• Artifacts from Aix-en-Provence, France

  • Letters in Marble Block, Philadelphia

  • Nail in Devonian Sandstone, Scotland

  • Gold Thread in Carboniferous Stone, England

  • Metallic Vase from Precambrian Rock at Dorchester, Mass

  • A Tertiary Chalk Ball from Laon, France

  • Objects from Illinois Well Boring

  • A Clay Image from Nampa, Idaho

  • Gold Chain in Carboniferous Coal from Morrisonville, Illinois

  • Carved Stone from Lehigh Coal Mine near Webster, Iowa

  • Iron Cup from Oklahoma Coal Mine

  • A Shoe Sole from Nevada

  • Block Wall in an Oklahoma Mine

  • Metallic Tubes from Chalk in France

  • Shoe Print in Shale from Utah

  • Grooved Sphere from South Africa


Up to this point, most of the evidence we have considered gives the impression that even if humans did exist in the distant past, they remained at a somewhat primitive level of cultural and technological achievement. One might well ask the following question. If humans had a long time to perfect their skills, then why do we not find ancient artifacts indicative of an advancing civilization?

In 1863, Charles Lyell expressed this doubt in his book Antiquity of Man:

"instead of the rudest pottery or flint tools. . . . we should now be finding sculptured forms, surpassing in beauty the masterpieces of Phidias or Praxiteles; lines of buried railways or electric telegraphs, from which the best engineers of our day might gain invaluable hints; astronomical instruments and microscopes of more advanced construction than any known in Europe, and other indications of perfection in the arts and sciences."

The following reports do not quite measure up to this standard, but some of the objects described do give hints of unexpected accomplishments.

Not only are some of the objects decidedly more advanced than stone tools, but many also occur in geological contexts far older than we have thus far considered.

The reports of this extraordinary evidence emanate, with some exceptions, from nonscientific sources. And often the artifacts themselves, not having been preserved in standard natural history museums, are impossible to locate.

We ourselves are not sure how much importance should be given to this highly anomalous evidence. But we include it for the sake of completeness and to encourage further study.

In this chapter, we have included only a sample of the published material available to us. And given the spotty reporting and infrequent preservation of these highly anomalous discoveries, it is likely that the entire body of reports now existing represents only a small fraction of the total number of such discoveries made over the past few centuries.



In his book Mineralogy, Count Bournon recorded an intriguing discovery that had been made by French workmen in the latter part of the eighteenth century.


In his description of the details about the discovery, Bournon wrote:

"During the years 1786, 1787, and 1788, they were occupied near Aix-en-Provence, in France, in quarrying stone for the rebuilding, upon a vast scale, of the Palace of Justice. The stone was a limestone of deep grey, and of that kind which are tender when they come out of the quarry, but harden by exposure to the air. The strata were separated from one another by a bed of sand mixed with clay, more or less calcareous. The first which were wrought presented no appearance of any foreign bodies, but, after the workmen had removed the ten first beds, they were astonished, when taking away the eleventh, to find its inferior surface, at the depth of forty or fifty feet, covered with shells.


The stone of this bed having been removed, as they were taking away a stratum of argillaceous sand, which separated the eleventh bed from the twelfth, they found stumps of columns and fragments of stone half wrought, and the stone was exactly similar to that of the quarry: they found moreover coins, handles of hammers, and other tools or fragments of tools in wood.


But that which principally commanded their attention, was a board about one inch thick and seven or eight feet long; it was broken into many pieces, of which none were missing, and it was possible to join them again one to another, and to restore to the board or plate its original form, which was that of the boards of the same kind used by the masons and quarry men: it was worn in the same manner, rounded and waving upon the edges."

Count Bournon, continuing his description, stated:

"The stones which were completely or partly wrought, had not at all changed in their nature, but the fragments of the board, and the instruments, and pieces of instruments of wood, had been changed into agate, which was very fine and agreeably colored. Here then, we have the traces of a work executed by the hand of man, placed at a depth of fifty feet, and covered with eleven beds of compact limestone: every thing tended to prove that this work had been executed upon the spot where the traces existed. The presence of man had then preceded the formation of this stone, and that very considerably since he was already arrived at such a degree of civilization that the arts were known to him, and that he wrought the stone and formed columns out of it."

These passages appeared in the American Journal of Science in 1820; today, however, it is unlikely such a report would be found in the pages of a scientific journal.


Scientists simply do not take such discoveries seriously.



In 1830, letter-like shapes were discovered within a solid block of marble from a quarry 12 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The marble block was taken from a depth of 60-70 feet. This was reported in the American Journal of Science in 1831.


The quarry workers removed layers of gneiss, mica slate, hornblende, talcose slate, and primitive clay slate before coming to the layer from which the block containing the letter-like shapes was cut.

While they were sawing through the block, the workmen happened to notice a rectangular indentation, about 1.5 inches wide by .625 inches high, displaying two raised characters. Several respectable gentlemen from nearby Norristown, Pennsylvania, were called to the scene and inspected the object. It is hard to explain the formation of the characters as products of natural physical processes.


This suggests the characters were made by intelligent humans from the distant past.



In 1844, Sir David Brewster reported that a nail had been discovered firmly embedded in a block of sandstone from the Kingoodie (Mylnfield) Quarry in Scotland. Dr. A. W. Medd of the British Geological Survey wrote to us in 1985 that this sandstone is of "Lower Old Red Sandstone age" (Devonian, between 360 and 408 million years old). Brewster was a famous Scottish physicist. He was a founder of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and made important discoveries in the field of optics.

In his report to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Brewster stated:

"The stone in Kingoodie quarry consists of alternate layers of hard stone and a soft clayey substance called 'till'; the courses of stone vary from six inches to upwards of six feet in thickness. The particular block in which the nail was found, was nine inches thick, and in proceeding to clear the rough block for dressing, the point of the nail was found projecting about half an inch (quite eaten with rust) into the 'till,' the rest of the nail lying along the surface of the stone to within an inch of the head, which went right down into the body of the stone."

The fact that the head of the nail was buried in the sandstone block would seem to rule out the possibility the nail had been pounded into the block after it was quarried.



On June 22, 1844, this curious report appeared in the London Times:

"A few days ago, as some workmen were employed in quarrying a rock close to the Tweed about a quarter of a mile below Rutherford-mill, a gold thread was discovered embedded in the stone at a depth of eight feet."

Dr. A. W. Medd of the British Geological Survey wrote to us in 1985 that this stone is of Early Carboniferous age (between 320 and 360 million years old).



The following report, titled "A Relic of a Bygone Age," appeared in the magazine Scientific American (June 5, 1852):

"A few days ago a powerful blast was made in the rock at Meeting House Hill, in Dorchester, a few rods south of Rev. Mr. Hall's meeting house. The blast threw out an immense mass of rock, some of the pieces weighing several tons, and scattered fragments in all directions. Among them was picked up a metallic vessel in two parts, rent asunder by the explosion. On putting the two parts together it formed a bell-shaped vessel, 4-1/2 inches high, 6-1/2 inches at the base, 2-1/2 inches at the top, and about an eighth of an inch in thickness. The body of this vessel resembles zinc in color, or a composition metal, in which there is a considerable portion of silver. On the side there are six figures or a flower, or bouquet, beautifully inlaid with pure silver, and around the lower part of the vessel a vine, or wreath, also inlaid with silver.


The chasing, carving, and inlaying are exquisitely done by the art of some cunning workman. This curious and unknown vessel was blown out of the solid pudding stone, fifteen feet below the surface. It is now in the possession of Mr. John Kettell. Dr. J. V. C. Smith, who has recently traveled in the East, and examined hundreds of curious domestic utensils, and has drawings of them, has never seen anything resembling this. He has taken a drawing and accurate dimensions of it, to be submitted to the scientific. There is not doubt but that this curiosity was blown out of the rock, as above stated; but will Professor Agassiz, or some other scientific man please to tell us how it came there? The matter is worthy of investigation, as there is no deception in the case."

The editors of Scientific American ironically remarked:

"The above is from the Boston Transcript and the wonder is to us, how the Transcript can suppose Prof. Agassiz qualified to tell how it got there any more than John Doyle, the blacksmith. This is not a question of zoology, botany, or geology, but one relating to an antique metal vessel perhaps made by Tubal Cain, the first inhabitant of Dorchester."

According to a recent U.S. Geological Survey map of the Boston-Dorchester area, the pudding stone, now called the Roxbury conglomerate, is of Precambrian age, over 600 million years old. By standard accounts, life was just beginning to form on this planet during the Precambrian.


But in the Dorchester vessel we have evidence indicating the presence of artistic metalworkers in North America over 600 million years before Leif Erikson.



The April 1862 edition of The Geologist included an English translation of an intriguing report by Maximilien Melleville, the vice president of the Academic Society of Laon, France.


In his report, Melleville described a round chalk ball discovered 75 meters (about 246 feet) below the surface in early Tertiary lignite beds near Laon.

Lignite (sometimes called ash) is a soft brown coal. The lignite beds at Montaigu, near Laon, lie at the base of a hill and were mined by horizontal shafts. The main shaft ran 600 meters (about 1,969 feet) into a bed of lignite.

In August of 1861, workmen digging at the far end of the shaft, 225 feet below the surface of the hill, saw a round object fall down from the top of the excavation. The object was about 6 centimeters (2.36 inches) in diameter and weighed 310 grams (about 11 ounces).

Melleville stated:

"They looked to see exactly what place in the strata it had occupied, and they are able to state that it did not come from the interior of the 'ash,' but that it was imbedded at its point of contact with the roof of the quarry, where it had left its impression indented."

The workmen carried the chalk ball to a Dr. Lejeune, who informed Melleville.

Melleville then stated:

"Long before this discovery, the workmen of the quarry had told me they had many times found pieces of wood changed into stone. . . . bearing the marks of human work. I regret greatly now not having asked to see these, but I did not hitherto believe in the possibility of such a fact."

According to Melleville, there was no possibility that the chalk ball was a forgery:

"It really is penetrated over four-fifths of its height by a black bituminous color that merges toward the top into a yellow circle, and which is evidently due to the contact of the lignite in which it had been for so long a time plunged. The upper part, which was in contact with the shell bed, on the contrary has preserved its natural color—the dull white of the chalk. . . . As to the rock in which it was found, I can affirm that it is perfectly virgin, and presents no trace whatever of any ancient exploitation. The roof of the quarry was equally intact in this place, and one could see there neither fissure nor any other cavity by which we might suppose this ball could have dropped down from above."

Regarding human manufacture of the chalk object, Melleville was cautious. He wrote:

"from one fact, even so well established, I do not pretend to draw the extreme conclusion that man was contemporary with the lignites of the Paris basin. . . . My sole object in writing this notice is to make known a discovery as curious as strange, whatever may be its bearing, without pretending to any mode of explanation. I content myself with giving it to science, and I shall wait before forming an opinion in this respect, for further discoveries to furnish me with the means of appreciating the value of this at Montaigu."

Geology's editors wrote:

"We consider his resolution wise in hesitating to date back the age of man to the lower Tertiary period of the Paris basin without further confirmatory evidence."

In 1883, Gabriel de Mortillet suggested that a piece of white chalk was rolled in the waves of the incoming Tertiary seas and after it became round was left where it was found.

This does not, however, seem to be a likely explanation. First of all, the ball had features inconsistent with the action of waves. Melleville reported:

"Three great splinters with sharp angles, announce also that it had remained during the working attached to the block of stone out of which it was made, and that it had been separated only after it was finished, by a blow, to which this kind of fracture is due."

If wave action is accepted as the explanation of the general roundness of the object, this action should also have smoothed the sharp edges described by Melleville. Furthermore, it is likely that sustained exposure to waves would have disintegrated a piece of chalk.

De Mortillet stated that the ball was found in an Early Eocene stratum. If humans made the ball, they must have been in France 45-55 million years ago. As extraordinary as this might seem to those attached to the standard evolutionary views, it is in keeping with the evidence considered in this book.



In 1871, William E. Dubois of the Smithsonian Institution reported on several man-made objects found at deep levels in Illinois. The first object was a copper quasi-coin from Lawn Ridge, in Marshall County, Illinois.


In a letter to the Smithsonian Institution, J. W. Moffit stated that in August 1870 he was drilling a well using a "common ground auger." When Moffit brought the auger up from a depth of 125 feet, he discovered the coin-like object "on the auger."

To get down to 125 feet, Moffit drilled through the following strata: 3 feet of soil; 10 feet of yellow clay; 44 feet of blue clay; 4 feet of clay, sand, and gravel; 19 feet of purple clay; 10 feet of brown hard pan; 8.5 feet of green clay; 2 feet of vegetable mould; 2.5 feet of yellow clay; 2 feet of yellow hard pan; and 20.5 feet of mixed clay.

In 1881, A. Winchell also described the coin-like object. Winchell quoted a letter by W. H. Wilmot, who listed a sequence of strata slightly different from that given by Moffit. Wilmot reported that the quasi-coin had been discovered in the well boring at a depth of 114 feet rather than 125 feet.

Using the sequence of strata given by Winchell, the Illinois State Geological Survey gave us an estimate for the age of the deposits at the 114-foot level. They would have formed during the Yarmouthian Interglacial "sometime between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago."

W. E. Dubois said that the shape of the quasi-coin was "polygonal approaching to circular," and that it had crudely portrayed figures and inscriptions on both sides. The inscriptions were in a language that Dubois could not recognize, and the quasi-coin's appearance differed from any known coin.

Dubois concluded that the coin must have been made in a machine shop. Noting its uniform thickness, he said the coin must have "passed through a rolling-mill; and if the ancient Indians had such a contrivance, it must have been prehistoric."


Furthermore, Dubois reported that the coin must have been cut with shears or a chisel and the sharp edges filed down.

The quasi coin described above suggests the existence of a civilization at least 200,000 years ago in North America. Yet beings intelligent enough to make and use coins (Homo sapiens sapiens) are generally not thought to have lived much earlier than 100,000 years ago. According to standard views, metal coins were first used in Asia Minor during the eighth century B.C.

Moffit also reported that other artifacts were found in nearby Whiteside County, Illinois. At a depth of 120 feet, workmen discovered,

"a large copper ring or ferrule, similar to those used on ship spars at the present time. . . . They also found something fashioned like a boat-hook."

Mr. Moffit added:

"There are numerous instances of relics found at lesser depths. A spear-shaped hatchet, made of iron, was found imbedded in clay at 40 feet; and stone pipes and pottery have been unearthed at depths varying from 10 to 50 feet in many localities."

In September 1984, the Illinois State Geological Survey wrote to us that the age of deposits at 120 feet in Whiteside County varies greatly. In some places, one would find at 120 feet deposits only 50,000 years old, while in other places one would find Silurian bedrock 410 million years old.



A small human image, skillfully formed in clay, was found in 1889 at Nampa, Idaho. The figurine came from the 300-foot level of a well boring.


In 1912, G. F. Wright wrote:

"The record of the well shows that in reaching the stratum from which the image was brought up they had penetrated first about fifty feet of soil, then about fifteen feet of basalt, and afterwards passed through alternate beds of clay and quicksand. . . . down to a depth of about three hundred feet, when the sand pump began to bring up numerous clay balls, some of them more than two inches in diameter, densely coated with iron oxide. In the lower portion of this stratum there were evidences of a buried land surface, over which there had been a slight accumulation of vegetable mould. It was from this point that the image in question was brought up at a depth of three hundred and twenty feet. A few feet farther down, sand rock was reached."

As for the figurine, Wright noted:

"The image in question is made of the same material as that of the clay balls mentioned, and is about an inch and a half long; and remarkable for the perfection with which it represents the human form. . . . It was a female figure, and had the lifelike lineaments in the parts which were finished that would do credit to the classic centers of art."

"Upon showing the object to Professor F. W. Putnam," wrote Wright, "he at once directed attention to the character of the incrustations of iron upon the surface as indicative of a relic of considerable antiquity. There were patches of anhydrous red oxide of iron in protected places upon it, such as could not have been formed upon any fraudulent object. In visiting the locality in 1890 I took special pains, while on the ground, to compare the discoloration of the oxide upon the image with that upon the clay balls still found among the debris which has come from the well, and ascertained it to be as nearly identical as it is possible to be.


These confirmatory evidences, in connection with the very satisfactory character of the evidence furnished by the parties who made the discovery, and confirmed by Mr. G. M. Cumming, of Boston (at that time superintendent of that division of the Oregon Short Line Railroad, and who knew all the parties, and was upon the ground a day or two after the discovery) placed the genuineness of the discovery beyond reasonable doubt.


To this evidence is to be added, also, the general conformity of the object to other relics of man which have been found beneath the lava deposits on the Pacific coast. In comparing the figurine one cannot help being struck with its resemblance to numerous 'Aurignacian figurines' found in prehistoric caverns in France, Belgium, and Moravia. Especially is the resemblance striking to that of 'The Venus impudica' from Laugerie-Basse."

The Nampa image is also similar to the famous Willendorf Venus, thought to be about 30,000 years old.

Wright also examined the borehole to see if the figurine could have slipped down from a higher level.


He stated:

"To answer objections it will be well to give the facts more fully. The well was six inches in diameter and was tubed with heavy iron tubing, which was driven down, from the top, and screwed together, section by section, as progress was made. Thus it was impossible for anything to work in from the sides. The drill was not used after penetrating the lava deposit near the surface, but the tube was driven down, and the included material brought out from time to time by use of a sand pump."

Responding to our inquiries, the United States Geological Survey stated in a letter that the clay layer at a depth of over 300 feet is "probably of the Glenns Ferry Formation, upper Idaho Group, which is generally considered to be of Plio-Pleistocene age." The basalt above the Glenns Ferry formation is considered Middle Pleistocene.

Other than Homo sapiens sapiens, no hominid is known to have fashioned works of art like the Nampa figurine. The evidence therefore suggests that humans of the modern type were living in America around 2 million years ago, at the Plio-Pleistocene boundary.

That the Nampa figurine strongly challenges the evolutionary scenario was noted by W. H. Holmes of the Smithsonian Institution.


In 1919, Holmes wrote in his Handbook of Aboriginal American Antiquities:

"According to Emmons, the formation in which the pump was operating is of late Tertiary or early Quaternary age; and the apparent improbability of the occurrence of a well-modeled human figure in deposits of such great antiquity has led to grave doubt about its authenticity. It is interesting to note that the age of this object, supposing it to be authentic, corresponds with that of the incipient man whose bones were, in 1892, recovered by Dubois from the late Tertiary or early Quaternary formations of Java."

Here we find the Java man discovery, itself questionable, once more being used to dismiss evidence for humans of modern abilities in very ancient times. The evolutionary hypothesis was apparently so privileged that any evidence contradicting it could be almost automatically rejected. But although Holmes doubted that beings capable of making the Nampa image could have existed at the same time as the primitive Java ape-man, we find today that humans, of various levels of technological expertise, coexist in Africa with gorillas and chimpanzees.

Holmes went on to say:

"Like the auriferous gravel finds of California, if taken at its face value the specimen establishes an antiquity for Neolithic culture in America so great that we hesitate to accept it without further confirmation. While it may have been brought up as reported, there remains the possibility that it was not an original inclusion under the lava. It is not impossible that an object of this character could have descended from the surface through some crevice or water course penetrating the lava beds and have been carried through deposits of creeping quicksand aided by underground waters to the spot tapped by the drill."

It is instructive to note how far a scientist like Holmes will go to explain away evidence he does not favor. One should keep in mind, however, that any evidence, including evidence currently used to buttress the theory of evolution, could be explained away in this fashion.

A barrier to the supposition that the Nampa image was recently manufactured by recent Indians and somehow worked its way down from the surface may be found in this statement by Holmes:

"It should be remarked, however, that forms of art closely analogous to this figure are far to seek, neither the Pacific slope on the west nor the Pueblo region on the south furnishing modeled images of the human figure of like character or of equal artistic merit."



On June 11, 1891, The Morrisonville Times reported:

"A curious find was brought to light by Mrs. S. W. Gulp last Tuesday morning. As she was breaking a lump of coal preparatory to putting it in the scuttle, she discovered, as the lump fell apart, embedded in a circular shape a small gold chain about ten inches in length of antique and quaint workmanship. At first Mrs. Gulp thought the chain had been dropped accidentally in the coal, but as she undertook to lift the chain up, the idea of its having been recently dropped was at once made fallacious, for as the lump of coal broke it separated almost in the middle, and the circular position of the chain placed the two ends near to each other, and as the lump separated, the middle of the chain became loosened while each end remained fastened to the coal.


This is a study for the students of archaeology who love to puzzle their brains over the geological construction of the earth from whose ancient depth the curious is always dropping out. The lump of coal from which this chain was taken is supposed to come from the Taylorville or Pana mines [southern Illinois] and almost hushes one's breath with mystery when it is thought for how many long ages the earth has been forming strata after strata which hid the golden links from view. The chain was an eight-carat gold and weighed eight penny-weights."

In a letter to Ron Calais, Mrs. Vernon W. Lauer, recently the publisher of The Morrisonville Times, stated:

"Mr. Gulp was editor and publisher of the Times in 1891. Mrs. Gulp, who made the discovery, moved to Taylorville after his death—remarried and her death occurred on February 3, 1959."

Calais told our research assistant (Stephen Bernath) that he had information the chain was given to one of Mrs. Gulp's relatives after her death, but Calais could not trace the chain further.

The Illinois State Geological Survey has said the coal in which the gold chain was found is 260-320 million years old. This raises the possibility that culturally advanced human beings were present in North America during that time.



The April 2, 1897 edition of the Daily News of Omaha, Nebraska, carried an article titled "Carved Stone Buried in a Mine," which described an object from a mine near Webster City, Iowa.


The article stated:

"While mining coal today in the Lehigh coal mine, at a depth of 130 feet, one of the miners came upon a piece of rock which puzzles him and he was unable to account for its presence at the bottom of the coal mine. The stone is of a dark grey color and about two feet long, one foot wide and four inches in thickness. Over the surface of the stone, which is very hard, lines are drawn at angles forming perfect diamonds. The center of each diamond is a fairly good face of an old man having a peculiar indentation in the forehead that appears in each of the pictures, all of them being remarkably alike.

Of the faces, all but two are looking to the right. How the stone reached its position under the strata of sandstone at a depth of 130 feet is a question the miners are not attempting to answer. Where the stone was found the miners are sure the earth had never before been disturbed."

Inquiries to the Iowa State Historical Preservation and Office of State Archaeology at the University of Iowa revealed nothing new.

The Lehigh coal is probably from the Carboniferous.



On January 10, 1949, Robert Nordling sent a photograph of an iron cup to Frank L. Marsh of Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, Michigan.


Nordling wrote:

"I visited a friend's museum in southern Missouri. Among his curios, he had the iron cup pictured on the enclosed snapshot."

At the private museum, the iron cup had been displayed along with the following affidavit, made by Frank J. Kenwood in Sulphur Springs, Arkansas, on November 27, 1948:

"While I was working in the Municipal Electric Plant in Thomas, Okla. in 1912, I came upon a solid chunk of coal which was too large to use. I broke it with a sledge hammer. This iron pot fell from the center, leaving the impression or mould of the pot in the piece of coal. Jim Stall (an employee of the company) witnessed the breaking of the coal, and saw the pot fall out. I traced the source of the coal, and found that it came from the Wilburton, Oklahoma, Mines."

According to Robert O. Fay of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, the Wilburton mine coal is about 312 million years old. In 1966, Marsh sent the photo of the cup and the correspondence relating to it to Wilbert H. Rusch, a professor of biology at Concordia College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Marsh stated:

"Enclosed is the letter and snap sent me by Robert Nordling some 17 years ago. When I got interested enough in this 'pot' (the size of which can be gotten at somewhat by comparing it with the seat of the straight chair it is resting on) a year or two later I learned that this 'friend' of Nordling's had died and his little museum was scattered. Nordling knew nothing of the whereabouts of the iron cup. It would challenge the most alert sleuth to see if he could run it down. . . . If this cup is what it is sworn to be, it is truly a most significant artifact."

It is an unfortunate fact that evidence such as this iron cup tends to get lost as it passes from hand to hand among people not fully aware of its significance.



On October 8, 1922, the American Weekly section of the New York Sunday American ran a prominent feature titled "Mystery of the Petrified 'Shoe Sole' 5,000,000 Years Old," by Dr. W. H. Ballou.


Ballou wrote:

"Some time ago, while he was prospecting for fossils in Nevada, John T. Reid, a distinguished mining engineer and geologist, stopped suddenly and looked down in utter bewilderment and amazement at a rock near his feet. For there, a part of the rock itself, was what seemed to be a human footprint! Closer inspection showed that it was not a mark of a naked foot, but was, apparently, a shoe sole which had been turned into stone. The forepart was missing.


But there was the outline of at least two-thirds of it, and around this outline ran a well-defined sewn thread which had, it appeared, attached the welt to the sole. Further on was another line of sewing, and in the center, where the foot would have rested had the object been really a shoe sole, there was an indentation, exactly such as would have been made by the bone of the heel rubbing upon and wearing down the material of which the sole had been made. Thus was found a fossil which is the foremost mystery of science today. For the rock in which it was found is at least 5,000,000 years old."

Reid brought the specimen to New York, where he tried to bring it to the attention of other scientists.

Reid reported:

"On arrival at New York, I showed this fossil to Dr. James F. Kemp, geologist of Columbia University; Professors H. F. Osborn, D. Matthew and E. O. Hovey of the American Museum of Natural History. All of these men reached the same conclusion, in effect that 'it was the most remarkable natural imitation of an artificial object they had ever seen.'


These experts agreed, however, that the rock formation was Triassic, and manufacturers of shoes agreed that originally the specimen was a hand-welted sole. Dr. W. D. Matthew wrote a brief report on the find declaring that while all the semblances of a shoe were present, including the threads with which it had been sewn, it was only a remarkable imitation, a lusus naturae, or 'freak of nature.'"

Curiously enough, an inquiry by us to the American Museum of Natural History resulted in a reply that the report by Matthew is not in their files.

Reid, despite Matthew's dismissal, nevertheless persisted:

"I next got hold of a microphotographer and an analytical chemist of the Rockefeller Institute, who, on the outside, so as not to make it an institute matter, made photos and analyses of the specimen. The analyses proved up [removed] any doubt of the shoe sole having been subjected to Triassic fossilization. . . . The microphoto magnifications are twenty times larger than the specimen itself, showing the minutest detail of thread twist and warp, proving conclusively that the shoe sole is not a resemblance, but is strictly the handiwork of man.


Even to the naked eye the threads can be seen distinctly, and the definitely symmetrical outlines of the shoe sole. Inside this rim and running parallel to it is a line which appears to be regularly perforated as if for stitches. I may add that at least two geologists whose names will develop someday have admitted that the shoe sole is valid, a genuine fossilization in Triassic rocks."

The Triassic rock bearing the fossil shoe sole is now recognized as being far more than 5 million years old. The Triassic period is now generally dated at 213-248 million years ago.



W. W. McCormick of Abilene, Texas, reported his grandfather's account of a stone block wall that was found deep within a coal mine:

"In the year 1928, I, Atlas Almon Mathis, was working in coal mine No. 5., located two miles north of Heavener, Oklahoma. This was a shaft mine, and they told us it was two miles deep. The mine was so deep that they let us down into it on an elevator. . . . They pumped air down to us, it was so deep."

This report was reprinted in a book by Brad Steiger. One evening, Mathis was blasting coal loose by explosives in "room 24" of this mine.

"The next morning," said Mathis, "there were several concrete blocks laying in the room. These blocks were 12-inch cubes and were so smooth and polished on the outside that all six sides could serve as mirrors. Yet they were full of gravel, because I chipped one of them open with my pick, and it was plain concrete inside."

Mathis added:

"As I started to timber the room up, it caved in; and I barely escaped. When I came back after the cave-in, a solid wall of these polished blocks was left exposed. About 100 to 150 yards farther down our air core, another miner struck this same wall, or one very similar."

The coal in the mine was probably Carboniferous, which would mean the wall was at least 286 million years old.
According to Mathis, the mining company officers immediately pulled the men out of the mine and forbade them to speak about what they had seen. This mine was closed in the fall of 1928, and the crew went to mine number 24, near Wilburton, Oklahoma.

Mathis said the Wilburton miners told of finding "a solid block of silver in the shape of a barrel. . . . with the prints of the staves on it." The coal from Wilburton was formed between 280 and 320 million years ago.

Admittedly, these are very bizarre stories, accompanied by very little in the way of proof. But such stories are told, and we wonder how many of them there are and if any of them are true.

In a book by M. K. Jessup, we recently ran across the following wall-in-coal-mine story:

"It is. . . . reported that James Parsons, and his two sons, exhumed a slate wall in a coal mine at Hammondville, Ohio, in 1868. It was a large, smooth wall, disclosed when a great mass of coal fell away from it, and on its surface, carved in bold relief, were several lines of hieroglyphics."

Of course, such stories could be tall tales, but they might also be leads for interesting research.

The foregoing sampling of discoveries indicating a relatively high level of civilization in very distant ages was compiled from reports published in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but similar reports continue up to the present day. We shall now review some of them.



Y. Druet and H. Salfati announced in 1968 the discovery of semi-ovoid metallic tubes of identical shape but varying size in Cretaceous chalk. The chalk bed, exposed in a quarry at Saint-Jean de Livet, France, is estimated to be least 65 million years old.


Having considered and eliminated several hypotheses, Druet and Salfati concluded that intelligent beings had lived 65 million years ago.

Desiring more information, we wrote to the geomorphology laboratory at the University of Caen, to which Druet and Salfati reportedly turned over their specimens, but we have not received a reply.


We invite readers to communicate to us any information they might have about this case or similar cases, for inclusion in future editions of this book.



In 1968, William J. Meister, a draftsman and amateur trilobite collector, reported finding a shoe print in the Wheeler Shale near Antelope Spring, Utah. This shoe-like indentation and its cast were revealed when Meister split open a block of shale. Clearly visible within the imprint were the remains of trilobites, extinct marine arthropods. The shale holding the print and the trilobite fossils is from the Cambrian, and would thus be 505 to 590 million years old.

Meister described the ancient shoe-like impression in an article that appeared in the Creation Research Society Quarterly:

"The heel print was indented in the rock about an eighth of an inch more than the sole. The footprint was clearly that of the right foot because the sandal was well worn on the right side of the heel in characteristic fashion."

Meister supplied the following important piece of additional information:

"On July 4, I accompanied Dr. Clarence Coombs, Columbia Union College, Tacoma, Maryland, and Maurice Carlisle, graduate geologist, University of Colorado at Boulder, to the site of the discovery. After a couple of hours of digging, Mr. Carlisle found a mud slab, which he said convinced him that the discovery of fossil tracks in the location was a distinct possibility, since this discovery showed that the formation had at one time been at the surface."

Scientists who were made aware of the Meister discovery were sometimes contemptuous in their dismissals.


This is evident from private correspondence supplied to us by George F. Howe of Los Angeles Baptist College, who requested that we quote from it anonymously. A geologist from Brigham Young University, quite familiar with the Antelope Springs region, wrote in 1981 that the track represented "an oddity of weathering which uninformed people mistakenly interpret for fossil forms."

A professor of evolutionary biology from a Michigan university stated, when asked about the Meister print:

"I am not familiar with the trilobite case. . . . but I would be greatly surprised if this isn't another case of fabrication or willful misrepresentation. There is not one case where a juxtaposition of this type has ever been confirmed. So far the fossil record is one of the best tests that evolution has occurred. I put the creationists and those that believe in a flat earth in the same category.


They simply do not want to believe in facts and hard evidence. There is not much you can do with such people. . . . Nothing has emerged in recent years to refute the fact that evolution has, and continues to occur, irrespective of what the self-proclaimed 'scientific' creationists claim. The ability of individuals in our society to be duped and brainwashed, either intentionally or unknowingly, by our mass media and certain leaders never ceases to amaze me."

The evolutionary biologist admitted he had not familiarized himself with the "facts and hard evidence" relating to the Meister sandal print before passing judgment. He was thus guilty of the same sin he accused the creationists of committing. We do not necessarily accept the Meister print as genuine, but we believe it should be evaluated on its own merits, rather than on the basis of inflexible preconceptions.

William Lee Stokes, a biologist and geologist at the University of Utah, examined the Meister print shortly after it was discovered. Stokes stated:

"After seeing the specimen I explained to Mr. Meister why I could not accept it as a footprint and why geologists in general would not accept it. At the very least, we would expect a true footprint to be one of a sequence showing right and left prints somewhat evenly spaced, of the same size and progressing regularly in one direction. . . . It is most significant that no other matching prints were obtained. I know of no instance where a solitary one-of-a-kind impression has been accepted and reported in a scientific journal as a genuine footprint no matter how well-preserved it might be."

But in an article that appeared in Scientific American in 1969, H. de Lumley reported a single humanlike footprint from the Middle Pleistocene habitation site at Terra Amata in southern France.

Stokes further stated:

"A true footprint should also show displacement or squeezing aside of the soft material into which the foot was pressed. . . . From my examination of this specimen I can say that there is no evidence of squeezing or pushing aside of the matrix."

In 1984, one of us (Thompson) visited Meister in Utah. Close inspection of the print revealed no obvious reason why it could not be accepted as genuine. Concerning squeezing aside of the matrix, much depends on the consistency of the matrix and the nature of the object making the imprint. The rounded contours of a bare foot result in more pushing aside of the matrix than the sharp edges of the soles of footwear.


We have observed that shoes and sandals can leave very sharp impressions in relatively compact, moist beach sand, with very little sign of pushing aside of the matrix. Shale, the rock in which the Meister print was made, is formed by the consolidation of clay, mud, or silt. One could microscopically examine the grain structure of the shale within the region of the print in order to determine whether or not there is any evidence suggesting that the print was not caused by pressure from above.

Stokes concluded that the Meister specimen was the result of spalling, a natural fracturing of the rock, and stated that the geology department of the University of Utah had in its collection several products of spalling, some resembling footprints. One would have to see these specimens to judge if they really resemble footprints to the extent the Meister specimen does. The shape of the Meister print, as shown by our visual inspection and computer analysis, almost exactly matches that of a modern shoeprint.

Furthermore, spalling normally occurs on the surfaces of rocks. The Meister print, however, was found in the interior of a block of shale that was split. Significantly, the shale in the region of the print is of a rougher texture than the shale on the other parts of the split block's surface. This suggests that the rock split where it did not accidentally but because of a line of weakness along the boundary of the two textures. One could, therefore, propose that an ancient shoe caused this shoe-shaped area of weakness. Alternatively, the area of weakness might have resulted from some other unknown cause, in which case the shoe-like shape is entirely coincidental. This would be a rather remarkable freak of nature, for the print does not even slightly depart from the shape of a genuine shoe.

The Meister print, as evidence for a human presence in the distant past, is ambiguous. Some scientists have dismissed the print after only cursory examination. Others have rejected it sight unseen, simply because its Cambrian age puts it outside the realm of what might be expected according to evolutionary theory.


We suggest, however, that the resources of empirical investigation have not yet been exhausted and that the Meister print is worthy of further research.



Over the past several decades, South African miners have found hundreds of metallic spheres, at least one of which has three parallel grooves running around its equator. According to an article by J. Jimison, the spheres are of two types—"one of solid bluish metal with white flecks, and another which is a hollow ball filled with a white spongy center."


Roelf Marx, curator of the museum of Klerksdorp, South Africa, where some of the spheres are housed, said:

"The spheres are a complete mystery. They look man-made, yet at the time in Earth's history when they came to rest in this rock no intelligent life existed. They're nothing like I have ever seen before."

We wrote to Roelf Marx for further information about the spheres. He replied in a letter dated September 12, 1984:

"There is nothing scientific published about the globes, but the facts are: They are found in pyrophyllite, which is mined near the little town of Ottosdal in the Western Transvaal. This pyrophyllite is a quite soft secondary mineral with a count of only 3 on the Mohs scale and was formed by sedimentation about 2.8 billion years ago. On the other hand the globes, which have a fibrous structure on the inside with a shell around it, are very hard and cannot be scratched, even by steel."

The Mohs scale of hardness is named after Friedrich Mohs, who chose ten minerals as references points for comparative hardness, with talc the softest (1) and diamond the hardest (10).

In his letter to us, Marx said that A. Bisschoff, a professor of geology at the University of Potchefstroom, told him that the spheres were "limonite concretions." Limonite is a kind of iron ore. A concretion is a compact, rounded rock mass formed by localized cementation around a nucleus.

Grooved Sphere from South Africa


One problem with the hypothesis that the objects are limonite concretions concerns their hardness. As noted above, the metallic spheres cannot be scratched with a steel point, indicating they are extremely hard. But standard references on minerals state that limonite registers only 4 to 5.5 on the Mohs scale, indicating a relatively low degree of hardness.


Furthermore, limonite concretions usually occur in groups, like masses of soap bubbles stuck together. They do not, it seems, normally appear isolated and perfectly round, as is the case with the objects in question. Neither do they normally appear with parallel grooves encircling them.

For the purposes of this study, it is the sphere with three parallel grooves around its equator that most concerns us. Even if it is conceded that the sphere itself is a limonite concretion, one still must account for the three parallel grooves.


In the absence of a satisfactory natural explanation, the evidence is somewhat mysterious, leaving open the possibility that the South African grooved sphere—found in a mineral deposit 2.8 billion years old—was made by an intelligent being.



In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries scientists found numerous stone implements and other artifacts in extremely old formations. They also discovered anatomically modern human skeletal remains in similarly ancient geological contexts.

Although these human bones originally attracted considerable attention, they are now practically unknown.


Most current literature gives one the impression that after the discovery of the first Neanderthal in the 1850s no significant skeletal finds were made until the discovery of Java man in the 1890s.



On December 1, 1899, Ernest Volk, a collector working for the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, discovered a human femur in a fresh railroad cut south of Hancock Avenue within the city limits of Trenton, New Jersey. The femur was found lying on a small ledge, 91 inches beneath the surface. Volk stated:

"About four inches over or above the bone. . . . was a place about the length of the bone where it evidently had fallen out of."

The human femur was photographed by Volk, who declared that the overlying strata immediately above and for some distance on either side of the find were undisturbed. Volk said that the femur was thoroughly fossilized. Two human skull fragments were taken from the same layer that yielded the femur.

In a letter dated July 30, 1987, Ron Witte of the New Jersey Geological Survey told us that the stratum containing the Trenton femur and skull fragments is from the Sangamon interglacial and is about 107,000 years old.


According to standard ideas, human beings of modern type arose in southern Africa about 100,000 years ago and migrated to America at most 30,000 years ago.


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