INTRODUCTION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
In 1979, researchers at the Laetoli, Tanzania, site in East Africa discovered
footprints in volcanic ash deposits over 3.6 million years old. Mary
Leakey and others said the prints were indistinguishable from those of
modern humans. To these scientists, this meant only that the human ancestors
of 3.6 million years ago had remarkably modern feet. But ccording to other
scientists, such as physical anthropologist R. H. Tuttle of the University
of Chicago, fossil bones of the known australopithecines of 3.6 million
years ago show they had feet that were distinctly apelike. Hence they were
incompatible with the Laetoli prints. In an article in the March 1990 issue
of Natural History, Tuttle confessed that "we are left with somewhat of
a mystery." It seems permissible, therefore, to consider a possibility
neither Tuttle nor Leakey mentioned--that creatures with anatomically modern
human bodies to match their anatomically modern human feet existed some
3.6 million years ago in East Africa. Perhaps, as
suggested in the illustration on the opposite page, they coexisted with more apelike creatures. As intriguing as this archeological possibility may be, current ideas about human evolution forbid it.
Knowledgeable persons will warn against positing the existence of anatomically
modern humans millions of years ago on the slim basis of the Laetoli footprints.
But there is further evidence. Over the past few decades, scientists in
Africa have uncovered fossil bones that look remarkably human. In 1965,
Bryan Patterson and W. W. Howells found a surprisingly modern humerus (upper
arm bone) at Kanapoi, Kenya. Scientists judged the humerus to be over 4
million years old. Henry M. McHenry and
Robert S. Corruccini of the University of California said the Kanapoi humerus was "barely distinguishable from modern Homo." Similarly, Richard Leakey said the ER 1481 femur (thighbone) from Lake Turkana, Kenya, found in 1972, was indistinguishable from that of modern humans. Scientists normally assign the ER 1481 femur, which is about 2 million years old, to prehuman Homo habilis. But since the ER 1481 femur was found by itself, one cannot rule out the possibility that the rest of the skeleton was also anatomically modern. Interestingly enough, in 1913 the German scientist Hans Reck found at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, a complete anatomically modern human skeleton in strata over 1 million years old, inspiring decades of
Here again, some will caution us not to set a few isolated and controversial examples against the overwhelming amount of noncontroversial evidence showing that anatomically modern humans evolved from more apelike creatures fairly recently--about 100,000 years ago, in Africa, and, in the view of some, in other parts of the world as well.
But it turns out we have not exhausted our resources with the Laetoli footprints, the Kanapoi humerus, and the ER 1481 femur. Over he past eight years, Richard Thompson and I, with the assistance of our researcher have amassed an extensive body of evidence that calls into question current theories of human evolution. Some of this evidence, like the Laetoli footprints, is fairly recent. But much of it was reported by scientists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. And as you can see, our discussion of this evidence fills up quite a large book.
Without even looking at this older body of evidence, some will assume
that there must be something wrong with it--that it was properly disposed
of by scientists long ago, for very good reasons. Richard and I have looked
rather deeply into that possibility. We have concluded, however, that the
quality of this controversial evidence is no better or worse than the
supposedly noncontroversial evidence usually cited in favor of current views about human evolution.
But Forbidden Archeology is more than a well-documented catalog of unusual facts. It is also a sociological, philosophical, and historical critique of the scientific method, as applied to the question of human origins and antiquity.
We are not sociologists, but our approach in some ways resembles that taken by practitioners of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK), such as Steve Woolgar, Trevor Pinch, Michael Mulkay, Harry Collins, Bruno Latour, and Michael Lynch.
Each of these scholars has a unique perspective on SSK, but they would all probably agree with the following programmatic statement. Scientists' conclusions do not identically correspond to states and processes of an objective natural reality. Instead, such conclusions reflect the real social processes of scientists as much as, more than, or even rather than what goes on in nature.
The critical approach we take in Forbidden Archeology also resembles
that taken by philosophers of science such as Paul Feyerabend, who holds
that science has attained too privileged a position in the intellectual
field, and by historians of science such as J. S. Rudwick, who has explored
in detail the nature of scientific controversy. As does Rudwick in The
Devonian Controversy, we use narrative to present our material, which encompasses not one controversy but many controversies--controversies long resolved, controversies as yet unresolved, and controversies now in the making. This has necessitated extensive quoting from primary and secondary sources, and giving rather detailed accounts of the twists and turns of complex paleoanthropological debates.
For those working in disciplines connected with human origins and antiquity, Forbidden Archeology provides a well- documented compendium of reports absent from many current references and not otherwise easily obtainable.
One of the last authors to discuss the kind of reports found in Forbidden
Archeology was Marcellin Boule. In his book Fossil Men (1957), Boule gave
a decidedly negative review. But upon examining the original reports, we
found Boule's total skepticism unjustified. In Forbidden Archeology, we
provide primary source material that will allow modern readers to form
their own opinions about the evidence Boule dismissed. We also introduce a great many cases that Boule neglected to mention.
From the evidence we have gathered, we conclude, sometimes in language devoid of ritual tentativeness, that the now-dominant assumptions about human origins are in need of drastic revision. We also find that a process of knowledge filtration has left current workers with a radically incomplete collection of facts.
We anticipate that many workers will take Forbidden Archeology as an invitation to productive discourse on (1) the nature and treatment of evidence in the field of human origins and (2) the conclusions that can most reasonably drawn from this evidence.
In the first chapter of Part I of Forbidden Archeology, we survey the history and current state of scientific ideas about human evolution. We also discuss some of the epistemological principles we employ in our study of this field. Principally, we are concerned with a double standard in the treatment of evidence.
We identify two main bodies of evidence. The first is a body of controversial evidence (A), which shows the existence of anatomically modern humans in the uncomfortably distant past. The second is a body of evidence (B), which can be interpreted as supporting the currently dominant views that anatomically modern humans evolved fairly recently, about 100,000 years ago in Africa, and perhaps elsewhere.
We also identify standards employed in the evaluation of paleoanthropological evidence. After detailed study, we found that if these standards are applied equally to A and B, then we must accept both A and B or reject both A and B. If we accept both A and B, then we have evidence placing anatomically modern humans millions of years ago, coexisting with more apelike hominids. If we reject both A and B, then we deprive ourselves of the evidential foundation for making any pronouncements whatsoever about human origins and antiquity.
Historically, a significant number of professional scientists once accepted the evidence in category A. But a more influential group of scientists, who applied standards of evidence more strictly to A than to B, later caused A to be rejected and B to be preserved. This differential application of standards for the acceptance and rejection of evidence constitutes a knowledge filter that obscures the real picture of human origins and antiquity.
In the main body of Part I (Chapters 2-6), we look closely at the vast amount of controversial evidence that contradicts current ideas about human evolution. We recount in detail how this evidence has been systematically suppressed, ignored, or forgotten, even though it is qualitatively (and quantitatively) equivalent to evidence favoring currently accepted views on human origins. When we speak of suppression of evidence, we are not referring to scientific conspirators carrying out a satanic plot to deceive the public. Instead, we are talking about an ongoing social process of knowledge filtration that appears quite innocuous but has a substantial cumulative effect. Certain categories of evidence simply disappear from view, in our opinion unjustifiably.
Chapter 2 deals with anomalously old bones and shells showing cut marks and signs of intentional breakage. To this day, scientists regard such bones and shells as an important category of evidence, and many archeological sites have been established on this kind of evidence alone.
In the decades after Darwin introduced his theory, numerous scientists
discovered incised and broken animal bones and shells suggesting that tool-using
humans or human precursors existed in the Pliocene (2-5 million years ago),
the Miocene (5-25 million years ago), and even earlier. In analyzing cut
and broken bones and shells, the discoverers carefully considered and ruled
out alternative explanations--such as the action of animals or geological
pressure--before concluding that humans were
responsible. In some cases, stone tools were found along with the cut and broken bones or shells.
A particularly striking example in this category is a shell displaying
a crude yet recognizably human face carved on its outer surface. Reported
by geologist H. Stopes to the British Association for the Advancement of
Science in 1881, this shell, from the Pliocene Red Crag formation in England,
is over 2 million years old. According to standard views, humans capable
of this level of artistry did not arrive in Europe until about 30,000 or
40,000 years ago. Furthermore, they supposedly did not arise in
their African homeland until about 100,000 years ago.
Concerning evidence of the kind reported by Stopes, Armand de Quatrefages wrote in his book Hommes Fossiles et Hommes Sauvages (1884): "The objections made to the existence of man in the Pliocene and Miocene seem to habitually be more related to theoretical considerations than direct observation."
The most rudimentary stone tools, the eoliths ("dawn stones") are the subject of Chapter 3. These imlements, found in unexpectedly old geological contexts, inspired protracted debate in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
For some, eoliths were not always easily recognizable as tools. Eoliths were not shaped into symmetrical implemental forms. Instead, an edge of a natural stone flake was chipped to make it suitable for a particular task, such as scraping, cutting, or chopping. Often, the working edge bore signs of use.
Critics said eoliths resulted from natural forces, like tumbling in stream beds. But defenders of eoliths offered convincing counterarguments that natural forces could not have made unidirectional chipping on just one side of a working edge.
In the late nineteenth century, Benjamin Harrison, an amateur archeologist,
found eoliths on the Kent Plateau in southeastern England. Geological evidence
suggests that the eoliths were manufactured in the Middle or Late Pliocene,
about 2-4 million ago. Among the supporters of Harrison's eoliths were
Alfred Russell Wallace, cofounder with Darwin of the theory of
evolution by natural selection; Sir John Prestwich, one of England's most eminent geologists; and Ray E. Lankester, a director of the British Museum (Natural History).
Although Harrision found most of his eoliths in surface deposits of Pliocene gravel, he also found many below ground level during an excavation financed and directed by the British Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition to eoliths, Harrison found at various places on the Kent Plateau more advanced stone tools (paleoliths) of similar Pliocene antiquity.
In the early part of the twentieth century, J. Reid Moir, a fellow of
the Royal Anthropological Institute and president of the Prehistoric Society
of East Anglia, found eoliths (and more advanced stone tools) in England's
Red Crag formation. The tools were about 2.0-2.5 million years old. Some
of Moir's tools were discovered in the detritus beds beneath the Red Crag
could be anywhere from 2.5 to 55 million years old.
Moir's finds won support from one of the most vocal critics of eoliths,
Henri Breuil, then regarded as one of the world's preeminent authorities
on stone tools. Another supporter was paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn,
of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. And in 1923, an
international commission of scientists journeyed to England to investigate
Moir's principal discoveries and pronounced them genuine.
But in 1939, A. S. Barnes published an influential paper, in which he
analyzed the eoliths found by Moir and others in terms of the angle of
flaking observed on them. Barnes claimed his method could distinguish human
flaking from flaking by natural causes. On this basis, he dismissed all
the eoliths he studied, including Moir's, as the product of natural forces.
Since then, scientists have used Barnes's method to deny the human manufacture
of other stone tool industries. But in recent years,
authorities on stone tools such as George F. Carter, Leland W. Patterson, and A. L. Bryan have disputed Barnes's methodology and its blanket application. This suggests the need for a reexamination of the European eoliths.
Significantly, early stone tools from Africa, such as those from the lower levels of Olduvai Gorge, appear identical to the rejected European eoliths. Yet they are accepted by the scientific community without question. This is probably because they fall within, and help support, the conventional spatio- temporal framework of human evolution.
But other Eolithic industries of unexpected antiquity continue to encounter
strong opposition. For example, in the 1950s, Louis Leakey found stone
tools over 200,000 years old at Calico in southern California. According
to tandard views, humans did not enter the subarctic regions of the New
World until about 12,000 years ago. Mainstream scientists responded to
with predictable claims that the objects found there were natural products or that they were not really 200,000 years old. But there is sufficient reason to conclude that the Calico finds are genuinely old human artifcts. Although most of the Calico implements are crude, some, including a beaked graver, are more advanced.
In Chapter 4, we discuss a category of implements that we call crude
paleoliths. In the case of eoliths, chipping is confined to the working
edge of a naturally broken piece of stone. But the makers of the crude
paleoliths deliberately struck flakes from stone cores and then shaped
them into more recognizable types of tools. In some cases, the cores themselves
were shaped into tools. As we have seen, crude paleoliths also turn up
along with eoliths. But at the sites discussed in Chapter 4, the paleoliths
are more dominant in the assemblages.
In the category of crude paleoliths, we include Miocene tools (5-25 million years old) found in the late nineteenth century by Carlos Ribeiro, head of the Geological Survey of Portugal. At an international conference of archeologists and anthropologists held in Lisbon, a committee of scientists investigated one of the sites where Ribeiro had found implements. One of the scientists found a stone tool even more advanced than the better of Ribeiro's specimens. Comparable to accepted Late Pleistocene tools of the Mousterian type, it was firmly embedded in a Miocene conglomerate, in circumstances confirming its Miocene antiquity.
Crude paleoliths were also found in Miocene formations at Thenay, France. S. Laing, an English science writer, noted: "On the whole, the evidence for these Miocene implements seems to be very conclusive, and the objections to have hardly any other ground than the reluctance to admit the great antiquity of man."
Scientists also found crude paleoliths of Miocene age at Aurillac, France. And at Boncelles, Belgium, A. Rutot uncovered an extensive collection of paleoliths of Oligocene age (25 to 38 million years old).
In Chapter 5, we examine very advanced stone implements found in unexpectedly old geological contexts. Whereas the implements discussed in Chapters 3 and 4 could conceivably be the work of human precursors such as Homo erectus or Homo habilis, given current estimates of their capabilities, the implements of Chapter 5 are unquestionably the work of anatomically modern humans.
Florentino Ameghino, a respected Argentine paleontologist, found stone
tools, signs of fire, broken mammal bones, and a human vertebra in a Pliocene
formation at Monte Hermoso, Argentina. Ameghino made numerous similar discoveries
in Argentina, attracting the attention of scientists around the world.
Despite Ameghino's unique theories about a South American
origin for the hominids, his actual discoveries are still worth considering.
In 1912, Ales Hrdlicka, of the Smithsonian Institution, published a lengthy, but not very reasonable, attack on Ameghino's work. Hrdlicka asserted that all of Ameghino's finds were from recent Indian settlements.
In response, Carlos Ameghino, brother of Florentino Ameghino, carried out new investigations at Miramar, on the Argentine coast south of Buenos Aires. There he found a series of stone implements, including bolas, and signs of fire. A commission of geologists confirmed the implements' position in the Chapadmalalan formation, which modern geologists say is 3-5 million years old. Carlos Ameghino also found at Miramar a stone arrowhead firmly embedded in the femur of a Pliocene species of Toxodon, an extinct South American mammal.
Ethnographer Eric Boman disputed Carlos Ameghino's discoveries but also unintentionally helped confirm them. In 1920, Carlos Ameghino's collector, Lorenzo Parodi, found a stone implement in the Pliocene seaside barranca (cliff) at Miramar and left it in place. Boman was one of several scientists invited by Ameghino to witness the implement's extraction. After the implement (a bola stone) was photographed and removed, another discovery was made. "At my direction," wrote Boman, "Parodi continued to attack the barranca with a pick at the same point where the bola stone was discovered, when suddenly and unexpectedly, there appeared a second stone ball. . . . It is more like grinding stone than a bola." Boman found yet another implement 200 yards away. Confounded, Boman could only hint in his written report that the implements had been planted by Parodi. While this might conceivably have been true of the first implement, it is hard to explain the other two in this way. In any case, Boman produced no evidence whatsoever that Parodi, a longtime employee of the Buenos Aires Museum of Natural History, had ever behaved fraudulently.
The kinds of implements found by Carlos Ameghino at Miramar (arrowheads
and bolas) are usually considered the work of Homo sapiens sapiens. Taken
at face value, the Miramar finds therefore demonstrate the presence of
anatomically modern humans in South America over 3 million years ago.
Interestingly enough, in 1921 M. A. Vignati discovered in the Late Pliocene
Chapadmalalan formation at Miramar a fully human fossil jaw fragment.
In the early 1950s, Thomas E. Lee of the National Museum of Canada found
advanced stone tools in glacial deposits at Sheguiandah, on Manitoulin
Island in northern Lake Huron. Geologist John Sanford of Wayne State University
argued that the oldest Sheguiandah tools were at least 65,000 years old
and might be as much as 125,000 years old. For those adhering to
standard views on North American prehistory, such ages were unacceptable.
Thomas E. Lee complained: "The site's discoverer [Lee] was hounded from
his Civil Service position into prolonged unemployment; publication outlets
were cut off; the evidence was misrepresented by several prominent authors
. . . ; the tons of artifacts vanished into storage bins of the National
Museum of Canada; for refusing to fire the discoverer, the Director of
National Museum, who had proposed having a monograph on the site published, was himself fired and driven into exile; official positions of prestige and power were exercised in an effort to gain control over just six Sheguiandah specimens that had not gone under cover; and the site has been turned into a tourist resort. . . . Sheguiandah would have forced embarrassing
admissions that the Brahmins did not know everything. It would have forced the rewriting of almost every book in the business. It had to be killed. It was killed."
The treatment received by Lee is not an isolated case. In the 1960s, anthropologists uncovered advanced stone tools at Hueyatlaco, Mexico. Geologist Virginia Steen-McIntyre and other members of a U.S. Geological Survey team obtained an age of about 250,000 years for the sites implement-bearing layers. This challenged not only standard views of New World anthropology but also the whole standard picture of human origins. Humans capable of making the kind of tools found at Hueyatlaco are not thought to have come into existence until around 100,000 years ago in Africa.
Virginia Steen-McIntyre experienced difficulty in getting her dating
study on Hueyatlaco published. "The problem as I see it is much bigger
than Hueyatlaco," she wrote to Estella Leopold, associate editor of Quaternary
Research. "It concerns the manipulation of scientific thought through the
suppression of 'Enigmatic Data,' data that challenges the prevailing mode
of thinking. Hueyatlaco certainly does that! Not being an anthropologist, I didn't realize the full significance of our dates back in 1973, nor how deeply woven into our thought the current theory of human evolution has become. Our work at Hueyatlaco has been rejected by most archaeologists because it contradicts that theory, period."
This pattern of data suppression has a long history. In 1880, J. D.
Whitney, the state geologist of California, published a lengthy review
of advanced stone tools found in California gold mines. The implements,
including spear points and stone mortars and pestles, were found deep in
mine shafts, underneath thick, undisturbed layers of lava, in formations
that geologists now say are from 9 million to over 55 million years old.
W. H. Holmes of the Smithsonian Institution, one of the most vocal nineteenth-
century critics of the California finds, wrote: "Perhaps if Professor Whitney had fully appreciated the story of human evoution as it is understood today, he would have hesitated to announce the conclusions formulated [that humans existed in very ancient times in North America], notwithstanding the imposing array of testimony with which he was confronted." In other words, if the facts do not agree with the favored theory, then such facts, even an imposing array of them, must be discarded.
In Chapter 6, we review discoveries of anomalously old skeletal remains of the anatomically modern human type. Perhaps the most interesting case is that of Castenedolo, Italy, where in the 1880s, G. Ragazzoni, a geologist, found fossil bones of several Homo sapiens sapiens individuals in layers of Pliocene sediment 3 to 4 million years old. Critics typically respond that the bones must have been placed into these Pliocene layers fairly recently by human burial. But Ragazzoni was alert to this possibility and carefully inspected the overlying layers. He found them undisturbed, with absolutely no sign of burial.
Modern scientists have used radiometric and chemical tests to attach recent ages to the Castenedolo bones and other anomalously old human skeletal remains. But, as we show in Appendix 1, these tests can be quite unreliable. The carbon 14 test is especially unreliable when applied to bones (such as the Castenedolo bones) that have lain in museums for decades. Under these circumstances, bones are exposed to contamination that could cause the carbon 14 test to yield abnormally young dates. Rigorous purification techniques are required to remove such contamination. Scientists did not employ these techniques in the 1969 carbon 14 testing of some of the Castenedolo bones, which yielded an age of less than a thousand years.
Although the carbon 14 date for the Castenedolo material is suspect, it must still be considered as relevant evidence. But it should be weighed along with the other evidence, including the original stratigraphic observations of Ragazzoni, a professional geologist. In this case, the stratigraphic evidence appears to be more conclusive.
Opposition, on theoretical grounds, to a human presence in the Pliocene is not a new phenomenon. Speaking of the Castenedolo finds and others of similar antiquity, the Italian scientist G. Sergi wrote in 1884: "By means of a despotic scientific prejudice, call it what you will, every discovery of human remains in the Pliocene has been discredited."
A good example of such prejudice is provided by R. A. S. Macalister,
who in 1921 wrote about the Castenedolo finds in a textbook on archeology:
"There must be something wrong somewhere." Noting that the Castenedolo
bones were anatomically modern, Macalister concluded: "If they really belonged
to the stratum in which they were found, this would imply an xtraordinarily
long standstill for evolution. It is much more likely that there is something
amiss with the observations." He further stated: "The acceptance of a Pliocene
date for the Castenedolo skeletons would create so many insoluble problems
that we can hardly hesitate in choosing between the alternatives of adopting
or rejecting their authenticity." This supports the primary
point we are trying to make in Forbidden Archeology, namely, that there exists in the scientific community a knowledge filter that screens out unwelcome evidence. This process of knowledge filtration has been going on for well over a century and continues right up to the present day.
Our discussion of anomalously old human skeletal remains brings us to the end of Part I, our catalog of controversial evidence. In Part II of Forbidden Archeology, we survey the body of accepted evidence that is generally used to support the now-dominant ideas about human evolution.
Chapter 7 focuses on the discovery of Pithecanthropus erectus by Eugene Dubois in Java during the last decade of the nineteenth century. Historically, the Java man discovery marks a turning point. Until then, there was no clear picture of human evolution to be upheld and defended. Therefore, a good number of scientists, most of them evolutionists, were actively considering a substantial body of evidene (cataloged in Part I) indicating that anatomically modern humans existed in the Pliocene and earlier. With the discovery of Java man, now classified as Homo erectus, the long-awaited missing link turned up in the Middle Pleistocene. As the Java man find won acceptance among evolutionists, the body of evidence for a human presence in more ancient times gradually slid into disrepute.
This evidence was not conclusively invalidated. Instead, at a certain point, scientists stopped talking and writing about it. It was incompatible with the idea that apelike Java man was a genuine human ancestor.
As an example of how the Java man discovery was used to suppress evidence
for a human presence in the Pliocene and earlier, the following statement
made by W. H. Holmes about the California finds reported by J. D. Whitney
is instructive. After asserting that Whitney's evidence "stands absolutely
alone," Holmes complained that "it implies a human race older by at least
one-half than Pithecanthropus erectus, which may be regarded as an incipient form of human creature only." Therefore, despite the good quality of Whitney's evidence, it had to be dismissed.
Interestingly enough, modern researchers have reinterpreted the original Java Homo erectus fossils. The famous bones reported by Dubois were a skullcap and femur. Although the two bones were found over 45 feet apart, in a deposit filled with bones of many other species, Dubois said they belonged to the same individual. But in 1973, M. H. Day and T. I. Molleson determined that the femur found by Dubois is different from other Homo erectus femurs and is in fact indistinguishable from anatomically modern human femurs. This caused Day and Molleson to propose that the femur was not connected with the Java man skull.
As far as we can see, this means that we now have an anatomically modern human femur and a Homo erectus skull in a Middle Pleistocene stratum that is considered to be 800,000 years old. This provides further evidence that anatomically modern humans coexisted with more apelike creatures in unexpectedly remote times. According to standard views, anatomically modern humans arose just 100,000 years ago in Africa. Of course, one can always propose that the anatomically modern human femur somehow got buried quite recently into the Middle Pleistocene beds at Trinil. But the same could also be said of the skull.
In Chapter 7, we also consider the many Java Homo erectus discoveries
reported by G. H. R. von Koenigswald and other researchers. Almost all
of these bones were surface finds, the true age of which is doubtful.
Nevertheless, scientists have assigned them Middle and Early Pleistocene
dates obtained by the potassium-argon method. The potassium-argon method
used to date layers of volcanic material, not bones. Because the Java Homo erectus fossils were found on the surface and not below the intact volcanic layers, it is misleading to assign them potassium-argon dates obtained from the volcanic layers.
The infamous Piltdown hoax is the subject of Chapter 8. Early in this
century, Charles Dawson, an amateur collector, found pieces of a human
skull near Piltdown. Subsequently, scientists such as Sir Arthur Smith
Woodward of the British Museum and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin participated
with Dawson in excavations that uncovered an apelike jaw, along with several
mammalian fossils of appropriate antiquity. Dawson and Woodward, believing
the combination of humanlike skull and apelike jaw represented a human
ancestor from the Early Pleistocene or Late Pliocene, announced their discovery
to the scientific world. For the next four decades, Piltdown man was accepted
as a genuine discovery and was integrated into the human
In the 1950s, J. S. Weiner, K. P. Oakley, and other British scientists exposed Piltdown man as an exceedingly clever hoax, carried out by someone with great scientific expertise. Some blamed Dawson or Teilhard de Chardin, but others have accused Sir Arthur Smith Woodward of the British Museum, Sir Arthur Keith of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal Collee of Surgeons, William Sollas of the geology department at Cambridge, and Sir Grafton Eliot Smith, a famous anatomist.
J. S. Weiner himself noted: "Behind it all we sense, therefore, a strong and impelling motive. . . . There could have been a mad desire to assist the doctrine of human evolution by furnishing the 'requisite' 'missing link'. . . . Piltdown might have offered irresistible attraction to some fanatical biologist."
Piltdown is significant in that it shows that there are instances of deliberate fraud in paleoanthropology, in addition to the general process of knowledge filtration.
Finally, there is substantial, though not incontrovertible, evidence that the Piltdown skull, at least, was a genuine fossil. The Piltdown gravels in which it was found are now thought to be 75,000 to 125,000 years old. An anatomically modern human skull of this age in England would be considered anomalous.
Chapter 9 takes us to China, where in 1929 Davidson Black reported the discovery of Peking man fossils at Zhoukoudian (formerly Choukoutien). Now classified as Homo erectus, the Peking man specimens were lost to science during the Second World War. Traditionally, Peking man has been depicted as a cave dweller who had mastered the arts of stone tool manufacturing, hunting, and building fires. But a certain number of influential researchers regarded this view as mistaken. They saw Peking man as the prey of a more advanced hominid, whose skeletal remains have not yet been discovered.
In 1983, Wu Rukang and Lin Shenglong published an article in Scientific American purporting to show an evolutionary increase in brain size during the 230,000 years of the Homo erectus occupation of the Zhoukoudian cave. But we show that this proposal was based on a misleading statistical presentation of the cranial evidence.
In addition to the famous Peking man discoveries, many more hominid finds have been made in China. These include, say Chinese workers, australopithecines, various grades of Homo erectus, Neanderthaloids, early Homo sapiens, and anatomically modern Homo sapiens. The dating of these hominids is problematic. They occur at sites along with fossils of mammals broadly characteristic of the Pleistocene. In reading various reports, we noticed that scientists routinely used the morphology of the hominid remains to date these sites more precisely.
For example, at Tongzi, South China, Homo sapiens fossils were found along with mammalian fossils. Qiu Zhonglang said: "The fauna suggests a Middle-Upper Pleistocene range, but the archeological [i.e., human] evidence is consistent with an Upper Pleistocene age." Qiu, using what we call morphological dating, therefore assigned the site, and hence the human fossils, to the Upper Pleistocene. A more reasonable conclusion would be that the Homo sapiens fossils could be as old as the Middle Pleistocene. Indeed, our examination of the Tongzi faunal evidence shows mammalian species that became extinct at the end of the Middle Pleistocene. This indicates that the Tongzi site, and the Homo sapiens fossils, are at least 100,000 years old. Additional faunal evidence suggests a maximum age of about 600,000 years.
The practice of morphological dating substantially distorts the hominid
fossil record. In effect, scientists simply arrange the hominid fossils
according to a favored evolutionary sequence, although the accompanying
faunal evidence does not dictate this. If one considers the true probable
date ranges for the Chinese hominids, one finds that various grades of
Homo erectus and various grades of early Homo sapiens (including Neanderthaloids)
may have coexisted with anatomically modern Homo sapiens
in the middle Middle Pleistocene, during the time of the Zhoukoudian Homo erectus occupation.
In Chapter 10, we consider the possible coexistence of primitive hominids
and anatomically modern humans not only in the distant past but in the
present. Over the past century, scientists have accumulated evidence suggesting
that humanlike ceatures resembling Gigantopithecus, Australopithecus, Homo
erectus, and the Neanderthals are living in various wilderness areas of
the world. In North America, these creatures are known as Sasquatch. In
Central Asia, they are called Almas. In Africa, China,
Southeast Asia, Central America, and South America, they are known by other names. Some researchers use the general term "wildmen" to include them all. Scientists and physicians have reported seeing live wildmen, dead wildmen, and footprints. They have also catalogued thousands of reports from ordinary people who have seen wildmen, as well as similar reports from
Myra Shackley, a British anthropologist, wrote to us: "Opinions vary, but I guess the commonest would be that there is indeed sufficient evidence to suggest at least the possibility of the existence of various unclassified manlike creatures, but that in the present state of our knowledge it is impossible to comment on their significance in any more detail. The position is further complicated by misquotes, hoaxing, and lunatic fringe activities, but a surprising number of hard core anthropologists seem to be of the opinion that the matter is very worthwhile investigating."
Chapter 11 takes us to Africa. We describe in detail the cases mentioned in the first part of this introduction (Reck's skeleton, the Laetoli footprints, etc.). These provide evidence for anatomically modern humans in the Early Pleistocene and Late Pliocene.
We also examine the status of Australopithecus. Most anthropologists say Australopithecus was a human ancestor with an apelike head, a humanlike body, and a humanlike bipedal stance and gait. But other researchers make a convincing case for a radically different view of Australopithecus. Physical anthropologist C. E. Oxnard wrote in his book Uniqueness and Diversity in Human Evolution (1975): "Pending further evidence we are left with the vision of intermediately sized animals, at home in the trees, capable of climbing, performing degrees of acrobatics, and perhaps of arm suspension." In a 1975 article in Nature, Oxnard found the australopithecines to be anatomically similar to orangutans and said "it is rather unlikely that any of the Australopithecines . . . can have any direct phylogenetic link with the genus Homo."
Oxnard's view is not new. Earlier in this century, when the first australopithecines were discovered, many anthropologists, such as Sir Arthur Keith, declined to characterize them as human ancestors. But they were later overruled. In his book The Order of Man (1984), Oxnard noted: "In the uproar, at the time, as to whether or not these creatures were near ape or human, the opinion that they were human won the day. This may well have resulted not only in the defeat of the contrary opinion but also the burying of that part of the evidence upon which the contrary opinion was based. If this is so, it should be possible to unearth this other part of the evidence." And that, in a more general way, is what we have done in Forbidden Archeology. We have unearthed buried evidence, evidence which supports a view of human origins and antiquity quite different from that currently held.
In Appendix 1, we review chemical and radiometric dating techniques andtheir application to human fossil remains, including some of those discussed in Chapter 6. In Appendix 2, we provide a limited selection of evidence for ancient humans displaying a level of culture beyond that indicated by the stone tools discussed in Chapters 3-5. And in Appendix 3, we provide a table listing almost all of the discoveries contained in Forbidden Archeology.
Some might question why we would put together a book like Forbidden Archeology, unless we had some underlying purpose. Indeed, there is some underlying purpose.
Richard Thompson and I are members of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, a branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness that studies the relationship between modern science and the world view expressed in the Vedc literature. This institute was founded by our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who encouraged us to critically examine the prevailing account of human origins and the methods by which it was established. From the Vedic literature, we derive the idea that the human race is of great antiquity. To conduct systematic research into the existing scientific literature on human antiquity, we expressed the Vedic idea in the form of a theory that various humanlike and apelike beings have coexisted for a long time.
That our theoretical outlook is derived from the Vedic literature should not disqualify it. Theory selection can come from many sources--a private inspiration, previous theories, a suggestion from a friend, a movie, and so on. What really matters is not a theory's source but its ability to account for observations.
Our research program led to results we did not anticipate, and hence a book much larger than originally envisioned. Because of this, we have not been able to develop in this volume our ideas about an alternative to current theories of human origins. We are therefore planning a second volume relating our extensive research results in this area to our Vedic source material.
Given their underlying purpose, Forbidden Archeology and its forthcoming companion volume may therefore be of interest to cultural and cognitive anthropologists, scholars of religion, and others concerned with the interactions of cultures in time and space.
At this point, I would like to say something about my collaboration with Richard Thompson. Richard is a scientist by training, a mathematician who has published refereed articles and books in the fields of mathematical biology, remote sensing from satellites, geology, and physics. I am not a scientist by training. Since 1977, I have been a writer and editor for books and magazines published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
In 1984, Richard asked his assistant to begin collecting material on human origins and antiquity. In 1986, Richard asked me to take that material and organize it into a book.
As I reviewed the material provided to me by the assistant, I was struck
by the very small number of reports from 1859, when Darwin published The
Origin of Species, until 1894, when Dubois published his report on Java
man. Curious about this, I asked Stephen to obtain some anthropology books
from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In these books,
including an early edition of Boule's Fossil Men, I found highly negative
reviews of numerous reports from the period in question. By tracing out
footnotes, we dug up a few samples of these reports. Most of them, by nineteenth-century
scientists, described incised bones, stone tools, and anatomically modern skeletal remains encountered in unexpectedly old geological contexts. The reports were of high quality, answering many possible objections. This encouraged me to make a more systematic search. Digging up this buried literary evidence required another three years. My researcher and I obtained rare conference volumes and journals from around the world, and together we translated the material into English. The results of this labor provided the basis for Chapters 2-6 in Forbidden Archeology.
After I reviewed the material Stephen gave me about the Peking man discoveries, I decided we should also look at recent hominid finds in China. While going through dozens of technical books and papers, I noticed the phenomenon of morphological dating. And when I reviewed our African material, I encountered hints of the dissenting view regarding Australopithecus. My curiosity about these two areas also led to a fruitful extension of our original research program.
Writing the manuscript from the assembled material took another couple of years. Throughout the entire period of research and writing, I had almost daily discussions with Richard about the significance of the material and how best to present it. Richard himself contributed most of Appendix 1, the discussion of the uranium series dating of the Hueyatlac tools in Chapter 5, and the discussion of epistemological considerations in Chapter 1. The remainder of the book was written by me, although I relied heavily on research reports supplied by my researcher for Chapter 7 and the first part of Chapter 9, as well as Appendix 2. He obtained much of the material in Appendix 2 from Ron Calais, who kindly sent us many Xeroxes of original reports from his archives.
In this second printing of the first edition of Forbidden Archeology, we have corrected several small errors in the original text, mostly typographical. The account of a wildman sighting by Anthony B. Wooldridge, originally included in Chapter 10, has been deleted because we have since learned that the author has retracted his statements.
Richard and I are grateful to our Bhaktivedanta Institute colleagues and the other reviewers who read all or part of the manuscript of Forbidden Archeology. We have incorporated many, but not all, of their suggestions. Full responsibility for the content and manner of presentation lies with us.
Virginia Steen-McIntyre was kind enough to supply us with her correspondence on the dating of the Hueyatlaco, Mexico, site. We also had useful discussions about stone tools with Ruth D. Simpson of the San Bernardino County Museum and about shark teeth marks on bone with Thomas A. Demere of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
I am indebted to my friend Pierce Julius Flynn for the continuing interest he has displayed in the writing and publication of Forbidden Archeology. It is through him that I have learned much of what I know about current developments in the social sciences, particularly semiotics, the sociology of knowledge, and postmodern anthropology.
This book could not have been completed without the varied services
of Christopher Beetle, a computer science graduate of Brown University,
who came to the Bhaktivedanta Institute in San Diego in 1988. He typeset
almost all of the book, going through several revisions. He also made most
of the tables, processed most of the illustrations, and served as a proofreader.
He made many helpful suggestions on the text and illustrations, and he also helped arranged the printing.
For overseeing the design and layout, Richard and I thank Robert Wintermute. The illustrations opposite the first page of the introduction and in Figure 11.11 are the much-appreciated work of Miles Triplett. The cover painting is by Hans Olson. David Smith, Sigalit Binyaminy, Susan Fritz, Barbara Cantatore, and Michael Best also helped in the production of this book.
Richard and I would especially like to thank the international trustees of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, past and present, for their generous support for the research, writing, and publication of this book. Michael Crabtree also contributed toward the printing cost of this book.
Finally, we encourage readers to bring to our attention any additional evidence that may be of interest, especially for inclusion in future editions of this book. We are also available for interviews and speaking engagements.
Michael A. Cremo
April 24, 1995