The Nineteenth Century California Gold Mine Discoveries:
Archeology, Darwinism, and Evidence for Extreme Human Antiquity
By Michael A. Cremo
Historian of Archeology
World Archaeological Congress 5
June 21-26, 2003 Washington, D.C.
Session: The History of Archeology in the Service of Isms
Theme: Colonialism, Identity, and Social Responsibility
In 1880, Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Natural History published
The Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California, by Dr. Josiah D.
Whitney, state geologist of California. In this book, Whitney documented extensive
discoveries by California gold miners of advanced human artifacts and anatomically
modern human skeletal in undisturbed Tertiary deposits. According to modern
geological reporting, most of the discoveries occurred in Eocene river channels,
capped by solid layers of Miocene latite several hundred feet thick. The
discoveries attracted the attention of scientists worldwide, but were rejected
primarily because they contradicted the then emerging Darwinian picture of
human evolution. With the discovery of prehuman Pithecanthropus in the early
Pleistocene of Java, a human presence in the Tertiary was considered theoretically
impossible. For archeologists and historians of archeology operating from
the Darwinist perspective, the California gold mine discoveries make no sense
at all. But for archeologists and historians of archeology operating from
the alternative perspective of the Puranas, ancient India's historical writings,
which posit extreme human antiquity, the California gold mine discoveries
do make sense. Further investigation is possible, because several of the
artifacts remain in the collections of the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology,
and from old records, it has been possible to relocate some of the mines
from which the artifacts were originally taken.
Philosopher of science Karl Popper (1976, p. 168) was partially right when
he wrote in his autobiography "Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory,
but a metaphysical research programme." While I agree that Darwinism is a
metaphysical research program, I believe that particular Darwinist theories
(of human origins, for example) are empirically testable. There is therefore
nothing wrong in principle with anthropologists and archeologists serving
Darwinism's metaphysical research program in the name of empirical science,
so long as they admit that this is what they are actually doing and also
admit that other anthropologists and archeologists might choose to serve
other metaphysical research programs in the name of science.
The engagement of anthropology and archeology in the service of Darwinism,
and its metaphysical assumptions, goes back to the nineteenth century and
continues to the present day. Darwinism's background assumption of ateological
materialism, combined with the assumption that species developed over time
from a simple initial life form, are now expressed in Darwinist anthropological
beliefs that humans evolved fairly recently, in a line emerging from African
Miocene primates and continuing through a variety of Pliocene and Early Pleistocene
hominids. Darwinists often assert that all of the physical evidence known
to science supports this basic picture. The identification of Darwinism with
anthropology and archeology is now so complete that it is difficult to get
many modern practitioners, especially in America, to admit that there could
possibly be a difference between the two. In their university level
textbook on anthropology, Stein and Rowe (1993, p. 41) make this unqualified
profession of faith: "Anthropologists are convinced that human beings . .
. have changed over time in response to changing conditions. So one aim of
the anthropologist is to find evidence for evolution and to generate theories
about it." To be an anthropologist is to be convinced of evolution.
The purpose of an anthropologist is therefore to find evidence (skeletal,
cultural, genetic, etc.) for evolution, and not evidence against evolution,
and to generate theories about evolution, and not theories that contradict
evolution. Anthropologists (including archeologists) must therefore,
by definition, serve Darwinism.
If the aim of a researcher in human origins is "to find evidence for evolution,"
then how will such a researcher react to evidence that radically contradicts
evolutionary expectations? In this paper, I give a case study showing how
commitment to Darwinism operated in the treatment of archeological discoveries
from the gold mining region of California in the nineteenth century. The discoveries
indicated the existence of anatomically modern humans in the Tertiary.
I propose to show that this evidence was eliminated from archeological discourse
primarily because it contradicted an emerging Darwinist consensus on human
origins, with humans evolving from more apelike hominids in the late Pleistocene.
I also wish to show how Darwinists today continue to try keep this evidence
out of active scientific discussion and out of presentations to the general
public (as shown by their reactions to inclusion of such evidence in the
NBC television special The Mysterious Origins of Man). Finally, I will discuss
the results of my own continuing research into the California gold mine discoveries.
Before entering into my discussion, I think it fair that I give some clues
about my own metaphysical commitments so that these can be taken into account.
My work in the history of archeology is guided by my studies in the Vaishnava
cosmology of India, which posits a supreme being who manifests life forms,
including human forms, in universes which undergo repeated events of creation
and destruction over vast periods of cyclical time (Cremo 1999). The basic
unit of cyclical time in the Vaishnava cosmology is the day of Brahma, which
lasts for 4.32 billion years. The current day of Brahma began about 2 billion
years ago. The day of Brahma is composed of 14 subcycles called manvantara
periods, each lasting about 300 million years. Humans are manifested in each
manvantara period. Although the Vaishnava cosmology recognizes the existence
of beings with apelike bodies and humanlike intelligence, humans of our type
existed alongside them. I would therefore expect that human artifacts and
skeletal remains could be found in Tertiary deposits.
The California Gold Mine Discoveries from Table Mountain
In 1849, gold was discovered in the gravels of ancient riverbeds on the
slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in central California. At first, solitary
miners panned for flakes and nuggets in the auriferous gravels that had found
their way into the present stream beds. But soon gold-mining companies brought
more extensive resources into play, sinking shafts into mountainsides, following
the gravel deposits wherever they led. The miners found hundreds of stone
artifacts, and, more rarely, human fossils.
The artifacts from these deep mine shafts and tunnels were apparently of
great antiquity. Some of the more significant discoveries were made at Table
Mountain in Tuolumne County. There miners dug vertical tunnels that penetrated
through layers of volcanic deposits to reach the auriferous gravels. Or they
dug horizontal tunnels that ran below the volcanic deposits. The auriferous
gravels lay in old river channels. Norris and Webb (1990, pp. 90-93) give
the geological history of the region. During the Eocene, rivers cut
channels into the bedrock of the Sierra Nevada. These channels became filled
with gravels containing gold. In the late Oligocene, the Eocene river channels
were covered with thick deposits of rhyolitic volcanic ash, which now
forms a pinkish rock. New rivers cut channels into these deposits. At Table
Mountain in Tuolumne County, the new river channel was filled by a flow of
latite (some earlier geologists called it basalt). This flow occurred in the
Miocene. Geologists obtained potassium argon dates of about 9 million years
for the Table Mountain latite. Later, the softer material on the sides of
the latite flow was worn away by erosion, leaving the harder volcanic deposits.
So at Table Mountain we have three hundred feet of Miocene latite covering
Oligocene rhyolitic tuffs, which in turn cover the old Eocene river channels
containing the auriferous gravels. According to Slemmons (1966, p. 200),
the auriferous gravels are at least 30 million years old. If the gravels
belong to the early Eocene, they could be as much as 50-55 million years
old. The principal discoveries of human bones and artifacts came from
the very lowest levels of the auriferous gravels near the bedrock.
Darwinists routinely assert that humans like ourselves appeared fairly recently
on this planet, between 150,000 and 100,000 years ago. The California gold
mine discoveries provide a counterexample, but they are not an isolated anomaly.
In my book Forbidden Archeology, coauthored with Richard Thompson, I document
numerous other cases showing that human beings like ourselves have existed
on this planet for tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of years. This
is consistent with the historical accounts found in the ancient Sanskrit writings
of India. But among all the discoveries of evidence for extreme human antiquity,
I find the ones from the California gold mines to be exceptionally fascinating.
The most significant artifacts and human bones were reported to the scientific
community by J. D. Whitney, then the state geologist of California. His detailed
reports can be found in his book The Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada
of California, published by Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Natural
History in its series of monographs in 1880. Artifacts were discovered at
many locations in the gold mining region, but I will concentrate on those
found at Table Mountain in Tuolumne County. Whitney personally examined a
collection of Table Mountain artifacts belonging to Dr. Perez Snell, of Sonora,
California. Snell's collection included spearheads and other implements. One
of these was, wrote Whitney (1880, p. 264), "a stone muller, or some kind
of utensil which had apparently been used for grinding." Dr. Snell informed
Whitney "that he took it with his own hands from a car-load of 'dirt' coming
out from under Table Mountain." In another case, Mr. Albert G. Walton, one
of the owners of the Valentine claim, found a stone mortar, 15 inches in
diameter, in gold-bearing gravels 180 feet from the surface and also beneath
the latite cap (Whitney 1880, p. 265).
In 1870, Oliver W. Stevens submitted the following notarized affidavit:
"I, the undersigned, did about the year 1853, visit the Sonora Tunnel, situated
at and in Table Mountain, about one half a mile north and west of Shaw's Flat,
and at that time there was a car-load of auriferous gravel coming out of
said Sonora Tunnel. And I, the undersigned, did pick out of said gravel (which
came from under the basalt and out of the tunnel about two hundred feet in,
at the depth of about one hundred and twenty- five feet) a mastodon tooth....
And at the same time I found with it some relic that resembled a large stone
bead, made perhaps of alabaster." The bead, if from the gravel beneath the
latite cap, is at least 9 million years old and could perhaps be far older,
from the Eocene. The bead came into the collection of C. D. Voy (1874, p.
50), who described it as "about two inches long and two inches in circumference."
In his book, Whitney (1880, p. 373) included the following statement by
James Carvin: "This it to certify that I, the undersigned, did about the
year 1858, dig out of some mining claims known as the Stanislaus Company,
situated in Table Mountain, Tuolumne County, opposite O'Byrn's Ferry, on
the Stanislaus River, a stone hatchet. . . with a hole through it for a handle.
Its size was four inches across the edge, and length about six inches. It
had evidently been made by human hands. The above relic was found about sixty
to seventy-five feet from the surface in gravel, under the basalt, and about
300 feet from the mouth of the tunnel. There were also some mortars found,
at about the same time and place."
Llewellyn Pierce found a mortar at Table Mountain, and gave this notarized
statement: "This is to certify that I, the undersigned, have this day given
to Mr. C. D. Voy, to be preserved in his collection of ancient stone relics,
a certain stone mortar, which has evidently been made by human hands, which
was dug up by me, about the year 1862, under Table Mountain, in gravel, at
a depth of about 200 feet from the surface, under the basalt, which was over
sixty feet deep, and about 1,800 feet in from the mouth of the tunnel. Found
in the claim known as the Boston Tunnel Company" (Whitney 1880, p. 267).
The following is not one of the cases reported by Whitney in his book, but
it is quite similar to them. On August 2, 1890, J. H. Neale signed the following
statement about discoveries made by him: "In 1877 Mr. J. H. Neale was superintendent
of the Montezuma Tunnel Company, and ran the Montezuma tunnel into the gravel
underlying the lava of Table Mountain, Tuolumne County. The mouth of the tunnel
is near the road which leads in a southerly direction from Rawhide camp,
and about three miles from that place. The mouth is approximately 1,200 feet
from the present edge of the solid lava cap of the mountain. At a distance
of between 1,400 and 1,500 feet from the mouth of the tunnel, or of between
200 and 300 feet beyond the edge of the solid lava, Mr. Neale saw several
spear-heads, of some dark rock and nearly one foot in length. On exploring
further, he himself found a small mortar three or four inches in diameter
and of irregular shape. This was discovered within a foot or two of the spear-heads.
He then found a large well-formed pestle" (Becker 1891, pp. 191-192).
Neale's affidavit continued: "All of these relics were found... close to
the bed-rock, perhaps within a foot of it. Mr. Neale declares that it is utterly
impossible that these relics can have reached the position in which they
were found excepting at the time the gravel was deposited, and before the
lava cap formed. There was not the slightest trace of any disturbance of
the mass or of any natural fissure into it by which access could have been
obtained either there or in the neighborhood" (Becker 1891, p. 192).
The position of the artifacts in gravel close to the bedrock at Tuolumne Table
Mountain indicates they were of Eocene age, at least 33 million years old.
William H. Holmes, a prominent anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution,
dismissed Neale's finds (and the other finds reported by Whitney) as either
intrusions or hoaxes. But in a paper read before the American Geological Society,
geologist George F. Becker said (1891, p. 192-193): "It would have been more
satisfactory to me individually if I had myself dug out these implements,
but I am unable to discover any reason why Mr. Neale's statement is not exactly
as good evidence to the rest of the world as my own would be. He was as competent
as I to detect any fissure from the surface or any ancient workings, which
the miner recognizes instantly and dreads profoundly. Some one may possibly
suggest that Mr. Neale's workmen 'planted' the implements, but no one familiar
with mining will entertain such a suggestion for a moment. . . . The auriferous
gravel is hard picking, in large part it requires blasting, and even a very
incompetent supervisor could not possibly be deceived in this way. . . . In
short, there is, in my opinion, no escape from the conclusion that the implements
mentioned in Mr. Neale's statement actually occurred near the bottom of the
gravels, and that they were deposited where they were found at the same time
with the adjoining pebbles and matrix."
Becker (1891, p. 193) also noted that in the spring of 1869, geologist Clarence
King, of the United States Geological Survey, was conducting research at Table
Mountain. At that time, he found a stone pestle firmly embedded in a deposit
of gold-bearing gravel lying beneath the cap of basalt, or latite. The gravel
deposit had only recently been exposed by erosion. King did not report the
discovery at the time he made it, but did provide details to Becker, who
stated (1891, p. 194): "Mr. King is perfectly sure this implement was in
place and that it formed an original part of the gravels in which he found
it. It is difficult to imagine a more satisfactory evidence than this of the
occurrence of implements in the auriferous, pre-glacial, sub- basaltic gravels."
From this description and the modern geological dating of the Table Mountain
strata, it is apparent that the object, if found in situ, was over 9 million
Even Holmes (1899, p. 453) admitted that the King pestle, which was placed
in the Smithsonian Institution, "may not be challenged with impunity."
Holmes searched the site very carefully and noted the presence of some modern
Indian mealing stones lying loose on the surface. He stated (1899, p. 454):
"I tried to learn whether it was possible that one of these objects could
have become embedded in the exposed tufa deposits in recent or comparatively
recent times . . . but no definite result was reached." If Holmes had found
any definite evidence of recent embedding, he would certainly have used it
to discredit King's discovery. Instead he could only express wonder
"that Mr. King failed to publish it--that he failed to give to the world what
could well claim to be the most important observation ever made by a geologist
bearing upon the history of the human race, leaving it to come out through
the agency of Dr. Becker, twenty-five years later" (Holmes 1899, p. 454).
But Becker noted in his report (1891, p. 194): "I have submitted this statement
of his discovery to Mr. King, who pronounces it correct."
In addition to human artifacts, human bones were also found in the California
gold mining region. On January 1, 1873, the president of the Boston Society
of Natural History read extracts from a letter by Dr. C. F. Winslow about
a discovery of human bones at Table Mountain in Tuolumne County. Winslow stated:
"During my visit to this mining camp I have become acquainted with Capt.
David B. Akey, formerly commanding officer of a California volunteer company,
and well known to many persons of note in that State, and in the course of
my conversation with him I learned that in 1855 and 1856 he was engaged with
other miners in running drifts into Table Mountain in Tuolumne County at
the depth of about two hundred feet from its brow, in search of placer gold.
He states that in a tunnel run into the mountain at the distance of about
fifty feet from that upon which he was employed, and at the same level, a
complete human skeleton was found and taken out by miners personally known
to him.... . . . He thinks that the depth from the surface at which this
skeleton was found was two hundred feet, and from one hundred and eighty to
two hundred feet from the opening cut or face of the tunnel. The bones were
in a moist condition, found among the gravel and very near the bed rock, and
water was running out of the tunnel. There was a petrified pine tree, from
sixty to eighty feet in length and between two and three feet in diameter
at the butt, lying near this skeleton. Mr. Akey went into the tunnel with
the miners, and they pointed out to him the place where the skeleton was found.
He saw the tree in place and broke specimens from it" (Winslow 1873, pp.
The gravel just above the bedrock at Table Mountain, where the skeleton
was found, is of Eocene age. This should be the age of the skeleton
unless it was introduced into the gravels at a later time, and I am not aware
of any evidence indicating such an intrusion. In another case, Winslow himself
collected some human fossils, which he sent to museums in the eastern United
States. A human skull fragment was dispatched by Winslow to the Museum of
the Natural History Society of Boston. The fossil was labeled as follows:
"From a shaft in Table Mountain, 180 feet below the surface, in gold drift,
among rolled stones and near mastodon debris. Overlying strata of basaltic
compactness and hardness. Found July, 1857. Given to Rev. C. F. Winslow by
Hon. Paul K. Hubbs, August, 1857." Another fragment, from the same skull,
and similarly labeled, was sent to the Museum of the Philadelphia Academy
of Natural Sciences.
Upon learning of this discovery, J. D. Whitney began his own investigation.
He learned that Hubbs was a well-known citizen of Vallejo, California, and
a former State Superintendent of Education. Whitney got from Hubbs a detailed
written account of the discovery, which occurred in the Valentine Shaft, south
of Shaw's Flat. Whitney (1880, p. 265) stated: "The essential facts are,
that the Valentine Shaft was vertical, that it was boarded up to the top,
so that nothing could have fallen in from the surface during the working under
ground, which was carried on in the gravel channel exclusively, after the
shaft had been sunk. There can be no doubt that the specimen came from the
drift in the channel under Table Mountain, as affirmed by Mr. Hubbs." The
skull fragment was found in a horizontal mine shaft (or drift) leading from
the main vertical shaft, at a depth of 180 feet from the surface. Hubbs stated
that he "saw the portion of skull immediately after its being taken out of
the sluice into which it had been shoveled" (Whitney 1880, p. 265). Adhering
to the bone was the characteristic gold-bearing gravel. As mentioned above,
a stone mortar was found in the same mine.
When examining a collection of stone artifacts belonging to Dr. Perez Snell,
J. D. Whitney (1880, p. 264) noted the presence of a human jaw. The jaw and
artifacts all came from gold-bearing gravels beneath the lava cap of Tuolumne
Table Mountain. The gravels from which the jaw came are at least of
Miocene antiquity, and could be from the Eocene.
C. D. Voy (1874, pp. 52-53) gives this description of the jaw and accompanying
artifacts: "About the year 1862 or 1863, while at Sonora, Dr. P. Snell, and
old and well known resident there and whose who life, or a greater part of
it, has been spent in the development of American antiquities, showed me some
relics which he said were found near Table Mountain. The relics consist of
an immense jaw bone entire, including many of the teeth, and the thigh bones.
These had the appearance of great age. They were found 340 feet below the
surface under Table Mountain. This jaw is 5-1/2 (five and a half inches) at
the widest place, and is immensely strong . . . . Near these human remains
were found some curious stone implements, one probably designed as a pendant.
It was hollow on one side and covered on the other. Or as there were little
notches on the end, for tying fast, it is possible it may have been used as
a shuttle. This implement was of siliceous slate. There were also one or
two spearheads about 6 or 8 inches long, and somewhat round, and broken off
where the holes were made to fasten to the wood. These were also made of
a siliceous slate, also one or two scopes [scoops], or ladles made of steatite,
and with well formed handles, somewhat resembling the little horn scopes
made by druggists. . . . Some of the above stone relics are now or were recently
in the Smithsonian Institute, and came at Yale College Museum. All these
implements differ entirely from anything found now in the possession of the
present Indians of the Pacific Slope, as far as can be ascertained. I have
heard of other relics, being found at different times, under this mountain,
some distance from where these were found, but it is so long ago I cannot
get any trace of them. They are probably lost or destroyed."
It is not easy to justify the sustained opposition to the California finds
by Holmes (1899), Sinclair (1908), and other scientists of their time. Although
they often spoke of fraud, they uncovered no actual evidence of it in these
cases. And their suggestions that Indians might have carried portable mortars
and spearheads into the mines are not credible. A modern historian,
W. Turrentine Jackson of the University of California at Davis, points out
(personal communication to my research assistant Steve Bernath, March 19,
1985): "During the gold rush era the Indians were driven from the mining region,
and they seldom came into contact with the forty-niners from the mining region."
One might therefore ask why Holmes was so determined to discredit Whitney's
evidence for the existence of Tertiary humans. The following statement by
Holmes (1899, p. 424) provides an essential clue: "Perhaps if Professor Whitney
had fully appreciated the story of human evolution a it is understood to-
day, he would have hesitated to announce the conclusions formulated, notwithstanding
the imposing array of testimony with which he was confronted." In other words,
if the facts do not fit the favored theory, the facts, even an imposing array
of them, must go. A more reasonable approach was taken by Alfred Russell Wallace,
cofounder of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Wallace (1887,
p. 679), said about the reports of Whitney: "The proper way to treat evidence
as to man's antiquity is to place it on record, and admit it provisionally
wherever it would be held adequate in the case of other animals; not, as is
too often now the case, to ignore it as unworthy of acceptance or subject
its discoverers to indiscriminate accusations of being impostors or the victims
Holmes's opposition to the California gold mine discoveries was to a large
degree conditioned by his acceptance of Java man and its key position in Darwinist
accounts of human evolution. Holmes (1899, p. 470) suggested that Whitney's
evidence should be rejected because "it implies a human race older by at
least one half than Pithecanthropus erectus of Dubois, which may be regarded
as an incipient form of human only." European scientists followed Holmes
in using the Java man discoveries to dismiss the California discoveries. According
to archeologist Robert Munro, Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of
Scotland, researchers who accepted Whitney's conclusions that anatomically
modern humans existed in the Tertiary were "upholding opinions which,
if true, would be absolutely subversive . . . of human evolution" (Munro 1905,
p. 106). He cited as evidence the some what apelike Pithecanthropus skull,
which he assigned to the Plio-Pleistocene boundary. After introducing Holmes's
statement that the California evidence (which included anatomically modern
human skeletal remains) belonged to a period older than that of Pithecanthropus,
Munro (1905, p. 106) said, "According to these calculations the cranium of
a Californian 'auriferous gravel man' would have been of so low a type as
to be undistinguishable from that of the Simian progenitor of Homo sapiens."
About the artifacts, which included projectile points and mortars and pestles,
Munro (1905, p. 108) said that if they were to be accepted "we must, henceforth,
delete from archaeological nomenclature such terms as Palaeolithic and Neolithic
as having no longer any chronological significance." In other words, according
to Darwinist evolutionary expectations, neither anatomically modern human
bones nor finely worked artifacts could be accepted as genuinely Tertiary.
In America, Sinclair (1908) offered similar theoretical objections to Whitney's
reports. For example, he wrote (1908, pp. 129-130): "The occurrence in the
older auriferous gravels of human remains. . . would necessitate placing the
origin of the human race in an exceedingly remote geological period. This
is contrary to all precedent in the history of organisms." Sinclair (1908,
p. 130) also argued that Whitney's discoveries "would mean that man of a
type as high as the existing race was a contemporary of the three-toed horse
and other primitive forms of the late Miocene and early Pliocene, a thesis
to which all geological and biological evidence is opposed."
So in connection with the California gold mine discoveries we find not only
evidence for extreme human antiquity but also evidence illuminating the processes
by which dominant groups in science exclude controversial facts from scientific
discussion and public attention. These processes, which I collectively refer
to as the "knowledge filter," are a powerful factor in removing certain kinds
of evidence from scientific discourse and research. Because of the very
effective knowledge filtering efforts of Holmes, Sinclair, and other scientists
in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, the California
gold mine discoveries from Table Mountain are hardly known today.
Darwinists React to the NBC Television Special The Mysterious Origins of
In February 1996 the California gold mine discoveries from Table Moutain
and other cases from my book Forbidden Archeology were featured in an NBC
television special called The Mysterious Origins of Man. It was produced and
directed by Bill Cote and his associates at BC Video. During the filming of
The Mysterious Origins of Man, I suggested to the producer that he film stone
artifacts discovered in California gold mines during the nineteenth century.
Geological evidence indicates that these objects are of Eocene age.
The artifacts are stored at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the
University of California in Berkeley. The responses from the museum officials
"At first we were told they could not make the time," wrote producer Bill
Cote in a letter to me (August 26, 1996). "We countered saying we had plenty
of time and could wait three or four months." Museum officials responded with
a letter claiming they had a shortage of staff and funds. The producers said
they would pay all the costs involved in bringing the artifacts out of storage
for filming, including overtime pay for the workers. The museum refused this
offer. The producers continued to seek permission through various channels.
“We patiently went all the way to the head of publicity for the University,”
explained Bill Cote in his letter, "but it seems the museum director has
final say and she said no." Instead of new film of the California gold mine
objects, the producers used the original nineteenth century photographs included
by Whitney in his book.
The final program contained, in addition to segments based on Forbidden
Archeology, segments based on the works of others dealing with such topics
as Atlantis, the age of architectural monuments in Egypt and South America,
and other material not related to the human evolution question. But it was
principally the human evolution material, including the California gold mine
discoveries, that provoked a storm of protest from Darwinist scientists.
An advance internet press release by NBC (February 21, 1996) drew the attention
of Darwinists even before the program aired. The press release said, "Could
it be that man has made the climb from the Stone Age to civilization more
than once, and that present-day man is just the latest in this cycle? That's
just one of the many compelling theories to be addressed by The Mysterious
Origins of Man, a one-hour special from the Emmy-winning producers of NBC's
Mystery of the Sphinx. Airing Sunday, February 25, 7/6 p.m., the special challenges
accepted beliefs about prehistoric man. . . . Is Darwin's theory of evolution
correct? . . . Narrated by Charlton Heston, this is one mind-expanding
special you won't want to miss."
On the same day as the NBC internet news release, archeologist John R. Cole
sent an alert to proevolution internet discussion groups: "(Sun) NBC TV will
broadcast a special on the 'Mystery' of human origins, apparently with a lot
of antievolutionist overtones. Narr[ated] by C Heston! . . . . NBC PR sounds
a lot like Krishna Kreationism as opposed to ICR." The ICR (Institute for
Creation Research) promotes a Christian young-earth geology, limited to ten
thousand years. The term "Krishna Kreationism," used here in a derogatory
fashion, comes originally from a review of Forbidden Archeology by Ken Feder
in Gearchaeology. Feder (1994, p. 337) had said about FA, "The book itself
represents something perhaps not seen before; we can fairly call it 'Krishna
creationism' with no disrespect intended." The prebroadcast publicity for
The Mysterious Origins of Man mentioned time periods of millions of years
for human existence. Cole was familiar with Forbidden Archeology. I had once
debated him on a radio show. Cole is associated with the National Center for
Science Education, a small but vociferous proDarwinism organization.
The name of the Center misleadingly implies governmental affiliation. Cole
had this to say in a letter to internet discussion groups on February 26,
1996, just after MOM was broadcast on NBC: "From preview info, I suspected
and predicted that this show was going to hew to the line of the Hare Krishna
book, Forbidden Archaeology more than the ICR line. Boy, was I right!" These
and other communications related to Darwinist reactions to The Mysterious
Origins of Man are collected in my book Forbidden Archeology's Impact (Cremo
The broadcast of The Mysterious Origins of Man marks one of the few times
a major American television network has aired a program challenging Darwinian
explanations of human origins. An article in Science, the journal of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science (March 8, 1996, p. 1357), said,
"The claims of creationists . . . routinely send biologists into fits. But
those fits pale before the indignation spilling out, mostly over the Internet,
since Sunday evening, 25 February, when a major U.S. television network ran
a 'special' suggesting that humans coexisted with the dinosaurs, and that
the scientific establishment was suppressing the evidence." A report released
by B.C. Video on March 4, 1996 reproduced messages from scientists calling
the producers "morons or liars" and demands that "you should be banned from
On February 26, archeologist William Doleman of the University of New Mexico
at Albuquerque, wrote to MOM's producer Bill Cote: The portrayal of legitimate
scientists such as myself as constituting a cabal of evil, evidence-suppressing
conspirators is unforgivable. But the worst of your crimes lies in the
failure to offer the public a balanced view that compares the overwhelming
evidence in favor of evolution theory and conventionally-derived dates for
man . . . with the dubious and poorly documented 'evidence' the whackos
[sic] cite. The average citizen knows the difference between fantasy
entertainment such as The X Files and documentary presentations. To
present fantasy and unsubstantiated pseudo-science to the public in documentary
format is a pernicious form of anti-science propaganda." In other words, he
wanted to suppress the evidence. Here I want to say a few words about how
the knowledge filtering process operates. It is not that "legitimate" (i.e.
Darwinist) scientists believe that they are hiding "true" evidence from the
public and other scientists. Rather, when Darwinists encounter evidence that
radically contradicts their expectations about human origins, they simply
assume that such evidence must be "unsubstantiated . . . dubious and poorly
documented" and that the purveyors of such evidence must be "whackos."
So even though there is no satanic conspiracy to suppress evidence, the result
is that archeological evidence for extreme human antiquity is in fact dropped
from active scientific discourse.
In a message to archeology discussion groups on the internet (Sci.Archeology,
Alt.Archeology) dated February 28, 1996, Darwinist geologist Paul Heinrich
responded directly to the Table Mountain evidence presented in MOM: "While
listening to the NBC documentary Mysterious Origins of Man, (MOM) I came across
some really mind-boggling distortions of the facts concerning an archaeological
controversy. Early in the show, they talked about the Calaveras skull
controversy. In this case, a geologist, Dr. D. J. Whitney, was given
artifacts and a skull that the miners said were found several hundred feet
below beneath Table Mountain in Tertiary, gold-bearing gravels that they were
mining. Because the age of these gravels were about Pliocene age, these
finds . . . caused a very public controversy. . . . The miners had played
a very elaborate prank on him." However, the Calaveras skull was discovered
not at Table Mountain in Tuolumne County, California, but at Bald Hill, in
Calaveras County. If the skull was a prank, the joke was not on Whitney, but
on the mine owner who found the skull in his mine at Bald Hill.
"Anyway," Heinrich continued, "after a very brief and selective summary
of the controversy, which strangely omits mention of the skull, the name
Calaveras, and its resolution, Charlton Heston said: 'This bizarre evidence
seems to have been well documented. Yet, the general public and many
within the scientific community are unaware of these controversial finds.'
The last statement is completely incorrect. When I took my beginning,
undergraduate course in North American, this case was mentioned and discussed.
The archaeologists specializing in Paleo-Indians who I have as colleagues,
know about this case."
MOM "omits mention of the skull" and "the name Calaveras" because the case
discussed in the program was not that of the well known Calaveras skull, but
that of the Table Mountain discoveries reported by Whitney, which are far
less well known, as indicated by Heinrich's own ignorance of them. Obviously,
he did not learn about them in his undergraduate courses or from specialist
archeologists. Therefore Heston's statement is in fact true. The discoveries
are not well known either among the general public or scientists.
Heinrich went on to say: "Charlton Heston's next statement is: 'The question
is why haven't we heard of these discoveries before?' My answer to this question
is: 'You have not heard of these discoveries because the writers for
Mysterious Origins of Man (MOM) failed to do their homework.' Had they
taken the time and trouble to do any sort of research concerning the archaeology
of California, anybody would have heard about this controversy." The person
who failed to do his homework was Heinrich, who relying on standard Darwinist
versions of the archeology of California, was unaware of the Table Mountain
discoveries reported by Whitney in his Harvard University monograph.
Finally, Heinrich said, "After that statement [by Heston, above], MOM had
the authors of Forbidden Archeology, which is archaeology as seen through
a Hindu creationist knowledge filter, complain about how this controversy
was a perfect example of the censorship practiced by archaeologists who they
claim have buried more sites than they have excavated. The problem is
that no censorship occurred in this controversy, which in my opinion exposes
the falsehood of their censorship claims." Apparently, some censorship did
occur, and some sites were "buried," because Heinrich did not learn about
the Table Mountain finds either through his university courses or from his
specialist colleagues. They were eliminated from active discourse in archeology
over a century ago, principally because they contradicted Darwinist expectations
about human origins. However, the Calaveras skull has remained a part of current
discourse, because a hoax (if that is in fact what it is) involving
evidence for extreme human antiquity serves some useful purpose, in furthering
the belief that evidence contradicting Darwinist expectations must be of the
"The real problem," said Heinrich, "is that modern archaeology fails to
conform to certain Hindu creation myths and Forbidden Archeology is an explanation
through the authors' knowledge filters of why modern archaeology fails to
support these beliefs. . . ." Note: Forbidden Archeology was published
by the Bhaktivedanta Institute of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.”
It is true that my Forbidden Archeology coauthor and I were looking at modern
archeology through a Vaishnava (Hindu) knowledge filter. But it is also true
that Heinrich was looking at modern archeology through the filter of Darwinism.
It is clear that Heinrich's filter resorted in considerable distortion of
the evidence reported in MOM. He mistakenly identified a case of which he
was completely ignorant with a case that he did know about. This misidentification
is obvious in his final question, "If there has been the 'massive coverup'
as MOM claims, how come I was taught about the Calaveras controversy and instantly
recognized what they was talking about although they had mangled the details
of the controversy?" The reason for Heinrich's instant misidentification
is that knowledge filtering by previous generations of Darwinists had eliminated
the Table Mountain discoveries from the knowledge base of modern archeology,
leaving only the residue of a possible hoax.
On March 22, 1996, in a letter to several internet discussion groups (Talk.Origins,
Sci.Archaeology, Alt.Archaeology, Sci.Anthropology, and Sci.Anthropology.Paleo),
I responded to some of the misrepresentations of the Forbidden Archeology
material included in MOM: "First, I do not agree with everything that was
presented on that show. For example, I have studied the case of the Paluxy
man tracks and decided it is not possible to conclude whether or not they
are genuine human tracks. . . . Neither do I subscribe to the views that the
show presented on Atlantis, massive rapid displacements of the entire crust
of the earth, etc. But I will stand behind the material that came from Forbidden
Archeology and the conclusions that can be drawn from it. In brief, there
is a lot of scientifically reported archeological evidence that puts the
existence of anatomically modern humans back tens of millions of years. .
. . In examining the treatment of the reports of this anomalous evidence,
there appears to be a pattern of unwarranted dismissal, based not so much
on the quality of the evidence itself but on its out-of-bounds position relative
to orthodox paradigms of human origins. I have presented academic papers on
this topic at the World Archeological Congress 3 in New Delhi, in December
1994, and at the Kentucky State University Institute for Liberal Studies Sixth
Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Science and Culture, April 1995. I
am quite pleased that not everyone in the scientific world is reacting to
the book with the kind of conditioned negative response that seems so prevalent
in the messages posted recently to this group. For example, Tim Murray, archeologist
and historian of archeology at La Trobe University, said in a recent
review of Forbidden Archeology in British Journal for the History of Science
(1995, vol. 28, pp. 377-379): 'I have no doubt that there will be some who
will read this book and profit from it. Certainly it provides historians
of archaeology 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 also guardedly admitted that the religious perspective of Forbidden Archeology
might have some utility: 'The dominant paradigm has changed and is changing,
and practitioners openly debate issues which go right to the conceptual core
of the discipline. Whether the Vedas have a role to play in this is up to
the individual scientists concerned.'"
The reactions to The Mysterious Origins of Man extended beyond individual
expressions of negative opinions to the producers. Dr. Jim Foley organized
a letter campaign directed at the executives of NBC and the sponsors of the
program,which included: Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Olive Garden, Toyota, Chevron,
Kelloggs, J. C. Penney, Honda, Wendy's, General Motors, LensCrafters, Folger's
Coffee, and M&M Candy.
The outrage among Darwinist scientists increased when they saw the following
headlines from an internet press release from NBC, dated May 29, 1996: "Controversy
Surrounds The Mysterious Origins of Man . . . University Profs Want Special
Banned from the Airwaves. . . . . Program That Dares To Challenge Accepted
Beliefs About Pre-Historic Man Will Be Rebroadcast June 8 on NBC." Amazingly,
NBC was using their objections to promote another broadcast of
The text of the press release stated: "NBC's The Mysterious Origins of Man
sparked heated controversy within the academic community when originally broadcast
February 25, 1996, and will be rebroadcast on Saturday, June 8 (8-9 p.m.
ET). Professors of science and anthropology from some of the nation's
most prestigious colleges and universities voiced strong opinions about some
of the theories in the special, which challenged long-accepted beliefs about
man's beginnings. The program presented startling evidence suggesting man
may have made the climb from Stone Age to civilization more than once; that
present-day man is just the latest in this cycle, and that Darwin's Theory
of Evolution has serious flaws."
Producer Bill Cote was quoted in the NBC press release as follows: "Our
goal was simply to present the public with evidence which suggests an alternative
view to some of our most accepted theories. We questioned fundamental issues
that they (some scientists) felt should not be questioned. The bottom
line is, the world is bigger than scientists can explain, and some of them
want us to believe they can explain everything.
"We expected some controversy when we produced this show," Cote continued,
"but no one was prepared for the enormous cry of outrage from members of the
scientific community. While many viewers, including some scientists, praised
the production as 'a great accomplishment and contributing to public education,'
many scientists expressed outrage and criticism."
Dr. Jere H. Lipps, a Darwinist paleontologist at the University of California
at Berkeley, wrote by email to producer Bill Cote on May 30, 1996 (sending
copies to various scientific discussion groups on the internet): "I appreciate
the advance notice of your press release about the reshowing of The Mysterious
Origins of Man. Can you please provide me a list of the news organizations
you sent your release to? As you expected I am appalled that you and NBC would
once again represent that program as the way science in America is done.
It does not do you, NBC, or the sponsors any honor whatsoever. It indicates
to scientists a large degree of ignorance about how science works. You seem
to think that scientists object to the theories presented. Not in most
cases, because everything in the program has been dealt with by legitimate
science already. . . . As its writer and director, I can appreciate your
desire to use our objections to promote it once again. It is, however,
a pathetic way to make a buck, when honesty is so much better and profitable."
As far is honesty is concerned, I hope no one will be deceived into thinking
that Lipps and other scientists of his type did not object to the antiDarwinist
theories presented in The Mysterious Origins of Man. They did object.
As for the claim by Lipps that the show mispresented how science works, I
believe the show and the reactions to it provided a very good representation
of how the Darwinist element in science really does work in practice. Some
Darwinists do try to block discussion of controversial evidence, both in the
world of science itself and among the public in general.
On the same day he sent his letter to Bill Cote, Lipps made this general
appeal to scientists: "NBC is now proposing to reshow their scientific travesty
The Mysterious Origins of Man, using the objections of the scientific community
as a selling point. This is a major disservice to the general public
and misrepresentation of the majority of the scientists' objections. . . .
If you are worried about science in America, tell your local NBC station,
NBC, and its various sponsors that you object to the portrayal of this program
as science. America must get smart and we can make a difference!" Lipps
demanded: "I challenge to NBC and its program producers to have an introduction
to the reshowing of this program by a real scientist." This "real" (i.e. Darwinist)
scientist would, said Lipps, "tell the viewers that the program may be entertainment,
but it is not science." Others proposed boycotts, as shown in this
internet message posted to internet discussion groups for archeologists and
anthropologists by C. Wood on May 31, 1996: "Anybody know who the sponsors
are? I would like to get an early start boycotting them. There's always
the off chance that some of them will pull their sponsorship." Still others
proposed pressuring the executives of General Electric, the company that
owns NBC, to stop the reshowing of the program.
In the 1950s, the McCarthylike campaign of intimidation waged by Lipps and
other Darwinists might have been sufficient to keep NBC from airing the program
again. At least, NBC may have been forced to accept Darwinist demands that
the rebroadcast of MOM begin with a segment in which a Darwinist dictated
to the public how they should see the show. That NBC had the courage to stand
up to the intimidation and the audacity to use the protests from Darwinists
to promote the rebroadcast of the unchanged original show to the public was
a refreshing sign that intellectual freedom was alive and well in America.
But representatives of Darwinist science did not see things that way. They
thought NBC should be severely punished for daring to air the show a second
time. On June 17, 1996, Dr. Allison R. Palmer, president of the Institute
for Cambrian Studies, wrote to the Federal Communications Commission, the
government agency that grants licenses to television broadcasting companies:
"This e-mail is a request for the FCC to investigate and, I hope, seriously
censure the National Broadcasting Company for crassly commercial irresponsible
journalism that seriously violates the trust the public should have in materials
that are touted as credible by a major network. . . . Last February they produced
a program Mysterious Origins of Man that purported to be scientifically based,
and received massive negative reactions from responsible scientists representing
numerous areas of science. Following this response . . . they
chose to use the reactions of the reputable and responsible science community
to generate viewer interest by distributing PR announcements implying that
the content of their show was science that the 'establishment' did not want
brought before the public." It is, however, patently clear that the "establishment"
did indeed not want the antiDarwinist scientific content of the NBC show
brought before the public, and Palmer's letter to the FCC is excellent proof
of this. Palmer's protest was based on the identification of science with
Darwinism, and the parallel identification of scientist with Darwinist.
Palmer continued: "At the very least NBC should be required to make substantial
prime-time apologies to their viewing audience for a sufficient period of
time so that the audience clearly gets the message that they were duped.
In addition, NBC should perhaps be fined sufficiently so that a major fund
for public science education can be established." Copies of Palmer's
letter were sent to the executives of NBC and were widely distributed on the
internet to Darwinist scientists, who were invited to send their own letters
of support to the FCC. Palmer's attempt to get the FCC to punish NBC failed,
but the very fact that such an attempt was made should tell us something
New Research on the Table Mountain Discoveries
As an historian of archeology concentrating on evidence for extreme human
antiquity, my practice is to not only study reports in the primary published
scientific literature, but to also (1) study original field notes, maps, and
other archival documents; (2) to locate and study artifacts in museum collections;
and (3) to relocate and revisit the sites of the discoveries. I have done
this type of work on the Miocene human artifacts discovered by Carlos Ribeiro,
the chief government geologist of Portugal in the late nineteenth century.
In addition to studying his published reports, I visited the Museum of Geology
in Lisbon to study and photograph his artifacts, and I also visited the museum
library's archives to study his original correspondence, field notes, and
maps. Using this information, I was able to locate and revisit several
of the sites of his discoveries. The results of this research were presented
in a paper read at the annual meeting of the European Association of Archeologists
held in Lisbon in the year 2000. I did similar work regarding the Oligocene
artifacts discovered by the Belgian geologist Aime Louis Rutot early in the
twentieth century. I studied and photographed the artifacts in the archeology
collection of the Royal Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels, and also
studied his correspondence and other documents. I used this information to
relocate the Boncelles site, where Rutot discovered the Oligocene artifacts.
I presented the results of this research in a paper accepted for presentation
at the XXIVth Congress of the International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric
Sciences in Liege, Belgium, in 2001. This comprehensive kind of study contributes
not only to the history of archeology, but also provides current workers with
information that could lead to further practical research.
In the spring of 2002, I decided I would like to present a paper on the
California gold mine discoveries at the WAC5. My first step was to schedule
an appointment to study the catalog of the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology
at the University of California at Berkeley. I flew to Berkeley, and on the
day of the appointment, I went to the museum, and was shown to the catalog
room, where I did my work. Artifacts were catalogued on cards filed according
to county, and sites within counties. I compiled a list of artifacts I wished
to study. Mostly they were from a collection of artifacts made by C. D. Voy.
The collection was given to the museum in the nineteenth century.
While going through the card catalog, I came upon an interesting artifact,
a granite pestle (museum number 1-67275, accession number 854) collected by
Thomas N. Hosmer in the year 1885 at Volcano Canyon, the middle fork of the
American River, in Placer County, California. On the back of the card there
was a handwritten copy of a letter from Thomas N. Hosmer, dated May 9, 1892:
"Volcano Canon is a tributary of the Middle Fork of the American River. It
was gold bearing, but it is now worked out. The Basin or Gouge Hole where
the pestle was found was filled with large boulders, gravel & sand, and
so firmly cemented together that it was difficult to loosen it with pick.
. . . That this cemented gravel should have remained so long without being
worked was on account of this hardness and small pay. In 1885 myself and
company determined to work this basin and out from top to bottom. It was
somewhat about 30 feet long, about 20 feet wide, and 10 to 15 feet deep. The
pestle was found at or near the bottom, where no modern man or pick had ever
penetrated before. It was covered with a coating of sand [and cement, in
former letter] and so firmly did it adhere that I used a steel scraper to
remove and cleanse it. It seems that the pick struck it, as the indentation
shows. In this section there is no granite formation, but the pestle is granite."
While working in the catalog section, I also spoke to Leslie Freund, the
collections director, who informed me about the details of submitting a request
to study artifacts in the museum collection. Freund told me that requests
are not granted automatically, but go through a review by the museum's academic
staff, who take into account the qualifications of the researcher and the
nature of the proposed research project.
Having completed my work in the catalog room, I visited anthropology department
library and the Bancroft Library to do some further research. For example,
I found in the Bancroft Library a handwritten book manuscript by C. D. Voy,
which summarized his research into the artifacts in his collection. The book
contained descriptions of discoveries from Tuolumne Table Mountain that I
have not found in other sources.
For example, Voy wrote (1874, p. 48): "In 1858, James Riley and H. B. Hurlbut
dug out a stone mortar, holding about two quarts, from under Table Mountain
under the lava, at a depth of over 300 feet, below the surface in auriferous
gravels. Found in what is known as the Excelsior Tunnel Co. next above what
is known as the Boston Tunnel Co."
On June 19, 2002, I sent to Leslie Freund a formal request to study the
California gold mine artifacts. I asked for permission to see and photograph
objects from the C. D. Voy collection (accession number 91, museum catalog
numbers 1-4197 through 1-4215). I found in the museum card catalog
during my June visit cards for objects with catalog numbers 4197,
4198, 4199, 4202, 4203 a-b, 4204 a-b, 4205, 4206, 4208 a-b, 4209, 4211,
4212, 4214, 4215. I asked to see those objects, plus any other objects in
the series that might be available even though not found by me in the card
catalog. The objects were stone mortars and pestles, stone dishes, and stone
beads, mostly from Table Mountain, Tuolumne County. The collection apparently
included some original labels for the artifacts. I also asked to see those.
I also asked to see a few additional artifacts not part of the original C.
D. Voy collection: (1) Museum no. 1-4558, Acc. no. 166, small round perforated
stone, from near Crimea House, Tuolumne Co., collector C.D. Voy, donor
D. O. Mills. (2) Museum no. 1-67275, Acc. no. 854, granite pestle, collector
Thomas N. Hosmer, 1885, donor Estate of Ellinor C. Davidson. (3) Museum no.
1-11594, stone, possibly a muller or acorn cracker, location Montezuma tunnel,
collector possibly Mrs. P. A. Hearst. (4) Museum no. 1-4556, acc. no. 166,
very small paint mortar, location near Georgetown, El Dorado Co., collector
C.D. Voy, donor D.O. Mills.
After listing the artifacts I wanted to examine, I explained the purposes
of my research: "I wish to examine and photograph the above objects for a
paper I am presenting at the World Archaeological Congress in Washington,
D. C. in June 2003. . . . The paper will examine the history of the California
gold mine discoveries reported by J. D. Whitney, state geologist of California,
in his book The Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada, published by Harvard
University in 1880. Today, many archeologists have become interested in looking
at archeological evidence through different cultural lenses. I will be looking
at Whitney's discovery through a Vedic cultural lens. The Tertiary antiquity
attributed by Whitney to the artifacts makes little sense when looked at through
a Western cultural lens, but might make sense when looked at through a Vedic
cultural lens, which can accommodate Tertiary humans. Although I am an independent
scholar and my approach is somewhat unconventional, it has gotten a hearing
in professional forums and publications." I listed some of my papers presented
at academic conferences of archeology and history of science, some of which
were published in peer reviewed conference proceedings volumes (Cremo 1999,
On September 2, 2002, I received an email letter from Leslie Freund informing
me that I would be welcome to come to the museum on October 8 and 9 to study
and photograph the artifacts I had listed in my research proposal. I arrived
in Berkeley with a photographer assistant and my research assistant Lori Erbs.
On the morning of October 8, my photographer and I met Leslie Freund at the
offices of the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology. After we filled out
the requisite forms, Leslie Freund took us to an off-campus warehouse where
the California gold mine artifacts are stored. Over the course of two days,
we had a chance to study and photograph most of the artifacts I had asked
to see. Throughout, Leslie Freund was courteous, friendly, and helpful. While
my photographer and I were doing our work, my research assistant Lori Erbs
was looking for old maps of the California gold mining region in the Bancroft
Museum map collection. She did manage to locate and copy some. She also obtained
a copy of the current United States Geological Survey topographical map of
the Tuolumne Country region. With the maps in hand, we then drove to the
town of Sonora in Tuolumne County, with the goal of locating some of the
old mines where artifacts had been discovered. Our first stop was the Tuolumne
County Museum and History Center, where we consulted records and maps related
to the nineteenth century gold mines in the region. That afternoon, we did
some initial explorations along the western side of Table Mountain, a long
ridge, with a flat top, oriented in a generally north south direction.
The western side of the mountain appeared to be generally free of development,
being occupied by a few isolated ranch houses. A dirt track led along the
base of the western side of Table Mountain. We did not drive too far on the
track, not wishing to risk damage to our rental car. So we left the car and
began to walk. The lower slopes of Table Mountain were forested, but
the upper third of the elevation was vertical, being composed of sheer walls
of latite. We found that the general region of some of the old mines was
on U.S. government land rather than private property. We walked several miles,
but did not locate any of the mines, and turned back as night was falling.
The next day, we visited the county tax assessor’s office, and searched there
for further information about the exact locations of the old mining claims.
The office staff were quite helpful. One of the staff (Richard Lundin) turned
out to be a consulting archeologist, with experience in mining. As I explained
to him the nature of my research, he became increasingly interested, and
in the end volunteered to help us locate some of the old tunnels. He met
us later in the day with his four wheel drive vehicle, and we drove up to
the point we had left off our search the day before. We located an old trail
leading up the slope from the dirt track, and we followed it up to a terrace
below the latite escarpment. There we found first one and then a second tunnel
carved into the solid rock. According to our old maps, tunnels of the old
Montezuma mining claim should have existed in this area. In the time that
we had, it was not possible to conduct any further research. But I was satisfied
that we had located tunnels that appeared to be from the nineteenth century,
although they could also have been worked after that. Lundin, although quite
helpful in the search, got a good laugh when I told him that human bones
and artifacts had been discovered in such mines.
My work involves what might be called an archeology of archeology, and this
part of this paper might be compared to a report on a season's work at an
archeological site. In this case, the "site" is the California gold mine discoveries.
My first season's work, some years ago, involved research into the original
reports of the discoveries by Dr. Josiah Dwight Whitney, a respected professional
geologist. The reports were reliable and answered the usual skeptical objections,
such as hoaxing, intrusion, etc. My second season's work involved research
into the reactions of Darwinist scientists to attempts to bring this evidence
to the attention of the public through a documentary broadcast on a major
television network. My third season's work involved getting access
to some of the artifacts and relocating some of the places where they were
discovered. But work on this "site" is ongoing. My future research goals
are: (1) To locate the human skull fragments found in the auriferous gravels
below the latite at Table Mountain and later sent to the Boston Museum of
Natural History and the Philadelphia Museum of Natural History. (2)
To locate the King pestle, found by geologist Clarence King in auriferous
gravels below the latite at Table Mountain. This object should be in the collections
of the Smithsonian Institution. (3) To search archives of these institutions
for further documents related to these discoveries. (4) To organize archeological
research to relocate more of the old mining tunnels at Table Mountain, and
to conduct excavations in the tunnels and outside the tunnels to establish
the times at which the tunnels were worked and to search for additional human
artifacts and skeletal remains in the tunnels. (5) To conduct similar archival,
museum, and field research in relationship with other archeological sites
(other than Table Mountain) documented by Whitney in the California gold
Darwinism has dominated archeology for over a century, and this commitment
to a Darwinist perspective has influenced how evidence is treated by archeologists.
The process is not simplistic, and depending on the historical moment and
the particular Darwinist commitments of researchers, there are several ways
that Darwinism may influence the treatment of evidence for extreme human antiquity:
(1) In the early history of archeology, scientifically trained observers
whose theoretical preconceptions did not prevent them from seriously considering
evidence for extreme human antiquity might find such evidence and report it
in some detail. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many
scientists did in fact publish such detailed reports documenting evidence
of a human presence extending as far back as the Miocene and Eocene (Cremo
and Thompson 1993). Most of these scientists were Darwinists, but until the
discovery of the Java ape-man in the 1890s (in an early Pleistocene geological
context), there was not a very firm time line for the human evolutionary process.
So before the 1890s, these scientists, Darwinists and nonDarwinists alike,
were prepared to encounter evidence for anatomically modern humans and or
other tool-using hominids in the Pliocene and earlier.
(2) In both the early and more recent history of archeology, scientists
with Darwinist preconceptions have opposed, on primarily theoretical grounds,
evidence for extreme antiquity that radically contradicts their expectations,
given their commitment to particular time lines for human evolution.
(3) Scientists today, with Darwinist theoretical preconceptions that prevent
them from seriously considering evidence for extreme human antiquity, might
nevetheless find it and perhaps report it without considering its radical
implications for the current paradigm. The Laetoli footprints provide an example
of this. Scientists discovered footprints consistent with the presence of
anatomically humans 3.6 million years ago, but because of theoretical preconceptions,
could not entertain this possibility (Leakey 1979, discussion in Cremo and
(4) In rare instances, "maverick" scientists today might find anomalous
evidence and report it in detail, giving attention to how it contradicts
the dominant Darwinist consensus. This reporting, one might predict, would
not attain wide circulation and the reporting scientists might be subjected
to inhibiting social pressures. The case of Virginia Steen-McIntyre, who
reported anomalously old dates for the Hueyatlaco site in Mexico and suffered
professionally because of it, provides an example (Steen-McIntyre et al.
1981, discussion in Cremo and Thompson 1993, pp. 354-366).
(5) Nonprofessionals might also encounter such evidence, and give reports,
published in nonscientific literature, that are somewhat incomplete.
Concerning the California gold mine discoveries, we find several of the
above patterns. Most of the cases were first reported by mine owners, mining
supervisors, and miners. These cases were brought to the attention of professional
scientists, including J. D. Whitney, who, after carefully investigating and
documenting the discoveries, reported them in a monograph published by Harvard
University's Peabody Museum of Natural History. Whitney, as far as I can
tell, was not opposed in principle to the concept of evolution. However,
at the time that he originally reported the California gold mining discoveries,
the time line for human evolution was not very well fixed, and therefore
Whitney had no reason to oppose on theoretical grounds the evidence for extreme
human antiquity that he encountered. Whitney published his report in 1880,
and his authority carried some weight. But by the end of the nineteenth century,
William Holmes, influenced by the discovery of Pithecanthropus in the early
Pleistocene formations of Java, suggested that if Whitney had been aware
of this discovery, then he would not have pronounced in favor a fully human
presence in the Tertiary. That may be true. But at the historical moment
in which Whitney found himself, he did pronounce in favor of the existence
of Tertiary humans on the basis of a considerable amount of well documented
evidence. For a modern research like myself, with a nonDarwinist perspective
that allows for extreme human antiquity, the evidence reported by Whitney
is interesting. Whitney’s qualifications and reputation as a scientist were
quite high. His reporting was thorough, and his conclusions reasonable based
on the evidence. He considered and gave good reasons for rejecting the usual
skeptical counterexplanations such as hoaxes, intrusion, and so on.
And his reports were published by a major American scientific institution.
Although no archeological evidence is perfect, the evidence reported by Whitney
seems to me credible. And I have therefore cited it in favor of the Vedic
picture of extreme human antiquity, both in scientific circles and in presentations
to the general public. Some Darwinists have reacted strongly to this, in
a way that reveals that their main objection to the evidence is that it violates
their theoretical expectations and radically contradicts their current consensus
on human origins. I call Darwinists of this type fundamentalist Darwinists,
indicating that their commitment to Darwinism has a strong ideological and
political flavor to it. Such Darwinists tend to be associated with organizations
dedicated to identifying science with materialism and to keeping any other
metaphysical perspectives out of science. Such organizations include the
National Center for Science Education in the United States and various skeptics
societies. Fundamentalist Darwinists wish to eliminate epistemological pluralism
in science, education, and in public discussion of science, by enforcing
a rigid commitment to Darwinist metaphysics, methodology and conclusions.
But not all Darwinists are of the fundamentalist variety. In archeology and
among historians of science, I have encountered many Darwinists who are willing
to allow researchers with nonDarwinist metaphysical commitments to participate
in the discourse of archeology, and history of archeology, and facilitate
their research activities. Their commitment to Darwinist metaphysics is flexible
and tolerant. I have found that the World Archeological Congress is a model
of such flexibility and tolerance. Also, in the year 2002, I received through
the History of Science Society a National Science Foundation grant for travel
to the XXIst International Congress for History of Science to present a paper
against Darwinism. This is another small sign that Darwinist hegemony in
science and science studies is beginning to weaken. Also, during a recent
visit to Russia, I lectured against Darwinism at the Darwin Museum in Moscow.
After my talk, a couple of the museum staff who had invited me told me that
the official policy of the Darwin Museum is that it represents only one of
several possible scientific perspectives on the origin of species, including
a creationist perspective. I also gave several radio and television interviews
in Moscow. During one television interview, I asked that alternatives to
Darwinism be presented in the education system. Afterward, the interviewer
told me that he had recently had on his show one of Russia's education officials
(Larissa Yevgyenyevna Rodionova, of the government education department of
the southeast region of Moscow), who said that this was now the policy of
the government. As an American, I found it interesting that in Russia there
is some degree of official tolerance of a variety of metaphysical perspectives
in science education, whereas in America Darwinists enjoy a government
enforced monopoly that rigidly excludes such alternative perspectives.
As demonstrated by the California gold mine discoveries, the engagement
of archeology in the service of Darwinism and its metaphysical assumptions
has influenced the treatment of archeological evidence, causing evidence
that radically contradicts Darwinist theoretical assumptions to be eliminated
from archeological discourse primarily for that reason. The remedy is not
the elimination of Darwinism, but encouragement of tolerance for a variety
of metaphysical perspectives in all areas of archeology, including education,
field research, museum collections, museum displays, and outreach to the public
through the media. Archeologists working in institutions that rely on public
funds have a greater responsibility to insure diversity of perspectives than
those working in private institutions. For example, archeologists working
in museums supported by public funds have a much greater responsibility to
reflect a variety of perspectives on human origins in their displays than
archeologists working in private museums. The same is true of archeologists
working in educational institutions supported by public funds. They have an
obligation to reflect a variety of perspectives in the textbooks they author
and the lectures they present. This tolerance of a variety of metaphysical
perspectives does not rule out the chance of resolving disputes among researchers
operating within these perspectives by appeal to evidence, objectively evaluated
according to some commonly accepted set of principles for judging evidence.
But it does mean that we do have to be careful to see whether the resolutions
that have been historically reached in disputes about the reality of evidence
for extreme human antiquity actually meet this standard.
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