely become habituated to the simple conception of humans in the Quaternary.

But little by little the reality of Pliocene man of the Kent Plateau has been affirmed and accepted, which has in turn permitted the introduction of the idea of humanity in the Late Miocene, contemporary with Mastodon, Hipparion, and Dryopithecus. ” The Late Miocene discoveries are probably those of Ribeiro in Portugal and of Tardy and others at Aurillac, in France.

“Of course,” added Rutot (1907, p. 448), “passing abruptly from the Late Miocene to the Middle Oligocene may seem somewhat improbable; nevertheless it is proper to submit to the inevitable and accept the facts as they are, seeing that they are not susceptible to any different explanation.”

Figure 4.22. Plain chopper ( percuteur simple) from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium ( Rutot 1907, p. 452).

“Moreover,” continued Rutot (1907, pp. 448– 449), “hesitation is no

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longer possible after the discovery of an industry fashioned by recently living Tasmanians, which has been brought to our attention through the research conducted by Dr. F. Noetling. The bringing to light of this industry is, as it were, providential, because it demonstrates quite positively that eoliths are a reality. The discovery shows that scarcely sixty years ago human beings were making and using implements that are, according to competent and impartial observers, absolutely of Eolithic type.” Perhaps the Tasmanians would still have been making such implements during Rutot’s time had they not been exterminated by European settlers in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Rutot then described in detail the various types of tools from the Oligocene of Boncelles, beginning with percuteurs (or choppers). “Concerning choppers,”

said Rutot (1907, pp. 451–452), “there exist almost always several distincttypes, which are: plain choppers, sharpened choppers, pointed choppers, small choppers, and retouchers. Almost all of these are found at Boncelles. The plain chopper [Figure 4.22] is a pebble or block of stone that has been used to strike blows. Such choppers may or may not have retouching to facilitate gripping.

These are rare at Boncelles, and the ones collected do not appear to have been used much. One notes on their surfaces relatively faint traces of the special and characteristic marks of percussion.”

Figure 4.23. Sharpened chopper ( percuteur tranchant). Rutot (1907, p. 452) noted use marks on the working edge.

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The sharpened chopper (Figure 4.23) was the most abundant type. The simple chopper described above could have been used as a hammer stone to strike flakes from blocks of flint, and these flakes could then have been fashioned into sharpened choppers. But at Boncelles, according to Rutot, many natural flakes, were scattered over the land surface, so it was not necessary to produce them artificially. After some retouching to enable them to be comfortably gripped in the hand, they could immediately be put to use. In contrast to the plain chopper, the sharpened chopper is fit for varieties of practical work ( Rutot 1907, pp. 452–453).

“The sharpened choppers collected at Boncelles,” wrote Rutot (1907, pp. 452–

453), “are as fine and characteristic as possible. Clearly evident is the fact that most of the flaking from usage is angled to the left, as always happens when an implement is gripped in the right hand. The opposite occurs when it is employed with the left hand.”

Figure 4.24. Small sharpened chopper ( tranchet) from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium (Rutot 1907, p. 453). The sides show retouching to accommodate gripping by the hand, while the lower edge, said Rutot, shows use marks.

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Figure 4.25. Pointed chopper ( percuteur pointu) also from Boncelles, Belgium. Rutot (1907, p. 454) said it shows signs of use on both ends.

The tranchet (Figure 4.24), according to Rutot, was a smaller version of the sharpened chopper. “The tranchet,” said Rutot (1907, pp. 453–454), “was certainly used for percussion, and the scratch marks of utilization on the edges are the same as those produced on the large sharpened choppers, though of much smaller size. It appears the tranchet rendered service analogous to that of a hatchet. This instrument is not rare at Boncelles, and we give an illustration of one. One notes on the vertical edges deliberate retouching, in the form of removal of sharp edges, for easy gripping, and on the lower horizontal edge one notes the irregular marks of utilization.”

Rutot (1907, p. 454) noted: “The Oligocene of Boncelles also has pointed choppers [Figure 4.25], that is to say, elongated pieces of flint with one or two of the ends having been used to strike blows. They display on the utilized ends a characteristic star-shaped pattern of flaking, which one can see very well.”

The final type of percuteur described by Rutot was the retoucher, which, as the name implies, is a small percussion implement used in the retouching of the edges of stone tools. He illustrated a retoucher (Figure 4.26) with very evident signs of use along the working edge (Rutot 1907, p. 454). Also found at the Boncelles sites were several anvil stones (Figure 4.27) characterized by a large flat surface showing definite signs of percussion (Rutot 1907, pp. 455– 456).

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Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 4.26. An Oligocene retoucher ( retouchoir), with percussion marks on working edge (Rutot 1907, p. 454).

Rutot then described some implements he called couteaux, best translated as cutters. “One can see that couteaux are made from relatively long flakes of flint, blunt on one side and sharp on the other. The blunt side generally retains the flint’s cortex. Prolonged usage of the blade turns the rectilinear edge into a sawlike edge, with small irregular teeth. This is caused by chipping of the edge when the blade is pressed against the irregularities of the surface of the object being cut. The cutters were not retouched. They were used for a

Figure 4.27. An Oligocene anvil ( enclume) from the Boncelles, Belgium site showing signs of percussion around the circumference of the flat surface (Rutot 1907, p. 455).

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Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 4.28. Two views of a cutting implement ( couteau) from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium (Rutot 1907, p. 456). The working edge shows use marks characteristic of cutting operations.

long time, until blunted by usage and polishing. It was rare that they were employed until completely unusable. At Boncelles one finds cutters [Figure 4.28] of a very characteristic type.” (Rutot 1907, p. 456).

Rutot then described the racloir, or side scraper. The racloir was ordinarily made from an oval flake, produced either naturally or by deliberate flaking, with one of the longitudinal edges blunt and the opposite edge sharp (Figure 4.29). After retouching for a suitable grip, the blunt edge was held in the palm of the hand, and the sharp edge of the implement was moved along the length of the object to be scraped. During this operation, series of small splinters were detached from the cutting edge of the implement, thus dulling it. Rutot (1907, p. 458) stated:

“The characteristic feature of the racloir, used as such, is the presence along the working edge of a series of small chip marks, all arranged in the same direction and located on the same side. When the implement became unusable, it was possible to restore its edge with the retoucher stone, allowing it to be further used.”

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Figure 4.29. Three views of a side scraper ( racloir) found below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium (Rutot 1907, p. 458).

“The special purpose of the retoucher,” said Rutot (1907, p. 458), “was the striking upon a implement’s working edge of a series of small regular blows in the same direction, detaching flakes from 2 millimeters to 5 millimeters

[about 0.1 to 0.2 inch] in diameter. The juxtaposition of the flake scars restored the implement’s sharp edge.” According to Rutot, this type of retouching is, without a doubt, clearly distinguishable from the retouching performed for accommodation of the hand. Rutot (1907, p. 458) stated: “Retouching for accommodation of the hand involved hammering and blunting various sharp edges that were either harmful or not usable. But retouching for sharpening was performed to resharpen, by repeated blows in a single direction, an edge dulled by use. One is therefore able to recognize the two types of retouching.”

Figure 4.30. This tool was designated by Rutot as a notched side scraper ( racloir à encoche). Scrapers of this type are commonly found in Late Pleistocene assemblages. This tool was recovered from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium (Rutot 1907, p. 458).

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Figure 4.31. A double scraper ( racloir double) from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium. Retouching of the two notches in the middle allowed it to be comfortably gripped. Marks of utilization are visible at the top and bottom (Rutot 1907, p. 459).

Rutot (1907, p. 458) pointed out that a good piece of flint can be resharpened several times. But he added “the accumulation of retouching rapidly broadens the original sharp angle of the edge, and when the angle surpasses 45

degrees, the edge offers such resistance that no retouching can be executed, and the implement, now irreparable, is discarded.”

Rutot (1907, p. 459) then described another type of racloir discovered at the Boncelles sites: “Frequently the working edge is not straight; it is finished by means of retouching into one or more concave notches, probably for the purpose of scraping long round objects. This is the notched racloir [Figure 4.30]. Some are made from natural flakes, others from flakes derived from deliberate percussion.”

At Boncelles, racloirs with two scraping edges, or double racloirs, were also found. About this type of implement Rutot (1907, pp. 459–460) said: “I have provided an illustration of an interesting example [Figure 4.31]. It could be held in the hand, between the thumb and forefinger, at the points nicely indicated by the two lateral notches; the other double racloirs, in the form of pointed flakes with two sharp edges, resemble the true ‘Mousterian points.’ Mostly they look, as is the case with the one shown in . . . [Figure 4.32], as if they were detached by percussion and show a pronounced bulb.”

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Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Figure 4.32. This implement was taken from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium (Rutot 1907, p. 460). Rutot said it resembled a Mousterian point from the Late Pleistocene of Europe. The implement’s ventral surface (right) shows a bulb of percussion.

Mousterian implements are found in Late Pleistocene contexts of Europe.

It is the resemblance of some of the flint implements discovered at the Boncelles, Belgium, site to Late Pleistocene implements that causes us to classify this industry among the crude paleoliths.Another specimen looking very much like a Mousterian point is shown in Figure 4.33.

Figure 4.33. A racloir from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium. Rutot (1907, p. 460) observed it looked very much like a Mousterian point from the Late Pleistocene of Europe.

Rutot also described a special category of tools, which he called mixed implements (Figure 4.34), because they looked as if they could have been employed in more than one fashion. Rutot (1907, p. 460) stated: “They tend to have on the sharp edge a point formed by the intersection of two straight edges, or more frequently, two notches, made by retouching. These implements might be said to resemble awls, but in general the point is too short or rounded. In fact, although the notches are the result of deliberate flaking and retouching, the point seems to be merely the incidental byproduct of the intersection of the two notches.”

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Rutot (1907, p. 460) went on to say: “This type of implement, of quite singular form, is quite abundant in the old Eolithic period, very rare in the Paleolithic, and again quite abundant in the Neolithic, particularly in the Flensian assemblages. Good examples also appear among the tools of the modern Tasmanians.”

The next type of implement discussed by Rutot was the grattoir, another broad category of scraper. According to Rutot (1907, p. 462), the grattoir differed from the racloir in that “its working edge is employed longitudinally in relation to the direction of the force of application, whereas the racloir is held between the thumb and forefinger in such a manner to set the working edge transverse to the direction of the force. When being used, the working edges of the racloir and the grattoir are thus situated perpendicular to each other.” Rutot observed that in order to help the user direct and push the cutting edge of the grattoir, these implements in many cases had special notches to accommodate the thumb and forefinger (Figure 4.35b), this in addition to the usual removal of sharp edges to facilitate gripping. At the Boncelles site in Belgium, from strata dated to the Oligocene, there were unearthed a variety of grattoirs (Figure 4.35), including the especially large specimen shown in Figure 4.36.

Figure 4.34. This pointed flint implement was discovered in a stratigraphic position below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium (Rutot 1907, p. 461). The ventral surface (right) of this tool shows a well-developed bulb of percussion with an eraillure. According to Rutot, this type of implement is common in Neolithic and modern assemblages.

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Figure 4.35. End scrapers ( grattoirs) from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium: (a) two views of a grattoir, the ventral surface of which (right) shows a bulb of percussion; (b) grattoir with curved indentations for gripping; (c) two views of a double grattoir, with the chipping on each of the two working edges confined to one side of the flake; (d) grattoir with finely retouched working edge (Rutot 1907, pp. 462– 464).

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Figure 4.36. Large end scraper ( grattoir) from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium (Rutot 1907, p. 463).

Rutot (1907, pp. 462, 464) noted: “In the case of grattoirs as well as racloirs, there are some that bear very well marked bulbs of percussion. I do not, however, consider these flakes to have been intentionally made for use as implements. I believe that the flakes with the bulb of percussion were detached involuntarily from the edges of anvils while they were being struck by hammer stones. These detached flakes were usable as tools just as were the sharp natural flakes found nearby. And they were in fact used like them, but they were not deliberately struck for this purpose.”

It is difficult, however, to comprehend how Rutot could tell what was going through the minds of his ancient toolmakers as they struck flakes and worked them into implements. Specifically, we wonder how Rutot could say with such certainty that the flakes made into implements were not deliberately struck for that purpose, especially the ones with bulbs of percussion. Here it may be recalled that the bulb of percussion is considered by many authorities, such as Leland W. Patterson (1983), to be a clear sign of intentional controlled flaking.

Rutot was probably attempting to fit the evidence before him within his own framework of evolutionary ideas. He apparently wanted to characterize the makers of the Oligocene industry of Boncelles as more primitive than the makers of industries at Pleistocene sites. But leaving aside Rutot’s evolutionary expectations, we can see no reason to rule out the possibility that some of the Boncelles specimens are tools intentionally made from flakes struck for specific purposes.

Rutot then described perçoirs, which might be called awls or borers. “These

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

instruments, also called poinçons, ” he stated, “are characterized by the presence of a sharp point, obtained by intentional modification of a natural flake that already has a somewhat pointed shape. This modified point is situated indifferently in regard to the axis of the instrument, sometimes in a position oblique to the axis” (Rutot 1907, p. 464). An instrument with an oblique point is shown in Figure 4.37, along with two awls with straight points.

Figure 4.37. Three awls ( perçoirs) from below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium (Rutot 1907, p. 465).

According to Rutot (1907, pp. 464 – 465), the Boncelles toolmakers had two ways of modifying a naturally pointed flake to make an awl: “Sometimes the chipping on the two edges making the point was done on just one side of the flake. But sometimes one edge was chipped on the flake’s front side, and the other edge was chipped on the flake’s back side. This procedure is convenient because it allows all the blows to be struck in the same position and the same direction. In effect, when the first edge is chipped, one flips the implement and chips in the same place on the other edge to make a point.”

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Figure 4.38. An awl discovered below the Late Oligocene sands at Boncelles, Belgium (Rutot 1907, p. 465). The chipping on one edge of the point is on the dorsal surface of the implement (left), while the chipping for the other edge of the point is on the ventral surface (right). According to Rutot, this pattern illustrates the use of a specific chipping technique that allowed the maker of the implement to chip one edge of the point, turn the implement over, and chip the other edge of the point from the same position and direction.

Rutot showed a find with this kind of chipping, unlikely to have occurred by random natural battering (Figure 4.38). Rutot remarked that the point obtained by this method of chipping can easily be broken and that, in fact, most of the specimens of awls recovered at Boncelles do have broken points.

Rutot also noted the presence at Boncelles of objects that appeared to be pierres de jet— throwing stones or sling stones. “Throwing stones,” observed Rutot (1907, p. 466), “are polyhedral pieces of stone that present an irregular combination of natural and artificial surfaces. They are somewhat rounded in shape and of small volume, appropriate for throwing violently with the hand or with a sling. Such a weapon would strike in such a manner as to produce not only shock from impact but also cutting from the rotation of the sharp edges of the projectile. The flint industry of Boncelles contains many such polyhedral stones that give every appearance of being throwing stones.”

Rutot concluded that flint objects with certain characteristics may very well have been used by the ancient inhabitants of Boncelles to make fire. “Not only in Eolithic series, but in Paleolithic and Neolithic assemblages,” stated Rutot (1907, p. 467), “one encounters pieces of flint which along one side bear traces of numerous and repeated violent blows, distributed in groups, each group

presenting a series of blows arranged in the same direction. Furthermore, each distinct group has its traces of blows arranged in a direction different from that of the other groups.” These marks could be interpreted as the result of attempts to strike sparks from the pieces of flint. In French, flints used to ignite fire are called briquets.

According to Rutot, these peculiarly marked stones might superficially resemble other tool types such as anvils, racloirs, or grattoirs. But he pointed out that

“they are different from these in the violence and the irregularity of the blows inflicted upon them and also by the presence of the flint cortex on the surface marked by the blows, which eliminates any supposition that these are actual cutting implements” (Rutot 1907, p. 467). The working edges of implements are almost always free of cortex.

Regarding his hypothesis that the pieces of flint in question might have been used for making fire, Rutot (1907, p. 467) mentioned in a footnote: “The same idea has been nicely expressed by E. Lartet and Christy in Reliquiae aquitanicae, pages 85–86 and also pages 138–140. One sees that some Mousterian specimens are represented as briquets for making fire, and the very interesting explanation is given that the fire was obtained not only by friction of flint and pyrite but by flint against flint. A note calls attention to the fact that in England, in Norfolk and Suffolk, up until a century ago, people used the friction of two flints to obtain fire. Dried moss was used as the combustible substance while one rapidly moved two pieces of flint together.”

All in all, Rutot believed the present-day implements that the objects in question most singularly resembled were briquets, flints used for making fire.

Rutot (1907, pp. 467– 478) wrote: “One could respond that it is a bit rash to think that the primitive humans of Boncelles made fire; nevertheless, I have some reasons to think that they did have knowledge of the usage of fire, but the moment has not come to introduce them. In any case, the humans of Mesvin and Reutel did know how to make fire, and we encounter in the debris of their industries stones that look like briquets. At Boncelles, stones of the exact same type are found, and these also appear to have been used as briquets. We therefore believe it is useful to point out, with some reserve, and by means of comparison, that the stones with special signs of usage and flaking at Boncelles could in fact be either briquets or pierres à feu (fire stones).”

Rutot (1907, p. 468) then stated: “So we have now conducted our review of the variegated industry of the intelligent beings of the Oligocene, and we are justifiably astonished at their expertise, given the vast duration of time that has

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

elapsed since they were present. On the other hand, when we examine the industry of the recent Tasmanians, which has been brought to light by the research of Dr. Noetling, then we are no less justifiably astonished to see its extraordinarily primitive and rudimentary character. So the truth, after direct comparison, is that the two industries are exactly the same [Figure 4.39] and that the Tasmanians, now annihilated, but still in existence just sixty years ago, were at the same level of culture as the very primitive inhabitants of Boncelles and the Hautes Fagnes.” Only the materials from which the Tasmanian tools were made were different— quartzite, diabase, granite, and similar types of rock rather than flint.

Figure 4.39. Implements manufactured by native Tasmanians in recent historical times (Rutot 1907, pp. 470 – 477). Rutot said they resembled almost exactly the tools from the Oligocene period at Boncelles, Belgium. (a) Side scraper ( racloir), compare Figure 4.33. (b) Pointed implement ( perçoir), compare Figure 4.34. (c) Anvil ( enclume), compare Figure 4.27. (d) Stone knife ( couteau), compare Figure 4.28. (e) Double end scraper ( grattoir double), compare Figure 4.35c. (f) Awl ( perçoir), compare Figure 4.37. (g) End scraper ( grattoir), compare Figure 4.36.

At some Tasmanian campsites, noted Rutot, Klaatsch found vast numbers of stone implements, attributing this accumulation to the long period of habitation. Rutot pointed out that some opponents of anomalously old early stone industries had traditionally used the very large numbers of specimens recovered at various sites as an argument against their being the product of human industry. Rutot (1907, p. 482) believed that Klaatsch’s observations proved this objection invalid.

Rutot (1907, pp. 480–481) then clearly framed the essential question posed by his discoveries: “When we take into consideration the analogies, or rather the identities, between the Oligocene eoliths of Boncelles and the modern eoliths of the Tasmanians, we find ourselves confronted with a grave problem—the existence in the Oligocene of beings intelligent enough to manufacture and use definite and variegated types of implements. Who was the intelligent being? Was it merely a precursor of the human kind, or was it already human? This is a grave problem—an idea that cannot but astonish us and attract the attention and the interest of all those who make the science of humanity the object of their study and meditation” (Rutot 1907, pp. 480–481).

It might be a shock to many persons with scientific training that a statement like this could have appeared in a scientific journal in the twentieth century. Today mainstream scientists do not give any consideration at all to the possibility of a human—or even protohuman—presence in the Oligocene. We believe there are two reasons for this—unfamiliarity with evidence such as Rutot’s and unquestioning faith in currently held views on human origin and antiquity.

4.5 Discoveries By Freudenberg Near Antwerp (

Early Pliocene to Late Miocene)

In addition to being the site of Rutot’s finds in Oligocene strata, Belgium was also the site of another intriguing series of discoveries. In February and March of 1918, Wilhelm Freudenberg, a geologist attached to the German army, was conducting test borings for military purposes in Tertiary formations west of Antwerp. In clay pits at Hol, near St. Gillis, and at other locations, Freudenberg discovered flint objects he believed to be implements, along with cut bones and shells.

Most of the objects came from sedimentary deposits of the Scaldisian marine

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stage, which Freudenberg (1919, p. 2) regarded as Middle Pliocene. But according to modern authorities, the Scaldisian spans the Early Pliocene and Late Miocene (Klein 1973, table 6; Savage and Russell 1983, p. 294). The Scaldisian is thus dated at 4–7 million years (Klein 1973, table 6). Freudenberg (1919, p. 9) suggested that the objects he discovered may have dated to the period just before the Scaldisian marine transgression, which, if true, would give them an age of

7 million years or more.

4.5.1 Flint Implements

Freudenberg believed some of the flint implements he found had been used to open shells. One such implement (Figure 4.40) came from a cavity in the top part of the Scaldisian formation at Koefering, where it was found along with broken shells (Freudenberg 1919, p. 18).

Figure 4.40. This object, characterized by W. Freudenberg (1919, p.

16) as an implement for opening shells, was discovered in a Scaldisian formation (4–7 million years b.p.) at Koefering, near Antwerp, Belgium.

The left end of the specimen object appears to be the working edge.

In describing a second shell-opening tool (Figure 4.41), Freudenberg (1919, p. 20) stated: “It comes from the Scaldisian sands of Mosselbank and was found together with many Pliocene molluscs in excavations for fortifications on the outskirts of Antwerp. It is a typical hook-shaped shell opener, found among broken Pliocene shells, especially the broken shells of Cyprina tumida. The shell heap appears to have been a Tertiary kitchen midden. The length of the shell opener is 9 centimeters [3.5 inches], when one includes the missing end section.”

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In addition, Freudenberg uncovered some burned flints, which he considered to be evidence that intelligent beings had used fire during the Tertiary in Belgium.

Figure 4.41. A implement for opening shells, from a Scaldisian formation at Mosselbank, near Antwerp, Belgium (Freudenberg 1919, p.

16). Along with the implement, which could be from Early Pliocene to Late Miocene in age, many broken shells were found.

4.5.2 Cut Shells

Of special interest were the numerous shells collected by Freudenberg from the Scaldisian sands at Vracene and Mosselbank, where fortifications were being constructed. About his discoveries, Freudenberg (1919, p. 39) wrote: “The shell heaps of Koefering and Mosselbank near Vracene have yielded countless examples of Cyprina islandica and Cyprina tumida broken while living and also a shell opener of shiny, patinated flint, like those found at Hol.”

Freudenberg (1919, p. 39) further stated: “The examination of the shell materials from Vracene and Hol that I undertook in the beginning of 1919 at Göttingen proved the correctness of my initial judgement that the shell beds were a kitchen midden. In cleaning off the yellow quartz sand and clay, I found many intentional incisions, mostly on the rear part of the shells, quite near the hinge

[Figure 4.42]. This was particularly clear on the two Cyprina species. On the extinct Cyprina tumida specimens, the forward closing muscle was cut through quite regularly by an incision. . . .The incision could only have been made with the help of a sharp flint knife or a shark tooth (we find here teeth of Oxyrhina hastalis Ag.). The intentional nature of this action is quite apparent. I have 7 left half-shells of Cyprina tumida and 9 right half-shells with the same kind of incision near the depression in the shell that marks the point of attachment of the forward closing muscle.”

Describing the incisions themselves, Freudenberg (1919, pp. 39–40) wrote: “The inner surfaces of the cuts on the shells of Cyprina tumida are smooth and bear the same yellow-white weathered surface as the other old surfaces and breaks on any part of the shell. The length of the cut marks is a few millimeters, seldom more than half a centimeter. The incisions on the shells of Cyprina tumida with well-preserved cut marks are sharply V-shaped, such as could only have been made with a sharp instrument. Other shells that are almost always found broken, as would be expected if they were being used for food, include those of the extinct Voluta Lamberti Sow. and Cardium decorativum, which along with Cardium edule and C. echinatum, could have served as edible shellfish.” The sharp cut marks found near the hinges of the shells collected by Freudenberg would appear to be more consistent with human work than the action of shellfish-consuming creatures such as otters.

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Figure 4.42. A shell from a Scaldisian formation ( Early Pliocene–

Late Miocene) near Antwerp, Belgium, with a cut mark to the right of the hinge (Freudenberg 1919, p. 33).

Freudenberg also found many oysters with broken and cut shells. Of Ostrea edulis L. var. ungulata Nyst, Freudenberg (1919, p. 45) wrote: “I dug up 20 flat right half-shells and about half as many arched left half-shells. Many shells show puncture marks made by sharp, pointed objects, perhaps shark teeth used as tools. From the position of these marks on the edges of the shells, it is obvious they were intended to force them open. The marks sometimes repeat themselves in the same place, giving the impression of premeditated work. The marks are always found on the flat half-shells rather than the curved half-shells, which would be harder to pierce. Splintering is found only on the inner surface of the puncture marks, from which one can conclude that the sharp body that made them entered from outside. All this rules out a posthumous injury, because a dead shellfish opens its shell, and in that case any kind of shell-opening operation would have been pointless.” Summarizing his report on shellfish, Freudenberg (1919, p. 50) said: “The number of extinct species is half the total, 27 of 54. Thus the late Tertiary date of the site is not in doubt. The existence of a shellfish-eating population on the

Flemish coast in the late Tertiary is also not in doubt.”

4.5.3 Incised Bones

In addition to cut shells, Freudenberg also found cut bones of marine mammals. Among them was part of the upper jaw of a member of the porpoise family, probably related to Lagenocetus latifrons Gray. The surface of the jaw is

flat and bears upon it a series of incisions. Freudenberg believed the incisions had been purposefully made. In a taphonomic analysis of the jaw, he stated:

“Were these grooves not seen as intentional work, but rather as the selective corrosion of the bone through chemical or mechanical means (such as the dissolving action of mineral salts or the friction of sand), then one would expect that the grooves would reach as far down as the nourishment channels (Haversian canals) that run through the bone and there find their end. In reality the grooves cut straight through the nourishment channels; they are also independent of the fine bone structure” (Freudenberg 1919, p. 22). Freudenberg said that this jaw may have been used as some kind of a press.

As discussed in Section 2.11, incisions such as those reported by Freudenberg on the porpoise bone might have been the result of shark bites. In his report, Freudenberg did not mention this possibility, which thus needs further investigation. Still, if the shells from the Scaldisian at Vracene and Mosselbank are taken as bearing intentional cut marks, then this strengthens the possibility that the incisions on the porpoise bones may also have been made by tools.

Marked and polished whale bones were also discovered, along with bones of other marine mammals. Freudenberg (1919, p. 28) wrote: “Artificially broken long bones of walruses and seals are found directly on top of the Septarian clay (Middle Oligocene). These bone fragments were found embedded in clayey greensand, some of which has hardened into limonite on the bones. The bones bear the deep impact marks of blows that could have been made by stone hammers. The depth of the marks varied with the strength of the blows.”

4.5.4 Possible Human Footprints

Further confirmation of a human presence came in the form of partial footprints, apparently made when humanlike feet compressed pieces of clay.

From a clay pit at Hol, located just south of the road leading westward from St.

Gillis to Meuleken, Freudenberg (1919, p. 3) recovered one impression of the ball of a foot and four impressions of toes (Figure 4.43).

The stone bed in which the footprints were found was judged to be Scaldisian on the basis of the shell fauna. The Scaldisian sediments, as previously mentioned, were deposited in the time period from the Early Pliocene through the Late Miocene. The footprints would thus be at least 4–7 million years old.

Freudenberg (1919, p. 9), however, believed they were probably made during the period immediately preceding the Scaldisian marine transgression, and were

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

later incorporated into the Scaldisian formation in which they were found. This would make the footprints somewhat more than 7 million years old. Freudenberg conducted a dermatoglyphic analysis of the prints, as carefully as modern physical anthropologists.

Figure 4.43. Five partial foot impressions from a Scaldisian formation (Early Pliocene to Late Miocene) at Hol, near Antwerp, Belgium (Freudenberg 1919, p. 9).

About the impression of the ball of a right foot, Freudenberg (1919, p. 11) stated: “There are on the left side signs of displaced grains of sand as well as imprints of the dermal ridges and lines of the skin of the foot, and these show a movement from left to right, or from inside to outside, as would result from the normal movement of the foot in walking.”

Continuing his dermatoglyphic analysis of the print, Freudenberg (1919, p. 11) stated: “One notices that the right, or outer, side of the impression of the ball of the foot is also covered with impressions of fine lines like those of the foot of a humanlike being.” According to Freudenberg (1919, p. 11), the pattern of the lines matched that of modern humans and was distinct from that of apes.

Freudenberg (1919, p. 12) added: “The number of lines found in the space of a millimeter is the same on the fossil impression as on the ball of the foot of a modern human adult. The fossil has about 2 lines in 1 mm (10 in 5 mm), in some places fewer. In adult humans, I have measured 4 lines in 2 mm, 5 in 2 mm, and

6 in 2 mm, giving an average of 2–3 lines per mm.” Freudenberg (1919, p. 12) then mentioned another significant feature of the impression: “The outlets of the sweat glands are perhaps to be recognized on the fossil impression as tiny bumps, arranged in rows.”

Freudenberg, having described the impression of the ball of the foot, then turned to the impressions of toes. Concerning an imprint of the fourth and fifth toes of a left foot, Freudenberg (1919, pp. 13–14) noted: “The length of an impression of the little toe, measured on the inner side, is, for a 4-yearold child, about 18 mm.

The same measurement on the fossil impression is 15 mm. . . . There are also to be observed the impressions of dermal ridges on the imprints of the toes. They are arranged in the same pattern as on the foot of a human child, in that they radiate in all directions from the juncture of the fifth and fourth toes. As in the case of the human child, there are 6–7 dermal ridges per 2 mm at this place.

Furthermore, there are properly oriented wrinkles of the skin.”

Freudenberg (1919, p. 14) then stated: “The most important discovery on the fossil toe impression is the shortness of the fifth toe, which is reminiscent of the little toe of the human being. The anthropoid apes, including the gorilla, have long little toes. The foot structure of the genus Homo was in the Middle Pliocene already the same as today. The big toe was also short and broad, relative to that of apes, as shown on a somewhat fragmentary impression from Hol, which appears to be that of a left big toe.”

4.5.5 The Identity of Freudenberg’s


In his conclusion, Freudenberg (1919, p. 52) stated: “It stands without doubt that the sites at Hol and Koefering are part of the Scaldisian formation of the Middle Pliocene [Early Pliocene to Late Miocene according to modern authorities]. The geological age of Palaeanthropus, the Flemish Tertiary man, dates back this far, if not into older times. This conclusion is especially supported by the fact that bones of Pliocene marine mammals provided Tertiary man with raw materials for his implements and Pliocene shellfish served as his food. Furthermore, the fossil footprints of a humanlike being are found among the Middle Pliocene beach pebbles of Hol.”

Freudenberg (1919, pp. 52–53) directed the attention of his readers to supporting evidence from England—the carved shell discovered by Henry Stopes in the Pliocene Red Crag (Section 2.15), as well as the flint implements found in the

same formation by J. Reid Moir (Section 3.3) and the cut bones reported by Fisher (Section 2.16). As we have demonstrated, there is abundant evidence, of all kinds, in favor of a human presence dating to the Pliocene and earlier. In this context, the discoveries of Freudenberg are not at all surprising.

We should point out, however, that Freudenberg (1919, p. 12) was an evolutionist and believed that his Tertiary man must have been a very small hominid, about 1 meter (3.28 feet) tall, displaying, in addition to its humanlike feet, a combination of apelike and human features. Altogether, Freudenberg’s description of his Flemish Tertiary man seems reminiscent of Johanson’s portrayal of Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy). Even if Freudenberg’s hypothetical picture of a primitive hominid with humanlike feet is accepted, one would not, according to current paleoanthropological doctrine, expect to find any australopithecines in Belgium during the Late Miocene, at the onset of the Scaldisian, over 7 million years ago. The oldest australopithecines date back only about 4 million years in Africa.

But a late Scaldisian (Early Pliocene) date of 4 million years for a Flemish australopithecine would be within the range of possibility. It should be kept in mind that African mammals such as the hippopotamus ranged as far north as England during the Pliocene and the interglacials of the Pleistocene. Modern paleoanthropologists might, therefore, have good reason to give some serious consideration to Freudenberg’s reports, but unfortunately, the knowledge filtration process has, over the course of this century, resulted in the reports disappearing from view.

Thus far we have been going along with Freudenberg’s assumption that the humanlike partial footprints from the Scaldisian of Belgium were made by a small primitive hominid. But there is another possibility. There are today, in Africa and the Phillipines, pygmy tribes, with adult males standing less than five feet tall and females even shorter. The proposal that a pygmy human being rather than an australopithecine made the footprints found by Freudenberg has the advantage of being consistent with the whole spectrum of evidence—stone tools, incised bones, isolated signs of fire, and artificially opened shells.

Australopithecines are not known to have manufactured stone tools or used fire.

And, as we shall see in Section 11.10, the toes of australopithecines are noticeably longer than those of modern Homo sapiens, while the little toe of the Belgian hominid is similar in length to that of modern humans.

Freudenberg’s principal reason for concluding that the being that left the footprints was quite small had to do with certain measurements he made. He

ascertained that the radius of curvature of the imprint of the ball of a foot excavated at Hol was similar to that of a human child 4 years of age (Freudenberg 1919, pp. 10 –11). The radius of curvature is the radius of a circle that would fit a section of the curve of the print.

Another feature of the same imprint led Freudenberg to conclude that the creature, despite its short stature, was an adult. In the fossil imprint of the ball of a foot, he found 2 dermal ridges per millimeter. Human adults have 2–3 ridges per millimeter in this part of the foot whereas human children have about 4

ridges per millimeter. Freudenberg therefore believed that the creature must have been an adult, although the radius of curvature of the ball of the foot indicated it was only about 1 meter tall—the height of a human 4-year-old.

But other measurements reported by Freudenberg suggest the adult forms were taller. One of the toe impressions from the Scaldisian was about the same size as that of a human 4-year-old, indicating the creature stood about 1 meter high. On this impression Freudenberg (1919, p. 14) counted 3.0–3.5 ridges per millimeter.

The toe impressions of human children have the same number of ridges in that location (Freudenberg 1919, p. 14). This suggests that the creature that made this print was not an adult but a child. Thus when it grew to adult size, it would have been somewhat taller than 1 meter.

To a modern reader, Freudenberg’s reports are bound to seem somewhat idiosyncratic. Nevertheless, Freudenberg does provide yet another example of a professional scientist reporting in a scientific journal finds that today would not be given a moment’s serious consideration.

4.6 Central Italy (Late Pliocene)

In 1871, Professor G. Ponzi (1873, p. 53) presented to the meeting in Bologna of the International Congress of Prehistoric Anthropology and Archeology the following report about evidence for Tertiary humans in central Italy: “The very ancient rocks of subappenine Italy that contain human vestiges are breccias which, reposing on the Pliocene yellow sands, can be referred to the end of the Pliocene or beginning of the Quaternary. These vestiges consist of one flint evidently worked into a triangular pointed shape, extracted from the breccia of the ‘Acquatraversa sur la Voie Cassienne,’ by the geologists de Verneuil and Mantovani, and several other flints, of almost the same type, collected by Rossi and Nicolucci in the breccia of Janicule.” A breccia is a deposit composed of rock fragments in a fine-grained matrix of hardened sand or clay.

The Acquatraversan erosional phase, during which the breccia was laid down on the yellow sand, can still be regarded as Pliocene. Nilsson (1983, p. 95) stated that the Acquatraversan erosion “is taken to predate a volcanite with a radiometric date of 2.3 million years.” This indicates that the stone tools embedded in the Acquatraversan breccias could be at least that old. The yellow sands, upon which the breccias are found, are most likely those of the Astian (Piacenzian) stage of the Late Pliocene (Nilsson 1983, p. 83). This case, although maybe not as strong as others just discussed, is nevertheless worthy of attention and study.

4.7 Stone Tools From Burma (Miocene)

At the end of 1894 and beginning of 1895, scientific journals announced the discovery of worked flints in Tertiary formations in Burma, then part of the British Indian empire. The implements were reported by Fritz Noetling, a paleontologist and Fellow of the Geological Society who served as director of the Geological Survey of India in the region of Yenangyaung. Noetling (1894, p.

101) stated in the Record of the Geological Survey of India: “While engaged in mapping out a part of the Yenangyoung [Yenangyaung] oil-field my attention was particularly directed to the collecting of vertebrate remains, which are rather common in certain strata around Yenangyoung. One of the most conspicuous beds . . . is a ferruginous conglomerate, upwards of ten feet in thickness. This bed may be distinguished a long distance off as a dull-red band, running, in a continuous line, across ravines and hills. Besides numerous other vertebrate remains, such as Rhinoceros perimense, etc., one of the commonest species is Hippotherium [ Hipparion] antelopinum Caut. and Falc. of which numerous isolated teeth can be found.” Modern authorities still date the Yenangyaung fauna to the Late or Middle Miocene (Savage and Russell 1983, pp. 247, 326).

While picking up a lower molar of Hipparion antelopinum, Noetling noticed a rectangular flint object (Figure 4.44). He later described the object: “The two long edges run nearly parallel and are sharp and cutting. This flake affords particular interest in as much as the two faces must have been produced by an action, which is difficult to explain by natural causes” (Noetling 1894, p. 101).

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

Each face, one concave and the other convex, has two planes meeting in the middle to form an edge, giving the piece four plane surfaces. Noetling wrote:

“Let us consider the convex face [on the left in Figure 4.44] first; it will be seen that one side is smooth, apparently produced by the chipping off of a single flake, while the other side shows that at least four smaller flakes have been chipped off at a right angle to the first one.” Many authorities see chipping at right angles as a good sign of human work, as natural random battering tends to produce chipping at a variety of angles. In addition, such random battering also removes sharp edges. Noetling (1894, pp. 101–102) further stated: “The concave face which is however much damaged at one side must have been produced by the chipping off of two longitudinal flakes. The shape of this specimen reminds me very much of the chipped flint described in Volume I of the Records, Geological Survey of India, and discovered in the Pleistocene of the Nerbudda river, the artificial origin of which nobody seems to have ever doubted.”

Figure 4.44. Two sides of a flint implement from the Miocene Yenangyaung formation in Burma (Noetling 1894, plate 1).

Noetling (1894, p. 101) searched further and found about a dozen more chipped pieces of flint. Some of these he categorized as “irregularly shaped.”

According to Noetling (1894, p. 101), the edges were “sharp and cutting.” The remainder were “triangular flakes,” about which he stated: “The lateral edges are straight, sharp, and cutting.” Noetling (1894, p. 101) thought one of the triangular flakes shown in his illustrations (Figure 4.45) was “particularly remarkable” because “it shows that the upper face must have been produced by

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

the repeated chipping off of thin flakes.”

Figure 4.45. A flint tool from the Miocene Yenangyaung formation of Burma (Noetling1894, plate 1).

Analyzing the stratigraphic position of his discoveries, Noetling stated that the ferruginous conglomerate containing the chipped flints was surmounted by a 4,620-foot-thick formation (Group C) composed of yellow sandstone alternating with beds of light brown clay. Noetling wrote (1894, p. 102): “A superficial examination of the vertebrate remains shows that the fauna is nearly identical with that of the Siwaliks, or in other words, that Group C . . . must be of upper miocene if not pliocene age. We must therefore claim either pliocene or at the latest upper miocene age for the ferruginous conglomerate in which the chipped flints have been found. But whatsoever their particular age be, it is certain that a considerable amount of time must have elapsed since the deposit of a series of strata of more than 4,620 foot thickness, containing numerous genera of animals which are now-a-days either entirely extinct, or at least no longer living in India, which rests upon it [the ferruginous conglomerate].”

W. T. Blanford believed that Rhinoceros perimensis and Hipparion antelopinum, fossils of which accompanied the flints, characterized in India the Pliocene rather than the Miocene (G. de Mortillet and A. de Mortillet 1900, pp. 90–91). A Pliocene date (2–5 million years) would, however, still be quite anomalous, considering the now-dominant view that toolmaking beings ( Homo erectus) first migrated from Africa around 1 million years ago. Blanford, however appears to have been wrong. According to modern authorities Rhinoceros (Aceratherium)

perimensis and Hipparion antelopinum occur in Late Miocene assemblages of Asia, including India (Savage and Russell 1983, pp. 283 –284). Furthermore, as previously mentioned, the Yenangyaung fauna in general is today regarded as Miocene (Savage and Russell 1983, pp. 247, 326). This would place toolmaking creatures in Burma over 5 million years ago.

According to de Mortillet, R. D. Oldham observed flints similar to Noetling’s on a plateau rising above the location of Noetling’s discovery. Oldham wanted to use this fact to dispute the age of Noetling’s flints, but it is not clear why the presence of flints on the plateau should invalidate Noetling’s statements about the stratigraphic position of his discoveries.

How certain was the stratigraphic position of Noetling’s flints? According to de Mortillet, the strata in which the flints were found appeared to Oldham to be loosely compacted conglomerates, which suggested that the flints might have been introduced in recent times. But Noetling (1894, pp. 102–103) offered this account: “Having now described the geological position of the strata in which the chipped flints were found, there still remains the question to be discussed whether they were really found in situ, or not. To this I can only answer that to the best of my knowledge they were really found in situ. . . . The exact spot where the flints were found is marked on my geological map of the Yenangyoung oil-field with No. 49 and is situated on the steep eastern slope of a ravine, high above its bottom, but below the edge in such a position that it is inconceivable how the flints should have been brought there by any foreign agency. There is no room for any dwelling place in this narrow gorge, nor was there ever any; it is further impossible from the way in which the flints were found that they could have been brought to that place by a flood. If I weigh all the evidence, quite apart from the fact that I actually dug them out of the bed, it is my strong belief that they were in situ when found.” It should be remembered that these statements were made by a professional paleontologist who was a member of the Geological Society of London and the Geological Survey of India.

In conclusion, Noetling (1894, p. 103) said: “As to their nature whether artificial or not, I do not want to express an opinion; all I can say is, that if flints of this shape can be produced by natural causes, a good many chipped flints hitherto considered as undoubtedly artificial products are open to grave doubts as to their origin.” We agree with this statement. In our review of controversial evidence, we are not so much insisting on the Tertiary date or human manufacture of particular stone objects as insisting on consistent application of standards for

evaluating such evidence. We have found that such consistent application is lacking, that prejudice and preconception very often come into play. This raises serious questions about the empiric method as the primary cognitive tool for understanding human origins and antiquity.

4.8 Tools From Black’s Fork River, Wyoming

(Middle Pleistocene)

In 1932, Edison Lohr and Harold Dunning, two amateur archeologists, found many stone tools on the high terraces of the Black’s Fork River in Wyoming, U.S.A. We may recall from our discussion of the eoliths of the Kent Plateau, England, that high river terraces are older than lower terraces. The stone implements found by Lohr and Dunning appeared to be of Middle Pleistocene age, which would be anomalous for North America.

Lohr and Dunning showed the tools they collected to E. B. Renaud, a professor of anthropology at the University of Denver. Renaud, who was also director of the Archaeological Survey of the High Western Plains, then organized an expedition to the region where the tools were found. During the summer of 1933, Renaud’s party collected specimens from the ancient river terraces between the towns of Granger and Lyman.

Renaud, who had been trained in Europe under Henri Breuil, characterized the implements as similar to those of the early European Paleolithic (Minshall 1989, p. 86). Among the specimens were crude handaxes and other flaked implements representative of those frequently attributed to Homo erectus. In 1933, Renaud said the tools would “suggest a cultural complex in America similar to that of Europe, and also a possible great antiquity for these artifacts” (Minshall 1989, p.


The reaction from anthropologists in America was negative. Renaud wrote in 1938 that his report had been “harshly criticized by one of the irreconcilable opponents of the antiquity of man in America, who had seen neither the sites nor the specimens” (Minshall 1989, p. 87).

In response, Renaud mounted three more expeditions, collecting more tools, which he studied carefully, comparing them with artifacts of similar age from France and England. Although many experts from outside America agreed with him that the tools represented a genuine industry, American scientists have continued their opposition to the present day.

The most common reaction is to explain that the crude Paleolithic specimens are in fact blanks (unworked flakes) dropped fairly recently by Indian toolmakers.

Opposing this hypothesis, Herbert L. Minshall (1989, p. 87) stated that the tools

“show heavy stream abrasion” even though they are “fixed in desert pavements on ancient flood plain surfaces that could not have had streams for over 150,000

years.” In 1938, E. H. Stephens, a geologist at the Colorado School of Mines, visited the sites where the tools had been found. According to Stephens, the high flood plain terraces dated to the Illinoian glacial period (Minshall 1989, p. 88).

This would mean they were formed from 125,000 to 190,000 years ago, and perhaps even further back in time (Minshall 1989, p. 88).

If found at a site of similar age in Africa or Europe or China, stone tools like those found by Renaud would not be a source of controversy. But their presence in Wyoming is certainly very much unexpected at 125,000 to 190,000 years ago.

The view now dominant is that humans entered North America not earlier than about 30,000 years ago at most. And before that there was no migration of any other hominid.

Renaud’s discoveries were therefore either ignored or explained away. Stephens and others suggested that the abrasion on the implements was the result of windblown sand rather than water. In 1957, Marie Wormington stated: “It is true that many of Renaud’s artifacts were found on high terraces and showed definite signs of abrasion. If it could be proven that this was the result of water action it might provide some evidence of age, for a considerable length of time has elapsed since water last reached these terraces. However, if the smoothing was due to wind erosion it provides no evidence of real antiquity” ( Minshall 1989, pp. 89–90).

In reply Minshall (1989, p. 90) observed: “The specimens were abraded on all sides, top and bottom, ventral and dorsal surfaces equally. That is extremely unlikely for windblown dust to achieve on heavy stone tools lying in heavy gravel but expectable on objects subjected to surf or heavy stream action.

Having examined thousands of stone tools on desert surfaces, I can testify that all-over wind abrasion is rare under any circumstances, is only present on specimens lying in loose sand, and never appears on heavy gravel inclusions.”

Minshall (1989, p. 91) also noted that the tools were covered with a thick mineral coating of “desert varnish.” This varnish, which takes a long time to accumulate, was thicker than that on tools found on lower, and hence more recent, terraces in the same region.

The cumulative evidence appears to rule out the suggestion that the implements

discovered by Renaud were blanks dropped fairly recently on the high desert floodplain terraces. But Minshall (1989, p. 87) noted: “The reaction of American scientists to Renaud’s interpretation of the Black’s Fork collections as evidences of great antiquity was, and has continued to be for over half a century, one of general skepticism and disbelief, even though probably not one in a thousand archaeologists has visited the site nor seen the artifacts.”

According to Minshall, the tools found by Renaud were the work of Homo erectus, who may have entered North America during a time of lowered sea levels in the Middle Pleistocene. Minshall believed this was also true of stone tools found at other locations of similar age, such as Calico, and his own excavation at Buchanan Canyon, both in southern California.

Minshall was, however, skeptical of another Middle Pleistocene site. In January 1990, Minshall told one of us (Thompson) that he was not inclined to accept as genuine the technologically advanced stone tools found at Hueyatlaco in Mexico (Section 5.4.4). Hueyatlaco was determined to be about 250,000 years old—

roughly contemporary with Black’s Fork, Calico, and other sites with primitive stone tools that Minshall was prepared to accept. But the advanced stone tools found at Hueyatlaco were characteristic of Homo sapiens sapiens, and were thus not easy to attribute to Homo erectus. Minshall’s response to Hueyatlaco was to suggest, without supporting evidence, that the stratigraphy had been misinterpreted and that the animal bones used to date the site, as well as the sophisticated stone artifacts, had been “washed onto the site from different sources” (Minshall 1989, p. 93). This shows that researchers who accept some anomalies may rule out others using the double standard method.

Advanced Paleoliths and Neoliths

Having reviewed the crudest of the anomalously old stone tools (the eoliths) and then the crude paleoliths, we shall now proceed to examine advanced paleoliths and neoliths. Here once more we face difficulties in classification, as many of the discoveries we shall be considering involve implements of various levels of sophistication. The deciding factor for including a group of implements in the category of advanced paleoliths is that a number of specimens represent a clear technical advance over the crude paleoliths discussed in the last chapter. For example, the stone tool industries discovered by Florentino and Carlos Ameghino in Argentina include many implements that

might be classed among the eoliths or crude paleoliths; nevertheless, they also include implements of a higher order, such as presumed projectile points and bolas. In this chapter, we shall first discuss the discoveries of Florentino Ameghino, as well as the attacks upon them by A. Hrdlicka and W. H. Holmes.

Next we shall consider the finds of Carlos Ameghino, which provide some of the most solid and convincing evidence for a fully human presence in the Pliocene.

We shall then proceed to anomalous finds made at sites in North America, including Hueyatlaco, Mexico; Sandia Cave, New Mexico; Sheguiandah, Ontario; Lewisville, Texas; and Timlin, New York. We shall conclude with the Neolithic finds from the Tertiary gold-bearing gravels of the California gold rush country.

5.1 Discoveries Of Florentino Ameghino In


In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Florentino Ameghino thoroughly investigated and described the stratigraphy and fossil fauna of the coastal provinces of Argentina. He thereby became an internationally known and respected paleontologist. Ameghino’s controversial discoveries of stone implements, carved bones, and other signs of a human presence in Argentina during the Pliocene, Miocene, and earlier periods served to increase his worldwide fame.

5.1.1 Monte Hermoso (Middle and Early


Among the most significant examples of human work reported by Florentino Ameghino are those he discovered in 1887 at Monte Hermoso, on the coast of Argentina about 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of Bahia Blanca.

Here is how F. Ameghino (1908, p. 105) recounted the circumstances of his first discoveries at Monte Hermoso, which were made in a formation he regarded as Miocene: “During an exploratory visit, which lasted from the end of February to the beginning of March of 1887, we had the good fortune to find remains that demonstrated the existence of an intelligent being contemporary with . . . extinct fauna at this site. These vestiges consisted of fragments of tierra cocida (burned earth), fogones (hearths), escoria (glassy, melted earth), bones that had been split

and burned, and worked stone. These discoveries caused me such surprise and appeared so important that I immediately wrote up my impressions and sent them to the journal La Nación, which published them on March 10, 1887.”

In another description of the initial discoveries made at Monte Hermoso, written in 1889, F. Ameghino (1911, p. 74) commented: “I was occupied in extracting part of a skeleton of Macrauchenia antiqua [a camellike Pliocene mammal]

when I was surprised to see a piece of yellow-red stone among the bones. I picked it up and immediately recognized it as an irregular fragment of quartzite, displaying positive and negative bulbs of percussion, a striking platform, and eraillure. These features indicated in an irrefutable manner that I had found a stone object worked by an intelligent being during the Miocene period. I continued my work and soon found similar objects. Doubt was not possible, and on the same day, March 4, 1887, I communicated to La Nación the discovery of objects evidently worked by an intelligent being in the Miocene formations of Argentina.” F. Ameghino (1911, p. 74) added: “Later, at my instigation, the Museum of La Plata sent to the same place, for the purpose of collecting fossils, the preparator Santiago Pozzi, who found objects similar to mine.”

Summarizing the Monte Hermoso evidence, F. Ameghino (1911, pp. 52–53) said: “The presence of man, or rather his precursor, at this ancient site, is demonstrated by the presence of crudely worked flints, like those of the Miocene of Portugal, carved bones, burned bones, and burned earth proceeding from ancient fireplaces, in which earth containing a substantial quantity of sand came in contact with fire so intense that it was partially vitrified.”

Regarding the fireplaces, F. Ameghino (1911, p. 52) stated: “In this part of the formation there are no traces of volcanic activity, nor deposits of lignite, nor any vestiges of vegetation that might have sustained accidental fires with the rare property of occurring at intervals consecutive with the successive depositing of the strata at the site. Furthermore, these fireplaces, by the rarest of coincidences, are accompanied by burned bones. The temperature of the fires was so high, that in the pieces of burned earth there have formed spherical cavities, resulting from the expansion of air or the special gases produced by combustion of the substances contained in the earth.”

F. Ameghino, who was, like most scientists of his time, committed to the concept of evolution, wrote: “The vestiges belong to such a distant epoch that I do not dare to consider them as proof of the existence of man, but rather as remains of

‘a being more or less resembling man, directly ancestral to man of the modern

type’” (1908, p. 105). After two years of research, Ameghino decided the intelligent being that made the artifacts at Monte Hermoso was of a different genus than modern humans and their immediate ancestors. Among the fossils recovered from Monte Hermoso was a hominid atlas (the first bone of the spinal column, at the base of the skull). Ameghino thought it displayed primitive features, but A. Hrdlicka judged it to be fully human (Section 6.2.4). This strongly suggests that beings of modern human type were responsible for the artifacts and signs of fire discovered in the Montehermosan formation.

Although Ameghino thought the Montehermosan formation to be Miocene, modern authorities place it in the Early Pliocene. According to E. Anderson (1984, p. 41) the stratigraphic sequence of the Argentine coastal region can be dated in the following way: the Ensenadan at .4 –1.5 million years, the Uquian at 1.5–2.5 million years, and the Chapadmalalan at 2.5–3.0 million years. The Montehermosan precedes the Chapadmalalan in the general Argentine sequence, and thus it would be over 3 million years old.

Other authorities (Marshall et al. 1982, p. 1352) give a slightly different chronology, placing the Ensenadan formation at .4 –1.0 million years, the Uquian at 1–2 million years, the Chapadmalalan at 2–3 million years, and the Montehermosan at 3–5 million years. A potassium-argon date of 3.59 million years has been obtained for materials from the Montehermosan formation (Savage and Russell 1983, p. 347).

The antiquity of the Montehermosan formation is further supported by the character of its fossil mammalian bones. Paleontologists believe that during the early part of the Tertiary, North America and South America were separated by water and developed distinct mammalian populations. For example, huge ground sloths not found in North America populated South America. When a land bridge eventually formed, North American mammals migrated south, and South American mammals moved north. Modern authorities (Marshall et al. 1982, p.

1351) say that the Panamanian land bridge, which allowed the exchange of mammals between North America and South America, appeared 3 million years ago, just after the period represented by the Montehermosan formation.

According to Ameghino (1912, p. 64), the fauna of Monte Hermoso reveals “the complete absence of North American types.” Ameghino’s discoveries in the Montehermosan formation—including stone tools, modified animal bones, signs of fire, and human skeletal remains—thus suggest a human presence in Argentina more than 3 million years ago.

5.1.2 Hrdlicka Attempts to Discredit Ameghino Ameghino’s discoveries at Monte Hermoso and elsewhere in the Tertiary formations of Argentina attracted the interest of several European scientists, especially those who were attempting to demonstrate the existence of Tertiary humans on the basis of the European discoveries discussed in preceding chapters.

Ales Hrdlicka, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution, also took great, though unsympathetic, interest in Ameghino’s discoveries. Hrdlicka found the degree of support they enjoyed among professional scientists, particularly in Europe, dismaying. In addition to being opposed to the existence of Tertiary humans, Hrdlicka was also extremely hostile to any reports of a human presence in the Americas earlier than a few thousand years before the present. After building an immense reputation by discrediting, with questionable arguments, all such reports from North America, Hrdlicka then turned his attention to the much-discussed South American discoveries of Florentino Ameghino. Hrdlicka was most concerned about the human skeletal remains reported by Ameghino (Sections 6.1.5, 6.2.4), but he also scrutinized Ameghino’s discoveries of stone tools and other cultural remains.

In 1910, Hrdlicka visited Argentina, and Florentino Ameghino himself accompanied him to Monte Hermoso. Hrdlicka took an interesting approach to the discoveries that were made at that site. In his book Early Man in South America (1912), Hrdlicka barely mentioned the stone implements and other evidence of human occupation previously uncovered by Ameghino in the Montehermosan formation.

“In 1887,” wrote Hrdlicka (1912, p. 346), “F. Ameghino announced the discovery, in the barranca of Monte Hermoso, a low cliff facing the sea in the central part of the coast of the Province of Buenos Aires, of vestiges of ‘a being, more or less closely related to actual man, who was a direct forerunner of the existing humanity.’ These vestiges consisted of fragments of ‘tierra cocida, fogónes (fire places)—some of the latter vitrified and having the appearance of scoria—split and burnt bones (of animals) and worked stones.’”

Hrdlicka said nothing more about these particular discoveries of Ameghino—not even to dispute them. Instead, he devoted dozens of pages to casting doubt on subsequent, and less convincing, discoveries Ameghino made in the Puelchean, a more recent formation overlying the Pliocene Montehermosan at Monte Hermoso.

The Puelchean formation would, according to modern nomenclature, be included within the Uquian. Savage and Russell (1983) stated that the Uquian comprises several formations including the “Pulchense.” The Puelchean would thus fall within the Uquian time range, estimated at 1.5–2.5 million years (Anderson 1984) or 1–2 million years (Marshall et al. 1982).

Apparently, Hrdlicka believed his lengthy refutation of the finds from the Puelchean formation was sufficient to discredit the finds in the far older Montehermosan formation at the same site. This tactic is often used to cast doubt on anomalous discoveries—criticize the weakest evidence in detail and ignore the strongest evidence as much as possible. Nevertheless, there is much evidence to suggest that the Puelchean finds, as well as the Montehermosan finds, were genuine.

In and of themselves, the Puelchean discoveries at Monto Hermoso are not of paramount interest to us. If accepted, they merely add to our already abundant stock of evidence for a human presence in the Early Pleistocene. But as a well-documented example of how scientists treat anomalous evidence, the case is significant. We shall therefore take the trouble to examine in detail the shortcomings of Hrdlicka’s attempts to discredit the Puelchean implements.

As mentioned above, Hrdlicka and F. Ameghino together visited the Monte Hermoso site. Hrdlicka reproduced an English translation of Ameghino’s report of their excursion. Ameghino stated: “On the 11th of June, in the afternoon, we visited Monte Hermoso, where with difficulty we were able to stay a couple of hours. . . . The deposits of sands and sandy ground which rest above the Hermosean and constitute the Puelchean stratum, formerly visible over a small space of only about 40 meters [about 131 feet], now appear exposed along the barranca for several hundred meters and also to a greater extent vertically”

(Hrdlicka 1912, p. 105). Ameghino collected a number of implements from “the superior part of this formation” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 105).

The stone implements recovered by Ameghino from the upper section of the Puelchean formation at Monte Hermoso were very crude. Judging from his descriptions, they appear to resemble the pebble tools of the Oldowan industry of East Africa. Ameghino characterized the Puelchean specimens as fragments of “water-worn pebbles of quartzite” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 105). To Ameghino, it was clear that the implements had been deliberately struck from quartzite pebbles: “The larger number of these fragments preserve still on one or two of their faces the natural surface of the rolled pebble, and on this surface are always observed scratches, bruises, abrasions, dints, etc., produced by strong and

repeated blows given with other stones” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 105). Furthermore, the sharp cutting edges of the implements, according to Ameghino, showed

“irregularities, denticulation, and other effects produced by use” (Hrdlicka Ameghino noted: “these broken quartzites, however rustic they may appear, are surely the work of man or his precursor, for there can not be opposed to them the objections which are being made to the eoliths. In this case there can be no question of pressure by the rocks, of shocks produced by stones driven by water or due to falling stones, because, I repeat, they are loose in the sand, and are all separated from one another” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 106).

Hrdlicka interpreted the finds in another way. Significantly, he did not dispute the human manufacture of even the crudest specimens. Instead, Hrdlicka, an anthropologist with little experience of South American paleontology, offered a different analysis of the stratigraphy than did Ameghino, a professional paleontologist who had devoted decades to the study of the formations in question.

Hrdlicka (1912, p. 118) said in his book: “The writer found that the Monte Hermoso formation exposed in the now famous barranca was covered by more recent material. On the old formation rests a layer of volcanic ash, then some stratified sand, while the highest part is formed of a stratum of gravelly sand continuous with the base of the sand dune situated above and a little farther inland from the edge of the barranca.” Ameghino had said the volcanic ash, stratified sand, and gravelly sand comprised the Puelchean formation, overlying the Pliocene Montehermosan. Hrdlicka disputed the inclusion of the uppermost layer of gravelly sand within the superior part of the Puelchean formation. He observed: “The last-named surface material [the gravelly sand] is unstratified and somewhat packed, but in no way consolidated, and bears every evidence of being very recent. It crumbles over the clearly marked, ancient Monte Hermosean deposit, and in falling down becomes here and there lodged on the shelves or in the depressions of the old formation” (Hrdlicka 1912, pp. 118 –


Hrdlicka (1912, p. 119) then recalled: “In common with Professor Ameghino the writer found in such crumbled down material some large irregular and entirely fresh-looking fragments or chips of quartzite which indicate plainly the work of man. One of the heavier fragments had been employed as a hammer, portions of the periphery being distinctly worn by use. In addition, he found on one of the upper ledges a well-finished scraper of jasper [a variety of quartz]. Subsequently he extracted a number of quartzite chips or fragments from the more gravelly

part of the uppermost deposit itself, within 18 inches of the surface.”

It is significant that Hrdlicka reported he extracted stone artifacts not just from crumbled material on ledges, but from within the upper deposit of gravelly sand itself. The fact that they were recovered a full 18 inches from the surface, upon which the recent sand dunes rested, shows they were an integral part of a distinct stratum. Ameghino said the stratum from which he (and Hrdlicka, it seems) took implements was part of the Puelchean formation, which according to modern opinion could be from 1.0 to 2.5 million years old.

5.1.3 Willis Stacks the Geological Deck

Hrdlicka, perhaps worried that his visit to Monte Hermoso had led him into a deadly ambush, wanted to suggest that the implements found there, by himself as well as Ameghino, were recent. As we have seen, he attempted to do this by casting doubt on the age of the stratum from which the tools had been taken. Hrdlicka received support in this regard from his companion, the geologist Bailey Willis.

Willis wrote: “Monte Hermoso is a dune on the southern coast of Buenos Aires.

It surmounts a short section of the Pampean terrane, which is exposed by wave erosion in a low bluff along the shore. First described by Darwin, it has since been visited by many geologists who have studied the Pampean. . . . The Pampean terrane, which forms the base of the section, contains a notable fauna and the geologic age of the formation has been much discussed. General opinion places it among the lowest or as the lowest of the divisions of the Pampean and Ameghino regards it as Miocene” (Hrdlicka 1912, pp. 361–362). This lower Pampean formation is the Montehermosan, now regarded as Middle to Early Pliocene, and above it lies the Puelchean, which could be Early Pleistocene or Late Pliocene. According to Florentino Ameghino, the layer from which both he and Hrdlicka extracted stone implements during their excursion to Monte Hermoso represented the “superior part” of the Puelchean formation (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 105).

Describing the Puelchean, Willis stated: “The Puelchean consists of the stratified, slightly indurated, gray sands or sandstone, both above and below the volcanic ash, marked by very striking cross stratification and uniformity of gray color and grain. The writer regards it as an eolian formation. Later in the season, when studying the section exposed along the Rio Colorado from the delta to

Pichi-Mahuida, he observed a very similar sandstone, which might be correlated with the Puelchean on grounds of lithologic identity. It is a thick widespread formation which is regarded as a Tertiary sandstone. The Puelchean, if the same, represents only a thin edge of it” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 363).

We may note that the Puelchean sands, which Willis, with some hesitation, accepted as Tertiary, are characterized by their gray color, quite different from the underlying Montehermosan loess, which is yellow-brown. Willis then described the so-called recent topmost layer, apparently included by Ameghino in the Puelchean formation, as “a layer of 15 to 40 cm. [6 to 16 inches] thick composed of gray sand, angular pieces of gray sandstone and pebbles, some fractured by man” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 362).

Willis elsewhere remarked that the top layer of gray implement-bearing sand is separated from the lower layers of the Puelchean by an “unconformity by erosion” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 363). An unconformity is a lack of continuity in deposition between strata in contact with each other, corresponding to a period of nondeposition, weathering, or, as in this case, erosion. The unconformity may represent a long break in time, or a very short one. So by itself, the presence of an unconformity by erosion should not allow Willis to so greatly separate the top layer of gray gravelly sand from the underlying formation. He appears to have used the mere presence of stone tools to perform the desired operation, which was necessary to save Hrdlicka the deadly embarrassment of having discovered stone implements in an unexpectedly old formation in South America. For judging how much time might be represented between the formations lying above and below the line of unconformity, the surest indicator is faunal remains.

Willis, however, did not mention them. It is thus unclear how much time might be represented by the unconformity.

Willis then stated about the upper layer of gray gravelly sand and the underlying Puelchean: “The two are identical in constitution; they are both eolian and may exhibit similar structures; the Recent formation may be consolidated almost or quite to the firmness of the older one. The unconformity between them suffices to establish the difference in age and is unmistakable when clearly shown in section” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 363).

Let us carefully consider just what Willis is asking us to accept. First of all he admitted that the two strata are identical in composition, which would seem to be very much in favor of Ameghino, who considered the top layer to be part of the Puelchean. And, given the evidence, why not?

But for argument’s sake, let us accept Willis’s version. The unconformity by

erosion that he proposed would mark a gap of 1–2 million years, as the upper gray layer is supposedly recent, while the gray sand layer below it, identical in composition, is referred to the Early Pleistocene–Late Pliocene Uquian formation.

Another, and perhaps more likely scenario, would be that the two gray sand layers, identical in composition, are separated by an unconformity representing a relatively short episode of erosion in the Early Pleistocene or Late Pliocene.

As mentioned previously, Willis could have accurately determined how long a period was represented by the unconformity only by examining animal fossils above and below the line of unconformity. If the fossils in the layer above the unconformity were all recent, only then would he have been justified in concluding that this layer was recent. But Willis did not make the slightest attempt to establish this. In the absence of such an age determination (which today might be made by radiometric methods), the implement-bearing layer could very well be about the same age as the Puelchean formation below the unconformity, which it greatly resembles in content and texture.

Here is how Willis attempted to eliminate this alternative: “hand-chipped stones associated with the sands would mark them as recent, such objects being common in the belt of sand dunes which the Indians were in the habit of using as a line of march and cover in attacking Argentine settlements” (Hrdlicka 1912, p.

363). Willis simply assumed that the stone tools were recent and that the layer in which they were found also had to be recent. It would appear, however, that the implement-bearing gray gravelly sand may actually belong to the Puelchean formation, as Ameghino believed, and that the stone implements found there could be as much as 2.0 or even 2.5 million years old.

In short, the question of the age of the implement-bearing stratum below the dune sand at Monte Hermoso remains open. Ameghino’s assertion that it belonged to the Puelchean was not conclusive, but neither was the attempt by Willis and Hrdlicka to assign it to the most recent historical times. Since the stratigraphic units in question contain layers of volcanic ash, their ages could be investigated by applying the potassium-argon test, which is specifically used for dating volcanic material. It may also be possible to make a determination by conducting a more thorough search for faunal evidence. In short, the question is still open and should still be a matter of active research. But the report by Willis and Hrdlicka succeeded in closing the books on this intriguing case.

5.1.4 A Demolition Job by W. H. Holmes

Samples of stone tools from Monte Hermoso and other sites on the Argentine coast were sent by Hrdlicka to Washington, where W. H. Holmes of the Smithsonian Institution examined them. Concerning the attribution of any great antiquity to the implements, Holmes was as hostile as Hrdlicka or Willis.

In opening his report, included by Hrdlicka (1912, p. 125) in Early Man in South America, Holmes stated: “No attempt is made in these notes to consider or weigh the published data relating to the stone implements of Argentina. The collections at hand are classified and briefly described, and such conclusions are drawn as seem warranted by their character and manner of occurrence.” In other words, Holmes plainly intended to completely ignore the reports of Ameghino and other professional scientists, who had given detailed evidence for the Early Pleistocene or Pliocene age of the stone artifacts.

We may recall that Hrdlicka, in the company of Ameghino, personally extracted stone tools at a depth of 1.5 feet in the upper layer of the Early Pleistocene–Late Pliocene Puelchean formation at Monte Hermoso (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 104). This fact was subsequently reported by Ameghino in a scientific publication. Hrdlicka and his associates were anxious to discredit this report. If accepted, Ameghino’s report on the discoveries he and Hrdlicka made together at Monte Hermoso would have contradicted the entire substance of the book Hrdlicka was then writing. Hrdlicka’s book was specifically designed to prove that the only early inhabitants of South America had been the Indians, who had arrived within the past few thousand years.

We detect a slight sense of panic in the following passages, hastily added by Holmes to the end of his report on the stone tools from Argentina. Holmes wrote: “Subsequent to the completion of the foregoing pages Doctor Hrdlicka drew attention to certain specimens collected by him along the barranca at Monte Hermoso, which had escaped particular notice on the writer’s part.

Attention was directed also to a brief pamphlet just received from Dr. Ameghino, describing a series of similar specimens collected by him while examining this same barranca in company with Doctor Hrdlicka. Considering the nature of the specimens and the manner of their occurrence, the observations and interpretations of Doctor Ameghino are so remarkable that the writer is constrained to refer to them in some detail” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 149). Otherwise, Hrdlicka’s whole project would be shot to pieces. A report showing that Hrdlicka had, in the company of Ameghino, himself extracted undisputed stone tools from an Early Pleistocene or Late Pliocene formation would in itself have destroyed everything Hrdlicka had tried to accomplish by publishing Early Man in South

America, which was nothing less than a polite but thorough demolition of Ameghino’s work.

Holmes wrote: “The objects in question are about 20 freshly-fractured chips and fragments of coarse, partially fire-reddened quartzite, a larger fragment of the same material used as a hammer, and a knife or scraper of jasper. All were found in a surface layer of gravelly sand capping the Monte Hermoso barranca, or on the broken face of the barranca itself. The latter were picked up on the ledges of the bluff face, where they had cascaded from above. The jasper knife or scraper is of a type familiar in the coast region as well as in Patagonia” (Hrdlicka 1912, pp. 149–150). It should, however, be kept in mind that it is principally the objects found in situ that concern us. The implements found lying on ledges might very well have been recent.

Holmes suggested in every possible way that all of the objects, even those found in situ, were of recent origin, pointing to their discovery in a “surface formation.” He also characterized most of the pieces of stone not as implements but rather as the “shop refuse” of recent tribes (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 150). This latter conclusion was apparently an attempt to contradict Ameghino’s view that the crude nature of the objects was supportive of their being of extremely great antiquity.

Holmes stated: “The inclusion of such objects in superficial deposits which are subject to rearrangement by the winds and by gravity is a perfectly normal and commonplace occurrence” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 150). As we have seen, it is not certain that the top layer of Ameghino’s Puelchean formation, in which implements were found by Hrdlicka at a depth of 1.5 feet, should be classified as such a superficial deposit, especially one that could be rearranged by the wind.

Even the large dune surmounting the stratum in which the implements were found was covered with grass and fixed (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 363).

Getting to the real heart of the matter, Holmes stated: “Such differences as may arise between the writer’s interpretation and those of Doctor Ameghino are probably due in large measure to the fact that the points of view assumed in approaching the problem of culture and antiquity are widely at variance. Doctor Ameghino takes for granted the presence in Argentina of peoples of great antiquity and extremely primitive forms of culture and so does not hesitate to assign finds of objects displaying primitive characteristics to unidentified peoples and to great antiquity, or to assume their manufacture by methods supposed to characterize the dawn of the manual arts. To him all this is a simple and reasonable procedure” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 150). This is not a fair

characterization of Ameghino’s work, for it is quite clear that in addition to the form of tools he also took into consideration their geological position, which for him served as the chief indicator of their age. If one finds stone implements in geological strata of a certain age, one is certainly justified in attributing them to a people that lived at that time. It would appear that accusations of bias and preconception are more properly directed at those who, like Holmes, Hrdlicka, and Willis, assume from the start that the human occupation of North America and South America goes back no further than a few thousand years, and who therefore dismiss, in various unfair ways, the extensive evidence that indicates a much more ancient human presence.

Holmes directly revealed his prejudice: “The writer finds it more logical to begin with the known populations of the region whose culture is familiar to us and which furnishes lithic artifacts ranging in form from the simplest fractured stone to the well-made and polished implement, and prefers to interpret the finds made, unless sufficient evidence is offered to the contrary, in the illuminating light of known conditions and of well-ascertained facts rather than to refer them to hypothetic races haled up from the distant past” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 150).

Scientists are certainly entitled to their predispositions, which play a covert but substantial role in their supposedly objective evaluation of evidence. In this case, however, Holmes’s overt preferences appear to have played too exclusive and dominant a role. To be sure, Holmes offered the condition that Ameghino’s stone implements must be attributed to modern Indians unless “sufficient evidence is offered to the contrary.” But what is sufficient contrary evidence? For someone with a strong negative bias, no contrary evidence will prove sufficient.

Holmes stated in his report: “Nothing short of perfectly authenticated finds of objects of art in undisturbed formations of fully established geologic age will justify science in accepting the theory of Quaternary or Tertiary occupants for Argentina” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 149). Ameghino, of course, fully believed he had satisfied these criteria. Paleontological truth, it would appear, is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. Furthermore, as we have documented previously, objects of human industry have elsewhere been discovered by professional scientists in undisturbed formations of great antiquity, and yet reasons were still found to reject them. For example, we have Ribeiro’s testimony that he extracted flint implements from within the interior of Miocene limestone formations in Portugal (Section 4.1), and yet opponents nevertheless found ample reason to disagree with his interpretation of their age. It seems clear that Holmes was selectively requiring an impossibly stringent standard of proof for evidence that

challenged his preferred views.

5.1.5 Other Finds by F. Ameghino

What do modern authorities have to say about Florentino Ameghino? Not much, because most modern authorities will not even have heard of Ameghino or his discoveries—both buried many decades ago. But if we go back to the 1950s, we can find some references to Ameghino by one of the scientists who did the burying—Marcellin Boule, author of the classic text Fossil Men. After pointing out that Ameghino, like his contemporaries in Europe, had discovered stone implements and other evidence for a human presence in the Pliocene and Miocene, Boule added: “Ameghino also recorded facts of the same kind from much more ancient deposits dating, according to him, from the Oligocene and even from the Eocene. He claimed that they were rudimentary implements manufactured and used by the small apes of these remote periods, the supposed ancestors of the human kind. These statements are not even worthy of discussion” (Boule and Vallois 1957, p. 491). Boule may be commended for his candor, which demonstrates the parochialism sometimes manifest in the scientific mentality. In all fairness, why should not evidence presented by a professional scientist at least be considered and discussed, even if it does completely contradict accepted views?

Of course, this does not mean that one should uncritically accept everything Ameghino said. For example, Ameghino wanted to attribute some of his older stone tools to primitive apelike precursors of modern humans. But as we have several times noted, even the simplest types of tools are made and used today by culturally primitive yet fully human peoples. Furthermore, there is from parts of the world other than Argentina abundant evidence that points to a fully human presence throughout the Tertiary. One would therefore be fully justified in leaving open the possibility that humans of the fully modern type were responsible for the manufacture of any of the tools found by Ameghino in Argentina, including the oldest.

Indeed, one of the main tactics employed by Hrdlicka against Ameghino was to show that the fossil bones of presumed Tertiary human precursors found by Ameghino were in fact identical to those of morphologically modern humans (Sections 6.1.5, 6.2.4). For Hrdlicka, who firmly believed in the recent origin of the human species, this meant that Ameghino’s fossils were also recent. But it could also mean something else, namely, that the skeletal remains were from the

Tertiary, as Ameghino so ably maintained, and were, as Hrdlicka so ably demonstrated, anatomically modern.

The complete original reports of the finds Ameghino regarded as Eocene and Oligocene have proved very difficult to track down. As of this writing, we have bibliographical references giving the titles of these publications, which were small pamphlets of 8 pages each, apparently presented as papers at a scientific conference (F. Ameghino 1910a; 1910b). Ameghino did, however, refer to the discoveries described in these two papers in an article that appeared in 1912.

“Recently,” he wrote, “I have published a report on new materials, very well substantiated, found in the Entrerrean formation” (F. Ameghino 1912, p. 74).

According to Ameghino, the Entrerrean formation could be assigned to the Late Oligocene, or perhaps the Early Miocene. He then mentioned a second report about discoveries in a formation he regarded as Late Eocene, the Santacrucian.

Today the Santacrucian formation, which Ameghino considered Late Eocene, is referred to the Early and Middle Miocene (Marshall et al. 1977, p. 1326). It would thus be about 15–25 million years old. We have not encountered any mention of the Entrerrean in the current literature we have examined, but since this formation comes before the Monte Hermosan, it would be at least Late Miocene, over 5 million years old.

In the two reports published in 1910, Ameghino had apparently discussed only stone tools. Afterwards, Ameghino found other signs of a human presence. F.

Ameghino (1912, p. 72) therefore wrote: “I can announce that I possess from these two formations even newer materials still more demonstrative than those I have published. Regarding this new material, I am not bringing into consideration more eoliths, which we find in our formations at the close of the Eocene and which differ from those of Boncelles in Belgium in that they are of much smaller size. Instead I base my assertions on bones that have been incised, cut, scraped, and split and on the vestiges of fire, found in the same beds as the bones.” The modified bones and signs of intentional use of fire found along with stone tools at these two sites support the idea that anatomically modern humans may have been present in Argentina prior to the time of the Montehermosan, which is considered to be 3–5 million years old.

5.1.6 Evidence for the Intentional Use of Fire

Let us now consider in detail an important category of evidence accompanying Ameghino’s discoveries of stone tools—signs of intentional use

of fire. At various locations, along with stone tools, Florentino Ameghino discovered, remnants of hearths, in the form of burned earth ( tierra cocida), slag ( escoria), charcoal, and burned animal bones. This combination of evidence tends to strongly confirm the view that the tools were manufactured by human beings in the distant past. In some cases, Ameghino interpreted the presence of scoria (slag) and burned earth as signs of grass fires intentionally set by primitive hunters.

Ameghino gave great importance to his discoveries of burned earth and slag.

While in Argentina, Hrdlicka and Willis therefore collected many such specimens. At Miramar, for example, Willis found broken chunks of red tierra cocida and pieces of heavy black scoria 8–10 centimeters [3–4 inches] in diameter, all of which “occurred in the undisturbed Pampean” (Hrdlicka 1912, p.


Some scientists thought the Miramar tierra cocida and slag were the product of volcanoes. But Whitman Cross of the U.S. Geological Survey had conducted studies of the slag and burned earth. Willis stated: “According to Mr. Cross . . .

they are probably not volcanic” ( Hrdlicka 1912, p. 47). Some authors suggested grass fires as the cause. Cross tested this idea by burning the most common Pampas grass ( cortadera) on samples of earth, but this produced only a very thin layer of hardened earth, with no bricklike tierra cocida or melted scoria. But Willis, while visiting the Rio Colorado region of Argentina, observed another kind of grass, called esparto, that grows more deeply into the earth, and saw a place where it had burned. At this location, he observed one could pick up pieces of brick-colored earth up to 10 centimeters [4 inches] in diameter. Some of the pieces were penetrated with grass roots and carbonized grass, as in the case of some of the specimens described by F. Ameghino (Hrdlicka 1912, pp. 46– 48).

In his reports about Monte Hermoso and other Argentine sites, Ameghino had noted the presence of similar specimens. He said that Dr. Gustave Steinmann came to Argentina during an expedition to South America, and in 1906 visited the barrancas of the Atlantic coast near Cabo Corrientes, accompanied by Santiago Roth and Robert Lehmann-Nitsche. F. Ameghino (1908, p. 106) stated:

“These gentlemen discovered in the barrancas pieces of burned and partially vitrified earth, reporting specimens resembling or identical to those from the beds at Monte Hermoso, which I had attributed to the action of man and presented as proof of his existence in that distant epoch.”

But Steinmann believed that humans had appeared in South America only in recent times. F. Ameghino (1908, p. 106) noted: “In a report presented during the

course of the past year by Dr. Steinmann at the Geological Society of Berlin, he stated that these reputed vestiges of Homo americanus were in fact natural productions that appeared to be caused artificially only in the imaginations of recent immigrants of the species Homo europaeus. According to Dr. Steinmann, the specimens were pieces of volcanic lava which had arrived there through the air or more probably by means of water currents.” The nearest volcanoes, however, were a thousand kilometers (621 miles) from the Atlantic coast, in the Cordillera, the mountain range running the length of western Argentina. Still, Steinmann believed that small pieces of scoria were transported by rivers.

F. Ameghino (1911, pp. 68– 69) responded: “Although all the strange affirmations of M. Steinmann will be refuted in detail in a monograph I am preparing, the facts have been so misrepresented by him that I cannot restrain myself from remarking that all that he has said in connection with the relative antiquity of man in South America and Europe is a natural result of his preconceived ideas. For Steinmann, the presence in true geological formations of scoria is an illusion, and the supposed formations do not actually exist. The pieces of scoria he encountered may be no bigger than nuts or somewhat bigger.

But I have found masses of burned earth weighing many kilograms, the transport of which from the Cordillera to the places in which they are found, by means of movement through the air or by rivers, is impossible. Contrary to his statements, the scoria are accompanied by, that is to say, they are embedded in the same strata with, other vestiges of the activity of man (burned and broken bones, etc.).”

F. Ameghino (1908, p. 106) further stated about Steinmann’s hypothesis:

“Fantastic though it may be, this opinion is not completely new; I mentioned it 18 years ago, but did not consider it worth much discussion. Dr. Steinmann, in characterizing these vestiges as volcanic lava, has proceeded with excessive haste. What he has characterized as volcanic lava is a product resulting from the burning of fires intentionally set in dry grass.” Ameghino noted that modern Indians sometimes burn dry Pampas grass to drive out small game for hunting, producing fused earth, which, because of the holes left by the roots, resembles lava. He held that the ancient Tertiary inhabitants of Argentina had done the same (F. Ameghino 1908, p. 107). Of course, one could also propose that the grass fires could have been started by lightning strikes.

But these light and porous specimens of burned earth were not the only kind found by Ameghino. Other specimens, from a variety of sites along the coast, were harder and more solid. Noting this distinction in his own research, Hrdlicka

(1912, p. 50) stated: “Small particles and occasionally larger masses of tierra cocida, were found by Mr. Willis or the writer in a number of localities along the coast from northeast of Miramar to Monte Hermoso, and were relatively abundant in the deposits exposed in the barrancas at the former locality. They occur at different depths from the surface, to below the sea level at ordinary low tide. The pieces collected are all compact, with the exception of two or three that show on one side a transition to scoria. While there is a general resemblance, they all differ in aspect and weight from the very porous, light products of the burning of the esparto grass, collected by Mr. Willis on the Colorado.”

As we have seen, Ameghino thought some of the compact pieces of scoria and burned earth were the remnants of fogones, or fireplaces, rather than grass fires, which may, it seems, have been set naturally rather than by humans. But Willis rejected human action in all cases. About some specimens from Monte Hermoso, Willis stated: “Through the courtesy of Doctor Ameghino the writer saw at Buenos Aires 10 pieces of burnt clay which would appear to have formed a layer about 10 by 15 cm. [4 by 6 inches] in area and about 5 to 10 mm. [.2 to .4 inch]

thick, collected by Ameghino from the Monte Hermosean formation below high-tide level. As stated in describing certain observations on burnt earth of the Pampaean, the writer finds that clays of that formation may be burnt without the agency of man, and he does not attach any significance to the occurrence of burnt earth as an evidence of man’s existence in the Miocene (?) ‘Monte Hermosean’” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 364).

Willis also stated: “In order to prove that man maintained a fire which burned a particular mass of tierra cocida it would be necessary to bring independent evidence of his handiwork” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 364). In many cases Ameghino did, however, supply such independent evidence. Hrdlicka himself noted that

“burnt bones, carbon, and other substances that might possibly be due to man have been found at or near fogónes” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 50).

Willis was quick, perhaps too quick, to dismiss this evidence. He wrote: “Two classes of facts have been cited to demonstrate his [man’s] agency: The presence of supposed artifacts and the arrangement of a mass of burnt clay; chief among the former are split, broken, or scratched fragments of bone, and it appears to the writer that these may be referred, with greater probability, to weathering, biting, gnawing, and accidents incident to the wanderings of bones, as strata were eroded and redeposited” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 48). Willis’s remarks about the bones are extremely suspicious, especially when considered in the light of our discussion of the treatment of such evidence in Chapter 2. Also, it should be kept

in mind that Willis was a geologist, with no particular training in the study of incised bones. Any fair-minded investigator would want to have a careful look at those bones before accepting Willis’s characterization of them.

Willis then stated: “Certainly the proofs of man’s agency should be uncontrovertible and the possibility of explanation by other than human action should be positively excluded, before the conclusion that he intentionally or incidentally burned the earth can be accepted” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 48). Here Willis is demanding a level of certainty that empirical evidence relevant to paleoanthropology is incapable of providing. Scientists representing an establishment view often dismiss anomalous evidence by requiring it to meet a higher standard of proof than the conventionally accepted evidence.

It is, however, possible that the compact burned earth and slag were not the product of campfires, as proposed by Ameghino. Hrdlicka observed some contemporary fire sites, noting that reddening and blackening of the earth was produced, but no cohesion. This suggested the improbability that the compact tierra cocida resulted from campfires (Hrdlicka 1912, pp. 49–50). Furthermore, specimens of tierra cocida were sent to Washington, D.C., where they were examined by Frederick Eugene Wright and Clarence N. Fenner of the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution. These researchers reported that the tierra cocida was composed of Pampean loess heated at 850–1050

degrees Centigrade, a temperature they said was too high to be attributed to either grass fires or small wood bonfires (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 88).

Evidence for a more intensive fire was suggested by the presence of the scoriae, or pieces of slag. According to the report of the Geophysical Laboratory, the scoriae examined there were not of volcanic origin. Wright and Fenner noted that the scoriae “do not agree with any known eruptive rock or lava in their microscopic features” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 94).

Wright and Fenner went on to note some puzzling features of the scoriae. First they were a melted loess, but the melted loess was not composed of the same materials as the layers of loess from which the scoriae had been extracted. To Wright and Fenner, this indicated the scoriae had not been produced by fire in that locality. Second, although the glassy scoriae contained iron compounds, they were not reddish in color, as would be the case if the iron compounds had been exposed to oxygen. This indicated that the scoriae were not formed by the action of fire in the open air. The scientists of the Geophysical Laboratory, straining for an explanation, suggested that the scoriae were produced underground by an extrusion of molten lava from deep within the earth, which melted a loess

different from that found in the surface layers (Hrdlicka 1912, pp. 93–97).

But there are many difficulties with such an explanation. First of all, as noted by Wright and Fenner, there was no sign of any extrusion of lava in the strata throughout which the scoriae were found scattered. The researchers of the Geophysical Laboratory nevertheless stuck to their opinion that contact of loess with molten lava was the most likely cause of the scoriae. But they had to go to great lengths to explain away the absence of any normal lava at the sites from which the scoriae had come: “it may be that the volcanic extrusion was of the explosive type, whereby the lava . . . was shattered and reduced to dust, which fell to the surface as volcanic ash and now constitutes an integral part of the loess formation. Under these conditions the cooler, viscous, melted loess fragments would remain intact and be ejected as scoriae and resist attrition and breaking down more effectively than the shattered volcanic lava” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 96).

5.1.7 Primitive Kilns and Foundries?

The lava hypothesis of Wright and Fenner involves a quite extraordinary chain of speculative reasoning. There is, however, a possible explanation for the burned earth and slag that places considerably less strain on the limits of credibility—namely that they might be the result of intentional fire of a type other than campfires. Even today, one can observe inhabitants of many areas of the world making use of primitive foundries and kilns. Let us therefore consider the hypothesis that the burned earth and slag present on the Argentine coast are the byproducts of crude iron smelting furnaces. This idea was suggested to us by Arlington H. Mallery’s book Lost America, which describes primitive iron furnaces discovered in Ohio and other locations in North America. Mallery thought the makers of the furnaces came from Europe. Since the type of process used in these foundries went out of use in Europe before the time of Columbus, Mallery therefore concluded that the furnaces he found in America must have been used by pre-Columbian European immigrants. And this, according to standard views of history, is unexpected. Admittedly, the kiln or foundry hypothesis is speculative, but no more so than the disappearing lava hypothesis offered by Wright and Fenner.

Mallery (1951, p. 100) stated: “The earliest iron-smelting furnaces in both the Old World and the New were merely shallow pits with rounded bottoms located on the hilltops. In order to catch the usual up-draft of air from the valley below

for combustion, they were built close to the edge of the hillside facing the prevailing winds.” In Argentina, the prevailing winds are the southeast trades that blow in from the ocean, so it seems the coastal slopes would be suitable for natural draft furnaces. Mallery (1951, p. 199) further stated: “The bottoms of these pit-furnaces were frequently covered with a layer of clay spread evenly to form a rounded basin from six to twelve inches deep.”

Describing the smelting process, Mallery (1951, pp. 197–198) stated: “iron smelting was performed in three distinct stages utilizing, as a rule, bog ore from swamps. The ore was first piled up in heaps on layers of wood fagots and heated or calcined until it was red. It was then mixed with fuel and burned in a smelting furnace operated at a temperature below the melting point (about 2100 degrees) of cast iron. At or below this temperature, the fusible material in the ore became a fluid slag which seeped down and formed a pool in the pit of the furnace. The iron and mineral oxides in the ore were carried down with the slag and collected in a porous lump or bloom at the bottom of the pool. When the melt was completed the fire was quenched with water and the iron-workers lifted the bloom, still red hot, out of the furnace. It was then beaten with stones or heavy hammers to squeeze out some of the contained slag. In the finishing stage the bloom was usually taken to a smithy, reheated in a smaller furnace or forge, and hammered to squeeze out more of the slag, the process being repeated until forgeable wrought iron was obtained.”

What exactly is bog ore? Mallery (1951, p. 199) explained: “Bog ore is a yellowish-brown, clay-like material composed mainly of clay, loam, and hydrated oxides of iron. Some pottery maker who attempted to use bog ore instead of clay for his pots may have discovered the iron-extracting process. . . .

Even now, the small closed furnaces used by the Agaria in India and, until recently, by the Liberian natives, resemble pottery kilns.”

As it turns out, there is an iron-rich earth at Miramar and other localities on the coast. For example, Wright and Fenner analyzed specimens from Miramar, describing them as “brown ferruginous earth” with “pronounced accumulation of limonitic material” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 70). Limonite is an iron ore. Wright and Fenner also observed: “Brown ferruginous earths have also been considered tierra cocida by some investigators. A careful microscopic examination of these specimens has shown that they are simply loess in which ferruginous material abounds” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 89). It is possible that these ferruginous earths could have served as the raw material for iron smelting.

A key indicator is the iron content of the slag left over from smelting. Mallery

(1951, p. 200) pointed out: “The iron content of the slag . . . in the mounds of England, Belgium, Scandinavia, Virginia, and the Ohio Valley is very high—


10 per cent to 60 per cent. Slag produced in modern blast furnaces, which have been in general use since the fourteenth century, seldom contains more than one per cent iron.” He then gave a specific example: “On top of Ohio’s Spruce Hill is an extensive deposit of slag. In this deposit are several low mounds composed mainly of typical hearth-pit slag, which tests show has an iron content of about ten per cent. Cutting a short trench into this heap, I uncovered the edge of a twelveinch slab of clay. In the heap were large pieces of slag, lumps of red-burned bog ore, charcoal and glazed stone” (Mallery 1951, p. 204).

How does this compare with the slag found on the Argentine coast? Chemical analysis of a scoria sample from north of Necochea revealed 9.79 percent iron compounds (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 81). Another piece of scoria from San Blas, north of Rio Negro gave 9.71 percent iron compounds (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 86). Several other samples yielded at least 5 percent iron compounds.

The following description of a crude furnace uncovered in Sweden is interesting when compared with the evidence discovered in Argentina. John Nihlen stated:

“The owner of the farm found some pieces of slag on a hill about two hundred meters south of the farm. In a smaller pit here was found under the grass, one-half meter [20 inches] deep, a large amount of slag pieces, such as iron slag in chunks of glazed pieces mixed with or attached to pieces of hard-burned red clay. At the bottom of the pit was dark sand and a few cinders of charcoal but no real burned material. Around the pieces of slag were some round stones but no real construction of stone” (Mallery 1951, p. 204).

Of particular interest in the above statement are the pieces of scoria “mixed with or attached to pieces of hard-burned red clay.” At Miramar, reported Wright and Fenner, Hrdlicka and Willis collected some specimens of “tierra cocida and scoriae combined” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 73). Wright and Fenner described a particularly interesting example: “The hard specimen shows a regular and uniform transition from a dark-gray scoria filled with small vesicles to a brick-red material, which bears a close resemblance to some of the specimens of baked earth. It is different from the latter, however, in this respect that, while the baked earths have a close, compact texture, the portion of this specimen which resembles them most . . . is filled with minute holes and is distinctly glassy in character. . . . A careful determination of the mineral fragments in the black and the red portions of the specimen proved them to be of the same general size and

kind. . . . Superficially the red portion of this specimen resembles the baked earths, but closer examination has shown it to be distinctly different. Its glassy, vesicular texture throughout is indicative of melting; the red coloration may be the result of alteration or oxidation, whereby magnetite has been changed to the red oxide of iron” (Hrdlicka 1912, pp. 73–74).

At another location in Sweden, John Nihlen discovered another furnace, and described it as follows: “While the gravel was being dug, pieces of slag were found here and there, none of them collected in heaps nor visible on the surface.

. . . It [the furnace] was about one meter [about 3 feet] wide in the upper part and narrowed slightly downward, being cup-formed at the bottom. The sides were made of round or flat gray stone which were laid in clay which also covered large parts of the inside. Probably the lining was not over the stones. The bottom of the furnace . . . consisted of a ten-centimeter [4 inch] layer of hard and partially burned clay. It could almost have been taken out. In the cup-formed lower part there still remained a ten-centimeter layer of slag, bog ore, and charcoal. The depth of the furnace was about one meter. . . . it had been a simple earth furnace without a blast intake, built of stone and clay and with a thick bottom of burned clay” (Mallery 1951, p. 201).

Here we take note of the furnace bottom, which consisted of a “ten-centimeter layer of hard and partially burned clay.” Willis described a similar section of hardened red earth found in the Chapadmalalan beds of a seaside barranca, or cliff, at Miramar. The Chapadmalalan, said by Ameghino to be of Late Miocene age, is dated by modern authorities to the Late Pliocene (about 2–3 million years before the present). According to Willis, the section of burned earth was approximately 1 meter, or just over a yard, long and 30 centimeters, or about a foot, deep. The upper part was of red clay, passing into a dark brown and black mass that faded into the brown loess. Willis stated: “The principle mass of red clay is 60 cm. [about 2 feet] long and 10 cm. [about 4 inches] thick” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 46). Willis attributed this particular specimen to a process of chemical dehydration, but admitted that its “coloring might have been occasioned by a fire burning on the surface that is now red” (Hrdlicka 1912, p. 46).

It would, however, have taken an e