I was overwhelmed with a tsunami of work today, so I ran out of time for writing. I also received a number of emails today from readers who (a) believe I am Scott Wolter and want me to explore and/or promote their local rocks or (b) think I am Giorgio Tsoukalos and want to report on their alien abductions, have him explain their strange prophetic dreams, or buy one of his gold pre-Columbian “airplane” lapel pins. I can’t fathom how anyone can write to me on a website bearing my name and an email address that also features my name and not realize that I am not either Scott Wolter or Giorgio Tsoukalos. Since these emails have ranged into the hundreds over the last three years or so, what does this say about reading comprehension?
It also turns out that I am wrong (in a very minor way) about the Fuente Magna bowl, according to archaeologist Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews blogging over at Bad Archaeology. You’ll remember the Fuente Magna bowl as an alleged Sumerian (or proto-Sumerian) container discovered in Bolivia in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The object became famous in the fringe world after 2000 when it was featured in the documentary Atlantis in the Andes. I had described the object in reviewing Ancient Aliens S04E06 and stated that “no one paid attention to it until” the documentary. Fitzpatrick-Matthews would like everyone to know that this is not correct. A man named Mario Montaño Aragón wrote about its alleged cuneiform inscription in Raíces semíticas en la religiosidad aymará y kichua (Biblioteca Popular de Ultima Hora, 1979). Well obviously the claim had to come from somewhere! The accuracy of my statement depends on whether you agree that I was trying to state that the object wasn’t famous in fringe circles, not that no one wrote of it at all. I stand corrected in that someone did in fact refer to the bowl and its alleged inscription in 1979; I ought to have put “much” before “attention.” There are occasional references to the bowl here and there between 1979 and 2000, particularly in Spanish-language sources, but it didn’t become an object of widespread fringe speculation until after.
None of this changes the conclusion that the object is a fake. I agree entirely with Fitzpatrick-Matthews: “It looks to have been executed by someone who has seen a cuneiform text and is attempting to copy it onto a surface that they have no skill in working. To put it bluntly, it looks like a fake.”
Fitzpatrick-Matthews’s post is well worth the read. Be sure to check it out!
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.
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