Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: "Search for the Lost Giants" on The History Channel

The ongoing story line in this season's episodes of "Search for the Lost Giants" has been the Goshen Tunnel in Massachusetts and the promise of an undiscovered burial chamber. Last night's episode certainly had our minds focused back on this hot archaeological site.

I will be honest, the opening of the show with narrator and Jim standing in the room with the news clippings, reminds me of how I felt as a kid watching "In Search Of," literally wiggling in my seat, blanket wrapped around me, waiting for the world to give me a new mystery to chase and sharing discovery with the show's participants.

The episode last night started out at the Goshen Tunnel and the archaeological dig beginning with the University of Massachusetts team. 

They reviewed that the tooth found in the Missouri cave was not from a hominid on forensic review. 

The brothers decided to head out to check some leads with LA Marzulli.  Marzulli had looked over Glidden's photos from Catalina Island. He was able to see a comparison between Glidden's height and the skeleton and experts helped to figure out upright how tall the skeleton was. The analysis by four experts said 8-1/2 to 9-1/2 feet tall. 

Scientists had discussed the Denisovans man ("deni-SO-vins") in Europe in a cave, determined by a tooth and bone fragment that showed another form of man we did not know of before and one whose DNA showed up in South Pacific islanders and aboriginal people of Australia. It would seem there was a form of giant man that has walked the earth alongside us and bred with us like Neanderthals did with European cultures. The question is - who?

I enjoy that the show ponders the origins of giants - Nephilim? Denisovans? Other form of man? 

Hugh Newman went with Jim to find out about a man from long ago called Benjamin Buckland who was a colonist in the 1600s involved in the "Nine Man's Misery," reported to be tall and have double rows of teeth. What happened to his remains? Well, that was the puzzled they had to chase, to find where the remains might be.

Upon research, the men found that medical students dug up the bones of several graves to study and then they were returned to the graves. But why had the physician wanted them to look at the bones? One skeleton was extraordinary in size and double set of teeth all around.

Back at the tunnel, they planned to dig trenches over the potential tunnel, in search of signs of the original trench to show that something was dug up there. The archaeology team did a very cautious and professional dig there. They found bits of ceramic and a brass button, signs of older times, but not really ancient times. 

Back in Rhode Island, Jim and Hugh went by a tip from the librarian to meet Bob Billington, President of Blackstone Valley Tourism group. He informed them that a group of monks dug them up because they were "improperly buried," they thought it was wrong to bury them there for some unknown reason. When the men asked what happened to the bodies, Bob remarked that perhaps in the 1970s in a bicentennial ceremony they were returned back to the site of the skirmish. Bob was a great help to help them try and find the remains. 

The men got together at the Goshen Tunnels to see that they were able to uncover the original trencher's trench and determine the original earth surface that the builders walked upon in a lower level of the uncovered earth. 

Jim and Hugh went back to work at trying to find what happened to Benjamin's bones. They found an old photos from the 1920s of a group gathering at the site of the skirmish and a monk there, as well, which was likely when the bones were brought up by the monks. 

Bob, who had been helping them, gave the men a call to tell them that in 1976 the remains were put back into the cairn at the skirmish site. That is where they were supposed to be. Now that they knew where, they headed out. Once they got to the commemorative site, they realized that they were close to possibly finding remains that could prove the giant race.

Jim called Bob, hoping there was a way they would be allowed into the cairn. Bob wasn't sure the authorities would support it, but he was brave enough to see. 

At the Goshen site, the archaeological team finished two trenches and ready to share findings.  They were told that they did not find evidence of trenching to a potential chamber where the rock zipper was, but there is a chance that it was constructed without a builder's trench. Deep down, they found two artifacts of glass and a rusty nail. The archaeologist thought it was possibly built hundreds of years ago. The digging team did not come across that unusual sand found during Geo-Probe.  

Jim and Bill were not wanting to stop the dig. Bill came up with an idea. They went back to Goshen with a fiberoptic camera. They wanted to thread it through the zipper of rocks to see what was on the other side. Bill admitted that he caught the fever too and meant to help his brother find some proof. 

The stones at the zipper were very tight. Feeding the camera through was difficult, but they found a potential opening. They found a cavity, a nice neat one.  Bill found a void with a wall, but could not get into it.  It is either another tunnel or an overbuilt structure. 

A few days later, Bob called Jim back about the remains of Benjamin. He let Jim know that over the next few weeks, he would approach officials. He was excited about this story and intrigued to find out more.

Todd Disotell, the anthropologist, was contacted to talk about finding evidence for review. Jim asked Todd if he would want to be there if they recovered Benjamin's skull with double rows of teeth. He said, absolutely!

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