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Archaeotrek—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2016

Fefiphobia: Skeptics’ Irrational Fear of Giants—Part 1

by: Dr. Greg Little

Question 1: What do all of the following Native American Indian mounds have in common? Chickasawba Mound (AR); Moundville Mounds (AL); Dover Mound (KY); Cresap Mound (WV); Welcome Mound (WV); Dunleath Mounds (IL); Great Smith Mound (WV); Poorhouse Mound (WV); Nelson Mound (NC); Jones Mound (NC); Etowah Mounds (GA); Welch Mounds (IL); Ingomar Mounds (MS); Nelson Triangle Mound (NC); Long Island Mounds (TN); Coshocton Mounds (OH); McKees Rocks Mound (PA); Spring Hill Enclosure Mound (WV); Rock Mounds (WV); McCulloch Mound (WV), and; Barboursville Mounds (WV).

Answer: All of those mounds had at least one skeleton (approaching 7-feet tall or more) found inside tombs during archaeological excavations. During the “Mound Survey Project,” conducted by the Smithsonian Institution in 1882-90, they reported at least 14 such skeletons that were excavated from mounds. They also reported many other skeletons that were “exceptionally large” or close to 7-feet in height. But not all of these tall skeletons were found in the 1800s. In 1950 the University of Kentucky archaeology department pulled a 7-footer from the Dover Mound. In 1957 an archaeologist from the Smithsonian pulled a 7-footer from the Welcome Mound. In 1958 a Carnegie Museum archaeologist reported that a 7 foot 1 inch tall skeleton was found in the Cresap Mound. There are more examples, but this is a good start. The tallest skeleton excavated by American archaeologists (that I can verify in published formal archaeological reports) was 7’ 6” in height.


Question 2: What significant fact links all of these mounds together on Wikipedia?

Answer: You won’t find any definitive mention of these excavated 7-foot skeletons on Wikipedia entries on these mounds. In addition, the modern excavations of mounds recovering 7-footers are curiously not even mentioned at all on Wikipedia—as if these mounds and the skeletons never existed.

Over half of the tall skeletons mentioned above were excavated from Adena-era mounds (1000 B.C. to 200 B.C.) with the remainder coming from Mississippian sites (A.D. 800 to A.D. 1700). Many of them were detailed in extensively long and formal excavation reports made by the archaeologists. Many of these excavators were prominent in their field. For example, the Cresap Mound (with a 7’1” skeleton) was excavated by Don Dragoo, then the head of the Carnegie Museum’s archaeology department. The Dover Mound (with a 7-foot skeleton) was excavated by the Chairman of the archaeology department at the University of Kentucky along with a full Professor in the department.

Oddly, even on the historical signs at these sites and on most history-related web pages devoted to the sites, you will find virtually no mention of the large skeletons. There are a few exceptions, but not many. Perhaps even more oddly, on at least one Wikipedia page (“Criel Mound” in West Virginia), you will see a mention of a “single large skeleton.” However, it was not 7 feet in length. That Wikipedia page also wrongly states that Cyrus Thomas was the individual who excavated the mound. That’s wrong, of course. Thomas was then the Director of the Smithsonian’s Mound Project but he didn’t visit the Criel Mound. It was Col. Norris who performed the actual excavation. Thomas took Norris’ report on the excavations and used it for a Smithsonian report and a later paper in “Science.” But Wikipedia’s sections on such matters aren’t related to facts. Facts can’t stand in the way of an agenda.

Wikipedia’s entries on such matters are controlled by an active group of “guerilla skeptics” who use that very term to describe themselves and what they do. Like the people they rigidly oppose, they perform a lot of factual omissions and outright deceptions to promote their agenda. And their factual “errors” are rampant. For example, if you look up the “Biggs Site” on Wikipedia, you’ll see a circular formation that is definitely NOT the Biggs Site. What is shown and described as the Biggs Site on Wikipedia is about a mile from the “real” Biggs Site. (The Biggs Site, located by the Ohio River in Kentucky, was investigated by the same University of Kentucky archaeologists who found a few 7-footers in other Kentucky mounds on the Ohio River.) I have found many, many more archaeological “blunders” on Wikipedia. But they are not really factual blunders, they represent the unintended results of promoting an agenda.

The Smithsonian, as well as most archaeologists and skeptics, relates that there was “no race of giants” in past times. A few bloggers (some of which spew hate-filled, race-baiting propaganda) continually rant that there is nothing unusual about a “few” 7-foot tall people from the Adena and Mississippian periods. They say, “Look at the NBA,” as a way to divert attention from facts and statistical probability. However, the same bloggers can’t keep themselves from exposing their underlying agenda by repeatedly bringing their political opinions into discussions about how they interpret archaeological findings. Personally, I don’t see how one’s feelings about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton have much to do with the issue of whether the Smithsonian’s 1800’s excavation reports are accurate. But it appears that guerilla skeptics and their bloggers do. So, let’s get back to the point.

In its entire history, the NBA has had only 25 players who were 7’ 3” in height. Today, just one person of every 146,000 people attains 7 feet in height. In Adena times, the average height of the population was 5’ 4”, while modern populations average 5’ 8”. Statistically, the best calculated probability is that only one of every 1.4 million Adena people would have attained 7 feet in height.

A few fact-impaired skeptics have claimed that Native Americans were the tallest people on Earth because they ate corn and had such a great diet. That’s utter factual nonsense. Again, the facts are that the average height of the Adena people was 5’ 4”—a figure cited repeatedly by mainstream archaeology publications. The later Hopewell and Mississippian populations averaged the same basic height, or only slightly taller.

What is the big problem about acknowledging that there was a class of Native American mound builders who seem to be exceptionally tall? Why is it difficult to acknowledge that individuals who were 7-feet tall appear to be giants to average size people? Why are archaeologists and skeptics so fearful of just stating what was reported in these excavations?

What is the Fear?

In the book “Path of Souls” (2014), several Native American legends of giants were detailed. These “giants,” to use the terminology recorded in the legends, were individuals who were one to two-feet taller than the ancient peoples who inhabited the ancient American landscape. These tall members of the elite served a special purpose and probably inherited their status through heredity. To a person standing 5’ 4”, a person who is 7-feet tall (and also proportionally larger) would seem like a giant. As a personal example, I vividly recall standing by 7’1” Wilt Chamberlain and 6’10” Bill Russell in 1966. They appeared to be giants to me—then a high school basketball player of 5’9”. So, what is the problem with acknowledging that there was some sort of unknown hereditary group of tall people existing during mound building times?

There are actually two answers to this. First, the acknowledgement of “giants” or unusually tall individuals ruling the indigenous populations upsets the accepted “modern” archaeological view. The “giants” were clearly the elite people of the Mound Builders, and the strongest evidence is that they were especially prominent during the Adena period. The tall ones were the shaman, the priests, and sometimes the chiefs. Mainstream American archaeology has no way of explaining them in their currently accepted view of ancient America—or it just chooses to ignore them. It is the same situation faced by the few archaeologists who went against the “Clovis First” tradition that dominated American archaeology for decades.

The second reason is more important and relevant. It explains why there is virtually no acknowledgement of the “giants” excavated from mounds on Wikipedia. The answer is embodied in one word: “Creationism.” Skeptics detest the biblical quote, “there were giants in the earth.” Skeptics hate creationism. Skeptics detest people who see a deeper meaning and a deeper purpose to life. However, the hate and venom spewed from them is derived from something primal, something lurking deep inside their dark mental recesses. That something is fear.

Both the alleged “science of archaeology” and the small but active group of guerilla skeptics supporting the mainstream are afflicted with a diagnosable disorder. At the root of the disorder is an irrational fear—a phobia. Skeptics are afflicted with the disorder known as “fefiphobia.” They fear that an elite group of 7-foot tall people existing a couple thousand years ago somehow supports creationism.


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Wednesday, December 01, 2021