Saturday Roundup: Nephilim Mating Habits, Stone Spheres in Bosnia, and the Band of Holes in Peru
I have three brief news stories to share today, all of which are interesting in their own right but none of which was long enough for me to turn into a full blog post on its own.
Our first story comes to us from Science magazine, which reports that DNA results indicate that human females were unable to mate with Neanderthal males because of problems with the Neanderthals’ Y-chromosomes. This implies that any cross breeding occurred with human males impregnating Neanderthal females. This is interesting on its own, but it also serves to refute a common claim among creationists and fringe historians that the Neanderthals were the Nephilim of the Bible. For example, John Denton wrote that “the scientific facts verify that the Neanderthal were in fact one and the same as the ancient warrior race the Nephilim.” Similar claims occur across the creationist web and in creationist books that attempt to make Genesis seem like science. The trouble is that if the new findings are true, then the Genesis account turns creationists into liars, since Genesis 6:4 specifically states that male sons of God impregnated human females, and the new findings say this wouldn’t be the case if we’re talking about Neanderthals. In fact, it would make the Neanderthals the real humans and us the evil Nephilim! Oops!
Our second story comes to us from the Daily Mail and involves the self-described “Bosnian Indiana Jones” Semir Osmanagic, the promoter of the alleged Bosnian pyramids, which even fringe geologists like Robert Schoch recognize as natural formations. Osmanagic has what he is claiming to be a new “discovery” in Bosnia, this time a giant stone sphere that he alleges is the heaviest stone sphere ever carved by humankind. Osmanagic claims that local myth says that hundreds of stone spheres once existed in Bosnia but were destroyed in search of gold. (I was able to find a Bosnian legend that gold was buried under a large stone in Greece, but I couldn’t find one about gold in large stones.) You’d think that after the first couple of hundred they’d get the idea that there was nothing inside, but whatever.
“It is once again further proof that there was an advanced civilization here with a high level of technology about which we know very little,” Osmanagic told the Daily Mail.
Geologists told the Mail that the sphere is almost certainly a natural formation. What a surprise.
It’s worth noting that Osmanagic is a bit cagey with his claims about the stone, which he presented as a unique and singular discovery just made. As Brad Olsen’s Sacred Places Europe: 108 Destinations reported in 2007, similar spheres are found across central Bosnia. The largest of them, located in Zavidovici, is allegedly bigger that Osmanagic’s sphere. His has a radius of 1.5 meters, which gives a circumference of 4.7 meters, while the Zavidovici sphere has a circumference of 5.3 meters. Unless, of course, they are actually the same sphere. The current sphere is located—where else?—but in Zavidovici. And who discovered the 2007 sphere? Right: Osmangic. Here’s Robert Schoch debunking the claim in 2007.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a problematic territory for thousands of years, a place where empires and cultures clashed over what it meant to be European. In 1878, the Congress of Berlin gave the Habsburgs the right to occupy what was then a Turkish province, and in 1908 they annexed it. This, in turn, helped lead to a pan-Slavic uprising that brought down Austria-Hungary and all of Europe with it. As part of Yugoslavia, it sat on the fault line between fascism, communism, socialism, and democracy. In the 1990s, the civil war between Muslims, Croats, and Serbs devastated the newly born Yugoslav successor state. Now, the Bosnian government seems like it is trying to repair some of the damage by emphasizing Bosnia’s European heritage. To that end, during his time in office former prime minister Nedžad Branković gave official funding and sanction to Osmanagic, and declared the Bosnian pyramids to be a “positive” discovery that would improve the local economy. Not coincidentally, it would also, if true, make Bosnia the most European country of all, the home to the oldest high civilization on the continent.
Finally, I received an interesting email about an article in Archaeology magazine that claims Ancient Aliens did some accidental good. Regular readers will remember that Ancient Aliens and its spinoff series In Search of Aliens both did segments about the so-called Band of Holes (Monte Sierpe) in Peru, a long line of ancient shallow pits whose purpose is unknown. Archaeologists Charles Stanish and Henry Tantaleán said that they decided to investigate the site after they began to receive emails from viewers of Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens asking after the site, which they said they had not heard of before the program aired, even though they worked just 15 km from the site. After visiting the site, the pair concluded that the holes were easy to make and the entire site could have been completed in less than a year. They believe it was likely an accounting system for Inca taxation, used to separate agricultural produce into groupings for various destinations. Their report, from Backdirt, is online here.
This situation is not unprecedented; Erich von Däniken’s claims about the supposed gold-filled alien cave in Ecuador led Neil Armstrong and a team of scholars to conduct a research trip in search of it. But it is a rarity that anything good comes out of Ancient Aliens. The sad thing is that millions more people will hear the cockamamie speculation on that show than will ever know about what real archaeologists have done at the site.
4/9/2016 04:13:42 pm
I can't comment on much. As usual as I enjoy the accuracy and informative clarification of fringe/conspiracy woo provided in these blog posts. The Monte Sierpe 'holes' are not unfamiliar to me. I can recall them from some very early coursework in archaeology (circa mid1980s+) at college. What surprises me is that Stanish and Tantalean hadn't heard about them- for so many reasons. But whatever....I can't recall the details of what rational was provided for their existence but didn't include aliens. I seem to vaguely recall the corollary local tax sites and notions of accounting. Reading the linked report not only clarified this generalization/ assumption (as taught in course) but underlies the need for continued investigation to solidify these assumptions, if only to refute extraneous 'theories' and assumptions. But as the linked peer reviewed published study shows, it is important to the general field of study. It informs a process we understand to an extent (or in a manner) we had not. Kudos to you Jason (and the researchers) for this!
4/9/2016 06:16:11 pm
The first and last stories were interesting. It's so disappointing to read Osmanagic is still receiving attention for interpreting natural formations as examples of ancient "technology".
4/9/2016 06:58:14 pm
Osmanagić holds a master's degree in international economics and politics and a doctoral degree in social sciences, both obtained from the University of Sarajevo. In 2009 he became a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
4/9/2016 07:34:44 pm
That's info Jason has covered in past posts, which is why I'm disappointed in the continuing coverage of Osmanagic's claims.
4/9/2016 07:15:53 pm
The last story just proves yet again that there's no such thing as bad press. That's why archaeologists and park rangers who refused to work with America Unearthed looked so silly. Grownups should know better than to cut off their noses to spite their faces, but some of their emotions are so out of control, they can't think logically. The interest that these garbage shows garner could produce real results for more sites over the next decade or two as kids grow up.
4/9/2016 07:37:50 pm
Osmanagic isn't the first degreed theorist to spin flax into fool's gold, or to fabricate a major discovery out of a rock. You should see some of the junk science showing up on the Gobekli Tepe and Karahan Tepe site. I wish you'd pay the site a visit. I'd be interested to see what you'd have to say.
4/9/2016 07:58:54 pm
Still waiting for material by Klaus Schmidt to be translated into English.
4/9/2016 09:38:00 pm
Here's a PDF,in English. I hope it helps
4/10/2016 03:07:23 am
You'll need to do that privately.
4/9/2016 09:28:20 pm
I tried slogging my way through John Denton's "speculative research paper" about the Neanderthals and Nephilim, but just had to stop when I got to number 8. If you can read the entire thing, more power to you.
4/10/2016 03:20:45 pm
4/9/2016 11:45:22 pm
4/14/2016 05:44:56 pm
4/18/2016 09:59:35 pm
A small correction. In the nephilim scenario as I understand it, the nephilim we the byproduct of angels (sons of God) mating with human women. So if the nephilim were Neanderthals (for the sake of discussion) then they would not need to make offspring with women. In other words, the Neanderthals would be the children of the human women, not the fathers and therefore the genetic incompatibility isn't really an issue.
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.