Saturday, August 10, 2013


3-Kings panel detail, McConkey Ranch, Uinta
County, UT. Photo Peter Faris, Sept. 1994.

I now return to the subject of the epigraphy of Barry Fell, and my inability to place any credence in his conclusions when they are based upon obviously falsified material. Actually my first great problem with Mr. Fell was based upon his claims for the identity of the large figure from the so-called “3-Kings” panel at McConkie Ranch outside of Vernal, Utah.

Sea people prisoners, from Medinet Habu, Egypt. 

“According to the great stele of Rameses III, a major invasion of the Nile Delta was attempted around 1200 B.C. by migrant warriors arriving by ship from the northeast, presumably from Anatolia (modern Turkey and neighboring coasts) and Philistia (Lebanon and neighboring parts of Palestine). These seaborne warriors belonged to a half dozen different tribes, distinguished by their helmets and their shields. Among them were the Shardana (or Sherden) who carried round shields, broadswords, and who wore feathered war bonnets.” (Fell 1980:91-2)

“The principal evidence, however, of Libyan settlement in North America rests in the essentially North Africa word content of the spoken language of the Zuni people today. The matching pairs of words from New Mexico on the one hand and from North Africa on the other are so numerous, and the phonetic relationships so evident, that it is possible to set out the rules of phonetic mutation that govern the derivation of the Zuni language from its Libyan parent language. These phonetic rules are of the same kind as another series I demonstrated in 1973, linking the Libyan language with that of Polynesia. The Polynesian people, like the Libyans themselves, are descended from the Anatolian Sea Peoples who invaded the Mediterranean around 1400 B.C. and , after attacking Egypt and suffering a series of defeats as the Egyptians record, eventually settled Libya. (Fell 1976:176) Fell claims that these sea people/Libyans later became the population that manned ships of the Egyptian navy and that when Egyptian fleets reached North America the Libyan language and customs persisted in their colonies here.

In his 1980 book Saga America, Fell identified the large figure in the center of the 3-Kings Panel at McConkie Ranch outside of Vernal Utah as a warrior of the Sea People. I presume this was done on the basis of the distinctive headdress on the figure which does bear a resemblance to those worn by Sherden warriors in the friezes of Ramses III. 

Flicker feather headdress from Mantle Cave,
However, in 1939, a flicker feather headdress was discovered in excavations at Mantle Cave in Dinosaur National Monument quite near McConkie Ranch. 
One of the Museum's most beautiful objects is a flicker feather headdress, which was recovered during 1939-1940 excavations of Mantle's Cave in the center of Dinosaur National Monument in the far northwest corner of Colorado. This area was inhabited prehistorically by a hunter/gatherer/horticulturalist group that archaeologists call the Fremont, and in historic times by the Ute, a Numic-speaking tribe. 
The headdress is intricately constructed and was found in a buckskin pouch. It is made of flicker feathers, ermine, and buckskin. More than 370 feathers are in the headdress. Six feathers at the center of the crest are from the yellow-shafted flicker and the rest of the feathers are central tail feathers of the red-shafted flicker. Interestingly, the red flicker is native west of the Rockies, while the yellow flicker lives east of the Rockies. The feathers are carefully trimmed and the quills sewn together with sinew. They are placed between strips of ermine and laced into place. Rawhide thongs at either end of the ermine may have been used to hold the headdress in place when it was worn. Long wing feathers adorn the ends.
The original excavators of Mantle's Cave dubbed this object a headdress, although its use remains uncertain. It dates to A.D. 996-1190, which is the transitional time period between the Fremont people and Numic-speaking people in this area, so it could have belonged to either cultural group.” (

Barry Fell, Saga America, 1980,
Times Books, New York, p. 102.

So where Fell saw a Sherden warrior from the eastern Mediterranean, I see a Fremont warrior wearing a flicker feather headdress. Vernal, Utah, is a long way from any ocean Barry, especially from the eastern Mediterranean. Then we find that Fell based his analysis on another of those photographs taken from a reconstruction of the original rock art (why not just a photo of the rock art I wonder?) and when examining that childish copy of the great rock art panel we can see differences in the details of the portrayal again (as in the case from Picture Canyon). So once again we have Fell carrying out his interpretations on the basis of faulty data. Watch out Barry, it’s a long fall!


Fell, Barry
1976    America B.C., Demeter Press, New York.
1980    Saga America, Times Books, New York


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