I’ve come to the conclusion that without a connection to our hearts, we simply cannot know what is Truth in an area like this one. I’ve also decided this is why so many people choose to ignore what is happening on the planet, putting their heads in the sand. There is no one they can ask outside themselves for the ‘real’ truth of all this, and it seems they also cannot ask themselves.
Also, if you are unaware of the many archeological sites in the U. S., this article is worth reading.
Source: Center for Skeptical Inquiry
Kenneth Feder, Bradley T. Lepper, Terry A. Barnhart, and Deborah A. Bolnick
The Lost Civilizations of North America documentary is one in a long line of failed attempts to populate America’s ancient past with the denizens of lost tribes, lost cities, and, as its title indicates, lost civilizations.
While there are many vernacular meanings of the term civilization, archaeologists tend to use it in a limited and precise way to signify a particular kind of society. For example, in his classic enumeration of the features that characterized humanity’s earliest civilizations, prehistorian V. Gordon Childe (1951) included labor specialization, social stratification, production of a food surplus, construction of monumental edifices, urban settlements, and a consistent system of record keeping (usually, but not always, writing). More recently, Joseph Tainter (1988) added the development of a formal government apparatus to that list.
To many at the fringes of the historical sciences, the term civilization takes on an entirely different, often coded, meaning—especially when a seemingly innocuous modifier, such as “lost,” is applied to its front end. A vast amount of pseudoscience has been inspired by the simple phrase “lost civilization,” particularly by those who believe that they have found its archaeological spoor and can thus recast the history of a particular people, an entire continent, or in the most extreme cases, all of humanity (Childress 1992; Hancock 1995, 2003; Haughton 2007). The history of American archaeology for the aboriginal cultures of North America is especially rife with problems relating to the indiscriminate and often confusing use of the phrase “lost civilization” and its cohorts “lost race,” “lost city,” and “lost tribe.”
Many claims about the existence of a lost civilization in antiquity are, in effect, warmed-over versions of Plato’s Atlantis myth: Long ago (commonly placed at more than ten thousand years before the present) and far away (on an island in the Atlantic or under the Antarctic ice cap or off the coast of Japan, etc.), an enormously advanced and technologically sophisticated civilization existed whose impact on human history was vast. In extreme versions of the lost civilization myth, the society in question possessed technologies that even modern people have not mastered. Alas, as the result of some terrible accident or war or natural catastrophe, that civilization was destroyed virtually overnight and thus became “lost.” In such stories, conventional historians and archaeologists are described as being blind to the evidence for such a civilization or, in some cases, well aware of the evidence but part of a longstanding conspiracy to keep it all quiet, lest it upset the convenient apple cart of history concocted in their ivory towers.
In one subset of the lost-civilization genre of pseudohistory, the lost civilization is not a previously unknown group of people residing in the clichéd “dim mists of time” but instead an otherwise well-known ancient society that is remarkable primarily as a result of its geography, not for its precocious level of technological sophistication. Even restricting ourselves to just North America, the list of such claims is long—though evidence is short—and includes: Celtic kingdoms in the northeastern United States thousands of years ago (Fell 1976); Coptic Christian settlements in ancient Michigan (based on the so-called Michigan Relics) (Halsey 2009); Roman Jews in Arizona (the Tucson Artifacts) (Burgess 2009); the Lost Tribes of Israel in Ohio (the Newark Holy Stones) (Lepper and Gill 2000); and strange mixtures of various ancient Old World peoples secreted in hideouts in the Grand Canyon in Arizona (“Explorations in Grand Canyon” 1909) and in a cave in southeastern Illinois (Burrows Cave) (Joltes 2003). These claims are predicated essentially on the same notion: ancient Europeans, Africans, or Asians came to the Americas long before Columbus and long—perhaps thousands of years—before the Norse; they settled here and had a huge impact on the native people but then somehow became lost, both to history and to historians. Today, a group of “independent scholars” (a euphemism often used to mean writers without institutional affiliation, formal training, or archaeological experience) trumpet the evidence for these ancient settlers of the Americas, disseminating their revisionist histories—not in refereed, professional journals but in popular books, magazines, and, perhaps most broadly, on websites and in cable TV documentaries.
The Lost Civilizations of North America
A recent iteration of this “alternative archaeology” (another euphemism, this one used for claims about antiquity lacking in credible scientific evidence) can be seen in the documentaryThe Lost Civilizations of North America (produced by Steven Smoot, Rick Stout, and Barry McLerran), described on its DVD packaging as “the compelling account of the wanton destruction of an ancient history.” According to the video, this claimed “destruction” is both actual (in the sense of the physical, perhaps intentional, destruction of the archaeological evidence of this civilization) and metaphorical (in the sense of the intellectual denial of its existence). It is the embarrassing admission of the authors of this article that we naively agreed to participate in the program.
We do not agree with the vast majority of the interpretations of ancient American history presented in the documentary. While it is tempting to ignore the documentary as nonsense, the high production values coupled with the selective inclusion of academically credible scholars have resulted in its gaining international attention. Glenn Beck featured it prominently and favorably in the August 18, 2010, broadcast of his television program, and the website promoting the DVD claims it won the Best Multicultural Documentary Award at the 2010 International Cherokee Film Festival.
In a series of three articles, we will provide a scientific commentary on the interpretations expressed in this video concerning the ancient history of North America, using the documentary itself as emblematic of a far broader attempt to write an alternative history of the New World that is wholly unsupported by any archaeological or historical evidence. In this and two subsequent articles, we will address two questions that are particularly relevant: What is the evidence for the “lost” civilizations in North America? And how did this evidence come to be “lost”?
An Alternate Reality
Consensus among investigators in organized fields of knowledge is not a conspiracy to ignore, destroy, or sequester deviant or anomalous evidence, as is implied several times in the Lost Civilizations video. Consensus is based upon recognized rules of investigation and principles of interpretation that have been developed in relation to specific research problems. The emergence of consensus among anthropologists regarding the origin and antiquity of humankind in the New World is no exception.
Figure 1. This map shows the configuration of the modern coastlines of northeast Asia and northwest North America, along with the maximum Late Pleistocene extent of the Bering Land Bridge. Its existence, between thirty-five thousand and eleven thousand years ago, provided a broad avenue across which human beings first entered the New World from the Old.
The consensus view on this subject among archaeologists (together with geologists and biologists) is based on more than a century of excavating literally thousands of archaeological sites. A convergence of interdisciplinary data indicates that the New World was first populated at least thirteen thousand and perhaps as many as thirty thousand years ago by migrants from Asia (Meltzer 2009). These people entered the Americas via a wide expanse of land—called Beringia—connecting northeastern Asia with northwestern North America during periods of glacial expansion and concomitant lower sea levels (see figure 1). The first human migrants were few in number and entered a continent teeming with wildlife, including many now-extinct forms such as mastodons, wooly mammoths, giant ground sloths, and saber-toothed cats. Exploiting the richness of this “new world,” the human population grew quickly and expanded across the North and South American continents over a few thousand years. As settlers moved into new habitats and as the climate ameliorated at the end of the Pleistocene era (or “Ice Age”) ten thousand years ago, descendants of those first settlers adapted to a great diversity of new and changing environmental conditions, producing an abundance of differing ways of life. Each group adjusted to the natural conditions with which it was faced. In some regions, extremely rich habitats and, ultimately, the development of agricultural subsistence systems allowed for the production of a substantial food surplus and led to the growth of stratified societies with many of the characteristics outlined by Childe and Tainter that define a civilization. Among these were societies of the American Midwest and Southeast—the so-called mound builders—whose ability to marshal the communal labors of large groups of people is clearly seen in an archaeological landscape of monumentally scaled earthworks that include conical burial mounds, truncated pyramids of earth called “platform mounds,” effigy mounds (in the shape of various animals and birds), and vast areas enclosed by geometrically patterned earth embankments (Milner 2004) (figures 2a–2d).
It is the archaeological consensus that the myriad cultures seen in native North America, including the mound builders, for the most part developed independent of any external inspiration. Contact almost certainly occurred between ancient societies in North America and the civilizations to the south—there is evidence, for example, of turquoise trade between the native people of the American Southwest and the cultures of Mesoamerica (Powell 2005), and maize, a Mexican domesticate, eventually made its way northward into essentially all regions of the continent in which it could be grown. But there is no credible scientific evidence for the wholesale movement of people from the Old World into sub-arctic North America after the initial incursion from northeast Asia at the end of the Ice Age. Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that the cultural developments exhibited in the archaeological record here—like the monumentally scaled earthworks shown in figures 2a–2d—were in any way inspired by visitors or migrants from Africa, Europe, or Asia (Fritze 2009). Native Americans were fully capable of developing complex and sophisticated cultures on their own without help from other societies. The archaeological record of North America clearly shows the indigenous development of the technologies, art, architecture, social systems, subsistence practices, and engineering accomplishments seen in native America. There is no archaeological or biological evidence for the presence of interlopers, and there is no need for their presence in explaining the archaeology of native America.
The producers of the Lost Civilizations documentary clearly do not subscribe to this “mainstream” interpretation of American archaeology. Instead, what seems to emerge is the following less-coherent “diffusionist” alternative history:
Sometime toward the end of the last Ice Age, a few Asians stumbled into the New World across the Beringian land bridge. They developed indigenous societies, some of which may have been the beneficiaries of various unspecified contacts from the Old World over the millennia. By two thousand years ago, descendants of the original settlers living in eastern North America were building modest earthworks and scratching out a living by growing a few varieties of local plants. Then, a contingent of Israelites from the hills of Galilee arrived somewhere on America’s east coast, spreading through the indigenous cultures, acting like missionaries and igniting the cultural florescence of the mound-building cultures we know today as the Hopewell (as well as the subsequent Mississippian). These new migrants brought with them their religion (Judaism, apparently) and their written language (Hebrew), which appears in some regions as inscriptions on stone tablets or other artifacts of special significance. They also inspired the construction of vast cities across the Midwest and Southeast, raising up the locals to a high level of civilization, changing fundamentally and forever the cultures and histories of the previously benighted indigenous people.
In stark contrast to the elegant consensus achieved by the interdisciplinary work of archaeologists, geologists, geneticists, and linguists (Meltzer 2009; Goebel et al. 2008), recent issues of the diffusionist Ancient American magazine amply demonstrate that there is, in fact, no consensus among diffusionist researchers concerning which African, Asian, or European cultures arrived in America to serve as the elevators of Native American savagery, when they arrived, or which cultural achievements they are supposed to have introduced or inspired.
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- Are the Bible’s Stories True? Archaeology’s Evidence (signposts02.wordpress.com)
- Gregg Braden – The Divine Matrix, Quantum Reality and The Ancients (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Grand Canyon Secrets Begin To Emerge (disclose.tv)