Saturday, December 28, 2013
THE 2013 C.R.A.P. AWARD:
Petroglyph identified as a picture of the Ark of the
Covenant by Scott Wolter on America Unearthed.
Near Puerco Ruin, Petrified Forest Nat. Park,
AZ. Photograph: Peter Faris, June 1993.
Announcing the initiation of an annual award for the greatest nonsense in rock art for the year. The CERTIFIABLE ROCK ART PREVARICATION (CRAP) award will be given to the most outstanding example of twisting and distorting rock art to match the recipient's agenda that I can find. Nominations are always welcome.
This year the selection was easy, thanks to the History2 television channel series America Unearthed. They have broadcast enough silliness to appeal to fringies of every stripe, and some of it was based upon rock inscriptions and rock art. Given the broad ranging nonsense that the host, Scott Wolter, has broadcast on this series you would think I might have trouble deciding which episode was the dumbest, and I might have if I hadn’t seen the first episode of season 2, the “Ark of the Covenant.”
I knew I was in for a good show when Wolter compared himself with “Indiana Jones.” I don’t want you to think that I totally reject everything Wolter says on America Unearthed. I can be fair and I couldn’t agree with him more about this comparison. Both he and Indiana Jones are pretense, running around through fictional situations in made-up sequences that pretend to be based upon archaeology. I think that they are very comparable.
The Stone of Destiny, Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. Wikipedia.
In the Ark of the Covenant, November 30, 2013, episode we learned that when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 597 BC, and the temple of Solomon was destroyed, the Ark of the Covenant was spirited out of Jerusalem by the prophet Jeremiah and an Egyptian princess. They brought it to Tara Hill in Ireland for safe-keeping. Apparently they also brought the “Stone of Destiny,” the block of rock upon which Jacob rested his head when he saw the vision of the stairway to heaven. These were both later sent to North America by Jonathan Swift, the Anglo-Irish satirist, pamphleteer, and dean of St. Patricks Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. (Wikipedia) (Yes, that Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the book about people’s amazing gullibility, ironic isn't it).
The Stone of Destiny ended up on a farm in Virginia where Wolter visited it. This has to be a big surprise to the people of Scotland who believe that they have the Stone of Destiny in Edinburgh Castle (Wikipedia) but they will just have to get over their disappointment. Wolter, then believing that it was one of the world’s greatest and most sacred ancient religious artifacts, committed vandalism by cutting a piece of it off to take home and analyze in his laboratory.
Later Wolter visited the Petrified Forest in Arizona to view the petroglyph of the Ark of the Covenant illustrated at the top of this column. If some of these connections seem tenuous blame me, I just wasn’t up to following the sophisticated trail of evidence presented. A stirring adventure to say the least, and one which certainly qualifies for the 2013 C.R.A.P. Award (http://www.history.com/shows/america-unearthed/episodes).