H2 has released the topic for the February 2 episode of America Unearthed, and it’s more of the same: Wolter will be trying to connect the mound builders to the Lost Tribes of Israel via the Bat Creek Stone. But one aspect of the show intrigues me because I’ve never heard of it. The show’s promotional material describes Wolter as looking for a mound shaped like a “Hanukkah Menorah” along the Little Miami River near Milford, Ohio, a formation supposedly made up of nine parallel earthen barrows and an oil-lamp-shaped mound beside them. This, it says, is evidence of the Lost Tribes and intrigued Thomas Jefferson. I’d never seen these mounds, and with good reason: They don’t apparently exist, and it would certainly be interesting if America Unearthed found geological evidence to confirm their existence and their shape. Since that kind of work costs money, I won’t be holding my breath.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from our friend Giorgio Tsoukalos, but the online iKypros.com published a Greek-language profile of the Ancient Aliens star yesterday, apparently reprinted from the Greek Espresso tabloid newspaper, and it contains a few gems. Since it’s written in Greek, a few translations of the relevant and interesting sections are in order, starting with the first paragraph, which is a doozy:
Yesterday a blogger posted a lengthy review of Saturday’s America Unearthed episode, and while I don’t agree with all of the points made in it, I did appreciate that it was harsher and meaner than anything I’ve written—going so far as to describe Wolter’s normal mode of operation as “belligerent.” Somehow, however, no fans of Scott Wolter have visited her blog to complain about her handling of the program or to insist that it’s only entertainment.
The blogger rightly focused, as did I, on Dr. Roberto Rodriguez, and his bizarre claims about maps. I find his claims fascinating—not because they’re true but because they are so designed to twist history in order to further a Mexican immigration-reform agenda. I’d like to explore Dr. Rodriguez’s ideas a bit more.
Let me start by thanking Tara Jordan for bringing this to my attention. On Friday morning, Scott Wolter posted a comment on his blog accusing me of being a “hate-blogger” and telling “outright lies” about him and his work. Let me be clear: This is a very serious allegation, and it is one that I take very seriously. Normally I do not respond to personal attacks (you’re welcome to Google my name to see more), but I do make an exception when they are made by prominent fringe figures such as David Childress, Philip Coppens, and now Scott Wolter. Wolter, however, does not consider his statements serious enough to support with facts, stating that he does not “read [Jason’s] stuff” despite somehow feeling comfortable in declaring it “outright lies.”
Tonight’s episode of America Unearthed, S02E08 “The Underwater Pyramids,” attempts to investigate whether the Aztecs ventured to Wisconsin. This is not a completely ridiculous question, and American archaeologists have devoted considerable ink to discussing the evidence for a Mesoamerican influence on the Mississippians, the mound building culture responsible for Aztalan, one of the sites featured in this episode. Although there is considerable circumstantial evidence that some type of influence occurred (in one direction or another), only one Mesoamerican artifact has ever been found at a Mississippian site, a single obsidian scraper found at Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma, identified as Mesoamerican only in 2002 through a geological analysis of the source of the obsidian. This might have made a good episode of America Unearthed, but it would have meant exploring real science rather than seeing Scott Wolter in a submarine.
Yesterday I discussed a polemical text being used as the standard American history book in one Texas charter school. In doing so, I mentioned that according to media reports Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) had been teaching its private religious school students that the Loch Ness Monster was real in an attempt to discredit evolution. When that text was removed from international editions of the school materials (while apparently remaining in the U.S. version, according to Alternet), the replacement text is equally awful.
The other day I discussed how Rosen Publishing had sneaked ancient astronaut beliefs into school libraries through the publication of an anthology of fringe history articles aimed at a high school readership, including a contribution from convicted child molester Frank Joseph. But at least that steaming pile of worthless literature was confined to the libraries of schools that bought it, where presumably students would have to seek it out. I was deeply disturbed to read in Slate magazine yesterday that some charter schools in Texas, which are public schools, are using strange claims about history in their curricula and actually teaching it in the classroom.
I’m sure many readers have seen Steve St. Clair’s comments on a previous blog post questioning my claim that the authors of Civilization One, Christopher Knight and Alan Butler, tried to sue me back in 2004 for reviewing the book without their permission. I routinely disclose this information when discussing either Knight or Butler, but I haven’t revisited the correspondence from that time since by and large it isn’t relevant to the crazy claims Knight and Butler make, most of which I had already criticized before the incident.
A former Canadian cabinet minister claimed on a Russian-operated English-language cable television channel that as many as eighty species of extraterrestrials are currently operating on earth, that they have been influencing human civilization for thousands of years, and that two individual aliens recently went shopping in Las Vegas while dressed as nuns.
Unfortunately, today I am suffering from a terrible migraine, one of the first really bad ones I’ve had in years, and I’m not going to be able to write as much as I’d like. In lieu of me suffering through an attempt to type, I’m going to direct you to Rick Flavin’s website where he has provided an update on the Burrows Cave affair, along with a recent addendum covering the America Unearthed broadcast about Burrows Cave. Full disclosure: Flavin emailed me to share the link, but he and I have never met nor discussed any of the material on his website.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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