Archaeological Cover-ups?

Who controls history? The public servants who make it, or the people who hire them and to whom are they accountable?

Editorial, New York Times. 19 Nov, 1983.

Most of us are familiar with the last scene in the popular Indiana Jones archaeological adventure film RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in which an important historical artefact, the Ark of the Covenant from the Temple in Jerusalem, is locked in a crate and put in a giant warehouse, never to be seen again, thus ensuring that no history books will have to be rewritten and no history professor will have to revise the lecture that he has been giving for the last forty years.

While the film was fiction, the scene in which an important ancient relic is buried in a warehouse is uncomfortably close to reality for many researchers. To those who investigate allegations of archaeological cover-ups, there are disturbing indications that the most important archaeological institute in the United States, the Smithsonian Institute, an independent federal agency, has been actively suppressing some of the most interesting and important archaeological discoveries made in the Americas.

The Vatican has been long accused of keeping artefacts and ancient books in their vast cellars, without allowing the outside world access to them. These secret treasures, often of a controversial historical or religious nature, are allegedly suppressed by the Catholic Church because they might damage the church’s credibility, or perhaps cast their official texts in doubt. Sadly, there is overwhelming evidence that something very similar is happening with the Smithsonian Institution.

The cover-up and alleged suppression of archaeological evidence began in late 1881 when John Wesley Powell, the geologist famous for exploring the Grand Canyon, appointed Cyrus Thomas as the director of the Eastern Mound Division of the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of Ethnology.

When Thomas came to the Bureau of Ethnology he was a “pronounced believer in the existence of a race of Mound Builders, distinct from the American Indians.” However, John Wesley Powell, the director of the Bureau of Ethnology, a very sympathetic man toward the American Indians, had lived with the peaceful Winnebago Indians of Wisconsin for many years as a youth and felt that American Indians were unfairly thought of as primitive and savage.

The Smithsonian began to promote the idea that Native Americans, at that time being exterminated in the Indian Wars, were descended from advanced civilisations and were worthy of respect and protection. They also began a program of suppressing any archaeological evidence that lent credence to the school of thought known as Diffusionism, a school which believes that throughout history there has been widespread dispersion of culture and civilisation via contact by ship and major trade routes. The Smithsonian opted for the opposite school, known as Isolationism. Isolationism holds that most civilisations are isolated from each other and that there has been very little contact between them, especially those that are separated by bodies of water. In this intellectual war that started in the 1880s, it was held that even contact between the civilisations of the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys were rare, and certainly these civilisations did not have any contact with such advanced cultures as the Mayas, Toltecs, or Aztecs in Mexico and Central America. By Old World standards this is an extreme, and even ridiculous idea, considering that the river system reached to the Gulf of Mexico and these civilisations were as close as the opposite shore of the gulf. It was like saying that cultures in the Black Sea area could not have had contact with the Mediterranean.

When the contents of many ancient mounds and pyramids of the Midwest were examined, it was shown that the history of the Mississippi River Valleys was that of an ancient and sophisticated culture that had been in contact with Europe and other areas. Not only that, the contents of many mounds revealed burials of huge men, sometimes seven or eight feet tall, in full armour with swords and sometimes huge treasures. For instance, when Spiro Mound in Oklahoma was excavated in the 1930′s, a tall man in full armour was discovered along with a pot of thousands of pearls and other artefacts, the largest such treasure so far documented. The whereabouts of the man in armour is unknown and it is quite likely that it eventually was taken to the Smithsonian Institution.
( Ancient Indian texts say that at one time men lived for thousands of years and grew very tall, as does the Bible with the comment that . . .“and there were giants in those days.” Ed)

In a private conversation with a well-known historical researcher (who shall remain nameless), I was told that a former employee of the Smithsonian, who was dismissed for defending the view of diffusionism in the Americas (i.e. the heresy that other ancient civilisations may have visited the shores of North and South America during the many millenia before Columbus), alleged that the Smithsonian at one time had actually taken a barge full of unusual artefacts out into the Atlantic and dumped them in the ocean.

Though the idea of the Smithsonian’ covering up a valuable archaeological find is difficult to accept for some, there is, sadly, a great deal of evidence to suggest that the Smithsonian Institution has knowingly covered up and ‘lost’ important archaeological relics. The STONEWATCH NEWSLETTER of the Gungywamp Society in Connecticut, which researches megalithic sites in New England, had a curious story in their Winter 1992 issue about stone coffins discovered in 1892 in Alabama which were sent to the Smithsonian Institution and then ‘lost’. According to the newsletter, researcher Frederick J. Pohl wrote an intriguing letter in 1950 to the late Dr. T.C. Lethbridge, a British archaeologist.

The letter from Pohl stated, “A professor of geology sent me a reprint (of the) Smithsonian Institution, THE CRUMF BURIAL CAVE by Frank Burns, US Geological Survey, from the report of the US National Museum for 1892, pp 451-454, 1984. In the Crumf Cave, southern branch of the Warrior River, in Murphy’s Valley, Blount County, Alabama, accessible from Mobile Bay by river, were coffins of wood hollowed out by fire, aided by stone or copper chisels. Either of these coffins were taken to the Smithsonian. They were about 7.5 feet long, 14″ to 18″ wide, 6″ to 7″ deep. Lids open. “I wrote recently to the Smithsonian, and received a reply March 11th from F.M. Setzler, Head Curator of Department of Anthropology (He said) ‘We have not been able to find the specimens in our collections, though records show that they were received.”

David Barron, President of the Gungywamp Society was eventually told by the Smithsonian in 1992 that the coffins were actually wooden troughs and that they could not be viewed anyway because they were housed in an asbestos-contaminated warehouse. This warehouse was to be closed for the next ten years and no one was allowed in except the Smithsonian personnel!

Ivan T. Sanderson, a well-known zoologist and frequent guest on Johnny Carson’s TONIGHT SHOW in the 1960s (usually with an exotic animal such as a pangolin or a lemur), once related a curious story about a letter he received regarding an engineer who was stationed on the Aleutian island of Shemya during World War II. While building an airstrip, his crew bulldozed a group of hills and discovered under several sedimentary layers what appeared to be human remains. The Alaskan mound was in fact a graveyard of gigantic human remains, consisting of crania and long leg bones.

The crania measured from 22 to 24 inches from base to crown. Since an adult skull normally measures about eight inches from back to front, such a large crania would imply an immense size for a normally proportioned human. Furthermore, every skull was said to have been neatly trepanned (a process of cutting a hole in the upper portion of the skull).

In fact, the habit of flattening the skull of an infant and forcing it to grow in an elongated shape was a practice used by ancient Peruvians, the Mayas, and the Flathead Indians of Montana. Sanderson tried to gather further proof, eventually receiving a letter from another member of the unit who confirmed the report. The letters both indicated that the Smithsonian Institution had collected the remains, yet nothing else was heard. Sanderson seemed convinced that the Smithsonian Institution had received the bizarre relics, but wondered why they would not release the data. He asks, “…is it that these people cannot face rewriting all the textbooks?”

In 1944 an accidental discovery of an even more controversial nature was made by Waldemar Julsrud at Acambaro, Mexico. Acambaro is in the state of Guanajuato, 175 miles northwest of Mexico City. The strange archaeological site there yielded over 33,500 objects of ceramic;stone, including jade; and knives of obsidian (sharper than steel and still used today in heart surgery). Jalsrud, a prominent local German merchant, also found statues ranging from less than an inch to six feet in length depicting great reptiles, some of them in ACTIVE ASSOCIATION with humans – generally eating them, but in some bizarre statuettes an erotic association was indicated. To observers many of these creatures resembled dinosaurs.

Jalsrud crammed this collection into twelve rooms of his expanded house. There startling representations of Negroes, Orientals, and bearded Caucasians were included as were motifs of Egyptians, Sumerian and other ancient non-hemispheric civilisations, as well as portrayals of Bigfoot and aquatic monsterlike creatures, weird human-animal mixtures, and a host of other inexplicable creations. Teeth from an extinct Ice Age horse, the skeleton of a mammoth, and a number of human skulls were found at the same site as the ceramic artefacts.

Radio-carbon dating in the laboratories of the University of Pennsylvania and additional tests using the thermoluminescence method of dating pottery were performed to determine the age of the objects. Results indicated the objects were made about 6,500 years ago, around 4,500 BC. A team of experts at another university, shown Jalrud’s half-dozen samples but unaware of their origin, ruled out the possibility that they could have been modern reproductions. However, they fell silent when told of their controversial source.

In 1952, in an effort to debunk this weird collection which was gaining a certain amount of fame, American archaeologist Charles C. DiPeso claimed to have minutely examined the then 32,000 pieces within not more than four hours spent at the home of Julsrud. In a forthcoming book, long delayed by continuing developments in his investigation, archaeological investigator John H. Tierney, who has lectured on the case for decades, points out that to have done that DiPeso would have had to have inspected 133 pieces per minute steadily for four hours, whereas in actuality, it would have required weeks merely to have separated the massive jumble of exhibits and arranged them properly for a valid evaluation.

Tierney, who collaborated with the later Professor Hapgood, the late William N. Russell, and others in the investigation, charges that the Smithsonian Institution and other archaeological authorities conducted a campaign of disinformation against the discoveries. The Smithsonian had, early in the controversy, dismissed the entire Acambaro collection as an elaborate hoax. Also, utilising the Freedom of Information Act, Tierney discovered that practically the entirety of the Smithsonian’s Julsrud case files are missing.

After two expeditions to the site in 1955 and 1968, Professor Charles Hapgood, a professor of history and anthropology at the University of New Hampshire, recorded the results of his 18-year investigation of Acambaro in a privately printed book entitled MYSTERY IN ACAMBARO. Hapgood was initially an open-minded skeptic concerning the collection but became a believer after his first visit in 1955, at which time he witnessed some of the figures being excavated and even dictated to the diggers where he wanted them to dig.

Adding to the mind-boggling aspects of this controversy is the fact that the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, through the late Director of Pre-Hispanic Monuments, Dr. Eduardo Noguera, who admitted that “the apparent scientific legality with which these objects were found.” Despite evidence of their own eyes, however, officials declared that because of the objects ‘fantastic’ nature, they had to have been a hoax played on Julsrud!

A disappointed but ever-hopeful Julsrud died. His house was sold and the collection put in storage. The collection is not currently open to the public.

Perhaps the most amazing suppression of all is the excavation of an Egyptian tomb by the Smithsonian itself in Arizona. A lengthy front page story of the PHOENIX GAZETTE on 5 April 1909, gave a highly detailed report of the discovery and excavation of a rock-cut vault by an expedition led by a Professor S.A. Jordan of the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian, however, claims to have absolutely no knowledge of the discovery or its discoverers.

The World Explorers Club decided to check on this story by calling the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., though we felt there was little chance of getting any real information. After speaking briefly to an operator, we were transferred to a Smithsonian staff archaeologist, and a woman’s voice came on the phone and identified herself. I told her that I was investigating a story from a 1909 Phoenix newspaper article about the Smithsonian Institution’s having excavated rock-cut vaults in the Grand Canyon where Egyptian artefacts had been discovered, and whether the Smithsonian Institution could give me any more information on the subject.

“Well, the first thing I can tell you, before we go any further,” she said, “is that no Egyptian artefacts of any kind have ever been found in North or South America. Therefore, I can tell you that the Smithsonian Institute has never been involved in any such excavations.” She was quite helpful and polite but, in the end, knew nothing. Neither she nor anyone else with whom I spoke could find any record of the discovery or either G.E. Kinkaid and Professor S.A. Jordan. While it cannot be discounted that the entire story is an elaborate newspaper hoax, the fact that it was on the front page, named the prestigious Smithsonian Institution, and gave a highly detailed story that went on for several pages, lends a great deal to its credibility. It is hard to believe such a story could have come out of thin air.

Is the Smithsonian Institution covering up an archaeological discovery of immense importance? If this story is true it would radically change the current view that there was no transoceanic contact in pre-Columbian times, and that all American Indians, on both continents, are descended from Ice Age explorers who came across the Bering Strait. (Any information on G.E. Kinkaid and Professor S.A. Jordan, or their alleged discoveries, that readers may have would be greatly appreciated…..write to Childress at the World Explorers Club, PO Box 372, 8250 AJ Dronten, the Netherlands, email: frontier@xs4all.nl )

Is the idea that ancient Egyptians came to the Arizona area in the ancient past so objectionable and preposterous that it must be covered up? Perhaps the Smithsonian Institution is more interested in maintaining the status quo than rocking the boat with astonishing new discoveries that overturn previously accepted academic teachings. Historian and linguist Carl Hart, editor of WORLD EXPLORER, then obtained a hiker’s map of the Grand Canyon from a bookstore in Chicago. Poring over the map, we were amazed to see that much of the area on the north side of the canyon has Egyptian names. The area around Ninety-four Mile Creek and Trinity Creek had areas (rock formations, apparently) with names like Tower of Set, Tower of Ra, Horus Temple, Osiris Temple, and Isis Temple. In the Haunted Canyon area were such names as the Cheops Pyramid, the Buddha Cloister, Buddha Temple, Manu Temple and Shiva Temple. Was there any relationship between these places and the alleged Egyptian discoveries in the Grand Canyon?

We called a state archaeologist at the Grand Canyon, and were told that the early explorers had just liked Egyptian and Hindu names, but that it was true that this area was off limits to hikers or other visitors, “because of dangerous caves.” Indeed, this entire area with the Egyptian and Hindu place names in the Grand Canyon is a forbidden zone – no one is allowed into this large area. We could only conclude that this was the area where the vaults were located. Yet today, this area is curiously off-limits to all hikers and even, in large part, park personnel.

I believe that the discerning reader will see that if only a small part of the “Smithsoniangate” evidence is true, then our most hallowed archaeological institution has been actively involved in suppressing evidence for advanced American cultures, evidence for ancient voyages of various cultures to North America, evidence for anomalistic giants and other oddball artefacts, and evidence that tends to disprove the official dogma that is now the history of North America. The Smithsonian’s Board of Regents still refuses to open its meetings to the news media or the public. If Americans were ever allowed inside the ‘nation’s attic’, as the Smithsonian has been called, what skeletons might they find? From Nexus Magazine