Monday, 22 October 2018

Bible Museum Admits Some of its Dead Sea Scrolls are Fake

The Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC admits that five of its Dead Sea Scroll fragments are fake German-based scholars tested the fragments and found that five "show characteristics inconsistent with ancient origin and therefore will no longer be displayed at the museum."(Daniel Burke, 'Bible Museum says five of its Dead Sea Scrolls are fake' CNN October 22, 2018):
In April 2017, Bible Museum sent five fragments to the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) a German institute for analyzing materials, where scholars tested for 3D digital microscopy and conducted material analyses of the ink and sediment on the papyrus. (Scholars have theorized that forgers use old scraps of papyrus or leather, to make fraud detection more difficult.)
Let's note that, five were sent for analysis all five were shown to be fakes. The MOB has another eleven in the collections. The Museum tries to put a brave face on its disgrace: "this is an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of verifying the authenticity of rare biblical artifacts, the elaborate testing process undertaken and our commitment to transparency," said Jeffrey Kloha, the chief curatorial officer for Museum of the Bible. It shows even more te value of verifying how the object came onto the market, from an officially-sanctiond source straight from the ground, or a seedy backstreet somewhere. Some scholars had questioned the fragments in the collection right from the beginning.
Steve Green, the museum's founder and chairman, won't say how much his family spent for the 16 fragments in its collection. But other evangelicals, including a Baptist seminary in Texas and an evangelical college in California, have paid millions to purchase similar pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
That's the problem with trophy artefacts, they lose their charm when it turns out they are not so 'special' any more.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

The Citizens' New Archaeology - Without a Spade (Para-Archaeology I) [UPDATED]

The evidence we've compiled so far
strongly indicates that the ancient aliens hypothesis is correct.

[Updated: this rather long post continues in a second, which was written later but I have posted below this one. A third is planned in which I hope to make some more general points, but I have a big translation project on at the moment, so have to use my spare time on that]

I was prompted to write something more substantial on this aspect in connection with the claims by its supporters that artefact collecting is some kind of 'citizen archaeology'. It started with a perfectly sensible Twitter thread by David S. Anderson (Radford University, Virginia USA) about 'Pseudooarchaeology', a subject I have long been interested in and concerned about (though I think the term is incorrect, 'Para-archaeology' or 'fringe archaeography' seem better to me). here's what Anderson said:
Archaeologists, it is time to admit that our discipline is at a point of crisis. Belief in #pseudoarchaeology claims is rampant and rising, and yet I’m repeatedly confronted by professionals who tell me this is no big deal, or not worth our time. We need to act now!  For the third year in a row, the @ChapmanU survey of American Fears has shown a rising rate of belief in #AncientAliens, we are now at 41%. To put it another way, that’s more then 133 million people! And 57% of Americans now believe Atlantis, or something like it is real. This rise in belief has been fueled by conspiracy theory driven television shows like @AncientAliens and America Unearthed. These shows are not just silly fun, they are undermining people’s abilities to tell truth from fiction. We need to stand up for cultural heritage. We should be talking to our students about these claims, we should be talking to the public about these claims. We should be seeking out media platforms to address these claims. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand, and assume there’s no harm in these claims. [...] We need to save our heritage from those who would sell it up stream for a quick buck.
Chapman University survey of American fears

 While I am sure making money from lunatic fringe writing is one aim (hotelier Von Daniken raising money to pay off his debts with Chariots of the Gods is one example), I am not sure that is the whole explanation. There were a number of replies/comments from people agreeing in principle with Anderson, and then...  along came this guy, and quite oblivious to what the thread was about jumped in (18 October 2018) with a multiple series of posts illustrating perfectly exactly the sort of material Anderson was talking about. The writer was John R. Clevenger @GQuestJohn, Santa Barbara - Manager of "Genesis Quest"  ("Genesis Quest: The Hunt for the Global Maritime Empire") . This is what he posted there [my hyperlinks]
Hello. If Genesis Quest can get team expeditions going, we will open-mindedly assess these matters, as archaeology--which should indeed change--should, too.
1. I don't think spirits, telekinesis, or psychics are valid, but I'm open-minded about these matters. As for the others:
2. Atlantis, as such, almost certainly did exist. It was a transatlantic Bronze Age metal-trading empire, probably seated on an Atlantic Island that sank. It mined copper in Upper Michigan and tin in what is now highland Bolivia (then a seaport). I can and will prove this.
3. I was totally opposed to the Ancient Aliens theory when I started on this endeavor 8 years ago. But the evidence actually very strongly points to not only contact with aliens in ancient times, but also the likelihood of hybridization or even seeding of humanity by aliens. A startling twist to this will be revealed in my film series on this, if I can get it into production. I've finished my Atlantis trilogy and may get to pitch it to studios in early 2019. But there is another, very startling twist that you may as well be aware of: We have good reasons to believe that aliens still exist on Earth and are hiding out in remote areas of Latin America. Not only do we know one such location, we've been offered land on it. Our chief Latin American researcher helped recover one of their bodies. [Atacamba foetus PMB]  So: Archaeologists need to be open to the possibilities of (1) pervasive ocean-crossing in ancient times, the evidence for which is overwhelming; and (2) visitation by aliens in both modern and ancient times, as well as hybridization and even seeding of humanity. I now believe that an antigravity technology facilitated building of the megaliths, and this tech was a subset of an ancient alien star-jump technology, based on torsion physics. We think we know how it worked, and hope eventually to help replicate it. 
4. Metal-trading Amorite giants
were part of the phenomena remembered as Atlantis. We have some of their bones, and permission to dig in a cemetery where others are buried. They may have been hybridized by aliens, and they were the original mound buildersThere is a chain of evidence which strongly suggests that relict Amorite giants are Bigfoot. The kicker: A special forces squad was killed by a relict Amorite giant in the Afghanistan War. Goliath was an Amorite, by the way. [...]  Equally interesting are the gnomes. The evidence suggests they're aliens. [...]

Further: My basic intent here is not to troll; I revere the discipline of archaeology. But it should no longer be so inflexibly doctrinaire. Most of the points I've made here, and other related ones, can very likely be proven without much difficulty, and not for a quick buck, either. I've been working on this full-time for years and have yet to be paid a dime. If my film series sells and then takes off, I'll funnel proceeds into this research, inviting archaeology grad students to our research center in South America, which we intend to build on said land and - for which we have second financing aligned. This is extremely difficult and may never happen. But I rather self-importantly prefer to call what we're trying to do the New Archaeology. The first script in my series has been compared to Avatar and Star Wars. So it may happen.
Wow. So layer upon layer of misconstrued and misleading (misled) reasoning ) I use the term loosely) to construct an 'alternative past' of the writer's own. The key problem here is the opposition between two views of how we construct an argument. the first sees a pile of - at first sight - mutually supportive 'facts' that can be put together to construct a picture - and that picture is the result. The second approaches a depicted situation (such as giants in Atlantis) and looks to see if there is anything that falsifies it. I belong to the second group - and so questioned the 'giant killed in Afghanistan' nonsense - which turned out to be a non-fact, Mr Clevenger's theory about the giants as presented still has no supporting evidence. It seems to me as an archaeologist that it is enough to look for material evidence that could either support or falsify the suggestion and (since I have never come across any evidence of the existence of non-mythical in giants and gnomes), a non-discovery of any 'Atlantis' is just negative evidence. It seems to me, giving it some consideration, that (at least) one problem with all this is the actual archaeological evidence of that metal trade, so far there are no papers showing that the tin and copper in European bronzes have an isotopic footprint corresponding to Michigan and Bolivian origins of the raw metal traded by 'Amorite Atlanteans', and in the Andes themselves tin bronzes did not appear in pre-Tiwanaku times, only being first attested c.1000AD under the Incas - which would be odd if Bolivian tin was going to fuel the European Bronze Age from 3300BC.

I think the para-archaeologists also show the degree to which they are out of their depth by assuring us they can help to replicate the 'antigravity technology' they surmise 'facilitated building of the megaliths', and they suppose was 'a subset of an ancient alien star-jump technology, based on torsion physics', and which they imagine they 'know how it worked'. I think one can safely assume that probably about as much as they know about the process of archaeological reasoning.

Update 22.10.2018
Seen on Facebook while looking into what's behind these claims. Their Facebook page bills itself as 'educational' (sic) and has 5.5 thousand followers. There we find (5th August 2018) another version of the main claims of this group:
I [adding in a comment: ' I being John Clevenger, and the foundations of this work having already been laid by truer giants of this renegade research than I myself will ever be.'] am considering publishing as a companion tome to my brewing novel, The Flood, a preliminary presentation of our research findings. This includes some very wild stuff that we no longer publicize for various compelling reasons. When one combines results derived from extremely detailed assessments of published materials (such as my compendium about Tiahuanaco, which includes major revelations) with a bunch of unpublished and very sensational stuff (such as what I now regard as proof that relict Amorite metal-trading half-human giants inspired Indian legends of Sasquatch and almost certainly explain many current Bigfoot sightings), the picture that is drawn will simply shock the world. Obviously, we're not yet in a position to undertake the indicated ambitious program of research, and perhaps we never will be in a position to do it. Yet merely formulating these hypotheses could virtually change the world, and this may be a workable way for me to do it. [...] with perhaps this adjunct volume outlining these sensational research results, which are so sensitive that I've had no other way to publish them so far, even though their implications are truly astounding (some things I can't even allude to here, yet). Such a companion volume, which could become a series of nonfiction studies (very possibly with group authors under the auspices of GQ, as we've long planned), may be that first logical vehicle to start getting this material out into the world.
There is also a You Tube video 'Genesis Quest Intro: Genesis Quest's Ecuador Project' (82 views):

Highlights I noted in this video:
(soundtrack from after 0:22  - reminiscent of Zimmer's Chevaliers de Sangreal from the Da Vinci Code):

(0:25) "we believe that myths are often rooted in fact and the Scriptures can be history" and "conventional dogma should never stop us from looking truth right in the eye" (0:33) [shot here is the 'giant discoverer' in Ecuador]

(0:45) "we believe that what happened in prehistory was far different from what mainstream views allow".

(1:16) "GQ is on the verge of proving that a global maritime empire laid the foundations of civilization before being wiped out in worldwide catastrophe"

(1:27) "to prove it, we've acquired permits to explore the mountains of Southern Ecuador where bizarre gold relics recovered from the surrounding jungle  [photos of Crespi Collection objects] seem to reveal connections to Mesopotamia, Egypt and Minoa (sic)"

(1:55) "In a burial place of giants (sic) near a sacred mountain (sic) there, a twenty foot tall female skeleton was reportedly unearthed in the 1960s. We have some of her bones* [2:08 shot of a model femur in Mt Blanco Museum, Texas, created on basis of Turkish reports  - original has never been produced]. We'll apply DNA testing and carbon dating to find out if senora gigante was human** and if so where she came from and how long ago she lived. If a skeleton three times the size of modern people proves human and especially if her DNA reveals ancestral links to the British Isles, which is where we believe the giants originated (2:29), our proof will be complete, and just imagine the fear that would ensue (sic) if we found senor gigante"

 The film ends with showing in quick succession mug shots of (alleged) 'members of the team', mostly from the US, in which one can recognize several people involved in 'fringe archaeography'.  There is a promise that for 'support' of 'this initial investigation', 'you will be rewarded with campaign perks such as free (sic) e-books', so privileged access to the revelations of this new vision of the past concocted by "Genesis Quest", and 'some of you may even join the team [free of charge? PMB] and appear in a documentary series for cable TV' ("Join our quest, together, let's make history!")

How to even begin to discuss this with these people? Why is this happening, and why does so much of it seem to centre around misunderstandings of the archaeology of Mesoamerica and South America?

* the bones shown between 2:14-21 and the second set to 2:22-2:40 are shown in this film. The first lot are father Carlos Miguel Vaca Alvarado's collection. There is a huge amount of uncritical internet waffle from creationists and biblical fundamentalists about these bones, and I cannot find anything easily that refers to anyone who's actually identified the species of megafauna they come from but they are clearly not parts of any human skeleton, oversized or not. 

** in the film, we see the bones handled by people without gloves and in one case (2:27-2:37) the guy seems to be wiping spit on one of them. As anyone who knows even a little about forensics would say, it'd be difficult NOT tto find human DNA on those items - DNA that would suggest a link to modern populations of the region where they were dug up. But this would be a false result from contaminated material.

Para-Archaeology II: Citizen Science and Atlantis. Why do People Believe Crazy Stuff About the Past?

Public archaeology
The Santa Barbara-based "Genesis Quest" claims to be 'global network of scientists and explorers dedicated to solving the world’s greatest ancient mysteries'. They promise that they will 'publicize (sic) the results of our investigations through books, television series, and films', but it seems not peer reviewed publications in academic venues. I have presented in the post above why I came across them, and then was engaged by their apparent spiritus movens  John Clevenger. I made a post on the topic of para-archaeology - to which (having first triedn on Twitter) Mr Clevenger then sent a considerable volume of comments, challenging what he calls the 'dogma of orthodoxy' on archaeology. Initially, I thought I'd answer all of these points in the comments, but then decided to add them here as a separate post.

The first point I'd make is that addressing these "alternative pasts" people is that it is a very time consuming task. There are layer upon layer of misconstrued material piled onto each other (as I said in the previous post) which - if we are to approach the task on their terms (terms they can - hopefully - understand), require disentangling. This takes time, care and effort. So there's several hours of my day wasted wondering 'what the ***?'

On the other hand, it's pretty easy for someone who has their eye in when it comes to entangling illogic and also misrepresented evidence. That's what they teach you in school, but is seems some schools were better at that than others. When the para-archaeologists present one of their 'alternative views', often all you have to do is Google it and you'll find where this stuff comes from. But there is Googleology and Googleology. You'll find (often at the top of a Google search page) no end of websites saying the same thing as the para-archaeographers (and often apparently cut and pasted from each other). If  you scroll down just a little past them, you start to find more reliable sources of information (and yes, some of this is even as simple a source as Wikipedia, in this case, Mr Clevenger's 'research' seems not even to have penetrated that far) The conclusion from that is that many of these people do what they imagine is research just accepting the stuff they come across first, there is Googleology and careful and informed Googleology.

One of the problems is that these people (all of the authors that cite each other) apparently have no cognitive basis for seeing that there's something wrong with their arguments and the logic they represent, when an archaeologist can see at once that there is a huge gap between what is said and how its interpretation should be approached. The problem with citizen science is not that it is done by citizens, but done by citizens who have no idea how to approach the material they are discussing, how to use it as evidence, and indeed how to assess dodgy claims. They lack the intellectual apparatus to attempt an intellectual enquiry, and instead of trying to first acquire that knowledge/skill just dash in with some half-baked ideas that seems to them of interest or 'plausible'. The problem here is that dumbdown TV and other sources of informationlead them to believe that they are somehow magically empowered to make uninformed judgements on scholarly arguments, without any need to find out in any detail what those arguments (and their background) are. This is part of a wider phenomenon in public discourse discussed elsewhere, a mistrust of experts, a dismissal or authority, a retreat to dumbdown common sense arguments based in emotions and feelings rather than a careful analysis of facts and treating other opinions with respect.

OK, let's treat Mr Clevenger's beliefs about the past with respect. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and spend some time analysing whether there is any justification to accept his variant interpretation of the past. The responses these comments raised may be useful to somebody, hopefully John Clevenger who seems to think he has a much more 'open mind' than those grubby archaeologists will see how they can be used to test his ideas: I addressed the comments to him in the second person

Where we start
John, you start off rather patronisingly:  You actually are quite versed,
What kind of mindset does that comment reflect? I am an archaeologist, been interested in it over half a century, working as such for several decades in cluding as an academic teacher, I suspect I do know something about the subject. But not only that, also about the area my colleagues (since the days of OGS Crawford and the first beginnings of outreach to the public) refer to as the 'lunatic fringe' to which most would assign the story of giants in Atlantis and aliens building pyramids.

In my opinion, the recent public fascination with dumbdown and pseudoscience is socially damaging and therefore I think it is something we need to understand. Dumbdown is dangerous. We are losing the ability to analyse arguments, recognize bias and false premises, see beyond the narrow to the wider context, beyond the emotional appeal to the hard (alternative) facts. This has severe social consequences (Trump, Poland's PiS and Brexit are prime examples that concern me). This is what Dr Anderson was talking about in that thread into which somebody inserted his ‘gonna-make-a-film-about-my-ideas-about-Atlantis-its-gonna-be-great’ fantasy. Let’s have a look at some of what you wrote in the comments to my earlier post.

There is a really odd phenomenon, a lot of people (especially in the USA) seem really to believe in giants. You write:
 "other evidence I've seen on the giants dating their global activity to at least 2000 BC."
Hmmm. Most of us haven’t “seen” any. No fossils (that are not mammoths) in England - where you say they actually came from.

"aware of several giant bones. One person who lives in the Ohio Valley has in their possession a giant femur. "
those grabby private collectors again, in any normal country this would become public property and then we’d have the possibility for experts to examine it, analyse it and make the results known. The collector could donate it to the Smithsonian, couldn’t he or she? (Oh, by the way, before you raise that: Did the Smithsonian Admit to the Destruction ofThousands of Giant Human Skeletons in Early 1900’s?  )

"jawbones have been recovered that wrap around a normal person's face."
Again instead of wrapping them round their faces, these objects should be made available for proper study by these individuals. So these giants only lived in countries that today do not have laws requiring them to be reported to authorities? Is that not a bit suspicious, that its only people like Glidden that are finding them?

Here’s a video about those Ohio finds – my readers can judge for themselves  the reliability of all this ‘America BC’ stuff:

I am intrigued by the way ‘giants’ figure in the worldview of Christian fundamentalists see for example the discussion in:   Are you a Christian fundamentalist Mr Clevenger? Is that why you are so "certain" giants existed in the past - because the Bible says so?

Also it is worth pointing out that the translation of the Hebrew Nephilim into first Greek and then Latin as giants is probably mistaken, in Ezekiel they occur as warriors of old, and in the story of the conquest of Canaan as mythical foes that God overcomes – this is all very similar to the Irish Myths of the settlement of the Ireland.

You write:
"There is a mummified longhead fetus in a museum in Peru. If we can access that specimen, studying it anatomically etc. would be interesting. " The Paracas skulls are already being examined by other specialists and a lot of sensationalist claims are being made on the web about them. Let’s see the proper scientific presentation of what already has been done, evaluate that, and then formulate new research questions before yet another ad hoc group from America jumping in to “solve the mystery” for the natives. First let’s define what it is we are looking for (clue: it’s probably not ‘aliens’).

"based partly on claims Inca descendants have made to me, that it is an alien, and I know where from--and that particular revelation I may just leave for the film franchise, as it is sensational in its implications."
But here’s the rub, and it’s what David said, you are now telling us that you want to publish sensationalist (third-party hearsay) “evidence” in a widely-distributed film in order to raise money in order to put that into a project to examine the validity of the (third-party hearsay) “evidence” you exploited to make that money. Don’t you see a problem of research ethics there (apart from the ethical issues of handling human remains in order to make a profit)?

What's an "Inca descendant"?Why is what he or she says any more or less validated by that than me who is a descendent of East Anglian fishermen - does that make me an expert in mermaid legends?

Crustal Convulsions
"the book Cataclysm! (Allan and Delair) "
I suppose you will attribute the lack (as far as I can see) of any serious academic review of this 1997 book (or Velikowski) as due to the ‘closed minds’ of astrophysicists, vertebrate palaeontologists, sedimentologists, geologists and just about any other academic discipline these ‘events’ would affect if they had actually happened. Myself, I would say the reason for this is the interpretation these authors place on their ‘evidence’ is simply not considered tenable by scholars in those disciplines.

"I believe I can already prove, based on published evidence I've collated, that Tiahuanaco was built as a seaport."
I suppose – given its location - that’s only marginally better than proposing it was a spaceport. It was Arthur Posnanski wasn’t it who first proposed this in his book, Tiahuanaco: The Cradle of American Man (1945) ( See also this Wikipedia discussion page that I found looking up the date of publication of the book which I think puts that in a better perspective). This text has a reference to a text from the 'Hall of Maat' website (check it out) by Garrett Fagan on the treatment of this site by so-called “alternative historians” which you might find useful reading: 'Tiwanaku: Alternative History in Action'. I therefore am a little disconcerted that in one of the later comments you actually admit:
 In fact, the evidence for that, compiled largely by Posnansky, is overwhelming as things stand. A modicum of fieldwork there would likely seal the deal--assuming sufficient access and permissions can be had, not necessarily easy.
 That is really arrogant, Posnanski's ideas never had much credence in the academic world from the start - as opposed to the 'alternative pasts' bunch. There is a vast amount of more recent archaeological literature available, and finding out about it is just a mouse click or two away. From that, you'd learn 'as things (actually) stand' and that  fieldwork has been going on, quite a lot of it, since 1945 - and it is carried out by people vastly more able to interpret what they find in the ground than naval engineer Posnanski was and you seem equipped to do, not even knowing the later literature.

If we accept that there is in fact no evidence that this site was founded before the third/second cent BC, your suggestion that Tiwanaku was originally at sea level means means that for an unknown period until a time after that, (at least) a large area of SW Bolivia lower in altitude than this site in the Altiplano was under water at the same time (to connect it with the sea – Posnanski only suggested the lake level was higher). That means all the farming land in the site’s hinterland was drowned, and the prehistoric rock art of the region was being created underwater. You’d have to explain that away before your interpretation can be accepted. This is what is meant by evidence falsifying an interpretation – you have to follow through the wider consequences of accepting an “interesting idea”, rather than narrowly focussing on “looks like” impressions. There has been a lot of recent interest in the archaeology of Tiwanaku and its region and you’ll need to take that into account. That does not require “funding”, merely library time and in Santa Barbara I imagine you’ve access to one of these. And thinking about it.

I'd do that before assuming that your layman's common sense approach will produce the sort of results you hope for:
 But if we can prove my thesis there, basic assumptions of archaeology (about the peopling of the Americas and when that first occurred) and geophysics (that crust displacement did occur at least once in prehistory) would have to be corrected.
Current consensus in archaeology is based not on 'assumptions', but the actual evidence (which in this case I accept is somewhat difficult to unequivocally interpret - but this is no reason why Posnanski's 1945 speculations need be given any other credence, since they are based on assumptions (nota bene) which have been discounted by later work and discussions. And it is not 'your' thesis here, but still Posnanski's- all you have done is give it a twist by adding other stuff from other para-archaeologies such as Donnelly's.

 You say:
"I'm a bit skeptical of carbon dates generally", 
 I’m not, only in the way some people try to use them. Source criticism is the key. I think you probably are 'sceptical' of what you do not understand and which gets in the way of your freestyle means of making 'entertaining' stories about the past. And yes, the C14 dates from Tiwanaku do rather go against your interpretation (ZiółkowskiM. S.PazdurM. F.KrzanowskiA. and MichczyńskiA., eds. 1994 Andes. Radiocarbon Database for Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Andean Archaeological Mission of the Institute of Archaeology, Warsaw University and Gliwice Radiocarbon Laboratory of the Institute of Physics, Silesian Technical UniversityWarsaw-Gliwice1604.Google Scholar - a publication I was involved in)

But if you have the evidence collated already, you could start by publishing that 'proof' in an appropriate place. That can only help in the efforts to raise funds and interest in your interpretations. If you have argued the point cogently and in a way that will withstand challenge, and quoted supporting evidence, then there is no reason why it should not be published.

Transoceanic ‘similarities’
"similar geoglyphs in Central Russia and Peru (the former revealed to us by our Russian participant), similar megalithic formation in Russia and Ecuador "
”Looks like” surmising. Pure von Daniken.

"similarities between Jomon pottery and pottery recovered in Ecuador, etc."
I know, the Valdivia Culture, this was discussed by archaeologists in the 1970s, but since then, the balance of evidence has shifted opinions away from the ideas, except in your world of ‘alternative science’ which here seems to remain unaware of the literature and discussion of the last forty years, remaining in a wishful-thinking timewarp. Get up to date with your research BEFORE you start creating “theories” that attempt to challenge “orthodoxy”. There is a reason why scholarship comes to the conclusions it does, and to challenge them, you first need to know and understand what they are. Duh.

"a Sumerian account that matches what pureblood Inca descendants told me directly"
There's that mystic blood-link again. Read Sumerian do you? I’d be careful of claims like this after the ‘Sirius Mystery’ issue that on careful analysis proves to be pretty easily explicable as pseudoscientific speculation and reflecting the cultural transfer of relatively modern astronomical information. Here too you assume ‘natives’ are ignorant of what you as an educated white man know, and then go on to claim privileged knowledge that you are withholding. Problematic.

"overlap between Mohenjo-Daro script and Easter Island rongo-rongo I find compelling. "
”Looks like” again – because I am willing to bet you actually can read neither of these pictographic scripts and know nothing of the languages they record. I do not read either myself, but it is easy to check that Mohenjo Daro and the Indus Valley script ended about 1300 BC and the settlement of Easter Island seems to have taken place in the 13th cent AD – so there is a 2600 year gap between them that your “looks like hypothesis” ignores.

"I suspect pyramid technology was an ancient, and possibly alien, super-technology, resulting from a grasp of physics beyond our own. "
Quelle surprise
. It seems to me that heaping stones on top of each other is not self-evidently an alien idea and hardly super-technology. I suspect you’ve just been watching the wrong TV programmes and doing your ‘research’ on the iffier parts of the internet. The fact that you intend producing some of your ‘findings’ as a (by your own admission) sensationalist (Hollywood?) film says a lot about how you think academic knowledge is built, verified and challenged (whether that is by ‘citizen scientists’ or others).

"Apparently, by the way, there is a masonry pyramid in a remote part of the Urals in central Russia. I aspire to go there eventually."
This one [sigh] Have a closer look using Google Earth, check it out - it's a shadow site 17-19 metres across, and no sign of any anthropomorphic feature around – not surprisingly, it’s pretty cold up there, hardly a good setting for any advanced civilization. I do not see how you work out that it is “masonry’. Looks like a rock formation to me, but what do I know after all those archaeological aerial photo interpretation courses? How about looking on Google Earth in the time layer for 23/10/2003 when you’ll see from the oblique shadow that it is NOT a ‘pyramid’. Rather a vertical cairn if it is anything, now zoom out and see where it is in relation to where the boundary of three former Soviet administrative regions meet… on the adjacent mountain peak. Coincidence? It took me less than two minutes to check out what lies behind your statement, and come to the conclusion that its nonsense. But, it seems from this that there is (at least one) funny shaped rock in the Urals. Go and see it if you like (blooming long way from the road), but do not come over to an archaeologist’s blog telling him you know more about ‘pyramids’ than the whole body of archaeological thought on the basis of such Internet-fed nonsense talk, OK?

"I also think that "Solutreans" are the same as the "Clovis hunters." " That figures, it goes with all the rest of what you say you also believe. I think there is enough evidence in favour of them not being... here.

"As another example, we believe there are Minoan or Egyptian copper freighters in Lake Superior."
and not ‘Giant Ships from Atlantis’? This is an example of “belief” rather than evidence again. And irrational belief, at that. Why are they going all the way across the Atlantic and back (Columbus took around 2.5 + 1.5 months to do it the first time) when they’ve plentiful sources of the same material close to hand in Cyprus and the Laurion? We have isotopic signature evidence of this – and as I say none for lake Superior copper (I know this because I edited a whole publication in Poland on the use of this technique well over a decade ago) - its not online I think, but see here.

As I said in the previous post, it seems to me that far cheaper than a hunt of the massive Lake for traces of wooden shipwrecks that may not be there, just get permission to do controlled sampling of (say) 150 bronze Age metal objects from one side of the Atlantic and show that the isotope footprint is the same as the copper sources in the area you are interested in. That would be an obvious first step in proving your theory.

Also if you are proposing the site of Tiwanaku flourished through the trade in tin to the ancient world, I’d like you to tell us how those ships carryng that tin left the Pacific seacoast and ended up going across (I assume) the Atlantic to the Old World? Terra del Fuego, or Northwest Passage?

In General
"by saying that just what I believe can be fairly readily proven at Tiahuanaco would be of revolutionary import. "
But since you say you’ve already marshalled this evidence from pre-existing publications, instead of writing tweets and blog comments you could write that up for publication, and on that basis put together a grant application containing a specific research programme for a team that can get that funding you crave.

"Oh and yes, much of this goes back to [Ignatius] Donnelly. He was panned as a pseudo-scientist. I think he was a genius, and that many of his claims were at least roughly true."
Well, we’ll have to agree to differ on that! Apart from anything else, he was hindered by having only the evidence available in the 1880s and the scholarly paradigms of the same period, so it’s unlikely that anything he wrote would have any more relevance to modern thought than if he’d written in 1880 on sub-nuclear particles or space travel.

"we may be in a position to fund much hard scientific investigation into areas that the mainstream has largely ignored."
Without, it seems considering the possibility that (a) you do not seem very aware of what 'mainstream' has established and how, and (b) there are very good reasons that today we do not actually give much credence to the sort of ideas that people like you suggest (and the sort of “evidence” you cite in support – see above).

What you are doing is following a (probably perfectly understandable) desire to make some great discovery of your own, one that changes the way we think about the world, maybe present some ideas (like your Flood story) that will make you fame and fortune. And why, do you think, there are not ambitious young people who’ve actually studied archaeology that are not intending to do exactly the same? I am sure you will say that it’s because they are “stifled” by academe, afraid or whatever. And perhaps it is closer to the truth to say that there is another good reason to believe that the pyramids were not built by giants, gnomes and little green men from Atlantis and other such things that you hold true.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Transparency/ Accountability and The Kiss of Death for Discussion of Best Practice in UK Metal Detecting

re: Bardney Area Siliqua Hoard Forum Thread Censored by Facadists (below)

Well, "what a surprise", now if you click on the links I gave in my discussion of current ideas of artefact hunting best practice in a Lincolnshire field (the recovery of the 'Bardney Area' hoard) to the posts on a metal detecting forum near you I quote in order to justify what I had written (and why), they've all been disappeared - even the ones urging the artefact hunters busily emptying the site to exercise best practice... Who would'a thunk it eh? All those responsible detectorists not wanting us to see how actually 'responsible' they are? Now, why would that be Mr Rix? 

He was complaining the other day that one of his members had posted a link to the Portable Antiquities Collecting and Heritage Issues blog on the forum, which gave me 'publicity', I post lots of links on my blog that, by the same token, gives his niche forum a lot of publicity - people go over to look at what interesting topics they are talking about there.  I wonder why M.Rix does not think that people looking at his forum and thinking about what they find there is actually good publicity for his forum and hobby? Stupid defensive people protecting their 'rights' to clandestinely empty the archaeological record into their pockets. Shame on them. Shame on those that support this.

 And this is where the PAS "storytelling" gets us.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Bardney Area Siliqua Hoard Forum Thread Censored by Facadists

The Metal Detectorist  and the Truth
To maintain the 'responsible detecting - never done wrong' facade of UK artefact hunting takes a lot of work. You see, artefact hunting there in general is not being done in any way that can actually be regarded as 'responsible', and it is difficult to make a sow's ear somehow look like a silk purse. But M.Rix listowner of a metal detecting forum near you is having a go, by deleting some of the posts I referred to in my own report on what I saw there about a siliqua hoard before he began deleting his own members' honest words:
Re: Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!  Post by mrix » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:01 pm
jcmaloney wrote: ↑Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:43 pm So a post about the consequences of doing things "wrong" gets removed.......... yet one advising "get a ditching bucket" stays?? Don`t know why I bother at times.
I am not sure if you have heard the expression all publicity is good publicity, all posts related to anti metal detecting blogs will be removed here at the MDF as its only creating far more awareness for these sites and simply promoting them [emoticon] [emoticon] To be honest I am a little shocked you posted a link to one of these blogs [emoticon] [emoticon]
Despite what chattering monkeys may assert, this blog is not an 'anti metal detecting blog', its name is Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues, and it discusses Collection-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological record as a heritage issue. One would have thought that responsible artefact hunters would be reflecting on precisely the same kind ofissues raised here. Of course, they would not if the term 'RD' was just a facade, intended to fob off as much critical comment of IRresponsible behaviour for as long as possible. What in fact this 'site' is creating awareness of is the gap between what some people say about UK artefact hunting and what artefact hunters actually do and try to hide from the rest of us. No amount of internal censorship in the artefact hunting community will alter the fact of that huge gap. Tekkies may pretend to themselves that there is no gap, the world is flat and pigs will fly. the rest of us can see that delusion for what it actually is.

I think there is also an element of Animal Farm here isn't there? M.Rix feels he can visit this blog and remain untarnished by the experience (like the pigs in Mr Jones' house), but the lesser mortals under him (like the sheep) cannot be allowed to even know there is something here and must be kept away as much as possible. Orwell would be disturbed by Mr Rix's attempts to censor what his flock read, by his lack of trust in their ability to sort out by referring to many sources of opinion, what really IS a 'responsible' approach to the archaeological record, and what is primarily just selfish greed and ignorance. 

So, the metal detectorists will not be aware of what Rescue is saying about their hobby and the PAS then...? Mr Rix hopes to keep it that way. 

The Ball is in the Archaeologists' Court

In relation to another post on this PACHI blog, Nigel Swift has drawn my attention to a revealing and still all-too-relevant text on Heritage Action's blog: 'Mr Lincoln’s two opposite views of metal detecting (Heritage Journal 24/10/2015). I was re-reading that and then came to one of my own comments below it, when I remarked three years ago:
The quiet is I think the lead up to the next change which should be “what should we do?”. The obvious answer is change the law and change public attitudes to the pilfering of the archaeological record for private entertainment and profit. Have Britain’s archaeologists got the guts for it?
Well RESCUE have, what about the rest of them? The CBA for example

Vignette: balls in their court

The 'Bardney Area' Siliqua Hoard

Detecting at the end of the
 rainbow (photo Crldnll's
father in law) 
On a metal detecting forum near you, detectorist 'crldnll' from Lincolnshire wrote last year about finding a siliqua hoard: 'Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!' (thread started Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:08 am) 
Morning all, An absolutely cracking week for me and the father in law - we've been lucky to find some beautiful items over the last 5 years but we've blown them out of the water with the most recent... absolute once in a lifetime!  [...]  Out of the mud popped a beautifully crisp Silver Roman Siliqua - every part of it was as clear as the day it was minted. We spent a few minutes thinking wow and then both simultaneously looked at each other and said 'there could be more'... [...] and we both hopped back over to the find spot and began searching in all directions. Then it began... he found 4 in quick succession, followed by another 4 by me... it was constant, all in a very small area, every few steps, every signal we came across was the same crisp sound (80's on the deus) most of which were only 2-3 inches deep, and each find brought the same 'Can this be happening' stare across to each other. It got to the stage where we knew what we were going to find prior to digging ... the strangest but most fantastic feeling - we couldn't believe what was happening - it really didn't feel real.
Yet, somehow they did not decide to call in help.
All in all, we found 24 between us on the first day - we'd started quite late (3pm), so had to drag ourselves off before the sun went down - so hard to do this, as we knew there could be so many more. Got home, and surprisingly the wife and mother in law were interested for once... had a lovely look at them all and then made the plan to go back first thing in the morning. Got in touch with the local flo - and being the brilliant chap he is... he replied at 10pm on the Sunday evening agreeing to meet us there the next day. Monday morning, we headed back to the site, this time armed with some red and white tape, garden canes and a full pack of McVities ginger nuts... We headed straight to the find spot and marked all 4 corners of the outermost coins - we ended up with an area around 25m x 30m and then set out to go back through this area to collect any more. Almost immediately, it started again, silver after silver, every dig we made gave the sale result - yet more Silver Roman Siliqua - and strangely, absolutely nothing else... gone were the cartridges and tiny slithers of lead. Afternoon came and the Flo arrived - by this time we had 35 in total - he was over the moon, loved the coins, identified most of them and discussed the find spot at length - gave us the advice we needed and advised it is very likely there could be a pot bursting at the rim just a few inches down. He told us to keep going and update him as and when things come up. The day ended, we were absolutely shattered and gasping for a cuppa! 
He seems to have misinterpreted in a somewhat whimsical manner something the FLO (is this Adam Daubney?) had said on site to produce some ahistorical folksy narrativisation of their own:
[...] these coins are either deposited by the Romans prior to the collapse of the Empire or by the Saxons - and the way of telling which was down to whether the coins were heavily clipped. If not clipped, it is most likely by the Romans, if clipped, then most likely by the Saxons who would've clipped to sceat size and used as currency.
Except the sceattas of England, Frisia and Jutland are dated to the 680s onwards (to replace the thrymsas 630s+) - leaving a more-or-less 270 year gap between the one and the other... This is how much detectorists like this are 'learning about 'istry' from digging up lots of artefacts they do not really understand the background of. The finder and his live-in Dad add:
Advice please.... We are planning to hire/purchase a 'hoard hunting machine' or surveying equipment in hope of giving some insight as to whether or not something else lies below. Another option is we scrape back the surface (from flos advice) so fingers crossed the landowner is up for it. Either way, I cannot wait... It has been absolutely fantastic to have gone through this... it really is the stuff of dreams! 
Further down the thread we see this:
Re: Hoard!Post by cammann » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:13 pm Amazing finds and responsible recovery. You're a credit to the hobby.
No mention is made of any documentation made of the distribution of the signals. Let's see their documentation, how credit-worthy that is. One scatter or more? [It is not in the thread, but apparently they used a GPS to plot the coins]

Some of the coins (imageshack)

The thread peters out Mon Oct 16, 2017 but then is taken up again almost exactly a year later (no mention of the Treasure process in the interim):  Re: Hoard! Update 13/10 - New pics of all! Post by crldnll » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:19 pm
 Managed to convince my father in law to pop out on the hoard field today before the rain came and boy was he glad! Also probably be the last time as the crops on it's way up. [...] Bang smack in the middle of the hoard site, my father in laws first signal [...] and a crazy 10-12 inches down, out popped a Roman Siliqua - an absolute stunner too! [...]  he found another 2 [...]  I was amazed at the depth we were getting as none of the other setups picked anything up - we'd have walked straight over them. Admittedly we have obviously been doing this area more thoroughly over the last 2 years given previous finds - but just goes to show what the machine can do and if you're ears are listening out for the right sounds. There has to be a pot somewhere - having a meeting with the landowner when he gets back of holiday to discuss options - Excited! So I think we're now at 70 of these...
By now, there's no mention of the FLO being involved. Anyhow, he's got his 'mates', the 'guys', who have lots of advice how to get the lot out without any interferemnce. Allectus from Essex suggests (Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:10 pm):
Has the farmer got a machine with a ditching bucket to take the top 6" or so off? If not and the farmers ok with it, the hire per day on the small machines is not that terrible [emoticon] Stay lucky [emoticon]
The reply? (crldnll Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:51 pm)
Thats the plan - Luckily got a few builder friends - one has all sorts of machines and has already given the thumbs up to use... meeting landowner this coming week so fingers crossed!  
But then a 'Fred" (father-in-law?) adds:
Re: Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!Post by fred » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:24 pm: [...] Yeah. Our hoard is relatively small so we are doing it by hand - very, very slowly! [emotican] So far nothing deeper down except a single silver ingot so it might just be a small ploughed out one though.
And so the hoard findspot trashing enthusiasm goes on until two posts currently at the end of the thread:
Re: Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!Post by f8met (Cambs and Suffolk) Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:57 pm:  You could always speak to your FLO and see if they have any suggestions as if there is a deep hoard they may want to help dig it. Dave Deus, 9" and 11" black coil 2018 49 Hammered 
Re: Hoard! Update 12/10/18 - A few more!Post by jcmaloney Wed Oct 17, 2018 7:44 am:
 Just a note before anyone "goes in with a ditching bucket" it would be prudent to contact your FLO and get advice.
If you go in "gung ho" with a digger and bucket you can easily remove any context even if the initial finds are scattered.
Such "bad practice " is currently making far too many headlines for the hobby.
 Proceed with thought and caution.
Making headlines for the hobby sounds more like an endorsement for heritage bloggers like myself and Heritage Action, as the PAS tend to keep very quiet about the whole thing when things go wrong... It gets in the way of the patronising head patting and comradely back-slapping.  I would point critics of our acvtivities to statements like that on the detecting forum, tekkies are very aware of the critical eyes cast upon them and sensitive about somebody in their number giving the game away, thus we find tekkies themselves spreading awareness. Jobsworth tekkie-headpatting archies will forgive me for pointing out that the PAS was set up twenty expensive years ago precisely to be making 'best practice' headlines from day one. Only now are the tekkies being made aware of this issue? And is it only because of the bad press heritage bloggers give what they do wrong? Perhaps we need more, not less, heritage blogging.

This seems to be the hoard Record ID: LIN-CDD02A.  Discovery dates: Sunday 1st October 2017 - Saturday 21st October 2017 Treasure case number: 2017T909. No pot. More to the point, no ingot. No context of deposition reported. What does this all mean?

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