Responding to a Critic in Russia

The Forbidden Archaeologist •

In a recent YouTube video ( 9yKl8ytQ8tp6r5gmwUKZ&v=mZ4a84K-3r4), Alexander Sokolov, a Russian science writer, made some negative comments about my book Forbidden Archeology, in which I document archeological evidence for extreme human antiquity. A reader of mine in Russia translated Sokolov’s remarks from Russian to English, sent them to me, and asked what I had to say. I normally do not reply to every critic. If I did, I would have no time for anything else. But in this case I made an exception.

First of all, I think Sokolov is entitled to his opinions about the book, as is every reader. The abridged edition of Forbidden Archeology (titled The Hidden History of the Human Race) was published in Russian some years ago. To the annoyance of Sokolov, many people in Russia have read the book, and some of them refer to evidence from it in discussions about human origins and antiquity. For those who have already read the book and agree with its central thesis, I doubt that Sokolov’s negative statements will persuade them to give up their own commitment to the idea of extreme human antiquity. As for those who have not read the book, perhaps some may be influenced by Sokolov’s statements to avoid the book. After all, there are people who prefer to let others do their thinking for them. But fortunately there are many more people who prefer to make their own judgments. Sokolov is to be thanked for drawing their attention to my controversial book.

Among the many tendentious, biased statements Sokolov makes about the book in his video, there is one that is actually quite reasonable: “If anyone thinks that I am tendentious, biased, that in the book there is something that I have concealed, the book is available, you can buy it or find it somewhere and make sure that the examples I have cited from the amusing collection of Cremo and Thompson are quite ordinary.” Any person who has not yet read the book should do exactly as Sokolov advises. Get the book and read it. They will definitely find some things that Sokolov has concealed.

Sokolov discusses only the anomalously old human skeletal remains included in the book. His main objection is that the original discoveries were made by ordinary people (such as miners, school teachers, etc.) and were only later brought to the attention of scientists (who, after careful study, took them as evidence for extreme human antiquity). Sokolov conceals the fact that many of the discoveries that one finds in the current textbooks of archaeology were also made by ordinary people. For example, ordinary workmen made the discovery of the first Neanderthal skeleton in Germany. Only later did the discovery come to the attention of scientists. Also in Germany, the famous Heidelberg jaw was discovered in 1907 by miners. Miners and other ordinary people in South Africa first discovered many specimens of Australopithecus. For example in 1938, a schoolboy named Gert Terblanche found fossil bones of a robust australopithecine at Kromdraai. If Sokolov is going to be consistent, he should also reject all of these discoveries.

Another thing that Sokolov conceals is that in Forbidden Archeology my coauthor (Richard Thompson) and I present cases in which professional scientists made the initial discoveries of human bones. For example, there is the case of the anatomically modern human skeleton found by German paleontologist Hans Reck at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, early in the twentieth century. It was found in a formation (Upper Bed 2) that modern geologists consider being over one million years old. Most scientists today believe anatomically modern humans first appeared less than 200,000 years ago. In the late nineteenth century, the Italian geologist Giuseppe Ragazzoni personally excavated anatomically modern human skeletons at Castenedolo, Italy, in a Pliocene formation over two million years old. In the late twentieth century an anatomically modern human femur (the ER 1481 femur) was found by paleontologists in Kenya, in a formation over 1.8 million years old. These discoveries are, of course, controversial, and there are different opinions about them. But Forbidden Archeology gives all sides of each case, including the authors’ opinion, and then lets the reader decide.

Another thing that Sokolov conceals is that human bones are not the only kind of evidence for extreme human antiquity. Human artifacts (such as stone tools and weapons, of the kind normally attributed to Homo sapiens) and anatomically modern human footprints, also constitute evidence. In many cases, these artifacts and footprints have been discovered by professional scientists and are millions of years old. So I encourage people to read the whole book. If they do, they will find that there is more to the book than the few cases presented by Sokolov in a biased and tendentious manner. Actually Sokolov himself is honest enough to admit: “I am not ready to fully review the book because its original volume is over 900 pages.” That is perhaps the most truthful statement he makes. But on the basis of a few cases, discussed in a biased and incomplete fashion, he goes on to reject the whole book.

Sokolov points out that in some cases, human bones mentioned in early reports have become lost. He neglects to mention that this is also true of discoveries found in the current textbooks of archaeology. For example, the Beijing Man discoveries (Homo erectus) were lost during the Japanese invasion of China in World War II. It is a fact that archaeological discoveries are sometimes destroyed or lost (many archaeological objects in the Middle East have recently been destroyed or looted from museums). But the fact they have been lost or destroyed does not mean they never existed.

Sokolov objects that the geological context of the discoveries in Forbidden Archeology is today gone. But that is true of any archaeological discovery. In the process of excavation and extraction the geological context is destroyed and can only be known by reports by those who observed the original context. Sokolov professes absolute faith in chemical and radiometric dating techniques that are sometime used to dismiss anomalous evidence. He ignores the problems with these dating methods, which are acknowledged by professional archaeologists. In the case of radiocarbon dating, the chief problem is the possibility of contamination of samples with recent carbon, causing falsely young dates. One can find in the scientific literature many cases in which old radiocarbon dates are rejected or revised. Any person who reads Forbidden Archeology will see that my coauthor and I present all the available evidence, including reports of observations by original discoverers, the results of absolute and relative scientific dating methods (along with discussion of possible sources of error), the results of studies of the geological context, etc. And then the reader may make his own decision.

Sokolov objects to the authors of Forbidden Archeology describing the age of discoveries in terms of the modern system of geological eras like the Pliocene, Miocene, etc. Sokolov points out that this modern system of age divisions is based on evolutionary preconceptions about the succession of fossils. So he says the anti-evolutionary authors should not use this system. But the authors of Forbidden Archeology explain: “In this book, we will take the modern system for granted, accepting it, for the sake of argument, as a fixed reference frame to use in studying the history of ancient humans and near-humans. However, it is clear on closer examination that this reference frame is by no means fixed, and it may be that further study will reveal as much ambiguity in the evidence for its different time divisions and fossil markers as we have found in the evidence for ancient humans” (p. 16). In other words the authors of Forbidden Archeology are saying to today’s scientists, “According to the system of geological time divisions that you accept, a human bone was found in strata that belong to a certain time, which according to your evolutionary ideas is far too old.”

But the main point is, get the book, read it yourself, and make up your own mind about it. As Sokolov mentioned, the book was published in 1993. From the moment it appeared, people like Sokolov have been telling people it is not worth reading. But 23 years later, Sokolov is still trying hard to convince people not to read it or take it seriously. He thus joins a long line of people like himself who have been fighting a losing battle against Forbidden Archeology for over 20 years. Actually he is just increasing the number of readers. He wishes that the book might someday be called Forgotten Archeology, but quite obviously he has not forgotten it and neither have its ever-increasing number of readers. He keeps trying to forbid it, thus illustrating why the book was titled, as it is—Forbidden Archeology. Fortunately, many people like things that are forbidden by people like Sokolov.


Michael A. Cremo is the author, with Richard Thompson, of the underground classic Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of Human Race. He has also written Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory. (See

By Michael A. Cremo