Here we go again. The latest edition of the Maui Time newspaper has a cover story on the allegedly Mesoamerican obsidian spear point found in a national park on the island of Maui. The new details provided by the newspaper are meant to make us more confident in the connection between the spear point and Mexico, but instead the reporting raises still more doubts about the authenticity of the artifact—and from an unexpected source, the archaeologist America Unearthed featured in its episode on the spear point. The newspaper also offered us the largest photograph yet published of the spearhead, which appears more than ever like a modern fake, sharing few if any characteristics with genuine pre-Columbian Mexican lithics.
Archaeologist Dr. Janet Six of the University of Hawaii’s Maui College examined the green-gold obsidian spear point in the winter of 2010-2011 after Brian Axtell and Trevor Carter, its discoverers, contacted an archaeologist who in turn contacted her, and she immediately recognized that the spear point was not native to the Hawaiian Islands. “Someone put it there,” she told Maui Time. The obsidian from which it was made is from Pachuca in Mexico.
Six offered several possible explanations, one of which we must dismiss because it is unsupported by archaeology. That possibility is her suggestion that Native Hawaiians picked up the spear point when visiting South America just before the time of Columbus. Mexican obsidian from Pachuca was the subject of long-distance trade, but to my knowledge this was limited to Mexico and did not extend south to the areas of the Inca Empire where the Polynesians landed. South Americans had their own sources of obsidian and did not need Mexican obsidian.
“Academics agree that Polynesians went to Mesoamerica,” Six told the Maui Time, but this is untrue. Academics agree Polynesians reached South America, not Mesoamerica, and the two are not interchangeable. There is no evidence of Polynesian contact in Mesoamerica. Her other suggestions are much more likely:
She said it was possible Axtell and Carter put it there, but added that given her discussions with them, and the fact that they never seem to have tried to get publicity from the spearpoint or sell it, she believed they were being honest about how they found it. She also said it was possible that a hippie put it into the park in the 1980s during a “harmonic convergence.”
The last idea was a new one on me. I knew that there had been a Harmonic Convergence, but I wasn’t aware that the global gatherings extended to Hawaii. This explains everything.
In researching records and reports from the August 1987 “Harmonic Convergence,” I discovered that thousands of New Age people, including those who had visited “spiritual” sites in Mexico, traveled to the Haleakala Crater in Maui—where the spear point was later found—for Harmonic Convergence ceremonies. They held a “sunrise ceremony” at the crater on August 17. Russell Chandler reported this fact in Understanding the New Age in 1993, and the New Yorker reported the same in 1988. According to the New Age beliefs of the time, pyramid centers in Egypt and Mexico were considered important sites for earth energy and UFO activity. Artifacts (including tourist trinkets made from power stones like obsidian), rocks, and other detritus from those areas were important talismans that many New Agers used to spread harmony to other earth energy centers, such as Haleakala Crater.
In fact, the Harmonic Convergence was developed in part by Jose Argüelles, who used the run-up to the Convergence to promote the idea that the Maya calendar would expire in 2012. He specifically linked the Harmonic Convergence to Mesoamerica and encouraged his followers to see Mesoamerica and Mayan mysteries as the focal point for the New Age.
I think this about solves the mystery.
The newspaper then explains some of the additional conspiracy claims with details that help flesh out what happened. You can read this yourself, but here are the highlights:
The Park Service refuses to discuss the incident beyond a press release that indicates that they are testing the spear point and conducting a criminal investigation into Axtell and Carter for illegally removing an artifact from the Haleakala.
America Unearthed planned to use an expensive test to determine the age of the spear point but were unable to do so because of the Park Service’s seizure of the spear point.
The “seizure” of the spearhead occurred in a Starbucks during a meeting arranged by producers of America Unearthed. The “conspiracy” against the show was entirely of the production team’s own making. Had they filmed and tested the spear point first, before arranging a meeting with the Park Service, there would have been no conspiracy. But it also might have made them party to the violation of federal law.
Here’s the key detail—producers hid the seizure from Wolter on purpose for several days in order to create drama. “I didn’t like keeping it a secret from the guy,” Trevor Carter said. The men indicated that it took four takes to film the scene where they informed Wolter that the Park Service kept the spear point because the production team had to stop repeatedly to calm him down. He had become too angry to continue, cursing and shouting about conspiracies.
Holy crap. The producers hide facts from Scott Wolter! They knew far ahead of time what had happened, and they lied to him about it!
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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