Examining Scott Wolter and America Unearthed as the Product of a "Culture of Conspiracy"
Yesterday I noted that I am reading Michael Barkun’s 2006 academic investigation of American conspiracy culture, A Culture of Conspiracy. Barkun offers some interesting insight into the development of conspiracy theories, and I was rather amused at how easily his outline for the defining traits of conspiracy culture also serve as the template for how an episode of America Unearthed (or, really, most cable TV pseudo-documentaries) is put together. I thought it might be amusing to present Barkun’s breakdown of the beliefs of conspiracy culture practitioners and compare them to the presentation of Scott Wolter’s beliefs in his books and on America Unearthed.
Interestingly, Barkun’s conspiracy outline applies less perfectly to Ancient Aliens since that program moved further toward what Barkun sees as an eclectic form of New Age religion. It shares some of the same traits, but the emphasis on cover-ups and suppression of truth is secondary to the promise of spiritual revelation at the hands of enlightened proponents of the doctrine, taking the ancient astronaut theory beyond its conspiracy origins more toward the form of a New Age cult.
Barkun begins by defining what he means by a conspiracy: “the belief that an organization made up of individuals or groups was or is acting covertly to achieve some malevolent end.” This implies a world where human relations and historical events are “governed by design rather than randomness.” This is an easy one: Scott Wolter attributes most historical events to the machinations of an eternal cult of goddess worshipers who manifest as the “proto-Templars,” Knights Templar, and Freemasons. Where he differs slightly is that he attributes to these groups a confusing and incoherent agenda that simultaneously creates the conditions for human freedom by founding the United States in the name of religious freedom but is also responsible for innumerable evils, including the suppression of truth and enforced ignorance of the divine.
Next, Barkun outlines three related elements on conspiracy belief that form subsets of the conspiracy theorist’s argument from design. Each of these also manifests in America Unearthed.
This much was probably obvious to most readers long ago. But the next section, on the empirical validity of conspiracies is one of the most surprising to me, for it outlines precisely how America Unearthed follows the structure of a conspiracy.
First, conspiracy theories “claim to be testable by the accumulation of evidence about the observable world.” Each episode of America Unearthed purports to focus on a specific artifact whose observable traits contribute to the accumulation of evidence for an “alternative” view of history; several episodes present previous results as supportive of future claims. “Those who subscribe to such constructs do not ask that the constructs be taken on faith. Instead, they often engage in elaborate presentations of evidence in order to substantiate their claims.” Here, Scott Wolter engages in elaborate presentations of alleged geological evidence—though, typically, little more than superficial observation—coupled with fragments of historical narratives and unusual interpretations of art. Each episode also promotes one of Wolter’s books, which purport to provide more detailed evidence for his claims, though the actual sources are often other fringe authors.
Barkun quotes Richard Hofstader’s famous essay on the “Paranoid Style in American Politics” to the effect that conspiracy theorists’ literature (and TV shows) both (a) ape the conventions of mainstream scholarship and (b) “lead to heroic strivings for ‘evidence.’” As an author, Wolter uses the form of an academic article and the convention of end notes, but without the academic substance of either, as mentioned with the aforementioned poor quality sources. There is also a notably lack of primary sources. As a geologist, Wolter often uses his position to suggest that his findings, no matter how untethered from the scientific method, meet the standards of mainstream science by appealing to his scientific training and to his own unique interpretation of peer review, which for him does not involve publishing in academic journals but rather the process by which fellow geologists sign off on geological reports. As a warrior against the conspiracy, both Wolter and the producers of America Unearthed present him as a “hero” for exposing the “truth,” going so far as to liken him in publicity materials to heroes of film such as Indiana Jones.
Barkun next explains that conspiracy theorists see the reduction of the complexity of life to a single cause as analogous to Occam’s Razor or the scientific method’s preference for parsimonious explanations. Wolter frequently describes his claims as the most logical or simplest explanation for anomalous artifacts or ambiguous mythologies since he requires only one explanation—the goddess-worshiping Templar cult complex—to understand dozens of cultures across thousands of miles of territory.
According to Barkun, conspiracy theorists believe that the conspiracy is vast enough and powerful enough that it can control all channels of knowledge and prevent the public from discovering its operations. Scott Wolter complains time and again against the power wielded by “academics” to control the textbooks. He also believes that the Smithsonian Institution is capable of suppressing vast amounts of data about pre-Columbian contact with the Old World, not to mention his belief that the United States government (in the form of the National Park Service and the National Forest Service) are actively using federal power to suppress the truth. As a result of efforts by these groups as well as the Freemasons and the all-powerful Catholic Church, nearly every scrap of evidence has vanished into hidden vaults and caves. Barkun says that conspiracy theorists see skeptics as having been fooled by false evidence planted by the conspiracy or are a part of the conspiracy themselves. Wolter has accused me of being in league with his enemies, of purposely publishing false information to discredit him, and of being fooled by mainstream scholars and thus unable to see the correctness of his beliefs.
“The problem that remains for believers,” Barkun writes, “is to explain why they themselves have not succumbed to the deceptions, why they have detected a truth invisible to others.” He says that there are two primary stratagems believers use, and Scott Wolter uses them both.
1. Claim access to authentic evidence that escaped the conspiracy. Wolter claims to investigate just such anomalies, viewing them as being suppressed even when they are, as with the Bat Creek Stone, owned by the supposed conspirators and on public display. Otherwise, the pieces of “evidence” Wolter “investigates” tends to be found in the possession of other conspiracy theorists, jealously and zealously kept from government and “academics,” whom they fear will repossess and suppress it—as actually happened with the obsidian spear point in Hawaii.
2. Distance oneself ostentatiously from hated mainstream elites. Wolter’s posturing against academia marks him as an outsider and truth-teller. Just yesterday, Wolter wrote on his blog: “The academic process is horribly flawed in the Humanities disciplines which includes Archaeology. One of the reasons is they don't receive formal training in the scientific method, and it shows.” Even though this is untrue (it was foundational to my own archaeology course work) and Wolter has no direct knowledge of archaeology curricula, it marks Wolter as separate, as the “true” scientist.
Barkun then describes two remaining characteristics of the conspiracy style: paranoia and millennialism. Paranoia refers not necessarily to clinical paranoia but rather to the belief that a conspiracy is tangibly directed against the values, security, or way of life of the theorist and also countless others. Wolter frequently refers to his belief that the forces of the conspiracy are directed personally against him (the Park Service, the Forest Service, “academics,” etc.) to stop his work and deny him access to special artifacts or sites, as well as against those who side with him in advocating fringe theories.
In terms of millennialism, Wolter does not usually discuss this on America Unearthed, but in his books and in his radio interviews he makes frequent mention of his belief that an ecological and/or social catastrophe is impending and that the revelation of the “truth” about goddess worship and the real history of Jesus can somehow help to avert the calamity by setting humanity on the path toward responsible environmental stewardship and true equality. In Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers (2013), Wolter declares America the “New Jerusalem” of Revelation 21 and further asserts his millenarian belief that the cycle of zodiac is about to inaugurate the Age of Aquarius in which revelation of the truth about Mary Magdalene will usher in a dramatic restructuring of human belief systems and full equality for women: “One thing is certain, if we humans as a species are going to make it on this planet, some things have got to change. […] I am confident the New Age of Aquarius will inspire that positive change we have all been looking for” (266). His extended discussion of the peace and prosperity to come in the Aquarian Age (265-266) is almost exactly parallel to the Millennium of apocalyptic Christian belief (Rev. 20:1-6).
The astonishing thing is that Barkun’s theoretical template for analyzing conspiracy theories maps so perfectly onto the work of Scott Wolter. It has predictive value, and by applying the theoretical framework, we can predict how Scott Wolter and/or America Unearthed will approach any given piece of evidence and fit it into his/their conspiratorial worldview. This seems like a useful tool to keep in mind for future use.
4/2/2014 07:40:16 am
As Spock would say, "Fascinating."
4/2/2014 03:44:58 pm
Ah, Jason's steady drumbeat that SW and others should be "publishing in academic journals".
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/2/2014 04:48:17 pm
I don't care much for "conspiracy theories," no matter who puts them forward …
4/2/2014 11:45:06 pm
Did you read the same book I did? Jørgen Meldgaard was (a) an archeologist, (b) following previous academic investigators who identified the same landmarks, (c) drew on a century-old academic tradition investigating the sagas as historical documents, and (d) was celebrated by his countrymen for his work. His "lie" as you call it was to a government-funded organization, the Rask-Ørsted Foundation, and even then he said he'd be investigating the sagas as a secondary aim. The conspiracy, therefore, wasn't academic but rather on the part of unimaginative bureaucrats, who, if you checked their output, devoted significant resources to the study of indigenous people, particularly in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. What a shock--someone who wanted money asked for cash for something people were giving money for. That's not much of a conspiracy and no smoking gun.
4/3/2014 01:19:52 am
Jason, from your comment, it appears you didn't read the PDF I mentioned. Read page 10.
4/3/2014 01:24:37 am
Steve, page 10 says that "the application emphasized that archaeological investigations of Inuit and Native North American sites were to be the focus of his survey, whereas secondary investigations of the Norse pioneers would merely be opportunistic." He didn't hide anything but changed the emphasis to meet the organization's biases. It goes on to say that he did so because the people who give funds accepted applications likely to produce tangible results, and they knew that the Inuit existed.
4/3/2014 03:50:35 am
Well, since Jørgen Meldgaard was an archaeologist, and we know their processes are “horribly flawed” because “they don't receive formal training in the scientific method”, I guess we should just ignore all of the supposed “evidence” that he presented concerning Norse occupation at L'Ance aux Meadows. Probably just some old Eskimo camp.
4/3/2014 11:16:44 am
Jason, I can only think you are counting on your audience to be to stupid or lazy to go to the link I provided. I think you are either (a) bending the truth, (b) didn't read the full page or, more likely, © are cherry picking the parts of a very short page ten which support your view of the story. My guess? Openly telling a lie. Proof below, all from page ten. It's not open to interpretation, Jason. It's right out there on page 10 for all your acolytes to read and form their own conclusions.
4/3/2014 11:26:37 am
In case my point is not clear enough for you, Jason -
4/3/2014 11:27:50 am
OK, so you add your own line that the "academics" hated the sagas, which is not in the original and which directly contradicts the earlier sections of the PDF which outline how Meldgaard was building on earlier academic work on those same sagas and then expect me and my readers to accept your interpolation as fact?
4/3/2014 11:31:04 am
Steve, you do understand that the foundation isn't an academic gatekeeper. It's a funding organization of the Danish government. Academics write grants day in and day out and have to persuade foundations to give them money. This is, sadly, exactly how academia works. Meldgaard's university didn't try to stop him, nor did his colleagues try to suppress his work. The only question is where to get the money--because at the time his wasn't the type of work that could easily be monetized (and still isn't).
4/3/2014 01:12:58 pm
Do you deny that the story I posted here says very clearly that Meldgaard "HAD TO ASSURE THE FOUNDATION THAT HIS PROJECT WAS SOMETHING MORE THAN THE PURSUIT OF THE MYTHICAL VINLAND…" and other points along those lines?
4/3/2014 01:28:12 pm
So what are you arguing, Steve? That foundations give money to research they think will yield results? Well, that's obvious. If you're arguing that the funding system for research is broken, you will find no argument here. But is that a conspiracy by all of academia? Obviously not, as Meldgaard and his predecessors demonstrate.
4/3/2014 01:29:00 pm
Bogus science paper reveals peer review's flaws
4/3/2014 01:34:25 pm
I really don't understand what you're arguing, Steve. Grant proposals aren't peer review, so how does Meldgaard's grant application have anything to do with the problems of peer review?
4/3/2014 04:05:05 pm
Melgaard's downplaying an angle of his research in order to get funding is completely normal in the grant process. Foundations fund things in their interests so scholars cater the way they present their work in order to get some money. Once funding is given, the outcome depends on the research. There isn't any conspiracy there, just reality.
4/3/2014 06:33:24 pm
Let me see if I can spoon feed this to you, Jason:
4/4/2014 12:45:07 am
4/4/2014 07:23:24 am
Concerning the four example articles which you presented against peer review:
4/4/2014 01:41:32 pm
I agree entirely with the points Harry made. Peer review is for judging results, while grant proposals are for seeking funding. You don't need a grant to unlock peer review, so conflating them is purposely misleading. Besides, my point above in the original blog post wasn't to demand Scott Wolter submit to peer review but to note that Wolter's treatment of peer review, an academic norm no matter what you think of it, matches the predicted results from Barkun's model of how conspiracy theorists approach academia, simultaneously vilifying it but aping its language and seeking its prestige.
4/2/2014 05:17:03 pm
There you have it, "Only Me:" As predicted, both Steve and Phil have posted. We await your snarky comment.
4/2/2014 06:28:47 pm
You presume too much, Steve.
4/3/2014 12:19:39 am
Only Me, Steve presumes too much?!? You're the same person who "wrote off" The Universe: Ancient Mysteries Solved before the first episode ever aired just because Jason read the press release through his biased lens and saw it as a show about the megalithic yard. I knew Jason made no sense whatsoever that day, but like a zombie cult member, you "wrote off" the show.
4/3/2014 12:22:54 am
You do know, Walt, that the press release actually said that the show would try to link ancient cultures through the megalithic yard. Fortunately, that was not the case, but that wasn't me being biased; it was H2 putting out bad information.
4/3/2014 04:17:27 am
The line you're referencing said nothing of the sort. It was a throw-away line probably written by someone in marketing that you misinterpreted based on your beliefs about the quality of H2 programming and the megalithic yard. After reading the same press release, I wasn't under the impression the show would address the megalithic yard. You incorrectly interpreted the evidence and misled your readers just as you lambaste Wolter for doing.
4/3/2014 04:28:23 am
Throwaway line? It was the entire text: "How were ancient builders, including those at Stonehenge, able to create structures around the world with one consistent unit of measurement – the “megalithic yard” – despite being oceans apart? This miniseries uses experts and CGI to reveal the answer and demonstrate how our past is connected to the history of the universe." There isn't much ambiguity there. I reported exactly what they said, and they were wrong.
4/3/2014 05:41:02 am
Theoretically, you and they could still be right. Maybe the last episode will ask how primitive people could've done it all and attempt to tie previous episodes together using the megalithic yard.
4/3/2014 05:49:10 am
On-air they also referred to it as a miniseries, though it is also officially season 8. I guess they were referring to it as a themed event.
4/3/2014 10:13:26 am
Yes, Walt, I expressed disinterest in TU:AMS because of the press release. The megalithic yard is bunk. However, I've watched the series since the beginning and enjoyed it.
4/6/2014 11:43:24 am
Steve StC -
4/6/2014 01:58:40 pm
You did a great job of breaking down the elements of AU using this template Jason. This will be a useful tool to share with college students and other audiences to help identify the tactics and techniques conspiracy theorists and con artists use to mislead their viewers / followers. I passed it along to some professionals and college instructors that I know. Well done as always.
4/2/2014 08:02:32 am
I see SW is trying to get Ohman Farm designated as a Historical Site. I guess if it's an historical site then the assumption must be that the KRS is of historical importance..
4/2/2014 08:04:30 am
The Cardiff Giant is historically important as well, but not as proof of giants.
Mike Titus pullo
4/2/2014 11:20:23 am
Hey I saw the Cardiff giant at the museum in Cooperstown when I was a kid. Was it the farmers museum? I can't recall. It was an old country village type of museum like Sturbridge village. My dad and a took a day trip to Cooperstown from Rochester. He just passed array at 91 last month. Thanks jason it brought back a good memory.
4/2/2014 11:30:06 am
I'm so sorry for your loss.
4/2/2014 08:10:59 am
A question only semi-related to this topic.
4/2/2014 02:30:20 pm
I agree that what Europeans did when they came to the US wasn't precisely what we would call ethical these days, but I WOULD point out that it's not like Europeans were the only ones doing it. The Iroquois Confederacy was not a complacent neighbor, and the Aztecs were a not well-loved empire, for example. Not to mention what China did in Asia, and while I can't remember details now, a couple different empires in Africa, both north and south. Let's talk about the fact that Powhatan was having some pretty tense relations with his neighbors even BEFORE Europeans showed up. ...it is as racist to assume that ONLY Europeans can be dicks as it is to assume that Native Americans were incapable of piling dirt on top of dirt. Just saying.
4/2/2014 01:08:44 pm
They're just all plain old-fashioned fibbers because they want to turn wishful-thinking into historical fact. Nothing technical.
4/2/2014 05:56:08 pm
"a world where human relations and historical events are governed by design rather than randomness."
4/2/2014 11:32:26 pm
No, he's not making the case that conspiracies don't exist, but rather he is examining the specific "conspiracy theory" phenomenon which attempts to explain aspects of the world through appeal to an all-powerful set of hidden forces. He himself explains that it can be hard to draw the line between actual government malfeasance and a conspiracy theory, it is typically the size, scope, and power of that conspiracy (combined with an objective lack of evidence for its existence and power), and its adoption as a world view, that demarcates a conspiracy theory.
terry the censor
4/3/2014 11:07:13 am
> The Kuwaiti baby incubators hoax, the Niger uranium "yellow cakes" forgeries.
4/3/2014 03:56:05 pm
4/8/2014 04:18:48 pm
gotta say the incubators and yellow cake stories were not necessarily conspiracies - they were just lies.
Mike Titus pullo
4/3/2014 11:36:08 am
I slightly disagree on the design part. The best book on social science is the fatal conceit by Fredrick Hayek. Spontaneous order often creates complex societies only to have those societies wrecked by the experts trying to design a better society, empire or some such.
4/3/2014 04:14:40 pm
I only read "The Road to Serfdom".I heard that Hayek was acquainted & deeply influenced by Leo Strauss (not surprising since they both spent time at the University of Chicago).Can you confirm?.
4/3/2014 01:07:43 am
Adding this book to the ever growing list of books I need to get.
4/3/2014 10:39:41 am
As per usual there is politically correct alternative speak.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/3/2014 02:34:19 pm
I've been following these questions with avid informed interest for DECADES … When EVER somebody -- anybody -- excavated a site and obtained C-14 dates that were older that "Clovis," the stock response was nearly ALWAYS, "That date CAN'T be right, because it would be older than 'Clovis' …"
4/3/2014 04:16:29 pm
Phil, you've been repeating this same assertion as an example of academic dogma far too long. You obviously believe it, but can you site verifiable examples of this attitude in practice? As others have explained, finding evidence that shifts the paradigm is a feather in the cap to the individual who finds, documents and presents this evidence. With so much riding on such a discovery, I want to know when and how dogma overrode such finds.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/3/2014 04:24:52 pm
BINGO … "Clovis FIRST" … was TAKEN to be a "paradigm" for quite a while … But in fact … it was just a DATE ...
4/3/2014 04:43:04 pm
You have just said something that is a perfect example of close-minded dogma typical of "alternative" thinkers. Whose rigidness and fanatical dogmatism would make the most "close-minded" "establishment" person pale by comparison. You could try to regurgitated a different example of hide bound "alternative" "political correctness". Since you are dogmatically welded to this fairy tale. I will again point out that when I got my Anthropology degree no one who taught me had much of a problem with before Clovis and none of the texts etc. I read, I had to read had much of problem with it either. I too have kept up with the debate and I frankly saw little of what you see. I love your use of agitation propaganda terms like "when Ever" and the "the stock response was nearly ALWAYS". Then there is your fantasy terminology ""Clovis FIRST" dogma was sacrosanct" and another shriek about a "decidedly Close-minded establishment".
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/4/2014 11:37:59 am
4/4/2014 12:01:56 pm
Rev- why is that a key question?
terry the censor
4/3/2014 02:01:01 pm
4/3/2014 05:44:40 pm
Well, when you are wrong about something, ridiculous arguments are all that is left aside from name calling.
4/3/2014 06:50:27 pm
"terry the censor"
terry the censor
4/6/2014 07:37:54 am
> I never said Scott or others should be "NOT be held accountable for their claims."
4/3/2014 07:40:01 pm
OK, Phil. I've done a little homework and have discovered that your belief, "the "Clovis FIRST" dogma was sacrosanct for quite a while … THAT was an instance of a decidedly CLOSE-minded establishment ...", isn't entirely true.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/4/2014 10:53:56 am
4/4/2014 12:23:34 pm
Then we have returned to my earlier request. I asked you for examples of stonewalling in support of Clovis First, because I wanted to know for myself if your conclusion had verifiable precedent. Now you tell me about reports and papers you've read that led to your conclusion. Can you point me towards these reports and papers, so that I might read them myself, if possible?
4/4/2014 12:25:09 pm
You must really stop shouting. I have read a great many reports about the earliest Paleo-Indian sites and frankly I never read or saw the fantasy that you have concocted about the "sacrosanct nature" of Clovis. Just how were my Anthropology profs so accepting about pre-Clovis as a strong possibility more than 30 years ago? They just thought the evidence was, then, bad about which they were right.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/4/2014 01:40:17 pm
Well, let's try this …
4/4/2014 01:46:28 pm
As always, Phil is refighting battles from many decades ago as though the way things were in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s are still the way things are today. By 1990, many archaeological texts already discussed Monte Verde as an accepted pre-Clovis site, but many older archaeologists wanted better proof before accepting what seemed to be anomalous results. The panel of archaeologists in the late 1990s ratified what most younger archaeologists had already accepted a decade or more earlier.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/4/2014 01:59:08 pm
When I was a student of North American archaeology back in the late 60s, MY profs weren't hidebound close-minded "Clovis FIRST" devotees, either …
4/4/2014 05:50:12 pm
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/5/2014 11:48:00 am
Why was a 'blue ribbon panel" convened (required) in order to drive the nails into the coffin of the "Clovis FIRST 'paradigm'" … ???
4/5/2014 01:44:22 pm
Firstly, drop the "blue ribbon panel" label. It's a misnomer you've chosen to use because it sounds good.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/5/2014 01:59:50 pm
I agree that our host, Mr. Colavito, made an unfortunate tactical error in using the term, "blue ribbon panel" …
4/5/2014 02:39:44 pm
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/5/2014 03:01:33 pm
WHY was a "blue ribbon panel" convened (deemed NECESSARY) in order to drive a stake into the heart of the "Clovis FIRST 'paradigm'" … ???
4/5/2014 04:48:50 pm
Because the prevalent theory had Clovis people entering North America 13,000 years ago through an ice-free corridor. They would have then had to spread out in a short time to make it as far as the southern end of America. Monte Verde, being demonstrably older, suggested that a different migratory route took place, or, people had entered the Americas before 20,000 years ago, which is when Canada and the northern U.S. were closed off by two converging ice sheets. Neither scenario fit with the Clovis First model and were rejected by those that still supported the theory.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/5/2014 06:21:22 pm
BINGO … !!!
4/5/2014 07:15:12 pm
No, Phil, your point was that Clovis First was "sacrosanct", a "stock response", and "an instance of a decidedly CLOSE-minded establishment ...".
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/6/2014 03:32:30 am
"Only Me" --
4/6/2014 07:21:39 am
terry the censor
4/6/2014 07:57:34 am
@Rev. Phil Gotsch
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/6/2014 10:35:12 am
terry the censor
4/6/2014 12:00:44 pm
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/6/2014 12:46:46 pm
WHY did ANYONE think that the "blue ribbon panel" was NECESSARY … ???
terry the censor
4/6/2014 02:12:17 pm
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/6/2014 02:19:05 pm
4/7/2014 01:06:49 am
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/7/2014 02:54:13 pm
ANY site that is C-14 dated may well have a few problems … This isnothing new and is NOT unique to Monte Verde …
4/7/2014 11:52:53 pm
I take it that the issue of when mankind first arrived in the Americas was an especially important issue that everyone involved cared about. More to the point, Clovis Firsters were free enough of dogma to take pat and to agree with the evidence. None of which supports your (presumed) point that the blue ribbon panel was necessary because Clovis Firsters were captive to a dogmatic paradigm.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
4/8/2014 03:29:34 am
Wise choice, Harry ...
4/4/2014 04:53:46 pm
In the latest three way dance its St Clair 0, Gotsch 0, Colavito 10.
4/4/2014 06:09:52 pm
Even if St Clair had a valid point, which he clearly doesn't, the 'evidence' he presents is from a grant application for an expedition that took place in 1956! Whilst I don't expect conspiracy theorists to be up to date, going back nearly sixty years is a bit of a stretch.
4/7/2014 04:11:50 am
Steve is defending his so called friend, Scott Wollter, and has very recently been spending more and more time doing it on as many posts as he can. Under the veil of friendship, Steve was probably recently directed by Wollter to defend Wollter. Just some thoughts that may be likely.
4/5/2014 01:56:52 pm
If I may examine and perhaps personalize the concept of peer review:
4/5/2014 01:59:25 pm
...eval evidences and greater meaning, not Runestone Hill. It is much more likely that the Whetstone River area of SD will end up producing acceptable evidences to historians in the future, not Runestone Hill.
4/5/2014 03:44:22 pm
4/6/2014 03:52:55 am
From Jason: "For Scott Wolter, this manifests, famously, in his belief that the Kensington Rune Stone, which on its surface tells of the travels of Norse people in Minnesota, is covering a hidden agenda discussed in a hidden-letter dot code—a land claim by the Knights Templar to the Mississippi watershed."
4/6/2014 03:59:24 am
Also on subject, my discourse about peer review:
4/7/2014 02:06:36 am
This blog is in no way equal to peer review. I expect that most of us (including myself) do not have the qualifications to peer review most of the various topics discussed here (although I realize that there are those that may be experts in specific areas).
4/7/2014 02:00:24 pm
RLewis, I agree with you. What I had hinted at was the notion of a very loose sort of peer review, without qualified personnel, yet set before a few astute individuals here, including Jason.
4/8/2014 02:07:32 am
A fact is something demonstrated to exist (among other definitions). Academics do not choose to perceive or not perceive them. If you can demonstrate them, they are facts.
RLewis, everything sounded fairly reasonable until you got a bit snarky at the end, about my "pet" hypothesis. Just so you know, I've got a few side-interests in my life, too.
4/6/2014 03:34:37 am
Beg to differ, but my comments are entirely on subject. Any time Wolter is discussed in relationship to Templars or the KRS, I am on subject. It was a bit long, perhaps, but I got my message out (again) and you apparently read it. Bravo!
4/7/2014 06:16:12 am
I try not to get involved in groups that enjoy shooting the messenger before they read the message. What Scott Wolter has stated for years has some merit, however it has been proven wrong in many cases which should not be the focus of interest. I understand why S. Sinclair is a strong supporter of Scott and defends his position. As Jason has pointed out in many postings the lack of facts and distorted information that has been published on the History Chanel is not research. Research is finding factual data that leads to the truth.
4/8/2014 03:08:50 am
The Treaty of Tordesillas does not have anything about putting a tower and a marker 370 leagues west. It says that where the dividing meridian between Spanish and Portuguese areas crosses land, a marker or tower should be built as a border indicator. This would have been limited to a single line (with no markers elsewhere) and also only would have applied in modern-day Brazil where the meridian was located. The dividing meridian itself is located 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands.
4/8/2014 04:28:33 am
Hmmm, this treaty also leaves out the part about aligning the tower with Venus and incorporating a sort of egg-shaped rock in one of the arches.
4/10/2014 04:20:33 am
Mandalore - Thanks for your input, however I have studied the treaty in depth and feel the location of the markers (Tower and stone) are to be located on pole lines which are 370 leagues from east to west and 90 degrees from Meridian lines. The latitude position of these markers (Tower 41 north, KRS 45 North) are east west markers and fall into the Portuguese boundary.) The 370 leagues or 1100 miles is the distance between these pole lines at the northern latitude.
4/10/2014 05:17:52 am
R Lewis - The treaty was made in 1494 after Columbus attempted to claim the new world. In my opinion the Spanish were not aware that the Portuguese had already built the Tower and placed the western marker before the treaty. Yes the treaty did not explain many details of the tower because its existence was only know by the Portuguese and Danes. I have studied the tower in detail and reconstructed a 1/40 scale model with wooden floor beams and lift aids that are positioned where the existing pockets remain that supported them. I have even reconstructed the exterior atrium that went around the tower that added living area to the structure. The tower has many features that prove its function and date.
4/10/2014 06:49:32 am
So, if I understand you right, the treaty supports your claim (of why and where the tower was built) because it "explains the procedure for claiming new land" - however the treaty was not in effect when the tower was built - in which case it doesn't support your claim.
4/10/2014 12:58:40 pm
RLewis - Yes the treaty between Portugal and Spain in 1494 explains the process to lay claim to new land, because the Portuguese had placed the tower in RI and the marker stone in Minn. in 1472. It is true that no treaty was in effect in 1472 when the tower was built, however this practice has been common for new discoveries. Good examples are the gold claims in Alaska or even the property you live on. Does your property deed date back to 1492? You must bake a cake before you eat it.
4/7/2014 02:25:44 pm
William, I agree with much of what you say, except that I think you are adding to the message of the KRS on a few things. There is no actual reason to believe the KRS was ever moved, since the description "peninsula-island" perfectly fits the description of Runestone Hill, where it was discovered. I've been to the location many times. A ridge leads to it from the west, and a cluster of three stonehole rocks are to be found on the small knoll just before Runestone Hill.
4/8/2014 04:58:39 pm
The significance of modern day Duluth and the compass (I assume straight) line through Runestone Hill to the Whetstone River?
4/8/2014 05:18:04 pm
I too am old and have an Anthro degree from 1970. I had professors then that argued the significance of mostly North American archaeological finds and the dating of them to a time prior to 13,000 years bp. There was very little to support pre-Clovis culture at the time. They and others also argued the positions in the family tree, names, habits and tool making abilities of the various pre- Homo sapiens known at that time from Africa. Many of those arguments still go on today. Nobody then and I don't think now accuse each other of any kind of conspiracy - in theory or action. It's all part of the normal academic discourse. Those that see conspiracy in this process simply do not understand how science works and how over the last many hundreds of years we got to the (still evolving) understanding of the universe and our place in it that we have today. To me they are akin to creation "science" folks saying "teach the controversy" thinking that the very existence of controversy makes their point that the science is wrong.
Indeed, M Wilson. A quote from Albert Einstein comes to mind: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
By the way, the aforementioned convergence also importantly represents the completion of a water-way circle, from Hudson Bay and back to the ocean through the St. Lawrence Seaway. A water-way circle? Indeed, and this is significant.
4/10/2014 05:34:14 am
Gunn - In addition to the Newport Tower being the east boundary of Vinland and the KRS being the west boundary of Vinland, The Ohio Rock is the center. The west boundary (KRS) was likely first located in 1362 as stated on the stone. The stone itself was likely carved in 1472 and located in its current position with a 65 mile adjustment to the east from the 1362 date because of clusters of triangle stone holes at each area and the faint scratch lines on the date runes of 1362 which imply the 3 was a 4 and the 2 was a 7.
4/10/2014 04:39:51 pm
Some info for the record. The early translation of the KRS is (Eight Götalanders and 22 Northmen on (this?) acquisition journey from Vinland far to the west. We had a camp by two (shelters?) one day's journey north from this stone. We were fishing one day. After we came home, found 10 men red from blood and dead. Ave Maria save from evil.
4/11/2014 12:29:16 pm
Gunn - I agree with your water way circle in that Hudson Bay and the St Lawrence both came into play. Their is evidence that support this, however their is no evidence that ocean going ships were on the St. Lawrence to my knowledge. The triangle stone hole at Duluth and the great lake map in stone in NY as well as native American history and other stone holes as well as compass components add support to this.
4/13/2014 03:16:34 am
Gunn and All
Sorry about the lengthy delay in responding. I haven't checked here for a while because of marketing my radically different, newly patented wind turbine.
4/13/2014 10:52:08 am
Gunn - I will attempt to address each of your points, however others may have read different dates from all the published information.
4/14/2014 05:18:26 am
Gunn - A little more information on how the ancients may have understood how to mark key points on the earth and establish a straight line connection. My application for patent on this revised process is on file and is called the lunar compass. Some of the earliest recordings of man are in the form of sun god symbols or checker board squares. Many are shown in Berry Fells book (America BC). They are located in most cases near ancient sites on the top or side of Dolmens. Their function was to record time and distance on the earths surface from a common starting point by showing and recording the lunar cycles during their voyage to the new location. Another example is the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio. This earth mound structure has 3 coils in its tail which represent 3 lunar months at sea or 90 days. It has 7 direction changes representing the body of the serpent, representing 7 lunar months on land to get from the sea to Ohio. It has a head with the moon in its mouth and the overall direction is toward the north west. At this new location in Ohio they understood time and distance from their starting point and could make a line showing the connection between their new and old location. I have plotted 39 of these symbols from all parts of the world using the holy latitude of 26 degrees north as a home line and found that only one location on this latitude is common to all recordings. (26.5 latitude north and 65 longitude west). The problem I have is this is in the Atlantic Ocean where their is no land today.
4/15/2014 05:57:04 am
Wow! Anyway, my point is that medieval Scandinavians were able to get around up here in this region, using mapping (Runestone Hill, for example) in conjunction with other methodology. The many explorers of that period who came here, knew where they were at.
4/15/2014 10:14:27 am
Gunn - You are correct in that they knew exactly where they were at. A few words on the KRS indicate this. (far west of Vinland) ( one day south of base camp) (14 days from the inland sea) (land acquisition).
4/16/2014 08:01:15 am
Thanks for the new information. I knew the KRS party was cued-in to the landscape, but wasn't sure how. Your information about the various means of measuring direction back in the medieval period is very helpful. It helps show the reality of early European exploration and attempted land acquisition up here in MN and in New Gotaland.
4/16/2014 11:37:49 am
Well, the KRS exploring party consisted of people who came from in and around Sweden, according to the message itself. Several persons went into this before on this blog, trying to pin down where the men came from.
4/19/2014 04:03:53 pm
Gunn - I do like debating with you because you explain where you are coming from and why you feel so strong about your theory. In addition we have a common belief that the KRS is authentic.
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