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America BC: Ancient Settlers in the New World [Paperback]

Barry Fell
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1989 0671679740 978-0671679743 New edition of Revised edition
Druids in Vermont? Phoenicians in Iowa? These are just a few of the interesting bits of information contained in this volume of American pre-history. This groundbreaking work shatters many of the myths of America centuries ago.


Product details

  • Paperback: 347 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; New edition of Revised edition edition (31 Dec 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671679740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671679743
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 871,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Peter Buckley VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
In 1976, Professor Barry Fell summarized the evidence that Columbus was not the first to cross the Atlantic, rather, settlers and traders from Egypt, Libya, Carthage, Iberia and Ireland all left tangible remains on American soil. Of course, to some extent such evidence is regarded generally as 'forbidden archaeology' as it does not sit comfortably with our picture of ancient man as primitive. I suggest the urge to dismiss the archeological evidence, and particularly inscriptions such as that from Bat Creek, Tennessee, stems from this reluctance to disturb the 'status quo'. Two other useful books on related topics are 'Before Columbus'(1971) by Cyrus H Gordon,and 'The God-kings and the Titans'(1973) by James Bailey. A more recent summary is Paul Devereux' 'Mysterious Ancient America'(2002).
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading 17 Jan 2008
Format:Hardcover
This book was originally published in the mid 70's, long before the discovery of the Kennewick man, and so the author's theories that Phoenicians , Celt-Iberians and Libyans crossed the Atlantic, Long before Columbus or the Vikings seems more plausable today. At times this book is fascinating and you can't put it down, but it also gets very tedious and it feels like a chore to pick it back up. The chapters on the Ogam script are particularly dull, and I was disapointed that there wasn't alot about Indian folklore or mythology , although the chapter on the Algonquian Tribes touches on this with traditions that there fore fathers came from overseas , and early explorers noticing that the Algonquians of the east had caucasian features as opposed the Algonquians of the west having Mongoloid features. This book has it's flaws, but it is worth sticking with as it was ahead of it's time, which the discovery of the remains of a 9000 year old white man in Washington State proves
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Should be ritually burned 3 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback
How does "Barry" Fell (his real name is - unsurprisingly - "Whitley" Strieber) even DARE claiming that ANYONE reached the Americas before the great and magnificent Christopher Columbus?! For such a scholarly indiscretion, the man's works should be burned in effigy UNDER RITUAL FORMS. Bohemian Grove, anyone? I mean, this entire "Pre-Columbus voyage" crap is tantamount to claiming that continental drift is real, I MEAN COME ON, or that NASA can reach the Moon, or that humans are - dare I say it - related to APES!!! What will come next, I wonder? Claims that the ancient Phoenicians built Carthage, or that the ancient Greece circumnavigated the Aegean, or that the Egyptians (thick-headed peasants worshipping cats) built the Great Pyramid??? RIDICULOUS. Oh, yeah sure, a bunch of drunken Vikings (so-called) may have TEMPORARILY settled at Meadows something, but that doesn't count, and beside, Newfoundland aint really America anyway. Knights of Columbus, Kensington Grand Lodge, Minnesota, over and out.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
125 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Revolutionary Work, Whatever Its Flaws 30 Mar 2001
By Holy Olio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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This book was not unlike many others before and since which suggest Precolumbian transoceanic contact. The thing that sets it apart is the fact that Barry Fell had a mastery of ancient languages and epigraphy that may never have been bettered. His legacy will endure long after those who slandered and libeled him are classified alongside those ninnies who claim the Moon landings were hoaxed.
A few corrections to some misconceptions, some of which are found in other reviews of this title:
The Mystery Hill megalithic structures in Vermont were NOT built by colonial farmers. A colonial era family did once live on the site, but the major structures already existed when those folks arrived. The serious study of the site began years ago, and has entered the hallowed halls of academia. The site was constructed thousands of years ago, long before the freakin' Pilgrims. There's a nice website, the URL for which I'd include, but that's not permitted in reviews. Anyone who has visited the Mystery Hill site (now billed as "America's Stonehenge") would be able to see how foolish and simpleminded it was to suggest a colonial origin -- the entire hilltop is covered by rows of stones laid out not as orderly pastures or pens, but in a way that is not unlike Glastonbury tor and other mazelike "Old World" sites.
The Vikings did reach the Americas. There's an unequivocally Viking site on Newfoundland that has been known and excavated for over 30 years. Even before that was identified, the Newport Round Tower was shown to be Viking in origin, although there remains plenty of denial of this fact. Verazzano saw the tower, and sent a landing party ashore to investigate the area, during his mapping expedition which took place long before the first governor of Rhode Island was born, making it difficult for the latter character to have built the Tower. An excavation to prove a colonial origin did take place, but not surprisingly the conclusions fit the original assumptions.
The Americas have a large number of existing foreign inscriptions predating Columbus, and other well documented examples formerly existed but have been destroyed by development, vandalism, and the march of time. There are those who deny the existence of these, but such folks have no credibility. Fell didn't go beyond his data, in fact he spent quite a lot of time examining and exposing as hoaxes a number of supposed ancient inscriptions.
Another foolish idea is that a ship could have been wrecked, and seeds, artifacts, and other traces of human activity could float across the Atlantic or Pacific, without a crew, and recovered on the shore by Native Americans. But a fully crewed ship could not have crossed. This is despite the fact that such claims originate with landlubbers, and wrecked ships go right to the bottom.
Contrary to what "Please don't believe this book" wrote August 29, 1999, Barry Fell didn't "claim that scientists are just trying to cover up the truth". This is just the most childish slander that I've seen in these reviews. The bias against any contact before Columbus arose late in the 19th century and by the early decades of the 20th century was a religion. When the first Clovis artifacts were found, the dating was attacked because the religion said that no one had lived in the Americas prior to about 1000 BC. After Clovis prevailed, the religion became "Clovis First and Only". Tom Dillehay has spent about twenty years being ridiculed and attacked for finding that PreClovis site in South America, far from the supposed landbridge ingress of all the ancestors of Native Americans. Although there are some trying to dig in their heels and defend CFAO, it is essentially dead.
One has to wonder why the irrational devotion to such a ridiculous idea as isolation has endured regarding human occupation of the Americas, Japan, and Australia, among other places. In the case of the Americas, PreColumbian contact would mean that various claims on the land were not the first. As ridiculous as that seems, if a Roman wreck were identified, say, off the coast of Brazil, that could mean that Italy has a claim that supercedes that of Portugal. Such an event has occurred, and the underwater archaeologist trying to study it was kicked off the site by the Brazilian government.
Barry Fell's work, particularly that found in ESOP, was and remains revolutionary. The Epigraphic Society has a website, and James Trimm maintains a mail list on epigraphy with an interest in ancient navigators.
In 1978 Barry Fell published translations of Etruscan, showing that it belonged to the Anatolian group of languages, including Minoan which is expressed in Linear A. Likewise, he noted the elements of the much later Petrachian sonnet in a surviving pre-Roman Etruscan inscription. That the internal architecture of some Etruscan tombs is identical with Minoan tombs which were made by a culture supposedly long gone nearly a thousand years earlier was pointed out by another heretical scholar, Hans Wunderlich, in his "The Secret of Crete" (ISBN 0026316005 or 0285621645).
Although Immanuel Velikovsky must have been unaware of these two developments, the elimination of the phony "dark age" of Greece in his reconstruction of history is consistent with and supported by both. It's interesting that in "Ramses II and His Time" (p 90, ISBN 1568490240) Velikovsky suggested that the "Hittite" library preserved an extensive library of Etruscan, since the misdating of the archive will have prevented such an identification.
"Removing the historical scene to where it belongs, namely, to the seventh and sixth centuries before the present era, we wonder which of these languages is Chaldean, which Phrygian, which Lydian, which Median, which perchance Etruscan, spoken by a people who came to Italy from Asia Minor... 'Hittite' was the language most commonly used during the Empire period. Modern scholarship found that Lydian 'seems to be Hittite' -- the Lydian and the 'Hittite' kingdoms were contemporary, and used the same language. Hurrian... is but a mistaken name for Carian."
Other books by Barry Fell:
-:- Saga America
-:- Bronze Age America
Also see my ListMania lists.
78 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be very careful with this 7 Oct 2000
By absent_minded_prof - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I feel that I owe Barry Fell a great debt for helping to reawaken my personal sense of wonder. I found myself walking around, oblivious to the world around me, completely preoccupied with his ideas, for many months. Many of them do seem possible, too.
Just be careful what you believe, reader. Yes, some of this stuff might be true. Also, I applaud anyone out there who's mind is awake enough to even care about this kind of thing. Not everyone would read a book like this. Still, his arguments sometimes do have holes. The stone chambers in New England, which he feels were made by pre-Columbian Celts, were most likely created by colonial farmers. A lot of very serious archaeologists, who really know what they're talking about, have studied the New England stuff in depth, and they tend to disagree with Dr. Fell.
Some of his conclusions really might hold water though. I want him to be right. Some of his ideas about Algonquin, American place names deriving from age-old Celtic words are particularly exciting to me. There is a highly respected archaeologist at the University of Calgary, a Dr. David Kelley, who believes some of Fells ideas are correct. For perspective, it is useful to know that this same Dr. Kelley supported various ideas about the nature of Mayan hieroglyphics at a time when the "establishment", such as it was, was totally against them. Time proved Kelley right on that matter -- perhaps he is correct about this as well. I hope he is. Just don't be TOO credulous, whoever reads this. For some reason Barry Fells ideas seem to have given him an almost cult-like following. Don't be a cult member. Some people just have a knee-jerk negative reaction to anything "the establishment" says, but there IS no establishment, archaeology is a field of study, and if Dr. Fells ideas are right, time will prove him to be so. Just try to think through what he says, and if you have the means, maybe do a little investigating on your own.
Other sources of information you might want to look at would include the cover article in the January 2000 edition of the "Atlantic Monthly", or "Columbus was Last" by Patrick Huyghe. I think "Columbus was Last" is out of print, but if you can find it through inter-library loan, or online, I would encourage you to do so. Huyghe presents Fells arguments, and many others, supporting the idea of pre-Columbian contact between America and Europe or Asia. Also, his book has a terrific bibliography, for further reading.
I just finally wanted to say that I disagree with people who politicize Fell's ideas. He isn't demeaning native American cultures by implying that a few tiny, obscure elements of them may once have originated in Europe. Every culture in the world has impurities in that sense -- our own language, English, is probably the biggest hodgepodge of intercultural linguistic borrowings in the world. My final comment would be to be careful that you don't get completely swayed by Fell's way of presenting his ideas. He BELIEVES he is right, in a very strong way, and this had an impact on his objectivity on many levels. Just be careful reading this, and join me in HOPING he's right, for the sheer coolness of his ideas.
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it 2 Mar 2000
By Jim Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Barry Fell's book was very enlightening. The spiel that there was no intercontinental travel previous to ca. 1400 CE. short-sighted. The mainstream scientific establishment as of late (especially in America (and yes, I'm an American)) has become as Dogmatic as the church was before the reformation. New ideas that go against the establishment are quickly labeled "Heretical" and the authors are usually shunned (Dr. Atkins would be a prime example) by other scientists/scholars that could greatly benefit from discourse with a person championing and alternative to what is currently accepted. Galileo faced the same pressures in his lifetime and the scientific establishment needs to learn and accept that innovation and breakthrough often come from outside the establishment. I believe that modern Archaeologists need to take a serious look into the issues that Fell (and others like Hans Holzer, etc.) are raising. I found the information that ancient Macedonian pottery shards had been found in Northern California to be especially exciting. I believe that any student of history or archaeology owes it to themselves to pick up this book and give it a read, besides, even if you don't believe everything Fell has to say, it would still be decent entertainmen :)
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open minds are healthy ones. 12 May 2005
By Hakuyu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
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.

Ainu/Gaelic

atui/ath body of water

charuse/tsuruthain stream

hau/au voice/audible

iye/iar ask/say

karap/corrag touch/forefinger

kapuhu/chapno leather

mak/mac descendant of

mo shir/mo thir my land

pen/ben mountain

- 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.'
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An alternative pre-columbian pre-history 7 Nov 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Though some of Fell's conclusion's are tenuous, he presents a number of credible examples which argue strongly for pre-columbian intercourse with the Old World. Among the cases is the Algonquian Psalter written by missionaries in the native alphabet, now known to be a hieroglyphic variant, about 200 years before before the Rosetta stone was translated. Many symbols are virtual copies of the cursive hieratic script, with similar or identical meaning. Lots of good pictures and drawings and cogent presentation from this Harvard professor make for a must read for those interested in American archeology and pre-history. A credible, though not airtight, discussion of a viewpoint far different from the commonly held position.
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