Archive for RickOsmon

Homer, facts or fiction?

Homer, facts or fiction?

By N.R. De Graaf, The Netherlands

About the naval base of the Faeakedegraffs June 2015





In 1879 mr Cailleux, a Frenchman, advanced the idea that the histories told by Homer had been enacted in the Atlantic zone of Europe. This was some decade after Schliemann told the world that he had found Troy at the west coast of Turkey, and substantiated his find with the gold treasures he had dug up. The question is not yet solved, though most archaeologists now believe that Schliemann’s claim is true. It fits the traditional setting since the Roman Empire.

One of the problems is that the scenery quite often does not fit the Aegean Sea or coast, or even the Mediterranean Sea. This was already marked in Antiquity, and Homer sometimes was put away as a fanciful poet, even more so in our days. Instead of bending Homer’s poems to make them fit the traditional interpretation, it might however be interesting to see if Cailleux might point in the right direction.

One way to do this is not only to analyze the verses philologically but also to inspect the topographical indications we find in the texts. These do often not change so strongly as to become unrecognizable, e.g. in the case of springs, characteristics of capes, mountains, islands, landing beaches and harbours, caves and strong, durable, human-built structures. Distances walked and travelled by ship can be characteristic in combination with other topographical and geographical data.

Many people have already sought for Troy and Ithaka, and mostly they found considerable gaps between the descriptions of Homer and the reality found in the field. The indications given by Cailleux however become more interesting the more one goes into detail by visiting the places suggested by Cailleux. I can testify for that.

The most convincing arguments are the characteristics of the sea, often called the Ocean (Ωκεανος) by Homer. It is grey, or greenish like wine, it has (strong) tidal action, it is very, very large, it has strong currents and the routes of the ships when blown by certain winds and driven by the currents are more plausible for the Atlantic, in direction and length. Indeed more so than it is for the Mediterranean. I would call this hypothesis of Cailleux the Atlantic stage of Homer.

To check this Antlantic stage idea, I have visited various places along the European Atlantic coast. The supposed place of Ithaca, near Cadiz, as hypothesized also by Wilkins and Gideon in their books, was not my first choice, being complicated to examine. It will be done next time. Essential in this research is that one has to make a real visit, or various visits, with some expertise in interpretation of satellite images and topographical descriptions, wide interest in archaeology of the Bronze Age and some knowledge of the fallacies of translating the Greek original text of Homer.

Scheria, the island of the Phaeacians, indicated to be Lanzarote (of the Canaries) by Gideon and Wilkins, was a good option. Descriptions of Homer are broad and specific, it seems a fairyland at first look, which if becoming a true location would be quite convincing proof that Homer did not fancy in his poems. This in accordance with his descriptions and observations of human behaviour, which still makes his work marvellous.

Finds on Lanzarote

What I found on Lanzarote was astonishing. Most, or nearly all, details of Homer’s story are found on Lanzarote, starting with the description of far view of the island, when seen by Odysseus on his raft, as a dried raw hide (rhinos) which word traditionally is translated as a shield. But the hide is a better translation for the profile of a high cliff with two truncated volcanic cones on it. There is no real river on Lanzarote, but a salty river is indeed present, El Rio, the strait at the northwest coast of Lanzarote that has a strong current during heavy weather. The isolated bush where Odysseus hides for the nightly cold still has a realistic equivalent, if not it is the same location even after three thousand years, as it depends on a spring. The washbasins like those in which Nausikaa did the laundry with her maidens, still are seen, though dry nowadays. They are newly built or repaired with mortar now. The description of the beach where Odysseus eloquently pleads for help, after having disturbed the ball game of the maidens, the mule cart road over the plain to the capital with its double harbour and its springs uphill from the old city, the descriptions of the harbour and even the orders of Alkinoos the king, to draw the ship for Odysseus’ return out of the harbour in time to avoid low tide problems in the entrance, it all fits remarkably. Also the threats of Poseidon to petrify the returning ship into what is now the lonely Roque d’Este, and to cover the city with a mountain, it all is fitting in the scenery on Lanzarote.

A bold hypothesis was made that the riches of the Phaeacians are due to trade in expensive metals, copper and silver and gold, originating from mines e.g in the actual USA, Michigan. This trade route is quite feasible to do with rowing ships, as proven by daredevils doing the transatlantic crossing from the same Canary islands to the Caribbean. That Homer describes people with transatlantic trade some three thousands of years before present is not a new idea, but that their naval base might be found now is really something to be further checked.

I would invite people interested in my research to mail me to ask for a copy of my report and many photographs about Lanzarote. email: 

In due time the mentioned report and also next ones, will be available on my website <>

Atlantic currents. From: De Grote Bosatlas 49th edition, Noordhoff Uitgevers, Groningen. Low-resolution

atlantic currentsClick on thumbnail

Ancient Fortresses of the Ohio Valley, Part V: Processed Goods, Packaging and Transportation

Ancient Fortresses of the Ohio Valley, Part V: Processed Goods, Packaging and Transportation

 Rick Osmon
Originally published in Ancient American Magazine Issue # 105

When we think of ancient trade by ancient merchants, we usually think in terms of durable goods, that is, things or materials that have survived rot and decay to the present day. We think mostly of those things because it’s what we can see or touch. It’s not just earthworks, stone, shells, bone, metal, ceramics, or fabric, either. Pollens, foodstuff remains, wood, seeds, insect remains, domesticated plant and animal remains, paint, language, and the big one, DNA, drive our thoughts and are all are tools we can use to reconstruct some of the goings on of long ago merchants. Some of that trade was from farther afield and much more rapid in transit than most people ever dreamed. Read more

Exploring America’s Earliest Rock Art



Exploring America’s Earliest RockArt 


JackSteinbringUniversity of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Ripon College


The recent discovery that the Winnemucca Petroglyph Site (Fig. 1)

Fig 1




in Nevada may date to as early as 14,800 years ago has prompted a review of other instances of early rock art in North America. The Winnemucca Site contains deeply eroded petroglyphs including panels of what appear to be randomly produced cupules.

Cupules, in general, have been assigned an early context throughout the world, including North America where Parkman (2007: 1) has viewed them in early contexts, as well as reminding us that cupules have been produced in modem times in California where they are part of fertility rituals. Thus, it becomes critical that physical evidences of antiquity be established.

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Early New World Maps

 Early New World Maps


Dr. Gunnar Thompson


Early Maps of the New World

The persistent academic argument concerning early voyages to the New World ends with an examination of the cartographic evidence. Maps that have been preserved in the collections of such distinguished archives as the Louvre (in Paris), the British Museum, and the Library of Congress are sufficient to prove that ancient seafarers as far back as the Roman Empire engaged in regular voyages to Ancient America.

The beauty of the ancient maps is that they contain precise details called “Diagnostic Geographical Markers.” These “markers” serve the same function as fingerprints found at a crime scene. These cartographical fingerprints contain unmistakable coastlines, geographical positions on the globe, references of longitude and latitude, proximities to identifiable mainland or islands, place names of cities or territorial titles (also called toponyms), and often text that identifies key features of topography, climate, vegetation, or native species of animals. Historical perspectives provided by the sequence of maps from a particular region are often sufficient to delineate sequential modifications of coastlines as subsequent explorers gradually improved the cartographical knowledge of a particular area.

The importance of examining the cartographical evidence is the realization that all the world’s maritime adventurers and merchants were actively engaged in exploring the world and taking advantage of valuable commodities from the earliest times that ships were capable of ocean sailing. Archaic academic notions that the New World was somehow isolated from Old World contact until after Columbus sailed across the Atlantic in an effort to reach China in the 15th century are based on a Eurocentric religious doctrine that was inherited from the Middle Ages. Most historians got their training at Medieval Church universities; and it was the belief of learned elders in these institutions that the sole purpose for having a Chronicle of the Ages (that is, “history”) was to document the spread of the “One True Religion” around the globe. Modern scholars would do well to abandon this myopic mental baggage, because the survival and prosperity of our species depends upon making an accurate appraisal of where we have come from in the past and where we need to be heading in the future. All the world’s peoples (and all religions) played a role in the past; and together we must build the pathway into the future. Read more

Saving Artifacts from Confirmation Bias


Saving Artifacts from Confirmation Bias

Kelly H. Gross


When I started as a consultant to manage the development of a project called The Hidden Codex, I expected that the science and antiquities community would be excited over the prospect of discovering a new genuine cultural artifact. Boy was I wrong. The experts had something else entirely in store for me.

I had just begun to experience what I have now come to know as confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to notice only that which confirms one’s beliefs and to discount contradictory information.

Our artifact, called a codex, had been lying around on museum shelves, largely forgotten until the early eighties when carbon date testing became widely available. The owners, a group of investors in Ohio, submitted some cloth samples for analysis with surprising results. These tests showed that the codex was over 300 years old, created between 1660 and 1710 in Mexico.

codex folio 2






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The Angeles National Forest Mystery Rocks



Written by Christopher Nyerges

Posted by Rick Osmon

On Halloween day in 2001, I was leading a birthday outing for a 10 year old boy and his friends at the 3000 foot level of the Angeles National Forest.  We were getting late, so I led them down into the stream so we could make soap from the yucca leaves. It was a spot where I would never ordinarily go.  As the boys and I made our yucIMG_0034ca soap, my gaze was drawn to the back side of a large, 10 foot wide boulder with unusual markings on it.  There were two large horizontal cleavages and numerous markings across the cleavage that bore an uncanny resemblance to ogam.
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Preview: Upcoming Story in Ancient American Magazine

Here is a preview of my next article for Ancient American

Ancient Fortresses of the Ohio Valley Part 3: Grave Creek Complex; Smoke and Mirrors


In the first installment of this series (AA, Vol 17, Issue 101), I described two ancient fortresses, Merom Bluff and Devil’s Backbone, both in Indiana. In the second installment (Vol 17, Issue 102), I outlined the line of sight communications network that seems to have existed between those two sites and showed specific placements of the towers and hills used. In this installment, we examine the bigger picture, from the headwaters of the Ohio to the Mississippi, but we are not traveling on the rivers, this trip is overland, primarily.

No examination of the fortresses of the Ohio Valley and the network they comprised would be complete without inclusion of the Grave Creek Mound Complex, as it once existed on both sides of the Ohio River near present day Moundsville, West Virginia.

Grave Creek Mound itself is a 66 foot tall conical mound that overlooks a portion of the Ohio River and both the Little Grave Creek and Big Grave Creek drainage basins. It was described as 75 feet tall at the beginning of the 19th century. In addition to the large mound, there were at least fifteen other earthen or earth and stone structures that were part of the greater complex. These were mapped by H. R. Schoolcraft in 1843. According to Schoolcraft, all appear to have been used as signaling places. Although nearly all the “ancillary” earthworks are destroyed or obscured by modern development, the terrain where they were built is easy to recognize from Schoolcraft’s work. They were on both sides of the Ohio and up to several miles north of the big mound on the upland, a couple of them out of sight of the river. The two northernmost of Schoolcraft’s map form a line that runs west southwest to east north east and seem oddly placed in the limited context of the Grave Creek Complex. The tower that was both on the Ohio side of the river and on this line had an earthen and stone , and possibly palisade defensive works around it, as did another tower on the Ohio side on the bluff west of the town where the river bends westward.


In 1838, an archaeological excavation of Grave Creek Mound, led by Jesse and Abelard Tomlinson, uncovered the ruins of two large vaults, one situated directly below the other. The vaults contained several human skeletons and a considerable amount of jewelery and other artifacts. According to Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, who visited the site in 1843, the Grave Creek Stone was discovered in the upper vault, along with seventeen hundred beads, five hundred sea shells, five copper bracelets, and one hundred and fifty plates of mica. The Grave Creek Tablet was “a small flat stone, of an ovate shape, containing an inscription in unknown characters”. Read more

Kennewick Man Back in the News


Kennewick Man Back in the News

In a letter dated August 23, 2011, the United States Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers granted access to a bone fragment of the skeletal remains of the “Kennewick Man”, also known as “The Ancient One”. The bone fragment was to be used in a destructive test attempt to recover sufficient DNA for determination of Kennewick Man’s ancestry, his genome.

This set of remains has been the subject of controversy since very shortly after its discovery and was the pivot in a now famous (or infamous) court case that pitted regional tribes and the US government against a handful of scientists. The scientists wanted to study the bones and the other litigants wanted to bury them without delay in an undisclosed location. The case even resulted in an amendment to the Native Americans Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, mostly because the judge ruled in favor of the scientists.

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Missing: Prehistoric Michigan’s Half-Billion Pounds of Copper


Missing: Prehistoric Michigan’s Half-Billion Pounds of Copper

By David Hoffman
AA #35 pp.18-21


Approximately 9,000 years ago, the Great Lakes achieved their current definition. Water levels would have been high near the time of the final glacier melt enabling human travel along ancient trade routes. Soil conditions indicate that at one time the Wisconsin River was several miles wide in the center part of the state, and the escarpment of Door County as an ancient shoreline proves examples of this.

Across Green Bay, seven thousand years ago, near present-day Oconto, Wisconsin, people lived and comprised a period in prehistory archaeologists call “The Old Copper Culture”. Artifacts from this ancient civilization contribute to understanding the truly wide-ranging influences of early man. Found at the Oconto site were freshwater clam shells indicative of the Mississippi River and a shell representative of the southern Atlantic coastline.

Yet, it is copper for which this culture is known. It’s people may have been the earliest metalsmiths in the world working with the first malleable mineral known to mankind. They fashioned arrowheads and bracelets and other tools and ornaments But copper, like shells, was not native to either Green Bay or Lake Michigan. The only area along the major waterways of North America where copper is found is the Lake Superior region, some of the oldest land on earth. Read more

Midwestern Epigraphic Society and Ancient America

Midwestern Epigraphic Society and Ancient America

A small amateur organization rides the wave of discoveries that Columbus was the last to come to America

by James Leslie

By the early 1980s Barry Fell had published his first three books, America BC, Saga America and Bronze Age America showing evidence that Europeans had visited American years before Christopher Columbus’ contact.  Fell was now at his height of popularity with the American people. The time was right; people were ready to question the accepted dogma that Europeans did not come to America before Columbus. Read more