Deriv; The Sutton Letter, courtesy authors, and a human skull. Representational image only.

The Giants of Doddridge County: Burials of a Vanished Race – Part I

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There may be an explanation for why Sutton chose not to include the skeletal measurements in his report.  In fact, the absence of measurements could represent validation of the gigantic size of some of the remains.

It is important to note that Sutton’s report did not appear until 1958—29 years after his initial excavations in the summer of 1929. The Zahn Mounds were his first mound excavations, and the beginning of a long career as an amateur archeologist working in West Virginia and Ohio.

As someone working outside of the establishment, Ernest Sutton may have been initially unaware of the policy of secrecy enacted under the authority of Ales Hrdlicka of the Smithsonian, regarding the reporting of gigantic skeletons. As a result of these circumstances, Sutton may have gone public with what he considered to be very important anthropological discoveries in June of 1930, and then avoided the mention of the size of the skeletons in his official report filed almost three decades later.

"Ales hrdlicka" by Unknown - Archive Museum of Aleš Hrdlička in Humpolec.

"Ales hrdlicka" by Unknown - Archive Museum of Aleš Hrdlička in Humpolec. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Gazette article specifically mentions that the information came from Sutton himself, who had made some manner of presentation on the night of June 14, the day before the article’s publication. The extensive and accurate details contained in the Exponent article may have been due to the reporter attending the same event, which could have been held at Salem University, where Sutton taught History and Geography.

The Stigma Against Giants

There is evidence of the enforcement of the stigma against reporting gigantic remains in Sutton’s subsequent work. Between September of 1962 and October of 1963, Sutton excavated the Johnson-Thompson mound in Athens County, Ohio.  However, several issues prevented the official report from being published until July of 1966 in the Ohio Archaeologist. Several of these issues are outlined in a piece of correspondence between Ernest Sutton and Martha Potter of the Ohio Historical Society, dated March 21, 1966.

The Sutton Letter

The Sutton Letter, courtesy authors.

Among the questions addressed are Sutton’s methods of determining the height of skeletons:

“I note some question by both you and Dr. Baby regarding my measurement of burials and what formula I use. By examination and checking, I find that the length of the femur bone is approximately one-third of the total length.”

In the letter, Sutton also assures Potter that the “Johnson-Thompson Mound report has been revised in conformity with instructions and is now returned.” This is clear evidence that large “official” organizations were enforcing specific criteria in the publication of archeological data. In relation to this, the specific reference to the measurement of skeletal height in Sutton’s letter would indicate that this subject was among those bounded by these criteria.

(A big thanks to Joshua Magaw for providing Sutton’s personal correspondence for this investigation.)

Visit Jason and Sarah’s Website at Alleghenymounds.com

(Read Part II )

Featured image: Deriv; The Sutton Letter, courtesy authors, and a human skull. Representational image only. (Steve Snodgrass/ CC BY 2.0 )

By Jason Jarrell and Sarah Farmer

References

Bruce Horton, 1930. Two Prehistoric Indian Mounds Found Near Morgansville. West Virginia Division of Culture and History, accessed 2015. WVCulture.org [Online] Available at: http://www.wvculture.org/history/nativeamericans/doddridgemounds.html

Richard J. Dewhurst, 2013. The Ancient Giants Who Ruled America: The Missing Skeletons and the Great Smithsonian Cover-Up. Published by Bear & Company; 1 edition (Dec 27 2013)

Ross Hamilton, 2007. A TRADITION OF GIANTS The Elite Social Hierarchy of American Prehistory. Academia.edu [Online] Available at: http://www.academia.edu/4693378/A_TRADITION_OF_GIANTS_The_Elite_Social_Hierarchy_of_American_Prehistory

Comments

Races of giant people are mentioned around the world in many cultures, including native American folklore and the Christian Bible. So much of the archeological discoveries seem to be suppressed and I have to wonder why.

Tsurugi's picture

Well, we can't have a few minor facts dislodging long-standing, well-respected theory, can we? That would just be silly. This is science, not anarchy!

(note: sarcasm)

It's obvious he got his measurements wrong. Sutton says in his letter that, in answer to their question about his measurements of the skeletons, he uses the formula that the "femur bone is approximately one third of the total length". The femur bone is 26.74% of the total length of a person's skeleton, it is a standard ratio across all ethnic types. There is no evidence of a cover up here - it's standard for Journals to only accept submissions in correct formats, and they were clearly asking for supporting evidence from him ie. the photographs and allowing him time to provide it. At any rate, the article seems never to have been published, probably due to these sorts of basic errors. "Professor" Sutton is a google phantom, and seems never to have had any articles published at all. If anyone has links to genuine articles or the report of 1958, these should be provided here.

While it is possible he did get his measurements wrong, then there would be no reason for him to later use the words giant skeleton numerous times when referring to what was taken from the mounds by others. Opportunity to correct subsequent reports of giants were never attempted by him? That is highly doubtful. Decades of excavating and he still cannot recognize an average femur Is that even plausible? To simply state he got it wrong would negate dozens of other references where he clearly states and alludes to very large femurs and giant skeletons. It is more likely to me that the reference (of 1/3) attributed to him is false, or fraudulent.

If he got the measurements wrong, and was under the impression the femur was 1/3rd the skeleton and his skeleton is 9ft, but the femur is actually ~26%, that implies either 6ft of skeleton, or a 3ft femur by the 'mistaken' calculations, and by the 'correct' one it means it's still a giant, either 7ft or much larger. This claim he flubbed his calculations does not make sense.

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