Political Correctness Reigns—Even in Archaeology—Part three


By Al Benson Jr.

Just last week, in my Internet ramblings, I came across an article on http://ancientamerica.com written by Christopher Nyerges, http://www.ChristopherNyerges.com about some interesting rocks he found several years ago in the Angeles National Forest while he was out leading a “birthday outing” for a ten-year-old and some of his friends. The rock had markings on it that Mr. Nyerges said “…bore an uncanny resemblance to Ogam. I pointed it out to everyone and explained ogam to the adults, who seemed underwhelmed at what such a rock might mean. Some years earlier I spent some time learning about Ogam, a method that was used to write on stones approximately 1500+ years ago, primarily in the British Isles, though examples can be found further afield. Ogam is not to be confused with the more ornate runic writing.”

As Mr. Nyerges started to study this rock (he made several return trips to the area, even bringing a photographer with him, and getting sketches), he found that most of the scientific people he talked to about it couldn’t have cared less what he found. He stated: “So I then sent photos and sketches to perhaps 50 ‘experts’ in ogam, linguistics, archaeology, and other fields and eagerly awaited their response about my exciting discovery.” Good thing he didn’t hold his breath.

Gloria Farley responded positively, saying what he sent certainly looked like ogam, but she couldn’t tell what it said because all the ogam she had found had been translated by Barry Fell, and he had passed away. And I understand, from one source I talked to once, that there are those out there trying to negate the work Fell did, which, somehow, does not surprise me. Nyerges said that most of the “world experts” ignored him.

Finally, he decided to do the research on his own, almost the only way you will get any real answers today in the politically correct archaeological field. He developed a five-step method to see if he could determine what the ogam on the rock said. He noted that he got hold of a copy of Dwelley’s “Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary” and spent hours going through it page by page as he searched for letter combinations that might have some meaning. He observed: “All the letters I had to work with were consonants. There were no vowels, suggestive of an older or earlier linguistic form, akin to several of the Middle Eastern alphabets written without vowels.” He finally came up with a likely translation.

He came across two different geologists, one a PhD, who told him these kinds of inscriptions were hard to pin a definitive date on, but that taking an educated guess, he’d say it was between 1500 and 2500 years ago, and he admitted to the fact that that he felt 95% certain the marks were made by man and not by natural forces.

The big problem some seemed to have was that this had all been “Indian territory.” Well, so what? All of North America, to one extent or another, was “Indian territory.” That didn’t stop people from coming anymore than it stopped the westward migration in the 1700-1800s.

Nyerges invited several archaeologists to come and see the rock. They all declined. A local newspaper sent a reporter out to do a story on it and he also included an interview with someone from the Southwest Museum and a representative of a local Indian tribe, both of whom Nyerges had contacted earlier and who had expressed no interest whatever in going out to see what he had found. The newspaper article said he’d made “fanciful claims.” The Indian again stated the obvious—this was all “Indian territory” and he couldn’t see how other people could possibly have gotten in there. To this Nyerges replied: “Since the site of the rock is in a canyon that was one of the major passageways from the ocean to the desert by past Indian peoples, I asked my friend in a letter if he had ever heard of boats.” He noted Thor Heyerdahl’s trips across oceans in boats made exactly the way people thousands of years ago made them. But then, most archaeologists hate Heyerdahl because his trips have proven what they do not want to admit—that people could set sail in small boats on the coast of Africa and make it all the way to Brazil, or they could set sail from the coast of Peru and get to the South Sea islands.

The archaeological people Mr. Nyerges brought to his site were just not interested in the stone he’d found with the ogam writing on it. They wanted something more. If there wasn’t anything more they didn’t care about the site. Quite possibly the discovery of a village of live, bronze-age Celts still living there today might have piqued their imagination—but only if they could claim that, somehow, the Celts were related to the American Indians and whose ancestors had, even though they were Celts, never come from Europe.

Nyerges stated in summation: “Though the final chapter of this rock has not been written, it has enforced the belief that our history is not as we’ve been taught in school. Indeed the schools are often the official gurgitators of the best that academia has been able to collectively come up with. They get a lot of it right, but they fail to see their own blindnesses and prejudices…My rewards for taking all this time on this multi-faceted research: I have been called a fraud numerous times. I have been listed on a college web-site as an example of ‘fringe archaeology’ and explained away as a fraud. A few of my Native American friends stopped talking to me.” And so it goes. Those hunting for the truth in most areas can expect no less. Because, if the truth were known, many academics in some fields are more interested in protecting their reputations and biases than they are in truth. If the truth puts their agendas in jeopardy, then the truth must be treated as a fake and those that try to put it forth must be subject to ridicule. So goes the pursuit of knowledge in academia anymore.

I have a friend in Illinois who once showed me a piece he had found in Wisconsin with ogam writing all over one side of it. It was about 6 inches long and made of some sort of baked clay, or so it looked to us. My friend, as I recall, never bothered showing it to any of the “professionals” because he already knew it would be labeled as a fake, however he did show it to a teaching colleague at one point and he immediately recognized it as ogam. We’ve gotten to the point now where those who find antiquities in this country are, in many cases, just not reporting any of it to the “professional archaeologists” or asking their help with it because they already know what the response will be and who wants to go through an archeological kangaroo court where they seek to make you a laughing stock?

Also, this past week, I read about something called the “Solutrean hypothesis.” This is a theory, and I think it has some validity, that says Europeans might have gotten to America before the arrival of those we call American Indians. Boy, you can bet that’s one they will have to cover up, and no doubt one of the ways it will be attempted is to prove that such a theory is “racist.” One article I read on Metapedia said: “The hypothesis rests upon particular similarities in Solutrean and Clovis technology that have no known counterparts in Eastern Asia, Siberia or Beringia, areas from which or through which early Americans are known to have migreated.” I do not agree with some of their dates for all this, but otherwise the information seems plausible.

More on this as information becomes available.

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.