The Discoveries of Belgian Geologist Aimé Louis Rutot at Boncelles, Belgium:
An Unresolved Archeological Controversy from the Early Twentieth Century

by Michael A. Cremo, Historian of Archeology, Bhaktivedanta Institute,
Los Angeles, 9701 Venice Blvd. #5, Los Angeles, CA 90034, USA
Telephone: 1-310-837-5283, Fax: 1-310-837-1056, Email:


In the early twentieth century, the Belgium geologist Aimé Louis Rutot announced discoveries of stone tools in Oligocene formations in Belgium,  at sites such as Boncelles. The artifacts, although somewhat primitive, resembled those made by modern humans, such as the Tasmanians. The discoveries attracted considerable attention. They were discussed at scientific conferences and were the subject of substantive articles in the scientific literature. For some years after they were discovered, they were displayed in museums in Belgium. However, because the discoveries contradicted the emerging consensus on human evolution, they were eventually  dropped from ordinary discourse in archeology and the artifacts were removed from display, thus  illustrating the influence of theoretical conceptions in the treatment of evidence in the prehistoric and protohistoric sciences. In this paper, I will explain how my own theoretical conceptions, drawn from the ancient Sanskrit historical texts, have influenced my perception of Rutot's discoveries and their subsequent history.

Why Do I Choose Boncelles?

From July 31 to August 5, 1909, the Archeological and Historical Federation of Belgium held its 21st Congress in Liége. The Congress met in the Museum of the Archeological Institute at the Maison Curtius, on the Quai de Maestricht. One of the principal attractions of the Congress was to be a lecture on archeological discoveries at Boncelles, presented by Aimé Louis Rutot (1847-1933), conservator of the Royal Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels, who would also guide an excursion to the site.1

Boncelles is a small town about 10 kilometers south of Liège. In 1906, Émile de Munck, a collector of archeological materials, explored a sandpit near here, and found some crude flint implements in an Oligocene stratum. In those days, the idea of Tertiary man was still current among many European archeologists, so Oligocene implements were not outside the realm of possibility. The Boncelles artifacts therefore could have been yet another eolithic industry, the earliest of a series that had already been found in the Pliocene and Miocene.  (“Ah, yes, the eoliths,” archeologists today will sigh, remembering with an air of sad superiority the strange delusion that had infected the minds of some of their illustrious predecessors, in the pre-scientific era of their discipline.) De Munck reported his initial discoveries to Rutot.2 Among the first specimens gathered by de Munck, there were many flint flakes showing signs of fine retouching and utilization.3 “It was these implements, including a scraper with a clear bulb of percussion and nicely retouched sharp edge, which convinced me that at the place pointed out by de Munck there existed a deposit of Tertiary eoliths that deserved to be explored and studied,” said Rutot.4 Rutot and de Munck collected additional artifacts from Boncelles, and in 1907 Rutot wrote up the discoveries in a report titled “A Grave Problem.”5 Rutot called the Boncelles industry the Fagnian, after the name of the region, Hautes-Fagnes.The extreme antiquity of the Fagnian artifacts from Boncelles did pose a grave problem to archeologists of the early twentieth century, and the gravity of the problem has influenced me, as an historian of archeology in the early twenty-first century, to select this particular case for the topic of this paper.  Why? Because in my heart, I would like it to be true that hominids (perhaps even humans of our type) used stone tools at Boncelles in the early Tertiary.

Method and Outlook

As I have mentioned in several of my works, I am a kind of creationist, a kind of anti-evolutionist, but a rare one—some have called me a Hindu creationist, others a Vedic creationist, still others a Krishna creationist.6 I accept all of these designations. My work as an historian is indeed influenced by the historical texts of ancient Indian, the Puranas, which tell of a human presence on this planet going back hundreds of millions of years, to the very beginnings of the earth’s history.7 It is this Vedic perspective that has caused me to select Rutot’s report on Boncelles as a topic of inquiry and governs my interpretation of it. The Oligocene age atributed to the artifacts by Rutot is a clear sign to most historians of archeology and archeologists that Boncelles is not of interest, and that something is definitely wrong (the oldest hominids could be no more ancient that the early Pliocene, according to currently dominant ideas). For me, the Oligocene age attributed to the artifacts is a signpost that attracts my interest, and I think, “Maybe there’s something to it.” Furthermore, Boncelles is not an isolated case. There are hundreds of cases of archeological evidence for extreme human antiquity, consistent with Vedic historical accounts, in the scientific literature of the past 150 years, as documented in my book Forbidden Archeology.8

Although I am guided in my historical research by my Vedic theoretical perspective, it is not that I uncritically accept every archeological discovery that happens to be consistent with Puranic accounts of extreme human antiquity. My procedure, as an historian of archeology, is to consult primary published works, and to also, whenever possible, visit the sites, examine the collections of artifacts, and research the archives, for correspondence, field notes, and maps. Then I make my judgment, which may be yes, no, or undecided.

This method naturally brings me in contact with working archeologists, and in my interactions with them, I obtain, directly and indirectly, their perspectives on the objects of my historical investigations. These current workers are as much the objects of my study as the persons who studied prehistory and protohistory in the past, such as Rutot. Therefore, I will not avoid speaking about my contacts with them. In this sense, this paper  is an ethnographic study of contemporary archeologists in their museum habitat as well as an exercise in history of archeology.9

Inevitably, history of science intersects with philosophy of science. Philosophically, I confess to being a contructivist, although ultimately I shy away from total relativism. We can agree to know at least something. Furthermore, I go along with those who prefer a naturalized philosophy of science, one grounded in, but not artificially limited by, the current and past practices and theories of the discipline in question. I also am influenced by the reflexive approach to science studies, as should be clear from the style of this paper. Other labels that might be applied to me are antimaterialist, antireductionist, and, to some extent, antirealist.

I oppose a rigid professionalization of scientific and scholarly inquiry, and value a multicultural approach. As Ian Hodder of Cambridge University,  says (1997, p. ): “Day by day it becomes more difficult for a past controlled by the academy. The proliferation of special interests on the ‘fringe’ increasingly challenges or spreads to the dominant discourse itself . . . . Within this unstable kaleidoscope, it is no longer so easy to see who is ‘in’ the academy and who is ‘outside.’”14   

A History of My Boncelles Studies

I first became interested in Rutot’s report on Boncelles when I was researching my book Forbidden Archeology. At that time, I read Rutot’s 1907 report and found it quite convincing. In October 1997, I was on a lecture tour of universities in the Netherlands and Belgium. One of my stops was the Catholic University of Louvain. My audience there was composed of archeologists Pierre Vermeersch and Philip Van Peer and their students. I mentioned the Boncelles artifacts, and was later assured by Van Peer and Vermeersch that they were false. In fact, they said they sometimes used artifacts collected by Rutot from Boncelles in classroom exercises, during which archeology students had to visually separate real from false stone tools. So the Boncelles objects were false. How could it be otherwise?

Still, I thought it would be good to have a look myself. I made some inquiries at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and was put in touch with archeologist Ivan Jadin. I made an appointment, and met him in the Institute’s reception area. The scientific research sections of the Institute are housed in a twenty story glass, brick, and steel tower that was erected in front of the old museum buildings where Rutot had worked in the early twentieth century. The archeology section is at the top of the building. On the elevator ride up, Jadin told me that this arrangement—the mollusks on the bottom floors, humans on the top—was deliberate on the part of a former director of the Institute, reflecting the evolutionary progression of the development of life. After we arrived on the nineteenth floor, Jadin took me into the storage rooms of the archeology department. We pulled out a few large wooden trays of Rutot’s artifacts, and loaded them into a trolley designed for transporting these trays. We wheeled the trolley into the archeology lab. There I set the heavy trays on tables, and went through them for about three hours, in a preliminary way, taking a few pictures with my digital camera. Jadin also showed me in the storage rooms a large drawer containing a collection of Rutot’s correspondence. That stuck in my mind, because I wanted someday to go through that collection. I mentioned to Ivan that I had heard Rutot was involved in psychical research. It was true  he said. He showed me an essay Rutot had written on the topic.16  He promised to copy it for me and mail it to me. Toward the end of my visit, we exchanged cards. I said I would like to come again to do further research. He said I would be quite welcome, and that I could stay in the Institute guest house nearby. Then it was time to go.

Three years later , in November 2000, Ana C. N. Martins, archeologist and vice president of the Portuguese Association of Archaeologists, invited me to give a paper at the symposium on the history of archeology that she was organizing for XXIVth Congress of the International Union of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences, to be held in Liège, Belgium.17 I immediately decided to do it on Rutot.

After the proposed paper was accepted by her and the Congress program committee, I tried to get in touch with Ivan Jadin at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, to arrange for a second research visit. But I got no reply. I later learned from Anne Hauzeur, of the archeology section,  that Ivan was not then at the Institute because of illness, but she said I was welcome to come and study the artifacts and papers of Rutot if I would first get formal permission from the director, Daniel Cahen.

Of course, I was wondering how that would go, because I do have a little bit of a reputation in history of science and archeology circles for my Vedic creationist views.18 My formal request included acknowledgment of  my affiliation with the Bhaktivedanta Institute, and I directly said that I intended to look at Rutot’s work at Boncelles in light of the Vedic historical writings. Cahen replied that he had no objection.

I reported that to Anne, who then informed me that Vanessa Amormino, a graducate student from the prehistory department at the University of Liège, working under Marcel Otte, had been cataloguing Rutot’s papers. Anne wanted me to get her permission to look at Rutot’s papers. So I wrote to Vanessa, mentioning that I was planning on looking into Rutot’s documents, including his correspondence. She had no objection and sent me a copy of her database, which included entries for maps, illustrations, and manuscripts, but no correspondence. She said she wasn’t aware of the box of correspondence that Jadin had shown me. I wondered if I could have been mistaken.

On July 19, 2001, I showed up once more in the archeology section of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, accompanied by a photographer assistant. Anne Hauzeur received me, and I began my work by looking through a box of Rutot’s miscellaneous papers. Among them I found his collection of calling cards, several hundred of them, including those of most of the leading European and American archeologists of the day. And I was happy to see the box of correspondence was also waiting for me on a trolley in the lab. At this time, Anne was busy preparing a paper on a neolithic site in Luxemburg, which she was presenting over the weekend at a conference in France. She said that Dominic Bosquet, another staff archeologist could help me in her absence.

Finding the Sandpit at Boncelles

I had my own plans for the weekend. I mentioned to Anne and Dominic that I intended to search for the site at Boncelles. Both Anne and Dominic were discouraging, telling me that the area had been extensively developed with factories and shopping centers, and that the site would  most probably have been eradicated. Nevertheless, I was determined to give it a try.

In his report, Rutot provided the following information about the location of the main site: “The discovery of the eoliths in question here were made by de Munck in a sandpit situated alongside the main road from Tilft to Boncelles, about 500 meters before arriving at the crossroads, at the place called Les Gonhir.”19 Through friends in Antwerp, I found a young man who was willing to spend a day driving my assistant and me to Boncelles to search for the sandpit. We arrived in Boncelles in the late morning, and located the Tilft road. We did find a crossroads (a small traffic circle), and stopped nearby. From previous experience locating the sites of Ribeiro in Portugal, I had learned that a good way to proceed is to find an elderly inhabitant to ask for directions. Fortunately, we immediately spotted an elderly gentleman walking up the road. My Belgian friend inquired from him, and we learned that the very place we were standing was still called Les Gonhir. In fact, the surrounding land was owned by the gentleman. We asked about the sandpit. He indicated that there was indeed a sandpit up the road a few hundred meters. We asked him to draw a map, and he did so, showing on it the entrance road, which he said was blocked with a gate. We drove back up the Tilft road and found the small unpaved road. Parking the car on the Tilft road, we walked some distance down the little road and found the sandpit. A nearly vertical exposure about 15-20 meters high extended for  about two hundred meters. In one place, it was apparently still being worked a little. I compared the layers visible in the exposure at this place to the drawing of the strata in Rutot’s report, and it was clear to me that we were seeing the exact same layers.20 Unfortunately, minor slumping had covered the implement-bearing layer of flint at the base of the series.

Studying the Boncelles Collection

On returning to the Institute the next week, I once again met Anne Hauzeur, who had returned from her conference. Together we went into the storage rooms and pulled out several trays of Rutot’s artifacts from Boncelles, loaded them into a trolley, and wheeled the trolley back into the archeology lab, where Anne gave me and my photographer assistant some space to work. I began going through the trays of artifacts, thousands altogether. One of my goals was to match some of them to the illustrations in Rutot’s report. Somehow or other, I was able to match about a dozen of them.

Dominic happened to have come out from his office to the lab, so I showed him how I had matched some of the artifacts to the illustrations. I then mentioned that I had found the sandpit at Boncelles. He asked, “Did you find any artifacts?”  Taking the expression semantically at face value, it is a simple question that requires an answer, yes or no. But in the context of Belgian archeologists working in the archeology laboratory of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the expression takes on another value. It is not a question to be answered, but an ironic comment on the falsity of the whole phenomenon of Rutot. The ironic comment is not intended to draw a yes or no answer, but a knowing smile or laugh, or a further contribution to the joke. However, I chose to respond in a different way. I explained, in all seriousness, that Rutot’s artifact-bearing flint bed at the base of the section was covered. “I was just joking,” said Bosquet. “Oh, yes, of course,” I replied.
This “joking” is an example of disciplinary shop talk. The attitude that underlies such joking is part of the phenomenon under study, the phenomenon of the disciplinary suppression of uncomfortable evidence. The discomfort is removed by the attitude of not taking the evidence seriously. This “not taking seriously” is accomplished by various means, including the jokes and ironic comments exchanged from time to time within the membership of the community that finds the evidence uncomfortable or embarrassing.

Belgian Archeologists Embarrassed by Rutot

Belgian archeologists, particularly those connected with the museum housing Rutot’s collection do have some interest in characterizing the Boncelles artifacts as false. Once, Anne Hauzeur, came up to me as I was working. I suggested that it might be good to do something special with the specimens I had matched to the illustrations in Rutot’s report on Boncelles. She provided me with some plastic bags and some cards for labeling. After bagging and labeling the specimens with the figure numbers in Rutot’s 1907 report, I replaced them in their original trays. At this time, she remarked casually to me, “You know, it is a false collection.” I infer that she somehow did not quite understand why I was spending so much time with the collection, even though I had indicated that my interest was merely historical. Although I assume she assumed that I did in fact know the collection was false, or had the reputation of being false, there was perhaps some nagging doubt in her mind. So she delivered her remark to me in an offhand way. She casually referred me to a report by Marguerite Ulrix-Closset, comparing the Rutot collection to accepted middle paleolithic specimens.21

There is a tradition of Belgian archeologists putting Rutot in his place, sometimes with good reason.22 Of course, Rutot, in the course of his career as a naturalist was quite a collector himself, and during his tenure as conservator at the Royal Museum, was equally energetic in acquiring the collections of others. It is undoubtedly true that some of his acquired collections, such as the Dethise collections were false, in the sense that they included forgeries or frauds.23  But we should not be too quick to adopt a condescending attitude toward Rutot. In a recent editorial in Antiquity, we learn of the possibility that “more than 1200 fake antiquities are displayed in some of the world’s leading museums.”24 Nevertheless, the forgeries identified in collections acquired by Rutot,  perhaps combined with negative attitudes towards Rutot’s involvement in psychical research, resulted in an almost total rejection of Rutot’s entire body of archeological work.25 But it seems to me that the dismissals may have been too extreme, with some good being thrown out with the bad. No one has claimed that the Boncelles artifacts are forgeries, or that any fraud was involved in their discovery or acquisition.

Admittedly, the eoliths of Boncelles are, if genuine, quite crude, but industries of similar crudeness have won provisional acceptance among archeologists, even though there may be remaining questions about the artifactual nature of some of the specimens, or even the entire collection. For example, in a recent volume of papers on the earliest occupation of Europe, Raposo and Santonja, in connection with lithics found in the Gaudix-Baza depression in the Iberian peninsula, comment on “doubts relating to the artifactual character of the finds” reported by Carbonell et al.26 References to crude lithics accepted by some researchers and rejected by others can be found throughout the same volume. I believe the reason that they are mentioned in this book, and given some serious consideration, is because they date back only as far as the Early Pleistocene. If the Boncelles implements had been found in an Early Pleistocene context instead of an Oligocene context, it is likely that they would also have been mentioned in a contemporary discussion about the earliest occupation of Europe.
A key issue in philosophy of science is the theory-laden nature of observation. Given that most contemporary archeologists accept practically without question that the very first hominids came into existence only about 5-6 million years ago, it is no wonder that some such archeologists will find it necessary to debunk, in some fashion, to the satisfaction of their peers, a collection from perhaps 30 million years ago in the Oligocene. And it is natural that the pressure to debunk would be most strongly felt by Belgian archeologists who have to deal with the fact that Rutot was a prominent figure in the history of Belgian archeology, and that his collections are still taking up space in the storage rooms of their main museum of natural history, where he was once conservator.

The Belgian archeologists are not alone in having to deal with such things. In the case of Carlos Ribeiro, head of the geological Survey of Portugal in the nineteenth century, I found that he originally displayed artifacts from Portuguese sites with Miocene age attributions in the Museum of Geology in Lisbon.  Early in the twentieth century, museum officials, without disputing the human manufacture of the artifacts, changed the age attributed to them (from Miocene to well within the Pleistocene), apparently to fit them within the developing paradigm of human evolution. Later the objects were removed from display.27 In a paper I presented at the European Association of Archaeologists meeting in 1999, I documented several other cases in which scientists had dismissed evidence for Tertiary humans simply because it contradicted the developing concepts of human evolution.28 For example, in the nineteenth century, J. D. Whitney, the state geologist of California, reported anatomically modern human skeletal remains and stone implements of advanced type (mortars and pestles) from geological contexts now recognized as early Eocene.29 William B. Holmes of the Smithsonian Institution dismissed the finds primarily on theoretical grounds: “Perhaps if Professor Whitney had fully appreciated the story of human evolution as it is understood today, he would have hesitated to announce the conclusions formulated, notwithstanding the imposing array of testimony with which he was confronted.”30 He therefore tried to cast doubt on the provenance of the artifacts. In my 1999 paper, I proposed that the acceptance of Pithecanthropus erectus of Dubois as a genuine human ancestor in the early Pleistocene placed a limit on the age of any evidence for anatomically modern humans. Holmes suggested that Whitney’s Tertiary evidence from California 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.”31

Boncelles: The Provenance Seems Good

In the case of Rutot’s finds at Boncelles, the provenance of the artifacts seems solid. We are not talking about surface finds, but about artifacts recovered from a deposit of flint resting on Devonian sandstone beneath 15-20 meters of Oligocene sand deposits. The sand at the pit from which artifacts were first recovered did not contain any fossils, but at another pit 500 meters to the northwest, the sand above the artifact-bearing flint bed yielded fossils of an assemblage of shells generally accepted as Late Oligocene. The most common species was Cytherea beyrichi. Rutot stated: “This shell is characteristic of the Late Oligocene of Germany, notably the beds at Sternberg, Bünde, and Kassel. . . . The other recognizable species (Cytherea incrassata, Petunculus obovatus, P. philippi, Cardium cingulatum, Isocardia subtransversa, Glycimeris augusta, etc.) are all found in the Late Oligocene.”32 Rutot's interpretation of the stratigraphy at Boncelles is upheld by other authorities. Maurice Leriche in 1922 and Charles Pomerol in 1982 both characterize the sands of Boncelles as Chattian, or Late Oligocene.33

Schweinfurth quotes Rutot on the geological history of the Boncelles region: “On the plateau (between the Maas and Ourtherivers), the primary stone was covered with flint-bearing chalk, and during the Eocene period the chalk was eroded away, leaving behind heaps of flint that later formed the flint beds. At the beginning of the Late Oligocene a marine intrusion covered the flint beds, depositing 15 meters of fossil-bearing sands over them.”34

Are the Boncelles Objects Really Artifacts?

Given the noncontroversial provenance of the Boncelles industry, Belgian archeologists have rejected it by challenging its artifactual nature. My sense is that the attempts to do this have not been met with any very critical evaluation. The debunkings of Rutot have been seen as necessary, and have been all too readily accepted by those who have a strong interesting in doing so. After all, he was talking about tool using hominids in the Oligocene. That is quite impossible, is it not? Something therefore has to be wrong, and if someone takes on the duty of pointing out something wrong, who is going to offer any objection, or subject the debunking to any heavy scrutiny?

Rutot, a veteran of the eolith wars, was himself prepared for challenges to the artifactual nature of the Boncelles collection. According to Rutot, the Boncelles tools were very simple ones. The Oligocene inhabitants just picked up pieces of flint that appeared suitable for various tasks, modified them slightly (to improve the working edge or make them easier to hold in the hand), and then used them for various purposes. For Rutot, therefore, the principal signs that the objects were artifacts rather than “naturefacts” were chipping to improve gripping with the hand, chipping to make the working edges more suitable for their task, and use marks on the working edges.

Among the Boncelles artifacts, Rutot found “numerous examples of all the various Eolithic types, that is to say percuteurs (choppers), enclumes (anvils), couteaux (cutters), racloirs (side scrapers), grattoirs (end scrapers), and perçoirs (awls).”35

Among the percuteurs, Rutot identified several subtypes: the percuteur simple, percuteur tranchant, the percuteur pointu, the tranchet, and the retouchoir. The most common type was the percuteur tranchant, the sharpened chopper. “The sharpened choppers collected at Boncelles,” wrote Rutot, “are as fine and characteristic as possible. Clearly evident is the fact that most of the flaking from usage is angled to the left, as always happens when an implement is gripped in the right hand. The opposite occurs when it is employed with the left hand.”36

I found among the Boncelles percuteurs a particularly convincing example of a tranchet, with obvious removal of cortex and unifacial flaking to form the working edge, which also shows apparent use marks.37 Searching through thousands of Boncelles artifacts, I also found among the percuteurs the retouchoir shown by Rutot in figure 7 of his report.38 The retouchoir, as its name implies, is small percussion implement used in retouching the edges of other stone tools. In his caption, Rutot says that the edges clearly show use marks, and these can indeed be seen on the artifact.

In his report on Boncelles, Rutot gave this description of couteaux: “One can see that couteaux are made from relatively long flakes of flint, blunt on one side and sharp on the other. The blunt side generally retains the flint's cortex. Prolonged usage of the blade turns the rectilinear edge into a sawlike edge, with small irregular teeth. This is caused by chipping of the edge when the blade is pressed against the irregularities of the surface of the object being cut. The couteaux were not retouched. They were used for a long time, until blunted by usage and polishing. It was rare that they were employed until completely unusable. At Boncelles one finds couteaux of a very characteristic type.”39 I happened to find in my research the couteau show in Rutot’s figure 9.40

In his report, Rutot described the racloir, or side scraper. The racloir was ordinarily made from an oval flake, produced either naturally or by deliberate flaking, with one of the longitudinal edges blunt and the opposite edge sharp. After retouching for a suitable grip, the blunt edge was held in the palm of the hand, and the sharp edge of the implement was moved along the length of the object to be scraped. During this operation, series of small splinters were detached from the cutting edge of the implement, thus dulling it. Rutot stated: “The characteristic feature of the racloir, used as such, is the presence along the working edge of a series of small chip marks, all arranged in the same direction and located on the same side. When the implement became unusable, it was possible to restore its edge with the retoucher stone, allowing it to be further used.”41 In the Boncelles collection, I found the racloir pictured in Rutot’s figure 9.42 Rutot’s caption said it had a bulb of percussion and obvious use marks on the working edge. The bulb of percussion indicates that this particular flake may have been deliberately struck from a core.

Rutot described another type of racloir discovered at the Boncelles sites: “Frequently the working edge is not straight; it is finished by means of retouching into one or more concave notches, probably for the purpose of scraping long round objects. This is the notched racloir (racloir à encoche). Some are made from natural flakes, others from flakes derived from deliberate percussion.”43 I found in the Boncelles collection at the Royal Institute of Natural sciences the racloir à encoche shown in figure 13 of Rutot’s report.44 I also found other implements of this type that look quite convincing.

The next type of implement discussed by Rutot was the grattoir, another broad category of scraper. According to Rutot, the grattoir differed from the racloir “in that its working edge is employed longitudinally in relation to the direction of the force of application, whereas the racloir is held between the thumb and forefinger in such a manner to set the working edge transverse to the direction of the force. When being used, the working edges of the racloir and the grattoir are thus situated perpendicular to each other.”45 Rutot observed that in order to help the user direct and push the cutting edge of the grattoir, these implements in many cases had special notches to accommodate the thumb and forefinger. One such grattoir is shown in his figure 26. I managed to find this grattoir in the Boncelles collection.46 I also located the large grattoir shown in Rutot’s figure 2747 and the notched grattoir (grattoir à encoche) shown in Rutot’s figure 29.48

Rutot then described perçoirs (awls or borers). “These instruments, also called poinçons,” he stated, “are characterized by the presence of a sharp point, obtained by intentional modification of a natural flake that already has a somewhat pointed shape.”49 I located in the Boncelles collection two perçoirs shown in Rutot’s figures 32 and 33.50
According to Rutot, the Boncelles toolmakers had two ways of modifying a naturally pointed flake to make an awl: “Sometimes the chipping on the two edges making the point was done   on just one side of the flake. But sometimes one edge was chipped on the flake's front side, and the other edge was chipped on the flake's back side. This procedure is convenient because it allows all the blows to be struck in the same position and the same direction. In effect, when the first edge is chipped, one flips the implement and chips in the same place on the other edge to make a point.”51 Rutot showed a find with this kind of chipping, unlikely to have occurred naturally, in his figure 34. I was able to locate this artifact in the collection.52 Rutot found other objects that he characterized as throwing stones (pierres de jet) and flints for lighting fires (briquets)

Comparison With Tasmanian Artifacts of Undisputed Human Manufacture

Rutot’s principal reponse to anticipated objections about the artifactual nature of the Boncelles discoveries was to compare the Boncelles collection to a collection of implements from Tasmania. Rutot said: “Hesitation is no longer possible after the discovery of an industry fashioned by recently living Tasmanians, which has been brought to our attention through the research conducted by Dr. F. Noetling. The bringing to light of this industry is, as it were, providential, because it demonstrates quite positively that eoliths are a reality. The discovery shows that scarcely sixty years ago   human beings were making and using implements that are, according to competent and impartial observers, absolutely of Eolithic type.”53 Rutot then said about the Tasmanian industry: “We are . . . astonished to see its extraordinarily primitive and rudimentary character. So the truth, after direct comparison, is that the two industries [Boncelles and Tasmanian] are exactly the same and that the Tasmanians, now annihilated, but still in existence just sixty years ago, were at the same level of culture as the very primitive inhabitants of Boncelles and the Hautes Fagnes. Only the materials from which the Tasmanian tools were made were different--quartzite, diabase, granite, and similar types of rock rather than flint.”54
In his report, Rutot compared illustrations of specific Tasmanian tools to illustrations of specific Boncelles pieces. I have made a composite image of these illustrations, and it can be seen that the Boncelles pieces are in fact quite similar to the Tasmanian tools. I believe that Rutot used this comparative method quite effectively to establish the artifactual nature of his Boncelles collection. Of course, looking at drawings is one thing, and looking at the actual implements is another. As always, the best thing is to hold the implements in your own hands and look at them with you own eyes.

Fortunately, the Tasmanian collection is in the anthropology section of the Royal Institute in Brussels. Anne Hauzeur had part of the collection brought to the archeology lab for me to inspect and photograph. Lying on one of the trays were some of the original museum exhibition panels, letters brown with age. Hauzeur told me that it was good that these were there, because in many cases, they provide the only available information about some of the old collections in the museum. She told me that previous directors had thrown out much of the documentation connected with these collections, including Rutot’s collection.

In this Tasmanian collection I found some of the artifacts illustrated by Rutot in his report. For example, I found the Tasmanian grattoir in Rutot’s figure 51.55 In his caption, Rutot describes it as a natural flake used as a grattoir. It is therefore analogous to most of the Boncelles implements which are also natural flakes, slightly modified for use as grattoirs, racloirs, etc. The Tasmanian grattoir, although smaller, is a good match for the Boncelles grattoir shown by Rutot in his figure 27.56 Among the Tasmanian grattoirs are many more that are not visibly different from some of the Boncelles grattoirs.57 I also found the Tasmanian notched grattoir (grattoir à encoche) in Rutot’s figure 57,58 which Rutot compared to the Boncelles notched grattoir in his figure 29.59 I found another Boncelles grattoir60  that greatly resembles this Tasmanian grattoir. A Tasmanian racloir61 is very much like many Boncelles racloirs.

I found in the Tasmanian collection a large perçoir62 that very closely resembles the perçoir in Rutot’s figure 34.63 A smaller Tasmanian perçoir, illustrated by Rutot in his figure 60 64 is comparable to many of the Boncelles perçoirs, such as the one shown by Rutot in his figure 3265

Rutot’s comparison method was very effective. In other writings replied to the standard objections to eoliths, namely that they could be produced by the random action of natural forces, such as the contact of rocks in fast moving streams, the action of waves, glaciers, pressure of overlying strata, etc. He found ways distinguish between intentional and accidental chipping of stone.66

Support for Rutot from his Correspondents

Rutot’s report on Boncelles, although controversial, received support from several authorities, as can be seen from his correspondence with other researchers, whose letters to Rutot contained: (1) favorable responses to his report on Boncelles, (2) requests for specimens to display in museums, (3) discussions related to Rutot’s upcoming presentations at scientific conferences, and (4) promises to assist in raising money for future excavations at Boncelles.

William J. Sollas, professor of geology at Oxford University, wrote to Rutot on July 22, 1907, after a visit to Belgium: “I am now again settled in my customary work, but with my mind filled with pleasant images of the many things I have seen and studied in Belgium, not the least delightful among thehm being the wonderful series you so kindly and generously showed me of your ancient implements. These have made a deep impression on me and I know understand the full strength of your arguments in favor of eoliths. But I have learned much besides this and can only very inefficiently express my thanks for the many lessons you have taught me.”67
It seems that Sollas may have visited Boncelles with Rutot. In a letter to Rutot, in connection with the upcoming Congress of the Archeological and Historical Federation of Belgium in Liège, Marcel de Puydt, referred to a passage from a letter by Rutot to him: “Your letter of 30 August touched on other points of interest to our Congress. ‘25 very nice pieces,’ you wrote, were found at Boncelles during your visit with an Englishman from the University of Oxford, etc.”68

On January 20, 1910, Sollas wrote to Rutot, who had sent him a collection of specimens from Boncelles: “Thank you for your kind letter informing me of the dispatch of your generous present. The box reached me yesterday and I have greatly admired its contents. I am arranging an exhibition for all specimens relating to the appearance of man in the stratified rocks and shall give a prominent place to the eoliths of Boncelles. I am very much impressed with some of the characters these specimens display and await with great interest the further developments of your discovery.”69

American anthropologist Frederick Starr of the University of Chicago wrote to Rutot on December 29, 1908: “I have received the copy of ‘Un grave problème’ and have read it with care and interest. I am now making an effort to raise the money that you suggest. I cannot of course know what success I shall meet. I feel sure I shall accomplish something. . . . Thank you for the collection sent me. I shall be glad indeed to have it. I will acknowledge its receipt when it comes.”70

Florentino Ameghino, a geologist and archeologist from the National Museum of Buenos Aires, Argentina, received from Rutot a copy of his report on Boncelles and wrote a letter back to Rutot on August 16, 1910. After carefully studying the drawings and descriptions of the implements, Ameghino concluded: “It remains for me absolutely certain that during the Middle or Upper Oligocene there was in Europe an intelligent being who intentionally broke stones.”71 Ameghino had himself published reports of stone tools, hearths, and cut bones from Miocene sites in Argentina.72

My Disagreements with Rutot

I disagree with Rutot on two central points—the level of workmanship displayed in the Boncelles implements and the identity of their users.
Rutot believed that all of the Boncelles implements were simply natural pieces or flakes of flint that were picked up and used as tools, with only minor modification to improve the gripping surface or the working edge or edges. It appears to me, however, that Rutot’s own observations demonstrate that some of the flakes or pieces of flint may have been deliberately struck from cores for further modification into tools.

Rutot noted: “In the case of grattoirs as well as racloirs, there are some that bear very well marked bulbs of percussion.”73 For example, Rutot says the grattoir in his figure 24, which displays nice use marks, is made on a flake with a bulb of percussion.74 “I do not, however,” said Rutot, “consider these flakes to have been intentionally made for use as implements. I believe that the flakes with the bulb of percussion were detached involuntarily from the edges of stone anvils while they were being struck by hammer stones. These detached flakes were usable as tools just as were the sharp natural flakes found nearby. And they were in fact used like them, but they were not deliberately struck for this purpose.”75

I wonder how Rutot could say with such certainty that the flakes made into implements were not deliberately struck for that purpose, especially the ones with bulbs of percussion. Many authorities on lithic technology, such as Leland W. Patterson, take bulbs of percussion to be a clear sign of intentional controlled flaking.76
I submit that Rutot was fitting the physical evidence to his own framework of evolutionary ideas. He apparently wanted to characterize the makers of the Oligocene industry of Boncelles as more primitive than the makers of later industries in the Tertiary and Quaternary. But leaving aside Rutot's evolutionary expectations, there is good reason to conclude that some of the Boncelles tools were made from flakes intentionally struck for this purpose. Florentino Ameghino, who had done a lot of experimental work in making stone tools himself, was also of this opinion. In his letter to Rutot on the Boncelles discoveries, he described several features of the artifacts, including bulbs of percussion, that led him to conclude: “Natural causes are absolutely incapable of producing similar pieces. The objects present the characteristics of intentional debitage in a manner even more evident than in my quartzite pieces from the broken stone industry of Monte Hermoso.”77

Let’s now consider the identity of Boncelles toolmaker. In his initial report, Rutot was somewhat ambiguous, stating: “Who was the intelligent being? Was it merely a precursor of the human kind, or was it already human?”78 But he soon began to favor the idea of a precursor. Dr. Ewald Wüst wrote to Rutot on January 24,1908, congratulating him on his work at Boncelles. But then he asked: “So who was the user of these Oligocene eoliths? I personally don’t have any doubts that it was some kind of intelligent being . . . . But as for a human being in the Middle Oligocene, it cannot think it possible. I think it is about time that it be seriously and rationally investigated, as to whether or not living apes use eoliths.”79 In other words, he was suggesting that perhaps it was some kind of apeman who made and used the Boncelles implements.

I found a reply written by Rutot to Wüst on 5 January 1908 on stationary of the Musée Royal d’Histoire Naturelle de Belgique.80 On the question of the intelligent being that used the eoliths at Boncelles, Rutot referred Wüst to the recent work of Florentino Ameghino, who believed that the first appearance of intelligent beings capable of using instruments was relatively ancient (at least Eocene).81 Rutot summarized Ameghino’s views thus: “All the apes, including the anthorpoid apes, came into existence during the Miocene and their brutish descendants come from a stock with only the most primitive intelligence. Therefore, it is not among the apes that one should search for the precusor of humans, because the precursor is more ancient than the apes.”

In his later works, Rutot very definitely identified the human precursor who used the Boncelles implements with a creature related to the Pithecanthropus erectus of Dubois. For example in La Prehistoire, Rutot says: “Are we able to conceive the external form of the precursors of humans in the Tertiary epoch? It would be proper to answer this question negatively, because no skeletal remains from the primitive beings of that age are yet known to us. Nevertheless, we do have a partial cranium and another bone from Pithecanthropus of Java, who is without a doubt very closely related to the race of precursors.”82 Rutot also commissioned the sculptor L. Mascré to make a life-sized bust of the Tertiary human precursor of Boncelles as part of an entire series of busts showing the various stage of human evolution.83 The busts are still in the storage rooms of the Laboratory for Anthropologie and Prehistory at the Royal Beligian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels.
In his identification of the makers of the Boncelles tools, Rutot was influenced by his evolutionary ideas. But if he could call the Oligocene tools identical to those made by anatomically modern humans in Tasmania during the Holocene, it is not apparent to me why the makers of the Boncelles tools could not have been physiologically identical to the modern Tasmanians. Therefore, it would be best to return to Rutot’s original conclusion, which leaves open the possibility that the toolmakers of Boncelles could have been human: “When we take into consideration the analogies, or rather the identities, between the Oligocene eoliths of Boncelles and the modern eoliths of the Tasmanians, we find ourselves confronted with a grave problem--the existence in the Oligocene of beings intelligent enough to manufacture and use definite and variegated types of implements. Who was the intelligent being? Was it merely a precursor of the human kind, or was it already human? This is a grave problem--an idea that cannot but astonish us and attract the attention and the interest of all those who make the science of humanity the object of their study and meditation”84


A couple of years ago, I attended an advance screening of a remake of the classic Japanese monster film Godzilla in Los Angeles. The brother of John Griesser, a filmaker friend of mine, was involved in making the computer-generated special effects for the film. During the screening it appeared at one point late in the film that the monster Godzilla was dead. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. But suddenly Godzilla jumped to life again, and the thrills continued. The false ending is common Hollywood scriptwriter’s technique. And it would seem that archeologists have perhaps written a false ending to the Boncelles script.85

Future researchers may note: (1) The principal Boncelles sandpit site still exists,and can be further explored. (2). The Rutot collection is still being carefully kept in the archeology department of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and can be further studied. In that collection one can now easily find the specific implements illustrated by Rutot in his 1907 report on Boncelles. (3) There are letters in Rutot’s correspondence drawer at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences that relate to the Boncelles discoveries. (4) The Boncelles implements do display good signs of intentional work. (5) The Boncelles implements do convincingly resemble crude stone tools admitted to be of human manufacture, i.e. the tools in the Tasmanian collection in the anthropology department. (6) Rutot did give convincing replies to those who thought eoliths were in all cases the product of natural forces only. (7) the commitment of some archeologists to orthodox views on hominid evolution may prevent them from objectively considering the possibility of Oligocene stone tools. (8) Rutot’s own evolutionary conceptions prevented him from seriously considering the possibility that the makers of his Boncelles tools were fully human. The Oligocene implements of Boncelles therefore remain “un grave problème.”


I thank Daniel Cahen, director of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences for his permission to study the Rutot artifacts and documents in the Institute’s collections. I thank Anne Hauzeur and the staff of the archeology department for giving me and my photographer assistant space to work in the archeology laboratory, and for making all the practical arrangements for me to study the artifacts and documents of interest to me. I am grateful to Lori Erbs, my research assistant, for obtaining documents from various libraries around the world. For financial assistance I am grateful to the Trustees of the Bhakivedanta Book Trust. I also thank Ana C. N. Martins for inviting me to give this paper.

References and Notes:

1. See the letters to Rutot from Marcel de Puydt, president of the Congress section for prehistory and protohistory. The letters can be found in the Rutot correspondence drawer, in a folder labeled “De Puydt,” in the storage room of the archeology department (in the Laboratory of Anthropology and Prehistory) on the nineteenth floor of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences at Rue Vautier 29, Brussels, B-1000 Belgium. The letters of special interest are dated August 18, September 16, and December 18, 1908.
2. Rutot had long been a supporter of the eolithic industries from the Miocene of Cantal, in France; from the Pliocene of the Kent Plateau in England, and from the Pliocene of St. Prest in France. He also identified a series of eolithic industries in the Early Pleistocene of Belgium—the Reutelian, Mafflian, and Mesvinien. For a review see Rutot, A. (1918) La Préhistoire. Prèmiere Partie. Brussels: Les Naturalistes Belges.
3. Rutot, A. (1907) Un grave problème. Une industrie humaine datant de l’epoque oligocène. Bulletin de la Sociètè Belge de Géologie de Paleontologie et d’Hydrologie. Tome XXI: 439-482, this note p. 442.
4. Rutot, A. (1907) Un Grave Problème, pp. 442-443.
5. For another early report on Boncelles, see Rutot, A. (1909) Une industrie éolithique antérieure à l’Oligocene supérieur ou Aquitanien. Congrès préhistorique de France. Compte-rendu. IVe Session Chambery, France, 1908. Le Mans, pp. 90-104.
6. Feder, Kenneth L. (1994) Forbidden Archeology (book review). Geoarchaeology, 9(4):337-340. Feder (p. 337) wrote, “The book itself represents something perhaps not seen before; we can fairly call it 'Krishna creationism' with no disrespect intended." Feder added, "While 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 superior to that exhibited in ordinary creationist literature."  Marks, Jonathan (1994) Forbidden Archeology (book review). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 93(1):140-141. Marks (p. 141) described my work as “Hindu-oid creationist drivel.” Wodak, Jo, and Oldroyd, David (1996) Vedic creationism: a further twist to the evolution debate. Social Studies of Science, 26:192-213. Wodak and Oldroyd (p. 207)  said: “Forbidden Archeology (FA) offers a brand of Creationism based on something quite different, namely ancient Vedic beliefs. From this starting point, instead of claiming a human history of mere millennia, FA argues for the existence of Homo sapiens way back into the Tertiary, perhaps even earlier.” The full texts of these reviews and many other responses to FA can be found in Cremo, M. A. (1998) Forbidden Archeology’s Impact. Los Angeles, Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing, along with papers by me outlining in greater detail my Vedic creationist background.
7. Cremo, M A. (1999) Puranic Time and the Archeological Record. In Murray, Tim, ed. Time and Archaeology. Routledge, London, pp. 38-48.  
8. Cremo, M. A., and Thompson, R. L. (1993) Forbidden Archeology. San Diego: Bhakivedanta Institute.
9. As a Vedic creationist, I have arrived on the shores of Archeology, much as Malinowski arrived on the shores of the Trobriand Islands. I have learned enough of the language and customs to establish contact and gain some slight entry to the life of the natives. Nevertheless, as a visiting Vedic creationist, I have my own intellectual “tent” in which I live, a recondite inner shelter of traditions and cultural ways alien to those of the archeologists in whose midst I sometimes find myself.  For me, “going native” would be to become an assistant professor of archeology.  But that is not my purpose. What is my purpose? That may be as difficult for a professional archeologist to ascertain as for a Trobriand Islander to have ascertained the true purpose of a Malinowski. Of course, I am not just arriving physically on the island of archeology, by becoming personally present at archeological sites, archeological laboratories, archeological museums, and archeological conferences, such as this one. Beyond that, my texts, including this paper, are arriving into the community of archeological texts. And how will this text be received by the native texts?  Will my text be ignored, or attacked? Will it win some little grudging external toleration, or will there perhaps be some rare instances in which my text is allowed entrance into the hidden cultural textways of the archeologists. In other words, will this text become enmeshed in archeological intertextuality, perhaps by appearing in a conference proceedings volume along with native archeological texts and being drawn into the even deeper realm of citation?
10. Garfinkel, Harold (1967) Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prenctice Hall.
11. Flynn, Pierce J. (1991) The Ethnomethodological Movement: Sociosemiotic Interpretations. Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter.
12. Flynn, Pierce J. (1991) The Ethnomethodological Movement, p. 27.
13. Flynn, Pierce J. (1991) The Ethnomethodological Movement, p. 250.
14. Hodder, Ian (1997) ‘Always momentary, fluid, and flexible’: toward a reflexive excavation methodology. Antiquity 71:691-700 (pp. 699-700).
15. I wrote in a paper presented at a conference on science and culture: “[Archeologists and others] were reacting to Forbidden Archeology in much the same way as some art critics of the 1960s reacted to the Brillo box sculptures of Andy Warhol. The Brillo boxes were not art, it appeared to some critics, but these critics could not help commenting upon them as if they were art. And thus the boxes were, after all, art, or as good as art. I suppose it is true, in some sense, that Forbidden Archeology is not real archeology, and that I am not a real archeologist (or historian of archeology). And, for that matter, neither is this paper a ‘real’ paper, and neither am I a ‘real’ scholar. I am an agent of Gaudiya Vaishnavism [one of the branches of Hindu religion], with an assigned project of deconstructing a paradigm [modern scientific concepts of human evolution], and this paper and Forbidden Archeology are part of that project. And yet Forbidden Archeology is reviewed in AJPA [American Journal of Physical Anthropology] and Geoarchaeology, and this paper is read by me at an academic conference on science and culture, just like Warhol's Brillo boxes were displayed in galleries for purchase by collectors rather than stacked in supermarkets.” Page 22  in Cremo, M. A. (1998) The Reception of Forbidden Archeology: An Encounter Between Western Science and a Non-Western Perspective on Human Antiquity. Presented at Kentucky State University Institute of Liberal Studies, Sixth Annual Interdisciplinary Conference: Science and Culture,Frankfort, Kentucky, March 30 -- April 1, 1995. In Cremo, M. A., ed. Forbidden Archeology’s Impact. Los Angeles, Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing, pp. 14-40.
16. Rutot, A. (1928) Spiritisme, Métapsychisme, Energétisme, Néovitalisme. Brussels. H. Wellens, W. Godenne, and Co. Rutot also published other writings on this topic, and had an extensive correspondence on parapsychology. For a time, Rutot served as president of the Belgian Coucil for Metapsychical Research. His combination of research into archeological anomalies and the paranormal is highly interesting to me.
17. I presented a paper in Ana’s section at the 1999 European Association of Archeologists Annual meeting in Bournemouth, England. The paper (“Forbidden archeology of the Paleolithic: how Pithecanthropus  influenced the treatment of evidence for extreme human antiquity”) is to be included in a forthcoming conference proceedings volume edited by Ana for British Archaeological Reports. I presented another paper in Ana’s section at the European Association of Archeologists 2000 meeting, which was held in Lisbon. The Lisbon paper was on the Miocene archeological discoveries of the nineteenth-century Portuguese geologist Carlo Ribeiro (“The discoveries of Carlos Ribeiro: a controversial episode in nineteenth-century European archeology”).
18. In terms of my ethnomethodological research orientation, I regard my request to study the Rutot collection at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (and my presence at this Congress) as a “breaching” technique. Flynn (1991, The Ethnomethodological Movement, pp. 253-254) says, “Both the surrealists and ethnomethodological movement utilized idiosyncratic devices and means to ‘breach’ the normal routines of social reality in order to render them strange. . . . For the ethnographic surrealists, concrete cultural objects, whether foreign or local, were used to play a disruptive, illuminatory role . . . objects sauvages were a source of the surrealist’s disposition toward forcing a breach of perception and encouraging ‘making the familiar strange.’ Garfinkel has utilized similar ‘breaching’ procedures for rendering the commonplace society ‘anthropologically strange.’ . . . . He led students in ‘incongruity experiments’ such as inventing new rules during at TickTackToe game; engaging friends in conversation and insisting that the person clarify the meaning of common place remarks; entering stores and treating customers as if they were clerks or a maitre d.” I detected that my two weeks of research in the archeology laboratory of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science, during which an assistant and I were continually preoccupied in the tasks of examining and photographing the Boncelles artifacts, regarded as false by the staff, did breach the normal routines and appearance of the lab, inducing a degree of strangeness for the staff. Still, my presence was tolerated, for I have, however imperfectly, mastered the techniques of “becoming the phenomena.” Mehan and Wood (Mehan, Hugh and Wood, Houston [1975] The Reality of Ethnomethodology. New York. John Wiley and Sons.1975, p. 227) say, “If the purpose of the research is to know the reality of the phenomenon, then the researcher must begin by first becoming the phenomenon.” The purpose of my research in this case was, and is, to know the phenomenon of disciplinary suppression of anomalous evidence in archeology. The only way to do this was, and is, to establish myself as part of the phenomenon.
19. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 442.
20. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 1, p. 443.
21. In my Forbidden Archeology, I examined the phenomenon of the definitive debunking report: “In paleoanthropology, we sometimes encounter the definitive debunking report—a report that is repeatedly cited as having decisively invalidated a particular discovery or general category of evidence.” (p. 151) “. . . researchers who share a certain bias (in this case a prejudice against evidence for Tertiary humans) cooperate by citing a poorly constructed ‘definitive debunking report’ (in this case by Breuil) as absolute truth in the pages of authoritative books and articles in scientific journals. It is a very effective propaganda technique. After all, how many people will both to dig up Breuil’s original article . . . and, applying critical intelligence, see for themselves if what he had to say really made sense.” (p. 164) “Barnes’s 1939 paper is typical of the definitive debunking report, which can be conviently cited again and again to completely resolve a controversial question, making any further consideration of the matter superfluous. But on close examination, it appears that Barnes’s definitive debunking report may be in need of some debunking itself.” (p. 168)
22. For a review of the orthodox opinion of Rutot held by the generations of archeologist that immediately followed him, see Stockmans, F., (1966) Notice sur Aimé Louis Rutot. Annales de l’Académie royale de Belgique, 132e année, 123 pp. Stockmans said, “For those of my generation, who came to know of him toward the end of his life, his name invariably evoked the image of a credulous but honest man fooled by forgers and who talked with the dead.” (p. 24). Rutot’s interest in psychical research damaged his overall scientific credibility.
23. De Heinzelin, Jean (1959) Déclassement de la collection Dethise. Bulletin de l’Institut Royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique 35 (11) 27pp. See also De Heinzelin, J., Orban, R., Roels, D., and Hurt, V. (1993) Ossements humains dits néolithiques de la région de Mons (Belgique), une évaluation. Bulletin de l’Institut Royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique 63: 311-336.
24. Stoddart, Simon, and Malone, Caroline (2001) Editorial. Antiquity 75(288):233-245, p. 238, citing Muscarella, O. W. (2000) The lie became great: the forgery of Ancient Near Eastern cultures. Groningen: Unesco/Styx Publications.
25. De Heinzelin, Jean (1957) Fagnien, Reutelien, Strépyien, Mesvinien, Flénusien, Spiennien, Omalien. Lexique stratigraphique international. Vol. 1, fasc. 4b, Paris.
26. Raposo, L, and Santonja, M. 1995. The earliest occupation of Europe: the Iberian peninsula. In W. Roebroeks and T. Van Kolfschoten (eds) The Earliest Occupation of Europe. Proceedings of the European Science Foundation Workshop At Tautavel (France), 1993. Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia, Vol. 27. Leiden: University of Leiden, pp. 7-25. Carbonell, E., Canal, J., and Sabchiz, N. (1982) Cueva Victoria (Murcia, España): lugar de ocupación más antiguo de la Peninsula ibérica. Endins 8:47-57. Palma de Mallorca.
27. Cremo, M.A. (2000) The Discoveries of Carlos Ribeiro: A Controversial Episode in Nineteenth-Century European Archeology. European Association of Archaeologists Sixth Annual Meeting, Lisbon, Portugal. September 10-16. Unpublished, but available on request.
28. Cremo, M. A. (forthcoming) Forbidden Archeology of the Paleolithic. European Association of Archeologists Fifth Annual Meeting. Bournemouth, England, Sept. 15-18, 1999. Selected for publication in a conference proceedings volume edited by Ana C. N. Martins for British Archaeological Reports.
29. Whitney, J. D.  (1880) The auriferous gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California. Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology Memoir 6 (1). See Cremo and Thompson (1993) Forbidden Archeology pp. 368-394 and pp. 439-451 for a review and discussion.
30. Holmes, W. H. (1899. Review of the evidence relating to auriferous gravel man in California. In Smithsonian Institution Annual Report 1898–1899: 419–472. Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution, p. 470
31. Holmes, W. H. (1899. Review of the evidence relating to auriferous gravel man in California, p. 470.
32. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p.447.
33. Leriche, M. (1922) Les terrains tertiaires de la Belgique. Congrès Géologique International (13e, Bruxelles), Livret-Guide des Excursions en Belgique, A4:1-46. p. 10. Pomerol, C. (1982) The Cenozoic Era. Chichester, Ellis Horwood.
34. Schweinfurth, G. (1907) Über Rutot’s Entdeckung von Eolithen in beligischen Oligocän. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 39:958-959, p. 959.
35. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 444.
36. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, pp. 452-453.
37. Tray 2768 Box 4 (my numbers 25A,B). The trays are shelved in the archeology storage rooms of the Laboratory for Anthropology and Prehistory on the 19th floor of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences building at Rue Vautier 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium. The rows of boxes within each tray do not have numbers on them. I took the box at the top left of the tray to be the first, and mentally numbered the boxes from left to right in the top row. I then went down to the next row, and again mentally numbered the boxes from left to right. Lying among the artifacts in the boxes are labels indicating the tool type (grattoir, racloir, percuteur, etc.). Some of the labels are quite old, apparently from the original exhibitions of the artifacts in the Royal Belgian Museum of Natural Sciences organized by Rutot himself. Other labels appear to be more recent. “My numbers” refers to the artifact identification numbers shown in my 35mm slides.
38. Tray 2678, Box 5 (my number 26A), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 7, p. 454. I placed all artifacts matching Rutot’s figures in plastic bags, along with identifying labels, before returning them to their boxes in the trays, making it easier to find them.
39. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 456.
40. Tray 2766, Box 5 (my numbers 5A,B,C), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 9, p. 456.
41. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 458.
42. Tray 2766, Box 5 (my numbers 7A,B,C), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 10, p. 458.
43. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 459.
44. Tray 2769, Box 6 (my number 30), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 13, p. 458.
45. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 462.
46. Tray 2770, Box 11 (my number 31), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 26, p. 463.
47. Tray 2767, Box 2 (my number 19), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 27, p. 463.
48. Tray 2767, Box 2 (my number 18A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 29, p. 463.
49. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 464.
50. Tray 2767, Box 8 (my number 23A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 32, p. 465; Tray 2767, Box 8 (my number 22A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 33, p. 465.
51. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, pp. 464-465.
52. Tray 2767, Box 8 (my number 10A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 34, p. 465.
53. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, pp.448-449.
54. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 468. Rutot may have exaggerated the similarities. It is likely that the Tasmanian industry as a whole included some pieces more advanced than the typical specimens of Boncelles. Nevertheless, the Tasmanian industry does contain a good many implements that are quite similar to those of Boncelles, as I have seen in my firsthand study of the collections of the two industries at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
55. Tasmanian collection, unmarked tray, Box 1 (my number 41A), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 51, p. 475. Resembles my number 19. Trays of Tasmanian implements are from the anthropology section of the Laboratory of Anthropology and Prehistory at the Institute.
56. Boncelles collection, Tray 2767, Box 2 (my number 19), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 27, p. 463.
57. See for example the two Tasmanian grattoirs from Tray 3246, Box 8, which are numbered in my slides as 37A and 40A.
58. Tasmanian collection,Tray 3246, Box 4, (my number 34A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 57, p. 476.
59. Boncelles collection, Tray 2767, Box 2 (my number 16A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 29, p. 463.
60. Boncelles collection, Tray 2767 Box 1 (my number 13A), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 57, p. 476 (my number 34A,B).
61. Tasmanian collection, Unnumbered Tray, Box 5 (my number 42A).
62. Tasmanian collection, Unnumbered Tray, Box 8 (my numbers 43A,B, resembles my number 21A,B).
63. Boncelles collection, Tray 2767, Box 8 (my numbers 21A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 34, p. 465.
64. Tasmanian collection, Tray 3246 Box 7 (my numbers 36A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 60, p. 476.
65. Boncelles collection, Tray 2767, Box 8(my numbers 23A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 32, p. 465.
66. See  for example: Rutot, A. (1902) Les industries primitives. Défense des éolithes. Les actions naturelles possibles sont inaptes a produire des effets semblables à la retouche Intentionelle. Bulletin de la Société d’Anthropologie de Bruxelles. Tome XX, Memoire n. III, pp. 1-68; Rutot, A. (1906) Éolithes et pseudo-éolithes. Bulletin de la Société d’Anthropologie de Bruxelles. Tome XXV, Memoire n. I, pp. 1-29; Rutot, A. (1909), Un homme de science peut-il, raisonnablement, admettre l’existence des industries primitives, dites éolithiques? Bulletins et Mémoires de la Sociéte d’Anthropologie de Paris.  Ve Series, Tome X, pp. 447-473. In Forbidden Archeology, I also reviewed and critiqued attempts to debunk eoliths and other crude stone tool industries by appealing to natural forces (see pp. 151-177, for example).
67. Rutot Correspondence Drawer, Folder “Correspondents S.”
68. Rutot Correspondence Drawer, Folder “De Puydt.”
69. Rutot Correspondence Drawer, Folder “Correspondents S.”
70. Rutot Correspondence Drawer, Folder “Correspondents S.”
71. Rutot Correspondence Drawer, Folder “Ameghino.”
72. See for example Ameghino, F. (1908) Notas preliminaires sobre el Tetraprothomo argentinus, un precursor del hombre del Mioceno superior de Monte Hermoso. Anales del Museo nacional de historia natural de Buenos Aires, 16:105-242.
73. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 462.
74. Boncelles collection, Tray 2767, Box 2 (my numbers 15A,B), matches Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, fig. 24, p. 462.
75. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, pp. 462, 464.
76. Patterson, L. W. (1983) Criteria for determining the attributes of man-made lithics. Journal of Field Archaeology, 10:297-307.
77. F. Ameghino to A. Rutot, August 16, 1910. Rutot Correspondence Drawer, Folder “Ameghino.”
78. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 480.
79. Rutot Correspondence Drawer, Folder “Correspondents W.”
80. Rutot Correspondence Drawer, Folder “Correspondents W.” This is the only copy of a letter by Rutot that I found in the collection. It could be a letter that for some reason was not sent by Rutot, or it could be a copy or first draft of a letter that was sent.
81. Boule, M., and Vallois, H. V. (1957) Fossil Men, London, Thames and Hudson, p. 491: “Ameghino also recorded facts of the same kind from more ancient deposits dating, according to him, from the Oligocene and even from the Eocene.” Ameghino, F. (1912) L’age des formations sedimentaires tertiaires de l’Argentine en relation avec l’antiquité de l’homme. Anales de Museo nacional de historia natural de Buenos Aires, 22:45-75. In this work (p. 72) Ameghino referred to “eoliths, which we find in our formations at the close of the Eocene and which differ from those of Boncelles in Belgium in that they are of much smaller size.”
82. Rutot, A. (1918) La Préhistoire. Première Partie. Brussels. Les Naturalistes Belge, p. 24, see also figures 19 and 20, p. 23. Rutot’s statement that there were no discoveries of human bones from the early Tertiary is not entirely true. J. D. Whitney reported anatomically modern human skeletal remains from formations in Calfornia that are now given an Eocene age. Whitney, J. D. 1880. The Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California. Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology Memoir 6(1). My Forbidden Archeology documents additional reports of discoveries of anatomically modern human skeletal remains from the Tertiary and even earlier.
83. For photographs of the entire series see Rutot, A. (1919) Un Essai de Reconstitution plastique de quelques Races humaines primitives. Brussels. Hayez, Imprimeur de l’Académie Royale de Belgique. For photographs and description of the Tertiary human precursor, identified with the Boncelles industry, see pp. 11-14, fig. 1, and plate 1.
84. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, pp. 480-481.
85. And they are not alone. Rutot concluded that eoliths from other Belgian sites were also of Oligocene age, such as eoliths found at Baraque Michel and in a cave at Fonds de Forêt, north of the cavern at Bay Bonnet. Rutot (1907) Un grave problème, p. 479.

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