The Newport Tower

The Newport Tower
Medieval stone tower ... in Rhode Island. Does it look like any other Colonial structure you've seen? Recent carbon dating of the mortar indicates 1400s construction date (see post below).

The Westford Knight Sword

The Westford Knight Sword
Medieval Battle Sword ... in Westford, Massachusetts. Can anyone deny the pommel, hilt and blade punch-marked into the bedrock?

The Spirit Pond Rune Stone

The Spirit Pond Rune Stone
Medieval Inscription ... in Maine, near Popham Beach. Long passed off as a hoax, but how many people know the Runic language? And how is it that some of the Runic characters match rare runes on inscriptions found in Minnesota and Rhode Island? Carbon-dating of floorboards at nearby long house date to 1405.

The Narragansett Rune Stone

The Narragansett Rune Stone
Medieval Inscription ... in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. This Runic inscription is only visible for twenty minutes a day at low tide--is this also the work of a modern-day, Runic-speaking hoaxster?

The Westford Boat Stone

The Westford Boat Stone
Medieval Ship Carving ... in Westford, MA. Found near the Westford Knight site. Weathering patterns of carving are consistent with that of 600-year-old artifact. And why would a Colonial trail-marker depict a knorr, a 14th-century ship?

The Kensington Rune Stone

The Kensington Rune Stone
Medieval Inscription... in Minnesota. Forensic geology confirms the carvings predate European settlement of Minnesota--so did Runic-speaking Native Americans carve it?

The Hooked X Rune

The Hooked X Rune
Medieval Runic Character ... on inscriptions found in Maine, Minnesota and Rhode Island. But this rare rune was only recently found in Europe. This conclusively disproves any hoax theory while also linking these three artifacts together.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review of "American Unearthed" Episode #1

I watched the premier episode of H2's "America Unearthed," starring Scott Wolter, last weekend. I had been involved in the early planning for this series and was hopeful it would help open the public's eyes to the possibility of exploration of America before Columbus.

I was, therefore, disappointed in this review, which criticizes the show, its research,the pacing and Wolter personally:

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/1/post/2012/12/review-of-america-unearthed-s01e01.html

At first glance, it is the same "head in the sand" response we often see from the archeological community. But as I read through the review more carefully, I realized that many of the criticisms of the show are valid. The review (albeit with an unnecessarily snarly tone) accurately points out that the show falls far short of its claim to "rewrite the history books" by proving that the remnants of the ancient Mayan culture migrated to Georgia. At best, the show proved some kind of trade (direct or indirect) between Mayans in the Yucatan and Native Americans in the American southeast. Did anyone ever doubt this? And even this conclusion is tenuous, as much of the evidence used to support it is not shown to the audience (we fly over the Georgia stone structures but never actually examine them; we are told of a deformed Creek skull but are never shown it; we are shown a drawing of a Feathered Dancer icon but never see the actual artifact itself; we are told a sample of Mayan blue dye is tested but don't witness the sample actually being taken; etc.) If the producers didn't have access to the actual artifacts and sites, why not move on to another, more compelling episode?

I am fairly confident that future episodes will be more compelling, but this initial episode was disappointing.

4 comments:

Richard Thornton said...

Hey! This is Richard Thornton, who was on America Unearthed. I wrote a comment to that nasty editorial! Here it is . . .

You got it wrong. The Track Rock terraces are theoretically open to the public, but access has been blocked by the USFS sawing down over 100 trees over the trail. Also, the USFS vistor's center refuses to tell people where it is. Last spring, after allowing the Travel Channel to film the site, the USFS refused to allow the History Channel or National Geographic Magazine to film, photograph or even visit the site.

They filmed me for over eight hours. About 98% was left out of the program. Unfortunately, this was the part where I described the research work being done by many Muskogean researchers into the evidence that Mesoamericans and South Americans migrated to the Southeast. It is not "one man's crusade" as some bloggers are saying. It also left out that I studied Mesoamerican Architecture and Urban Planning in Mexico, and have taught that subject at Georgia Tech. None of the archaeologists who have criticized my book have even been in Mexico. They also know diddlysquat about Creek Indian history, genetics or language.

Well, I can't complain though. I merely wrote an article to attract attention to the site from archaeologists. Georgia archaeologists made assholes out of themselves instead. The stink attracted the national media, and I got to be on a national TV show. Life is a box of chocolates.

David Brody said...

Hi Richard:

Thanks for your comment. And I'm glad you posted something on the Colavito site--I think we're all a bit tired of the so-called experts and their dismissive attitudes. Having said that, I do think we revisionists can do a better job stating our case. There was no reason for the "America Unearthed" team to leave themselves so wide open for criticism. When you play "hide the ball" with much of your evidence, you can't be surprised when people start questioning your research!

Cody Cooper said...

should be a two man approach to each one of these cases. some one to prove, someone to disprove theory. present the evidence, american idol that shit and let the viewers decide who made better cases.

or maybe a panel of archeologist. an open mind, a skeptic, and guest pro in the particular field of study.

just trying to figure a way where we can get all the facts

David Brody said...

Good points, Cody.

One observation: Not sure you'll be able to find an open-minded archeologist!