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Puerto Rican figures

Skeptics Washed Away As Lost Civilization Is Finally Identified By Puerto Rican Figures

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A collection of highly-controversial stone figures discovered in Puerto Rico are believed by some to have been created by members of the lost Ten Tribes of Israel and by others as hoaxes, but these long forgotten mysterious artifacts have now been ‘validated’ as being 16th century, finally proving scores of skeptics have all been wrong, and that these are not Biblical treasures.

According to a press release by the University of Haifa in Puerto Rico, the collection of curious carved stone objects have been restudied by Professor Reniel Rodríguez Ramos who revived research into their origins in 2001. Using Dr. Groman-Yaroslavsky’s university ‘Use-Wear Analysis Laboratory’ which specializes in determining when various objects were created, Dr. Ramos has confirmed that the objects were carved in the 16th century and provided evidence that some them were coated in gold and red paint, hinting towards their original applications.

Dr. Groman-Yaroslavsky’s specialist laboratory performs microscopic examinations revealing how objects were made and what tools were used to make them. The remnants of gold coating and red paint was found at the figures’ eyes and mouths reflecting what Ramos called “a complex process of design and finishing” revealing that “special chiseling tools were used” and this means the objects were most probably used in ancient rituals or worship.

The figurines are of various shapes and sizes and while some clearly resemble humans others are stylized with scores of “ancient markings” that have “never been seen before” which suggests to the scientists the presence of “an unknown writing system from a currently unknown pre-Columbian civilization.”

One of the strange serpentine figurines found in Puerto Rico. (University of Haifa)

One of the strange serpentine figurines found in Puerto Rico. (University of Haifa)

Legacy of A Lost Civilization

In the university press release Dr. Groman-Yaroslavsky said:

“To date, we have not found any similar carved stone art objects from this region of America, and this is why many researchers assumed that they must be fake. However, the microscopic tests we performed show beyond any doubt that the stones were carved around 600 years ago.”

The main reason these figurines have been regarded as a hoax are the bizarre circumstance surrounding their discovery when in the 19th century a Puerto Rican monk named José María Nazario announced he had found “800 carved stone statuettes.” According to a report in the Jerusalem Post Nazario claimed a dying old woman took him to her mountain hut and disclosed the location of an “ancient treasure her family had been protecting for centuries.” Nazario claimed that he followed the old woman’s directions into the forests of Puerto Rico where he eventually discovered a large stone covering a pit which Nazario lifted to reveal the ancient figurines.

El Yunque view from Yokahu Tower on a clear day, mountain forests of Puerto Rico. (CC BY-SA 4.0)

El Yunque view from Yokahu Tower on a clear day, mountain forests of Puerto Rico. (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Being a religious man Nazario claimed they “must” have been made by members of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who he suggested “reached Puerto Rico after traveling across Siberia.” This claim met fierce resistance and over the years and skeptics, who throwing the baby out with the bath water, claimed all of the statuettes were all forged by Nazario himself. Somewhat more balanced folk maintained that ‘some of the stones might be authentic’ and that others might have been forged in the 19th century by locals after seeing rising academic interest them.

Turning to the engravings: while some experts claimed that the ancient writing system was similar to Sumerian, others felt it was closer to Phoenician and so spun a complex web of theories built on speculations which has led many scientists to disregard the whole messy discovery as ridiculous and so they leave it alone. However, it now seems all those hard nose skeptics were utterly and completely wrong.

Some of the Puerto Rican figures have inscriptions in an unknown form of writing. (University of Haifa)

Some of the Puerto Rican figures have inscriptions in an unknown form of writing. (University of Haifa)

What Then Of The Professional Skeptic?

Considering this 19th century treasure hunting monk has been vindicated for having spoken the truth about his findings, what does this tell us about the societal harm caused by extreme skeptics? The word ‘skeptic’ is derived from the Greek  skeptikos, meaning “to inquire” or “look around” and an article in Psychology Today explains that “skepticism is a key part of critical thinking - a goal of education.” A balanced, confidant and positive skeptic requires additional evidence before accepting any given claim as true but many of today’s bedroom based internet skeptics might be better categorized as ‘cynics’ rather than skeptics.

Skepticism emerged as a way to oppose religious dogma, to avoid business scams and to reduce one’s swallowing of foolish beliefs. While some people approach the ‘unknown’ with a healthy dose of skepticism there exists today a rather sad type of person who is “only” a skeptic. Trapped in little echo chambers of similarly minded folk they publicly admit to being skilled in using the tools of ‘doubt’ and ‘disbelief’ to understand reality, thinking they are behaving intelligently.

One certainly mustn’t believe anything without sufficient evidence, but in defining one’s self as a skeptic, thus “being” a skeptic, you have ‘swallowed skepticism’ and it’s tools of doubt are subsequently applied to self-understanding. In these ‘doubtful’ mental environments skepticism inhibits the intellectual resources, reducing confidence and intelligence leaving the ‘professional skeptic’ no creative alternatives but to decry the works of others, while fantasizing what it must be like to live outside in the free world, where no constrictions and restrictions of thought or ideas apply.

Now that the skeptics have moved to the side in Puerto Rico these incredible new findings uncovered at the University of Haifa will now be presented to an expert in the ancient writing systems of pre-Columbian America and the search for the lost civilization will continue. However, I remain ‘skeptical’ to claims that they were descendants of the Ten Tribes of Israel!

Top image: Dr. Iris Groman-Yaroslavsky, left, with Prof. Reniel Rodríguez Ramos examining some of the Puerto Rican figurines at Haifa University Source: University of Haifa

By Ashley Cowie

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Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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