Dennis Cassinelli: ‘Uncovering Archaeology’
Probably one of the most unusual books I’ve written is titled “Uncovering Archaeology.” This is a collection of stories about things of interest to me, such as archaeology, anthropology, artifacts, theology and various other off-the-wall topics. Since the subjects are of interest to me, I believe you’ll find them interesting as well.
The book has been described as a critique on how archaeology has been performed not only here in Nevada but worldwide as well. Please understand I’m not being critical of individuals, but more about the system where these professionals must work.
In this book, I tell about finding Indian artifacts, buried coin dies, antique bottles and mammoth remains. There’s a section in the book about looting of archaeological sites and illegal excavation, removal and display of human remains. Some of the stories are about senseless pranks that have been done and phony artifacts that have been planted for archaeologists to find. There are stories about illegal pot hunting and vandalism of archaeological sites.
I tell about professional archaeologists employed by the British Museum, who, during the British colonial period when the sun never set on the British empire, looted countless sites in Egypt, Greece, Assyria, Byzantium and Persia. In the 1850s, the British constructed the Crystal Palace in London’s Hyde Park, where they displayed hundreds of artifacts “rescued” from sites around their Empire. This was to create a one-stop display of the Ancient World where “civilized” people could enjoy them properly.
At the grand opening of the 1,664-foot-long Crystal Palace in 1851, all the male parts of the Greek statues on display were removed so Queen Victoria wouldn’t be offended.
In the second half of “Uncovering Archaeology,” I tell about several trips I’ve made to explore the Maya Coast of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. After returning from these trips, I carefully examined photographs I had taken and made some interesting interpretations of things I’d seen. As you might know, I’ve always been interested in American Indians and the Mayans. I found the Mayans had developed a written language and had a calendar accurate even by modern standards.
At Copan in Honduras, I visited an ancient ballfield that had stone statues of elephants around the perimeter. We always have been told elephants didn’t exist in the Western hemisphere. How then did the Mayans know how to carve statues of elephants? We do know elephants were once hauled by ship across the Mediterranean Sea to invade Rome from the north by crossing the Alps. Could they also have been hauled across the Atlantic and brought to Central America?
I’ve often wondered what happened to the fabled city of Atlantis. My theory is a few thousand years ago, some ancient mariners, possibly Phoenicians, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered Central America. They called the place Atlantis. Upon their return, it was several years later before anyone else tried to make the journey. A different group then set sail to rediscover Atlantis, but before they reached the shore, they gave up and returned. They then made up the story Atlantis must have just sunk into the sea.
The book contains more stories such as the Book of Mormon telling of Jesus Christ coming to Central America to resume his teachings unhindered by the Romans or the Jews. If nothing else, “Uncovering Archaeology” will certainly stir your imagination.
This article is by Dayton author and historian Dennis Cassinelli, who can be contacted on his blog at http://www.denniscassinelli.com. All Cassinelli’s books sold through this publication will be at a discount plus $3 for each shipment for postage and packaging.