Unearthing Ancient America, by Frank Joseph (softcover, 2011)|
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Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
This book presents an interesting take on the prehistory (history before
records were kept) of the Americas. It's a compilation of articles by various
authors (including Frank Joseph). Frank Joseph's underlying justification for
this book is that establishment archaeologists and historians do not accept
anything other than "Columbus was the first European in America."
In my (rarely, if ever, humble) opinion, what opens the door to the premise
that Europeans were in the Americas millennia ago is the period known as the
Dark Ages. The Catholic Empire (commonly misnamed the Catholic "Church") plunged
Europe into about 1,000 years of extreme ignorance, superstition, and stupidity.
For a large part of this era, literacy was punishable by death--that's an
indication of how serious they were about this. When the Empire clamped down on
reason and curiosity, it destroyed people and records it considered heretical to
its dogma or threatening to its power. So, not only was a great deal of progress
lost but so was a great deal of information.
The various authors provide intriguing circumstantial evidence supporting
their position, but their conclusions tend to arise from conjecture rather than
logical construction. This doesn't mean they are wrong. It does mean they
haven't made their case by the standards of, say, formal debate. I was struck by
two other things, the first of which is a lack of physical artifacts. The ones
referenced are nearly all held by private owners or are lost somewhere.
Now when I say artifacts, I'm speaking of things like the tools these authors
claim to have found and the large coffins they claim somebody found. Where are
these? The book contains photographs of a few items, so that helps. But mostly,
we're left with the same kind of undocumented "proof" that people offer for
UFOs. This seems to be especially true for the items that are of particular
On the other hand, the large constructed mounds referred to by several
authors aren't privately held or lost. While there's probably no way to prove
these mounds were constructed hundreds or thousands of years ago by Europeans,
it doesn't seem there's a way to rule this out either.
And that raises another issue. What about other types of monuments? These
have information encoded into their physical arrangement. The information
appears to reveal European awareness of the Americas long before Columbus.
The DNA issue raised in this book is also intriguing. The claim made is this
proves the "diffusionist" viewpoint. I hadn't heard that term before reading
this book and it wasn't defined. So I'm guessing it means that Europeans
diffused throughout the Americas and other far flung places like the South
Pacific millennia ago. But does it really prove anything? Compared to what?
Unfortunately, the book doesn't present the dissenting (official?)
counterarguments. So we have no way of being able to judge the explanations and
pick one. We have merely the one-sided presentation of a particular viewpoint on
A huge weakness of this book is its information base. The bibliography is
composed of sources that are minor or dubious (there may be exceptions, but I
didn't spot any). That doesn't mean the sources are worthless or wrong, but it
does mean the book confines its research to "acceptable" sources--those
acceptable to the viewpoints of the "diffusionists." That "approved sources
only" approach is the same one that Frank Joseph complains the establishment
takes. To get at the truth, we need to examine all sources and filter out those
that don't pass scrutiny.
Once we have the sources sorted out, then we need to apply the scientific
method to what we find. Some of the authors may do this, but I got the
impression that generally the "diffusionist" authors do not. Since counterviews
weren't rigorously examined, I can't tell for sure if anyone did apply the
scientific method though I can tell for sure that many did not.
Maybe this book was too broad in scope to adequately address any particular
issue. While it fails to be definitive, this book does provide cause for thought
and further exploration. We have to remember that science, at least officially,
seeks objective and verifiable truth. On the one hand, this book raises
interesting questions. On the other hand, it doesn't provide objective and
verifiable answers although the general tone is that it does. Lack of disproof
is not proof, and lack of proof is not disproof. Something more is needed in
Some of the physical evidence described by this book just is not explained by
our current official canon of knowledge. I think this book makes a good "eye
opener" for anyone interested in prehistory. At the very least it should cause
people to question official dogma. The next logical step is to ensure that valid
sources are considered rather than rejected out of hand, then the scientific method is rigorously applied.
Frank Joseph is sure that the establishment rejects valid sources out of
hand. He seems to make a fairly compelling case that this is true in many
instances. He frequently expresses his frustration over not being taken
seriously by the establishment. Yet, he doesn't deliver the objective and
verifiable answers that would solve that problem for him. Nor does he, curiously
enough, include input from establishment experts in this book.
This book consists of nine chapters in 270 pages. Each chapter contains three to
six articles (or essays) by contributing authors. Mr. Joseph introduces each
author with a short bio.
A note on the editing
Having worked previously for many years myself as an editor, I was
disappointed to keep encountering editorial errors in this book. Certain ones
are like nails on a chalkboard for me. For example, Mr. Joseph let slide a
particularly grating word combination, "absolutely unique." The word "unique" is
an absolute. There's no modifier with it. In this particular article, the author
used the word several times in rapid succession, too. I realize the typical
editor-in-chief is not an English major, and that publishers no longer budget
for proper copy-editing. But I still would like to see authors and editors take
more care with English.