THE GLOZEL CONTROVERSY
Opinions vary widely over Glozel finds
Map of France showing location of Glozel site
Datline: 7 December 2006, by R. Cedric Leonard
In spite of the plain facts collected by Mr. Cohane of Yale University and outlined on my Glozel Tablets page, amateurs and professionals alike continue to find the Glozel artifacts quite problematic. It seems the original site at Glozel may have been visited as a necropolis ("City of the Dead") for hundreds, possibly even thousands, of years. Other factors have tended to further complicate the task of the archeologist.
From what I have been able to learn, the Glozel site was continually contaminated by visitors from all ages depositing material in the form of offerings or memorials over a long period of time. In addition, it seems that glassmaking was a common practise, as is illustrated by the remains of furnaces and kilns at the site. Glass and the signs of vitrification are numerous at Glozel, and this activity has tended to alter thermoluminescent test results of some of the artifacts.
In looking over the items and opinions listed below it should not be forgotten that intensive and scientifically legitimate tests were made on much of the material which placed many of the objects in the 10,000+ range in age. Some of the objects displaying written characters also exhibited carvings of extinct Ice Age mammals, including the woolley mammoth.
The quotes below are short, slightly edited, excerpts from various web sites dealing with the Glozel material. I have provided links (with certain exceptions) to those sites in order to make it easy for the researcher to examine each presentation as it appears on the internet. It will be noticed that any changes made were made in the interest of readability, and in no wise alters the meaning of the texts.
Since several of the sites below use terms related to antiquity with which everyone may not be familiar, I am placing a simple chart for reference. Several well-known, well-accepted authorities have placed the tablets in the Neolithic Age, and some into the Magdalenian. These, it will be noticed, antedate the medieval period by thousands of years. It should also be noticed that some archeologists gave an early negative opinion, but subsequently changed their opinion after more serious consideration.*
|NAME OF PERIOD
|Mesolithic Age||10,000-7,000 B.C.
|Neolithic Age||7,000-4,000 B.C.
It is entirely possible that the most ancient inscriptions represent a syllabry (thus no "vowels" are present), making decipherment extremely difficult. One final note before launching into the quotations given below: some of the observations listed were made by very competant people, and are not to be taken lightly. I am listing them here to illustrate that some have spoken out in favor of the authenticity and antiquity of the find.
Time Magazine: 30 Sep 1929
Emil Fradin, a shrewd peasant lad, dug up a number of curiously inscribed brick and clay tablets in a field at Glozel, France. Immediately the "Glozel Finds" attracted world wide attention. French archeologists announced that they were important relics of the Stone Age, wrote monographs. British and French illustrated weeklies printed elaborate facsimiles of the Glozel tablets, compared them in importance to Egypt's Rosetta Stone, Britain's Piltdown skull. Gaston Bayle was not impressed. With his test tubes, his X-rays, his spectroscopes, he proved that the Glozel finds were not more than 15 years old, and clumsy forgeries at that.
Variously dated to Neolithic, Iron Age and Medieval times, the finds initiated a series of claims, counterclaims and heated debates among French archaeologists. Initially, many experts argued in favor of a hoax, but advanced testing from later decades confirmed that many of the Glozel artifacts were most likely of genuine antiquity.
A new group of neutral archaeologists, called the Committee of Studies, was appointed by scholars who were uncomfortable with the ongoing controversy. Excavating from 12 to 14 April 1928, they found more artifacts, and in their report asserted the authenticity of the site, which they identified as Neolithic.
Thermoluminescence dating of Glozel pottery in 1974 confirmed that the pottery was not produced recently. By 1979, 39 TL [Thermoluminescence] dates on 27 artifacts separated the pottery into three groups: the first between 300 BC and AD 300 (Celtic and Roman Gaul), the second medieval, centered on the 13th century, and the third recent. TL datings of 1983 performed in Oxford range from the 4th century to the medieval period.
Glozel: the Writing
Language of Glozel
This type of writing is not unique. Several related ancient alphabets exist in the old languages of Italy and Iberia (Alvao in Portugal, etc.) This writing draws attention to a pre-Indo-European, pre-Etruscan language, the ancient base of which one must consult to find the key.
Translating the Tablets
Several scholars, including Marie Labarrère Delorme, Maurice Guignard Christian de Warenghien, and Rudolf Hitz are currently working to put the finishing touches on their research papers.
According to measurements made by thermoluminescence (McKerrell, 1999), about two-thirds of the tested ceramic objects from Glozel date to between 300 BC and 100 AD.
Omission of Vowel Signs
It is difficult to understand the reason for the very frequent omission of vowel signs in the Glozel writing. It may have been an abbreviated form of writing where the vowel was not written because it was contained in the pronounciation, perhaps in the names of the letters be, ce, de, etc.
A preliminary dating of the texts according to paleography (the science of ancient writing) and history shows that Glozel corresponds to the Iron Age Celtic period of La Tène, beginning in the third century BC, and continues through the second century AD, the Gallo-Roman period.
To the period of the first century BC to the first and second century AD are dated the inscriptions in the Glozelic alphabet on large tablets and on the second group of tablets which contain unique proper names, several unusual ligatures, and rare letters like the demi-h.
The Atypical Glozel Inscriptions
I must add that there are a number of incomprehensible inscriptions at Glozel (especially on the bones and the ceramic tablets), which have a really atypical writing style. These may be copies of texts written by unknown people, but they could also be badly made practice pieces, or rough drafts, executed by scribes.
Authenticity of Script
The fact that some Glozel inscriptions are written with very atypical signs and with extremely unusual ligatures and symbols helps to explain why many specialists talk about falsification and believe that the Glozel inscriptions are inauthentic.
Owl-faced Vase (front and rear)
When samples of the mysterious artifacts from Glozel were duly subjected to TL tests, some were found to be centuries old and others were thousands of years old.
French archaeological academia was dismissive of Morlet's 1925 report, published by an amateur and a peasant boy. Morlet invited a number of archaeologists to visit the site during 1926, including Salomon Reinach, curator of the National Museum of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, who spent three days excavating. Reinach confirmed the authenticity of the site in a communication to the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres. Similarly, The famous archaeologist Abbé Breuil excavated with Dr. Antonin Morlet and was impressed with the site; but on 2 October [192-?], Breuil wrote that "everything is false except the stoneware pottery." [Compare with a later statement by Breuil below.]
A new group of neutral archaeologists, called the Committee of Studies, appointed by scholars who were uncomfortable with these happenings, excavated from 12 to 14 April 1928. They found more artifacts and in their report asserted the authenticity of the site, which they identified as Neolithic.
There is the beginning of a deplorable case, although sadly common. Capitain, Ph.D. in Fine Arts, who received and disdained the Fradins' precious findings, called Dr. Morlet to Paris to make an indecent proposal, i.e., "You are unknown by the public, your volume [book describing Glozel artifacts] will not sell. Put my name in it instead of the Fradins'". (This was witnessed and published by Canon Cote.) Since Dr. Morlet refused to comply, as usually happens Glozel was challenged and ridiculed. In 1926, Father Abbe' Breuil, who was a partner of Capitain, could not but declare: "It is indeed Neolithic. I thank you so much (he said to Dr. Morlet), you have convinced me."
The totality of the Glozel findings
Neolithic library with more than 100 tablets having alphabetical characters (the first alphabet), the letters V, W, L, H, T, I, K, O, C, J and X. Their arrangement shows that 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, in the Magdalenian, men could already write and read.
Glozel has a validity certification from the great majority of historians all around the world . . . There is an immense list of scholars fully committed to truth who are authenticating the findings and the conclusions on the importance of Glozel, at the same time condemning the attitude of their vain, envious colleagues and bad [sic.] scientists.
From 1924 to 1930, a total of some 3,000 artifacts, variously dated to Neolithic, Iron Age and Medieval times were unearthed, including clay tablets, sculptures and vases, some of them inscribed with letters.
At the time the finds initiated a series of claims and counterclaims among French archaeologists. Some regarded the items as authentic, while others concluded the items were hoaxes.
: [site protected]
Most of the artifacts are dated 3000 B.C. But there are pieces that are younger and some that might date back 17,000 years. A lesser known fact is that there are also numerous stone relics with carvings which are very old.
Glozel Archeology and History
: [French site: translated]
"Thermoluminescence testing measures the time interval passed since the last heating, which does not always correspond to the date of manufacture (for the terra cotta, the last use of the furnace, etc). Fires or restoration using a heating source can distort the interpretation of the test results." (Source: French Ministry of Culture)
In 1983, new TL tests were applied at the laboratory of Oxford on five ceramic samples found near the oval pit. The dates range from 400 AD to medieval times. Such results can be explained only by this incidental resetting of the thermoluminescence clock.
[In other words, if reheating occurs, the thermoluminescence clock can be "reset to zero" causing old artifacts to appear younger. Since glass was manufactured at the site using furnaces, this is a factor R.C.L.]
Strange Stories, Weird Facts
A variety of artifacts
At Glozel, France, archaeologists find a collection of bricks and inscribed tablets, two paring knives, two small axes, and stones bearing inscriptions that have been shown to date from 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.
It can be seen from the above that the archeological material unearthed at Glozel has created controversy as well as stimulated thinking among archeologists. When one enters a search for Glozel Tablets there is no end to the variety of opinions and conflicting results of scientific tests in regard to the materials. But the discrimminating researcher will notice that several prominant archeologists and paleographers have pronounced a number of the inscribed artifacts authentic. It is hoped that this page will stimulate the enthusiast to research the issue further.
* In the years since this page was first written sites have disappeared from the net, content of articles has changed, and wording possibly altered. I stand behind what is presented here as being an accurate representation of what was once a portion of these carefully chosen sites. Fortunately, the most important sites (from this author's point of view) remain intact.R.C.L. [back]
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