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M/ Hello again. Thank you for staying with us for this important companion program to "History on the Rocks". In a few moments we will begin an unrehearsed debate recorded in Denver on December 17th, 1985. Our debate, titled "History or Mystery" focuses on the sharp polarities that exist between epigraphers and archaeologists. New questions about America's ancient past were raised a decade ago with the publication of "America B.C." You heard extensively from its author, Dr. Barry Fell, in the documentary. A new book, "Ancient Celtic America", will soon be out, detailing the sites you saw in "History on the Rocks" and even newer discoveries made since the filming. The authors make up one side in our debate. Phil Leonard is president of the Western Epigraphic Society. He is a Salt Lake City stock broker with an extensive background in the bio-medical field. Bill McGlone is the society archivist. He's a materials engineering consultant from Albuquerque. Representing the local archaeological community is rock art specialist Sally Cole of Grand Junction. She is Executive Secretary of the Colorado Council of Professional Archaeologists. Joining her is John Gooding, the supervising archaeologist for the Colorado Department of Highways. He also serves as a research associate at the University of Colorado museum in his hometown of Boulder. Except for the deletion of one guest's reference to a specific site, the debate you are about to hear is unedited, just the way it happened. Now, my first question to Mr. Gooding.
December 17, 1985, Debate
M/ Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it true that most American archaeologists, including yourself, have pretty much rejected the theories set forth by Barry Fell in his book ten years ago "America B.C." What evidence, what in the newer, what, what in the newer evidence have you seen that would make you change your mind or have you changed your mind about any of it?
J/ No, I don't believe I have changed my mind with regard to anything that Mr. Fell may have written. I would like to comment briefly, though, on the program you have just witnessed. I would like to ask you what your journalistic intent is in producing a very cleanly, tightly knit program that uses the use of graphic aids, as you can see on this monitor here that do not interpret the entire piece of rock art. I would like to ask you why it is that this program has a notable lack of variable interpretations which are entirely possible in all of that work. I would like for you to comment on the implicit racism that is brought forward in this program by implying that Europeans were responsible for all of this work. And I'd just briefly like to know why it is you have perpetrated this fabrication on the viewing public of Denver.
M/ Well, I found it interesting. And I found the people who were involved in this project serious about the work. They're not a bunch of kooks as they've been characterized as by some people in the past. And the reason I think we're having this discussion is to clear the air on what other people say about these interpretations. As far as the racist comment, you're going to have to ask Bill and Phil. I would like you to clarify why you feel this is racist, though.
J/ Oh, quite simply. The implication is that all of the markings on caves in southeastern Colorado were not made by native Americans.
S/ Or if they were, they were to duplicate things that were made by Europeans or North Africans in an attempt to attract these North Africans. I think there's that quote exactly is in there, maybe not exactly that language. But, basically, I think we have to look at the history of the United States at least from the time the Pilgrims came here. There has always been the assumption made, over and over and over again and this is just a new phase in that, that everything that's a visible accomplishment of the American Indian is somehow attributable to Western Civilization. Thomas Jefferson excavated his first, the first mound excavation in the United States in order to prove or disprove an American Indian manufacture. And that has been going on forever. We had it with all the mounds. We has the mounds all the way through the Midwest. We've had rock art attributed to Europeans forever. And the reason is, I mean we're in a peculiar situation here. We, as Euro-Americans, are not looking at our own roots when we look into the pre-history of the Americas, at least as far as all the archaeological evidence would tell us.
M/ So let me get this clear, Sally. Are you saying that what Bill and Phil have done and the other members of the Epigraphic Society have done is not science?
S/ I'm saying that science merely is a way of testing theories. And, I'm saying you have to consider the data. Archaeology, serious archaeology in the Americas, North and South, because we're talking this whole continent of the Americas, has been going on here for a good hundred years, the best archaeology in the last fifty. There is an enormous amount of data available, just an enormous amoung of data available. Linguistically, physically, materially, it's all there. And I'm saying that in order to be scientific with any theory you can't throw that out and just charge ahead with something else. That's what I'm saying.
J/ I think they have stepped out of the bounds, outside of the bounds, of reasonable scholarship.
S/ And, that's, I think, that's the way we feel is that all this data's here. And you have to consider it. You have to look and say, do these grooves in southeastern Colorado fit with what we know from data, real hard, accumulated archaeological data, properly excavated, properly dated. We have ethnographic data of the plains of all places, because we have ethnographic data from Mallery's work at the turn of the century which is incredible on the Plains Indian myths and rituals which are enormously rich and tie in right out of their own words on hide paintings and notches in sticks about visionquest to rocks, secret spots, mountaintops, all of these things, that it was the whole concept of the individual in the plains and what he did. Rock art, the iconography of that, is tied in with they made notches in rocks in order to mark time spent or experiences felt. We have puberty rites. And all of this fits. I mean I can take the sites and they fit.
M/ Isn't it interesting, though, that these marks seem to translate into an old European alphabet?
S/ Well, only some of them. And, you're talking about, like in some of the words here, they're saying, "This is a B and this is an L." And then they're just putting in, you know, they were just saying, "It's Bel". It could be, who knows what, belt. I mean, that's what I'm trying to say is that we are talking about... I'm not a linguist. I want to point that out very quickly because I'm an archaeologist and we deal with material culture. I do use the skills of linguistics when I'm trying to analyze rock art because that's part of the record, if you will. But, I think it's really important to recognize that you can, if you're talking about abstract symbols, you can call them anything. That's how languages got started. Until you abstract it enough, then you define what it means and then you pass that knowledge around. And that's what I'm trying to say. If it's abstract enough you can read anything into anything without even being a fraud or anything. You can see things. It's like the ship on the rock that Bill McGlone talks about. I see what he's talking about when he described it. I've seen the Swedish markings on the rock. But, there's a lot of abstract designs. That particular motif seems to be identified with the other, I think that's the Hicklin Springs site, and there's lots of stuff there that's in, what we call, the Great Basin abstract style. And, a lot of it could be wheels. I mean you could have all kinds of things represented here.
M/ John, you're convinced, then, that there is no possible way this could be ogam?
J/ I can state from several authorities that got involved in this controversy which was basically settled by the Office of the State Archaeologist, State Historical Society, in 1977. At that time there were certain, quote-unquote, ogam marks found at a site called Hackberry Spring, which is now on the National Register. And, as a result of certain misguided efforts by some people that drew Mr. Fell and his cult following into this field, certain letters went out trying to resolve the issue, to the University of Edinburgh, the Department of Celtic, and to Harvard University. And, I would like to quote freely from some of this. Dr. Calvin Watkins, who is in the Department of Linguistics at Harvard University, his opening statement is, "I have examined the photographs of Colorado petroglyphs at 5LA115 which you sent me on September 1. I can state categorically that they are not a variant of ogam, a la Barry Fell, as you put it in your letter." Then he goes on, in some detail, explaining what real ogam looks like. Interestingly, true ogam is written vertically, not horizontally, only horizontally in very, very rare cases. I need to state further that Dr. Glenn Isaac from Cambridge University reviewed various works of this cult following and in one of his concluding paragraphs, he says, and I quote, "There are no authentic ogam inscriptions outside of the British Isles. The megalith builders of western Europe were not Celts. They predated the Celts by over a millenium." End of quote.
M/ Alright, let's turn to our other guests right now. You've heard the charges. This is not ogam. Experts in Europe have said it's not ogam. And, yet, you continue to believe it is. Phil...
P/ Well, gosh, I'm not sure I can answer all those charges in one breath. I... Let me start off with, Scott and Sally and John, I'd like to say that I'm glad to be here and to have an opportunity to discuss the things that were presented in the documentary. And, I appreciate that opportunity. Scott, most of these arguments are fairly well known to us and Bill and I have discussed them between the two of us as well as with some of our colleagues and those that are not our colleagues. And, we feel many of the objections are not valid. And we feel that many of them are not germaine. But, ah... Such things as the racism, the bounds, we've exceeded the bounds of reasonable archaeology and scholarship. And that we are a cult following. I really didn't think it was going to stoop to name-calling and mud-slinging but I guess we can get in there with the best. The archaeological profession continues to say these things without reviewing either our data or methods or evaluating either one. Neither of these two have asked to see our methods or our data. But, yet they have, like the archaeological profession has in the past, they've merely lectured us that it can't be true. And it's based on their doctrine and their beliefs. I don't think either of us really likes to be told that we don't know what we're doing by people who don't know what we're doing and haven't taken the trouble to find out why or what we are doing or what we've done. We've spent a great... They've spent a great deal of time looking for reasons to reject our work, but none to see the data we have. To me, that's incredibly unscientific. And I wonder why they haven't asked to see our data.
M/ Isn't it true...
P/ Excuse me just a minute. We have enough good data that our hypothesis should be evaluted and debated in normal forums and if it were, we wouldn't have to be here.
M/ Now, as I understand it, no one has gone back from the State Archaeologist's Office to the Hackberry Springs site even though it's been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, since that report by Dave Stuart was made in 1977, eight and a half years ago. Isn't that true?
S/ I don't have any idea.
J/ I wouldn't say that.
S/ I don't know.
M/ I believe if you check the records you'll find that no one has returned other than an aerial photograph of the site.
S/ But, I don't know how much of our data you've used. I mean, I would really say that I don't know how much archaeological data, if you figure that you made your case in the show that we just saw, you know, we were sitting here talking about how these grooves were made as if that somehow excluded the American Indian from making them which is just outrageous. I mean, we know American Indians made sharpening grooves. We've had people even to duplicate them exactly in Montana. Recently a man named Fell duplicated very carefully every type of groove found. These grooves are literally found from Alberta to Baja, California. And, I'm saying that these sharpening grooves that line up the way you define them as being ogam cannot be separated from the fact that these sharpening grooves occur everywhere with sites, with incised rock art, which is dated not from very early dates, but from pretty much proto-historic and historic.
B/ How do you know they can't be separated if you've never looked at the criteria we use for doing so?
S/ But, my point is that you can't take things out of context, either. And you are doing...
B/ But, you've pre-judged us.
S/ No, I haven't. I watched the movie. I'd never seen the movie...
B/ You must have if you haven't looked at what we've done. We have a series of criteria.
S/ But have you looked at our data?
B/ Yes, and we consider it, but you don't know that because you haven't asked us. S/ Well that's not really true.
B/ ...that you haven't asked us?
S/ I would... I have never heard of your work, literally, until I got a letter about seeing a site in southeastern Colorado and I saw this film. Now that's the only time I have ever heard of your work. Nobody's ever brought in documentation to me and said, "Would you review this?" or "Would you look at this?" or "What do you think of this?"
B/ It's incredible to me that you would pass the judgment you do on the film and never ask us for the basis on which the film was made.
S/ Well, but I'm upset because you haven't used good archaeological data...
B/ We have. We have.
S/ No, I didn't see any good archaeological data in that film.
B/ ...in the film. But, we have, the basis for what we have includes those things.
S/ Well, you need to put that in there. I mean that needs to be in there.
B/ I didn't make the film.
S/ No, I agree with
And if I hadn't gone to look for myself, I would have believed Fell forever. And believed scientists were stupid and blind. For a long time I found it hard to believe that Fell would betray his readers like that. I don't know why he did. I think he was a bit of a racist and didn't want to believe that Indians could accomplish anything.
Much evidence has been presented for contact between Northwest Europe and northeastern America, starting as early as 10,000 B.C. (Gridley 1960; Kehoe 1962, 1971; Greenman 1963) and continuing sporadically until historic times. Most recent discussions concern the period of about 6000-4000 B.C., when influences on pottery, point types, tools, and so forth, seem strongest. Related effects are claimed in South America, especially in Patagonia, from about 9000-7000 B.C. Examination of these possibilities should gain impetus from the recent discovery of mitochondrial “haplotype X,” that seems to connect Algonquians and certain other American populations with ancient Europe. Some American archaeologists now seem to have shed inhibitions about working in this formerly taboo area. Certain details are appended.
The distribution of B*7 is part of the evidence connecting Northwest Europe with both eastern Canada and with North Africa, where the ancient amber and gold routes met. The Algerian Flitta, like the Tuareg, have a genetic link to northern Europe: 17% of allele A2 of the ABO system. Mourant, Kopec, and Domaniewska-Sobczuc (1976:86) said, “The high A2 frequency remains a mystery—it is presumably the result of genetic drift or selection within this particular population, but why would only the Flitta, the Lapps, and the Naga of Burma (with 17% of A2) have evolved this way?” I suggest that both the high B*7 frequency of the Tuareg and their use of the tifinagh alphabet are a result of the amber trade. Proto-tifinagh in Scandinavia seems to predate the African form by several hundred years and also occurs in northern Italy and eastern Canada (see Kelley 1990 and 1994 for details and bibliography).
Birdsell (1951) thought that early Americans had been “archaic Caucasoids” he termed “Amurians.” “A Caucasoid” type seems to have reached western America at an early date, as shown by several recently publicized skeletons from 8000-7000 B.C. (Preston 1997; Rensberger 1997). Hrdlicka and Hooton debated the origins of Caucasoid traits, and nineteenth century painters accurately portrayed the Europoid features of some of their native subjects (Howells 1940; Horan 1982). Schobinger (in Greenman 1963) pointed out parallels between the South American Toldean culture of 9000-8000 B.C. and the European Upper Paleolithic, and Lacombe (1986) has made similar comparisons for the Peruvian Paijan culture. An early, unexpected observation was that of Hatt (1916), who thought that the “old European sandal” was invented independently in southern South America. Fladmark (1979, 1983) proposed a coastal route for early colonists, saying (1986) that they could have traveled the entire length of America’s west coasts in ten years’ time.
Some allegedly “Europoid” traits such as pit houses (Jochelson 1907) and certain art motifs (Fraser 1966) seem very early, while others are postulated to have come later, in the third to first millennia B.C. These include arrow-shaft straighteners (Yamanouchi 1968), distinctive pottery (Tolstoy 1953; Piña Chan and Covarrubias 1964; Ackerman 1982), mirrors (Probst 1963), and rocker stamps (Porter 1953). Still other traits probably came after 500 B.C.: shell trumpets (Rouget 1948), units of measure like those of Egypt (Rottländer 1982), games such as patolli (Tylor 1878, 1879, 1896), bronze needles (Virchow 1883), and certain metallurgical techniques such as the lost-wax process (Heine-Geldern 1972).
i don't know who you've been talking to, but none of einstein's work has been demonstrated as incorrect. rather, his work is what others built upon. einstein, if anything, could only hypothesize as far as his time period allowed in terms of the knowledge they had. he was not, however, wrong, by any means.
Originally posted by Indellkoffer
And if I hadn't gone to look for myself, I would have believed Fell forever. And believed scientists were stupid and blind. For a long time I found it hard to believe that Fell would betray his readers like that.