INDIANA JONES IN HISTORY: FROM POMPEII TO THE MOON
Justin M. Jacobs | xiii + 266 pages | Pulp Hero Press | 2017 | ISBN: 9781683900993 | $24.95
Justin M. Jacobs’s Indiana Jones in History: From Pompeii to the Moon is an interesting but incomplete book, one filled with fascinating information, told from a distinctly modern perspective, loosely related to its title subject, but somewhat inartistically expressed. Jacobs is an expert in Chinese history at American University and his academic experience manifests both in a certain clunky quality to the prose and in a notable distaste for Western civilization that colors much of his discussion of Western interactions with Eastern cultures and leads to an extreme conclusion that I found both unjustified and dangerous.
You probably saw the news that broke yesterday that a new paper in the journal Nature claims that an unknown human species occupied the Americas around 130,000 years ago and butchered a mastodon found in California with large rocks. The study used uranium-thorium dating to date the bones, which were originally discovered 25 years ago, and the team conducting the study used experimental techniques involving rocks and elephant bones to attempt to prove that the damage to the mastodon’s bones had been caused by intention butchering with stone tools.
A couple of weeks ago, the History Channel presented a documentary in which the Vieira Brothers went in search of evidence that the colonists from Roanoke had gone inland instead of to Hatteras Island (formerly Croatoan), as is commonly accepted. While a new report doesn’t prove them right, it does cast doubt on the consensus of the past twenty years about the fate of the colonists, and could offer a lifeline to those who believe that the so-called Eleanor Dare Stone is an authentic Elizabethan document.
CBS News "Sunday Morning" Broadcasts Puff Piece on So-Called "White City," Fails to Note "White City" Myth Is a Modern Invention
It was a strange weekend. On Saturday, a fringe blog alleged that H. P. Lovecraft had “secret knowledge’ of that lost city in Antarctica that David Wilcock claimed existed last year. Rather than concluding that Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness influenced fringe proponents’ Antarctica claims, the blogger assumes that Wilcock is telling the truth and Lovecraft was secretly disclosing hidden alien facts. It’s a small-scale version of Helena Blavatsky’s old claim that science-fiction authors get secret truth-beams from the spirit world, and a bit of a depressing one.
After reviewing the results of the newsletter survey I posted a few days ago, I found that the overwhelming majority of respondents (however representative they might be) would like to see my newsletter revamped as a monthly PDF magazine. To see how feasible this might be, I am trying to learn desktop publishing software. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. Granted, the last time I learned a whole new suite of software was when I picked up graphic design software skills a decade ago. The gold standard for desktop publishing is either Adobe Indesign or Quark Xpress. I have a half-memory of using Quark a bit in college, but that was a long time ago. Plus, I’m cheap. So I’m trying to learn Scribus, the free alternative to Quark. I am not finding it intuitive at all. I have a feeling that if I can master the creation of page templates, a magazine might be feasible. But I’m not sure how long it will take me to learn enough to do it right.
I went to school in Ithaca, New York, and in the years I spent there I learned that the city tended to attract people with unusual ideas. In the Victorian era, the founder of Theosophy, Helena Blavatsky, not only lived in the city but wrote her first bestseller, Isis Unveiled, in a house I walked by regularly. In the years I was there, ancient astronaut theorist Giorgio Tsoukalos had a house down the hill from campus. Just after I graduated school, Dr. Sheldon Gosline, a researcher into “ancient globalization,” took an apartment in the Commons downtown just two doors down from the apartment some of my friends occupied and opened a shop selling imported gift items and his self-published books.
In the 1962 movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance, a reporter tells Jimmy Stewart’s character that he won’t be reporting the truth about the story Stewart told him. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” he says. In many ways storytelling supersedes truth in many ways, and today we have three examples of how the stories people tell create a framework that governs how facts are received.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the giant-hunting Vieira brothers remade an episode of America Unearthed virtually scene by scene? No? Tough luck. You’re getting it anyway.
When we last left Jim and Bill Vieira, they were hunting for giants on the History Channel series Search for the Lost Giants. That show was a ratings disaster, and the Vieira brothers displayed the kind of stilted delivery and anti-charisma that might have destroyed careers on network television. However, it is an iron law of cable TV that once a person has been granted a TV series, it becomes statistically impossible not to be given another show due to cable executives’ embrace of the sunk cost fallacy. Therefore, last night the Vieira brothers presented a 2-hour special about the Dare Stones, a 1930s hoax that claimed that the lost colonists of Roanoke decamped for Georgia. If there is one thing History loves more than recycling hosts, it’s recycling the same few subjects over and over again.
Regular readers will remember Dr. Jon Epstein, the sociologist from Greensboro College in North Carolina who is a defender of Graham Hancock against the slings and arrows of an orthodox archaeology that he sees as insular and dogmatic. Epstein is back again with new thoughts on the role of Hancock and geologist Robert Schoch in exposing what Epstein has come to believe is a conspiracy to suppress the truth about human history. Epstein says that he is friends with both men.
(Disclosure: After my first blog post about Epstein, he wrote me an email to explain his position in greater detail. I replied, and there the conversation ended.)
Thank you all for the well wishes for my cat. He has started on medication, and he had some food, which is a good sign.
I want to call your attention today to an article in the new issue of Smithsonian magazine outlining what archaeologists have learned over the past two years from the discovery of a set of Fourth Dynasty papyri in the ruins of a port at Wadi al-Jarf in 2013. According to the article, the papyri include the diary of Merer, an overseer who helped to transport goods. He describes working for Ankh-haf, the half-brother of Khufu, who was revealed to be the overseer in charge of some of the construction of the Great Pyramid. The journal also describes picking up material from the same town where the limestone for the Pyramid’s outer casing came from. When the diary and other documents were combined with the archaeological remains found at the site—from blocks inscribed with Khufu’s name to boats and copper tools—it quickly became clear that this site, located near the largest source of copper, in the Sinai, was an important supply station for moving the copper needed to carve the Pyramid’s stones. This find, in connection with the large worker’s village that once housed as many as 20,000 workers, offers key insights into how the Egyptians built the pyramids.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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