Tuesday, January 19, 2010
A Sensational Archaeological fraud ”PILTDOWN MAN”
Do you know the world most famous archaeological fraud in the world history? If you don’t know about it means no problem follow me.
In 1912 the two names Charles Dawson and Arthur Smith Woodward were in the British newspaper headlines. Charles Dawson was a prominent amateur archaeologist and Arthur Smith Woodward was a paleontologist in the England museum.
Both of them announced that they had found the remains of 500,000 years old pre historic man with the few stone tools in a gravel pit near Piltdown in the Sussex, in southern part of England.
They described their pre historic man as ‘Eoanthropus Dwasoni ‘ or else called as Dawson’s early man. The special in their finding was the long sought missing link- the common ancestor of Ape and the man.
In that pit they found some fragments of the top of the human like skull, a discolored jaw bone etc. The jaw bone was belong to the ape with a specialty their molars were worn out such that of a human. But the critical portion of between the skull and the jaw was missing.
In order to complete the head the scientists had to imagine the missing pieces of the head, hence they had either to make the jaw more human or the skull to the primitive.
As the reconstruction was a cumbersome process, hence the scientists raised more doubts whether Piltdown man was a genuine fossil hominid. But over the period of three years Dawson found some tools, bones and more teeth. Remarkably in 1915 he discovered teeth and skull fragments of another human at Piltdown near the previous excavation site. These findings silenced the doubts raised by the scientists.
The remains of fossils discovered in Asia, Europe and Africa had many things in common but none of this was similar with Eoanthropus Dawsoni, hence again anthropologists doubted the findings.
But the British museum not allowed the scientists to access the fossils hence the anthropologists could not verify the creditability.
In 1949 the fossils were allowed to test. They were subjected to X ray analysis fluorine test and isotope markings. The test result showed that they were not the fossil remains of hominid and the skull remains were of a human around only five hundred years old. The Jaw belonged to that of an orangutan and it was simply colored and the teeth were filed down.
Here the question arises; who cooked the swindle? for what? The suspicion was on Dawson. But nothing was proved against that amateur archaeologist and the motives of the others involved was not clear and was not proved. Still it is a mystery only,