The Establishment Has Already Acknowledged The “Lost Race of Giants” Pt. 1
By Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer
One of the most controversial subjects regarding the ancient prehistoric cultures of North America concerns what we refer to as the Unique Physical Types (UPT). For the purposes of what follows, these UPT are often gigantic humanoid skeletons with high-vaulted crania, occasional extra or pathological dentitions (including several reports of double or triple rows of teeth), and are usually discovered in the burial mounds and associated graveyards of the Adena-Hopewell, Archaic Cultures, and Southeastern Ceremonial Complex.
It is common today for alternative history researchers to tell the story of how these beings were discovered en masse throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Historians, antiquarians, and archaeologists recorded the discovery of the Unique Physical Types all over the United States, with a large concentration found in the mounds and earthworks of the Ohio River Valley and along the Mississippi River. These accounts can be found in any number of county, township, and state histories, as well as anthropological literature from both inside and outside of the Smithsonian Institution.
Here are several examples:
“From a mound on the farm of Edin Burrowes, near Franklin, were exhumed, in May, 1841, at a depth of over 12 feet, several human skeletons. One, of extraordinary dimensions, was found between what appeared to have been two logs, covered with a wooden slab. Many of the bones were entire. The under jaw-bone was large enough to fit over the jaw, flesh and all, of any common man of the present day. The thigh-bones were full six inches longer than those of any man in Simpson County. Teeth, arms, ribs, and all, gave evidence of a giant of a former race.”
Jo Daviess County, Illinois
“The mounds on the bluff have nearly all been opened within the last two or three years…In all that have been opened the excavators have found in the centre a pit that was evidently dug about two and a half feet below the original surface of the ground…The bones in this pit indicate a race of gigantic stature, buried in a sitting posture around the sides of the pit, with legs extending toward the center. Near the original surface, 10 or 12 feet from the center (of the mound), on the lower side, lying at full length upon its back, was one of the largest skeletons discovered by the Bureau agents, the length as proved by actual measurement being between 7 and 8 feet. It was all clearly traceable…”
Kanawha Valley, West Virginia
“No 11 is now 35 by 40 feet at the base and 4 feet high. In the center, 3 feet below the surface, was a vault 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. In the bottom of this, among the decayed fragments of bark wrappings, lay a skeleton fully 7 feet long, extended at full length on the back, head west. Nineteen feet from the top…in the remains of a bark coffin, a skeleton, measuring 7.5 feet in length and 19 inches across the shoulders, was discovered. Within the village of Brownstown, ten miles above Charleston and just below the mouth of Lens creek, is another such ancient burying ground…At Brownstown, not long since, two skeletons were found together, one a huge frame about seven feet in length and the other about four feet, a dwarf and deformed.”
“Pursuing my investigations, and excavating further toward the south east face of the mound, I came upon the largest stone ax I have ever seen or that had ever been found in this section of the country. Close to it was the largest and most perfect cranium of the mound…Near by the side of this skull were the right femoris, the tibia, the humerus, and part of the radius, with a portion of the pelvis directly under the skull…Anticipating a perfect specimen in this skull, I was doomed to disappointment, for, after taking it out of the earth and
setting it up, so that I could view the fleshless face of this gigantic savage, in the space of two hours it crumbled to pieces, except small portions. According to measurement of the bones of this skeleton, its height must have been quite 7 feet.”
“In the same line of abnormality was the finding of one skull in which the detention reached the unusual number of forty teeth, the increase consisting of eight additional incisors…The formation of the skull found in the Larto mound, as compared with those of other localities, is highly anomalous…The anomaly in these cases can not be ascribed to artificial disfiguration, for, were it such, the otherwise symmetrical development of the other parts would be impossible…their remarkable conformation could not possibly have been the result of bandages or other external appliances, but was undoubtedly congenital.”
Etowah Mound Group
“Grave A, a stone sepulcher, 2.5 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 2 feet deep, was formed by placing steatite slabs on edge at the sides and ends, and others across the top. The bottom consisted simply of earth hardened by fire. It contained the remains of a single skeleton, lying on its back, with the head east. The frame was heavy and 7 feet long.”
These examples represent the various anomalous features of the Unique Physical Types (UPT), which were encountered in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Spatially and culturally, they illustrate the extensive temporal and geographical range of these types. The Kanawha Valley Mound Builders left their remains in an area where some of the oldest Fayette Thick Adena Pottery and diverse types of mound construction have been found. It has recently been suggested that sites in West Virginia may push the “acceptable” beginning of the Early Woodland Period back to 1400-1300 BC.
The samples from Illinois come from a region where Archaic era mounds have been found, often with Hopewell Mounds built over and into them hundreds or thousands of years later, as in the case of Elizabeth Mound 1 and Peter Klunk Mound 7. The Etowah Mound (Mound C) is ascribed to the Mississippian Cult, dated to 950-1450 AD.
After the Government and Philanthropies took over American Archaeology in the 1900s, the establishment undertook the policy of flatly denying the existence of anomalous remains. The actual beginning point for the revisionist tendency in the National Museum was very early. By 1851, E G Squier was working to debunk theories of pre-Columbian contact, and several decades later Gerald Fowke would attempt to discredit and jettison the work of virtually every researcher in the field up to his day, including the skeletal measurements of his fellow agents in the Bureau of Ethnology. However, the denial of the Unique Physical Types truly got underway during the reign of Ales Hrdlicka as the Curator of Anthropology at the Smithsonian (circa 1903).
Hrdlicka seems to have made a hobby of constantly disparaging the notion that anomalous skeletons were ever found. This was done in scholarly works as well as public venues:
“And the ‘giant’ and ‘eight-foot’ skeleton is to this day the almost stereotyped feature of many an amateur report of a find of skeletal remains in Florida as well as other parts of the country. All these reports…it may be said once and for all, are exaggerations.”
“Dr Hrdlicka blames the ‘will to believe’ of amateur anthropologists for many reports of ‘discoveries’ which find their way to his office with monotonous frequency…the purported ‘finds’ describe a race of ancient giants between 7 and 8 feet tall with bones and jaws considerably larger than those living today…Next to human ‘giants’ Dr. Hrdlicka reports, fancy finds its sway with human ‘dwarfs’.”
Interestingly, Hrdlicka’s name appears in several reports of discoveries of gigantic skeletons during his tenure at the American Museum:
“The skeletons of these Hitherto Unknown American Aborigines Showed They All Ranged in Height from Six and One-Half to Seven Feet…Excavating in the sand dunes of the sun-sprayed Golden Isles, Georgia, archaeologists have gouged out the strange record of an amazing prehistoric race of giants…What manner of men were these, the members of whose tribe all averaged six and one-half and seven feet tall?…Some of the first skulls to be disinterred by Preston Holder have already been examined at the Smithsonian Institute by Dr Ales Hrdlicka, foremost authority on North American Types.”
Currently there are a slew of books, DVDs and even at least one TV show documenting the exploits of modern hunters who are “on the trail” of the anomalous dead, who insist that if at least one of these skeletons could be found and presented to the “experts” it would somehow alter the professed paradigm of the establishment itself.
However, as we will demonstrate in Part 2, the “experts” have already rediscovered, photographed, and measured these types of remains.
- History of Kentucky, Volume 2. Lewis Collins, 1878. Giants appear in the text on pages 107, 653, 654, 666, 683, and 722
- The History of Joe Daviess County, Illinois, 1878. Reference is page 843
- 12th Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1891.
- History of the Great Kanawha Valley, by John P Hale, 1891. Reference on page 47.
- Annual Report of the Boards of Regents of the Smithsonian, 1874. See Antiwuities of Florida, page 392.
- Publications of the Louisiana Historical Society 1896. Mounds of Louisiana, Part 1. Reference begins on page 20.
- Building Woodland Archaeological Units in The Kanawha River Basin, West Virginia, by Patrick D Trader, in Woodland Period Systematics in The Middle Ohio Valley, edited by Darlene Applegate and Robert Mainford, 2005
- For Elizabeth Mound number 1, see The Archaic and Woodland Cemeteries of the Elizabeth Site in the Lower Illinois Valley edited by Leigh and Buikstra, 1988.
For Peter Klunk Mound 7, see Hopewell and Woodland Site Archaeology in Illinois, Bulletin 6 Illinois Archaeological Survey
- In an essay attached to Memoir on the European Colonization of America, page 20.
- Archaeological History of Ohio, Gerald Fowke.
- Anthropology of Florida, Ales Hrdlicka 1922.
- This is from a newspaper article discovered in a clipping file by Ross Hamilton. Ross was the first true “giants” researcher. His invaluable and scholarly works have routinely been exploited by other “experts” who provide little to no credit to him for his prolific contributions. His book, A Tradition of Giants: The Elite Social Hierarchy of American Prehistory, can be found here.
- From The Salt Lake Tribune, 8/21/1936, courtesy of the excellent Greater Ancestors website
The Establishment Has Already Acknowledged the “Lost Race of Giants” Pt. 2
By Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer
We will now document the discovery of the Unique Physical Types (UPT) even after the institution of the mainstream policy of denial, or “post cover-up”.
The two pre-eminent Adena scholars of the twentieth century were William S Webb (assisted by Charles Snow of the University of Kentucky) and Don Dragoo, of the Carnegie Museum. When Webb excavated the Dover Mound in Mason Co, Kentucky, he encountered a group burial of 4 skeletons, one of which represented the Unique Physical Type:
“The remains of burial 40 is one of the largest known to Adena; the skull-foot field measurement is 84 inches (7 feet).”
The Burial Census Table mentions that this skeleton had a “very thick” skull and represented the “tallest Adena male” from the mound. For other burials in the Dover Mound the Table includes such details as “prominent bilateral chin”, “rugged head and face, wide bilateral chin” and “High Vaulted, large-faced”.
The Dover Mound also yielded skeletons with dental abnormalities. Burial 54 included “a supernumerary tooth with twin cusps, lying diagonally in the left maxilla”, as well as “shovel shaped later incisors.”
Recently recorded instances of Adena supernumerary teeth occur at McMurrey Mound 1 and Sidner Mound 1 in Ohio. One particularly monstrous deformation analyzed and photographed in the Ohio Archaeologist may be an extreme case of the type of dental anomalies found in the Dover Mound.
Webb and Snow also noted the large crania of the Adena, which they partly attributed to head-boarding:
Not only do the Dover people show the results of head shaping (deformation), but they exceed the total Kentucky series in the great width and height of the skull vault!…it is to be noted that the head shaping…has been extreme in these skulls…These people as a group…have the highest skull vaults reported anywhere in the world.
Another feature of the UPTs documented by Webb and Snow is the massive lower jaw:
“One of the outstanding and un-Indian traits present among the Adena people is their prominent and often bilateral chins…One of the skulls from the Dover Mound, Burial 25…represents a bilateral chin with a width of 52 mm.”
“One of the particular features present in at least one-half of the observed examples is the great width of the bony chin, formed by bilateral eminences rarely found among the skulls of the much earlier Shell Heap People or among the later Hopewell People.”
Besides the large skeletal type, Snow noted the discovery of the “Dwarf” type mentioned in early literature in his observations of the famous Adena pipe from Ross County, Ohio:
“Further evidence of abnormal Adena individuals is portrayed in a remarkable piece of sculpture in the round-the Adena Pipe figurine…The figure depicted is typical of this form of dwarfism.”
The text references the excavation of one of these creatures at Waverly, Ohio. The following description of this burial is from Gerald Fowke:
…a skeleton of peculiar form. It was not over five feet long, but the bones were very thick and the processes for attachment of muscles were extraordinary in their development. The skull was nearly half an inch thick and of unusual size, mostly back of the ears, though the forehead was full and high. The teeth were large, hard, and but little worn.
In 1958, Don Dragoo encountered the large Adena type while excavating the Cresap Mound in West Virginia on behalf of the Carnegie Museum. In a subfloor tomb he unearthed Burial 54:
“This individual was of large proportions. When measured in the tomb his length was approximately 7.04 feet. All the long bones were heavy and possessed marked eminences for the attachment of muscles.”
This discovery, as well as a review of Webb’s earlier work at the Dover Mound, influenced Dragoo’s remarkable observations on Adena anthropology:
“Two outstanding traits have been noted repeatedly for this group. One is the protruding and massive chin often with prominent bilateral protrusions. The second trait is the large size of many of the males and some of the females. A male of six feet was common and some individuals approaching seven feet in height have been found, for example, Burial 40 in the Dover Mound and Burial 54 in the Cresap Mound. Some of the females in the Dover Mound also were more than six feet in height. Not only were these Adena people tall but also the massiveness of the bones indicates powerfully built individuals. The head was generally big with a large cranial capacity.”
To Webb, Snow, and Dragoo, the evidence clearly pointed toward the existence of a group of genetically related elites within the Adena sphere who shared the UPT traits. The true number of these individuals had been obfuscated by the common practice of cremation:
“If, as the evidence seems to indicate, the burials in the tombs were those of a selected group such factors would have undoubtedly been of importance not only in the development of the prominent chin but also in the large stature. If only certain inbreeding individuals of the total population were members of the ‘selected group’, genetic factors would also have played an important part in the establishment of the unique Adena physical type…How wide-spread throughout the entire Adena population were the unique traits of the tomb burials is unknown but Snow’s study of the cremated remains from the Dover Mound indicated that at least some of the individuals among these cremated remains also possessed the unique traits of the flesh burials in the tombs. Because of the common practice of cremating most of the dead, we will probably never be able to determine the full extent of these special traits in the general population.”
The emerging picture is of an elite race within Late Archaic/Early Woodland societies who were often buried in the mounds, and who represented a type of “royalty.” Among these interrelated groups were UPTs. This elitism is further evidenced by the presence of extensive child and infant burials in the tombs, often accompanied by the same exotic goods as the adults including shell beads and copper rings. Also, dental and bone anomalies have been used to establish a genetic connection between individuals at mound sites.
Gigantic discoveries are often challenged with the generic statement that average Adena were between 5’6’’ and 5’11’’ feet tall, but this argument is a conjecture of half-truth disguised as science. We are not concerned with the “average” stature of the Adena populace, but rather the irregular characteristics (and often abnormally tall stature) of their elite.
Besides the professional literature, so-called “amateur” archaeologists have also chronicled conclusive evidence of Unique Physical Types with a great consistency to the discoveries of Dragoo and Webb. In 1908, Louis Welles Murray recorded that at Tioga Point in Pennsylvania, remains of “a skeleton of a man six or more feet in height” beneath a cist-like grave were found. The grave itself was encased and moved to the local museum where the bones were studied by hundreds of people. Other skeletons from this same area “were of unusual size; one, judged from the length of thigh bone, to be seven feet.”
In addition to these, Murray documents the examination of a large skeleton by a Professor Holbrooke:
“Judging by the thigh bone he must have been seven feet tall. The skull was much larger than usual, very thick, the forehead unusually receding, the top flattened. The jaws were extremely strong, full of large, perfect teeth.”
Following the discovery of burials in her own flower garden, Murray embarked on an archaeological odyssey of her own. In 1921, she published an article for the American Anthropologist, noting that the femur, jaw, and teeth of one of the seven-foot skeletons was then still in the Tioga Point Museum. Also included are references to many skeletons between 6 and 7 feet tall, with photographs of artifacts, pottery, and the in situ burial of one of the “above 6ft” burials. The article also features a photograph of the “Paul Scott Collection”, described as “a multiplicity of small artifacts, suggesting a race of pygmies” which included a “miniature amulet and sinker stones.”
Regardless of the disparagement of amateurs, historians, and antiquarians, the credentials of Webb, Snow, and Dragoo have never been brought into question. With so many researchers scrambling today to discover irrefutable evidence of gigantic or otherwise anomalous beings to prove their existence, the authors question why they do not simply present the works of William S Webb and Don Dragoo to anthropologists, and more importantly, their audiences.
While the concept of a mysterious and undiscovered race may create an air of sensationalism healthy for selling books and DVDs, it is of far more relevance to demonstrate that the Unique Physical Types were documented by mainstream archeologists all the way up through the 20th century, even after the institutionalized policy of denial.
- The Dover Mound, William S Webb and Charles Snow 1959. The measurement of the giant is on page 22, the burial census is on pages 29-32, and the dental anomalies are photographed on page 43.
- Mortuary Variability in the Middle Big Darby Drainage of Central Ohio Between 300 BC and 300 AD Volume 1, Bruce Aument.
- Ohio Archaeologist, 10 (4), Oct 1960. Article and photograph on pages 140-141.
- The Adena People, No 2, by Webb and Baby.
- The Archaeological History of Ohio, by Gerald Fowke, page 372.
- Mounds for the Dead, by Don Dragoo (1963). Burial 54 is measured and described on page 67, and an actual photograph of the skeleton in situ appears on page 50. The section on Anthropology of Adena is essential reading.
- A History of Old Tioga Point and Early Athens, Pennsylvania, by Louis Welles Murray. Large Skeletons appear in the text around page 200. Page 203 features a photo of a large type in situ.
- Aboriginal Sites In And Near “Teaoga”, Now Athens, Pennsylvania, in American Anthropologist 23(2) 1921 page 183. The article features a photo of the “pygmy artifacts”.
The Adena Giant Revealed
By Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer
In the 1800s, reports began to surface of the discovery of very large skeletal remains in the burial mounds of North America. These skeletons were described as reaching 7-8 feet in length (with a lower frequency of discoveries spanning 9-11 ft in length), and having very large skulls and gigantic lower jawbones. Historians often detailed these remains in early local historical records, such as the following from Cass County, Michigan:
“It was a mound about thirteen feet high….the diameter of its base was about fifty feet…Portions of the skeletons were in a good state of preservation. The femur, or thigh bone, of one of the males, which Dr Bonine has now in his possession, is of great size and indicates that its owner must have been at least seven feet in height” -Alfred Matthews, History of Cass County, Michigan 1882
Antiquarians also wrote about the anthropology of the tall ones in prehistoric mounds. The following is an account from Chillicothe, Ill. from American Antiquarian, Vol 2 No 1 (1879):
“A recent exploration of a mound near this place resulted in some interesting discoveries…The form was large, the jaws massive, and the teeth perfect.”
As is well known, 19th and early 20th century newspapers frequently ran stories of gigantic skeletons found throughout the country. The following report from Portsmouth, Ohio was ran by the News Herald on January 3rd,1895:
“Bridge Carpenters on the N. & W. R. R. found a gigantic skeleton while excavating, three miles east of Portsmouth, a few days ago. The skeleton measured, 7 feet, 4 inches…”
In the 1880s, the Eastern Mound Division of the Smithsonian discovered a number of gigantic skeletons in their wanton destruction of North American tumuli. The 12th Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology documents numerous gigantic skeletons found by Smithsonian agents:
“Near the original surface (of the mound)…lying at full length upon its back, was one of the largest skeletons discovered by the Bureau agents, the length as proved by actual measurement being between 7 and 8 feet.”
“In the center (of mound 11), 3 feet below the surface, was a vault 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. In the bottom of this…lay a skeleton fully 7 feet long…”
“The length from the base of the skull to the bones of the toes was found to be 7 feet 3 inches. It is probable, therefore, that this individual when living was 7.5 feet high.”
The twentieth century saw the rediscovery of the ancient giants by mainstream archeologists. Working with Charles Snow, William S Webb (University of Kentucky) positively identified the unique skeletal features noted by the early sources with the people of the Adena Mound Building Culture. Webb and Snow’s analysis of the anthropology of Adena was described in The Adena People Number 1 (1945) and number 2 (co-written with Raymond S Baby, 1957):
“The forehead is typically a prominent one, bordered below by fairly prominent brow ridges….The characteristic bulge of the upper and lower jaws (alveolar prognathism) is moderate in projection…Usually the cheek bones are not only of large size in themselves but they have a forward and lateral prominence…” (Webb Snow and Baby, 1957)
In addition to these strong features, Webb Snow and Baby (1957) remarked upon the “great width of the bony chin, formed by bilateral eminences”.
The typical Adena crania were extremely high vaulted (brachycephalic):
“Approximately 89% of the adult males, 92% of the adult females are brachycephalic.” (Webb and Snow 1945)
In their report on the Dover mound in Kentucky, Webb and Snow noted that the Adena crania to represent the “highest skull vaults reported anywhere in the world” (Webb and Snow, The Dover Mound. 1959) Cephalic indices measured for Adena range from 89 to 100. (Webb, Snow and Baby 1957)
The Adena People practiced artificial flattening of the occipital region, which added height to the cranial vault. This practice merely enhanced congenital features:
“…those skulls with slight or no deformation (undeformed) present similar proportions”.(Webb and Snow, 1945)
“It is likely that many, if not most, of the skull characteristics so typical of Adena are of genetic nature…”(Webb, Snow and Baby 1957)
At the Dover Mound, Webb encountered a 7 ft tall skeleton with these notable Adena features (burial 40):
“…the remains of burial 40 is one of the largest known to Adena; the skull-foot field measurement is 84 inches (7 feet).” ( Webb and Snow, 1959)
In 1958, Don Dragoo of the Carnegie Museum uncovered the remains of an individual “of large proportions” in a subsurface tomb at the lowest strata of the Cresap Mound in West Virginia. Burial 54 as described by Dragoo in Mounds for the Dead (1963):
“When measured in the tomb his length was approximately 7.04 feet. All the long bones were heavy and possessed marked eminences for the attachment of muscles.”
Dragoo described the unique traits of Adena, including the “protruding and massive chin” with “prominent bilateral protrusions”, as well as “individuals approaching seven feet in height”. (Dragoo, 1963)
It is important to note that in considering this information from Webb, Snow, and Dragoo, regularly occurring gigantic members are not the only unique features of the Adena People:
“Not only were these Adena People tall but also the massiveness of the bones indicates powerfully built individuals. The head was generally big with a large cranial capacity.” (Dragoo, 1963)
Working in the 20th century, Webb, Snow and Dragoo essentially corroborated the findings of the earlier antiquarians and linked the gigantic skeletal types with a specific culture. Following this, the pioneering research of Ross Hamilton and the late Vine Deloria set a scholarly standard for giantology, synchronizing the Native and Archeological records in Hamilton’s unsurpassed work, A Tradition of Giants. And yet, in spite of this tradition of rediscovery no satisfactory reconstruction of an Adena giant has ever been undertaken. While we are routinely reminded of the dimensions of the giants in volumes reprinting multiple hundreds of accounts of their discovery, we have been denied imagery representing their living form. While numerous other anomalies (such as the Paracas and “Starchild” crania) have received due attention, the gigantic Adena have remained shrouded in mystery. In May of 2015, the authors undertook a joint venture with the legendary Marcia K Moore to remedy this situation.
Marcia is best known as the premier artist recreating the living images of the elongated crania of Peru, associated with the Paracas People. Her work has appeared in the books of Brien Foerster and L.A. Marzulli and has been featured on the Ancient Aliens TV series, with Marcia herself occasionally appearing on the show (Ancient Aliens: Alien Evolution).
The skull used for the Adena recreation was that of burial 16 from the Wright Mounds in Kentucky, photographed in figure 25 of The Adena People No1, where it is described as showing “pronounced” deformation. In Skeletal Material from the Wright Site, Montgomery County, Kentucky (1940) H.T.E. Hertzberg noted that the crania of the Wright site featured the large, prognathic lower mandibles typical of Adena, and although artificially deformed, the series demonstrated the large congenital features detailed by Webb, Snow and Dragoo:
“…deformed as they are, these crania display a pronounced brachycrany…it may be noticed that four skulls…displaying submedium deformation, also give an average cranial index of over 90%. Thus the inference is that these people would have shown pronounced brachycrany even without deformation…”
The dimensions of the Adena giant were derived from several sources with corroborating details. Among these, the authors referenced the hand written field notebook of P. W. Norris, the agent of the Bureau of Ethnology who excavated the Adena mounds at Charleston, West Virginia in 1883 and 1884 (Smithsonian Manuscript, Norris Mound Excavations). Several mounds at Charleston yielded skeletons 7 ft long. At the Great Smith Mound, Norris encountered a house like timber structure 12 x 13 feet broad and 6 feet high, reaching 10 feet at the ridged top. Within this structure was a “gigantic and prominent personage, surrounded by 5 of his (probably volunteer) warriors…” Norris measured the central burial in situ and described it as “a gigantic human skeleton 7 feet 6 inches in length and 19 inches between the shoulders…” Elsewhere in the manuscript, this skeleton is regularly referred to as “the giant” or “gigantic”. Significantly, this particular burial was wrapped in bark and covered with a dry clay. This certainly suggests that the in situ measurements would have been accurate, rather than the product of some type of disarticulation due to the weight of the mound mass, as mainstream sources often claim.
The measurements provided by Norris are similar to those from several other sources, including this account of a gigantic specimen unearthed by Warren K Moorehead in Ohio, documented in his Primitive Man in Ohio (1892):
“Six feet above these remains was found the partial skeleton of a man almost a giant in size….The breadth across the shoulders, with the bones correctly placed, was nineteen inches…”
The anthropological details of Adena recorded by Webb, Snow and Dragoo and the early historians and antiquarians corroborate Norris’ account and indicate individuals approaching 8 feet tall. Since a high frequency of reports describe skeletons reaching this height, the data was used by Marcia to formulate the likely dimensions and appearance of an 8 ft tall Adena in the flesh.
Marcia has done more than merely provide a visual for a tall member of a prehistoric population. The Adena giant represents a truly unique form of humankind, which until now has only been suggested by the multitude of Newspaper and Historical accounts regularly reprinted in the giantology market place. The recreation of a very large member of Webb, Snow and Dragoo’s “unique group of honored dead” provides a glimpse into the distant past, a snapshot from beyond the veil pulled over history by the establishment a century ago.
Marcia is currently working with the authors on a book to be published in 2016 that will feature an extensive set of her recreations of Adena and Adena-like individuals from the burial mounds of North America and around the world. This important visual work will accompany the presentation of 7000 years of obfuscated world history.
The Giants of Doddridge County
By Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer
(This article contains reference to an anonymous source. Although we have a rule of not using anonymous sources in our published work, we have made an exception in this case, since we feel that the possibilities yielded by this investigation could be of some importance.)
In summer of 1930, a series of Newspaper articles appeared describing a most sensational discovery: a race of gigantic beings unearthed from two burial mounds in Doddridge County, West Virginia. According to the Clarksburg Daily Exponent for June 15th, 1930, in an article entitled Two Prehistoric Indian Mounds Found Near Morgansville (by Bruce Horton), the mounds were located on the farm of Benjamin Zahn in Morgansville, 12 miles west of Salem. The article mentions that Professor Ernest Sutton of Salem University carried out excavations.
The article makes remarkable claims regarding the “now vanished race” found buried in the mounds:
“The particular tribe or race which inhabited this section of the state is believed to have been composed of individuals ranging from seven to nine feet in height…”
Of the two mounds, the Exponent article notes that one, being “six feet in height and nearly fifteen feet in diameter” contained a type of megalithic chamber “shaped from large, flat rocks”, which was “carefully and tightly packed with clay”. Within the chamber was one sitting burial, considered to be a chief. The Exponent explains that the second mound was “ten feet high and about sixty feet in diameter”, featuring three burials, one of which was “a man of height, strength and power, measuring seven feet, six inches tall”, buried near the center of the mound and “carefully covered by flat stones”. Another skeleton from the same mound is described as being “hermetically sealed in a case of clay”.
Another article, entitled Salem Professor Discovers Huge Skeletons in Mounds appeared in the Charleston Gazette for June 15th, 1930. According to the Gazette , the mounds contained “what Prof. Ernest Sutton, head of the history department of Salem College, believes is valuable evidence of a race of giants who inhabited this section of West Virginia more than 1000 years ago.” Again four burials are mentioned from the two mounds, measurements “indicating they were from seven to nine feet tall”. The burial sealed in clay is again mentioned, with a measurement given of “seven and a half feet tall”.
In the spring of 2015, the authors undertook an investigation of these discoveries made long ago. To begin with, the press articles all mention that Sutton sent the artifacts from the Zahn Farm mounds to the Smithsonian Institution. In fact, the acquisitions records of the Smithsonian do note the donation of several artifacts from the “Zahn-Maxwell Mound”, including a stemmed point, slate gorget, and a sandstone disk. The disk itself is mentioned in the press articles, noted as featuring several engraved lines on one side. These three artifacts are manually assigned to Ernest Sutton and Oris Stutler in the acquisitions journal at the Smithsonian, with a date of donation of July 9th, 1930. These are without doubt artifacts from the mounds in question and the material can be viewed at the online Smithsonian Collections Search Center.
Sutton himself published a paper detailing the excavations of the mounds in the 10th volume of the West Virginia Archaeologist in 1958. According to Sutton, the two mounds, dubbed Do-1 and Do-2, were located on a steep hill 400 feet above the village of Morgansville. Do-2 was the Zahn-Maxwell Mound, the actual dimensions of which were 10 feet in height and 75 feet in diameter. Sutton documents four extended burials, one of which was encased in a type of baked clay, as well as the presence of red and yellow ocher in some burials.
Sutton refers to Do-1 as the Zahn Mound, measured as 12 feet in diameter and 3 feet high. The report offers extensive details regarding the burial in the stone chamber mentioned in the Newspapers:
“The body had evidently been placed in a sitting position on a large flat rock with the legs extended toward the large mound. Skull, chest, and pelvic bones were in one mass on top of the rock. The leg and foot bones extended beyond the rock in the direction of the larger mound.”
Interestingly, Sutton notes that even though no “artifacts or articles of adornment were found with the skeletal remains”, he and his assistant, Page Lockard, felt that the burial was “very unusual”, and that “the person who had been buried here was of more than average importance.” Page Lockard himself seems to have had great interest in this particular skeleton:
“Mr. Lockard collected the bones and took them home with him.”
Sutton later removed the large stone upon which the skeleton was found, uncovering four cache blades, pipe fragments, a bone awl, flint scraper, black arrowhead, and a bluish gray banner stone broken in two.
Significantly, a comparative study reveals that the Newspaper accounts, published 29 years before Sutton’s own document, were almost perfectly accurate in their details. For example, the Clarksburg Daily Exponent notes that the first evidence of burial in the Zahn-Maxwell mound was “charcoal lumps and some evidence of burnt bone” found in an excavation trench from the east side of the mound. Sutton himself describes the same area containing “dark organic material” and “bits of ashes and charcoal”. The Exponent also mentions that “the entire mound had been covered by loose rocks”, while Sutton states that the “mound was covered with a good protective layer of rock, sandstone, of varying sizes”. The Exponent describes the sandstone disk as 3 inches in diameter, with Sutton’s report giving the same diameter and a thickness of 3/16ths of an inch. The Exponent even accurately describes the artifacts discovered by Sutton beneath the large stone platform in the Zahn Mound:
“…beneath the large rock upon which he (the burial) sat were buried his pipe, banner stone, arrow heads, spear points, and other instruments chipped from flint rocks”
Regarding the body “hermetically sealed,” the Exponent suggests that the body had been “covered and sealed” in clay which was then heated in a process during which were “many different applications of clay and many different bakings,” which mirrors Sutton’s own interpretation that “the body had been encased in the puddled clay and then the clay baked or heated.” The Charleston Gazette mentions that this skeleton, “enclosed in a casting of clay” was the “best preserved” in the mound, “with all the vertebrae and other bones excepting the skull” intact. This matches Sutton’s description of the burial, mentioning that “this was the first complete skeleton found, and that the “skull of this skeleton still remains in the mound.”
The purpose of this digression is to illustrate that in this rare instance, the accuracy of a newspaper account of mound excavations can be discerned by cross reference with the actual work of the excavator. The data presented by the two press articles is of near accuracy in regards to those features also described by Sutton himself, except for some discrepancies in mound size. This is in stark contradiction to the assumptions of critics of giantology who frequently attribute the claims of the press relating to excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries to pure sensationalism.
One crucial element missing from Ernest Sutton’s report are the measurements of skeletons. However, there is evidence between the two newspaper accounts and Sutton’s report that would suggest that the claims of gigantic skeletons were also accurate. Both the Exponent and the Gazette attribute one gigantic frame to the Zahn-Maxwell mound (Do-2). The discrepancy is that the Exponent claims the “seven feet, six inches tall” skeleton was found near the center of the mound, while the Gazette mentions that it was the clay casted skeleton which was “seven and a half feet tall”. Since both articles, and Sutton himself, note that this clay casted burial was the best-preserved skeleton in the mound, we submit that this could have represented one of the two giants supposedly found on site.
The only other skeleton from the site with remains sufficiently intact for measurement, according to Sutton, would be the single burial in the stone chamber from the Zahn Mound (Do-1). Since the press reports unanimously attributed the 7.6 ft tall skeleton to the Zahn-Maxwell Mound (Do-2), it would stand to reason that the single burial from the Zahn Mound (Do-1) was the source for the nine-foot tall skeleton reported by both the Exponent and the Gazette. Could the extraordinary size of this skeleton have been the reason why Page Lockard took it away?
There may be an explanation for why Sutton chose not to include the skeletal measurements in his report. In fact, the absence of measurements could represent validation of the gigantic size of some of the remains. It is important to note that Sutton’s report did not appear until 1958, 29 years after his initial excavations in summer, 1929. The Zahn Mounds were his first mound excavations, and the beginning of a long career as an amateur archeologist, working in West Virginia and Ohio.
As someone working outside of the establishment, Ernest Sutton may have been initially unaware of the policy of secrecy enacted under the authority of Ales Hrdlicka of the Smithsonian, regarding the reporting of gigantic skeletons. As a result of these circumstances, Sutton may have gone public with what he considered to be very important anthropological discoveries in June of 1930, and then avoided the mention of the size of the skeletons in his official report filed almost three decades later. The Gazette article specifically mentions that the information came from Sutton himself, who had made some manner of presentation on the night of June 14th, the day before the article’s publication. The extensive and accurate details contained in the Exponent article may have been due to the reporter attending the same event, which could have been held at Salem University, where Sutton taught History and Geography.
There is evidence of the enforcement of the stigma against reporting gigantic remains in Sutton’s subsequent work. Between September of 1962 and October of 1963, Sutton excavated the Johnson-Thompson mound in Athens County, Ohio. However, several issues prevented the official report from being published until July of 1966 in the Ohio Archaeologist. Several of these issues are outlined in a piece of correspondence between Ernest Sutton and Martha Potter of the Ohio Historical Society, dated March 21st, 1966. Among the questions addressed are Sutton’s methods of determining the height of skeletons:
“I note some question by both you and Dr. Baby regarding my measurement of burials and what formula I use. By examination and checking, I find that the length of the femur bone is approximately one-third of the total length.”
In the letter, Sutton also assures Potter that the “Johnson-Thompson Mound report has been revised in conformity with instructions and is now returned.” This is clear evidence that large “official” organizations were enforcing specific criteria in the publication of archeological data. In relation to this, the specific reference to the measurement of skeletal height in Sutton’s letter would indicate that this subject was among those bounded by these criteria.
(A big thanks to Joshua Magaw for providing Sutton’s personal correspondence for this investigation.)
It is important to note that in relation to the measurements published for the gigantic skeletons from the Zahn Farm mounds, Sutton’s method of determining height would actually have underestimated the size of the buried individuals, since the actual ratio of femur length to overall height is closer to 1/3.5 or even 1/4, according to regression and absolute ratios used by scientists.
A review of the published Johnson-Thompson Mound report in light of this correspondence raises interesting possibilities. The report is embellished with Sutton’s usual attention to detail:
“The mound contained three extended burials and one flexed in the secondary mantle, and one extended and one semi-flexed burial on the mound floor. There were four distinct cremations although the large quantity of bone fragments suggests that the deposits represent more than four individuals.”
Sutton provides meticulous detail regarding the burials, as with these two interments 14 inches below the mound floor:
“They had been placed in a north-south position with heads toward the south. One burial, 5 feet 11 inches long, was that of a male and the other, 5 feet 3 inches long, was that of a female. The distance between the burials was 26 inches. A ridge of undisturbed subsoil separated them.”
However, two burials found in the northeast corner of the mound (burials 3 and 4) are not measured, even though the description offers numerous other details:
“Burial No.3, extended with the head toward north-east, was 35 inches above the mound floor. Burial No.4 with the skull to the south-west, was 27 inches above the mound floor. The skeletal material was in fair condition.”
Sutton notes that these burials were in the extended position. This along with their “fair condition” makes the absence of measurements even more suspect in light of Potter’s earlier inquiries regarding Sutton’s measurement techniques. Does this absent data reflect the alteration of the Johnson-Thompson Mound report to “conform” to the criteria of Potter and Baby as mentioned in Sutton’s letter?
Measurements are also absent from one other flexed and one extended burials from the mound, but this may be due to the fact that these two burials partly overlapped, making precise measurement difficult.
There are apocryphal sources detailing Suttons’ gigantic discoveries at the Zahn Mounds. One such account appears in Mound Builders, Indians, and Pioneers (1956), by William Price. Price wrote many of his entries based on interviews with witnesses. The wording of this passage certainly implies that he gained his information from Sutton himself:
“Mr. Sutton says that he believes the bones he recovered to have belonged to a very large skeleton. This idea corresponds with those gathered from other spots in the state and would lead one to think that a race of people who were larger than average size once lived through this part of the state.”
The authors’ investigation on the ground in Doddridge County revealed that Morgansville, where the Zahn Farm mounds were located, is no longer a town. However, contact was made with a credible source; who for the time being at least, wishes to remain anonymous. According to this source, there was a second excavation of the Zahn-Maxwell mound in 1960, and another gigantic skeleton had been uncovered. As with Page Lockard in 1929, an assistant at the site had stolen the giant. We were given the name of this individual and were told that the information was very sensitive due to the fact that surviving relatives still live in the region. The gigantic skeleton taken from the mound in 1960 was supposedly between 7 and 8 feet long, and had subsequently been “sold to a wealthy western buyer”.
Following this, inquiries were made with Ernest Sutton’s surviving family members and Salem University as to the current location of his materials. The authors were ultimately pointed in the direction of the Doddridge County Historical Society in the county seat of West Union. While reviewing Sutton’s materials, we were surprised to find a notebook in Ernest Sutton’s own handwriting containing none other than the detailed report of a second excavation of mound Do-2 conducted in 1960.
The journal contains excavation notes entered on a semi-daily basis between May 31, 1960 and July of the same year. This time the mound is referred to as the Powel-Fox Mound, due to a change of ownership of the two farms straddled by the tumulus.
In an entry dated July 6th, Sutton notes that a “possible burial area” had been located. This newly discovered tomb was located near those excavated 31 years previously, since the July 7th entry mentions the rediscovery of the 1929 excavation as the mound floor was reached. Interestingly, the remaining pages of the journal, which would have contained the details of the excavation of the tomb, had been torn out and lost. An inventory of finds with the journal mentions that the burial was “semi-flexed, 9 inches from the mound floor”, but unfortunately no measurements are given.
Remarkably, the notebook does contain consistent reference to the individual who was named by our source as taking a gigantic skeleton from the Powel-Fox mound during this second excavation. There is no question that this individual was an assistant in this unpublished second excavation in 1960.
Our inquiries as to the journal’s history turned up the fact that the only person to handle it other than Sutton’s own family and the Society was Edward McMichael, State Archeologist of West Virginia between 1960 and 1967. Had these pages been removed to conceal inconvenient truths?
The investigation of the Doddridge County giants yielded several significant points not only for giantology, but also of the history of archeology in the Ohio Valley.
To begin with, the details of the Newspaper articles associated with these particular finds were remarkably accurate, as noted above. Even the proper stratigraphy of the Zahn Farm Mounds is inherent in the accounts, along with the correct artifacts from the site. This should raise some question as to whether many of the more incredible articles extant regarding giants from mounds may not also contain accurate data. Certainly, all of the press stories utilized by giantologists can no longer simply be written off as Yellow Journalism in the face of comparisons such as these. The authors have found many more such instances to be included in their forthcoming book.
The investigation also provided a rare glimpse into the relationship between skilled amateurs such as Ernest Sutton and large organizations such as the Ohio Historical Society during the mid twentieth century, the most important era for the development of Woodland Archeology. In fact, it was people like Ernest Sutton who pioneered the exploration of the tumuli of the Adena and Hopewell Cultures out of the sheer love of the subject matter, though the establishment today largely downplays this fact. As evidenced by the correspondence between Sutton and the Ohio Historical Society, there was a clear editing and censorship of field reports undertaken at the hands of individuals such as Raymond S Baby and Martha Potter. Sutton’s letter also mentions several artifacts which Baby himself removed from the site and failed to reproduce for the published report. This tendency of Baby’s actually beleaguered Sutton’s work on a regular basis.
Finally, the history of the Zahn Farm Mounds suggests that for some time, there was an interest in acquiring gigantic skeletons. Our investigation suggested that individuals who joined as assistants to Sutton’s excavations may have looted this single site more than once, during a period spanning over 30 years. According to our source, this practice was well known decades ago in the region. The question emerges as to who would have had such a desire for gigantic remains as to offer monetary reward for them? In relation to this we would point to the fact that after the late 1800s, the names of wealthy families and various philanthropies begin to appear in the reports of mound excavations around the United States, often in connection with gigantic skeletons. In their forthcoming book, the authors will attempt to demonstrate what may have been the true motive for the confiscation of the race of giants from the historical record.