Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race
by Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson
(San Diego: Bhaktivedanta Institute, 1993) 952 pp. ISBN 0-89213-294-9,
a research associate in history and philosophy of science, and Richard
Thompson, a mathematician, challenge the dominant views of human origins
and antiquity. This volume combines a vast amount of both accepted and
controversial evidence from the archeological record with sociological,
philosophical, and historical critiques of the scientific method to challenge
existing views and expose the suppression of information concerning history
and human origins."Journal of
Field Archeology, Vol. 21, 1994, p. 112.
"I have no
doubt that there will be some who will read this book and profit from it.
Certainly it provides the historian of archeology with a useful compendium
of case studies in the history and sociology of scientific knowledge, which
can be used to foster debate within archaeology about how to describe the
epistemology of one's discipline."Tim
Murray, in British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 28, 1995, p.
"It must be
acknowledged that Forbidden Archeology brings to attention many
interesting issues that have not received much consideration from historians;
and the authors' detailed examination of the early literature is certainly
stimulating and raises questions of considerable interest, both historically
and from the perspective of practitioners of sociology of scientific knowledge."Jo
Wodak and David Oldroyd, in Social Studies of Science, Vol. 26(1), 1996,
"So has Forbidden
Archeology made any contribution at all to the literature on palaeoanthropology?
Our answer is a guarded 'yes', for two reasons. First, while the authors
go in for overkill in terms of swamping the reader with detail . . . much
of the historical material they resurrect has not been scrutinized in such
detail before. Second, . . . Cremo and Thompson do raise a central problematic
regarding the lack of certainty in scientific 'truth' claims."Jo
Wodak and David Oldroyd, in Social Studies of Science, Vol. 26(1), 1996,
"All the reasons
and evidence why modern humans are not rather recent but most ancient."Cyprian
Broodbank, in Antiquity, Vol. 67, December 1993, p. 904.
of this book is that Homo sapiens 'existed on earth millions of
years ago' and that this fact has been suppressed or ignored by the scientific
establishment because it contradicts the dominant views of human origins
and antiquity. To prove this theory, the authors go over the history of
the principal discoveries bearing on human evolution and they review much
of the evidence which concerns human origins, especially that which does
not agree with the 'dominant paradigm.'"Ethology,
Ecology, and Evolution, Volume 6, 1994, p. 461.
decidedly antievolutionary in perspective, this work is not the ordinary
variety of antievolutionism in form, content, or style. In distinction
to the usual brand of such writing, the authors use original sources and
the book is well written. Further, the overall tone of the work is far
superior to that exhibited in ordinary creationist literature. . . . The
authors base virtually their entire book on a literature search and most
(though not all) of that literature dates to the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. In so doing, the authors have resurrected nineteenth-century
claims of 'Tertiary Man, apparently superimposing on this a belief in the
instantaneous appearance of anatomically modern Homo sapiens at
some point in the very distant past, asserting that the evidence for this
is at least as good, and usually better, than that cited for a much later
and evolutionary origin for our species."Kenneth
L. Feder, in Geoarchaeology, Vol. 9(4), 1994, p. 338.
volume, 914 pages, dedicated to the hidden history of humanity, is surprising.
What is, then, this forbidden archeology? Having passed the first moment
of surprise, one quickly opens this book and one flips through it with
interest. The first part presents the abnormal (not accepted) evidence--for
example, cut and fractured bones, supposedly from man, discovered in Tertiary
caves; or the eoliths that have made a lot of ink flow; or human remains
found in California in the Pliocene or Eocene periods; and the footprints
of humans observed in the Pennsylvanian (Upper Carboniferous) of Rockcastle
in Kentucky. The authors tell about the historical records of these discoveries
and the polemics they gave rise to but do not give conclusive judgments.
The second part of the book discusses conventional evidence--hominids from
Java and China (Zhoukoudian among others) and also the fossil man of Piltdown.
Africa, with the most ancient discoveries of remains of Australopithecus,
is not forgotten. There again, for about a hundred pages, the authors
describe the historical records and discussions related to these fossils,
including their relationship with the 'true hominids.' Three appendixes
end the book. One concerns the chemical and radiometric analyses of disputed
human bones. Another concerns evidence for the existence of cultures from
ancient periods (Tertiary, Secondary). The third appendix summarizes the
abnormal evidence for human antiquity, from the Precambrian (metallic spheres
from the site of Ottosdalin in the Republic of South Africa) to the end
of the Pleistocene. M. Cremo and R. Thompson have willfully written a provocative
work that raises the problem of the influence of the dominant ideas of
a time period on scientific research. These ideas can compel the researchers
to orient their analyses according to the conceptions that are permitted
by the scientific community. . . . The documentary richness of this work,
more historical and sociological than scientific, is not to be ignored."Marylene
Patou-Mathis, in L'Anthropologie, Vol. 99(1), 1995, p. 159.
"This is a
catalogue and discussion of numerous Precambrian to Pleistocene fossils
and artifacts accepted by some as evidence of 'anatomically modern humans.'
The authors tend to credit these reports at face value and argue that these
'facts' are being ignored by the scientific establishment. . . . The descriptions
and extensive bibliography of obscure references will be very useful to
a 'main stream' scientist."Journal
of Geological Education, Vol. 43, 1995, p. 193.
by Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson promises to lift the veil of silence
that conceals disturbing ideas on the earliest antiquity of mankind. According
to the authors, Darwinian orthodoxy tendentiously eliminates archeological
evidence showing that Homo sapiens is not a recent product of evolution
and that he has long shared the earth with numerous apelike hominids, from
which he cannot be descended."Wiktor
Stoczkowski, in L'Homme, Vol. 35, 1995, p. 173.
and Richard Thompson are to be congratulated on spending eight years producing
the only definitive, precise, exhaustive, and complete record of practically
all the fossil finds of man, regardless of whether they fit the established
scientific theories or not. To say that the research is painstaking is
a wild understatement. No other book of this magnitude and calibre exists.
It should be compulsory reading for every first year biology, archaeology,
and anthropology student-and many others, too."John
Davidson, in International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,
August 1994, p. 28.
Archeology takes the current conventions of decoding to their extreme.
The authors find modern Homo sapiens to be continuous contemporaries
of the apelike creatures from whom evolutionary biologists usually trace
human descent or bifurcation, thus confirming those Vedic sources that
presume the nearly illimitable antiquity of the human race . . . . Decoding
certain chipped flints or 'eoliths' as, many of them, very ancient stone
tools, and recoding other evidence others have rejected either as hoaxes
or natural phenomena (metallic spheres, shoe prints, iron nails and gold
threads in old stone, carvings, footprints), Cremo and Thompson discern
the working presence of anatomically modern humans as far back as the Cambrian
era. . . . Forbidden Archeology reads surprisingly well for what
is basically an 828-page critical catalogue of two centuries of archeological
evidence doubted or spurned by Western scientists." Hillel Schwarz,
in Journal of Unconventional History, Vol. 6(1), 1994, pp. 75-76.
Divine Nature: A Spiritual Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
by Michael A. Cremo and Mukunda Gosvami
(Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1995). 108 pp. ISBN 0-89213-296-5,
"At a time when the world's
developing countries are tending to let industrial progress take over their economies,
oblivious to environmental destruction, Divine Nature comes as a welcome breath of
relief. The authors have persuasively argued that a return to the original value of humanity's
deep spiritual kinship with all living things is the key to achieving pervasive environmental
consciousness." Kamal Nath, Minister of Environment and Forests, Government of India, May 5, 1995.
"This book should be read as a
management plan for the economy, especially by politicians and business managers who, having
gotten us into the mess we are in by promoting cultural and eating patterns that are destructive,
in the mistaken belief that money can be made through devastation, could now truly understand
how to repair the earth in a way that all of us can live, not merely exist."
Maneka Gandhi, former Minister of Environment and Forests, Government of India, June 16, 1995.
Michael A. Cremo, Forbidden Archeology's Impact: How a Controversial
New Book Shocked the Scientific Community and Became an Underground Classic
(Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing, 1998). 592 pp. ISBN 0-89213-283-3,
“Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson's book Forbidden
Archeology . . . . argued that anatomically modern, tool-making humans
have walked the earth for tens (perhaps hundreds) of millions of years
and that they--not the far younger hominids studied by mainstream paleoanthropologists--are
our true ancestors. The truth has been obscured, Cremo and Thompson argued,
by scientists too wedded to existing theories of human origins to give
a fair hearing to evidence that challenged them. Forbidden Archeology's
Impact is Cremo's effort to document the reception of his earlier book.
It reprints published reviews and Cremo's (mostly unpublished) responses
to them, letters to and from Cremo, transcripts of radio and television
interviews, and postings to Internet newsgroups. Most of this material
appears in its entirety, and Cremo's use of quotations is (judging from
his treatment of my own brief correspondence with him) scrupulous. His
responses extend, but do not substantially alter, the positions he staked
out in Forbidden Archeology. Forbidden Archeology's Impact
is not, in itself, a work on the history of science. The raw data it makes
available could, however, inform studies of such topics as disciplinary
"boundary work," fringe science, popularization, and the intersection of
science and religion (in Cremo's case, Hinduism).” --A. Bowdoin Van Riper,
Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society, 90:3 (1999), p.
“If ever we were, we are surprised no
longer by unusual book formats. Social constructivism, reflexivity, and
all that is postmodern have inspired a variety of experiments in new literary
forms to enliven the staid old world of the standard academic study. Inevitably,
opinion varies as to whether these illuminate or merely exasperate, but
as attempts to document the social process of knowledgeproduction
and capture some of its reflexivity, they are both consistent and courageous.
So, too, Michael Cremo's book.
“The ‘impact’ the book documents is that
of Cremo's earlier work, Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of
the Human Race [FA], co-authored with Richard Thompson, and published
by the Bhaktivedanta Institute in 1993. In this latest book rather than
construct his own historical narrative, Cremo opts for the far more interesting
strategy of directly reproducing much of the source material from which
any such narrative would be constructed. The result is a multi-faceted
textual kaleidoscope, in which a wide range of the many discourses surrounding
contemporary science reflect and refract each other in fascinating array.
“The material is broken into five sections.
Section one reproduces half-a-dozen of Cremo's conference papers and journal
articles, serving to summarize the argument of FA and introduce his Krishna-inspired
perspective. FA, it seems, provides thorough documentation of some 150
"anomalous" "bones and stones" form the fossil record. Such is the familiar
stuff of popular "archaeologies" from von Daniken to Hancock, except that
Cremo & Thompson drew their "anomalies" from the respected scientific
literature, albeit mainly of the late nineteenth century (an intriguing
more recent case being that of Virginia Steen-McIntyre's dating of the
Hueyatlaco, Mexico, site in the 1970s). They claim these cases have never
been adequately resolved, but simply forgotten through a process of "knowledge
filtration," because they don't fit the Darwinian linear evolutionary model
and time-scale of events.
“In the current book, Cremo adds to this
an interpretation of Darwinism, which he sees as sharing essential assumptions
with Judaeo-Christianity, particularly the view of time as a linear process
founded in a single moment of creation (God or the Big Bang), from which
humans eventually developed after (whether some days or some millions of
years) other life forms. Against this, he proposes an alternative view
derived from the Hindu Puranas (‘histories’)--referred to disparagingly
by some of his orthodox critics as ‘Krishna Kreationism’--which has a cyclical
cosmology of multiple creations spread over billions of years, in which
humans coexist with other human-like species (ape-men, Yeti, etc.), although
created separately. Cremo suggests that the ‘anomalous’ evidence documented
in FA can be explained adequately by the Puranic model of earth history,
but not by Darwinism.
“There is much more involved, obviously,
but readers of this journal are likely to find more of interest in sections
2 to 5. These consist of reviews of FA in the ‘mainstream’ (section 2)
and ‘alternative’ (section 3) literature, plus a range of selected correspondence
(mainly section 4), transcripts of media interviews and internet exchanges
(section 5). Much of the latter pertains to an NBC-screened program about
FA, Mysterious Origins of Man, first broadcast in February 1996.
"Despite a good deal of inevitable repetition
and redundancy, Cremo has provided here a resource of considerable richness
and value to analysts of public understanding [of science]. The material
covers the range from commentary, criticism and exchange with a number
of established scientists (mainly geologists and archaeologists, but also
some social scientists), to many well and lesser known figures from the
‘fringe’ (such as Colin Wilson), media commentators, and even a small number
of the general public, and should lend itself to a variety of analytic
aims. It could, for example, be used to explore issues of ‘misunderstanding,’
both of scientific knowledge claims and of processes of science; indeed,
this is the argument made (ad nauseam) by Cremo's critics in the orthodox
net-groups. More apparent to me, however, are the possibilities for discourse
and rhetorical analysis of the boundary-work undertaken by scientists (including
such strategies as threatening to boycott NBC sponsors over Mysterious
Origins of Man--and I thought all this talk of ‘propaganda’ was just
creationist rhetoric!) and the capacities displayed by non-scientists for
sieging the ramparts. It should also make a useful teaching resource as
one of the best-documented case studies of "science wars," and raising
a wide range of issues covering aspects of "knowlege transfer" in a manner
sure to be provocative in the classroom.
“For many, of course, this will all be
beside the point, as, in Richard Leakey's words (used by Cremo as a form
of punctuation), the book is ‘pure humbug’ and has no place in any legitimate
forum. One of the interesting features of the material documented, however,
is the wide range of responses to FA from within the scientific
community. It is notable that this is more apparent from reviews and correspondence
than from Internet exchanges. This may be due to Cremo's selection of what
to include and, if there is a major flaw in the book, it is that there
is no discussion of this. But it also invites speculation about the nature
of ‘cyber-society’ and what norms of discourse are becoming established
here in relation to those of traditional forums. Is cyberspace seen as
a less formal arena than established public media, inviting a more personalized
mode of expression? If so, what implications does this hold for PUS [public
understanding of science]? Are scientists likely to appear more committed?
Will this induce greater public support, or greater wariness and suspicion?
It is notable that Cremo's own textual voice tends toward the measured
dispassion of the established journal, except in some of his responses
to Internet comments, where he adopts the tone of strident sarcasm used
by some of his critics. There is a sense in which they (we) are all speaking
the same language; paradoxically, however, it is this very unity that also
divides. Cremo's new literary form adds to the documentation of this condition,
but makes no clear proposal for transcendence.” --Simon Locke, School of
Social Science, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston Upon Thames,
Surrey, KT1 2EE, United Kingdom, in Public Understanding of Science,
8 (1), Jan. 1999, pp. 68-69
Michael A. Cremo, Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin's Theory
(Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing, 2004). 584 pp. ISBN 0-89213-334-1,
"For the first time in the history of
modern science the authority of the Darwinism theory has been challenged with a viable Vedic alternative."
Dr. Ravi Prakash Arya, in Vedic Science, Jan-March, 2004.
Michael A. Cremo, The Forbidden Archeologist: THe Atlantis Rising Magazine Columns of Michael A. Cremo
(Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing, 2010). 248 pp. ISBN 978-089213337-6,
"…I found the chapters from The Forbidden Archeologist, written in
the first person, to be eminently readable and highly entertaining besides… It was gratifying to read about the suppression
and obfuscations from the "establishment" and the media put in such concise language. I have, in these two brief chapters,
found more references to material that I can use in my lectures on ancient history…"
Larry Gallant, Editor, Ancient American Magazine, November 2010.