J. Hutton Pulitzer: "Failed Blogger" Jason Colavito Wrong to Criticize Claims of Europeans in Medieval Arizona
This week J. Hutton Pulitzer and Scott Wolter released their next commentary track on the 2012-2013 season of America Unearthed. It is the second in their series and the latest release from the pair’s new XpLrR partnership. It was, of course, more of the same conspiracy mongering, but Pulitzer’s Trumpian levels of blowhard ignorance make me feel embarrassed for Scott Wolter, and that takes some doing. This week’s commentary track covers S01E02 “Medieval Desert Mystery,” which I reviewed in 2012.
Pulitzer begins the latest podcast with a rant about how archaeologists aren’t really academically qualified to study the past because they have “a humanities degree,” which he says qualifies a person to become an archaeologist, an anthropologist, a pastor, a poet, a writer, etc. “Humanities degrees a lot of time aren’t subject to the scientific method,” Pulitzer said. I am not sure he understands how degrees work. At most schools, a bachelor’s degree contains a major, and these are not interchangeable. Some liberal arts colleges do not offer majors, and others don’t list them on their degrees but rather in their transcripts. However, regardless, (a) a major in archaeology is not the same as a major in poetry, and (b) a bachelor’s degree is not the same as a master’s or Ph.D., which are much more specific in their focus.
Regular readers will remember that the second episode of America Unearthed had Wolter examine a rock carved with runes in Arizona that allegedly was the grave marker for “Rough” Hurech, a fictional British person for whom the United Kingdom has no record. Despite confirmation from the relevant U.K. government offices that the show lied about there being records of Hurech, and despite expert analysis that the runes were incoherent fakes, and despite the confession of the hoaxer who carved them, Wolter maintains that “facts are facts” and the stone is legitimately medieval.
Wolter and Pulitzer commiserate over their mutual hatred of academics and their close-minded refusal to accept their claims. Pulitzer made a weird claim that when confronted with twenty confusing symbols, experts must concede that ambiguous “gibberish” (his words) could be real ancient writing because if only twelve of twenty symbols carved on a wall make sense, it’s unfair to call the whole inscription a fake.
Wolter is also upset that he has been called racist, and he says “this is one of their techniques” that academics and skeptics use to distract audiences from the “facts.” Pulitzer denies that racism is a real social problem, claiming it is “an academic word” used to make people “shut up.” Wolter, taking a page from Donald Trump, threatens violence against anyone who calls him racist. “The next person who calls me racist to my face, I’m not going to like what happens.”
Beyond this, Wolter also claims that “a woman” has driven a wedge between him and Henrik Williams, the runic scholar, arguing that personal disputes have prevented Williams from viewing Wolter’s claims objectively. Williams reviewed the “Rough Hurech” stone and determined that the inscription was modern, and he produced a paper about it. Wolter claims that “some debunker site” (that’s me!) “sprang” this on him unfairly and that “they wrote a blog saying what an idiot I am.” Pulitzer calls me “a failing blogger who writes horror fiction” and can’t correctly identify runes. I am not now nor have I ever claimed to be someone who can read runes. He specifically criticizes me for saying the runes looked like Latin letters. He’s making false claims about these sentences:
I’m not a runic expert, so I can’t read the text; nevertheless, at first glance the letters looked more like stylized Latin letters than the Northern European runic alphabets of Scandinavia (derived from Old Italic) I had seen before. This is because they are meant to be Anglo-Saxon runes, which look much more like Latin letters.
While Pulitzer rants about my review, Wolter chooses to consider research to be a personal affront to him, and he also chooses to conflate comments left on a blog post by readers with my own words. The article was not “sprung” on Wolter by me. It was reported, in Swedish, by Swedish Public Television, and Williams’ paper was published on the Uppsala University website in English before I ever wrote about it.
Wolter makes excuses for himself, claiming that he had nothing to do with the translation that America Unearthed commissioned from Mike Carr (Wolter says he does not know who translated the stone) but reiterating that the show “found” “Rough” Hurech in British records. I showed that the British have no such records through the expedience of simply asking for the records America Unearthed used. There were none.
[Update: Henrik Williams informs me that records for a Peter de Hurech of 1200 do exist, though he was never named “Rough.” The 1984 edition of the A History of the County of Stafford lists him as a tenant of Philip de Kniver from the year 1200, as known from a deed of 1377, and suggests he might have been the Peter of Whittington active in the 1180s. According to the 1377 deed, he held the manor of Whittington during his life and passed it on to his heirs, who lived their until the 1500s, so it is entirely unlikely that he traveled to Arizona and died there in 1200. Now why was it that no one from America Unearthed knew where they supposedly got that information?]
“I stand behind the research we did,” Wolter said.
Pulitzer read my review of America Unearthed S01E02 but seems to have not understood it. He alleges that I tried to “prove” that the rune stone is “not old” because the site had been visited and documented in the 1980s. “Does that make this site not old?” he asks. Pulitzer asks whether the 1984 archaeological survey could have missed the stone. “And that’s what they use to say this is certainly a modern forgery, and to me that’s highly deceptive.” One explanation, and the one Williams found to be correct, is that they were carved after the 1980s. The lack of documentation for the runes in the 1980s doesn’t prove that they weren’t there, but it is suggestive. Pulitzer says that merely “documenting” the cave isn’t the same as having a full television crew there to videotape the damage that relic hunters did in digging up the site to reveal runes.
In my review I said that the lack of documentation was “almost certainly” proof they weren’t there—but not on my own accord! I cited that to archaeologist Steve Ross, who actually said this in the episode. In fact, Ross also disagreed with Wolter’s assessment, repeated here, that the rock was buried in 1984 and therefore invisible. Wolter and Pulitzer are mad at me for paraphrasing the actual episode in a review of it. The fault there lies with the producers, not with me, for allowing a non-fringe opinion to leak through.
“It’s like logic doesn’t matter,” Pulitzer said of the “later analysis” of the episode. Given that this later analysis is me and the Archaeological Fantasies blog, it’s not hard to figure out whom he’s talking about.
Running out of material to discuss about the episode, Pulitzer moves on to a different subject, arguing that archaeologists are trying to hide the truth by hiding evidence of diffusion under the category of “foreign goods” found in sites. Pulitzer says that the phrase is used by archaeologists to hide materials for which “there is no logical explanation.” I have no idea what he means about “foreign goods,” which generally refers to objects and materials not obtained in the local area.
Pulitzer also feels that carbon dating is unfair. “It’s probably not a valid way” to date a site, he said, because wood isn’t the same as stone. Clearly, Pulitzer doesn’t understand that archaeologists know that carbon dating can’t date stone directly. That’s why they tend to date organic material found beneath stone constructions, under the logic that newer material is unlikely to have been introduced underneath a preexisting foundation. Pulitzer introduces this argument because he wants to deny that the ancestral Puebloan peoples (Anasazi) lived when archaeologists said they do. Similarly, he dismisses dendrochronology as “counting the tree rings” without understanding anything about how those rings are fitted into a chronology based on patterns of wide and thin rings related to annual weather. For him it’s voodoo magic and something to scoff at as a humorous attempt to deny prehistoric European visitation. (Wolter, however, notes that it is a “scientific method.”)
Pulitzer says that archaeologists don’t want to admit that “Tucsonian white” (?) pottery dates to 800 CE because it would prove that Europeans colonized Arizona. “They’re basing it all on the Columbus myth!” he fumes, failing to recognize that no one has believed in “Columbus-first” since the 1830s.
Pulitzer says that “Tucsonian white” pottery—which I am not able to identify—was carbon dated to 800 CE but reassigned to 1300 CE because of Columbus, which makes no sense to me logically. Is he referring to black-on-white pottery? Is he talking about the correction of radiocarbon dates?
Wolter then devotes part of the podcast to blasting the Smithsonian Institution for refusing to accept the Bat Creek Stone, and he rehearses various fringe history anti-Smithsonian conspiracies. He becomes quite angry: “This is the biggest fraud I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said, his voice becoming harsh. He starts to grow louder and angrier, sounding Trumpian in denunciation of “this corrupted attitude we have in archaeology today. It’s criminal in my opinion.”
Pulitzer next introduces a conspiracy theory by which he argues that murex (sea snail) shells used for making purple dye among the Phoenicians were found in Arizona mounds. He alleges that the Phoenicians brought the murex to Arizona and archaeologists are trying to hide it. He did not provide any references to this, and I was unable to find information, even among the fringe, of murex in Arizona. I can’t identify the origin of his claim, and Wolter, learning of it just now, declares it “evidence” of archaeological suppression. Pulitzer also claims that “ivory artifacts” have been uncovered in America, though he doesn’t say where. Ivory artifacts from Clovis-era sites (mammoth tusks) have been uncovered, and are widely reported. I think, though, he is referring to Victorian era reports like this one.
After this, Pulitzer returns to me again, saying that “some sci-fi writer out in the boondocks” is calling Wolter “racist” while I am in fact the actual racist for denying white people their accomplishments in colonizing America before Columbus. “No, this is your history!” Pulitzer says to his audience, assuming that they identify with the “your” in that sentence—seeing themselves as the Europeans making America great again. Wolter agrees that archaeologists are offensive to Native Americans by “telling them what their history is.” This is an ongoing conversation in archaeology, and a source of tension between scholars and native peoples who wish to control their own cultural heritage, but often do so in ways that reinforce traditional but not objectively true views. I couldn’t possibly do justice to the length conversation about cultural sensitivity and accommodation that you can find in the academic literature, and the arguments for and against challenging traditional narratives. Pulitzer, who knows nothing of this literature, says that modern scholars are worse than the Victorians because the Victorians “may have been racist, but at least they were intellectually honest most of the time.”
Honest racism. Now that’s a scientific standard Pulitzer can get behind!
6/7/2016 01:26:07 pm
I listened through the bit about "Tusconian white," and my best guess is that it's a badly garbled reference to Cibola White Ware. Assuming Pulitzer only heard about Cibola White Ware from someone, rather than reading about it, I can see why he might assume the word he was hearing was "Tusconian," especially if the story was set in Arizona. I'm not sure of any dating controversies re: Cibola White Ware, but 1300 CE is the largely accepted date for the tradition.
6/7/2016 01:31:05 pm
I would never have gotten Cibola out of Tusconian! That certainly seems like the most logical explanation for what he was referring to.
6/7/2016 01:31:57 pm
Ooh, even better, google tells me there's something called Tusayan White Ware too. Don't know what it is.
6/7/2016 01:48:32 pm
And here's the controversy I think he's talking about.
6/7/2016 01:53:19 pm
That would fit even better since its accepted date range is c. 625 to 1325 CE!
6/7/2016 03:38:34 pm
6/7/2016 01:37:39 pm
Its funny that JHP would mention "college degrees". About a week ago I tried to comment on the 'History Heretic' blog where I very politely stated that most scientists, contrary to his assertion, are always admitting that they are wrong when a better theory comes along.
Annie c. Cloutier
6/7/2016 05:54:16 pm
JHP never graduated from high school
6/10/2016 12:47:32 am
Ha! At least Scott Wolter received a (fake) "honorary" masters degree.
6/7/2016 02:20:33 pm
6/7/2016 02:48:59 pm
To be peer reviewed by Megan Fox and Mr. Potato Head.
6/7/2016 02:55:05 pm
Failed Blogger? Ironic considering SW an JHP couldn't keep trheir whack a doodle shows on the air.
Annie C. Cloutier
6/7/2016 06:29:50 pm
Real peer review by Stephen Hawkings about black holes:
6/7/2016 08:56:09 pm
Journalism today isn't about reporting facts but proving narratives to further political purposes..in other words mostly propaganda. It sure isn't science.
Annie C. Cloutier
6/7/2016 11:14:47 pm
archaeology or archeology. (är'kē-ŏl'ə-jē) The scientific study of past human life and culture by the examination of physical remains, such as graves, tools, and pottery.
6/8/2016 12:09:23 am
Annie, Wolter has a bachelor's in geology, so he did earn a degree. Only his honorary degree was questioned and proven false.
6/8/2016 11:10:57 am
Kal, you commented: " ... SW an JHP couldn't keep trheir whack a doodle shows on the air." JHP has not had a television show since his "Net Talk Live" show out of Dalas back in pre-CueCat days, 1996-2001. He only appeared in two episodes in season 2 of "Curse of Oak Island". He does desperately want to be credited for more though. He posted on 8/10/15 on his "Curse of Oak Island (New -NO Drama - Official)" Facebook group: "SOMEONE ASKED ABOUT OUR Season 3 content and this was our answer and it may help: SNIP:::::let me correct of some misconceptions: ... (2) We are in season 3 by default since they have to reshow our work and recap to set up all of Season 3 shows in relevance to our findings. (3) NO we are not in any NEW recorded segments since we did not come to terms about what was to be filmed and relevant ..."
6/7/2016 03:27:18 pm
"The next person who calls me racist to my face, I’m not going to like what happens.”
6/7/2016 07:04:07 pm
Jason, it looks to me like Wolters considers you yourself personally responsible for not be able to sell his latest load, and is quite angry about it.
6/7/2016 03:37:44 pm
"“I stand behind the research we did,” Wolter said." As with most runaway trains, it's undeniably the safest position to take.
6/7/2016 04:14:27 pm
Third World Countries.
6/7/2016 05:18:02 pm
6/7/2016 05:33:47 pm
Third World = the countries are not developed
6/8/2016 01:37:51 am
Country and culture are not the same thing and not held to the same standards.
6/8/2016 09:53:24 am
Tell UNESCO that there are no inferior countries that can never reach the standards of success.
6/8/2016 02:43:37 pm
United Nations Human Settlements, "The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements", foreword by Kofi A. Annan (Earthscan Publications Ltd, 2003)
6/8/2016 03:19:49 am
The term "Third World" was originally introduced to refer to places which were not explored by Europeans until after their colonisation of the "New World" (North and South America).
6/8/2016 03:48:31 pm
Actually, darling, "third world" is not the appropriate terminology to use. "Undeveloped" or "underdeveloped nation" is the appropriate terminology to use, since it acknowledges a lack of infrastructure and technological advancement without making judgmental statements like "inferior culture" or "unable to reach standards," both of which are actively false.
Annie C. Cloutier
6/7/2016 05:57:56 pm
Maybe this will be helpful for JHP 's understanding of Dendrochronology .. that is if he were to read it
6/7/2016 06:35:17 pm
Pultizer should have remembered what they say about people living in glass houses not throwing rocks. Or attempting to read things carved into rocks.
6/8/2016 06:36:05 am
The Harold Stone: an instant classic!
Annie C. Cloutier
6/8/2016 05:55:48 am
Only Me, there is no documentation that SW ever completed his degree, he attended , but did not finish the degree
6/8/2016 11:10:06 am
Are you saying he was never awarded a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1982?
Annie C. Cloutier
6/8/2016 06:10:41 pm
Have you located any documentation ? I could not.
6/8/2016 08:33:04 pm
Besides the link Mike provided below, I did a little searching and read a couple of university newsletters that consistently referred to Wolter as an alumnus. That isn't the same as, well, whatever it is you're looking for, but, I find no reason to doubt Wolter's BA.
6/8/2016 08:43:11 pm
Annie, if you are truly interested, you could contact the Registrar's Office University of Minnesota-Duluth.
6/8/2016 11:42:40 am
Annie, Jason provided a link, http://www.d.umn.edu/publications/bridge/201/alumnpro.html , in his blog, http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/scott-wolters-apparently-non-existent-degree , which clearly states Wolter is an alumnus of '82.
6/8/2016 10:51:53 am
OK, I must say that if someone else got into my face and called me a racist that I would have a strongly negative reaction as well. What I have difficulty understanding is why he is not in front of his computer and in a university library actively providing the research that will refute the comments made by this blogger, demonstrating his "failure". JC has left a trail of breadcrumbs to the source materials, it just shouldn't be that hard.
6/8/2016 04:00:32 pm
I'm sure I would, as well, since I have in the past. What I have NOT done, however, is threaten or resort to or even imply violence. And I've never really felt the need to basically DARE people to call me anything that way. That's the rhetoric tactic Jason is talking about.
6/9/2016 11:49:28 am
Point of interest: Note that SW says "The next person who calls me racist to my face, *I'M* not going to like what happens.” I think this is a classic Freudian slip. He wants to imply that he's going to punch the guy out - what he means is that he's going to wet himself.
6/8/2016 04:59:06 pm
Point taken, thanks. Guess he's spoiling for a fight so he can claim he is the victim
6/8/2016 10:55:00 am
Oh, I just love the word "bloviate". Insert as needed
Annie C. Cloutier
6/11/2016 07:39:40 pm
Bloviate, just the most perfect word selected for JHP and SW. I had to look it up ! where "blowhard" came from, lacks evidence or truth, and talks about themself
6/8/2016 11:01:39 am
I often wonder what our Founders would think of the First Amendment being used as a shield for idiots such as Wolter and Pulitzer/Philjaw to poison the well of knowledge with such bungling falsehoods, and all for pure profit.
6/8/2016 01:56:36 pm
I've always felt that some fringe theorists--particularly those whose theories are murky, ill-defined and ever-changing--don't particularly believe their own bullshit, even though they get genuinely offended when they're called out for it. They put so much time and effort into their imaginary narratives that to be dismissed so quickly and casually hurts their feelings. They don't necessarily want to be told their pet theory is true; they just want scholars and academics to say, "Hey, good job! You're smart and creative!" It must be frustrating to hear, instead, that they've overlooked a bunch of really obvious facts that make their hypotheses historically impossible.
6/9/2016 10:54:38 am
I used to believe that Wolter was a clever manipulator who realized he was poisoning the well of knowledge for pure profit. That of course doesn't say much for his character. However these days I'm more swayed that perhaps Wolter's immense ego has him convinced of what he spouts, and that he is simply a dense poseur manipulated by others to further the fringe. Only those who know him with his guard down know for sure.
6/8/2016 03:15:22 pm
Can we be embarrassed for the faculty of my second cousins's alma matter, Duluth U? Ugh. Having SW there at the same time is pretty sad. I bet they had a class together, and even then he was probably ranting about the KRS being so real looking, and signed thing with a hooked X (r)
6/8/2016 03:16:02 pm
6/8/2016 07:01:19 pm
Hey Scott Wolter,
6/9/2016 01:50:19 pm
I'm sure Wolter has an undergrad degree, but you don't have to graduate to be an alumnus.
6/9/2016 10:56:15 pm
"Anonymous June 8, 2016 at 7:30 PM
6/10/2016 10:56:57 am
Harold Edwards had a wonderful insight in regard to Wolter that would be most apropos to this exchange John:
6/10/2016 05:06:18 pm
In John's post above from comments under Wolter's blog, "Kensington Rune Stone: Theories Verses Facts" of Saturday, June 4, 2016, Wolter states:
6/11/2016 12:08:09 pm
Wolter's complete lack of proper scientific methodology as applied to his fringe industry could never withstand academic peer review; that being submitting his work to a true scientific journal, affiliated with an academic institution with an editorial board of properly credentialed members with the necessary advanced degrees required for such work. His work cannot get passed Logic 101 to begin with. His conclusions are assumed within the premises and his findings manufactured entirely with confirmation bias. With no expertise in history, his dabbling within that realm fails completely whenever he ventures forth.
6/11/2016 06:43:14 pm
Wolter issued a correction stating his coming June 18 "paper' in "Rocky Mountain Mason MAGAZINE", has been "peer" reviewed, blaming the error on an auto correct program.
6/12/2016 11:10:57 am
Some of Wolter's past attempts at claiming he was peer reviewed were highly comical in nature. He once claimed he was beyond peer review because he abided by industry standards for building materials. Also because he testifies in court, what he says must be true. One time he made the mistake of posting rough drafts of his earlier KRS work where associates (including Alice Kehoe and Professor Henrik Williams) either provided him with written suggestions or wrote their notes directly on his manuscript. Wolter had the audacity... or stupidity, if you will... to call this "peer review" despite the fact that his reviewers more often than not disagreed with his assertions; which Wolter IGNORED for his final draft.
Annie C. Cloutier
6/10/2016 07:08:47 pm
The following is a site to help guide the review process....Masons are a very sharp group of men, and , will not promote anything that is not properly researched, besides , the Masons would tell you straight up "we are not academics by profession" a university archeology or history department should review this "paper" by SW.
6/11/2016 01:51:09 pm
It is my hope that Professor Williams will seek legal representation in the United States and file a lawsuit for defamation against Wolter for his baseless, careless, negligent, false and malicious accusations he continues to publish on his blog.
6/11/2016 04:09:28 pm
Scott Wolter doesn’t have the temperament to deal with anyone who disagrees with him and is tormented by those who counter his so-called evidence. He has no support from credible researchers and he is trying to get attention any way he can.
6/12/2016 03:24:22 am
Sometimes I wonder what will actually lead to Wolter's career downfall, or at least a fall from grace in his fans eyes...
Christ was/is fully human, described as having the same temptations as all humans, and I honestly have never considered that part of any Templar treasure would be His physical remains. My belief system doesn't even allow for a bizarre scene involving Christ's bones in a box, since I also believe many witnesses saw Him after His resurrection...several hundred people saw Him ascend into the sky. His physical body went straight up out of this world, so His bones are gone from earth in that conversion. We will all undergo this conversion, when our spirits are separated from our bodies.
6/20/2016 05:32:01 am
Mr. Colavito,it's a shame that stuff like this is taken with ANY degree of seriousness. It would be great if there were proof for any of this stuff,but there isn't. Stuff like this would be found in novels,short stories,movies,or TV shows,not in real life. It might come one day,but right now,fiction is the ONLY place where this stuff will be found.
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