Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Ogham Controversy, Now on YouTube

Selected bits of Scott Monahan's documentary Old News are now available on YouTube, including the trailer (above) or here in a slightly different version.

I tried to summarize this complex alternative archaeological theory of pre-Columbian Celtic explorers/traders on the Southern Plains before.

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Blogger ColoradoCelt said...

I have looked over this argument many times and I personally do not buy it. The idea of Celts visiting Colorado appeals to my romantic side and I would love it to be so, but there are serious holes in their arguments.

First the dating of the petroglyphs. The earliest ogham inscriptions that have been found in *Ireland* date only to the 4th century. How do they explain the huge expanse of time between supposed ogham in America and Ireland in the 4th century?

Not to mention the fact that the micro-erosion analysis for dating rock art is normally considered very unreliable for sedimentary rock like limestone.

Barry Fell and a lot of these guys are all about ancient Christians being the bringers of civilization to tribes like the Zuni and Hopi. He makes comparisons between languages like ancient Libyan and Algonquian that are laughable. he translates an inscription in Wyoming as:

"The season of the Blessed Advent of the Saviour, Lord Christ (Salvatoris Domini Christi)"

Yeah right. I even had a colleague of his tell me that the Cliff Dwellings in Manitou Springs were real!

The very creative way that he translates these inscriptions are not credible. They look nothing like ogham except for the general vertical line thing, one of the most common elements in rock art anywhere. When you say "we have to guess because the inscription does not have any vowels" then you cannot translate, period. I cannot even believe they could make that claim with a straight face! :-D

I wonder if anyone has have ever asked the Arapahoe or the Cheyenne what they think of the petroglyphs? My guess is no.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

Some of the dating arguments, such as those based on ionic ratios, explained in McGlone's later work,
are technically beyond me.

I have visited a number of the sites and watched the shadowplay, e.g., Anubis Caves at the equinox sunset.

Something is going on. Does it have a transatlantic origin? I really don't know. I am sort of at top dead center on this one. Some of the epigraphers' arguments are powerful -- and yet, in a geographic sense, why here? What is there--was there 2000 years ago--in SE Colorado that would bring people from across the sea?

12:58 PM  
Blogger ColoradoCelt said...

Thats just it. I have seen pictures of Hopi calendar keepers "counting the record" at petroglyph sites that are basically a long series of vertical lines pecked into sandstone.

I agree that it is compelling evidence that it is a calendar of some kind and that the equinox alignment is most likely deliberate. But why attribute it to ancient Celts when we have numerous examples of Hopi and other puebloan cultures with similar solar alignment calenders?

I must admit to a certain prejudice here. When I saw that Barry (who I have talked to over the phone once in college) was translating these petroglyphs as "Ancient Christian" writings, a LOT of warning bells went off.

To me it smacks of the tired old view that civilization is simply not possible without contact with the Mediterranean. A claim that would piss any Irishman off! ;-)

4:33 PM  
Blogger Anti-Thesisofreason said...

Have you guys read America BC?
I haven't gotten through the whole thing yet. But it gives evidence of the Celtic presence along the east coast of north America. Similar writings on rocks and such and even evidence of tombs.
The jury is still out for me but it is intriguing to think about. I can see the Celts making it to at least the east coast.nqilauf

7:06 AM  
Blogger Anti-Thesisofreason said...

Ok sorry didn't read far enough. I guess you have read it.

My mistake.


7:10 AM  

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