America Unearthed S02E11 “Swamp Mammoth” is the third episode in a row in which Scott Wolter searches for evidence that Caucasians reached the New World in the distant past. Two weeks ago he hoped to find Bronze Age people from Scotland in Ohio, and last week he hoped to find the Lost Tribes of Israel, also in Ohio. This week is a little different, and we jump back in time more than ten thousand years from the putative Old World builders of the Native American mounds to go in search of the absolute oldest Europeans to possibly reach America, and in so doing reverse centuries of scholarship by reassigning the peopling of the Americas to Europe, against which Native Americans are later interlopers who somehow overtook the Europeans.
This claim has, in various forms, been in existence for more than two centuries.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve discussed the myth of the Mound Builders, which developed in the late 1700s in response to American efforts to provide justifications for seizing Native American lands. This myth, which never had a factual foundation, held that a lost white race had originally inhabited America, but that they had been killed off by Native Americans when they crossed from Asia, believed at that point to have been a relatively recent incursion. This idea was succinctly phrased by a French author and friend of Thomas Jefferson, Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur (a.k.a. John Hector St. John), who wrote a hoax in 1801 blatantly plagiarized from earlier Mound Builder myths (specifically the works of Jonathan Heart and George Imlay) where he made Benjamin Franklin say of the Mounds:
Can we conceive that nations sufficiently powerful to have raised such considerable fortifications, and who buried their dead with such religious care, can have been destroyed and replaced by the ignorant and barbarous horde we see about us at the present day? Could the calamities occasioned by a long state of war have effaced the last traces of their civilization and brought them back to the primitive condition of hunters? Are our Indians the descendants of that ancient people?
This fake Franklin attributed the death of the lost race to a meteor strike, unwilling to believe Native Americans capable of martial puissance. This hoax was accepted as the genuine thoughts of Benjamin Franklin until the end of the nineteenth century. It was believable because ideologically-driven proponents of the Mound Builder myth were looking for a Founding Father whose views could oppose those of Thomas Jefferson, who had established what would become, with modification and correction, the scientific consensus on the peopling of the Americas.
In Query 11 of his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson laid out the many reasons he believed that the first Native Americans had crossed into North America from northeast Asia.
Great question has arisen from whence came those aboriginal inhabitants of America? Discoveries, long ago made, were sufficient to shew that a passage from Europe to America was always practicable, even to the imperfect navigation of ancient times. In going from Norway to Iceland, from Iceland to Groenland, from Groenland to Labrador, the first traject is the widest: and this having been practised from the earliest times of which we have any account of that part of the earth, it is not difficult to suppose that the subsequent trajects may have been sometimes passed. Again, the late discoveries of Captain Cook, coasting from Kamschatka to California, have proved that, if the two continents of Asia and America be separated at all, it is only by a narrow streight. So that from this side also, inhabitants may have passed into America: and the resemblance between the Indians of America and the Eastern inhabitants of Asia, would induce us to conjecture, that the former are the descendants of the latter, or the latter of the former: excepting indeed the Eskimaux, who, from the same circumstance of resemblance, and from identity of language, must be derived from the Groenlanders, and these probably from some of the northern parts of the old continent. A knowledge of their several languages would be the most certain evidence of their derivation which could be produced.
Here Jefferson notes that the Vikings were known to have crossed to Greenland, and therefore a passage to North America was not impossible—as, indeed, archaeology would eventually confirm. But he also correctly deduced from physiology that the Native Americans were likely of northeast Asian extraction, and he goes on to discuss the fact that the wide variety of Native tongues implied a great time depth, suggesting that their Asian forebears had first come ages and ages before, over “an immense course of time; perhaps not less than many people give to the age of the earth.” In fact, it was in service of this hypothesis that Jefferson would charge Lewis and Clark with assembling vocabulary lists of the Native tribes they encountered, in hope that he could arranged them into families to demonstrate the Asian origin of the same. (So, no, not Welsh Indians or Lost Tribes.) Sadly, this project was delayed long past Jefferson’s death because his vocabulary lists were destroyed when the trunk carrying them vanished during shipment from Washington to Monticello at the end of his presidency.
Despite repeated outbursts of mythic history attempting to reassign American prehistory to the Lost Tribes of Israel, a lost white race, or various Europeans of the Bronze, Classical, or Dark Ages, science came to accept Jefferson’s version of the peopling of the Americas. As Charles McCarthy’s 1919 History of the United States, a standard high school textbook of its era, put it, the ancient earthworks of America “were built not by a civilized race that has passed away but by just such people as the first white settlers found in America.” Additionally, while the exact origins of the first Americans remained unknown, “men from Asia have crossed Bering Strait on the ice to Alaska in pursuit of fur-bearing animals. […] In figure, features, and complexion as well as in civilization the Indian does not bear so close a resemblance to Europeans or Africans as he does to certain peoples in northeastern Asia.” We may profitably take this as the default position, and the standard view of American prehistory from the late nineteenth century to today.
But not everyone has been satisfied with this explanation, and even after the collapse of the Lost White Race theory of mound building, there has been a consistent stream of thought that has looked to Europe as the origin point for the peopling of the Americas—despite centuries of archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, and genetic evidence tying Native Americans to Asia.
Let me stress here that the impetus behind this is not always or explicitly racist. In fact, the Solutrean Hypothesis was not intended as a claim of race but rather as a way to explain the apparent similarity between Old World and New World stone tools.
In the 1930s, archaeologists working in New Mexico found odd stone tools different from and older than anything else they had known. These stone points were obviously meant for big game hunting—the first so-called Folsom points were found embedded in the ribs of a bison in 1926. (Lovecraft alludes to this discovery in “The Mound” in describing intimations of Native antiquity.) The great age of the Clovis finds implied to archaeologists of the 1960s that the Clovis people must have been the first Americans. Because anthropology was at this time in thrall to the wrong and sexist idea called “Man the Hunter” (named for a 1966 symposium), which attempted to view prehistory as a male-dominated culture based on killing and big game hunting, the Clovis finds played directly in to this male he-man ideology. (It’s not hard to correlate “Man the Hunter” ideology with a reaction to women’s liberation and feminism.) The so-called “Clovis-first” theory was popular from the late 1960s to around 1990, when the widespread acceptance of the pre-Clovis site of Monte Verde in Chile forced archaeologists to abandon Clovis-first. By that time, “Man the Hunter” was largely seen as discredited (though it gained some renewed support during the 1990s culture wars) as more sophisticated analyses demonstrated that early humans consumed a wide variety of foods, especially plants, and that big game hunting was most important during periods of environmental stress.
However, most fringe writers working today came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, when their school textbooks reflected Clovis-first and “Man the Hunter.” They therefore mistake this relatively brief period in the history of anthropology for an unchanging dogma. My textbook from the North American Prehistory class I took back in 2001, Brian Fagan’s Ancient North America (3rd ed., 2000), had a whole section explaining these changes since the 1960s, and it also included a discussion of the evidence for pre-Clovis people at Monte Verde in Chile and Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in Pennsylvania. His was a very conservative text for its time, but it provides clear evidence that “Clovis-first” had come and gone, despite the efforts of fringe writers to assert it as living dogma.
In the 1930s Frank Hibben thought that the Clovis and Folsom finds resembled the stone tools used by prehistoric inhabitants of Spain, the Solutreans, around 20,000 years ago, and he proposed that the ancient Solutreans had traveled to America and brought their points with them. His idea failed for reasons I outlined in a 2006 Skeptic magazine article:
Not long after the Solutrean hypothesis was proposed, however, archaeologists dismissed the idea with three arguments: (1) though both cultures used pressure flaking, Solutrean points were not fluted like the Clovis points—many Solutrean tools had a roughly diamond shape while Clovis points often had a concave bottom; (2) the Solutreans, who had no boats [capable of long-distance travel], had no way to get to North America; (3) most important, there was a gap of thousands of years between the latest Solutrean points and the earliest Clovis points—it seemed chronologically impossible for the Solutreans to have given rise to Clovis.
The Solutreans vanished no later than about 13,000 BCE, while Clovis did not arise until around 11,000 BCE, give or take. This problem vexed the Smithsonian’s Dennis Stanford and his research partner Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter, who were criticized for the same reasons Hibben was when they reintroduced the idea in 1998. The evidence they offered to supplement Hibben’s identification received extensive criticism.
Against this, Stanford and Bradley offered a complex explanation. They cited the pre-Clovis sites of Monte Verde and Meadowcroft Rock Shelter as evidence that the Solutreans had come and hung out making small stone points until the environment changed and they decided to start making Clovis points. Of course none of the Monte Verde or Meadowcroft points closely resembled the diamond-shaped Solutrean points, leading the researchers to propose that an unknown “subset” of Solutreans made the Atlantic crossing with nothing more than a stone-working technique and moxie. Convergent evolution is a more parsimonious explanation, something like the independent invention of noodles in China and Italy.
Since I first wrote about this in 2006, Sandford and Bradley have offered up some new pieces of evidence. The first is the Vero Beach Mammoth, a piece of ancient art from Florida depicting the titular pachyderm as an etching on a piece of bone and dating to around the time of the Clovis culture. Stanford suggested it was European in origin based on similarities to Solutrean cave art, but art historians like Barbara Olins Alpert note that the resemblance is no closer than the realistic art style of the modern San Bushmen; in other words, we have no reason to suspect Paleoindians could not express creativity; indeed, the recently-discovered Paleonindian rock carvings in the western United States (as seen last week on Ancient Aliens of all places!) demonstrate that Paleoindians could and did create elaborate art; those rock carvings depict what seem to be leaves and flowers. Why could Paleoindians in Nevada make art while those in Florida required European assistance? The mammoth carving is an interesting piece, but one whose European ties are not as clear-cut as Solutrean supporters represent.
The second piece of evidence is also problematic. It is the “Cinmar Discovery,” a rather grand name for a collection of material hauled up a fishing trawler off the coast of Virginia in the 1970s. This haul comprised a diamond-shaped stone tool, a mammoth bone, and a mammoth molar. These were kept in the boat’s captain’s personal collection until 2002, a gap of three decades. The mammoth bone was later carbon dated to 22,000 BCE. Lacking any context for their discovery, it is impossible to determine whether the tool and the bones were originally related. Even if they are, it is also impossible to distinguish between several hypotheses given the available evidence:
The blade is certainly interesting, but due to the lack of context, there isn’t anything more that can really be said about it. Stanford and Bradley have catalogued five similar blades from coastal areas, but so far they have not been able to make the case that these are of European-derived manufacture and not a case of convergent evolution.
A third piece of evidence is a stone knife found under a seventeenth-century chimney in Virginia in 1971. Stanford and Bradley reported that x-ray florescence tests indicated it was made from French flint and therefore could have been brought by the Solutreans since it was unlikely to have been placed under the chimney by a colonist, as the original archaeologist who uncovered it had thought. However, the authors do not press the point because they cannot exclude a colonial origin for the deposit.
It’s a possibility, to be sure, but so far the weight of evidence is against the idea of a European incursion in the Solutrean. More work remains to be done, and that will take underwater archaeology along the continental shelf, which had been dry land in the Ice Age.
But while the Solutrean hypothesis is a scientific one, relying on facts and evidence, it spawned several extreme reactions from white nationalists who seized upon it as a replacement for the Mound Builder myth. As I discussed elsewhere, white supremacists have added the Solutrean claim to a series of controversies about supposedly European (read: white) visitors to America. The most important of these claims was Kennewick Man, the skeleton of an individual from about 7500 BCE (long after the Paleoindian period) found in 1996. When archaeologist James Chatters declared the skull shape Caucasoid, fringe groups, including white supremacists, read this as confirmation that this was a white person. Later, more careful work by Joseph Powell determined that the skull was not European but closer to that of the Ainu or Polynesians. While this opened a fascinating question about the genetic diversity of the first Americans, for many it was simply an attempt to cover up the true “European” ownership of America. In fact, Kennewick Man is of a piece with other skulls older than 6000 BCE, which are markedly more diverse than those from after 6000 BCE, implying a marked change after that time.
A genetic study published just a few weeks ago in Nature found that central Siberian populations share DNA with Native Americans, implying that some of the people who crossed the Bering Strait had origins in central Asia, and, more distantly, Europe—but more than 20,000 years ago. The European influence, to whatever extent, came from the West, as the authors reported: “non-east Asian cranial characteristics of the First Americans derived from the Old World via migration through Beringia, rather than by a trans-Atlantic voyage from Iberia as proposed by the Solutrean hypothesis.” In other words, the first Americans were more genetically diverse than had long been assumed, accounting for such seeming anomalies as the Kennewick Man, but that for whatever reason, this diversity declined over the millennia, possibly due to an ancient population collapse.
This kind of genuinely interesting information, though, isn’t enough for television. When the Learning Channel (now the schlock channel TLC) broadcast a documentary on The Secrets of the Bog People: Windover in 2003, the show’s British producers weren’t satisfied to look at the fascinating culture of Windover Bog, one of the best-preserved Native American sites in history. Instead, they wanted something “sexy” and for them “sexy” meant European (read: white). They seized on DNA results that showed the presence of European haplotypes, even though they had been informed that those results were likely due to contamination of the sample and had not been confirmed by subsequent retesting, which found no European DNA markers. According to Joseph Lorenz, one of the researchers who conducted the DNA study for the Coriell Institute for Medical Research (and who is now a professor at Central Washington University), the TV producers tried to craft a narrative, as Lorenz told one of this blog’s readers, John Linehan, in an email:
My original results of the mitochondrial DNA did show European haplotypes which I feel was due to contamination of the tissue at the time of collection. I told the producer that the most parsimonious explanation was that the results were due to contamination at the excavation but they wanted a "sexier" interpretation. In the interview I was asked questions along the lines of "if the results of the analysis were not due to contamination would this indicate European ancestry..." but I adamantly hold to my position that the results most likely were due to contamination. Subsequent analysis of mtDNA from teeth showed that the skeletal DNA was concordant with Asian origins of the individuals.
I asked Lorenz to confirm the above, and he did so just before the episode aired. He added in an email to me that he had received many inquiries from those interested in providing a European presence in America before Columbus:
I have had a number of inquiries about the Windover results from several interested viewers of the bog video and I have tried to send the message to them that documentaries on TV or YouTube (or wherever) are not necessarily the best sources for scientific information; documentary-makers, I assume, oftentimes have a particular storyline that they are interested in pushing; the fact that the results of a given scientific investigation may not be as cut and dried as people who watch CSI would like it to be. Although I was frustrated with the final product (the documentary) I cannot fault the producer - I should have been more circumspect in my agreeing to become involved or stood my ground more in what I agreed to say in front of the camera.
Further discussion of the contamination issues and failure to replicate the original results can be found in journal articles here and here, where the authors write that “However, since none of the remaining seven sequences reported by Hauswirth exhibited CR sequences characteristic of any other Asian-derived haplogroup and might therefore reflect either contamination or sequencing errors, the assignment of one of those sequences to Haplogroup X was probably in error.” The reference is to the original DNA work done by William W. Hauswirth, some of which can be found here.
By comparison, online reporting for a segment of NOVA’s 2006 documentary “The Perfect Corpse” on the same Windover bog people dealt with the complexity of the DNA evidence, noting that there was no direct genetic link between the Windover people and the region’s current Native population, and quoted archaeologist Glen Doran of FSU that the DNA evidence is partial and incomplete because it “is just not as well preserved as we’d like.” In sum, they said, the DNA evidence was the least productive line of inquiry into Windover, at least until technology improves.
But because in 2003 the TV said the Windover people were European, this is the story the public believes. And a decade-old documentary’s ratings-driven sensationalism is why Scott Wolter is in Windover to look for the first white Americans… As we’ve heard more than once, NOVA it’s not.
We open with prehistoric people wandering through tall grass on the edge of a lake. They place a corpse beneath layers of cloth and sink it into the waters. Millennia later, a man with a shovel digs up the skull, which ends up in what looks like a refrigerator. Scientists in lab coats study the skull in a room lit in blue-teal light. They recoil in horror from the results as we cut to Scott Wolter reading an email in his laboratory telling him about the Windover People.
We then watch the title sequence.
Wolter is traveling to St. Johns River in Christmas, Florida to investigate the Windover Bog and its Native American civilization. Wolter tells us that he often investigates Templars, Celts, and Vikings—“brave” explorers—who came to America before Columbus. He asserts that the Windover Bog people came to America at least “8,000 years ago” (i.e., 6000 BCE), some 5,000 years after the Paleoindians were already making Clovis points in America, and longer after the Monte Verde people were living in South America.
“Tipster” Candida Gut, who wrote the email, says that she watched the 2003 TLC documentary discussed in the background material above, which prompted her to want to find Europeans in ancient America, and she summarizes the program for Wolter, who is wearing a shirt with a carefully-positioned corporate logo that is always in frame for maximum product placement. Wolter discusses how bogs preserve human bodies, and he gives a false and over-simplified view of the peopling of the Americas, wrongly suggesting that schoolbooks teach that the first Americans were “Clovis” people, something that has not been taught uncritically since the late 1980s. This is part of the theme of the evening, whereby Wolter repeatedly rants about his schooling and how confusing it is that somehow science has learned new things since then. He has not bothered to keep up and still thinks that his high school textbooks represent OFFICIAL DOGMA.
He seems to confuse Clovis-first, the outdated mid-century theory, with the idea of the peopling of the Americas from northeast Asia, now believed to have occurred prior to the Clovis period thanks to the discoveries at Monte Verde and elsewhere. Gut and Wolter say that they believe that the first Americans were Europeans, and Wolter even denies that Paleoindians were the ancestors of Native Americans, sniffing that “some think” this while there are other, more European possibilities. The fact that repeated genetic studies have found Paleoindian remains to be genetically related to Asian populations does not factor into his speculation.
Wolter explains that Europeans couldn’t have come to America from Asia because it was too long a trip, while a voyage from Europe to Florida via the Atlantic was much easier. He is referring to Dennis Stanford’s Solutrean claim, but he is collapsing time periods into an illiterate jumble, for the Solutrean migration allegedly occurred around 20,000 BCE, not 6000 BCE—there is a huge difference. And worse: 6000 BCE is not earlier than the Clovis culture of 10,500 BCE, itself no longer considered the first in America thanks to the pre-Clovis site of Monte Verde. Wolter’s own claims refute the conclusions he draws from them in service of inventing reasons to claim Europeans were America’s founding population.
Gut says she “heard” (from the documentary from 2003) that unpublished DNA studies of the bog people revealed European DNA, and Wolter calls this secondhand information “explosive.” “This is something we have to get to the bottom of.” Gut is wrong on two counts: The DNA findings were in fact published, and scholars tried to replicate them and failed, leading to the conclusion that the DNA results were the result of contamination and error.
After the first break we get an unusually vague on-screen recap as Wolter travels across Florida to the Windover Archaeological Site in Titusville, Florida. Wolter then reasserts that “some experts” are challenging whether Asians really beat Europeans to America.
At Windover Pond (or Bog), Wolter talks with Rachel Wentz, a bio-archaeologist who discusses the history of excavations at the well-preserved bog site. She talks about the population’s lifestyle and their many causes of death. They apparently had a hard life and suffered many diseases and broken bones. Wentz thought when she filmed this episode in October that she was working on a serious documentary for the History Channel, and she hoped it would be a boon to efforts to protect the site. I wonder what she will think of this episode. She tells Wolter than the DNA results on the Windover site had nothing to do with Europe but were instead North American, with ancestral origins in Asia.
Wentz leads Wolter to Dennis Stanford’s ideas, and he says he “has to go check it out,” even though he misunderstands the idea. He falsely asserts that “someone at the Smithsonian” is investigating a “European origin for Native Americans,” which is not at all what Stanford proposed; his idea had the Solutreans dying out or intermarrying with Paleoindians, contributing a small amount of DNA to modern Native populations, which are, of course, ancestrally Asian. This small but significant misunderstanding serves to make a great bit of propaganda, even though it undercuts earlier claims in the Grand Canyon episode of a Smithsonian conspiracy to hide the true white history of early America.
So far we’ve had Wolter suggest that (a) Europeans beat Asians to America and are the true founding population and (b) Native Americans might actually be Europeans in disguise.
This is going well.
After the break, the on-screen recap tells us that “America’s first people” are “possibly European” and that “Smithsonian research is underway.” Wolter then again misstates that the Clovis people were the first to come to America.
Wolter is back in Washington, D.C., heading to the Smithsonian—“the last place I’d expect”—the very seat of the conspiracy he thinks is working against him. He wrongly asserts that the Smithsonian is “not known for challenging the status quo,” quite a shock considering that the Smithsonian has published all manner of material challenging the status quo. Wolter meets with Dennis Stanford, who tells Wolter that his anti-Smithsonian conspiracy theories are a load of steaming bullshit, but in nicer words.
Stanford describes his Solutrean theory to Wolter, who really is obsessed with whatever it was that his teachers did to him in the 1960s or 1970s. “That’s not what I was taught in school” he says again and again. I have trouble with this because a lot has changed since the 1960s. Back then, people thought cigarettes were healthy.
Stanford shows Wolter the French flint Solutrean laurel leaf knife found in Virginia, and Wolter seems unfazed by the fact that the Smithsonian did not try to suppress this finding. Stanford is much less circumspect in this episode and he seems, frankly, like he’s become a single-minded crank. I have never heard him speak so bluntly, or with so little regard for the evidence against his ideas. He asserts that the Windover DNA is European, even though it is not according to everyone with expertise (Stanford is not a DNA expert), and he asserts that the Windover people were the “descendants” of the Solutreans!
But Wolter seems to see the Clovis people as having made their own tools, so what exactly did the Solutreans contribute? Stanford’s whole theory was that the Clovis people were the Solutreans, but Wolter wants them to be teams on opposite coasts.
Stanford shows Wolter the carving of the mammoth found in Florida, and Stanford calls it a mastodon, which seems like it would actually weaken his case since mastodons are native to the Americas and therefore could only have been viewed here in America. Consequently, this would seems to be evidence that the carving was in fact Paleoindian and not Solutrean, but Stanford seems to think it proves that the Solutreans came to America and recorded an encounter with a mastodon based on his belief that the art style is European.
Wolter again repeats that “I was taught” about the Bering Strait hypothesis. He really hates his old school, and I can’t imagine why he is incapable of realizing that the world has changed since the 1960s or 1970s, and one might like to see what current ideas are rather than basing one’s entire anti-academic conspiracy on a 50-year-old high school textbook. “This changes the paradigm in a huge way!” he shouts with glee at the thought of finally finding the ancient white people he’s spent two seasons searching for. America Unearthed does not even pretend to evaluate the Solutrean hypothesis critically, or seriously.
After the break, Wolter returns to Florida. He emphasizes that “no one is downplaying the incredibly rich Native American culture,” but that Europeans probably got here first. I’m confused, though, why Wolter seems unaware of Monte Verde, the oldest confirmed sites in the Americas, and one that is one the west coast—all the way in South America!
James Kennedy tells Wolter about the bone he found bearing the mammoth or mastodon carving, and Kennedy emphasizes the skepticism of archaeologists but doesn’t quite see that conducting tests is how the authenticity of an artifact is determined. As soon as evidence in favor of its authenticity emerged, archaeologists accepted the Vero mammoth. That’s how the process works. The Vero site helped establish that humans were in the Americas during the Ice Age when it was first found back in 1915.
Wolter meets with Gene Rodenberry, a historian of nearly no relation to the Star Trek creator (they’re related about eight generations back), and Rodenberry discusses the history of the Vero site and how the Vero mastodon carving fits into the Ice Age history of the site. Rodenberry, however, asserts that Europeans might have been here, and he agrees with Wolter that the loss of the 1915 fossil finds could have been done on purpose to suppress the truth—the “truth” that THE GODDAM SMITHSONIAN SHOWED HIM IN PERSON. So which is it? Is there a U.S. government conspiracy to suppress the truth, or is Dennis Stanford actually right? Both can’t be true, though the correct option—neither is true—can be.
After the final break, the screen tells us that the search continues for Europeans in America. Wolter wanders around looking for fossils in the hopes of turning up proof that Europeans were the first Americans. He does not find this proof, but he manages to find a mastodon tooth mere minutes after the cameraman had already found the tooth and set it up for the shoot. I’m guessing it was scouted ahead of time; otherwise, the camera couldn’t have been there.
So, Wolter (a) completely ignores pre-Clovis sites associated with Paleoindians, such as Monte Verde; (b) accepts DNA evidence that the people who worked on the DNA studies agree was the result of contamination; and (c) asserts a continuity of European colonization of America from 20,000 BCE to 6,000 BCE that somehow filled the continent from Canada to Florida while leaving behind one mastodon carving and one flint blade. Fourteen thousand years, and that’s it? “The evidence is mounting to the point where it’s impossible to deny!” Wolter says.
Kennedy says he has another carving and this one is more spectacular. On a piece of bone, we see a stick figure holding a spear along with a fish. The stick figure doesn’t resemble European cave art, so there’s that. Wolter is thrilled, though obviously the piece needs to be tested before it can be accepted as a genuine artifact. I couldn’t really get a good look at the figure, but it just doesn’t seem to resemble Paleolithic art, which did not typically use the modern stick figure style. But that will be for experts to decide.
Wolter concludes by saying that now that he has found that Europeans came to America first, it is not really important that they beat the Asians here, as long as their story gets told. How magnanimous.
I will give America Unearthed this much credit: Because this episode is based on the ideas of Dennis Stanford, it is much more logical than most—not that this says too much—and tends to rely on more solid evidence, even if it never bothered to do even cursory research into the basis for the claims it promotes, or raised more than token hints that there are strong objections to most of the claims. America Unearthed is a show about personalities, so it doesn’t matter, really, whether the evidence is logical or rigorous since the criteria for acceptance are whether Scott Wolter and thus the audience thinks that the advocate is a nice guy or part of the conspiracy to suppress the truth. Thus it becomes possible to believe Dennis Stanford even while simultaneously believing in a conspiracy by his employer to suppress the “truth” he’s appearing on national television to proclaim.
The Solutrean hypothesis is not impossible, but surely even a cheap cable documentary can offer a stronger case for it than this.
2/8/2014 02:35:48 pm
Perhaps it would help to differentiate between observable science and historical science. Because those are totally different things and likely would make all of this completely comprehensible. Right?
2/8/2014 02:46:39 pm
Someone been watching the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate.
2/8/2014 02:38:11 pm
Well, in my time of schooling (88-02) they got around it by just skimming over it in a day so they could focus on the explorers. We heard about the bering strait crosssing but nothing about Clovis or any other migration theories.
2/8/2014 02:38:36 pm
I also could not understand why SW became so excited by the mastodon carving considering that it was a species native to America.
11/2/2014 11:17:13 am
From the reconstructions I've seen of mammoths and mastodons <i>and</i>, and the graphics shown in the program, the carving looked more like a mammoth with its sloping backside.
2/8/2014 03:07:56 pm
2/8/2014 03:21:46 pm
Personally, I think the Scott Wolter and America Unearthed thing has been done to death already and think it's time to let this go and move onto something new.
2/8/2014 03:23:32 pm
2/8/2014 03:28:39 pm
2/9/2014 03:05:22 am
Eh. I get what you're saying (and to an extant, I'm suffering from Wolter burn-out, too), but both shows you've been mentioning wouldn't make for very compelling reads.
2/8/2014 03:31:20 pm
I apologize for the numerous typos, sometimes iPads and I don't get along
2/8/2014 03:52:36 pm
Some of your info seems like it's copied and pasted straight from Wikipedia. ..
2/8/2014 08:13:08 pm
You are just pissed at the facts being presented.Too bad.
2/8/2014 10:14:38 pm
Can you repeat which facts
2/9/2014 03:18:53 am
You know, that might have something to do with the fact that despite all the flak it gets, Wikipedia actually does a pretty good job.
2/9/2014 03:25:03 am
I don't copy and paste from Wikipedia, but Wikipedia uses the same scientific studies and media accounts that I drawn my information from, so of course there will be similarities.
2/9/2014 09:30:31 am
Oh ok....so now we are using Wikipedia as a scientific source of information. Why dont you go out do some actual work yourself instead of sitting behind your computer.
2/9/2014 11:11:31 am
By the way, pick one alias and stick with it. Further attempts to spam the blog will be deleted.
2/8/2014 03:57:52 pm
If it's not really important who came here first, as long as their story is told, then why expend so much effort to supplant the Native American narrative with Eurocentric fairy tales?
2/8/2014 04:35:32 pm
For a brief moment, when Rachel Wentz told SW that the DNA from the bog people was not European, I thought, OK, maybe we'll have something serious happening. Then, it was like he didn't hear a word. It reminded of an old Albert Brooks' routine about radio DJs hearing what they want:
2/9/2014 12:28:31 am
164 bodies were found in a bog/pond environment.
2/9/2014 12:58:47 am
The Inuit + the Laplanders lived in a similar environment.
2/9/2014 01:28:31 am
2/9/2014 01:47:37 am
The ethnicity of the lil stick figure is difficult to determine,
2/8/2014 05:58:25 pm
It's seems funny to me that a certified geologist needs to be shown how to hunt for and identify fossils by an amateur fossil hunter. Just sayin'......
2/8/2014 06:04:38 pm
Yeah, I understand what everybody is trying to say....
2/8/2014 06:20:32 pm
If it helps, I thought I was wrong once...but it turned out, I was mistaken. =3
2/8/2014 06:43:16 pm
I have only 2 cats....so I know what your implying all too well....;)
2/8/2014 10:34:28 pm
I write at least 7 blog posts a week, of which (with a few exceptions) at least 5 are on other topics, usually 6, meaning anywhere from 71% to 86% of material is on other topics, most of which virtually no one reads and then blames me for being all about Scott Wolter. For better or worse Scott Wolter is the most important fringe figure of the moment, just as Ancient Aliens was before him, and therefore warrants coverage. More than 3/4 of new visitors to this website come because they are looking for information on what they saw on America Unearthed. I'm not going to ignore that, and you're free to read the 5 posts a week on other topics.
2/9/2014 04:56:34 am
Speaking of topics, I've been meaning to say thank you for the Tweet feature on your page. I like the heads up on some of the things you find that don't necessarily make it into the headlines of the blog.
2/9/2014 11:15:41 am
Glad you like the tweet box. Yes, I do intend to write about some of the things I tweet about.
2/8/2014 06:20:56 pm
Hmm... "Clovis First" was still being taught as fact with no mention of alternatives in my high school history class in 1994.
2/8/2014 09:38:53 pm
The one thing AU has right is the opening where it says the history taught to us in schools is wrong. Not because historians have it wrong, but because of the problems with politicized public education. James Loewen, a history professor with a lot of experience in the backroom politics of textbook publishing wrote a book on it called "Lies My Teacher Told Me" which I highly recommend reading (even if Jason has pointed out a few tidbits of fringe history that got mentioned in there).
2/9/2014 07:09:35 pm
In my case it seemed to be a question of disinterest. The sum total of information on the subject in high school took the form of an hour from an old video while the teacher took a nap (he snored). In contrast, he spent at least three days discussing bigfoot, and my Mythology, Humanities, and Science Fiction (!) teachers each spent several days teaching their classes on the subject of ancient Matriarchies that were... and I wish I was exaggerating... perfect socialist utopias.
2/10/2014 03:39:02 am
I was in school in the 1970s, and I never learned that the Higgs Boson existed, or that there was a top quark! It's almost as if science keeps changing with every new discovery. ;)
The Other J.
2/12/2014 07:28:08 am
Yeah, depending on the school district, the state, and whoever's in power, the materials available for teachers to present can be extremely limited. I don't live there any more, but I grew up in Wisconsin, and in the 1990's and early 2000's there were many, many debates about the redistricting of areas in and around Milwaukee. It basically led to segregated schooling, with all the poorer and minority kids zones into failing city schools, and all the wealthier kids going to public school palaces on the edge of town.
An Over-Educated Grunt
2/9/2014 12:48:26 pm
To put that in perspective, my high-school history textbook said that World War 2 was a regional conflict fought in the Korean Peninsula between 1948 and 1952. No, really.
2/8/2014 06:36:14 pm
I too have lost a little interest in this site as all the attention seems to be on Scott Wolter and his tv show almost all the time anymore. Do we really need a review of every show now? Do we really need updates about things he says or claims? I don't think that Jason is intentionally trying to come off that way however I do see why Wolter and his believers are starting to think that he is making it personal by doing all the updates and now reviewing his books and education and things he says on other sites and stuff. It kinda does seem like he is cyberstalking him. And, yes, I saw the bickering back and forth on the other blog with Rev Phil which is really not Jason's style. I was surprised by that a little. It's kinda whatever at this point, border lining boring now. So, yes, SW is old news now and it's like beating a dead horse.
2/8/2014 10:47:30 pm
This argument that shining a light on this kind of lying and distortion of reality is a waste of time is amusing. I heard it yesterday in another venue. When the HISTORY CHANNEL promotes a distortion of history I value someone writing about the facts. Especially when the proposal has a racist tinge to it. If you don't like seeing this abortion of a history show being demolished with facts, don't click on it.
2/9/2014 09:26:33 am
Amusing? Why? Because we see this "lying and distortion of history" all the time throughout history? And why should we keep "shining" a light on it? And proposing any idea or theory does not mean that it's racist. And who said anything about not liking the "seeing the abortion of a history show being demolished with facts, don't click on it" ?
2/9/2014 06:07:05 pm
I watch America Unearthed every week, and enjoy visiting this site afterwards to get a detailed evaluation of things presented on the show. Though the show is simplistic in its presentation, and I do watch it critically, at the same time I always try to have an open mind and find myself fascinated by certain things that sound convincing. When I read Jason's evaluations it opens me up to another perspective that I find enlightening. This is why I think the weekly evaluation of each episode is important.
2/10/2014 03:02:03 am
John, most of the people I talk to about the show (including my husband) do the same thing. THIS is an extremely informative site, and I've never failed to learn something new, even from the Ancient Aliens reviews.
2/8/2014 08:12:17 pm
One mistake,Haplogroup U has never been found in ancient america.Native American haplogroups are Y DNA Q-M3,C3b, and mtDNA Haplogroups A (A2), B (B2), C (C1b,C1c,C1d,C4c) ,D (D1,D2,D4h3) and X (X2a) and M(though this one was reassigned to the other four).Haplogroup X has been found in the Adena Hopewell cultures along with the other four.This shows continuity.
2/8/2014 08:34:30 pm
It's also noteworthy that the Windover Bog remains clearly have the typical shovel shaped incisors found in native american and asian populations
11/8/2014 01:33:03 am
Thanks for posting that A.D.. It's my understanding as well that neither morphological nor genetic analysis of any human remains from the Americas (pre-European contact) have shown evidence of other than Native American or Asian types.
2/8/2014 09:01:14 pm
I may speak for many people who read Jason’s blog because we’re fascinated by the topics raised by AU—yet disappointed by the unfulfilled promise of the show. I want both sides of the theories, artifacts, etc. discussed on the AU—but after every episode, I’m left with more questions than answers and I appreciate and look forward to the detailed information in Jason’s background and recaps.
2/8/2014 10:49:16 pm
Site traffic for America Unearthed reviews is roughly double that of non-AU blog posts, on average. The single most popular keyword leading people to my website from search engines is "Scott Wolter," and 18 out the top 25 are related to topics seen on America Unearthed. For the first time ever this week, Ancient Aliens fell off the list, though Giorgio Tsoukalos remains.
2/8/2014 11:35:47 pm
William F. Warren and his Polar Express theories weren't
2/9/2014 09:54:21 am
Getting 651 people to read about the Garden of Eden at the North Pole is actually good. I come from a world of social media managers where people would be thrilled to get 651 people to read anything. Small companies actually pay cash just to try to eventually get 10 comments to a blog post. There's a science to growing an online community without looking like you're trying to grow a community.
2/9/2014 11:09:44 am
I disagree. The public has spoken because your the one speaking. And clearly you just admitted that without America unearthed that nobody really cares about anything else you talk about. That being the case, you lose interest in the site, interest in your books and lost revenue.
2/9/2014 12:54:37 pm
Based on the several negative and disingenuous remarks being posted, Wolter is sending you a bit of traffic himself.
2/10/2014 06:27:04 am
2/10/2014 06:35:04 am
So far this season my review of S02E09 "Mystery of the Serpents" had the most views within 24 hours of posting. I don't have more specific details for long-term aggregates of page views.
2/10/2014 06:59:31 am
Don't worry, I'm quite confident that H2 will replace it was some other shlocky show to review.
2/9/2014 12:00:22 am
I agree. Keep it up Jason.
2/9/2014 09:12:47 am
One can see America Unearthed as the Gateway into this blog, which I appreciate. Without SW, I would not have known about or read, for example, Jason's fine "Faking History." I refuse to call it a trickle down, though.
2/9/2014 09:17:06 am
I may be one of the few people who actually reads (and for the most part enjoys) every new post- regardless of the topic. I don't agree with the obsession hypothesis some like to put forward because I read enough to know it's not there.
2/9/2014 09:24:08 am
Yes, those are unique hits I referenced.
2/9/2014 10:04:35 am
It's really the best part of these articles, and I only hope more people are paying attention to the genuine information contained therein than the comment threads seem to indicate.
2/9/2014 10:13:38 am
"...leave the day's article in a browser tab all day and refresh it periodically to see what else has been added."
2/10/2014 04:26:52 am
I do not think Wolter is a "hack" at all. I think his approach is very calculated and crafted following the lead of those who followed before. He has set up a system that allows him to make a claim and if people dispute it they are either arm chair critics with nothing better to do or they are part of the conspiracy to cover up the truth. He and Committee film craft the show in a manner that makes its claims through repetition and distortions all deliberate and in their minds impervious to criticism .
Robert K. Denton Jr., CPG, LPSS
11/8/2014 01:55:41 am
Good points Seeker. I know what has angered me about SW is that he has stolen nearly all of his ideas and premises from others. One of his main sources has been the late Barry Fell, who unlike SW actually earned a real PhD, and taught at Harvard. I was privileged to have met Barry when I was just a young intern at the Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge, Mass, where Barry worked. Barry's work on ancient American inscriptions was his avocation (he was an invertebrate paleontologist professionally), and his books are still the most widely respected on the topic. I may have missed it somehow, but I have yet to hear SW credit Barry with anything in any of the shows that I have watched.
2/8/2014 10:29:23 pm
Theme for this episode: "I get to ride an airboat AND go kayaking.....both in the same episode!!!!!"
2/8/2014 10:47:52 pm
more stuff on "lost tribe of giants" which is so much a big part of the fringe
2/9/2014 01:18:24 am
I have to admit that this was the episode of America Unearthed that left me more curious about its topic than cynical. The point that I took away from this is that there are still gaps of many thousands of years in the history of Paleo-America that need to be explored and filled in. Unfortunately, many of the potential sites (particularly in Florida) that could help this are underwater because of the rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age. There's also the possibility of European artifacts ending up in America due to them being included in ballast for colonial-era ships. I know that America Unearthed has a specific agenda for itself, but I actually thought this was a small step in the right direction.
The Other J.
2/12/2014 07:42:59 am
Concurred. Also, the Ainu people are fascinating. I've only looked into them a little bit, but they're a different enough and isolated enough population in Japan to point to an earlier, much different world that we would have a hard time recognizing. Same with the mummified people who once occupied the Tarim Basin.
2/9/2014 01:24:21 am
I wa confused as I thought the solutrean theory was they created the Clovis culture. It wasn't an off the rails episode like Egyptian caves but I still fell asleep with about 15 minutes to go. I do think the various migrations of modern behavioral man are really still not well known. But the little evidence we have on Europeans and central asian mixes makes it more likely that the first Americans came from Asia with a more diverse genetic makeup. And besides isn't Europe part of Asia anyway? Seems like too many people are looking at this with ethnochovenism and not focused on understanding where we all came from. Whose to say, maybe modern behavior humans started in the Americas and folloewed the horse to Asia...ha ha
2/9/2014 01:37:23 am
I think we must be very careful about summarily dismissing the Solutrean hypothesis and even more careful about relegating Dr. Dennis Stanford to the status of a lone crank. Dennis Stanford may hold an unorthodox view about the early peopling of the Americas, but his position and his credentials are not in dispute and Dr. Bruce Bradley, who also supports this hypothesis, has impeccable academic credentials.
2/9/2014 01:40:20 am
I'm not dismissing him as a crank; all I said was that this is the first time I've heard him talk about his theory without any of the usual caution or qualifiers, and it frankly sounded bizarre to me: nearly 15,000 years of European occupation with no physical evidence beyond a couple of blades, acceptance of faulty DNA results, etc.
2/9/2014 06:36:55 am
Seeing style transfer mostly, not DNA transfer. White people way back then brown, anyway?
2/9/2014 02:36:55 am
Do you have any proof of your claims as his dna wasn't able to be tested because of its age.David Glenn Smith wanted to take a tooth sample and slice it but wanted to wait until the technology advanced.
2/9/2014 02:54:46 am
I have always been wary of Owsley's claims and one review of his book really hit home about his run around tactics
2/9/2014 04:13:48 am
So A.D. (although I suspect A.C.E. may be closer to the mark, no?) your argument consists almost entirely of impugning Dr. Owsley as a racist bigot and disputing his findings based on studies created prior to his 2005 examination of the bones and the publication of his findings in 2014?
2/9/2014 05:33:23 am
I did read it and the burke site has been edited.There was a good section about race and kennewick man with quotes from various anthropologist.I wish they didn't change that section it was good.Oh well.The lines of evidence that shows a continuity from ancient and modern native americans goes all around the sub fields of anthropology:linguistics,genetics,dental,skeletal,archaeological,etc.I don't have time to post everything here but the conclusive lines of evidence proves the seniority of natives to the western hemisphere.
2/9/2014 01:59:54 am
If the first big human wave over Beringia or to the south of it
2/9/2014 02:26:06 am
Polynesians could have been here 200,000 years ago...
2/9/2014 02:30:12 am
For what it's worth, I was taught that early Americans followed migrating land animals across a relatively short LAND bridge. This seems more plausible than crossing several thousands of miles of ICE. I understand they could (feasibly) hunt seals along the way, but they would also need (I would think) furry animals for clothing (or organic material for weaving) - which don't seem likely to be abundant on an ice sheet.
An Over-Educated Grunt
2/9/2014 12:56:03 pm
This ties to one of the things that bugged me about the Solutrean hypothesis, especially in the graphical forms that AU showed. What I would have done, so far as possible, is use the "proper" landmass and ice masses on the maps, as would have been found in the supposed migration period, but that's only information delivery, not the information itself.
2/10/2014 04:56:15 am
Why not by foot and small boat along edge of ice? Not the Atlantic crossing! Why not both, above, instead of one or the other? Siberian crossing, edge of ice crossing, more to, :Pacific crossings, Coming from everywhere!
2/9/2014 04:35:38 am
Sorry but you can' t tell me these professional archeologists didn't know what show they were on. It's called self promotion or please someone listen to me.
2/9/2014 06:27:18 am
15 minutes of fame?
One thing is the outline they made of the figure is completely wrong and backwards the only thing that is correct is from the head up to the spear the body looks nothing like what is on the show. The prob is they are only going by the pics taken while they were here. One other thing, one of the people that have seen this bone and agree that it is genuine is Dr.Paul Bahn. If you don't know who he is look him up he is a British archeologist that spent some time here at my home with me. I may be wrong but I think he is a bit more qualified than you Jason at least in this field.
2/9/2014 04:53:33 am
Do you have a better photograph showing the actual carving so we can see it? You can email it to me, and I will gladly post it for everyone to see.
2/17/2014 05:59:08 pm
Colavito: "If you can respond in a civilized way without name calling..."
2/9/2014 09:33:55 am
2/19/2014 08:10:54 am
Since I did not hear any more about this, I assume you (or Jason) never received a response(?)
2/19/2014 12:36:43 pm
I for one never heard from him again.
regardless of where the people came from I still have the oldest artworks in the Western Hemisphere. They are minimum age of thirteen thousand years old because that is when the megafauna here went extinct but new scientific studies are showing that there possibly around 25 thousand years old keep on hating people, jealousy is a natural feeling. Its just restrained by maturity.
2/9/2014 04:54:46 am
What, exactly, do you think people here hate you for? Just because I and many others disagree with the Solutrean hypothesis, it is hardly a personal attack on you.
2/9/2014 11:03:15 am
Whatever! Your whole site and everyone here are nothing but personal attacks. You and your followers claim to merely review America Unearthed and refute the theories with facts but you go way beyond that. You all eventually resort to snarky, sarcastic and even insulting personal attacks. If you claim to be just reviewing the episodes and refuting the theories with your facts than why do you have to follow around Wolter on the internet like a puppy dog and put up a new post every god forsaken time he makes a comment somewhere else, does an interview somewhere else or even when he takes a dump?? You don't care for his background, his methods, his education, his theories and probably even his hair style. We got it already! Let it go already! Move on to something else! You need to add more to your hobby than just Wolter and his tv show!
2/9/2014 11:10:14 am
I did wonder when you'd show up. This is your first and only warning. Further comments that violate my comments policy of 1/24/14 will be summarily deleted without notice.
2/9/2014 03:42:48 pm
Rev. Phil Gotsch
2/9/2014 04:55:56 am
2/9/2014 08:52:12 am
more than a century ago, Clovis was revolutionary in that
2/9/2014 09:02:18 am
2/9/2014 06:36:43 am
The idea of the show was interesting, but the delivery is the annoying part of these shows. Instead of leaving an open ended question leaving us to wonder how people migrated and intermixed in the distant past...he commands that his beliefs are correct beyond a reasonable doubt. Haha someone mentioned the military channel, I have started watching the military channel for more interesting history driven shows myself. This show could have such potential (with real research, a better host, scientific evidence that is peer reviewed). Just frustrating how shock value is the sole means to getting ratings on all channels now days.
2/9/2014 09:07:29 am
Denis Stanford`s theory on Epipaleolithic nomadics & even Upper Paleolithic`s walking their way from France to North America across the ice,is quite exotic in itself, but it doesn't explain anything.
2/9/2014 09:17:54 am
they went by hide + skin boats
2/9/2014 09:28:55 am
Even if they had such boats, you still have the problems outlined by Tara. Their boats would have allowed them to hug the "coast" of the glacial ice, but you still have to have shelter, sufficient food and fire. I don't see how they could manage two of the three, unless you're suggesting they carried collapsible shelters and lots of combustible material in their fleet.
2/9/2014 09:29:12 am
If you study the indigenous cultures who live on (quasi) arctic environments,you understand that they can rely on Spring & Summer conditions(when the ice/snow melt) to collect wood,moss,dried grasses,dried vegetation,dried animal dung.During Spring & Summer,the temperature is good enough to produce oils from vegetable & animals.Under freezing conditions you cannot reproduce the same process.
2/9/2014 09:48:59 am
I admit in 1912 Scott's people ended up eating their sled-dogs
2/9/2014 10:09:01 am
Curiously enough, for Dennis Stanford's Solutrean Hypothesis
2/9/2014 10:38:41 am
Sailing from France to North America is not an easy task,especially for Upper Paleolithic or Epipaleolithic individuals,who used to have a forager life style.It is not an initiative which can be undertaken by individuals who don't have serious prior experiences in planning, constructing,navigating,mapping,& the technical abilities/requirements for storing,preserving food,fresh water & supplies.As far as I am aware,we have yet to discover an Upper Paleolithic or Epipaleolithic "navigation culture" (like the Polynesians).
Rev. Phil Gotsch
2/9/2014 10:01:39 am
Interestingly, people adapted in our day to the FAR north do BEST during coldest winter months of plenty of ice … The ice is the highway system for them for, allowing easiest travel, and the seals that are a source of food and leather and oil for lamps, are easier to locate and kill at the breathing holes ...
2/9/2014 09:33:51 am
I actually enjoyed this episode, and I also enjoyed this blog. Hope I'm allowed to do both.
2/9/2014 10:26:40 am
worse, his ancient Solutreans may have had twice or three
2/17/2014 06:04:44 pm
"worse, his ancient Solutreans may have had twice or three
2/9/2014 09:37:08 am
Tara... I'm assuming the Inuit, Laplanders and Reindeer
2/9/2014 10:01:38 am
I appreciate your feedback,but I am not qualified to argue about genetics,this is not my discipline.
2/9/2014 10:57:40 am
I liked Jason's comment about product placement. That was one of the first things I noticed. Mr. Wolter has gotten himself a new wardrobe provider. It looks like someone in corporate America has noticed Mr. Wolter and the buzz he is creating. Too bad it is one of my favorite sportswear companies.
2/9/2014 11:01:15 am
Oh, and Jason, I know why they chose Mr. Wolter's show over yours.
2/9/2014 11:07:14 am
And what TV show would that be? I've never pitched one and have never had any interest in having one. I became disenchanted with the process of making TV back in college and devoted my efforts to writing thereafter.
2/9/2014 11:26:10 am
That is not entirely true. You were posed a question about a tv show before about a year ago during an interview on and you responded that you had some sort of idea or concept for a show similar to Mysteries At The Museum, I believe, but you claimed to have walked away from the idea when the producers wanted you to lie about everything.
2/9/2014 11:32:34 am
Close but no cigar. Destination America approached me out of the blue about a TV show. It was not my idea, nor have I ever pitched a TV series to anyone. I thought it would be an interesting idea, but it never got past the opening rounds of discussion because they didn't like that I didn't want to lie. Although I considered doing the series, I really didn't have any excitement about travel and filming since I really hate traveling. But the money would have been great for a few months' work.
2/10/2014 01:20:18 am
I still think you're missing an opportunity. You could send out your "Argonauts" to explore fringe sites/ideas. Then you could communicate to them via video a la Brad Meltzer's DECODED (although not as cheesy). Since you wont have to travel you can stay in your lair/dungeon/mom's basement :)
2/10/2014 03:27:12 pm
RLewis, I like that idea. "Jason's Argonauts" could be like a historical Charlie's Angels.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
2/10/2014 03:35:02 pm
LOL … and it could be written in the style of H. P, Lovecraft …
2/9/2014 11:17:23 am
Just to let everyone know: A single individual, well known to this blog, has been posting multiple hostile comments under a variety of aliases in violation of my comments policy. I have begun deleting these. Please do not respond to any further extremely hostile comments as I will be deleting them as they are posted.
2/9/2014 12:56:48 pm
Yes, ok, sure. First, I have done nothing to threaten anyone nor have I been any more hostile then some of your other followers. Yet, last year when it was clearly pointed out that one of your followers, also well known to this site for being arrogant and insulting took a stab at my sexuality in a homophobic way by calling me a "buttboy" and being "butthurt" you did NOTHING! You said nothing, gave no speech about your forum rules, no warning nor did you even delete the post. Yet you do it to me. So I guess as long as your a follower you can say what you want. Now you put up a disclaimer telling everyone not to respond. Your obviously afraid I'll turn your followers off to you if you feel you need to delete my posts and use a lame excuse like forum violations. So go ahead and do it and be a hypocrite. Truth hurts!
2/9/2014 01:05:02 pm
My previous policy had been to leave commenters to their own devices. This did not work. I instituted a new policy on January 24, 2014, as posted on this blog on that date. It is in force as of that date.
2/9/2014 03:08:37 pm
Judging from your posts, I find no reason to be concerned about the prospect of YOU turning me off to this website.
2/9/2014 11:31:49 am
Didn't you mention that you did an audition tape for a series called Ancient America. Then said that about 8 to 13 episodes would conflict with AU.
2/9/2014 11:35:45 am
And I posted that audition tape on YouTube, so I'm not hiding it. Again, it wasn't my idea. Destination America pitched the show to me, not the other way around. I thought it might be a good way to make money, but I've never actively pursued a TV series, nor have I ever pitched one to anyone. I really hate travel, and I couldn't imagine doing it for months at a time. It would have been a problem had the series gone forward.
2/9/2014 11:42:39 am
This is from your blog on Stonehenge in America, and it sounds like you wanted a show. Read the last sentence.
2/9/2014 11:54:22 am
I have at various points in my life tried many different things, but what I am willing to do versus what I have a passion or even a deep and abiding interest for are different things. Would I seriously turn down the chance to have a national TV show, so long as it met my standards and would help deliver messages I feel are important? No. But was it ever my passion? No. Did I ever actively pursue one? No.
2/17/2014 06:02:50 pm
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks"
2/18/2014 12:41:01 am
Why is it automatically assumed that anyone with an educated opinion wants their own television show?
2/18/2014 12:17:29 pm
Amanda: "Why is it automatically assumed that anyone with an educated opinion wants their own television show?"
2/18/2014 12:23:38 pm
I'm not protesting anything, Karl. I've never actively pursued a TV show, though as you note I responded to Destination America's query. I also once tried out for a gig as a movie critic back in college. Does that mean that I also secretly have a suppressed desire to criticize cinema?
2/9/2014 02:55:29 pm
While I was reading this article, the thought occurred to me that the basis of the racist belief that Europeans preceded the American Indians may lie in the guilt many of us feel regarding the hostile takeover of the land. If the Europeans were here first that gets "us" off the hook even if reclaiming the land still resulted in the suppression of the Indians - something I'm sure gives SW his jollies. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud to be a United States citizen, but that aspect of our history has always bothered me and it was just a passing thought - however little.
2/9/2014 03:17:07 pm
Jason's done a pretty good job illustrating just this point in several other blog entries. Many of the earliest forms of these myths predate the western expansion and appear to have been created to set up the justification, while others come later as a sort of retconning of history to try and explain away the wholesale slaughter of the native people.
2/9/2014 04:04:54 pm
You know what's truly ironic about your last paragraph, Clint? The natives were incapable of stacking rocks and piling dirt, BUT...they could travel and survive a trek of thousands of miles across a glacial shelf from Europe to North America. The sheer logistics involved is staggering.
2/9/2014 04:30:56 pm
Hah! Quite so. I'd love to know how it was done, too. Did they carry a massive store of food on sleds, somehow knowing how much they'd need to make the crossing? Did they just happen to invent deep-sea ice fishing along the way, or discover seals to eat? (Were there even seals in the north Atlantic glacial shelf at the time?) Potable water?
Rev. Phil Gotsch
2/10/2014 03:34:25 am
2/10/2014 05:31:49 am
Phil, that's why the Asiatic migration across Beringia makes more sense. Herd animals, from bison to mammoths, made the same migration. As hunter-gatherers, the people simply followed the herds. If the animals could sustain themselves, it's a given the people could.
2/10/2014 06:48:23 am
Rev. Phil has the good answer. Seals made good for everything, like how buffalo made good for everything. But fat for heat, instead of dung. "We don't need no stinkin' wood!"
2/9/2014 06:55:07 pm
Then how do we explain away the African slaves were treated? What kind of fringe history would explain away that guilt?
2/9/2014 08:40:31 pm
Someone needs to review Curse of oak island.
2/10/2014 02:21:24 am
Wow, a good episode from AU really???
2/11/2014 02:48:43 pm
Even though I like these shows I do find an odd disturbing pattern. There is too much recapping and repeating of what is theorizing. I wonder if the template for this show and others is based on on low attention span audience? Too much filler that eats 10 to 15 minutes of life, I swear that red line went from Europe to America 5 times.
2/12/2014 05:51:25 pm
If this show ever decided to do some research and stop with the Mormon/White revisionist garbage they may learn something. From my Alma mater recently:
2/12/2014 11:45:10 pm
Some of the oldest cave art in the world is in the area that the soultrean inhabited. Even though there is speculation of the dating, the most recent reports have them dated to around 32,000 to 30,000 bp years old. So even though they technically predate the soultrean culture, people were still living in that area during a very cold period. The models of the ice sheets may not match up with 17,000 year ago model, so how about pushing that date back 10,000 years or so and then analyze. It is a far stretch that people walked that far in those extreme conditions, but the Inuit people did a fairly decent job of it.
Rev. Phil Gotsch
2/13/2014 02:07:24 am
We also must remember … Good things can arrive in small packages …
2/17/2014 05:59:37 pm
For starters, the America Unearthed episode made me cringe with its illogical leaps, i.e. that the mastodon (or mammoth, whichever) carving is somehow proof of Solutreans in America. Personally, I think the theory (that there were Solutreans here during the paleolithic along with people from Asia) is credible -note: I did NOT say "proven"- but Scott Wolter's handling of the subject certainly didn't make the case and gives plenty of ammunition for the non-believers (of Solutrean in America).
2/17/2014 06:12:56 pm
In my opinion, the images on the "second Kennedy piece" are well within the range of known paleolithic art, which is not restricted to the walls of caves. I invite anyone to compare the "second Kennedy piece" to images of paleolithic art from Europe (and elsewhere).
2/18/2014 01:52:06 am
JUST ME: "Even with boats, I don't think anyone suspects simple boats made of hide and wood/bone are durable enough to withstand long periods of time on the ocean."
2/18/2014 01:59:05 am
The article on umiaks also addresses two of JUST ME's points of contention concerning shelter (for ice shelf hunters) and a source of combustible fuel.
5/28/2014 01:11:40 pm
As a student of Archaeology, it upset me to see the way Stanford was speaking about the Solutrean hypothesis, as though it has already been proven by evidence and is 100% accepted in the community. As recently as the Metin Eren article on Solutrean and Clovis technology, published in 2013, the hypothesis is still rejected by much of the archaeological community because there is not enough evidence to support it, both archaeological and non. The first thing I did when I heard him making all of these claims was jump on the computer and e-mail one of my archaeology professors who even verified that it is all distorted information. The "Solutrean" biface that Stanford found in VA, for example, is actually made from local materials. It is kind of disgusting to me that an archaeologist (especially one at the Smithsonian of all places!) would make claims like that with no hard evidence to back his assertions. It's nice to know that there are people like you out there, Jason, making sure that viewers hear the facts and the truth of the situation. Thank you!
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.