Book Review “America BC”

While everyone’s eyes in Book of Mormon archeology were focused in Central America, there was a time when a group of people, non-Mormon related, got together and talked about who was here in the United States before Columbus, namely diffusionists.

In 1973, was organized the ISAC Organization (Institute for the Study of American Cultures), headquartered in Columbus, Georgia. It was founded by Joseph B. Mahan and focused its study on pre-Columbia’s contact to America. A lot of influence in the ISAC Organization (not sure who influenced one or the other) came from this book written by Barry Fell.

Fell was a professor of Invertebrate Zoology at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology. Published in 1975, America BC is simply a list of evidences of native intelligence that has been ignored by the general scientific community.

From Fell: “There is more to America’s past then appears upon the surface. A strange unrest is apparent among many of the younger historians and archeologists of the colleges and universities, a sense that somehow a very large slice of America’s past has mysteriously vanished from our public records. For how else can we explain the ever-swelling tally of puzzling ancient inscriptions now being reported from early all parts of the United States, Canada and Latin America?”

Example after example, Fell shows pictures of ancient script that come from the “Celts, Basques, Libyans and even Egyptians” written in stone and by other means. At one point, Fell talks about his struggle to get people to believe what he was finding. “When the suggestion was made at one stage in one of the newspapers that we might be forging the inscriptions, it became increasingly necessary to have cameras as well as witnesses on hand to record the thick coat of lichens covering the inscriptions before they were brushed clean for making a plaster cast.”

Fell tells us being a marine biologist is part of what gained this interest in ancient script and evidences of pre-Columbian contact to the new world. He would spend much of his life studying voyages of ancient people who left inscriptions, and utilized his fellow biologists at Harvard to help him with the study of Epigraphy, which is the study of clarifying inscriptions or epigraphs.

He also spends a lot of time talking about the stone chambers in Northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, including “Mystery Hill” which (labeled in the book) was later to be known as American Stonehenge.

It is during this time of the writing of this book that others emerged with their findings and books written (some of which we will be featuring), such as Gloria Farley, Henrietta Mertz and Cyrus Gordon. It helps to have the non-Mormon perspective of pre-Columbian contact in America in making an unbiased study of Book of Mormon archeology.

This is definitely a crucial book to find in doing your own study of Ancient America.

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