Political Correctness Reigns—Even in Archaeology—Part two

By Al Benson Jr.

While I was still an amateur archaeologist, back in the early 1960s, I came across a book that gave me a whole new perspective on early American history. It was written by a Charles Michael Boland and was called “They All Discovered America.” Along with the Indians, Mr. Boland also stated that Phoenicians, Romans, Celts, Irish Monks, Welch explorers, Vikings and others had discovered America. Last of all came Columbus. I picked up Mr. Boland’s book off the book rack at the local drug store in 1962. It is a paperback, now dog-eared almost beyond belief, but I have hung onto it all these years.

At the time I first read it you didn’t discuss what Mr. Boland wrote about in politically correct archaeological circles. To do so was considered heresy of the first order and a sure way to gain yourself the status of a pariah. So I read Boland and kept my mouth shut.

I can remember going to archaeological meetings in Attleboro, Massachusetts back in those days and hearing people discuss, and in the process laugh at, a man named Frederick Pohl, who often attended some of the same meetings where he was being ridiculed. His crime? He was hunting for “mooring holes” for Viking ships along the Southern New England coast, and everybody just knew such things didn’t exist because they would have had to have been here before Columbus showed up and no one, absolutely no one from Europe was here before Columbus—everybody knew that—it was the first commandment in American archaeological orthodoxy—Thou Shalt Not Ever Admit Any White Presence in America Before Columbus. That was archaeological holy writ, and it was writ large on the American archaeological scene.

In retrospect, I wish, at the time, I had had the presence of mind to go and talk to Mr. Pohl to see just what he had to say. I read some of his comments in books in later years, but there’s nothing quite like talking to the original source, as I was able to do with Gloria Farley briefly.

As time passed, I came across more books dealing with this, usually found at library book sales or in used book stores. I’ve already mentioned Barry Fell’s two books. Others I came across in the same vein were “Riddles in History” by Cyrus H. Gordon, published by Crown Publishers in New York in 1974; “The Rediscovery of Lost America” by Arlington Mallery and Mary Roberts Harrison, published by E. P. Dutton of New York in 1979, originally published way back in 1951; and one called “Conquest By Man”, written by Paul Herrmann, originally published in German, but published in this country by Harper Brothers in 1954. I have a couple others floating around in my library but these are the best of the lot. I have read some of them 3 or 4 times.

Boland, in his book, mentioned a place in Salem, New Hampshire called Pattee’s Caves. Later it was called Mystery Hill and I think today they call it America’s Stonehenge. My wife and I stopped there several years ago on our way back to the Midwest. I’d read so much about it that I wanted to see it. It’s quite a spot, covering several acres and having an interesting history.

Unfortunately the first man that owned it in modern times didn’t have much idea of how to excavate and so he didn’t help those who came later to find the real history as well as they might otherwise have. But the professional archaeologists almost all claim it is of “colonial origin.” All you have to do is look at it to realize what a farce that is. It is set up in such a way as to be sort of an astronomical site, with specific rocks set in place so they can catch the summer and winter equinoxes. What colonist, struggling to survive on the rocky New Hampshire ground in the early days, had time to do all that on the scale that it is done there? Whoever constructed the site, and there may have been more than one occupation, did it long before the colonists arrived, not that the professionals will ever admit that. Undoubtedly some colonists eventually lived on part of the site, but they were not the first folks there.

I’m not the only one to notice the archaeological orthodoxy of the “No whites before Columbus” doctrine

I came across an interesting website, http://www.science-frontiers.com which carried an article published in May-June 1994 and entitled The Spirit Pond Inscription Stone. The author noted some of the same things I have. He wrote: “As with the 12,000 BP barrier across the Bering Strait, establishment archaeologists have erected another barrier which researchers cross at their peril. This time, the line is drawn at L’Anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland, where a Viking presence has been officially acknowledged. Any Viking innuendoes south of this point in North America are verboten. Nevertheless, tantalizing Viking traces are found along the New England coast and, even more anomalously in interior North America. One of these traces is the famous and infamous Spirit Pond Inscription Stone, found in Maine. It is covered with Norse runes. This inscribed stone was found by W. Elliott in May, 1971, while he was paddling around Spirit Pond in a little rubber boat. Actually, Elliott discovered three stones with markings, but here we attend to the so-called Inscription Stone. It bears ten lines on one side and six on the other. Since Spirit Pond is well south of the Viking “barrier”, the Inscription Stone has been declared a hoax, like the even more infamous Kensington Stone. But this classification has not deterred out-of-the-mainstream archaeologists from studying it. After all, the Viking “barrier” was once located in Greenland.”

To be continued.