by Chris Parker
Without noting the deep irony of their announcement and without confessing their own obstinacy in having previously debunked all former evidence supporting the proposition, last year the Smithsonian Institution along with the University of Florida announced the discovery (and acceptance as genuine) of an object depicting a mammoth here in North America which they announced to be 13,000 years old.
Here is that announcement in brief:
â€śResearchers from the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Florida have announced the discovery of a bone fragment, approximately 13,000 years old, in Florida with an incised image of a mammoth or mastodon. This engraving is the oldest and only known example of Ice Age art to depict a proboscidean (the order of animals with trunks) in the Americas. The teamâ€™s research is published online in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The bone was discovered in Vero Beach, Fla., by James Kennedy, an avocational fossil hunter, who collected the bone and later, while cleaning it, discovered the engraving. Recognizing its potential importance, Kennedy contacted scientists at the University of Florida and the Smithsonianâ€™s Museum Conservation Institute and National Museum of Natural History.
â€śThis is an incredibly exciting discovery,â€ť said Dennis Stanford, anthropologist at the Smithsonianâ€™s National Museum of Natural History and co-author of this research. â€śThere are hundreds of depictions of proboscideans on cave walls and carved into bones in Europe, but none from Americaâ€”until now.â€ťâ€¦Newsroom of the Smithsonian Scientists Reveal a First in Ice Age Art June 22, 2011
It may have been an exciting discovery but the â€śfactâ€ť that there were no mammoths in North America living alongside man was a paradigm and a reality which had been set in stone by the Smithsonian itself more than 125 years ago. After the paradigm had been set, no evidence to the contrary could be accepted as genuine and like all such science created realities one literally could find one’s career at stake were one to question such a scientific decree.
The Smithsonian Museum, created in 1846 was a series of Museums and research centers created by rich benefactors for the â€śincrease and diffusion of knowledgeâ€ť. The Museum is run by the U.S. Government. In its collections it has thought to hold as many as 137 million artifacts. (Some have suggested that the more controversial of those artifacts sent to that institution will never see the light of day again.)
The power of the institution to not only increase knowledge but also to establish â€śrealityâ€ť is perhaps unparalleled in the world of science. The Davenport Museum was organized or created on December 14th, 1867 for more or less the same purposes but was a private, membership society originally consisting of non professionals but which later would find professional archaeologists working alongside or involved in their discoveries.
The quote in the paragraph following from Wiki Source helps to set the stage for what took place at that time; a struggle between the Smithsonian and the Davenport Museum that played out over whether or not there were ice age humans living in North America who interacted with ice age animals like mammoths. Were the Mound builders remnants of an ancient, advanced culture or were they â€śmerelyâ€ť American Indians with ordinary technology and customs just like the American Indian of â€śtodayâ€ť?
Somehow, the existence of mammoth art or elephant depictions in North America played into the controversy which at the time divided scientists rather evenly. This later became the Clovis/pre Clovis controversy which actually damaged or scientists on the wrong side of the issue up to this decade.
â€ś If you are not familiar with the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences, it rivaled, and even excelled, the Smithsonian collection at the turn of the 20th century. It was one of the many amateur Academies set up to study our world and its history.
â€¦..In the forefront were questions of the origins of the Mound Builders and whether primitive man inhabited America before, or during, the last Ice Age. Remember that this was before the discoveries of chipped stone artifacts, undeniably made by humans, in direct context with Ice Age mammals during the first quarter of the twentieth centuryâ€¦.â€ť Wikisource.org
Elephant Pipes and Inscribed Tablets
“There are in the possession of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Davenport, Iowa, two carved stone pipes, of which representations are given. * * * They seem to be unmistakable representations of an elephant, or some closely allied quadruped, and their makers must have been acquainted with the animal. The Davenport Academy also have a tablet, found in a mound near their city, containing some thirty rude pictures of animals. Most of them can be recognized, and among them there are two that seem intended for elephantsâ€ťâ€¦ â€śInglorious Columbus” Mr. Edward P. Vining
In 1885, CHARLES E. PUTNAM , a former Academy president and prominent Davenport attorney, wrote a booklet on behalf of the Davenport Museum for the purpose of defending the museum and some of its discoveries from a broadside which had been directed directly at the museum and its elephant pipes and inscribed tablets; “ELEPHANT PIPES AND INSCRIBED TABLETS IN THE MUSEUM OF THE ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES DAVENPORT, IOWA.”
The attack had been made at the behest of the new head of the Smithsonian, Major Powell. The man who wrote the article which basically attacked the notion that the artifacts were genuine was not himself an archeologist- he was an ornithologist. Henry W. Henshawâ€™s article entitled “Animal Carvings from Mounds in the Mississippi Valley, was printed in the Bureau of Ethnologyâ€™s Second Annual Report.
Following are excerpts from Putnamâ€™s article laying out the Smithsonianâ€™s attack while giving a spirited defense. Other evidences of elephants in North America have been found in ancient art and potentially other discoveries that we not brought forward
but it should be noted that the academic world which may have been split up until that time officially maintained a no elephant artifacts have even been found in North America stance until just last yearâ€”when the Smithsonian found-it is claimedâ€”the first one.
Charles Putnam of Behalf of the Davenport Museumâ€ś
In the sharp controversy now being waged among archaeologists, as to the origin of the Mound-builders, the Bureau of Ethnology connected with the Smithsonian Institution has taken decided position as the champion of the theory that this mysterious race can be traced with comparative certainty to the ancestors of our American Indians. In the first annual report of the Bureau, Major Powell, its accomplished Director, thus emphatically states its position upon this question:
“With regard to the mounds so widely scattered between the two oceans, it may also be said that mound-building tribes were known in the early history of the discovery of this continent, and that vestiges of art discovered do not excel in any respect the arts of Indian tribes known to history.
There is, therefore, no reason for us to search for an extralimital origin, through lost tribes, for the arts discovered in the mounds of North America. The tracing of the origin of these arts to the ancestors of known tribes, or stocks of tribes, is more legitimate.” *
At a subsequent date, Major Powell, in giving his assent to the theory “that the Mound-builders were no other than the Indian tribes found in the country in post-Columbian times, and their ancestors,” makes use of this strong language:
“There has never been presented one item of evidence that the Mound-builders were a people of culture superior to that of the tribes that inhabited the valley of the Mississippi a hundred years ago. The evidence is complete that these tribes have built mounds within the historic period; and no mounds or earth-works have been discovered superior in structure or contents to those known to have been built in historic times. The theory that the country was inhabited by a people highly organized as nations, and having arts of a higher grade than those belonging to tribal society, is wild and baseless, and the fruit of that theory is nothing but exaggeration and false statement.” +
â€śAnother class of archaeologists as strongly maintain the opposite theory, that the Mound-builders were more advanced in civilization than the American Indian, and hence have endeavored to trace them to a Mexican origin, or to some earlier common ancestry. The leadership on this side must be accorded to Messrs. Squier and Davis, who, in their great work upon “Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley,” thus state their conclusions:
“Without undertaking to point out the affinities, or to indicate the probable origin of the builders of the western monuments, and the cause of their final disappearance, we may venture to suggest that the facts so far collected point to a connection, more or less intimate, between the race of the mounds and the semi civilized nations which formerly had their seats among the sierras of Mexico and Peru, and who erected the imposing structures which, from their number, vastness, and mysterious significance, invest the central portion of the continent with an interest no less absorbing than that which attaches to the Nile.
These nations alone, of all found in possession of the continent by the European discoverers, were essentially stationary and agricultural in their habits â€” conditions indispensable to large populations, to fixedness of institutions, and to any considerable advance in the ennobling artsâ€ť
Still, it must be conceded, if the statements of the great work of Squier and Davis are unreliable, and its deductions without sufficient basis, these defects cannot be too early disclosed to the world of science. Such an exposure would be a benefaction to the cause of truth.
The attempt to reverse the thought of an age is, however, a most notable undertaking. It needs great courage, excellent scholarship, and a commanding name. It will, of course, be taken for granted that the man called to so important a work must have been long engaged in archaeological research, trained in its methods of investigation, and familiar with its literature.
We recall the names of noted archaeologists, and wonder who among them would have the temerity to engage in this gigantic undertaking. In response to our summons none such appear; but, instead, the Director of the Bureau steps promptly to the front and makes due announcement of H.W. Henshaw” as the champion of his theory; and this is the method of his introduction:
“Mr. H. W. Henshaw, skilled as a naturalist, especially as an ornithologist, and familiar by personal experience with a large part of our national territory, was led to examine into the truth of these statements, repeated from author to author without question or criticism, and used as data in all discussions on the mounds. The result is the important paper now published. His conclusions, from the evidence adduced, seem to be incontrovertible.”*
And so the valiant gentleman appointed to displace Squier and Davis is a new-comer in archaeology, but, nevertheless, is “skilled as a naturalist, especially as an ornithologist;” and, moreover, is “familiar with a large part of our national territory!” With this unique statement before us of Mr. Henshaw’s qualifications for his great work, comment would be superfluous. The recommendation is itself a condemnation. The scientific world will scarcely consent to so summary a displacement of its old worthies, at the behest of a newly-fledged archaeologist, even though he may be “skilled as a naturalist!”
From H.W. Henshaw’s “Animal Carvings from Mounds in the Mississippi Valley”:
“In considering the evidence afforded by these pipes of a knowledge of the mastodon on the part of the Mound-builder, it should be borne in mind that their authenticity as specimens of the Mound-builder’s art has been seriously called in question. Possibly the fact that the same person was instrumental in bringing to light both of the pipes has had largely to do with this suspicion, especially when it was remembered that, although explorers had been remarkably active in the same region, it has fallen to the good fortune of no one else to find anything conveying the most distant suggestion of the mastodon. * * *
The remarkable archaeological instinct which has guided the finder of these pipes has led him to some more important discoveries. By the aid of his divining-rod he has succeeded in unearthing some of the most remarkable tablets which have thus far rewarded the diligent search of the mound explorer. ******
“Archeologists must certainly deem it unfortunate that, outside of the Wisconsin mound, the only evidence of the coexistence of the Mound-builder and the mastodon should reach the scientific world through the agency of one individual. So derived, each succeeding carving of the mastodon, be it more or less accurate, instead of being accepted by archaeologists as cumulative evidence tending to establish the genuineness of the sculptured testimony showing that the Mound-builder and mastodon were coeval, will be viewed with ever-increasing suspicion. * * * *
Bearing in mind the many attempts at archaeological fraud that recent years have brought to light, archaeologists have a right to demand that objects which afford a basis for such important deductions as the coeval life of the Mound builder and mastodon should be above the slightest suspicion, not only in respect to their resemblances, but as regards Â»he circumstances of their discovery. If they are not above suspicion, the science of archaeology can better afford to wait for further and more certain evidence than to commit itself to theories which may prove stumbling-blocks to truth, until that indefinite time when further investigation shall show their illusory nature.” *
Mr. Putnamâ€™s Reply:
â€ťWe find here an abundance of hints, innuendoes, imaginings, suspicions, without the statement of a fact to justify them. Had it been more specific, this paper would have had more force. In a grave scientific essay, controverting the authenticity of some very important discoveries, it should have been stated when, where, how, by whom, and for what reasons the genuineness of these relics had been “seriously called in question.” To controvert a statement with a sneer is the peculiar achievement of the ordinary polemic, and cannot be set down among accepted scientific methods.â€ť
In entering upon his work of demolition, it was open to Mr. Henshaw to make some show of thorough investigation and fair treatment. The circumstances called for it. He occupied a conspicuous position and wielded large influence. If his criticism was well founded, it would serve a useful purpose in driving charlatans from the fold of truth. If based only on partial investigations, and without substantial foundation, his censure would tend to destroy confidence in all historical evidence, discourage original research, and poison truth at its very fountain-head.
When, therefore, Mr. Henshaw was forced by the exigencies of his theory to assail these discoveries, archaeologists had a right to expect that he would make thorough examination into the evidence of their genuineness; that he would visit the scenes of these explorations and take careful note of the surroundings; that he would make searching inquiry as to the character and reliability of the discoverers; that he would closely question the members of the Davenport Academy as to the existence of any suspicious circumstances; that he would make critical inspection of the relics themselves to note peculiarities which might escape an eye less thoroughly trained than his own; and that, in this just and judicious manner, he would seek to satisfy all reasonable scruples of the earnest and conscientious seeker after truth.
All this was easy for Mr. Henshaw, for he had at his command unlimited resources. It will be learned with surprise that he did none of these things. This feeling will be increased to astonishment when it is ascertained that, instead of adopting these wise precautions, Mr. Henshaw seized with avidity upon a stray paper, written by a gentleman in no way connected with the Davenport Academy, imperfectly illustrated with some coarse wood-cuts, and published in an Eastern magazine, and that he made this second-hand information the poor excuse for his unscientific screed.
When, in addition to all this, it is found that Mr. Henshaw never consulted the extensive correspondence concerning these relics in the possession of the Smithsonian Institution, and apparently never gave even a passing glance to the photographs of these elephant pipes in its museum, archeologists will regard with just resentment these scientific delinquencies of this eminent gentleman.
In the argument of Mr. Henshaw, based upon the absence of the “tail” in these carvings, he is peculiarly unfortunate. He has been misled, no doubt, by the faulty “illustrations,” which alone he must have consulted, inasmuch as in each of these pipes the “tail” is well developed.
It will also be found clearly represented in the photographs sent to the Smithsonian Institution, in the illustrations of the pipes given in the Proceedings of the Davenport Academy, and in the stamp on the cover of the volume. So, too, in the “Prehistoric America” of Nadaillac, quite recently introduced to the American public by a noted archaeologist (Mr. Dall), we find an illustration of one of these identical elephant pipes, with the missing “tail” in full view!
It is a noticeable circumstance, that, while Barber, Vining, and other writers commented upon the absence of “tusks,” it remained for Mr. Henshaw to make the remarkable discovery that the “tail” was also missing in these carvings.
The conclusion is inevitable, that Mr. Henshaw drew largely upon Mr. Barber’s article for his scientific material, and that he was betrayed into the commission of this mistake by the “imperfection” of the illustrations used by Mr. Barber and copied by Mr. Henshaw without verification.
The following are correct illustrations of the two elephant pipes now in our museum. Figure i (top) represents the pipe plowed up by Peter Mare in a corn-field in Louisa County, Iowa, and Figure II (bottom) that discovered by Rev. A. Blumer in a mound in the same county :*
With these illustrations in view, archaeologists will read with amusement the singular argument of
Mr. Henshaw, based upon the supposed absence of the “tails” in these pipes:
“It is also remarkable that in neither of these pipes is the tail indicated, although a glance at the other sculptures will show that in the full-length figures this member is invariably shown. In respect to these omissions, the pipes from Iowa are strikingly suggestive of the elephant mound of Wisconsin, with the peculiarities of which the sculptor, whether ancient or modern, might almost be supposed to have been acquainted. It certainly must be looked upon as a curious coincidence that carvings found at a point so remote from the elephant mound, and presumably the work of other hands, should so closely copy the imperfections of that mound.” *
This little academic battle caught our attention because it shows the power of institutional science to decide what â€śrealityâ€ť is. Whatever the merits of the arguments on either side, the Smithsonian simply took a position and whether that position was correct or incorrect it was made on the whim of the director-not because the issue had actually been decided â€śscientificallyâ€ť.
Since the time of this controversy played out in these two articles, most academics have towed the line and the Davenport artifacts are routinely identified in encyclopedias, etc. as hoaxes if they are mentioned at all. Text books and academics state the â€śfactsâ€ť unequivocally-that as the Director said any suggestion that Mound builder were “advanced” or that they lived along with mammoths was “wild and baseless” exaggeration and false statement”. Up until today it is as though the issue had never been controversial.
And thus several generations of archaeologists, other scientists and students have simply â€śknownâ€ť that no evidence that man, mound builder or otherwise had interacted with mammoths in North America.
That is until last June when the Smithsonian changed the game again and there was a momentary wobble in the fabric of “scientific reality” which in many cases bares only an occasional intersect with reality.
Warning: Darwinism is a paradigm, the age of the universe is a paradigm, global warming is a paradigm ( in the 1970′s it was worldwide global cooling and a coming ice age that spelled our doom), the big bang is a paradigm where invisible dark matter and energy have been recruited to explain up to 96% of observations, the origin of life from inanimate matter is a paradigm. Columbus discovering America is a paradigm as well but the objectivity of science and of scientists is just a straight up falsehood.