My new favorite show is Scott Wolter’s American Unearthed. His show takes a scientific approach to controversial topics.
Today, I’m commenting on the Michigan copper episode, where Scott investigates the idea that Minoans mined copper and tin in Michigan 5000 years ago.
I’m not an expert in the techniques used by either the mainstream academics or alternative theorists, but I attempt to use my science and math training to evaluate both sides.
This episode of Unearthed begins with the uncovering of the Newberry Tablet.
As you can see it is engraved with a grid of odd symbols. These symbols turn out to be Minoan-Hittite. The tablet was found in Michigan BEFORE the Minoan culture was identified in Crete and supposedly before anyone even knew these symbols existed. This makes a hoax, unless done by a clairvoyant, nearly impossible, but the Smithsonian did label it a hoax, largely because they had never seen the symbols before.
Here are my observations about the tablet:
1. The stone tablet has deteriorated very rapidly since it was discovered 100+ years ago, so how did it survive in near pristine shape in an open field for 5000 years? This is a major problem for me, and discredits the proposed age of the tablet unless some explanation can be produced.
2. It is interesting that the tablet seems to be an array of symbols, like a tool for teaching a,b, c’s, not a text or message. One website says it translates into a pray to the gods for luck.
Next Scott shows us a rock engraving of a sailing boat [NOTE: the linked article is a detailed study of the Michigan copper by Jay Stuart Wakefield].
It could be Viking, Minoan, or Greek or almost anything. I’ve never seen a Native American boat with a sail, so I’m going to assume that it doesn’t represent an American boat. However, it is rather important to know if the engraving is 50 years old or 5000 years old.
Two important factors in this puzzle are the amount of the Michigan copper removed and its purity.
Volume of copper removed from Michigan: It is accepted knowledge that copper was mined in Michigan 5000 years ago. It has also been mined in historical times as well. I think it is pretty clear that the Native Americans used very little copper for weapons or art [This article contends that Native Americans mined the copper and supports it with information about an emerging copper culture among the natives]. The statements in the previously linked article aside, I believe it is possible to determine, with sufficient degree of accuracy, how much unaccounted for copper was mined in ancient times.
Estimate total volume of copper removed: Done by sampling the extent of the mining, the ore content of historically mined copper, and then extrapolating to a total volume. This idea is said to be unscientific at other websites, but such estimations were used continually by Enrico Fermi. The Drake Equation is an example of it. For starters, classify mines into several types, use historical records to estimate average return across mines by type, use forensics and historical record to separate ancient from modern mines, etc. You do not have to get an exact amount of ancient copper removed, but only an order of magnitude. If the mines were used by Europeans, you only need to show that 10 times or more the projected use by natives was recovered. If your estimates imply a smaller amount, then they don’t support the European theory.
Estimate and subtract total volume done in historical times: This should be possible from historical records.
Estimate the amount of copper used by Native Americans: Native Americans probably had other sources of copper that should be considered, e.g. the Southwestern sources like Santa Rita, Bisbee, and other modern copper mines. Estimate the total use of copper by Americans from the archeological record, extrapolate to cover undiscovered sites.
From the above a good estimate of the “missing” copper can be made. We know it had to go somewhere.
Purity of Michigan copper: Scott points out that the purity surpasses sources in Europe and matches the purity found in Minoan ingots of the Uluburun shipwreck. At first I thought this was bogus, being that all smelted copper would be highly pure. I though the amount and type of impurities in Michigan copper should be matched to the impurities in the Minoan shipwreck copper. However, I learned that ingots prepared for shipping are not highly refined and normally contain large amounts of impurities, so a highly pure ingot is significant. It turns out that the Minoan ingots have Michigan levels of purity. I still think other aspects of both Michigan and Minoan copper need to be compared to firm up the analysis.
The argument that the Minoans did not have the ships to navigate the rough Atlantic: Professor Cemal Pulak from Texas A & M Nautical Archeology says that the Minoan ships were not seaworthy for the Atlantic. From the start, he is an expert and I’m not—but I must point out that Vikings roamed the North Atlantic in boats about the same size and that skimmed the water like a leaf. Some claim they only drafted six inches. Furthermore, ancient sailors could hug the coast of Europe hopping from port to port. They could hop across the North Atlantic from island to island. Thus a one way trip could take two or more warm seasons. It the cargo were valuable enough, certainly they might tolerate wintering over once or twice along the way.
Lastly, I researched Richard the Lionhearted for my third book, Seekers of the Scroll. Of particular interest was the moving of troops across the Mediterranean during the crusades. The Mediterranean is far from a benign sea, and in crusader days, ports were closed for winter season from about October through April. The fact that Crete gets snow on its mountains is an indicator of this. So if Minoan ships could negotiate the Mediterranean, could they not also negotiate the Atlantic, particularly if a coast hugging, port hopping route were taken?
I don’t discount the idea that Minoans came to Michigan, but neither do I believe it has been solidly proven with the limited information given on the show. However, if a good estimate of the volume of copper mined in ancient times plus a more thorough qualitative comparison of the copper and impurities would solidify the theory for me. Also a discovery of Minoan ports along the Atlantic coast of Europe would go a long way toward proving the point.
A wild card alternative would be that the copper was mined by the Atlantians. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. There recently was a scientific search for Atlantis and a likely site was found on the coast of Spain. It is believed plausible that the Minoan culture was the fabled Atlantis, and that Santorini was its capital. What if the Spanish site were an outpost of the Minoan culture and indeed Atlantians and Minoans were the same people?
Link to one more essay on this subject
See Vinca Civilisation: http://www.ebritic.com/?p=607506
The easy assessable michigan copper vein is covered in the Urantia Book
The Giants of North America and beyond the first …
The Native American Legend of the Sleeping Giant and …
I would encourage those with interest in gaining a better understanding of the bronze age and where much of the raw copper material came from to consult the writings found in the Urantia Book. It is a pity that much of our planets history has been hidden and lost by our own mortal men and woman interested only in the pursuits of power, control, of wealth and prosperity in a modern world.
What a great discussion of the great lakes copper matter.
Traces of Minoans in Michigan and Crete are pertinent to my study of the ancient people of the Great Lakes Area circa BCE 2200-300, and my efforts to know them better.
I invite you to visit CoriantumLegend.com for an intro to what could well have been titled ‘The last Minoan in America’.
Anyone interested in the subject should find it stimulating. I hope many will find it so.
I have been in the R&D/T&E field working with metals and composite materials in some of the greatest labs in the world. Around 1991 I came across two copper knives or spear heads from Germany. I bought them at an estate sale. I have read all I can find on the copper objects. I also came across a copper axe with a boar tooth at one end. The items are in good shape and NDT performed. I would welcome any insight on them.
Have you taken them to a university having staff who are knowledgeable regarding Copper Age instruments? I think that would be your best bet.
Let’s look at time lines of the copper mines which mining ended about the same time that the Templar collapsed ?? Why is there nothing found in the mining areas if there was people there should have been settlements ?? It seemed that somebody did a attemp to hide proof of mining and quit mining overnight ,! The Indians were not miners by all records. And something started the broze age in Europe!
There’s one slight problem with the Minoans story- how did they get there ships past the Niagara Falls and the St. Mary River? For them to pull that much copper, large ships would be needed- and there would be relics left from camps as well as written records left in their homelands in the Mediterranean Sea…
There is a long history of mining for lithic resources in the Isle Royale area including for 1000s of years before the copper was mined by the Paleo-Indians………. immediately north of Isle Royale, within visual sight of it today, is the 200 hectare Cummins quarry, workshop, and habitation site used for the acquisition of tactonite for stone tools and as this starts to run out (for a number of reasons) more and more copper artifacts are found (i.e. as lake levles drop and more and more of Isle Royale becomes exposed).
Lithic, to me means stone, i.e. most often a flint-like substance capable of being chipped to hold an edge. Obsidian, volcanic glass is also used. where I grew up there was no shortage of this type of material. It makes sense that difficulty in finding lithic, or more simply “stone” material would push a culture toward an alternative, such as copper. They might also just discover that copper has properties that make it superior to stone. I would expect any culture to eventually move up the ladder of materials if they exist long enough. I’m not sure this tells us anything about the possibility of contact with another culture which may have already moved into the next material age.
Being that receding water is revealing more artifacts, you would think divers would get in the water and hurry the recovery process along. If you feel knowledgeable about this subject or just curious, you are welcome to offer an article to post here.
I have read this blog with considerable interest. I was there the day Scott was shown the ship carving he used on that show. However, the key to this discussion is has anyone really studied this mystery. i have written a little book called, “The Ancient mines of Kitchi-Gummi.” It is available on Amazon for $4.95 as an e-book and there several used print ones available also. This book was first written and published in 2000. I would be willing to explain why ships could reach lake superior. It is necessary to understand about Glacial uplift to figure that out.
The reason why none of your readers have not heard the story is quite simple. It has been covered up for over a hundred years. Take a look at my web site (jewellhistories.com) for more information. Over the last 15 years I have sold 4000 copies and not one Archaeologist has been able to challenge it. They simple will not read it or talk about it. Of course the natives did the mining they were trading the copper to the Minoan traders.
These traders lived with them for over a thousand years. I can’t explain it all hear but the story is interesting. A local historian also did a wonderful book on the subject. his name was Fred Rydholm. If you want to learn any thing you must study. It took me 14 years of research before I could write that little book. Roger L. Jewell Jan 16, 2015
As you can see, I haven’t written much lately about Scott’s show. Although I think the show is improving in its presentation, none of the subjects this season have caught my imagination. As I said before, I’m busy trying to finish my second novel. There is a third in draft, a fourth in concept, and a novella in partial draft. I also said before that this copper mine thing can be approached scientifically by estimating the amount of copper extracted and also used in the Western Hemisphere. One big issue is there have been no artifacts of Mediterranean people, camp sites, etc. found and verified in North America. The Vikings were here a very short time and in small numbers, yet their camp has been found and their very limited artifacts uncovered. How is it that the Minoans were here a long time and yet, little to none, of their artifacts have been found? You are welcome however to post an article about your story at this blog site. Contact me by email from the right hand column of the webpage and I’ll discuss it with you.
Sorry. Try again
The Vikes were here for a very long time and in vast numbers. Read America BC.
Never read anything by Barry Fell before and find that he wrote this stuff ages ago. The only one at a reasonable price is the one you mentioned. the others stretch toward outrageous in price, until I read, I can’t comment on content.
I’m troubled by the geographical issues. Even if a minioan or I thomh there was a seafaring people in btittany called the veneti, got across the Atlantic there was no easily navigable passage through the Great Lakes. A ship would have to get by the Rapids at Montreal and then portage from say Lake Huron to Ontario around present day Toronto. And then portage around Montreal area. That means camps and other logistical settlements. Maybe via trade routes the Europeans could trade for access similar to the Silk Road where the final customers had no real idea on all the different groups delivering the goods over thousands of miles, read Adam smith on how trade routes work. But then you have to wonder without horses how the paleoindians tmoved such weight. Water route makes most sense but see my above points on poetages neede in the Great Lakes. Down the Mississippi is doubtful as the he trip across the static with sail around Florida would take over a year at a few knots. If there was trade in copper with Europe, the ships would have taken a northern route again suggesting evidence from the saint lawarence channel and Great Lakes. The only other route might be a portage around Niagra falls into Ontario and then about a 40 mile land trip to the Mohawk river to the Hudson and to present day New York city. I grew up in western my and remember some guy who claimed to have found roman coins I. The Mohawk river but it wasn’t proved and that is a little late in the timeline. It’s fun to conjecture on this but until real evidence is found its just a very long shot theory. How about side scan sonar around isle royale?
They left their DNA … Look in wikipedia… Haplotype x2… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/haplotype_x
Based on the article you reference I would say that it is far from conclusive.
Not too sure how old the article you quote is. It seems pretty uncommitted on the DNA sharing European and Native American. Read this, it is more definitive.
It was in this blog
bc Wikki anything is completely factual?
Just saw the program and I’m highly skeptical by nature, but how would have the Minoans found out about the copper in a small island in one of the Great Lakes? An email from the native inhabitants? “To whom it may concern, we have copper.” LOL … This show is a little more believable than Ancient Aliens but wow, the History Channel is less about history and more about pseudohistory
If you can believe that they got to the East Coast, then it isn’t difficult to believe that they would learn about a major copper source, even without e-mail. It’s called trade routes. Seashells from the West Coast have been found in pre-pueblo sites in New Mexico. Also turkeys and tropic birds were imported to Chaco Canyon. I’m sure there are many exanples of trade between tribes across the continent. So the issue becomes, could the Minoans get here?
Yes, ad an example it clan ne mentioned that the romana import ed solo from a piace they called Series, actually it was China, the trade trip was not taken by a single group, bit there were at least three intermediares between the romans (in black sea) , an the chinese that had an outpost in Gobi deserto known ad li-kiang. The intermediaries were scithians, arabs, indians, mongols (as alternative routes or steps in the same route)
Seres … The tablet did a mess!
It would be difficult to believe that the Native Americans, Stone Age people, had trade routes across multiple cultures and the Romans did not. I hate my tablet too, but it’s light weight for travel. I can buy a separate key board which would help, but the added cost isn’t worth it to me. I don’t write much when traveling. What should I write about the Oak Island series? I’m busy finishing my novel and don’t really have time to put down much. Also Marco Polo in the US? I see those stone walls everywhere. It’s what people do when they clear stones out of a field.
I love the TV show of Science it gets your brain to thinking about possibilitys of life its full of wonder.There have been many people and life here before us get over yourself as being so important.They left us clues
look around you.Gold ,silver,copper metals have been sought after forever,precios metals,and more.We have a lot to learn about our
earth some some of it will shock and rock your beleifs.Many people before us were far more intelligent then us we have tec but I don’t know
how it works or how to build it how many people do where is all this tec
coming from not here we have to many stupids myself included.
The people from Niberu gave us a lot it used us inprove our dna with theres.Every 3600 year Naburu comes into our orbit the 12 planet
from the outer solar system look it up on the computer I did.She has a elipital orbit not a circle.But when she comes we will flood as in Noahs time until then make your time meaningfull to you.Love
and took our gold
I’m guessing that Ancient Aliens is your favorite show!
Not to be nitpicky, but it’s “Newberry,” not “Newbury.”
Fixed. It was correct in the other spot.
Have there been any shipwrecks with copper aboard ever found in the North Atlantic? Just one? With the billions of tons brought to Europe you would think the odds of many sinking are pretty high.
I suppose if one were found then the idea would no longer be speculation. I think billions of tons is an exaggeration. Billions of pounds might be possible, but that is three orders of magnitude less than tons (2000 pounds each). I don’t even have an idea how many pounds of copper were used in the entire Copper Age, but I would not be surprised if it were on the order of 100,000’s of pounds not tons and not billions. An archeologist familiar which the typical amount of copper possessed by a community could extrapolate over an estimated number of communities and time and come up with a number.
We do know that the Spaniards took tons of precious metals from Central and South America, and many ships were sunk in shallow water along the Gulf Coast. Despite that, only a few have been found.
I think the idea that the copper was taken to Europe in great quantities is a stretch, but if proven, it likely will be by finding evidence on land, not at the bottom of the ocean.
Google:first minoan wreck
Am i crazy?or is there a face in pic of the boat,left side with his head extending up?
You could be crazy. Are you accused of that frequently? I can barely see the boat, let alone a face, but you could not be crazy and just have better eyesight than I. Go to the optometrist first. If that doesn’t help then try the psychiatrist.
Just saw a rerun of the America Unearthed “Great Lakes Copper Heist” and what a load of hooey! I’m surprised that they haven’t come up with a theory of space aliens coming down and removing the cooper! Early in the episode, our host is told that “over 1-1/2 Billion of pounds of copper” were estimated to be missing and that it would take “10,000 people a 1,000 years” to move that quantity from the Great Lakes to where ever! In 1000 years of supposed mining no traces are left behind: no bits of pottery, jewelry, bones, garbage in settlements from the Atlantic, up the St. Lawrence, no written maps, charts, writings of any kind through 1000 years of mining! Through all the overland routes climbing up from sea level to the 608′ ASL level of Lake Superior and Isle Royale and the other mining areas.
All of the supposed “ancient” legends and native American pictographs are of modern history origin from the 1500’s on. When we told them our fairy tale stories and they told us there’s.
The only proven and verified European settlement in North America is that of the Vikings and their settlements found in Newfoundland ca. 1000 CE. There settlements lasted about 50 years because the native Americans were extremely hostile and drove the Vikings out North America (who weren’t too shabby at using the sword but didn’t have the very effective bow and arrow!)
I don’t doubt that native Americans had a very effective trading system from the interior to both coasts and that there would be the odd lost European fishing boat that would make accidental landfall somewhere along the Atlantic coast and intermingle with the natives if they were friendly and spend the rest of there days here and “contaminate” the native culture with their’s but no proof of that inter-cultural contamination exists prior to 1000 C.E. which is proven. Space aliens mining copper makes more sense given the amount of copper that supposedly was removed. There’s more pictograph evidence of space aliens and flying objects all through North America then boats with sails.
Anyway, people tend to believe in the totally improbably explanation than in the simple solution. The estimates of “missing” copper are way off. Copper mining started nearly 7,000 years ago. By the time the Bronze age was in high swing across the pond, nearly 3000 years of copper extraction had been going on over here! Give the native Americans some credit, eh? They were mining, smelting and making copper tools (mainly) and also trading it with other native Americas. So, if you use the shows math figures (10,000 people for 1,000 years mining 1.5 billion pounds of copper), I could easily say that only 3,500 native Americans a year, mining copper for 3,000 years, could easily mine the same amount.
I’m sorry but the “facts” just don’t jive with historical records and facts. Not one bit of native America culture showed up in Europe until the 1500’s and vice versa.
Oh, well. People still believe in ghosts and goblins well into the 21st century. Halloween (Samhain pronounced “Sah ween”) being the classic Celtic festival of the literal “Night of the Living Dead” still alive and well 3000 years later! Such is our innate human character fault in believing in fairy tales!
To each his/her own delusions, eh?
You make some good points. In “The Thirteenth Warrior” film and book, both by Michael Crichton, there is a Viking archer. Michael was a very thorough researcher and, in fact, bows have been found that had the pull strength of 100 lbs. It appears that the Vikings did not rely on them as a mainstay in battle. The North American natives may not have had swords but they did have some nasty clubs with a ball of hard wood or stone that could shatter a skull, collar bone, or forearm with one swing. The Aztecs had swords made from wood with edges of obsidian. In any case, when you are heavily outnumbered and unwanted, you aren’t going to do too well.
Ötyi, the Ice Man, dates to about 3000 BC. That’s roughly 5000 years ago. According to Wikipedia, the oldest European example of “high temperature copper making” dates 7500 years ago. Since the Native Americans and Old World people began using copper about the same time, one may wonder why alloying and other metal advances occurred in the Old World, but not here. The answer may be that a Native American could knap a flint tool in a matter of minutes and therefore did not see a need for copper tools.
One problem with Scott’s episodes is there never is a settlement, with necessities of life artifacts from the supposed ancient explorers. Single artifacts, messages, etc. without evidence of an everyday living situation are difficult to accept. I was hoping Scott would shift to some of the more plausible tales, such as the Lost Dutchman Mine in Arizona. I suspect there are enough of these to produce some interesting shows. Well maybe someone else will.
I am waiting for the day when a Native American tests genetically to have a Viking ancestor from about 1000 AD, or the reverse happens in Norway.
Anyway thanks for stopping by.
native americans were still in the stone age when we arrived 300 years ago…so no…they were not smelting anything that we know of certainly not the amounts we are talking
I’m not sure what defines the end of a material age, is it the first instant that the more advanced material is used, or when it becomes the predominate material. It certainly cannot be the former. Also is a transition applied to the whole population of a continent or would it be applied culture by culture?
Native Americans were using copper when we arrived. Whether or not they were using it to the extent to explain the Michigan mining is really the question. I suggested that we guesstimate the amount of copper used and guesstimate the amount of copper mined and compare the magnitudes of the two. If mining is 10, 100 or more, then some explanation for where it went is required; otherwise not.
A question I have not seen posited to Mr Wolter is: why would Minoans travel all the way to the U.P. of Michigan when there were significant copper deposits in nearby Israel and Syria that were worked and well known at the time the Minoans existed that had huge deposits of copper? I saw the episode and I appreciate Scott’s scientific approach to this question. at the end however he glossed over the comparison of trace elements in the Minoan and U.P. copper. Purity is one question but an exact match of impurities would seal the question much more thoroughly. I am very curious as to how the Minoans could have possibly known about the “new world” much less the U.P. copper deposit. I don’t think this was addressed in the episode.
It’s clear that the show does not intend to address any of the topics thoroughly. Pretty much no one hour show is going to introduce a comprehensive study, particularly regarding the fringe things introduced on this show. I wish it were otherwise. In fact, I would prefer a whole season dedicated to one ideal and the examination of evidence, for and against it. Most people get bored with the details; they just want WOW here, and WOW there.
Getting back to the copper show. As I recall, one of the key premises was that all the Michigan copper was needed to fuel the Copper Age. Allegedly the Middle Eastern copper deposits were not enough, or unknown, or politically unavailable.
As far as knowing where the American copper was: Trade with natives.
The big issue, as I see it, was whether Minoan boats were sufficiently reliable to engage in cross Atlantic commerce. I think it is always possible for a few boats to cross the Atlantic or Pacific, and become absorbed into the population or get killed off, but establishing a commercial route is much more difficult.
I think a string of Minoan ports will need to be discovered along the coast of Europe and in America near the St. Lawrence, if the Minoan theory is going anywhere.
The stone tablet can not be a fake since it was unearthed four years before the Minoan/Hittite writing and Minoan culture were “discovered” by essentially backwoodsmen. Only the academic archeological fraternity [perhaps mafia would be more appropriate] would attempt to cast doubt on its authenticity. As to whether Europeans came to the Americas before Columbus is no longer in doubt eg the vikings in Newfoundland, the Basque whaling station on the east coast. If a ship can sail the Med, get to England from the Med it can certainly cross the Atlantic. The vikings did in vessels not unlike the ones depicted on Minoan frescoes. I circumnavigated on a 42 foot sailboat and according to Gavin Menzies’ approximation of the Minoan ships they had much bigger boats than I did.
Thanks for the information. I’d read that it was likely that the Basques had been here, but I didn’t know that a station had been found. If you can cite a reference, I would greatly appreciate it. Of course Thor Heyerdahl pretty much proved that the Pacific and the Atlantic could be crossed by primitive boats, even though the Ra didn’t make it all the way. His type of crossing would allow small parties to migrate, but would not be the basis of commerce between the continents. I have no doubt that, as time goes on, other surprising stuff will be found.
I visited Red Bay in Labrador, UNESCO world heritage site of Basques.
What is the date on their occupation there? Pre-Columbian? I didn’t realize that there was a proven Basque site. So the answer to my question is that it is a whaling station from about 1500-1700. Still an interesting site.
According to wikipedia the Basque ships are from 1562, long after Columbus and the Vikings. There is no mystery here.
Yeah. The Basque station that was found in North America is of that date. It doesn’t preclude an earlier date being found sometime in the future.
First of all, while I’m not an expert on Linear B (the Minoan written language), comparing that tablet to examples of Linear B shows only a couple symbols that look even remotely similar. So I doubt it is actually Minoan. But the bigger question is, does this theory even make sense? No. For it to be true, this would be an enormous undertaking. The Minoans would have to sail across the Mediterranean, so they’d have to establish colonies in Italy, North Africa, and Spain, which there is to my knowlege no evidence of. Then they would have to sail up the Atlantic coast, establishing bases there, which there is no evidence of. Then they would have to cross the Atlantic and establish colonies on the coast of North America. Again no evidence. Then, upon discovering this new continent, they would have to decide to explore farther inland than any Greek ever had to back home, through dense forest inhabited by native tribes, many of whom would likely be hostile. Then, find their way to the Great Lakes, discover copper, establish another colony, and begin mining. Now you have to send enough people to establish permanent settlements and bases along the way from the mines to the coast, with enough soldiers to defend against Indian raids, and the same for all the ones in Northern Europe, Spain, Italy, etc. Then transport the copper back across the ocean, down the coast, into the Med, and back to Greece. That’s a huge amount of work for a risky trip to bring a little bit of copper over, when it would surely be much easier to mine it in Europe. It would be like us going to Mars to mine iron. The resources needed to do it would outweigh the benefits.
And as for the whole Jesus thing, um, why wouldn’t you use the Bible, the main primary source for Jesus’s life, as a source? Jesus is mentioned in a few other primary sources, but not in enough detail to do anything more than confirm his existence. For the rest, only the Bible has information. Of course we should use it.
Your points are well taken. The big problem with most of these theories is the lack of evidence of encampments. If the people were there, then where are their cups, sauces, latrines, etc.? Until those things are found, the theory is unsupported. If such things are ever found it will be a major discovery.
This is purely speculation, but I suspect rather than Minoans coming directly and en-mass to Michigan to mine copper themselves that it more likely Michigan and Minoa were at two ends of a very long trading network, not unlike the silk road between Persia and China. I suspect that Native Americans mined the copper and then traded it to their neighbours, who traded it to their neighbours and so on until it reached the Atlantic coast. A similar trading network is known to have existed across Europe at this time. The only connection that has to be made to explain Michigan copper on Minoan ships is figuring out who carried the copper across the Atlantic. The explanation for Minoan artifacts and carvings in Michigan (if authentic) could be explained by as few as one Minoan explorer tracing the trade network back to see where the copper was coming from – like a prehistoric Marco Polo.
Regarding neolithic/bronze-age cross-Atlantic trade connections one must consider that in 3000BC the centre of European culture was not necessarily at the eastern end of the Mediterranean as it was in 1000BC. In the late-neolithic/early-bronze-age there were thriving cultures all along the Atlantic coast of Europe – from Gibraltar to the Orkney Islands. All these cultures were connected, not by roads, but by boat, and mining and trading appear to be primary concerns. Unfortunately a lot the archeological evidence for these sea-faring cultures has been washed away by rising sea levels except for the places where they occasionally ventured away from the sea shore. It is conceivable that late-neolithic/early-bronze-age sailors knew of the North Atlantic currents and could do the complete circuit with relative confidence. Not having a written language and the desire to keep trading routes secret would have prevented this knowledge from being passed down through time.
Given the number of holes in the ground around there and the volume of copper said to have been removed, one would expect to find someone’s camps in the area, Native American or whoever. I haven’t heard of such camps having been discovered. I’m sure there are a lot of ways to explain that, but it would be nice if camps of any kind were found. The idea of Native Americans mining the material and taking it to the coast to barter is a reasonable hypothesis, but we would need coastal camps of the Minoans or others, and we would need to find the Minoan trade items somewhere in the Native American camps.
Unless American copper is well confirmed in Minoan settlements, or Minoan artifacts are found here, the whole thing is just an unsubstantiated hypothesis.
There is also the issue of sailing the Atlantic. Experts say that the Minoan ships and navigation skills were insufficient to make commerce between the two continents possible. The Stone Age men from France would have been even worse prepared to accomplish trans-Atlantic travel.
We have Thor Heyerdahl proving that primitive ships could cross the Atlantic and Pacific. I’m giving the Ra Expedition credit for having proved it, even though it didn’t make it all the way. It was one try. I think it was successful enough, that given 10 tries, at least one would make it. But all it proves is that small groups could migrate; it would not give support to the idea of bi-directional commerce. Someone would need to demonstrate that the Minoan ships and navigation skills were sufficient to navigate, using pit stops, or whatever between continents. Until then it’s just an interesting idea.
Two follow-up points based on some further reading I’ve been doing. First regarding the copper mines – I believe there is evidence of Ojibway occupation of the area for the entire period the copper was mined. There is no evidence of anybody else. Therefore it would only be logical to conclude that the copper was mined by the Ojibway. I also read that the initial period of time cited for the copper mines when they were first investigated back in the 1960’s has now been expanded by further research both further back in time and up to the post-columbian period. This means that it wasn’t a huge and relatively quick mining operation, but rather mines produced copper at a slow and steady rate over thousands of years. If this is true it would put the Minoans-in-Michigan idea to bed.
The second point relates to Atlantic seafaring – The main difference between the Eastern Mediterranean cultures and the Western European cultures of the period in question (c.3000BC) was the eastern cultures had written text, albeit crude. That means we as modern people can read what they wrote and that gives us a lot more information about their culture and technology. If they wrote that they sailed from Crete to Egypt we don’t need to find archeological evidence of their ships to know they had sailing ships. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of written texts from the Western European cultures of this period so to understand them we need to find hard archeological evidence. Even though we don’t have archeological evidence of their ocean going boats we do know there was a strong and continuous trading network all along the Atlantic coast between Spain and Scotland. We know this from the shared culture items like similar pottery styles and burial methods. However, we don’t have and probably never will have evidence of an actual ship. People were excited to find relics of Viking ships from 1000 years ago – finding a similar ship that is 5000 years old is highly unlikely, particularly considering that Atlantic sea levels have risen by a few metres since then. In my view, based on the evidence at hand there is no reason to believe that the Western Europeans weren’t just as good sailors as the Minoans, maybe better. That doesn’t mean they crossed the Atlantic, but if it is proven there was cross-Atlantic trade at this time I would count them as the primary candidates.
The Ojibway information helps settle the mining issue, as you said. I’ve read about the trade along the Atlantic coast of Europe, but didn’t know it was so well verified. The Native Americans were known to trade from Central America to New Mexico, and from the Pacific Ocean to New Mexico, so why wouldn’t Michigan trade to the East Coast. The question remains whether the Europeans could work a route over to North America to pick up stuff and go back. Also where are their trade items they left behind. Thanks for the informative post. I suppose that someday in a bog somewhere, they may find a preserved 5000 year old Scottish ship.
Hmmm…. It seems we all have our area of expertise and or interests, and that these are not nearly inclusive enough to get to the root of the question. The program sited is rooted in “Where did the copper go?” which seems to be a valid question which raises all sorts of interesting historical and prehistorical questions.
Discussions of “hypothesis” needs to be modified when used in conjunction with “proof” from a logical standpoint. This type of mental gymnastics ignores the hypothesis-proof-conclusion construct. In my experience the “proof” element is used to support the conclusion, not the contrary unless using the prove ALL ELSE wrong, and the remainder must be true approach. This is a tedious process and is limited by empirical understanding of the hypothesis and the conclusion.
Considering that there were no human inhabitants of the American continents, and that the “native americans” migrated here from the Asian continent, we could include this in an investigation. Did the primal human inhabitants of the Americas have knowledge and value of copper before their arrival? Is this question answerable by tracing back through their journey to their roots? If so, then the trade aspect broadens.
Ports? Last I heard we are not even sure where Columbus landed yet. And, with a shallow draft vessel, any beach becomes a port.
Also, being ignored is how trade would have moved from Lake Superior to the east coast. How does one get around the falls other than overland?
There are just too many rabbit trails to consider to jump to a positive or negative response based on our current accumulation of knowledge. I believe the scope of the investigation needs to be broadened and we need to approach the question with open minds and hearts.
It does seem illogical that the “Minoan” copper ingots and the samples from Isle Royale were not subjected to electron microscopic examination initially and a full blown chemical analysis after determining if there is a correlation in the trace elements. Volcanologists may be able to shed light on the magma pool that could have produced the native copper in question. But, one might also speculate that at some level magma is fairly homogeneous.
Just some random thoughts to throw out in this interesting and highly speculative discussion.
I would be interested in the trace element angle. My guess is there is a distinct fingerprint or at least a narrowing of the field based on element and amount. At least that has been suggested by those knowledgeable in geological sciences.
What was very disappointing regarding the purity of Michigan copper, was that the analytical method was capable of ‘fingerprinting’ the copper by looking at the impurities. This would have been indisputable proof of a match between Minoan and American copper, so why was it not done?
You got that right. I thought the same thing. One would think that once refined, all copper is xxx pure. I researched it and apparently there is some validity in what he did, there actually is a fingerprint based on purity of an ingot, which is not fully refined, at least by our standards, BUT I agree with you, a test for marker impurities would be a conclusive test. You can only believe that it was done and the results didn’t match the objectives of the show. He did the impurity test on the Mayan blue dye and it was conclusive, however the idea that the Mayans were in Florida or Georgia is not farfetched and has been a mainline archeological theory for over a 100 years.
“1. The stone tablet has deteriorated very rapidly since it was discovered 100+ years ago, so how did it survive in near pristine shape in an open field for 5000 years? This is a major problem for me, and discredits the proposed age of the tablet”
This fact actually reinforces the authenticity of the tablet.
Think with me: the tablet was buried for 5000 years, where it didn´t suffer with weathering and manipulation. It probably had some cracks from the growing of roots and from movements in the ground.
Once it was unearthed (if it was unearthed, then it wasn´t on an open field, right?), the tablet began to suffer a lot more action then in the past 5000 years. It didn´t receive the appropriate heat treatment that is indispensable to maintain such an artifact. It was moved from one place to another in the back of a donkey, and it remained for more than 30 years in a barn, where nobody knows what kind of manipulation the tablet had to endure. Maybe there were children playing with it, or even animals. Who knows?
After all this process, it would be a big surprise if an untreated 19 by 26 inches tablet was still in one piece, since it was so old and had so much cracks on it.
On the other hand, if it was a fabrication, they would probably use an intact piece of rock, and it would still be in good shape.
I don´t know if I made myself clear, English is not my first language, please let me know if you understand or agree with what I said.
The fact is that this problem that you proposed is not a problem at all for the people who study these things. The destruction of the tablet is perfectly comprehensible due to the conditions.
Your point may be well taken, but we would have to turn to other objects found in similar environments. Probably stone that is exposed above ground to sun, wind, water, and ice would deteriorate more rapidly than stone buried below the frost line, thereby not exposed to ice, sun and wind. But stone within a shelter, barn or otherwise would also not be exposed to those elements as well as not subjected directly to water as well. It would probably depend on the material in question, whether it would dry out too much inside a structure, but I would think that would apply to very few materials. For instance, I have 1000 year old straw items, which unfortunately are not kept in perfect environmental conditions. They seem to be in approximately the same condition as they were when found 60 years ago.
Of course it depends on the material it was made.
If the tablet was made of granite, it would probably still be in one piece. But it depends a lot more in the conditions it had to endure.
My point is that the mere deterioration of the tablet is not a good sign of its inauthenticity, and in my opinion, it is much to the contrary.
Look at what the NPS has to say about it:
“The condition of these objects depends entirely on their reaction with the
environmental conditions to which they have been exposed through time.
Underground the object reaches a kind of equilibrium with the surrounding
soil. Then, when the object is excavated, it must adjust to a new and radically
different environment. Reactions can involve both physical and chemical
changes. Regardless of the condition of the object before excavation, the
moment it becomes exposed it is vulnerable to rapid deterioration. Figure I.1
illustrates the deterioration rate of archeological objects through time.”
(this figure is important as it shows a rapid deterioration after excavation, in opposition to stability while in equilibrium underground).
On another passage:
“Archeological objects can have a deceptive appearance of strength when first
uncovered. All excavated materials have undergone some form of alteration
during the equilibration process underground and during the recovery process.
This alteration has physically weakened the object. While underground,
objects are supported by the surrounding soil, and when excavated, they may
be unable to support their own weight. For this reason, archeologists and
conservators often use specialized lifting techniques to excavate fragile and
potentially fragile objects. During and after excavation, continue to support
these objects on a tray or pallet or in a container that distributes weight
As you can see, objects that remained underground for long periods of time tend to be fragile, even if their appearence doesn´t suggest that.
It’s what I said in the first post, when I mentioned the cracks.
It is expected that an ancient heavy stone object will be destroyed if mishandled after excavation.
And it’s exactly what happened on this case.
On the other hand, a fabricated modern object wouldn´t suffer such processes, and then there would be no explanation for its rapid deterioration.
The fast deterioration of the tablet is just another sign (among many others) of its authenticity.
Now that you note the cracks that exist when it is in the ground, the result of water, etc. it makes sense to me. In the ground the earth holds it together. Inexperienced people take it out; it drys out and flakes away at all the cracks that were within its structure but not visible to the inexperienced people who excavated it. You seem to have a lot of knowledge on this. Would you be interested in writing a short piece on the topic, much as Markus did about runes? I don’t pay anything, it would just be for fun and to inform others. You can answer me by email from the email button in the right column of the webpages. Or just send to ringringBlake@hotmail.com . Either way it goes to the same place.
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Thanks. I’ve just gotten back from vacation where I had little access or I would have gotten back to you sooner. I’ll write about my vacation sooner as my body and mind get back on Pacific Time.
Scott is doing what needed to be done. He is bringing out information that has been denied and destroyed by conventional archeology since 1880. I say it doesn’t matter what we think, no one will know until archeologists are allowed to investigtate. They are now blackballed if they even hint that pre-columbian visits from Europe and the Meditterenean took place. There are still mountains of evidence that they did. I suggest you read America B.C. by Barry Fell. His was the seminal book on diffusionism. He translated rock inscriptions all over North American watershed. He was attacked by archeologists and others, none of whom knew how to translate ancient writing. Other authors you might look for are Gunnar Thompson,look up his story, Gloria Farley, Roger Jewell, Henriette Mertz, or any archeological book written before 1880. Don’t be put off by the left brain pundits who put these people down. Judge for yourself.
Thank you for your reply. Are you familiar with James Churchward’s books on MU?
I would call the show “fringe science.” Everytime I look stuff up from the show, there’s only a small number of people who believe the theories on the show.
Fringe science can become mainstream science, but that’s the exception IMO. The usual case, is that fringe science is bad science.
There’s a good reason to peer review all science. If his conclusions are not agreed on, at some point, by substantial number of scientists, they will remain on the fringe.
I don’t think you can call it science. He does not do a rigorous investigate, but only uncovers enough to form a hypothesis, which is just the first step of the scientific process.
science is a myth, amounts of personal , corporate & governmental censorship/propaganda precludes objective vact – even were it possible -which it’s not. every watcher changes what is being looked at – if only by virtue of individual desires & denials that influence perception e.g. south american natives didn’t ‘see’ Cortez’s sails because they had no such thing in their world.
‘science is a myth?’ Please, if you’re going to participate in a discussion, grow a brain.
Cortez was never in south america.
Thanks so much for sharing your expertise on the rune stones. In fact, if you would like to write a short essay on the topic, I would love to have you post an article as a guest. I’ll email you about this. I agree with your assessment of the show. In my opinion, the shows that MIGHT have some credence are: The Mayans in the southern US-this has been suggested by others for close to a 100 years; the Minoan copper-I think a science-based analysis could prove this one way or the other; the Dare Stones-while I think these are fake, a good study might prove otherwise; the Meriwether Lewis show, while I believe his death has absolutely nothing to do with the Welsh, there is evidence that he was murdered. I believe this has been studied by reputable scholars.
Overall I like the show; I wish he would expand into other mysteries and not get hung up on, and tied to the idea of pre-Columbian exploration of America.
In general, I have enjoyed this show, until the one concerning the Knights Templar and the suggestion that Jesus married Mary Magdelene and had a child. This is very incorrect and completely wrong. If one believes the Bible, and I do, there is no way this happened and to suggest that there is evidence that it did, is also wrong and offensive.
Sorry that he offended you. We can both be happy that your God is a loving God, and you won’t go crazy and suicide bomb Hollywood, or capture someone and saw their head off while shouting “God is Great.” My God is also a loving God and expects me to examine everything critically, including the Bible, because my God wants me to explore and learn. While I don’t believe that particular story about Jesus that Scott was talking about, I do see where it comes from. I will be writing about some of that in my next blog.
The bible is your reference point for historical facts and truth? Uh… pretty sure that just won’t work.
To regard something that conflicts with the bible as ‘wrong and offensive’ is childish.
Just because someone told you something dosen’t mean it’s true. It is possible that they had a child
Absolutely. Just who are you referring to? Me?
science is a myth, amounts of personal , corporate & governmental censorship/propaganda precludes objective vact – even were it possible -which it’s not. every watcher changes what is being looked at – if only by virtue of individual desires & denials that influence perception e.g. south american natives didn’t ‘see’ Cortez’s sails because they had no such thing in their world.
ditto re”historicity” of “sacred texts”. what I’m curious about is why do people who profess to believe their bibles even spend time on other sources of information?
Science is a myth only if the universe is an illusion, and even within this illusion, science is a practical and dependable guide.
prove it, but be very careful, because many people know as much about the subject and the source as you do.
Unfortunately the post you are responding to is quite old, and it’s possible the original poster has moved on. I’ve read a lot on the subject but have not studied it rigorously. If I had to pick, I would take James Tabor’s version, since he has the credentials and has expertise on the region and the era. By no means does that eliminate other possibilities. I’m just happy that various academics have chosen to do the research and develop alternative theories about the historical Jesus, James and others, some who have been marginalized by the main stream of Christianity.
i watch this show and i would say scott wolter seems to know what he’s looking for and if the evidence is there he’ll probably find it because i believed for a long time that there where cultures came here before columbus
As in most of these shows, he touches the surface of an issue but doesn’t take each case to a solid conclusion. I would prefer that myself, but it would probably bore most people. It would be cool if he would do a 2-3 hour show and take a case deep.
Rod Meldrum did a study on evidences of the Book of Mormon in about 2008 and is doing further work developing his thesis.( http://www.BookofMormonEvidence.org ). In his project, he reviewed the availability of copper in the Michigan area and the use of copper by this people. It might be of interest to you. His DVD that was published about 2008 was actually a video of one of his lectures and lacks the production “style” of a well funded video, but the lecture material is quite interesting especially for his conclusions about related archeology. Different groups disagree with Meldrum, but a staff review may find some interesting questions about the related geology and artifacts found in the US. You may find a “pearl” there.
Thanks for the information. There definately is something to many of Scott’s shows, but I’m not sure all are equally well based.
I am wondering about the weight of the coper and if it was transported by local Indians and traded… It surely must have been a heavy load and quite a task to transport such a large amount? To where and to whom and for what in exchange?
I think the currently accepted theory is that it was dug out over hundreds of years, hence it may have been carried out in small increments.