Re: Intelligent Dinosaur Paleo Civilization?
Christopher G. Beetle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sat, 24 Jun 1995 17:25:59 -0400
On 14 Jun 1995, HARRY R. ERWIN wrote:
> ...any well-established hominid culture leaves a _lot_ of trash lying
> about--e.g., stone tools are almost indestructable. That sort of thing
> would have been relatively easy to detect over the last 600 MY.
Actually there have been many stone tools reported by
scientists in very old rock, but they are not well-known.
One example is the following finds reported by J. D.
Whitney, former state geologist of California, some as old
as the Eocene. This is just one set of many such reports,
mostly by scientists, which have been documented in
Forbidden Archeology by Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson.
5.5 Neolithic Tools from the Tertiary Auriferous Gravels
In 1849, gold was discovered in the gravels of ancient
riverbeds on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in
central California. . . .Occasionally, the miners [who had
come there searching for gold] would find stone artifacts,
and, more rarely, human fossils. Altogether, miners found
hundreds of stone implements--mortars, pestles, platters,
grinders, and so forth. Many of the specimens found their
way into the collection of Mr. C. D. Voy, a part-time
employee of the California Geological Survey. Voy's
collection eventually came into the possession of the
University of California, and the most significant artifacts
were reported to the scientific community by J. D. Whitney,
then the state geologist of California.
The finds occurred in three situations: (1) in surface
deposits of gravel; (2) in gravels washed from hillsides by
hydraulic mining; and (3) in underground deposits of gravel
reached by mine shafts and tunnels. The artifacts from
surface deposits and hydraulic mining were of doubtful age,
but the artifacts from deep mine shafts and tunnels could be
more securely dated because the gold-bearing gravels lay
underneath thick layers of volcanic material. . . .
5.5.3 Tuolumne Table Mountain
. . . Many shafts were sunk at Table Mountain in Tuolumne
County. Whitney and others reported that miners found stone
tools and human bones there, in the gold-bearing gravels
sealed beneath thick layers of a volcanic material called
latite. In many cases, the mine shafts extended horizontally
for hundreds of feet beneath the latite cap at a depth of
over 100 feet below the latite.
Tuolumne Table Mountain was created by a massive latite
flow which moved down the Cataract Channel, a Miocene course
of the Stanislaus River, forcing the river into a new
channel. According to R. M. Norris (1976, p. 43), the latite
lava cap is 9 million years old and is 300 feet thick in the
vicinity of the town of Sonora. Slemmons (1966, p. 200) gave
dates for the latite cap and underlying strata at Tuolumne
Discoveries from the auriferous gravels just above the
bedrock are probably 33.2 to 55 million years old, but
discoveries from auriferous gravels whose positions are not
specified may be anywhere from 9 to 55 million years old.
5.5.4 Dr. Snell's Collection
The more important discoveries from Tuolumne Table
Mountain add up to a considerable weight of evidence.
Whitney personally examined a collection of Tuolumne Table
Mountain artifacts belonging to Dr. Perez Snell, of Sonora,
California. About this collection of artifacts, Whitney
(1880, p. 264) stated: "In Dr. Snell's collection . . .
there were several objects which were marked as having come
'from under Table Mountain.'" C. D. Voy said: "Among them
was a piece of stone apparently designed as a handle for a
bow. It was made of silicious slate and had little notches
at the end, which appear to have been formed for tying the
stone to the bow. There were also one or two spear heads,
from six to eight inches long, and several scoops or ladles,
with well shaped handles" (Whitney 1880, p. 264).
As can be seen from Whitney's statements about Dr.
Snell's collection, there is not much in the way of direct
testimony about the discoverers and original stratigraphic
positions of the implements. There was, however, one
exception. "This was," wrote Whitney (1880, p. 264), "a
stone muller, or some kind of utensil which had apparently
been used for grinding. It was carefully examined by the
writer, and recognized as unquestionably of artificial
origin. In regard to this implement Dr. Snell informed the
writer that he took it with his own hands from a car-load of
'dirt' coming out from under Table Mountain." A human jaw,
inspected by Whitney, was also present in the collection of
Dr. Snell. The jaw was given to Dr. Snell by miners, who
claimed that the jaw had came from the gravels beneath the
basalt cap at Table Mountain in Tuolumne County (Becker
1891, p. 193).
5.5.5 The Walton Mortar
A better-documented discovery from Tuolumne Table
Mountain was made by Mr. Albert G. Walton, one of the owners
of the Valentine claim. Walton found a stone mortar, 15
inches in diameter, in gold-bearing gravels 180 feet below
the surface and also beneath the latite cap. Significantly,
the find of the mortar occurred in a "drift," a mine
passageway leading horizontally from the bottom of the main
vertical shaft of the Valentine mine. This tends to rule out
the possibility that the mortar might have fallen in from
above. Furthermore, the vertical shaft "was boarded up to
the top, so that nothing could have fallen in from the
surface during the working under ground" (Whitney 1880, p.
265). In fact, Walton, who found the mortar, was the
carpenter responsible for timbering the shaft. A piece of a
fossil human skull was also recovered from the Valentine
mine. . . .
5.5.6 The Carvin Hatchet
Another find at Tuolumne Table Mountain was reported by
James Carvin in 1871: "This is to certify that I, the
undersigned, did about the year 1858, dig out of some mining
claims known as the Stanislaus Company, situated in Table
Mountain, Tuolumne County, opposite O'Byrn's Ferry, on the
Stanislaus River, a stone hatchet . . . with a hole through
it for a handle, near the middle. Its size was four inches
across the edge, and length about six inches. It had
evidently been made by human hands. The above relic was
found from sixty to seventy-five feet from the surface in
gravel, under the basalt, and about 300 feet from the mouth
of the tunnel. There were also some mortars found, at about
the same time and place" (Whitney 1880, pp. 274-275).
5.5.7 The Stevens Stone Bead
In 1870, Oliver W. Stevens submitted the following
notarized affidavit: "This is to certify that I, the
undersigned, did about the year 1853, visit the Sonora
Tunnel, situated at and in Table Mountain, about one half a
mile north and west of Shaw's Flat, and at that time there
was a car-load of auriferous gravel coming out of said
Sonora Tunnel. And I, the undersigned, did pick out of said
gravel (which came from under the basalt and out of the
tunnel about two hundred feet in, at the depth of about one
hundred and twenty-five feet) a mastodon tooth in a good
state of preservation, which afterwards was partly broken,
in the hollow of which was sulphuret of iron [iron sulfide,
or pyrite]. And at the same time I found with it some relic
that resembled a large stone bead, made perhaps of
alabaster, about one and a half inches long, and about one
and one fourth inches in diameter, with a hole through it
one fourth of an inch in size, which no doubt had been used,
some time, to put a string through. I also certify that I
gave the specimens to C. D. Voy, about the year 1864, to put
in his collection" (Whitney 1880, p. 266). Voy visited the
site and confirmed the geological details.
Whitney (1880, p. 266) later wrote: "The bead was
carefully examined by the writer. It is correctly described
above, except that the material of which it is made is white
marble, not alabaster. It had evidently been much handled,
and unfortunately cleaned of the incrusting material; but
quite distinct traces of a former filling of the hole with
sulphuret of iron were still visible. The mastodon tooth
bore, also, as stated by Mr. Stevens, evident marks of an
incrustation of the same mineral; and it may be added that
several of the bones, which are said to have come from under
Table Mountain, have been found to have more or less
abundant crystallizations of pyrites in the cellular
portions. There can be no question of the artificial
character of the so-called bead. It is regularly and
symmetrically shaped, and looks as if intended for an
ornament." . . .But the real significance of Whitney's
remark about the presence of pyrite in the hollow of the
bead is not that it proves, in and of itself, great age.
Instead, it confirms that the bead examined by Whitney was
the same one described by Stevens. And Stevens testified in
his affidavit that he personally found the bead in a carload
of rock and gravel from deep within the mine, below the
latite cap of Table Mountain. In the absence of more exact
information, this means that the bead would be at least 9
million years old and perhaps as much as 55 million years
old. . . .
5.5.8 The Pierce Mortar
In 1870, Llewellyn Pierce gave the following written
testimony (Whitney 1880, p. 266): "This is to certify that
I, the undersigned, have this day given to Mr. C. D. Voy, to
be preserved in his collection of ancient stone relics, a
certain stone mortar, which has evidently been made by human
hands, which was dug up by me, about the year 1862, under
Table Mountain, in gravel, at a depth of about 200 feet from
the surface, under the basalt, which was over sixty feet
deep, and about 1,800 feet in from the mouth of the tunnel.
Found in the claim known as the Boston Tunnel Company."
Whitney (1880, p. 266) said the mortar was 31.5 inches in
circumference. Voy visited the site and saw the approximate
place where the object was found (Whitney 1880, p. 267).
William J. Sinclair interviewed Llewellyn Pierce in 1902, a
good 40 years after the original discovery was made. . . .
Sinclair (1908, p. 117) wrote: "The deep gravels in the
bottom of the Table Mountain channels, tapped by the Boston
Tunnel and other workings, are largely inaccessible, but so
far as known are not volcanic." If Sinclair is correct that
the mortar was found in the prevolcanic gravel, then it
would be 33-55 million years old.
5.5.9 The Neale Discoveries
On August 2, 1890, J. H. Neale signed the following
statement about discoveries made by him: "In 1877 Mr. J. H.
Neale was superintendent of the Montezuma Tunnel Company,
and ran the Montezuma tunnel into the gravel underlying the
lava of Table Mountain, Tuolumne County. . . . At a distance
of between 1400 and 1500 feet from the mouth of the tunnel,
or of between 200 and 300 feet beyond the edge of the solid
lava, Mr. Neale saw several spear-heads, of some dark rock
and nearly one foot in length. On exploring further, he
himself found a small mortar three or four inches in
diameter and of irregular shape. This was discovered within
a foot or two of the spear-heads. He then found a large
well-formed pestle, now the property of Dr. R. I. Bromley,
and near by a large and very regular mortar, also at present
the property of Dr. Bromley." . . .Neale's affidavit
continued: "All of these relics were found the same
afternoon, and were all within a few feet of one another and
close to the bed-rock, perhaps within a foot of it. Mr.
Neale declares that it is utterly impossible that these
relics can have reached the position in which they were
found excepting at the time the gravel was deposited, and
before the lava cap formed. There was not the slightest
trace of any disturbance of the mass or of any natural
fissure into it by which access could have been obtained
either there or in the neighborhood" (Sinclair 1908, pp.
117-118). The position of the artifacts in gravel "close to
the bed-rock" at Tuolumne Table Mountain indicates they were
33-55 million years old.
5.5.10 The King Pestle
Although the tools discussed so far were found by miners,
there is one case of a stone tool being found in place by a
scientist. In 1891, George F. Becker told the American
Geological Society that in the spring of 1869, Clarence
King, director of the Survey of the Fortieth Parallel, and a
respected geologist, was conducting research at Tuolumne
Table Mountain. Becker (1891, pp. 193-194) stated: "At one
point, close to the high bluff of basalt capping, a recent
wash had swept away all talus and exposed the underlying
compact, hard, auriferous gravel beds, which were beyond all
question in place. In examining the exposure for fossils he
[King] observed the fractured end of what appeared to be a
cylindrical mass of stone. The mass he forced out of its
place with considerable difficulty on account of the
hardness of the gravel in which it was tightly wedged. It
left behind a perfect cast of itself in the matrix and
proved to be part of a polished stone implement, no doubt a
pestle." The facts recorded by Becker tend to rule out the
phenomenon of secondary deposition--i.e., that the pestle
had fallen from a higher, more recent layer and become
recemented in the lower, older layer. Becker (1891, p. 194)
added: "Mr. King is perfectly sure this implement was in
place and that it formed an original part of the gravels in
which he found it. It is difficult to imagine a more
satisfactory evidence than this of the occurrence of
implements in the auriferous, pre-glacial, sub-basaltic
gravels." From this description and the modern geological
dating of the Table Mountain strata, it is apparent that the
object was over 9 million years old.
Even Holmes (1899, p. 453) had to admit that the King
pestle, which was placed in the collection of the
Smithsonian Institution, "may not be challenged with
impunity." Holmes searched the site very carefully and noted
the presence of some modern Indian mealing stones, but
nothing else. He stated: "I tried to learn whether it was
possible that one of these objects could have become
embedded in the exposed tufa deposits in recent or
comparatively recent times, for such embedding sometimes
results from resetting or recementing of loose materials,
but no definite result was reached" (Holmes 1899, p. 454).
One may rest assured that if Holmes had found the slightest
evidence of recementing, he would have seized the
opportunity to cast suspicion upon the pestle discovered by
Unable, however, to find anything to discredit the
report, Holmes (1899, p. 454) was reduced to wondering "that
Mr. King failed to publish it--that he failed to give to the
world what could well claim to be the most important
observation ever made by a geologist bearing upon the
history of the human race, leaving it to come out through
the agency of Dr. Becker, twenty-five years later." But
Becker (1891, p. 194) noted in his report: "I have submitted
this statement of his discovery to Mr. King, who pronounces
The next set of reports describes discoveries that were
made under intact volcanic layers at places other than under
the latite cap of Tuolumne Table Mountain. . . .
5.5.12 Discoveries at Cherokee
In 1875, Amos Bowman, a part-time assistant to the
Geological Survey of California, told of finds made at
Cherokee, a few miles north of Oroville, in Butte County:
"One of the mortars, found by Mr. R. C. Pulham, of the
Spring Valley Mining Company, was taken out of a shaft he
dug himself in 1853, and was found, according to his
testimony, twelve feet underneath undisturbed strata. . . .
About 300 feet east of this shaft Mr. Frederic Eaholtz took
out in 1853 a similar mortar at a greater depth. I visited
both places with Mr. Pulham, and found several mortars still
lying around on the top of the blue-gravel bench which is
not yet mined away." The blue gravels, in which Pulham and
Eaholtz discovered mortars, were "immediately underlying the
auriferous gravel formation and the volcanic outflows" near
Cherokee (Whitney 1880, p. 278).
Eaholtz gave information of further discoveries at
another site near Cherokee. Bowman stated: "he told me
further that, in 1858, while engaged with Wilson and Abbott
in mining in the southwesterly part of the Sugar Loaf, he
found in place, forty feet under the surface, a mortar of
the same sort in unbroken blue gravel. This blue gravel
nowhere comes to the surface, and it extends with the
before-mentioned white and yellow gravel, under the Sugar
Loaf, and under the Oroville volcanic mesa. It appeared only
on the bottom of this claim. He was picking the blue gravel
to pieces with a pick, when he found the mortar, which was a
portion of the mass of cemented boulders and sand. He picked
it out with his own hands" (Whitney 1880, p. 278). There
were similar cases from Trinity and Siskiyou counties
(Whitney 1880, p. 278).
George Saucedo of the California Division of Mines and
Geology (personal communication, 1989) reported that the
blue gravel is older than 23.8 million years. According to a
study by R. S. Creely (1965), published in the bulletin of
the California Division of Mines and Geology, the blue
gravel is Eocene, or over 38 million years old. The
implements found within the blue gravel would thus appear to
be at least 23 million years old.
Copyright (C) 1993 and 1995 by Govardhan Hill
Becker, G. F. (1891) Antiquities from under Tuolumne Table
Mountain in California. Bulletin of the Geological
Society of America, 2: 189-200.
Creely, R. S. (1965) Geology of the Oroville quadrangle,
California. Bulletin of the California Division of Mines
and Geology, 184.
Holmes, W. H. (1899) Review of the evidence relating to
auriferous gravel man in California. Smithsonian
Institution Annual Report 1898-1899, pp. 419-472.
Norris, R. M. (1976) Geology of California. New York, John
Sinclair, W. J. (1908) Recent investigations bearing on the
question of the occurrence of Neocene man in the
auriferous gravels of the Sierra Nevada. University of
California Publications in American Archaeology and
Slemmons, D. B. (1966) Cenozoic volcanism of the central
Sierra Nevada, California. Bulletin of the California
Division of Mines and Geology, 190: 199-208.
Whitney, J. D. (1880) The auriferous gravels of the Sierra
Nevada of California. Harvard University, Museum of
Comparative Zoology Memoir 6(1).
Christopher Beetle <email@example.com>