Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race

by Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson

Bhaktivedanta Institute




Forbidden Archeology is an extremely controversial book that has attracted a great deal of attention in the academic world. As might be expected, its anti-Darwinian thesis has provoked many negative reviews, some of which misrepresent the substance of the book. But even those who disagree with the book's conclusion have sometimes recognized it as a genuine scholarly contribution and correctly represented the substance of the book to their readers, as shown by the following excerpts.

"Michael Cremo, a research associate in history and philosophy of science, and Richard Thompson, a mathematician, challenge the dominant views of human origins and antiquity. This volume combines a vast amount of both accepted and controversial evidence from the archeological record with sociological, philosophical, and historical critiques of the scientific method to challenge existing views and expose the suppression of information concerning history and human origins." Journal of Field Archeology, Vol. 21, 1994, p. 112.

"I have no doubt that there will be some who will read this book and profit from it. Certainly it provides the historian of archeology with a useful compendium of case studies in the history and sociology of scientific knowledge, which can be used to foster debate within archaeology about how to describe the epistemology of one's discipline." Tim Murray, in British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 28, 1995, p. 379.

"It must be acknowledged that Forbidden Archeology brings to attention many interesting issues that have not received much consideration from historians; and the authors' detailed examination of the early literature is certainly stimulating and raises questions of considerable interest, both historically and from the prospective of practitioners of sociology of scientific knowledge." Jo Wodak and David Oldroyd, in Social Studies of Science, Vol. 26(1), 1996, p. 196.

"So has Forbidden Archeology made any contribution at all to the literature on palaeoanthropology? Our answer is a guarded 'yes', for two reasons. First, while the authors go in for overkill in terms of swamping the reader with detail . . . much of the historical material they resurrect has not been scrutinized in such detail before. Second, . . . Cremo and Thompson do raise a central problematic regarding the lack of certainty in scientific 'truth' claims." Jo Wodak and David Oldroyd, in Social Studies of Science, Vol. 26(1), 1996, p. 207.

"All the reasons and evidence why modern humans are not rather recent but most ancient." Cyprian Broodbank, in Antiquity, Vol. 67, December 1993, p. 904.

"The explicit aim of the authors is to reconcile paleoanthropology to the Vedic ideas that 'the human race is of great antiquity' and that 'various human and apelike beings have coexisted for a long time.'. . . The argument is simple: think of all the generalizations we can make about human evolution. Now think of all the exceptions, paradoxes, mistakes, and hoaxes. Now switch them. That is this book." Jonathan Marks, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 93(1), January 1994, p. 140.

"The theme of this book is that Homo sapiens 'existed on earth millions of years ago' and that this fact has been suppressed or ignored by the scientific establishment because it contradicts the dominant views of human origins and antiquity. To prove this theory, the authors go over the history of the principal discoveries bearing on human evolution and they review much of the evidence which concerns human origins, especially that which does not agree with the 'dominant paradigm.'" Ethology, Ecology, and Evolution, Volume 6, 1994, p. 461.

"Forbidden Archeology . . . argues that anatomically modern humans have existed for hundreds of millions of years, disproving the theory of human evolution; it makes no specific claims about other kinds of biotic evolution. The book also claims that archeologists have become a 'knowledge filter' since the 19th century, laboring under a predisposition to ignore evidence for anatomically modern humans having existed for millions of years. . . . The authors have worked hard in collecting and quoting an enormous amount of material, most of it from the 19th- and early 20th-century, certainly interesting for its historical perspective." Wade Tarzia, in Creation/Evolution, Vol. 14(1), 1994, p. 13.

"While decidedly antievolutionary in perspective, this work is not the ordinary variety of antievolutionism in form, content, or style. In distinction to the usual brand of such writing, the authors use original sources and the book is well written. Further, the overall tone of the work is far superior to that exhibited in ordinary creationist literature. . . . The authors base virtually their entire book on a literature search and most (though not all) of that literature dates to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In so doing, the authors have resurrected nineteenth-century claims of 'Tertiary Man, apparently superimposing on this a belief in the instantaneous appearance of anatomically modern Homo sapiens at some point in the very distant past, asserting that the evidence for this is at least as good, and usually better, than that cited for a much later and evolutionary origin for our species." Kenneth L. Feder, in Geoarchaeology, Vol. 9(4), 1994, p. 338.

"This enormous volume, 914 pages, dedicated to the hidden history of humanity, is surprising. What is, then, this forbidden archeology? Having passed the first moment of surprise, one quickly opens this book and one flips through it with interest. The first part presents the abnormal (not accepted) evidence--for example, cut and fractured bones, supposedly from man, discovered in Tertiary caves; or the eoliths that have made a lot of ink flow; or human remains found in California in the Pliocene or Eocene periods; and the footprints of humans observed in the Pennsylvanian (Upper Carboniferous) of Rockcastle in Kentucky. The authors tell about the historical records of these discoveries and the polemics they gave rise to but do not give conclusive judgments. The second part of the book discusses conventional evidence--hominids from Java and China (Zhoukoudian among others) and also the fossil man of Piltdown. Africa, with the most ancient discoveries of remains of Australopithecus, is not forgotten. There again, for about a hundred pages, the authors describe the historical records and discussions related to these fossils, including their relationship with the 'true hominids.' Three appendixes end the book. One concerns the chemical and radiometric analyses of disputed human bones. Another concerns evidence for the existence of cultures from ancient periods (Tertiary, Secondary). The third appendix summarizes the abnormal evidence for human antiquity, from the Precambrian (metallic spheres from the site of Ottosdalin in the Republic of South Africa) to the end of the Pleistocene. M. Cremo and R. Thompson have willfully written a provocative work that raises the problem of the influence of the dominant ideas of a time period on scientific research. These ideas can compel the researchers to orient their analyses according to the conceptions that are permitted by the scientific community. . . . The documentary richness of this work, more historical and sociological than scientific, is not to be ignored." Marylene Patou-Mathis, in L'Anthropologie, Vol. 99(1), 1995, p. 159.

"This is a catalogue and discussion of numerous Precambrian to Pleistocene fossils and artifacts accepted by some as evidence of 'anatomically modern humans.' The authors tend to credit these reports at face value and argue that these 'facts' are being ignored by the scientific establishment. . . . The descriptions and extensive bibliography of obscure references will be very useful to a 'main stream' scientist." Journal of Geological Education, Vol. 43, 1995, p. 193.

"This book by Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson promises to lift the veil of silence that conceals disturbing ideas on the earliest antiquity of mankind. According to the authors, Darwinian orthodoxy tendentiously eliminates archeological evidence showing that Homo sapiens is not a recent product of evolution and that he has long shared the earth with numerous apelike hominids, from which he cannot be descended." Wiktor Stoczkowski, in L'Homme, Vol. 35, 1995, p. 173.

"Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson are to be congratulated on spending eight years producing the only definitive, precise, exhaustive, and complete record of practically all the fossil finds of man, regardless of whether they fit the established scientific theories or not. To say that the research is painstaking is a wild understatement. No other book of this magnitude and calibre exists. It should be compulsory reading for every first year biology, archaeology, and anthropology student–and many others, too." John Davidson, in International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, August 1994, p. 28.

"Forbidden Archeology takes the current conventions of decoding to their extreme. The authors find modern Homo sapiens to be continuous contemporaries of the apelike creatures from whom evolutionary biologists usually trace human descent or bifurcation, thus confirming those Vedic sources that presume the nearly illimitable antiquity of the human race . . . . Decoding certain chipped flints or 'eoliths' as, many of them, very ancient stone tools, and recoding other evidence others have rejected either as hoaxes or natural phenomena (metallic spheres, shoe prints, iron nails and gold threads in old stone, carvings, footprints), Cremo and Thompson discern the working presence of anatomically modern humans as far back as the Cambrian era. . . . Forbidden Archeology reads surprisingly well for what is basically an 828-page critical catalogue of two centuries of archeological evidence doubted or spurned by Western scientists." Hillel Schwarz, in Journal of Unconventional History, Vol. 6(1), 1994, pp. 75-76.