Archaeological problems with the Origins Solution

From: Glenn Morton <>
Date: Sun Feb 15 2004 - 22:21:09 EST

While we are all after my friend, Dick, I might as well make mention of a
post I put on TheologyWeb in response to an enquiry about Dick's views.
Part of that note is reproduced here. (I think this is a dull saw, Dick)
Dick writes in his book:

"Presumably, any outsiders living at the time of Adam would have been
outside the old covenant, and unable to enjoy this unique status, which
included the hope of being claimed by God through (1) the Adamic bloodline,
(2) the discipline of self righteousness, and (3) the ritual of animal
"The beginning sof God-awareness or seeking after God can be substantiated
in history by the evidence of religious relics and altars dating as far back
as 24,000 years ago, but there is no evidence that hte Creator manifested
Himself to any of these forerunners as He did to Adam.
"Catal Huyuk in south-central Turkey was excavated in the 1960s. This city
was settled as far back as possibly 8300 B. C., but by about 5600 BC it was
abandoned. From analysis of the skeletal remains found there, a a French
expert concluded that two distinct racial types were represented, on
Eruopean, the other Asian. Although many shrines were unearthed at Catal
Huyuk, there were no signes of animal sacrifice."

'...animal sacrifice apparently was not practiced inside the shrines, as
there is no evidence of a slaughering block or a catchment for the runoff of

"If animal sacrifice was a covering for sin began with Adam and his
descendants after the Fall, then apparently Catal Huyuk was not populated by
Adamic or Semitic populations. Also, 5600 BC is far too soon for any Semites
and a little too soon for Adamites."~ Dick Fischer, The Origins Solution,
(Lima, Ohio: Fairway Press, 1996), p. 194

Dick seems to place lots of weight on the animal sacrifice issue. He seems
to (erroneously) think that animal sacrifice didn't occur until Adam, living
sometime around 4500 BC. (Origins Solution, p. 196)

The problem I see is that this creates two classes of people--the Semites
(Jews and Arabs) who are descended from Adam with the image of God and
others who don't have it. This creates weird situations like my family in
which my wife and children would be descendents of Adam and have the image
of God, and I wouldn't. (My wife occasonally thinks this may be true when
she see some of the stuff I do) But at root, such a view in my mind could
encourage racism. In fairness to Dick, whom I like, he would deny this. But
given what humans do with racial differences, I think it is a valid worry.

Now to the archaeological issues. Animal sacrifice has gone way back much
farther back than Dick acknowledges, and that, in my mind falsifies his

"Presumably, any outsiders living at the time of Adam would have been
outside the old covenant, and unable to enjoy this unique status, which
included the hope of being claimed by God through (1) the Adamic bloodline,
(2) the discipline of self righteousness, and (3) the ritual of animal
sacrifice." ~ Dick Fischer, The Origins Solution, (Lima, Ohio: Fairway
Press, 1996), p. 194

Recent discoveries have revived the debate about how old animal sacrifice
is. It certainly appears to be much older than 4,500 BC. Fischer in 1996
relies on a very outdated Science News articles to support his thesis
(Simon, 1981, p. 357;Fischer, 1996, p. 194). Surely one should be expected
to at least look at more recent data. Data that has come to light since and
before 1996(and some that existed before) then shows that his claim is

I need to explain a modern religion which involves animal sacrifice so you
can understand how far back the practice goes. Much of the following is from
my web page and that is where the
references can be found. What I wrote there, directed at Hugh Ross’ views,
is perfectly valid for Dick’s views.

"There are other implications of religious beliefs held by Neanderthals in
the collections of bear skulls found in their caves. The mere preservation
of skulls need not suggest anything religious, but in some cases special
attention was given to their placement. In one cave, five bear skulls were
found in niches in the cave wall. The skulls of several cave bears in a
group have been found surrrounded by built-up stone walls, with some skulls
having little stones placed around them, while others were set out on slabs.
"All this suggests some kind of bear cult, like that practiced until quite
recently by the Chippewa and other North American Indians. After a Chippewa
hunter had killed a bear, he would cut off the head, which was then
decorated with beads and ribbons (in the period after contact with
Europeans). Some tobacco was placed before its nose. The hunter would then
make a little speech, apologizing to the bear for having had to kill it.
Bear skulls were preserved and hung up on trees so that dogs and wolves
could not get at them. Bear ceremonialism of this and related kinds had a
wide circumpolar distribution--from the Great Lakes to the Ainu of northern
Japan through various Siberian tribes, such as the Ostyaks and the Orochi,
to the Finns and Lapps of Scandinavia. So wide a distribution of this trait,
associated as it was with other apparently very early circumpolar traits,
suggests great age. It is possible, therefore, that some aspects of this
bear ceremonialsim go back to Middle Paleolithic times." ~ Victor Barnouw,
An Introduction to Anthropology: Physical Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol.
1, (Homewood, Illinois: The Dorsey Press, 1982) p. 156-157

At Mas d’Azil, a plaque, dating to around 11,000 BP, was found which depicts
two scenes which are identical to some of the modern bear cult practices of
baiting the bear with a pole prior to its sacrifize. I will upload a drawing
from Alexander Marshack’s book, The Roots of Civilization, (New York:
McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1972), p. 274.

There was apparently an altar in Chauvet Cave(dated 31,000 years ago[Balter,
1996, p. 449). A bear skull was precariously placed on a flat topped stone
and fire was burned just behind the skull. Chauvet et al, write:

"A little further on we were deeply impressed by what we discovered. In the
middle of the chamber, on a block of grey stone of regular shape that had
fallen from the ceiling, the skull of a bear was placed as if on an altar.
The animal's fangs projected beyond it into the air. On top of the stone
there were still pieces of charcoal, the remains of a fireplace. All around,
on the floor, there were more than thirty bear skulls; now covered in a
frosting of amber-coloured calcite, they were purposely set out on the
earth. There were no traces of skeletons. This intentional arrangement
troubled us because of its solemn peculiarity." (Chauvet et al, 1996, p. 50)
The lack of bear skeletal parts proves that these were not stray bears that
got trapped and died in the cave. Their heads were removed elsewhere and
brought into the cave.

The fact that 30,000 years ago man was apparently worshipping the bear lends
credence to the next oldest probable religious site. Except this one was
built by Neanderthal. At Bruniquel, France, archeologists have excavated a
square stone structure dating to more than 47,000 years ago (prior to the
advent of modern man in Europe) in which the Neanderthals burned a bear.
Bednarik (1996, p. 104) writes:

"The cave of Bruniquel in southern France has just produced fascinating new
evidence. Several hundred metres in from the cave entrance, a stone
structure has been discovered. It is quadrilineal, measures four by five
metres and has been constructed from pieces of stalagmite and stalactite. A
burnt fragment of a bear bone found in it was radiocarbon analysed, yielding
a 'date' of greater than 47 600 years BP. This suggests that the structure
is the work of Neanderthals. It is located in complete darkness, which
proves that the people who ventured so deep into the large cave system had
reliable lighting and had the confidence to explore such depths. Bruniquel
is one of several French caves that became closed subsequent to their
Pleistocene use, but were artificially opened this century."

This appears to have been the ritual sacrifice of a bear. It is also the
first proof that man went deep into caves long before they painted the
walls. (Balter, 1996, p. 449) It isn’t likely that the Neanderthals went
deep into the caves for a barbeque. That could be done on the surface.
Religion is an excellent motivator of such activity. Indeed many cultures,
such as the Maya, have made caves special religious sites.

Neanderthals at Nahr Ibrahim, Lebanon, appear to have ritually sacrificed a
deer. Marshack writes:

"In the Mousterian cave shelter of Nahr Ibrahim in Lebanon the bones of a
fallow deer (Dama mesopotamia) were gathered in a pile and topped by the
skull cap. Many of the bones were unbroken and still articulated. Around the
animal were bits of red ochre. While red ochre was common in the area and so
may have been introduced inadvertently, the arrangement of the largely
unbroken bones suggests a ritual use of parts of the animal." (Marschack
1990, p. 481)

The ochre was proven to have been brought in from elsewhere by the
discoverer (Solecki, 1982). This site is greater than 40,000 years old.
The 80,000 year old site of Drachenloch, Switzerland, also appears to have
been a religious site, once again a Neanderthal site. Bachler found what
appeared to be ritually arranged cave bear bones and ashes on what he called
a sacrificial altar. (Lissner, 1961, 187-188). Campbell and Loy write:

"The most famous example of what has been claimed to be Neandertal hunting
magic is the so-called bear cult. It came to light when a German
archaeologist, Emil Bachler, excavated the cave of Drachenloch between 1917
and 1923. Located 8,000 ft (2,400 m) up in the Swiss Alps, this 'lair of the
dragons' tunnels deep into a mountainside. The front part of the cave,
Bachler's work made clear, served as an occasional dwelling place for
Neandertals. Farther back, Bachler found a cubical chest made of stones and
measuring approximately 3.25 ft (1 m) on a side. The top of the chest was
covered by a massive slab of stone. Inside were seven bear skulls, all
apparently arranged with their muzzles facing the cave entrance. Still
deeper in the cave were six bear skulls, seemingly set in niches along the
walls. The Drachenloch find is not unique. At Regourdou in southern France,
a rectangular pit, covered by a flat stone weighing nearly a ton, held the
bones of more than 20 bears." (Campbell and Loy, 1996, p. 441)

Honesty demands that one note that Drachenloch (not Regourdou) is
controversial so for an alternative view, see Kurten (1976, p. 84-86) For a
discussion of why I don't think Kurten's critique is correct see Morton
(1997, p.73-75)

There is an even earlier altar, which is not controversial, found at
Bilzingsleben, Germany. The excavators, Dietrich and Ursula Mania have found
a 27-foot-diameter paved area that they say was used for "special cultural
activities" (Mania et al,1994, p. 124; See also Mania and Mania, 1988, p.
92). Gore writes:

"But Mania's most intriguing find lies under a protective shed. As he opens
the door sunlight illuminates a cluster of smooth stones and pieces of bone
that he believes were arranged by humans to pave a 27-foot-wide circle.
"'They intentionally paved this area for cultural activities,' says Mania.
'We found here a large anvil of quartzite set between the horns of a huge
bison, near it were fractured human skulls.'" (1997,p. 110)

I would contend that the symbolism here, if found in a modern village, would
be enough to cause one to turn and flee for his life. Such an arrangement of
objects would immediately be interpreted as evidence of religion, and a
hostile religion at that. Human sacrifice is at the heart of Christianity
and is one level up from mere animal sacrifice. And Bilzingsleben dates to
around 400,000 years, not the mere 6500 years that Dick prefers for the
oldest evidence of animal sacrifice. If Dick wishes to claim that animal
sacrifice doesn't go back further than 6,500 years, he should explain why
the above five examples don't qualify as examples of animal sacrifice? It is
clear that evidence of religion in the anthropological record prior to 4,500
BC is not rare.
I reject Dick’s views as not being consistent with the observational data.
Of course, my friend will have a different viewpoint.
Received on Sun Feb 15 22:21:42 2004

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