This fascinating book, summarising the author's findings after an extensive survey of Pre-Columbian sites and artifacts, is a gripping read, a masterpiece of archeological detective work. Page after page, Fell builds up a picture of America B.C., based on his decipherment of ancient stone inscriptions, more or less ignored since Columbus set foot in America. The controversial thing here, is that most such inscriptions are in a variant of Ogham - a script usually associated with the ancient British Druids and proto-Celtic culture in lands, far distant from America. Outlining evidence of migrant Celtic and Semitic cultures - on American soil, as far back as 800 B.C. Fell's fascinating account is fleshed out with abundant photographs, maps, charts, alphabets and scripts, showing how he arrived at his conclusions. Short of being downright pig-headed, it is hard to ignore the evidence Fell has adduced, to make his case.
Although a Harvard Professor, Fell presents his ideas in lively and accessible manner. He has had his critics - the most scathing being professional archeologists and ethnologists etc. whose comfortable world of preconceptions has been turned upside down by his findings. Such critics have attempted to discredit Fell's work as unscientific, amatuerish speculation,
even wilful fabrication. However, note well, Barry Fell is a Harvard Professor. The acknowledgements and credits at the front of this book, listing scores of people with impeccable professional qualifications - who have supported and encouraged Fell's work, speak for themselves.
Fell does have supportive voices in the American academic establishment - but, the negative 'academic' reactions have succeeded in persuading a number of people to reject Fell's ideas as 'wacky' - much as if he were claiming that aliens are living in underground bunkers in New York, or that the citizens of Long Island actually constitute a colony from Venus.
However, the only 'aliens' in this picture, are the Caucasian people who settled in post-Columbian America, thereafter making it a virtue to ignore the history of the earth beneath their feet. Amerindian culture - once defined by an ugly, racist stereotype' - Redskins' - has only recently acquired the respect, interest and attention it rightly deserves, recognised as manifold and complex - in fact, a rich diversity of cultures. By and large, the white colonisers of America shew little interest in getting to know the land they settled in - beyond the bounds of self-interest, securing territory, staking out claims, establishing communities based on European models. Thus, until fairly recent times, even the surviving Amerindian culture has remained a closed book, let alone the secrets of Pre-Columbian America, shrouded in the mists of time.
With America B.C.- Barry Fell has presented an exciting and challenging account, which lifts the veil on this matter - not with unfounded speculation, as his citics have asserted, but with hard evidence - written in stone! The disclaimers have had to resort to desperate gestures - to refute Fell. Ridiculously, they have asserted that the Ogham inscriptions - are, in fact, scratch marks left by plough shares etc. Fell shows how Ogham scripts are composed, and the evidence he has provided, speaks for itself. This is a brilliant book, by a brilliant, but profoundly humble man, more interested in pursuing the truth, than know-towing to peer group pressure.
Some find it hard to accept that there is a correspondence between proto-archaic languages of America B.C. - and Celtic, putting it down to chance that certain nouns, verbs etc. - resemble each other. How about this: there are correspondences between the Ainu language in Japan and Celtic/Gaelic" - viz.
atui/ath body of water
mak/mac descendant of
mo shir/mo thir my land
- there are plenty more. I have thrown these examples in, because they widen the net, showing further evidence of a kind of pan-celtic diaspora (remember the Celtic 'mummy' found in Asia, a few years back? DNA tests made the identity certain). It is virtually impossible to hang-on to the stereotypical ethno-cultural models which provided the basis for such studies, a hundred years ago. In truth, we know better today.
While Fell's book details some astonishing facts, upsetting cherished preconceptions, the picture of human culture which emerges is a much enlarged - and thus, a much richer one. Don't join the unimaginative crustheads and snobs who mock this book. Order two copies of it, give one to a friend, or local library etc. Celebrate the rich fabric of American culture! On an ironic end-note, I confess that I found my copy of this book in a s/hand store,marked 'Discard. Kyoto International School.'