Copper Casting In Ancient America

I think you may have uncovered a new Crackpot tactic.

Having been castigated repeatedly for bereftness of references, our English Expert Johansson is now formulating universal resource locations to extremely capacious articles or citing material that is composed primarily of unobtainium in droves, such that nobody within a traditional context can acquire the information therein encompassed with the outcome that a complaint to the effect that the respondees must necessarily not be cognisant of the verbiage may have merit.

Yes it was deliberate, thanks for noticing :*)

That's at least two recent URLs that flat contradict what Inger wants them to say. Bizarre.

Just squink, nothing new about that. Inger's pretty bad at squinking as well as everything else, so this is most likely incompetence rather than misdirection, but she could be trying to deceive.

Reply to
Martyn Harrison
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Apparently on date Sat, 29 May 2004 13:49:28 +1200, Eric Stevens

Why would you have to go to europe to find someone able to recognise a pit furnace from a photograph? I'd have thought thousands of americans had that ability, especially as there are plenty of *historic* pit furnaces in NA which are not as old as Old World pit furnaces, and are well-attested in the historical record.

It's not "denigration". I'm saying nothing that Conner is not himself saying on his own website. I'm saying that Mallery, Conner and Keeler are not professional archaeologists - they don't claim otherwise AFAIK. I'm saying that Conner is asking a historian to give an opinion of a photograph and isn't even quoting what the historian replied.

What you are doing is buffing up nonsense by making out what I've pointed out about the site you are repeatedly using as reference material, as some sort of attempt to devalue the information on that site. Well yes, but that's because the information on the site can be devalued.

I'm allowed to devalue the information by showing where it is not as convincing as the author has made it look. That's not ad hominem, it's actually judging the evidence and giving an opinion about the worth of it. Sort of arguing with the argument, rather then trying to attack the person instead.

Qualified he may be, but he's not in a position to make a decent judgement of the matter. He's a historian rather than an archaeologist and he's on the wrong continent.

Jeffery Richner, for one.

He's studied the pit furnaces in Ohio and has radio carbon dated them (to the historic period, not surprisingly.) Since he lives in the area and works for the MWAC as an archaeologist it's not a problem for him to have a first hand look at the evidence, which he has already done.

Reply to
Martyn Harrison

this is the same Yuri Kuchinsky who was taken in by - and continues to be taken in by -

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In Yuri's Own Words:

Of course, astute readers will have realised Yuri is supporting the notion of "ancient North African Berbers sailing across the Atlantic Ocean and building Indian Mounds on Talossan soil."

Maybe a description of what this means will help someone.

Independent invention is where a culture comes up with something, such as the art of writing. Whether writing exists elsewhere is irrelevant.

Diffusion is where contact between a culture with writing, and another without, results in the idea of writing "diffusing" to the second culture.

Now these ideas are fairly simple, in some cases it will seem likely that a new technology or style of artifact has diffused, and in others that it was probably invented instead. So most of us would be happy with both diffusion and invention and would simply weigh the balance of probability to point to which in a given context.

Eric von Daniken and Thor Hyerdhal and plenty of other pseudoscientists in the middle of the last century came up with support for something referred to as "hyperdiffusionism". This is the idea of diffusion above, but taken to an extreme. The concept is that independent invention cannot have taken place and therefore, contact with a culture which had access to, say, writing is the only way to explain how a remote culture came by writing. For example, south Americans could not have invented writing and so it must have been taken to them by advanced "teachers" from a culture with writing.

The theory of Atlantis is a hyperdiffusionist idea - advanced Atlanteans must have spread the idea of writing to all the cultures on the shores of the Atlantic, because they couldn't have invented this themselves.

Yuri is a hyperdiffusionist, because he has read some books by Hyerdhal and completely accepts everything Hyerdhal has had to say. But he also claims not to be, so when he accepts the notion of ancient Berbers crossing the Atlantic and building Indian mounds, he is agreeing with a parody of his idol's ideas without apparently realising what he is doing, and also without realising that it is hyperdiffusionism. Fairly entertaining, I give Yuri 7/10 for "eager ignorance".

Reply to
Martyn Harrison

Apparently on date Sat, 29 May 2004 23:46:33 +1200, Eric Stevens

What evidence do you have that Aicheson is a world authority on pit furnaces? I know you've read Conner's website and seen the name there, but do you have any other information apart from that?

Add to this set of information:

Conner says Leslie Aicheson is a Historian. Leslie Aicheson wrote "A History of Metals" published in 1960. Leslie Aicheson said "very likely" in a letter to Conner. Leslie Aicheson has never been to any sites in Ohio.

Reply to
Martyn Harrison

Not just the guy who "wrote the book", but he also is a "world class authority on pit furnace iron making" because Conner had to go all the way to Europe to find him. Sounds good when put the way Conner has put it on his website.

Now consider that the "world class authority" isn't even going to come and look at the site in question, test any of the material or do anything other than looking at photographs and descriptions selected / created by a person who wants him to say it is an ancient iron furnace.

Can you see why a local archaeologist who would be able to study the site first hand, wasn't as good a choice?

But we can go even further than this. a team of real archaeologists *have* gone to the site and studied it, without the aid of Conner and came up with the report "no evidence of ancient iron smelting", with detailed descriptions of what they found and what meaning they assigned to these finds and why.

So on the one hand, we have a proper scientific report produced by a first hand study of the actual site.

On the other hand we have Conner's word for it that someone who wrote a book on the history of metal has looked at a photograph and identified it as an pit iron furnace. Except that Conner does not see the need to quote more than the two word "very likely" part of the reply.

Bearing in mind this is quite obviously not an ancient iron furnace in the opinion of all actual archaeologists who have gone to the trouble of examining it, read that paragraph again in its entirety and see how skillfully Conner has presented the extremely limited information contained in that paragraph to make a claim to authority in support of his agenda.

Here it is again:

--------- I was now convinced the Ohio pit furnaces were worthy of further investigation. I decided to seek expert advice. I knew American archaeologists weren't world class authorities on pit furnace iron making because all of the known sites were in the Old World. So I wrote to a British historian of metallurgy, Leslie Aitchison, author of A History of Metals. Studying photos and descriptions of the Overly furnace I sent to him, Aitchison identified the remains as "almost certainly" those of a pit iron furnace! I was no longer skeptical about Mallery's iron smelting theory and I have studied the furnaces ever since.


The informational content of this boils down to

Chosen expert was asked if this was a pit iron furnace and said "almost certainly".

The rest is dressing the information up to make it seem like world leading authority figures agree with him.

This is the point I am trying to make. The stuff is well written, IME, the whole thing is pretty convincing and persuasive and the background information is so sparse that I can appreciate the skill neeeded to work this up into a decent story. And this is fine by me, but the site is not a reference book and people using it to support the theory of ancient iron smelting in Ohio are basically just relying on a single source which itself relies on information from other sources, in the most part.

Conner doesn't say what Aitchison actually wrote, only two words "almost certainly".

The point is, Conner hasn't actually told us what Aitchison said, he's cut the reply down to two words (so we know Aitchison used the words "almost certainly" somewhere in his reply but don't know in what context). I can make up lots of replies that included "almost certainly" in them which greatly alter what significance the response has.

Why has Conner decided not to tell us what he actually said? You can be sure a journalist would have a perfectly good understanding of how he is using quotes and information to present his story. He may not understand the subject his story is about, but he does know what he is doing to present this story and if he is any sort of a journalist, he will know how to misrepresent information to support a story. The style is making it seem like an open and shut case and trying to make all the evidence presented, fit the case you want to project.

This is not entirely how a scientific report is produced.

This is his agenda, sure. Ancient Indian.

Some are claiming Vikings, other people want to see it as Israelites or other ancient people. Probably some will regard space faring martians as candidates for relatively primitive iron smelting in Ohio.

Right, where have you seen people referring to evidence of ancient iron smelting in Ohio, with URLs that have not been pages coming off one journalist's personal webspace at his ISP at

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In fact, I can't even find a website other than Conners personal website with a search on google for "ancient iron smelting Ohio". Even if I wanted to make a case for this to be valid, I'd be stuck with basically one source, that is Conner, who is building on the ideas of Mallery, who sold a 1950's popular book rather than publishing any actual peer-reviewable reports.

Then the subject moved on to copper casting, and up comes, you guessed it, Conner's personal website which also finds evidence of ancient copper casting. Can you see where I'm going with this one?

Reply to
Martyn Harrison

Maybe you saw some other data but what I saw was a *single* blurry x-ray photo, with a *single* blurry white dot in it. I was supremely unimpressed with that, so much so that I would say it wasn't a gun and it sure wasn't smoking.

But maybe there were other x-ray photos?


================================================== please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ==================================================

Reply to
jim rozen


On what do you base this? Are you aware of the distances that this copper was traded in North America? We're not just talking about northern Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan.

The extraction took place over more than 5000 years, albeit there were some periods (e.g.: ca. 3000 to 1000 BC) in which the copper seems to have been more intensively used.

What about an unsystematic trade? For most of the time, there does not seem to have been long-distance trade; but things were traded between contiguous populations over thousands of miles. Late in pre-Columbian times, there were a couple of cultures that may have had longer-distance trade; but even that seems to have involved middlemen at various points rather than direct trade from the source to the end-users.

Everything I've read recently seems to say that

That's true. There was for certain some contact around 1000 AD, including at least one short-term (>10 years) Norse occupation in Newfoundland. There were undoubtedly other visits by the Norse to other parts of coastal North America. There might have been some Norse travel beyond that; but that hasn't been established. Work continues that might reveal more contacts.

That's my view. Unless you've got a stomach for lots of crap, I'd suggest you tip-toe away quietly from this particular line of thought. YMMV.

I've been wondering this for a while. Are there any other ways in which such voids might occur in copper without melting the copper? For instance, might linear voids occur if the copper were folded and hammered together, or if a couple of separate pieces were hammered into one piece?

Also, are there any other ways for bubbles to occur in copper artifacts without casting? The Native Americans were known to have worked copper while it was hot (I've heard up to 800 C); would this have any effect on voids or bubbles?

Can that be turned around a bit, to say that if porosity exists in a very small percentage of copper artifacts that may have been cast, this would indicate a fair degree of sophistication in casting copper?

Tom McDonald

Reply to
Tom McDonald

I made no claims about him being a 'world authority'.

Perhaps we both might have a better idea of what he might and might not be expected to know about pit furnaces if we had read his books. You will have trouble finding them if you continue to mis-spell his name.

Aitcheson's opinion matters only in that it started Conner on his investigations.

Eric Stevens

Reply to
Eric Stevens

Examples please.

And you chose to mention that he was a 'historian' while omitting reference to the fact that his specialty was metallurgy.

You have already given an example of how.

Nobody said it was an ad hominem. If you want a specific accustaion I will say you are engaging in deceptive argument.

Please give me the name and refrences to the work of a North American archaeologist who knows about North American pit furnaces.

In any case, irrespective of whether or not you can answer my question, the point remains that Aitchison was a reasonable person for Conner to approach for an opinion as to whether or not he may have found a pit furnace.

Are you able to give me a reference to a publication by Richner to pit furnaces and their dating?

Eric Stevens

Reply to
Eric Stevens

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is a site giving the background to the formation of the Michigan deposits.

Eric Stevens

Reply to
Eric Stevens

I don't think Conner actually said that. He certainly doesn't in the paragraph of his that you quote below. Please give me a link to the site where he did.

I would if the local archaeologist knew nothing about pit furncaes and couldn't even recognise one when he dug through it.

Reference please.

Can you show that it was tha actual site?

"all the archaeologist". Who were they and what is their qualification to recognise a pit furnace?

In 1968 - 70 Aitchison agreed with him that the photographs appeared to depict a pit furnace. This was sufficient to set off Conner on a program of investiagtion which has gone on now for nearly 35 years. Aitchison's opinion has had no bearing on anything that Conner has done since.

Thank you for confirming my point.

Conner has not been relying on Aitchison for anything but the original impetus to his (Conner's) work in the area.

Its not a very good love story either. But then it does not claim to be.

Anywhere but actually trying to find out for yourself.

Eric Stevens

Reply to
Eric Stevens

"Eric Stevens" skrev i meddelandet news:

That's a d.... lie! In one of the cases we have been discussing here one of the first European settler who came there in the early days of 19th century draw a painting of the mound in 1811. Same mound which wasn't excavated until much later and which then is noted to have had the furnace i n s i d e the mound 10 yards below the top of the mound in 1900.....

Inger E

Reply to
Inger E Johansson

Exactly what did Martyn say that is a lie?

He states that thousands of Americans could build pit furnaces that are well attested in the historical record. In what way is that a lie? Or did you think he was lying in saying that you don't have to go to Europe to find someone who could recognise a pit furnace from a photograph?

There are no lies there.

I think once again you have shown your problems with English comprehension.

Still, I'm interested in your example. What specific case are you referring to? How can you be sure form the painting that there wasn't a furnace on the other side? How can you be sure that there were no Europeans there before 1811? I won't even ask about the excavation report....


Reply to
Doug Weller

Doug, keep out of what you obviously don't understand or prove Marthyn's assumptions correct. They aren't you know.

Anyway stop attacking the messenger, me. I guess your students would need your time better than you spending it on abusing me over and over by Ad Hominem instead of arguments.

Inger E

"Doug Weller" skrev i meddelandet news:z4i5jgbxw3hk$.1cq6xy2tppkq7$.


Reply to
Inger E Johansson

You mean like the missing one indicating another EDITING OUT of my text, hmmm?

Further more the "snip" is placed where the text was - just chucked in any old where doesn't count, it has to be the text was removed. There is no snip for this bit you edited out:

[restore] To claim it is NOT established, is the rejection of the existing evidence, and it requires ALL evidence to be rejected. After all, it only takes ONE single item to prove it - I (and others) are pointing to more than merely one.

Ahhh.... the "Wellian logic" again!

Nope, I need provide nothing more, it is now up to you to PROVE the evidence provided already are NOT in fact evidence of casting of copper. The ball is in your court. [end restore]

...or this bit you deleted surreptitiously from your reply this time:

[restore text] ... the discussion about the evidence for TK to make that claim!! Not what you call "honest" at all! Only NO amount of denial of the existence if it will make it go away. It takes far, far more than that. [end restore]

See, there it is again, the stuff you HAD to make "invisible" and pretend doesn't exist!

Reply to
Seppo Renfors

"Eric Stevens" skrev i meddelandet news:


Not the first time either, is it? Must be a confusion on his side or can it be that he deliberatly tries to hit a window to prevent people from looking closer at the house? :-)

Inger E

Reply to
Inger E Johansson

Well, he said thousands of Americans have the ability to recognise pit furnaces. He went on to say there are " plenty of *historic* pit furnaces in NA', the significance of which stament you must judge in the light of Conner having written his text about his explorations of

1968-70. That there thousands of Americans having the ability to recognise pit furnaces circa 1970 is a claim so far out of the ordinary of what is accepted knowledge that it is reasonable to call it a lie if Martyn can't substantaite it.

Learn some english grammar. When a sentence has a '?' on the end its a questoin, not a statement.

Mybe not there ... exactly ... but very close.

I think you have wandered off the trail of this branch of the thread.

--- snip ---

Eric Stevens

Reply to
Eric Stevens

That site is probably the most extensive one available on the Great Lakes copper deposits. Unfortunately it loads terribly slowly. This page adresses the topic of this thread directly:

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Quote: "The natives used the copper to create projectile points ( spear points, arrowheads, harpoons), cutting tools, chisels, knives, celts, axes, wedges, awls, fishhooks, gaffs and ornaments ( beads, bracelets, gorgets small breast plates). They would hammer the copper into sheets and then form the tools. The hammering would work harden the copper so a heating in the fire allowed the metal to anneal and remove the dislocations that cause brittleness. They would grind the cutting edges to sharpen them. There is no evidence that they melted the copper and poured it into molds. The copper was already a pure native metal so that they did not have to heat ore up and smelt it from copper compounds."

Reply to
Erik Hammerstad

Erik Hammerstad says in news:

This also appears to be how they made the copper comals in Oaxaca.

Reply to
Philip Deitiker

Apparently on date Mon, 31 May 2004 09:31:07 +1200, Eric Stevens

If you are asking me to name someone capable of recognising a pit furnace then I already gave an example in this very post. There will be countless others, of course, so you won't be able to make out nobody in america is capable of identifying an iron pit furnace.

If you are asking me to give an example of a specific *historic* iron pit furnace then I won't because I'd much rather you tried to argue there are no iron pit furnaces in north america except for prehistoric ones.

I don't have a problem with the website - I actually reckon it is well fabricated and the tale is cunningly woven out of insubstantial thread.

Whether the website is *true* is a quite different question. Obviously you believe every word of it, and find discussing the reasons why it is basically fiction personally threatening.

So I'll switch to debate as with a child or religious fundamentalist.

Ok, another example of why it is low grade information.

Tell me for definite:

1) What date to what accuracy, does Conner say the iron furnaces were built? 2) Who does Conner say built the furnaces?

Fair enough.

Since it is my opinion of a publicly available website, it's hard to see how I can be *wrong* as such, but I can hold the wrong opinion.

In this particular instance, Conner presents Aitcheson as one thing and I can point out that he isn't that thing, he is another thing. Maybe I am wrong and Aitcheson is a world authority on pit furnaces, but I *seriously* doubt that.

Even if he is, we're not told what Aitcheson had to say about the matter anyway, so it is only worth pointing out that Conner has misled us to the nature of Aitcheson. Whether his words carry much weight is irrelevant as we don't know what he said, only what Conner presents as a seriously selected quote in Conner's words.

Again, I did so in my last post. You haven't actually read my post yet.

He wrote the book that contained the photos that Conner used to identify his furnaces, so this is not exactly ideal.

Personally, I like the idea that the age of an old world furnace of a given type, can be used to judge the age of a supposed new world one of the same type. It's got some real cheek that piece of reasoning.

Like saying, Thracians were using a spear of a given type in 500 BC. We find a spear that looks the same, in the US, and therefore this US spear must date to about 500 BC. I do like that. In fact, now I come to think about it, I can begin to wonder if Conner is actually doing a parody. It's a lot less evident than the Talossi Berber thing but has got a lot of clues.

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Reply to
Martyn Harrison

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