MALE SPEAKER: Thanks to all of you for coming to this talk
by Michael Cremo on forbidden archaeology here at Google.
So when was the last time somebody questioned evolution?
Do you know?
In your experience, any numbers?
I'm just trying to say how often it happens, somebody
questioning such a major theory as evolution.
I mean, before the talk.
AUDIENCE: It happens all the time in the US.
MALE SPEAKER: OK.
That's good that people are aware of that debate.
Some people don't even know that it's a theory
and know it's being debated, and they just
take it for a fact as much as gravity.
That's good to know that you are aware of that.
So we have Michael Cremo here.
So he has a lot of extensive introduction
about how we got into this topic.
So I don't want to steal that as part of my introduction.
And so I'll just go over the introduction of him
as a person.
I've known him for more than 10, 15 years.
And he's a very thoughtful, methodical person
with extreme intellectual honesty.
And he expects that of others.
So that's where his research was born into this book.
So the scope of this talk is just
questioning the current theory and based
on the evidences available.
But he's not going to present an alternate theory in this talk.
We have to wait for a year for that
to happen if he have a job until then.
So now, the scope of this talk is questioning
the current theory based on the available evidences
from researched literature.
And the next topic he usually presents
is called human devolution, presenting an alternate theory.
So there are books for that outside.
So that's your only resource right now.
So with that, let's welcome Michael Cremo
to Google with a big hand.
MICHAEL CREMO: Thank you for the nice introduction.
And thank you, ladies and gentlemen,
for coming to hear a little something about the topic
forbidden archeology, evidence for extreme human antiquity.
So just to keep things honest, I'm
a researcher in human origins for the International
Society for Krishna Consciousness.
And my research is inspired by my studies
in the ancient Sanskrit writings in India,
especially the Puranas, the historical writings.
Now, for many today, those two things
would be complete disqualifications for me
to say anything about a scientific topic
in scientific circles.
However, quite surprisingly to me even,
there are people within the scientific world who
are interested in hearing what I have to say.
And I've been invited to present my ideas at some of the leading
scientific institutions of the world,
such as the Royal Institution in London,
the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow
Department of Anthropology, the Indian Institute of Science
in Bangalore, and many others around the world.
So the question I'm dealing with is
how old is the human species.
Today, the most common answer to that question
comes from the modern followers of Charles Darwin, who
propose that the first humans like
us came into existence less than 200,000 years ago.
Before that, they would say there
were no humans like us present on this planet,
simply more primitive, ape-like human ancestors.
However, the Puranas, the historical writings
of ancient India, give a different idea,
namely that humans have been present
for vast periods of time on this planet going back
many millions of years.
Now of course, in scientific circles,
I wouldn't expect anyone to take a statement
from some ancient writings as evidence.
So in the scientific circles where I'm invited to speak,
I do something else.
I make a prediction, namely if what the Puranas say
about human antiquity is true, there
should be reports of archaeological evidence
for humans existing much further back in time than 200,000
years ago, perhaps going back many millions of years.
So my method for testing that prediction
is to examine all archaeological reports from the time of Darwin
to the present.
And not just in English.
I have a reading knowledge of most
of the major European languages.
So when I speak about examining reports
from the scientific literature, I
mean two kinds of scientific literature, the primary
and the secondary scientific literature.
By primary scientific literature,
I mean original reports by archaeologists, geologists,
paleontologists, and other Earth scientists
reported in the professional, peer reviewed, scientific
By secondary literature, I mean things
that are based on the primary literature, such as textbooks,
So I had two principal findings.
The first finding is not so surprising.
There are no reports of evidence for extreme human antiquity
in the current secondary literature, textbooks,
survey studies, and things of that sort.
My second finding was a little more interesting.
There are many reports of evidence
for extreme human antiquity in the primary scientific
literature of past and present.
So I collected those reports and this book,
"Forbidden Archeology," which was reviewed
in most of the professional, academic,
and scientific journals that deal
with the question of human origins.
So this constitutes a kind of peer review.
Now, as you might expect, many of those reviews were negative,
some extremely so.
However, quite surprisingly to me even,
even some of my critics were able to point out
some positive aspects of the work.
For example, David Oldroyd, a noted historian of science,
in a 28 page review article about the book
asked the question, so has forbidden archeology
made any contribution to the literature
Our answer is a guarded yes for two reasons.
First, he said, much of the historical material
has not been scrutinized in such detail before.
In other words, as a professional historian
of science dealing with these particular questions,
he had not encountered any work which
had gone into history in such depth before.
And second, he said, the book raises, quote,
a central problematic regarding the lack
of certainty in scientific truth claims.
Now, after the book was published
and many of the reviews came out,
I began speaking about the topic of the book
at scientific conferences.
The first time I did that was in 1984
at a meeting of the World Archaeological Congress.
It's the world's largest international organization
I presented a paper there called "Puranic Time
and The Archaeological Record."
And that paper was selected for publication
in a peer reviewed conference proceedings volume called
"Time and Archaeology," which came out from Rutledge,
a major scientific publisher.
And subsequently, I've presented papers on my work
at many other meetings of the World Archaeological Congress,
and also meetings of the European Association
And the reason I'm mentioning this
is just to show that the kinds of things I'm saying
are part of the scientific discourse
in the scientific disciplines that
are related to human origins.
Now, admittedly, it's not a popular voice.
It's an extreme minority voice limited maybe even
to a minority of one.
But still, surprisingly enough to many people,
it is a part of the discourse.
So one of the questions I had about the kind of evidence I'm
talking about is why exactly is it
missing from the current secondary literature
if it's there in the primary literature.
And I'm proposing it's because of a process of knowledge
filtration that operates in the world of science.
And here, I'm not talking about a Satanic conspiracy
to suppress truth.
I'm talking about something that philosophers
of science and historians of science
have understood for a long time, namely
that theoretical preconceptions can influence how scientists
may react to different categories of evidence that
come to their attention.
We can call the blue box the knowledge filter.
And what it represents is the dominant consensus
in the scientific discipline at a particular point in time.
And reports of evidence that conform
to the dominant consensus will pass through the knowledge
filter fairly easily, whereas reports
of evidence that radically contradict
a dominant consensus tend to be filtered out,
ignored, forgotten, set aside, dismissed.
And this was something that one of the reviewers of "Forbidden
Archeology" noted, the French archaeologist Marylene
Patou-Mathis noted in her review of "Forbidden Archeology"
"Cremo and Thompson have 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."
So it was interesting to me that an archaeologist
grasped correctly what the point we
were trying to make in the book and wasn't just dismissing it
as, oh, these are conspiracy theorists.
I'm now going to go over some of the kinds of reports
that I'm talking about.
This is Virginia Steen-McIntyre, an American geologist.
She was involved in dating an archaeological site
at Hueyatlaco in Mexico.
There, archaeologists had discovered projectile points
and other stone tools and weapons.
And they were, of course, interested
in how all these things were.
This is the excavation at Hueyatlaco.
And the artifacts were photographed intact
in the layers of rock in which they were found.
Virginia Steen-McIntyre and her colleagues
used four different methods to date the site.
Animal bones with butchering marks
were found in the same layers with the stone tools.
The geologists used the uranium series method
to date those bones.
They got an age of 245,000 years.
Above the layer with the stone tools
was a layer of volcanic ash.
The geologists used the Zircon Fission Track method to date
that layer of ash.
They got an age of 270,000 years.
Using all four methods that they employed,
the geologists concluded the site
must be at least 250,000 years old.
However, the archaeologists refused to accept it.
They said humans capable of making those artifacts didn't
exist anywhere in the world 250,000 years ago.
They hadn't evolved yet, what to speak
of being present in North America.
They considered the oldest human presence in North America
to go back only about 20,000 years.
So they refused to publish the age for the site
given by their own hand-picked team of geologists.
So Virginia Steen-McIntyre and her colleagues
were a little surprised by that.
So they decided to independently publish
the age for the site in a journal called
But when they did that, they experienced
an extreme negative backlash from their colleagues
in the scientific world because they
had dared to publish something like this.
Virginia Steen-McIntyre wrote to one
of the editors of the journal, "Not being an anthropologist,
I didn't realize how deeply woven into our thought
the current theory of human evolution has become.
Our work at Hueyatlaco has been rejected by most archaeologists
because it contradicts that theory."
So some of the cases I'm going to be talking about
are from the more recent history of archaeology,
some from the more distant history of archaeology.
Some of the cases are going to be
closer to what the mainstream concepts allow.
And some are going to be further and further distant from what
current ideas would consider possible.
This is one of the founders of modern archaeology, Jacques
Boucher de Perthes.
And one of his excavations, Moulin Quignon near Abbeville
in Northeastern France, he found an anatomically modern human
He found it in the bottom layers of his excavation
with stone tools and weapons.
According to modern geologists, that layer at Abbeville
is about 430,000 years old.
It was quite a controversial discovery,
even in the 19th century.
Many scientists could not accept that humans
existed at that distant point in time.
So some of them proposed, well, Boucher de Perthes
must have been the victim of a hoax.
Somehow or other, someone must have
gone to some Roman cemetery, gotten a jawbone 2,000 or 3,000
years old and buried it in the excavation for him to find.
And that's actually the explanation
that we see in today's textbooks.
However, what we do not see in today's textbooks is
that after these hoax accusations came out,
Boucher de Perthes made additional excavations
at Moulin Quignon.
And these additional excavations,
in the same location he found over 100
additional anatomically modern human bones and teeth
in the same formation, which to me indicates
a human presence going back over 400,000 years.
And I reported on this case in this paper, which was later
published in a peer reviewed conference proceedings volume.
Recently, just last year, archaeologists
reported the discovery of footprints
at a place called Happisburgh in the United Kingdom.
They were found in a formation that
is at least 780,000 years old and is perhaps
up to a million years old.
The archaeologist who studied the footprints published
results suggesting they are consistent
with anatomically modern human footprints.
For example, they studied the foot index,
which is the width divided by the length times 100.
The average for all of the Happisburgh footprints was 39.
The average for living Native American Indians is again, 39.
The average for living Eskimos today, the foot index is 38.26.
And other features of the footprints
were consistent with those of modern human beings.
Now, of course they did not believe
that humans like us existed at that time.
They don't think Homo sapiens existed over 780,000 years ago.
So they attributed the footprints
to a species called Homo antecessor, an ape
man that they believe inhabited Europe at that time.
But from the evidence itself, they could just as well
have been made by humans like us.
And there is evidence that anatomically modern humans
existed at that time.
This is the Buenos Aires Skull, which
was discovered early in the 20th century in Argentina.
Researchers were conducting digging.
And they had gone down about 45 feet.
And they encountered a solid layer
of limestone rock locally known as Tosca.
And after they broke through that layer,
they found a human skull cap of an anatomically modern
human type in the [INAUDIBLE] formation,
which geologists consider to be 1 and 1/2 million years old.
This discovery was reported to the scientific world
in the primary scientific literature
by the South American scientist Florentino Ameghino.
I reported on this case and some others
in this paper presented at a meeting of the World
Archaeological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.
Many people have heard of Olduvai Gorge.
Many important discoveries have been made there.
Most people are not aware of the first discovery that
was made at Olduvai Gorge by the German scientist Hans
Reck, who reported on it in 1913.
He found a fairly complete, anatomically modern
human skeleton-- that's the skull cap of it-- buried
in upper bed II of Olduvai Gorge.
Upper bed II of Olduvai Gorge is between 1.15 and 1.7
million years ago.
It was a very controversial discovery.
There were decades of debate about it.
Many people thought the debates were finally
settled in the 1970s when a German scientist named
Reiner Protsch did a radiocarbon test on a fragment of bone
that he said was from Reck's skeleton.
And he got an age of less than 10,000 years.
However, I question the reliability
of that given that Reiner Protsch was removed
from his position at Frankfurt University
after an academic committee there found him
guilty of having forged dozens of radiocarbon dates
during his long career there.
Another report from the earlier history of archaeology,
the jaw, fossil human jar reported
by Doctor Robert Coliyer.
This anatomically modern human jaw
was found 16 feet deep in the Red Crag Formation in England
at a place called Foxhall.
The Red Crag Formation, according
to modern geological studies, is between two and three
million years old.
In 1979, Mary Leakey announced the discovery of footprints
at a place called Laetoli in the country of Tanzania
in East Africa.
According to her report, the footprints
were indistinguishable from modern human footprints.
Other scientists also agreed.
Paleontologist Tim White wrote, "Make no mistake about it.
They are like modern human footprints."
Now, neither Mary Leakey nor Tim White
believe those footprints were made by humans like us.
They propose they were made by some type of ape man
who lived at that time who just happened to have feet exactly
like those of modern human beings.
Actually, we have the skeletons of the ape men
that existed at that time in eastern Africa.
They're called Australopithecus.
And the foot bones of Australopithecus
have been discovered.
And their foot is not exactly like that
of a modern human being.
They have very long toes, sort of like short human fingers.
In other words, their feet were somewhat ape like.
Actually, the only creature known to science today
from skeletal evidence that has a foot exactly like that
of a modern human being is, in fact,
modern human beings like ourselves.
So what did Mary Leakey find?
I think we have to remain open to the possibility she found
evidence that humans like us were present
almost four million years ago.
The footprints were found in layers
of solidified volcanic ash that were dated
using the potassium argon method as being 3,700,000 years old.
I presented evidence on this case
at a meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists
that was held in England.
Now, some people might say, OK, footprints
are perhaps a little bit ambiguous.
It would be better if there were human skeletal evidence
almost four million years old.
Such things have been reported in
the primary scientific literature.
For example, the Italian geologist
Ragazzoni reported finding human skeletal
remains at a place called Castenedolo in northern Italy.
They were found in layers of rock
that modern geologists consider to be
about four million years old.
I went to the village of Castenedolo.
I met this gentleman there.
And he gave me a copy of a very rare geological report dealing
with this discovery.
And from the information in the report,
we were able to locate the place where
the discoveries were made.
Now, the current explanation of these discoveries
is, well, it's not really possible
that you could have anatomically modern human skeletons
in layers of rock four million years old.
So the proposal is that maybe about 4,000 years ago,
somebody died on the surface.
His friends dug a grave and put the skeleton down
in that ancient layer of rock.
And that's why you think you have
a human skeleton four million years old.
Things like this can happen, technically.
It's called intrusive burial.
However, if you look at Ragazzoni's original reports
in the Italian language, which I did,
he says-- because even at the time,
he was a professional geologist.
He was aware of the possibility of intrusive burial.
He said, if it had been an intrusive burial,
the layers of rock above the skeleton
would have been undisturbed.
However, he found that the layers
of rock above the skeleton were all intact and undisturbed.
Actually, he said each layer has its own micro-stratigraphy that
So I take this as evidence for human presence going back
over four million years.
This is Carlos Ribeiro, who was the chief government
geologist of Portugal.
He found hundreds of human artifacts
in his country of Portugal.
He found them in layers of rock that date back
to the early Miocene Period, which
means they would be about 20 million years old according
to today's understanding.
He, as a professional geologist, he said they cannot have come
into those layers from any higher level through any
fissure, or crack, or all the usual kinds of counter
He displayed the artifacts in the Museum of Geology
But if you go there today, you won't see them on display
They're kept in the cabinets behind me.
But I was able to get permission from the directors
of the museum to study and photograph
some of these human artifacts from the early Miocene period.
I also carefully studied Ribeiro's original maps,
and field notes, and correspondence
of the museum archives.
And then I went into the countryside of Portugal
and I relocated some of the sites
where he made his discoveries.
This is the quarry at Murganheira.
And he found human artifacts there
in lower Miocene formations.
This is one of them.
It's a flint artifact.
It's interesting what happened.
When Ribeiro was alive, the artifacts
were displayed in the museum with labels showing a lower
Miocene age for them, about 20 million years.
After he died, his colleagues in the museum
did something interesting.
They left the artifacts on display,
but they wrote new labels for all of them.
This is the new label they wrote for the artifact I just
Second line gives the age-- Paleolitico Superior,
Upper Paleolithic Period.
According to geologists today, that period in Europe
goes back about 20,000 years.
So it's interesting.
Ribeiro's colleagues thought 20 million years,
that's clearly impossible.
20,000 years, that sounds about right
for discoveries like this.
So they just wrote new labels for all of the artifacts.
Now, the next generation of officials in the museum
just put the entire collection away.
And I'm the first researcher to see these things in over 50
I presented a paper on this case at a meeting
of the European Association of Archaeologists
that was held in Lisbon, Portugal in the year 2000.
That paper was later published in a peer reviewed
scientific journal from Europe, "The Journal of Iberian
A case that's always fascinated me
has been the California gold mine discoveries.
Gold was discovered in California.
And miners went to places like Table Mountain
in Tuolumne County near Sonora.
Actually not too far from here.
And deep inside the tunnels, the miners
found human bones and human artifacts.
For example, they found many of these stone mortars
What makes them so interesting to me
is they were found in layers of solid rock
that date to the early part of the geological period
called Eocene, which means they would
be about 50 million years old.
Some of the details about the dating of the discoveries.
It was done in modern times using the potassium argon
method and analyzing the plant and animal
fossils found in those layers of rock.
These discoveries were originally
reported to the scientific world by Doctor JD Whitney, who
was the chief government geologist of California.
His report was published by Harvard University in the year
But we don't hear very much about these discoveries today
because of the process of knowledge filtration
that I mentioned.
This is the anthropologist William Holmes,
who worked with the Smithsonian Institution.
And he wrote in his report, "If Doctor Whitney had understood
the theory of human evolution, he
would not have published those discoveries."
In other words, he would've known that humans could not
possibly have existed at that time.
A few years ago, I was a consultant
for a television documentary called "The Mysterious
Origins of Man" that aired on NBC.
And the producer of this documentary
had read my book, "Forbidden Archeology"
and wanted to include some cases in the documentary.
I told him he should go to the Museum of Anthropology
at the University of California at Berkeley
because artifacts from the California gold mines
were still in that collection.
And the museum officials refused to allow
him to see the artifacts.
Anyways, we were able to get some photographs
of the artifacts that Doctor Whitney
had taken in the 19th century.
It was interesting what happened when this documentary aired.
Actually, many scientists were outraged
and they wanted the FCC to investigate NBC, censor NBC,
fine NBC millions of dollars for having aired this documentary.
And I'm happy to say the FCC didn't do any of those things.
But it was interesting that such attempts were made.
Later, I went back to the museum myself.
And I personally was given access to the discoveries,
and they are still there.
They also went out to Table Mountain near Sonora.
And we were able to relocate some of the old 19th century
gold mining tunnels where these discoveries were originally
I reported on this case at this meeting of the World
Archaeological Congress that was held in Washington, DC in 2003.
So how far back in time can we go with evidence like this?
In 1862, a scientific journal called
"The Geologist" published an interesting report.
An anatomically modern human skeleton
was found 90 feet below the surface
of the ground in Macoupin County in the state of Illinois
near St. Louis.
According to the report, above the skeleton
was a thick layer of slate rock that was unbroken.
That's an important detail, because it kind of rules out
the intrusive burial hypothesis.
This report from "Scientific American"
tells of a beautiful, metallic-- whoops.
I wanted one more detail.
According to modern geologists, the layer
where the skeleton was found is about 300 million years old.
This report from "Scientific American"
tells of a beautiful metallic vase
that was found 15 feet deep in solid rock in Dorchester, which
is in the Boston area.
According to modern geological reports,
the age of a formation at that location and depth
is about 600 million years from the Cambrian Period.
Now, I could actually keep you here for days, and days,
and days because there are hundreds
of reports like this in the primary scientific literature.
I'm not going to do that.
But I'll make some concluding remarks.
The significance of this evidence
would be that it would contradict
the now dominant ideas about human origins.
And this was actually recognized by one
of the architects of the current paradigm, Doctor William
Howells of Harvard, who wrote to me after he
read "Forbidden Archeology."
And he said a few things about it.
He said, "'Forbidden Archaeology' represents much
careful effort in critically assembling published
I thought it was nice that he recognized that.
And then he said, "Most of us, mistakenly or not,
see human evolution with man emerging rather late."
And that's the actual fact.
Most scientists actually do see things that way.
And he went on to say, "To have modern human beings appearing
a great deal earlier would be devastating to the whole theory
So that's what he saw as the impact of this kind of evidence
if it were to be taken as genuine.
Now, not everybody is willing to do that, admittedly.
Now, another interesting statement
about "Forbidden Archaeology" was
made by archaeologist Tim Murray in his review published
in "British Journal for History of Science."
Now, Murray is one of my critics.
And still, even though he's not really prepared
to accept my conclusion, he has some interesting things
to say that I think are worth repeating.
He said, "'Forbidden Archeology,'" quote,
"provides the historian of archaeology 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."
And that's actually what I was trying
to do in putting that book together, to foster debate
within archaeology about the epistemology of the discipline.
And to see this acknowledged in the professional literature
was kind of interesting.
Now, he went on to say, "'Forbidden Archaeology' is
designed to demolish the case for biological and cultural
evolution and to advance the cause of a Vedic alternative."
Now, I plead guilty to that indictment.
And it's at this point that many in the world of science today
are really going to have strong objections
to the kinds of things that I do.
This mention of Vedic alternative, in other words
some alternative that has its roots
in some religious or spiritual idea.
According to many in the world of science
today, this is completely verboten.
That's why I called the book "Forbidden Archeology."
But it's interesting what Tim Murray had to say about that.
He said, "The 'dominant paradigm' has changed
and is changing.
And practitioners openly debate issues
which go right to the conceptual core of the discipline.
Whether the Vedas have a role to play in this
is up to the individual scientist's concern."
And I think that's an enlightened attitude
that I can support.
No ban, but it's just up to each individual
to make up their mind whether or not
they're going to try to do something like I'm doing
or agree with it.
Gets you into a whole discussion about religion and science.
Now, I'm going to close with some of my experiences
in presenting this kind of thing at university
audiences around the world.
I've spoken at hundreds of universities around the world.
My books are now in about 25 different languages.
One of them is Russian.
So I've lectured at a lot of universities in Russia,
from Vladivostok to Saint Petersburg.
And usually, the lectures go fine.
At this particular university, the Tyumen State University,
there was a little bit of a problem.
Some professors there had invited me to speak.
And a lecture was scheduled.
But when other faculty members found out
that I was being invited to speak,
they approached the administration
of the university and said, we can't have this.
We shouldn't allow this person to speak at our university.
First of all, he's contradicting a dominant theory.
And second, and even more damningly,
he's doing it from some Vedic spiritual kind of perspective.
So the president of the university cancelled
The professors who invited me and wanted to hear me speak
went to the president and tried to get him to change his mind.
But the pressure from the other side was just too big,
so the lecture was cancelled.
So then, the professors who invited me
went to the local branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
And they spoke to the director there.
And he said, OK, if they won't let
him speak at the university, he can speak here
at the Russian Academy of Science building.
So they had buses bring students and professors
from the university to the Russian Academy of Science
And the professors who invited me said, more people came then
would've come if the lecture had been held at the university.
And then the next year, something interesting happened.
I went back to the same university,
and I was able to speak at the biology department
there no problem.
I guess they just thought, better let him talk
and let people just make up their minds about what
They'll be able to figure out if they can agree or not agree.
It's not going to be the end of the world if he talks.
These are some of my works-- "The Forbidden Archaeologist,"
"Forbidden Archaeology," "Hidden History of the Human Race,"
"Human Devolution," "My Science, My Religion."
Some contact information.
And if you do like the kinds of things you've heard today
and are interested in hearing more,
you may want to come on this cruise
where I'm the speaker in June, 2015.
Go up and see the glaciers and hear some weird stuff.
So I have ended five minutes before I intended to.
I did want to leave some time for questions.
MALE SPEAKER: Thank you.
We'll start from here.
AUDIENCE: So I was also hoping to get your point of view
from Vedic or Purana on the how old is humanity,
and what did you find there.
Because I think in the talk, somebody
replied that you would also come to know about religious books,
like Ramayana or Mahabharata, how much of that
is true based on the archaeologic [INAUDIBLE].
MICHAEL CREMO: Well, it depends upon what kind of circles
I'm speaking in.
For example, if I go to Rishikesh or Haridwar
in the Himalayan mountains and sit around
with a bunch of Vedic scholars who accept statements
from Vedic literature as evidence, then,
well, I can say in the Bhagavad Purana,
there are statements that humans were existing
during the [INAUDIBLE] Period, which
is in the first part of the Culpa, or the day of--
and they'll understand what I'm saying.
And they'll accept that as evidence.
If I'm at a meeting of the World Archaeological Congress,
or speaking at Google headquarters,
my audience is not necessarily going
to accept a statement from the Bhagavad
Purana or the Mahabharata as evidence.
So it's like if you go to a baseball game,
you have to play by the baseball game rules.
And one of the rules is that you can't use a statement
from a spiritual text as evidence.
Now, you can.
So for the people who do-- I get questions like yours
from many people.
They want to say, OK, you've given
all this archaeological evidence that you
say is consistent with Vedic texts, which talk,
according to you, in a general way
about extreme human antiquity.
But what do they actually say, the Vedic literature
So for such people, I'm writing a book
in which I will collect all those Vedic statements.
And then they can see.
But that's not the audience that I am presented with today,
that I'm presenting to today.
It's not the audience that I get at universities.
It's not the audience that I get at meetings
of the World Archaeological Congress or European
Association of Archaeologists.
A good question.
And I'm writing a book to answer it.
AUDIENCE: Could you say more about the actual contradiction
between the extreme antiquity of humans and evolution?
Because in my mind, it would just seem,
well, the evolution theory could just
be oh, you just have to push it back a few million years
and it could still hold up.
It's just that it happened a lot earlier than people thought.
That seems like a simplistic resolution.
But is there something else that's
constraining the timeline which makes it really inconsistent?
MICHAEL CREMO: Well, it's a good question.
I'll refer you back to the statement of William Howells,
who said, if the kind of evidence that I'm talking about
is consistent, it's inconsistent with the general theory
Because he said-- I didn't quote everything
he wrote to me in his letter.
He said, but you're putting evidence
for an anatomically modern human presence
before the known presence of even the most simple apes
and monkeys, which would be our prospective ancestors.
So you could conceivably come up with another version
of the evolutionary theory, but it
would be quite different from anything
that's being proposed today.
So that would be one possible response,
to do something like that.
And if you feel inspired to do it, then right on.
AUDIENCE: So you talked a lot regarding your critics throwing
out the archaeological evidence based on it just
being out of their paradigm, filtering it away, and so on.
But some of the critics who've truly engaged your work,
has it been just that, or do they
have valid, scientific reasons why
they're refuting your evidence?
MICHAEL CREMO: Normally-- I mean, everybody's
going to have to make up their own minds about these things.
What I try to do in "Forbidden Archeology"
was provide in each case all of the different opinions,
all sides of the question, and leave it up
to the reader to make up their own mind whether they
think it's valid or not.
Typically, the reactions are to suggest
first of all, it's old evidence.
In other words, but this is very selective.
It's the idea that-- kind of like a milk
carton, scientific evidence got an expiration date.
That any science conducted before midnight,
January 1, 1900 somehow has expired.
But I noticed that those who make that type of criticism
are applying it very selectively,
because the standard textbooks of archaeology
are full of discoveries that were
made in the 19th century, early 20th century.
So it can't just be that just because something
is from the earlier history of archaeology,
it has to be wrong.
Another category of objection has
to do with lists of ways in which something could be wrong.
It's possible there was a hoax.
It's possible it could've slipped in through a fissure.
It's possible that the original investigator made a mistake.
It's possible this, it's possible that.
My general response to that category of criticism
is everything is certainly possible.
But if you're going to proceed in a scientific way,
you should be able to show that in this particular location,
there was a fissure.
There were artifacts on the surface that
resemble those that were found at that level.
And there definitely was a way they could have got down there.
So that's another category of objection.
And of course, I'm willing to engage on that level.
And it's one of the things I hope
to accomplish with the book is to have a second look at some
of these things.
And if there are objections, raise them.
AUDIENCE: My question is you mentioned
about a guy that in 19th century found a jawbone in a layer that
was 400,000 year old.
How did they knew in 19th century
that this particular layer was that old
without any dating methods?
MICHAEL CREMO: OK.
It's a good question.
What I said, if you listened carefully,
was that according to modern geologists,
the layer is a certain number of years old.
At that time, they characterized things in another way,
not using necessarily years, but characterizing
things as early Pleistocene, early middle Pleistocene,
and things of that sort.
So if you translate those terms to the modern dates that
are attached to those terms, it works out.
So they would have said, that jawbone
was found in an early Pleistocene layer, which
would mean it would have to be several hundred
thousand years old at least.
That's why I went by the modern.
To give an age in years, I went by the modern geological
dating of those layers at Abbeville.
For example, Ribeiro, he would've
said these stone tools are early Miocene.
Now, in the 19th century, the conception of the Miocene
But it wouldn't be exactly the number of years
that we now attach to it.
But still, it was considered to be very old
in terms of the succession of geological layers.
But just for current reference, I give the estimates in years
that modern geologists have determined for these layers.
The same with Doctor Whitney's report.
He would have said, these layers are from the Pliocene Period,
which is an old geological period.
Now, the layers that he considered Pliocene
are considered to be Eocene.
And the age for them is between 30 and 50 million years.
In the 19th century, they wouldn't
be using the same number of years that we do.
But they had a concept still that, in terms
of the system they were using, it was older.
They expected human beings like us
to appear only in the very latest, very recent Pleistocene
So if it was from the middle or the early Pleistocene,
that would be anomalous for them.
Is that helping?
AUDIENCE: Let's say it's 19th century.
We dig a hole in the ground and we find few layers.
And they somehow decided, oh, this layer is younger,
this is older based on the depth.
But then they put some dates to it.
And I think it's almost the same as right now.
We also have layers and they have dates attached to them.
And my concern is that maybe we just attached the dates badly.
How do you know exactly?
Just like they might be wrong about the dates
in 19th century, they might be wrong about the dates
MICHAEL CREMO: I'm prepared to accept
that if we want to say we don't know how old anything is,
really, and all the dating methods are unreliable,
we could certainly do that.
That's one approach to take.
The approach, however, that I've taken
is you have to have some kind of framework
for discussing things.
And I'm addressing an audience of geologists, archaeologists,
And my way of creating a frame of reference for the discussion
is to say, according to methods that you consider
reliable-- radiocarbon dating, potassium argon dating, uranium
series dating, zircon fission-track dating--
these layers belong to this geological period,
which you consider to be millions of years old.
Now, if you want to take the approach that, well, nothing
is reliable and we don't know anything
about the real age of anything, that's
certainly an approach that could be taken.
And some out in the world-- say if you're a young Earth
Christian creationist who believes that the Earth is
no older than 10,000 years, you're
going to be very critical of all the different dating methods.
And that may be the way that such a person
would approach this.
The Vedic time scales are more or less
consistent with the modern scientific time
scales for the universe, and the Earth, and things like that.
So perhaps I'm not motivated sufficiently
to try to dismiss all the different scientific dating
AUDIENCE: Are there cases where the age
of the layer and the dating, some kind of scientific dating,
of the actual bones, say, is the same and is very ancient?
MICHAEL CREMO: Well, there are-- if we're talking about bone,
there are only a very few methods
that can be used to directly date bone.
There's the radiocarbon method.
But that works only back to about 50,000
or 100,000 years at most because it's
based on the decay of carbon-14, which
has a half life of about 5,000 years.
And after about 20 half lives, there's
nothing left to measure.
There's the uranium series method,
which is based on the decay of uranium
to different daughter isotopes.
And by measuring the ratios of those isotopes
and making certain assumptions about intake and outflow
of ions, you can date bone going back
a few hundred thousand years.
But if we're talking about the formations that
are millions of years old-- say early Pleistocene formations,
Pliocene formations, Miocene formations,
there's no method that will allow
you to directly date the bone.
Now, let's look, for example, at the Castenedolo discoveries
from Italy, where Professor Ragazzoni found human bones
in layers of rock from the early Pliocene
Period, or middle Pliocene Period.
There were attempts about 40 years ago to date
those bones using the radiocarbon method,
and a young age was obtained.
Now, the problem with that is if you
have a bone that really is, say four million years old,
and it gets contaminated with the least
amount of modern carbon-14-- which
can happen in numerous ways through the groundwater,
through just even a scientist touching
the bone it can contaminate it with recent carbon.
Then even if the bone really is, say, four million years old,
if it's gotten contaminated with the least
amount of modern carbon, which can take place through bacteria
infiltrating it, through any number of methods,
it will show an age of 100,000 years or less.
So each case has to be looked at very carefully.
So there are cases-- but as I said,
the methods that you can use to directly date bone
are limited to bones of, say, a few thousand years old or less.
For many the cases that I'm talking about,
the appropriate method is to date
the age of the formation at which the bone is found
and show it's not intrusive.
AUDIENCE: But you could say, OK, well this layer is more
than 300,000 or 400,000 years old,
and the bone is shown to be greater than 300,000,
something greater than 300,000.
But are there any cases like that, then?
MICHAEL CREMO: I can't think of any right offhand
because usually the attempt is to show the bone is,
in the kinds of cases that I'm dealing with,
there are attempts to show that bone is not
as old as it's purported to be.
Undoubtedly, there are cases like that.
But I can't-- I'm not able to give you one right off the top
of my head.
AUDIENCE: I'm curious whether, from your perspective,
the scientific evidence is sufficient to convince you
And if it is sufficient to convince you by itself,
then why refer to the Vedic texts at all?
Is there something special about the Vedic texts
that mystical texts from other cultures lack?
MICHAEL CREMO: Yeah.
It's a very good question.
And I am open about what my epistemological commitments
And if we study the Vedic epistemology,
it tells us there are different ways of getting evidence.
There are different categories of evidence.
They're called pramanas.
One is called the pratyaksha pramana.
That means sense evidence, things
we can touch, see, measure.
Then there's anumana, which means logical inference.
If it's like this and this, then it must be like that.
These methods for getting knowledge about-- especially
about things that are beyond the range of the senses,
like what was happening millions or billions of years ago,
they become problematic.
And therefore, according to the Vedic epistemology,
one can rely upon another type of evidence-- testimony.
It's called the sabda pramana, which
is based on the idea there is some kind of higher
intelligence that is aware of these things
and can communicate information about them.
And that's considered to be a higher kind of evidence.
However, as I said, that is not the epistemological assumption
that's dominant today in the world of science.
If you actually go back in European science,
even to 300 or 400 years ago, you'll
find that many of the scientists had
similar epistemological commitments where they were--
I mean, even, say, somebody like Michael Faraday, a physicist
who did a lot of the work that unified electricity
He worked along with Maxwell to come up
with the electromagnetic field equations.
The reason why he started looking for unity
was because he was a member of a Christian sect called
the Sandemanians, who had the idea that all energies are
unified in God.
So based on his spiritual conviction
that energies are unified, he was
inspired to do the work that led to his integration
of electricity and magnetism.
And he also tried to bring gravity into the equation.
It's something that's still troubling physicists today,
how to bring gravity into the whole picture.
But I understand that's not the dominant epistemological
So I put that aside.
But you're asking me why.
Say if-- so my position is I'm going
to represent an idea from the Vedic text
if there is any evidence that can be used to justify it.
If there were no evidence, then I
wouldn't have anything to say about it in scientific circles.
On my own, I might still have the conviction
that that's true.
But I might stop trying to represent that idea.
Say if somebody could convince me that there is absolutely
no archaeological evidence for extreme human antiquity,
I would still believe in extreme human antiquity for the reasons
that I stated.
But I might stop trying to talk about it to audiences that
don't have similar epistemological convictions.
MALE SPEAKER: Cool.
I think with that, we will end the session.
And we'll thank Michael Cremo for visiting Google once again
and giving us this wonderful talk.