by David Hatcher Childress
Most of us are familiar with the last scene in the popular Indiana
Jones archeological adventure film RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in which
an important historical artefact, the Ark of the Covenant from the
Temple in Jerusalem, is locked in a crate and put in a giant
warehouse, never to be seen again, thus ensuring that no history
books will have to be rewritten and no history professor will have
to revise the lecture that he has been giving for the last forty
While the film was fiction, the scene in which an important ancient
relic is buried in a warehouse is uncomfortably close to reality for
many researchers. To those who investigate allegations of
archaeological cover-ups, there are disturbing indications that the
most important archaeological institute in the United States, the
Smithsonian Institute, an independent federal agency, has been
actively suppressing some of the most interesting and important
archaeological discoveries made in the Americas.
The Vatican has been long accused of keeping artefacts and ancient
books in their vast cellars, without allowing the outside world
access to them. These secret treasures, often of a controversial
historical or religious nature, are allegedly suppressed by the
Catholic Church because they might damage the church's credibility,
or perhaps cast their official texts in doubt. Sadly, there is
overwhelming evidence that something very similar is happening with
the Smithsonian Institution.
The cover-up and alleged suppression of archaeological evidence
began in late 1881 when John Wesley Powell, the geologist famous for
exploring the Grand Canyon, appointed Cyrus Thomas as the director
of the Eastern Mound Division of the Smithsonian Institution's
Bureau of Ethnology.
When Thomas came to the Bureau of Ethnology he was a
"pronounced believer in the existence of a race of Mound Builders,
distinct from the American Indians."
However, John Wesley Powell, the director of the Bureau of
Ethnology, a very sympathetic man toward the American Indians, had
lived with the peaceful Winnebago Indians of Wisconsin for many
years as a youth and felt that American Indians were unfairly
thought of as primitive and savage.
The Smithsonian began to promote the idea that Native Americans, at
that time being exterminated in the Indian Wars, were descended from
advanced civilisations and were worthy of respect and protection.
They also began a program of suppressing any archaeological evidence
that lent credence to the school of thought known as Diffusionism, a
school which believes that throughout history there has been
widespread dispersion of culture and civilisation via contact by
ship and major trade routes.
The Smithsonian opted for the opposite school, known as
Isolationism. Isolationism holds that most civilisations are
isolated from each other and that there has been very little contact
between them, especially those that are separated by bodies of
water. In this intellectual war that started in the 1880s, it was
held that even contact between the civilisations of the Ohio and
Mississippi Valleys were rare, and certainly these civilisations did
not have any contact with such advanced cultures as the Mayas,
Toltecs, or Aztecs in Mexico and Central America. By Old World
standards this is an extreme, and even ridiculous idea, considering
that the river system reached to the Gulf of Mexico and these
civilisations were as close as the opposite shore of the gulf. It
was like saying that cultures in the Black Sea area could not have
had contact with the Mediterranean.
When the contents of many ancient mounds and pyramids of the Midwest
were examined, it was shown that the history of the Mississippi
River Valleys was that of an ancient and sophisticated culture that
had been in contact with Europe and other areas. Not only that, the
contents of many mounds revealed burials of huge men, sometimes
seven or eight feet tall, in full armour with swords and sometimes
(Vangard note..>Eastern Indian texts say that at one time men lived
thousands of years and grew very tall in direct proportion to their
age, as does the Bible with the comment "and there were GIANTS in
the earth in those days...")
For instance, when Spiro Mound in Oklahoma was excavated in the
1930's, a tall man in full armour was discovered along with a pot of
thousands of pearls and other artefacts, the largest such treasure
so far documented. The whereabouts of the man in armour is unknown
and it is quite likely that it eventually was taken to the
In a private conversation with a well-known historical researcher
(who shall remain nameless), I was told that a former employee of
the Smithsonian, who was dismissed for defending the view of
diffusionism in the Americas (i.e. the heresy that other ancient
civilisations may have visited the shores of North and South America
during the many millenia before Columbus), alleged that the
Smithsonian at one time had actually taken a barge full of unusual
artefacts out into the Atlantic and dumped them in the ocean.
Though the idea of the Smithsonian' covering up a valuable
archaeological find is difficult to accept for some, there is,
sadly, a great deal of evidence to suggest that the Smithsonian
Institution has knowingly covered up and 'lost' important
archaeological relics. The STONEWATCH NEWSLETTER of the Gungywamp
Society in Connecticut, which researches megalithic sites in New
England, had a curious story in their Winter 1992 issue about stone
coffins discovered in 1892 in Alabama which were sent to the
Smithsonian Institution and then 'lost'. According to the
newsletter, researcher Frederick J. Pohl wrote an intriguing letter
in 1950 to the late Dr. T.C. Lethbridge, a British archaeologist.
The letter from Pohl stated, "A professor of geology sent me a
reprint (of the) Smithsonian Institution, THE CRUMF BURIAL CAVE by
Frank Burns, US Geological Survey, from the report of the US
National Museum for 1892, pp 451-454, 1984. In the Crumf Cave,
southern branch of the Warrior River, in Murphy's Valley, Blount
County, Alabama, accessible from Mobile Bay by river, were coffins
of wood hollowed out by fire, aided by stone or copper chisels.
Either of these coffins were taken to the Smithsonian. They were
about 7.5 feet long, 14" to 18" wide, 6" to 7" deep. Lids open.
"I wrote recently to the Smithsonian, and received a reply March
11th from F.M. Setzler, Head Curator of Department of Anthropology
(He said) 'We have not been able to find the specimens in our
collections, though records show that they were received."
David Barron, President of the Gungywamp Society was eventually told
by the Smithsonian in 1992 that the coffins were actually wooden
troughs and that they could not be viewed anyway because they were
housed in an asbestos-contaminated warehouse. This warehouse was to
be closed for the next ten years and no one was allowed in except
the Smithsonian personnel!
Ivan T. Sanderson, a well-known zoologist and frequent guest on
Johnny Carson's TONIGHT SHOW in the 1960s (usually with an exotic
animal with a pangolin or a lemur), once related a curious story
about a letter he received regarding an engineer who was stationed
on the Aleutian island of Shemya during World War II. While
building an airstrip, his crew bulldozed a group of hills and
discovered under several sedimentary layers what appeared to be
human remains. The Alaskan mound was in fact a graveyard of
gigantic human remains, consisting of crania and long leg bones.
The crania measured from 22 to 24 inches from base to crown. Since
an adult skull normally measures about eight inches from back to
front, such a large crania would imply an immense size for a
normally proportioned human. Furthermore, every skull was said to
have been neatly trepanned (a process of cutting a hole in the upper
portion of the skull).
In fact, the habit of flattening the skull of an infant and forcing
it to grow in an elongated shape was a practice used by ancient
Peruvians, the Mayas, and the Flathead Indians of Montana. Sanderson
tried to gather further proof, eventually receiving a letter from
another member of the unit who confirmed the report. The letters
both indicated that the Smithsonian Institution had collected the
remains, yet nothing else was heard. Sanderson seemed convinced
that the Smithsonian Institution had received the bizarre relics,
but wondered why they would not release the data. He asks, "...is
it that these people cannot face rewriting all the textbooks?"
In 1944 an accidental discovery of an even more controversial nature
was made by Waldemar Julsrud at Acambaro, Mexico. Acambaro is in
the state of Guanajuato, 175 miles northwest of Mexico City. The
strange archaeological site there yielded over 33,500 objects of
ceramic;stone, including jade; and knives of obsidian (sharper than
steel and still used today in heart surgery). Jalsrud, a prominent
local German merchant, also found statues ranging from less than an
inch to six feet in length depicting great reptiles, some of them in
ACTIVE ASSOCIATION with humans - generally eating them, but in some
bizarre statuettes an erotic association was indicated. To
observers many of these creatures resembled dinosaurs.
Jalsrud crammed this collection into twelve rooms of his expanded
house. There startling representations of Negroes, Orientals, and
bearded Caucasians were included as were motifs of Egyptians,
Sumerian and other ancient non-hemispheric civilisations, as well as
portrayals of Bigfoot and aquatic monsterlike creatures, weird
human-animal mixtures, and a host of other inexplicable creations.
Teeth from an extinct Ice Age horse, the skeleton of a mammoth, and
a number of human skulls were found at the same site as the ceramic
Radio-carbon dating in the laboratories of the University of
Pennsylvania and additional tests using the thermoluminescence
method of dating pottery were performed to determine the age of the
objects. Results indicated the objects were made about 6,500 years
ago, around 4,500 BC. A team of experts at another university,
shown Jalrud's half-dozen samples but unaware of their origin, ruled
out the possibility that they could have been modern reproductions.
However, they fell silent when told of their controversial source.
In 1952, in an effort to debunk this weird collection which was
gaining a certain amount of fame, American archaeologist Charles C.
DiPeso claimed to have minutely examined the then 32,000 pieces
within not more than four hours spent at the home of Julsrud. In a
forthcoming book, long delayed by continuing developments in his
investigation, archaeological investigator John H. Tierney, who has
lectured on the case for decades, points out that to have done that
DiPeso would have had to have inspected 133 pieces per minute
steadily for four hours, whereas in actuality, it would have
required weeks merely to have separated the massive jumble of
exhibits and arranged them properly for a valid evaluation.
Tierney, who collaborated with the later Professor Hapgood, the late
William N. Russell, and others in the investigation, charges that
the Smithsonian Institution and other archaeological authorities
conducted a campaign of disinformation against the discoveries. The
Smithsonian had, early in the controversy, dismissed the entire
Acambaro collection as an elaborate hoax. Also, utilising the
Freedom of Information Act, Tierney discovered that practically the
entirety of the Smithsonian's Julsrud case files are missing.
After two expeditions to the site in 1955 and 1968, Professor
Charles Hapgood, a professor of history and anthropology at the
University of New Hampshire, recorded the results of his 18-year
investigation of Acambaro in a privately printed book entitled
MYSTERY IN ACAMBARO. Hapgood was initially an open-minded skeptic
concerning the collection but became a believer after his first
visit in 1955, at which time he witnessed some of the figures being
excavated and even dictated to the diggers where he wanted them to
Adding to the mind-boggling aspects of this controversy is the fact
that the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, through the
late Director of PreHispanic Monuments, Dr. Eduardo Noguera, (who,
as head of an official investigating team at the site, issued a
report which Tierney will be publishing), admitted "the apparent
scientific legality with which these objects wer found." Despite
evidence of their own eyes, however, officials declared that because
of the objects 'fantastic' nature, they had to have been a hoax
played on Julsrud!
A disappointed but ever-hopeful Julsrud died. His house was sold
and the collection put in storage. The collection is not currently
open to the public.
Perhaps the most amazing suppression of all is the excavation of an
Egyptian tomb by the Smithsonian itself in Arizona. A lengthy front
page story of the PHOENIX GAZETTE on 5 April 1909 (follows this
article), gave a highly detailed report of the discovery and
excavation of a rock-cut vault by an expedition led by a Professor
S.A. Jordan of the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian, however, claims to
have absolutely no knowledge of the discovery or its discoverers.
The World Explorers Club decided to check on this story by calling
the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., though we felt there was little
chance of getting any real information. After speaking briefly to
an operator, we were transferred to a Smithsonian staff
archaeologist, and a woman's voice came on the phone and identified
I told her that I was investigating a story from a 1909 Phoenix
newspaper article about the Smithsonian Institution's having
excavated rock-cut vaults in the Grand Canyon where Egyptian
artefacts had been discovered, and whether the Smithsonian
Institution could give me any more information on the subject.
"Well, the first thing I can tell you, before we go any further,"
she said, "is that no Egyptian artefacts of any kind have ever been
found in North or South America. Therefore, I can tell you that the
Smithsonian Institute has never been involved in any such
excavations." She was quite helpful and polite but, in the end,
knew nothing. Neither she nor anyone else with whom I spoke could
find any record of the discovery or either G.E. Kinkaid and
Professor S.A. Jordan.
While it cannot be discounted that the entire story is an elaborate
newspaper hoax, the fact that it was on the front page, named the
prestigious Smithsonian Institution, and gave a highly detailed
story that went on for several pages, lends a great deal to its
credibility. It is hard to believe such a story could have come out
of thin air.
Is the Smithsonian Institution covering up an archaeological
discovery of immense importance? If this story is true it would
radically change the current view that there was no transoceanic
contact in pre-Columbian times, and that all American Indians, on
both continents, are descended from Ice Age explorers who came
across the Bering Strait. (Any information on G.E. Kinkaid and
Professor S.A. Jordan, or their alleged discoveries, that readers
may have would be greatly appreciated.....write to Childress at the
World Explorers Club at the above address.)
Is the idea that ancient Egyptians came to the Arizona area in the
ancient past so objectionable and preposterous that it must be
covered up? Perhaps the Smithsonian Institution is more interested
in maintaining the status quo than rocking the boat with astonishing
new discoveries that overturn previously accepted academic
Historian and linguist Carl Hart, editor of WORLD EXPLORER, then
obtained a hiker's map of the Grand Canyon from a bookstore in
Chicago. Poring over the map, we were amazed to see that much of
the area on the north side of the canyon has Egyptian names. The
area around Ninety-four Mile Creek and Trinity Creek had areas (rock
formations, apparently) with names like Tower of Set, Tower of Ra,
Horus Temple, Osiris Temple, and Isis Temple. In the Haunted Canyon
area were such names as the Cheops Pyramid, the Buddha Cloister,
Buddha Temple, Manu Temple and Shiva Temple. Was there any
relationship between these places and the alleged Egyptian
discoveries in the Grand Canyon?
We called a state archaeologist at the Grand Canyon, and were told
that the early explorers had just liked Egyptian and Hindu names,
but that it was true that this area was off limits to hikers or
other visitors, "because of dangerous caves."
Indeed, this entire area with the Egyptian and Hindu place names in
the Grand Canyon is a forbidden zone - no one is allowed into this
We could only conclude that this was the area where the vaults were
located. Yet today, this area is curiously off-limits to all hikers
and even, in large part, park personnel.
I believe that the discerning reader will see that if only a small
part of the "Smithsoniangate" evidence is true, then our most
hallowed archaeological institution has been actively involved in
suppressing evidence for advanced American cultures, evidence for
ancient voyages of various cultures to North America, evidence for
anomalistic giants and other oddball artefacts, and evidence that
tends to disprove the official dogma that is now the history of
The Smithsonian's Board of Regents still refuses to open its
meetings to the news media or the public. If Americans were ever
allowed inside the 'nation's attic', as the Smithsonian has been
called, what skeletons might they find?