Frank Joseph was also in attendance this year and was again a featured speaker on Friday, offering his views on Atlantis.
According to the AAPS, Wolter made special requests of his producers to ensure that he could attend the conference after missing the last two due to America Unearthed duties.
Jo Lorichon, the publicist for the AAPS, told The Mining Journal, “Our emphasis is on knowledge that has, hitherto, not been distributed in the mainstream regarding pre-Columbian America.” The AAPS, however, recognizes that this information takes many forms, including claims that are mutually contradictory, or outright ridiculous. AAPS president Glen Devlanminck said “We don’t publicly criticize any of our speakers, even if we don't agree with them. We honor the speaker, we honor the data.” He added that archaeologists have been dismissive toward hypotheses advanced at the AAPS’s conferences.
Devlanminck did not address the issue of Joseph’s Nazi past, his former advocacy of Aryan supremacy theories, or his more recent writings for the Barnes Review, a Holocaust-denial publication. This must fall under the no-criticism rule.
However, like any fringe group, the AAPS has its specific hobbyhorses. In this case, the primary purpose of the conferences has been to explore claims that Old World peoples mined copper in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and used it to fuel the Bronze Age in Europe.
The claim was proposed by Ignatius Donnelly in 1882 and has recently been adopted by Gavin Menzies and Scott Wolter.
This claim has been debunked time and again, yet true believers continue to maintain that 1.5 billion tons of copper are “missing” from Michigan and must therefore have been sent to Europe to make bronze, despite the non-appearance of bronze in Michigan. This number is derived from a series of faulty figures related to wild-guess estimates about every aspect of copper mining, combining assumption atop assumption. As Dr. Susan R. Martin explained two decades ago, “The figures are made up out of thin air and can be sneezed away. That’s because no one has a means to measure any of these variables accurately or with any precision. All of these figures are built on ill-constructed estimates.”
Yet among the attendees of the AAPS meeting, estimates for the “missing” copper developed in the 1960s in support of speculation from the 1880s remains at the forefront of “current” research.
Particularly telling was speaker Bob Wheeler’s view of an allegedly ancient petroglyph depicting what he says is a Minoan ship in Michigan:
Some people have said it was drunken college students up there on a whim, cranking that out. But, it’s artwork. It’s detailed. It’s well-done, done by an artist. […] To me it’s old, but there’s no proof of that.
Other presentations included “evidence” for the Knights Templar on the Great Lakes and the life lessons Sasquatches have to teach us.