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A Truly Revolutionary Work, Whatever Its Flaws
on March 29, 2001
This book was not unlike many others before and since which suggest Precolumbian transoceanic contact. The thing that sets it apart is the fact that Barry Fell had a mastery of ancient languages and epigraphy that may never have been bettered. His legacy will endure long after those who slandered and libeled him are classified alongside those ninnies who claim the Moon landings were hoaxed.
A few corrections to some misconceptions, some of which are found in other reviews of this title:
The Mystery Hill megalithic structures in Vermont were NOT built by colonial farmers. A colonial era family did once live on the site, but the major structures already existed when those folks arrived. The serious study of the site began years ago, and has entered the hallowed halls of academia. The site was constructed thousands of years ago, long before the freakin' Pilgrims. There's a nice website, the URL for which I'd include, but that's not permitted in reviews. Anyone who has visited the Mystery Hill site (now billed as "America's Stonehenge") would be able to see how foolish and simpleminded it was to suggest a colonial origin -- the entire hilltop is covered by rows of stones laid out not as orderly pastures or pens, but in a way that is not unlike Glastonbury tor and other mazelike "Old World" sites.
The Vikings did reach the Americas. There's an unequivocally Viking site on Newfoundland that has been known and excavated for over 30 years. Even before that was identified, the Newport Round Tower was shown to be Viking in origin, although there remains plenty of denial of this fact. Verazzano saw the tower, and sent a landing party ashore to investigate the area, during his mapping expedition which took place long before the first governor of Rhode Island was born, making it difficult for the latter character to have built the Tower. An excavation to prove a colonial origin did take place, but not surprisingly the conclusions fit the original assumptions.
The Americas have a large number of existing foreign inscriptions predating Columbus, and other well documented examples formerly existed but have been destroyed by development, vandalism, and the march of time. There are those who deny the existence of these, but such folks have no credibility. Fell didn't go beyond his data, in fact he spent quite a lot of time examining and exposing as hoaxes a number of supposed ancient inscriptions.
Another foolish idea is that a ship could have been wrecked, and seeds, artifacts, and other traces of human activity could float across the Atlantic or Pacific, without a crew, and recovered on the shore by Native Americans. But a fully crewed ship could not have crossed. This is despite the fact that such claims originate with landlubbers, and wrecked ships go right to the bottom.
Contrary to what "Please don't believe this book" wrote August 29, 1999, Barry Fell didn't "claim that scientists are just trying to cover up the truth". This is just the most childish slander that I've seen in these reviews. The bias against any contact before Columbus arose late in the 19th century and by the early decades of the 20th century was a religion. When the first Clovis artifacts were found, the dating was attacked because the religion said that no one had lived in the Americas prior to about 1000 BC. After Clovis prevailed, the religion became "Clovis First and Only". Tom Dillehay has spent about twenty years being ridiculed and attacked for finding that PreClovis site in South America, far from the supposed landbridge ingress of all the ancestors of Native Americans. Although there are some trying to dig in their heels and defend CFAO, it is essentially dead.
One has to wonder why the irrational devotion to such a ridiculous idea as isolation has endured regarding human occupation of the Americas, Japan, and Australia, among other places. In the case of the Americas, PreColumbian contact would mean that various claims on the land were not the first. As ridiculous as that seems, if a Roman wreck were identified, say, off the coast of Brazil, that could mean that Italy has a claim that supercedes that of Portugal. Such an event has occurred, and the underwater archaeologist trying to study it was kicked off the site by the Brazilian government.
Barry Fell's work, particularly that found in ESOP, was and remains revolutionary. The Epigraphic Society has a website, and James Trimm maintains a mail list on epigraphy with an interest in ancient navigators.
In 1978 Barry Fell published translations of Etruscan, showing that it belonged to the Anatolian group of languages, including Minoan which is expressed in Linear A. Likewise, he noted the elements of the much later Petrachian sonnet in a surviving pre-Roman Etruscan inscription. That the internal architecture of some Etruscan tombs is identical with Minoan tombs which were made by a culture supposedly long gone nearly a thousand years earlier was pointed out by another heretical scholar, Hans Wunderlich, in his "The Secret of Crete" (ISBN 0026316005 or 0285621645).
Although Immanuel Velikovsky must have been unaware of these two developments, the elimination of the phony "dark age" of Greece in his reconstruction of history is consistent with and supported by both. It's interesting that in "Ramses II and His Time" (p 90, ISBN 1568490240) Velikovsky suggested that the "Hittite" library preserved an extensive library of Etruscan, since the misdating of the archive will have prevented such an identification.
"Removing the historical scene to where it belongs, namely, to the seventh and sixth centuries before the present era, we wonder which of these languages is Chaldean, which Phrygian, which Lydian, which Median, which perchance Etruscan, spoken by a people who came to Italy from Asia Minor... 'Hittite' was the language most commonly used during the Empire period. Modern scholarship found that Lydian 'seems to be Hittite' -- the Lydian and the 'Hittite' kingdoms were contemporary, and used the same language. Hurrian... is but a mistaken name for Carian."
Other books by Barry Fell:
-:- Saga America
-:- Bronze Age America
Also see my ListMania lists.