Alternate Perceptions Magazine, January 2023
Former USGS Employee Admits Making & Planting Fake Artifacts Underwater At Bimini, Bahamas While Employed at the USGS; Skeptical Geologist Who First “Debunked” Bimini as Atlantis Claims to Have Found Atlantis Stones at Bimini While Looking for Gold There; Attacks on Graham Hancock; Atlantis Was The Red Race
by: Dr. Greg Little
About 20 years ago I was privately told by an archaeologist that Eugene Shinn, a geologist who spent 30 years with the United States Geological Service (USGS), had fabricated and planted fake archaeological artifacts in the Bahamas. According to the archaeologist, Shinn planted the fake artifacts in the ‘70s around the controversial stone formation known as the Bimini Road at a time that there was intense interest in the underwater formation. Shinn supposedly hoped that someone would find the fake artifacts and publicize them. When I heard the accusation, I had trouble believing it. I decided that I would not repeat it nor publish it without some sort of genuine verification because I considered such an act to be unethical, probably illegal, and simply not something that a real “scientist” would do. Now the proof is public—by an open admission from Shinn.
On April 27, 2015 Shinn spoke to a group of biology students at Florida International University with more than a third of his talk devoted to his geology “work” at Bimini. During his filmed talk Shinn laughingly admitted perpetrating the fraud after being questioned by an audience member. I believe Shinn remains an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Florida. The film of his talk is available, but I have made a copy of it for future reference. There may be an effort made to delete the film but I’ll repost it online if necessary.
Shinn refers to people who don’t believe scientists like him as the “underclass.” In the talk he mentioned getting “hate mail” after he published a 2006 article on Bimini in the “Skeptical Inquirer.” I engaged Shinn in a series of cordial emails after his 2006 article appeared and asked him directly about many of the obviously untrue assertions he had made. His emails came from the USGS. His 2006 article is available here.
In the Skeptical Inquirer article Shinn related that he undertook the task of examining the Bimini Road in such a way as to not be embarrassing to the USGS. (Of course, he didn’t mention that he had fabricated and planted fake artifacts.) However, in the article Shinn related several blatant untruths and what might be considered as deliberate lies. He began his lies by writing that Edgar Cayce was doing a reading for a patient who Cayce discovered was a reincarnated Atlantean. According to Shinn, Cayce “asked the patient where Atlantis was and the patient said, ‘in the Bahamas near Bimini.’” That’s a completely false and absurd assertion. Shinn told me that the information came from the Cayce organization (the A.R.E.) but I know that’s untrue. Cayce was not doing such a reading for a patient, and he never stated that, “Atlantis was in the Bahamas near Bimini.” Shinn also referred to David Zink as “Edward” Zink and spelled Ernest Hemingway’s brother Leicester as “Lester.” Oddly, he also writes that Atlantis was a “7,000-year old” story told to Plato, not the 9,000 years that Plato actually stated!
In his article Shinn tried to explain how he determined that the limestone beachrock forming the Bimini Road was “natural.” He obtained core samples from a few rocks and wrote, “all the cores showed consistent dipping of strata toward the deep water.” It isn’t necessary to explain the importance of this assertion, but what matters is that it is also a completely false statement. (Shinn’s earlier publication of his actual research on the cores at Bimini clearly contradicts what he claimed in the Skeptical Inquirer. About 25% of them “dipped toward deep water.”) This false assertion is the key to virtually all the claims that the Bimini formation is natural.
Another blatant lie Shinn made in the article related to the stone “columns,” “pillars,” or “cylinders” found at Bimini in the early 1970s. There were 39 of these found intact or partially intact (pieces) off the shoreline. Shinn referenced Wyman Harrison’s 1971 Nature letter about the columns stating that all the columns, “were made of Portland cement.” That’s a lie, pure and simple. First, Harrison’s article showed that several of them were fluted marble columns. However, not a single other stone column found at Bimini was cited by Harrison as being Portland cement. Shinn simply lied in the article about that, thinking that the Portland Cement assertion would make people think the columns were modern. Nothing analyzed at Bimini was found to be Portland Cement. It was the director of the “Portland Cement” association who analyzed the columns at Bimini and he found them to be old lime-kiln cement.
In 2005 I issued a lengthy paper on this affair and it can be found here.
One curious sidelight to the veracity and ethics of the geologists mentioned here relates to Wyman Harrison. Shinn and others who describe themselves as skeptics always cite Harrison’s brief 1971 article about Bimini. As far as I know, Harrison appears to have been the first real geologist to attempt to “debunk” the Bimini Road by relating that it was natural limestone beachrock that fractured in place. What is generally unknown is that Harrison did decades of work at Bimini looking (drilling) for gold based on the Edgar Cayce readings. That’s why Harrison was at Bimini when the controversy over the Bimini Road emerged. There is a lot of intriguing information about Harrison’s search for gold at Bimini that has never been revealed but perhaps that might be the subject of a later article. I have been told that Harrison wanted to keep searchers away from Bimini. Harrison began his involvement with the Cayce organization in 1957. He was a member, donor, and author with the Cayce organization. The drilling for gold by Harrison continued at Bimini well into the 2000s with some of his last articles (as recent as 2010) claiming that stones from Atlantis were found.
Harrison gave talks for the Cayce organization (the A.R.E.) as well as publishing through the organization using the alias “The Geologist” and then using the famous alias “William Hutton.” Some of his “work” was funded by the A.R.E. Harrison died a few years ago after revealing “who” he was to ARE members. Many of his articles on Atlantis, his quest for gold Cayce related could be found at Bimini, and other Edgar Cayce issues can still be found here.
Back To Shinn
While I concluded that Shinn was often deceptive, was a sloppy “scientist” when it came to reporting findings, and probably just lied from time to time when he was trying to make some point, I had trouble accepting that Shinn fabricated archaeological artifacts and planted them. It’s a violation of many ethical codes and might have violated Bahamas’ laws. I would also guess it’s not in accordance with USGS employee guidelines—assuming they have some guidelines. I did contact the USGS, but the issue only irritated them. However, Shinn’s work was done with the knowledge of the US Geological Service and often with their support. Shinn’s email responses to me regarding questions about his work at Bimini always came from his official USGS email. The USGS has had numerous news pieces about Shinn’s work at Bimini and his debunking of Atlantis highlighted on their websites. Shinn has been repeatedly honored by the USGS and several universities that received substantial “support” from the USGS over several decades. I have read a lot of his other publications and they seem well done, but one has to wonder about how accurate the research was and how honestly it was reported.
In his April 27, 2015 talk, Shinn stated, “There’s an awful lot of strange beliefs out there today. There’s not enough science.” Indeed. I agree, there is not enough science because the “science” that has been done there by the alleged scientific community is pseudoscience.
At 49:34 in the talk an older audience member (name unknown) relates that he encountered Shinn some 30+ years ago in Florida where Shinn was “carving this stone statue.” This took place at Shinn’s USGS lab at Fisher Island around 1978. The audience member continued, “Somebody [with me] asked him what he was going to do with it [the statue] and he [Shinn] related that he was going to take it over to the Bahamas and throw it overboard.” The audience at the talk laughed and there was a brief pause.
Shinn then replied that, “someone told me that they saw it in a magazine somewhere but I kept waiting for something to really happen … but nothing really happened.”
The questioner then asked Shinn where he dropped those [faked artifacts]? Shinn continued, “we hid them [the fabricated artifacts] up under the stones [on the Bimini Road]; we made little cement pyramids and put a vacuum tube inside, made little pictures of astronauts.” More laughter. The audience member said, “that was my first memory of you,” to which Shinn replied, “you never know what you’re remembered for.” Indeed.
In brief, that’s precisely what I was told Shinn had done years ago. Apparently quite a few people knew about it: Archaeological fraud gleefully perpetrated in the Bahamas by the USGS with full knowledge of many in the USGS and geology faculty at a university. In retrospect, this is the type of archaeological “science” Graham Hancock is railing against.
It’s a remarkable admission, made more significant because neither Shinn nor seemingly the students/faculty see anything wrong with it. What probably makes this much, much worse, is that it appears many people at the USGS were aware of it and apparently never questioned it or made any move to correct it. Obviously, they thought it was ethically and legally appropriate to do such a thing. It shows the ethics and scientific scrutiny that the US Geological Service represents as well as whatever ethical principles the students have been taught. Professional geologists do have a code of ethics, but apparently it’s optional or it doesn’t apply to the USGS.
Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus
Back in November 2014, archaeologist Andrew White (now with the state of Illinois) issued an article on his blog (andywhiteanthropology.com) examining the essence of the phrase heading this section. As White explained, it roughly translates, “He who speaks falsely on one point will speak falsely upon all.” The phrase is sometimes taught to students in science and it boils down to a simple set of lessons.
When I was being trained in experimental psychology it was stressed over and over that the data was all-important. Never make it up, never exaggerate it, never fabricate evidence, and never deceive. Dr. White summarized it all in three words: “Lies hurt credibility.” Over the years I have published many studies presenting evidence and I can say that all of them presented the data precisely as it was found. There are a few examples in them where just one piece of data ruined the results, but the study was always reported in line with the data.
The bottom line to this pretty simple. Shinn has lied about his findings at Bimini. He’s lied about his results and other’s results. He made fake artifacts and planted them. In conclusion, it’s pretty clear that Shinn’s research at Bimini is tainted. Tainted by deception. Tainted by the willful awareness and promotion by the USGS. Tainted by the placement of false artifacts and then hoping to see someone get ridiculed after finding them. Tainted by pseudoscience. Maybe it’s time to put the USGS out to pasture and defund the entire organization. What other conclusion can be reached? Lies hurt credibility. The universities can provide whatever support is needed to delude and hoax the public in the ways they want. When science, at its very heart, is shown to be pseudoscience, something is very, very wrong.
“Archaeology Only Makes Progress One Funeral At A Time”
On Twitter I was recently discussing another archaeological issue, basically related to the vicious attacks aimed at Graham Hancock’s new Netflix series. It is clear to me that psychologically the archaeological community is completely out of touch with how they are viewed by the general population. Because Hancock relates that there was a civilization before ours that was destroyed, archaeologists call it the Atlantis solution. And, while Hancock doesn’t say this, the archaeologists seem to say that all theories about Atlantis imply that the Atlanteans were White people. Therefore, they say that Hancock is spreading White Supremacy ideas. In essence, if you go against these mainstream archaeology narratives, you are allegedly a White Supremacist. In the discussion on Twitter, one person wrote to me that “Archaeology only makes progress one funeral at a time.” Sadly, that appears to be true. That’s what we wrote over 2 decades ago at the time of the Clovis-First collapse, but that statement came from younger archaeologists who had been shunned and ridiculed because they simply looked for evidence of pre-Clovis. As I have written many times, and will eventually expand into a book, the North American archaeology mainstream is the academic community, a select group of individuals who essentially teach archaeology in colleges and universities. They choose the textbooks and set the narrative. They control grant money, academic positions, and publications. In my evaluation, based on the methods and manner in which the mainstream controls the accepted theories, archaeology functions at its core as a cult. At the core of a cult is a set of cherished beliefs. When those beliefs get challenged, you attack those who suggest your beliefs are wrong. Cults go out of their way to make organized efforts to destroy individuals and of course, that’s what they are trying to do to Hancock. If you want to see some of the organized efforts, scroll through the Facebook group “Fraudulent Archaeology Wall of Shame”
Were Atlanteans the Red Race?
I’ll add one more piece to this discussion because it relates to the immense controversy over Bimini that comes from one of Hancock’s episodes on his Netflix series. Bimini became important because of one person: Edgar Cayce. In the 1930s Cayce stated that a “portion of Atlantis would rise again in 1968 or 1969” in the Bahamas near Bimini and that a sunken temple could be found by going down the Gulf Stream from there. That’s how the Bimini Road, found in 1968, first entered the picture. The forgotten part of this, the part that almost no one gets, is this: Cayce said several times that the Atlanteans were the “Red Race.” They made small migrations from their wide-ranging island empire extending from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean 50,000 and 28,000 years ago and made another large migration before the final destruction around 10,000 BCE. Many Atlanteans went to the northeast of what is the United States and merged with the people already here, and they became the Iroquois. Seems like that makes the White supremacy argument a bit weak, right?