Forbidden Archaeology: The Hidden History of The Human Race
By Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson Published by BBT Science Books, 1996.
ISBN: 0-89213-294-9. Hardbound, 952 pages.
In 1979, researchers in Laetoli, Tanzania, in a site in Eastern Africa, found footprints on deposits of volcanic ashes dating from more than 3.6 million years ago. Mary Leakey and others said the footprints were indistinguishable from modern human beings’. For those scientists, that only meant man’s ancestors from 3.6 million years ago had unbelievably modern feet.
However, according to other scientists, including the anthropologist and physicist R.H. Tuttle of the University of Chicago, Australopithecus’s fossil bones discovered 3.6 million years ago show that they had feet clearly similar to the monkeys’ feet. So, they are incompatible with the footprints in Laetoli. In an article published in the issue of March of 1990 of the journal Natural History, Tuttle admitted “we are facing a mystery.” Therefore, it seems admissible to consider the possibility neither Tuttle nor Leakey mentioned that creatures with anatomically modern human-like bodies matching anatomically modern human-like feet had existed 3.6 million years ago in Eastern Africa Oriental. Maybe, as suggested in the illustration on the opposite page, they co-existed along with simian creatures. As intriguing as that archaeological possibility may seem, it is forbidden by the current ideas on human evolution.
Sensible people will raise the consideration of the existence of anatomically modern human beings millions of years ago just based on the Laetoli footprints. But there are other evidences. Over the last decades, scientists in Africa discovered fossil bones considerably similar to human bones. In 1965, Bryan Patterson and W. W. Howells found a surprisingly modern humerus (an arm bone) in Kanapoi, Kenya. The scientists estimated its age in 4 million years.
Henry M. McHenry and Robert S. Corruccini of the University of California said the Kanapoi humerus was “hardly distinguishable from the same bone of a current Homo sapiens.” Similarly, Richard Leakey said the ER 1481 femur found in Lake Tukana, Kenya, in 1972, was indistinguishable from a modern human being’s. Scientists normally associate the ER 1481 femur, dating from 2 million years ago, to the pre-human Homo habilis. However, since the ER 1481 was found isolately, one cannot dismiss the possibility of the rest of the skeleton being also anatomically modern. Interestingly, in 1913, the German scientist Hans Reck found in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, a complete human skeleton, which was anatomically modern, within a stratum aged more than a million years, yielding decades of controversy. Here again some would advise us not to exaggerate the importance of a few controversial examples in contrast with the much greater number of non-controversial evidences showing that current human beings evolved from simian creatures from a recent period – from around 100,000 years ago – in Africa and in the view of some also in other parts of the world. However, the Laetoli footprints, the Kanapoi humerus and the ER 1481 femur have not exhausted our sources yet. Over the last eight years, Richard Thompson and I, with the help of our researcher Stephen Bernath, have accrued a huge set of evidences which challenges the current theories on human evolution. Some of those evidences, like the Laetoli footprints, are very recent. But much of them were recorded by scientists in the 19th century and early 20th century. And, as one can see, our discussion about those evidences could make a very thick book.
Without even look at that set of evidences, some will assume there must be something wrong with it – it was conveniently dismissed by the scientists a long time ago for very good reasons. Richard and I checked up that possibility. We concluded, nonetheless, that the quality of those controversial evidences is not better or worse than the quality of the non-controversial ones, usually mentioned to favor the current theories on human evolution.
But “Forbidden Archaeology” is more than a well documented catalogue of unusual facts. It is also a sociological, philosophical and historical critique to the scientific method the way it is applied to the issue of the humankind origins. We are not sociologists, but our approach is similar to that adopted by the adepts of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK), like Steve Woolgar, Trevor Pinch, Michael Mulkay, Harry Collins, Bruno Latour, and Michael Lynch.
Each and every one of those scholars has a unique perspective of SSK, but probably all of them would agree with the following programmatic enunciation: The conclusions arrived at by the scientists do not match identically the states and processes of a natural objective reality. Instead, those conclusions reflect the real social processes of the scientists, more than what happen in nature/the environment.
The critical approach we took in “Forbidden Archaeology” is also similar to that adopted by science philosophers like Paul Feyerabend, who affirms science ha reached a so privileged position in the intellectual field, and by historians like J. S. Rudwick, who explored in detail the nature of scientific controversy. Like Rudwick, in “The Great Devonian Controversy”, we use narratives to present our material, which comprises not one but many controversies – controversies solved a long time ago, not solved and still in formation. To that end several citations of primary and secondary sources were made, and detailed descriptions of the u-turns in the complex paleoanthropological debates were provided. For those working with subjects related to the origins of humankind and the Antiquity, “Forbidden Archaeology” provides a well-documented compendium of reports free from the current references, otherwise not easily obtained.
One of the authors to most recently discuss the kind of report found in “Forbidden Archaeology” was Marcellin Boule. In his book “Fossil Men” (1957), Boule comes to a decidedly negative conclusion. But when examining the original reports we realize Boule’s skepticism is unjustified. In “Forbidden Archaeology” we provide material from primary sources which will allow the readers to form their own opinions on the evidences discredited by Boule. We also introduced several cases Boule failed to mention.
From the evidences we collected, we concluded, sometimes in a language stripped of any ritual experimentalism, that the prevailing hypotheses on the origins of men need a dramatic revision. We also concluded a knowledge filtering process left the scientists a collection of facts extremely crippled and incomplete.
We anticipate that many scholars will see in Forbidden Archaeology” an invitation to productive speeches on (1) the nature and treatment of evidences in the field of the origins of man; and (2) the conclusions which can be more logically arrived at from those evidences.
In the first chapter of Part I, we researched history and the current status of the ideas on man’s evolution. We also discussed one of the epistemological principles we employed in our study in that field. We are mainly interested in the double pattern concerning the treatment of evidences. We identified two major sets of evidences. The first one is a controversial ser (A), demonstrating the existence of anatomically modern human beings in a ‘not very comfortable’ distant past. The second one is a set of evidences (B) which can be interpreted as supporting the current dominant views that man has evolved very recently, since 100,000 years ago, in Africa and maybe in other places. We also identified the standards used to assess the paleoanthropological evidences. After a detailed study, we found those standards were equally applied both to A and B, so we must accept or reject both. If we accept A as well as B, we will have evidences that place anatomically modern humans living from millions of years ago co-existing with simian humanoids. If we reject them both we eliminate the possibility of using the factual base available to formulate any hypothesis whatsoever about the origins of man and the Antiquity. Historically, a significant number of professional scientists has already accepted the evidences in group A. But a more influent group applying more strict standards to A than to B, rejected A and preserved B as dominant. That use of differentiated standards for acceptance or rejection of evidence constitutes a knowledge filter which obscures the truth about human evolution. In the corpus of Part I (chapters 2 to 6), we checked the vast quantity of controversial evidences contradicting the current ideas about the evolution of man. We tell in detail how they were systematically suppressed, ignored or forgotten, even though they were qualitatively (and also quantitatively) equivalent to the ones presently accepted. When we talk about evidence suppression we are not referring to conspiring scientists carrying out a satanic plan to deceive the public.
On the contrary, we talk about the existence of a sociological process of filtering knowledge which appears to be quite innocuous, but which truly has a substantial cumulative effect. Certain categories of evidences simply disappeared, with no justification in our opinion. Chapter 2 deals with abnormally old bones and shells displaying marks and signs of intentional rupture. Up to date, the scientists consider those bones and shells as an important category of evidences, and many archaeological sites were set up based only on that kind of finding. In the decades following Darwin’s theory introduction, a number of scientists discovered animal bones broken or having incisions, and shells suggesting that human beings using them as tools or that there were human being precursors living in the Pliocene (2-5 million years ago), in the Miocene (5-25 million years ago), and even before that. After examining the bones and shells, the discoverers gave them careful consideration came up with alternative explanations – like the action of animals or geological pressure – before concluding humans were responsible for that. In some cases, stone tools were found along with the bones and shells. A particularly impressive example in this category is a shell displaying a roughly sculpted– although recognizable - human face in its external surface. Recorded by the paleontologist H. Stopes, of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1881, that shell from a Pliocene rock formation in England is more than 2 million years old.
According to accepted standards, humans capable of such a level of craftsmanship did not arrive in Europe before 30,000 or 40,000 years ago. Besides that, they did not even appear in Africa, their birthplace, until 100,000 years ago. Concerning the evidence reported by Stopes, Armand de Quatrefages wrote in his 1884 book “Hommes Fossiles et Hommes Sauvages” (Fossil Men and Savage Men): “The objections to the existence of man in the Pliocene and Miocene seem to be usually less related to direct observation than to theoretical considerations.”
The most rudimental stone tools, the eoliths (“the dawn stones”) are the subject of Chapter 3. Those tools, found in unexpectedly ancient geological contexts, inspired prolonged debates in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
For some, the eoliths were not always recognizable as tools. They had no symmetric shape. On the contrary, the edge of a stone shard was broken to make it suitable for a given task, as scratching, or cutting or chiseling. Frequently the extremity showed signs of use certain. Critics said the eoliths resulted from natural events as rolling along riverbeds. But the supporters of other thesis offered convincing counter-arguments, saying that natural forces could have not caused the dilapidation similar to that on the rock sliver – unidirectional, only in one of the rock sides. In the late 19th century, Benjamin Harrison, an amateur archaeologist, found eoliths in the Kent Plateau, southeast of England. Geological evidence suggests the eoliths were produced during mid- or late Pliocene, around 2 to 4 million years ago. Among those supporting the thesis arising from Harrison’s findings were Alfred Russell Wallace, a co-founder with Darwin of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection; Sir John Prestwich, one of the most prominent English geologists; and Ray E. Lankester, a director for the British Museum (Natural History). Although Harrison had discovered most of his eoliths in superficial Pliocene pebble stone deposits, he also found many others in further deeper levels during an excavation financed by the British Association for The Advance of Science. Besides the eoliths, Harrison found in many other places across the Kent Plateau more advanced stone tools (paleoliths) of similar Pliocene old-age.
In the early 20th century, J. Reid Moir, a member of the Royal Institute of Anthropology and president of the Oriental Anglia Pre-History Society, found eoliths (and more advanced stone tools) in the English formation of Red Crag. The tools dated from around 2 million to 2.5 million years. Some of those tools were found among the fallen debris of Red Crag and could be estimated to be around 2.5 million to 55 million years old.
Moir’s findings had the support of one of the fiercest critics of the eoliths, Henri Breuil then considered one of the most prominent authorities in ancient stone tools.
Another supporter was the paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, of the American Museum of Natural History, in New York. And in 1923 an international committee of scientists flew over to England to investigate the major findings of Moir, and they concluded they were genuine. However, in 1939, A. S. Barnes published a very influent article in which he analyzed the eoliths discovered by Moir along with other eoliths, in terms of their observed cutting angle. Barnes claimed his method allowed to distinguish between the stone cutting process performed by humans from that produced by natural forces. Since then the scientists have used Barnes’s method to reject the manufacturing by men of other stone tools. Nevertheless, in recent years, authorities in stone tools as George F. Carter, Leland W. Patterson and A. L. Bryan have challenged Barnes’s method and its application. Thai suggests the need to reexamine the European eoliths. Significantly, very ancient stone tools from Africa, like those found in deeper strata in Olduvai Gorge, appear to be identical to the rejected European eoliths. Even so they are accepted by the scientific community without any questioning whatsoever. This is so because they probably fit into the presently accepted Theory of the Evolution of Man, supporting it.
But other unexpectedly ancient Eolithic artifacts still keep on running into strong opposition. For instance, in the 1950’s , Louis Leakey found stone tools more than 200,000 years old in Calico, southern California. According to the standard view, the human beings did not penetrate the sub-arctic areas of the New World until approximately 12,000 years ago. The scientists eventually responded in a predictable way to the Calico findings saying either they were either produced by natural forces or they were not really 200.000 years old. But there are sufficient reasons to conclude that the Calico findings are genuine human-produced artifacts. Although most of the tools are rough, some of them, including one in the shape of a bird’s beak, were more advanced.
In Chapter 4, we discuss a category of implements we call rough paleoliths. In the case of eoliths, the cut-off side is perfectly located on the working edge of a stone shard which is naturally broken. But the manufacturers of the rough paleoliths deliberately hit the rocks into pieces over and over, until they got shapes recognizable as tools. In some cases, entire rocks were broken until they formed tools. As seen, rough paleoliths are found along with eoliths. But in the sites discussed in Chapter 4, the paleoliths are dominant among the group. In the rough paleolith category we include tools from the Miocene (5 million to 25 million years old), found in the late 19th century by Carlos Ribeiro, head of the Geological Research Institute of Portugal. In an international conference of archaeologists and anthropologists held in Portugal, a committee of scientists investigated one of the sites where Ribeiro found the tools. One of the scientists came across a stone artifact more advanced than the best specimens found by Ribeiro. Comparable to other pieces accepted as belonging to the late Pliocene, of the Mousterian type, it was firmly incrusted in a Miocene conglomerate so that his Miocene antiquity could be confirmed. Rough paleoliths were also found in Miocene formations in Thenay, France. S. Laing, an English science author, wrote: “In overall, the evidence of those Miocene implements seems to be quite conclusive, and the objections do not seem but simple reluctance to admitting the great antiquity of man.”
The text goes on listing the evidences of manipulation by the establishment of humankind conclusions about its own history.
Free thought, human dignity and, ultimately, the truth, were expressed by the signatories of THE VENICE DECLARATION.
THE VENICE DECLARATION
Final Communiqué of the Colloquium “Science Before the Boundaries of Knowledge”, Venice, March 7th of 1986.
The participants of the colloquium “Science and the Boundaries of Knowledge,” organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the Giorgio Cini Foundation (Venice, 3 to 7 of March of 1986), motivated by a spirit of open-mindedness and questioning of the values of our times, agreed on the following issues:
1. We are witnesses to a very significant revolution in the realms of science brought about by basic sciences (in particular, physics and biology), due to the transformation it brings to logic, epistemology and also, through technological applications, to our everyday life. However, at the same time we notice the existence of a significant gap between the new world view emerging from the study of natural systems and the values still prevailing in philosophy, human sciences and in modern society life. Those values are mostly based upon the mechanist determinism, positivism or nihilism. We feel this gap as strongly harmful, conveying great destruction threatens to our species.
2. Scientific knowledge, due to its own internal movement, has reached the limits from which a dialogue with other forms of knowledge should be initiated. In this sense, acknowledging the fundamental differences between science and tradition, we observe not their opposition to each other, but their complementarity. The unexpected enriching encounter between science and the different traditions worldwide allows the reflection on the emergence of a new vision towards humankind, even through a new rationale, which could lead to a fresh metaphysical perspective.
3. In refusing to accept any globalizing project, any close system of thought, any new utopia, we recognize at the same time the urgency of a truly transdisciplinary search, of a dynamic interchange between the “exact” sciences, the “human” sciences, art and tradition. One could say that transdisciplinary approach is inscribed in our own brain through the dynamic interaction between its two hemispheres. The combined study of nature and the imaginary, of the universe and man, could take us nearer to reality, allowing us to better face the different challenges of our times.
4. The conventional teaching of science, characterized by a linear introduction of knowledge, dissimulates the rupture between contemporary science and previous world views. We acknowledge the urgency to seek for new educational methods which take into account the advances of science now harmonizing themselves with major cultural traditions the preservation and detailed study of which seem crucial. UNESCO would be an appropriate organization to foster such ideas.
5. The challenges of our time: the challenge of our species self-destruction, the challenge of information science, the challenge of genetics, etc. They all show in a new way the social responsibility of scientists in respect to research initiatives and applications. If the scientists cannot decide on the research applications, if they cannot decide on the application of their own findings, they should not passively watch the blind application of those discoveries. In our opinion, the wide range of contemporary challenges demands, on one hand, a permanent and strictly informed public opinion and, on the other hand, the creation of guiding and even decision-making organisms of multi- and transdiciplinary nature.
6. We express the hope that UNESCO carries on this initiative, promoting a reflection towards universality and transdisciplinarity. We wish to thank UNESCO, which took the initiative to organize this meeting in consonance with its universality calling.
We also wish to thank the Giorgio Cini Foundation for having provided this privileged place for the realization of this forum.
Professor D.A. Akyeampong (Gana), physician-mathematician, University of Gana.
Professor Ubiratan D’Ambrosio (Brazil), mathematician, general coordinator of the institutes, State University of Campinas.
Professor René Berger (Sweden), honorary professor, University of Lausanne.
Professor Nicolo Dallaporta (Italy), honorary professor of the International School of Higher Studies in Trieste.
Professor Jean Dausset (France), Nobel Prize winner of Physiology and Medicine (1980), Head of the Universal Movement of Scientific Responsibility (MURS, France).
Mrs. Maîtraye Devi (India), poet and writer.
Professor Gilbert Durand (France), philosopher and founder of the Research Center for the Imaginary
Dr. Santiago Genovès (Mexico), researcher for the Institute of Anthropological Research, National Academy of Medicine fellow.
Dr. Susantha Goonatilake (Sri Lanka), researcher in Cultural Anthropology
Prof. Avishai Margalit (Israel), Philosopher, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Prof. Yujiro Nakamura (Japan), Philosopher and writer, professor at the University of Meiji.
Dr. Basarab Nicolescu (France), Physician, CNRS.
Prof. David Ottoson (Sweden), Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, Professor and Head of the Department of Physiology, Karolinska Institute.
Mr. Michel Random (France), Philosopher and writer.
Mr. Facques G. Richardson (France-USA), scientific writer
Prof. Abdus Salam (Pakistan), Nobel Prize winner of Physics (1979), Director for the International Center of Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy, represented by Dr. L.K. Shayo (Nigeria), professor of Mathematics.
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake (United Kingdom), PhD in Biochemistry, University of Cambridge.
Prof. Henry Stapp (USA), Physician, Laboratory Lawrence Berkeley, University of California, in Berkeley.
Dr. David Suzuki (Canada), Geneticist, British Columbia University