Wednesday, September 09, 2009

There Were Giants in the Earth in Those Days (Gen 6:4):
The Sad Tale of the Cardiff Giant
Date: September 15
Time: 7:30
Location: Chappaqua Library, 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua {one block from train station from Grand Central)
Speaker: Ken Feder, Department of Anthropology, Central Connecticut State University

In October 1869, Stub Newell, a farmer in upstate New York, uncoveredthe remains of what appeared to be a giant, recumbent man whose bodyhad turned to stone. Geologists and archaeologists immediately declared it to be fraudulent, but such pronouncements meant little tothe hordes who descended on the Newell farm to see the giant forthemselves. Circus impresario P.T. Barnum was so impressed by thearchaeological fake that he tried to purchase it for his sideshow. Theperpetrator confessed just a few months after the giant?s discoverybut the giant himself continues as a tourist attraction at the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Though not nearly as well known as the Piltdown Man hoax, the Cardiff Giant fraud is one of the most instructive in the history of archaeology. And it's much funnier.

Short bio: Feder has taught in the Department of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University since 1977. He is the founder and director of the Farmington River Archaeological Project, a long-term investigation of the prehistory of the Farmington River Valley. He is the author of several books including: Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology; A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site; The Past In Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory; and Linking to the Past: A Brief Introduction to Archaeology.

Dr. Peter Feinman
Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education
PO Box 41
Purchase, NY 10577

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