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Final Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By isnowboard
Words 985
Pages 4
Professor Gregory
ANT 103
Final Essay
Chapter 3, pg. 70

There have been numerous archeological hoax proposed throughout history, all over the world. I will focus on The Cardiff Giant: The Goliath of New York that was a proposed hoax in 1869 in America that attracted a lot of attention from the public. Like most hoax throughout history, the Cardiff Giant was done for money. The hoax was uncovered and put to rest soon after it started. Through this paper I want to address a few main points in order to answer some questions about the hoax and why its was popular. The main points that I want to address are who believed in the hoax and why they believed it, the people who were skeptical of the hoax, and the lessons in this story that are applicable to other instances of fraud. This information will help to breakdown the reasons why the hoax was so popular and why/ how it ended.
The Cardiff Giant hoax was portrayed in 1869; at this time in America and other parts of the world many people were extremely vulnerable to believe in such hoax that were based on biblical references. Many people of the nineteenth century believed in the past existence of a race of giant human beings. Many believed the existence of giants because in the Bible there are numerous references and stories about giant people that inhabited the earth in ancient times. During this time majority of the people interpreted the Bible literally, it wasn’t just small groups of zealous fundamentalists. For most of these people the Bible was not considered hypotheses to be tested against data, the biblical stories were not considered legends, myths, or allegorical tales, they were viewed as historical truths. Due to the amount of God-fearing people of America, this was perfect time for this hoax to take place. The believers of this hoax were religious people that wanted to witness the presence of ancient giants that they believed were present on earth. They accepted the “petrified man” on the bases that the body of this giant could have been petrified like the trees of Arizona 200 million years ago that were buried by sediment rich in silica that filled the spaces between and within the cells. Thus preserving the appearance of the wood, when the natural wood decayed away. They thought that the giant was petrified in the same way. Not everyone was so gullible as the general public to the discovery of the buried giant.
The Cardiff Giant hoax didn’t fool everyone; there were immediate skeptics about this archeological discovery. The immediate skeptics of this hoax were professional scientists including geologists and paleontologists, and even artists. The scientists were skeptical of the Giant because they had an understanding of science and were able to determine that the rock that the giant was composed of was gypsum stone that would not be capable to withstand such extensive time underground in the wet soils of Newell Farm where it was found. Gypsum is a soft sedimentary rock that has layering unlike petrified woods, the trained professionals were capable to determine that its was buried for three years by the weathering of the rock. Artists were able to identify the Cardiff Giant as fake due to the markings left by the tools that were used to carve the sculpture. The professionals that had training in science and art were skeptical because they had an understanding and knowledge of the stone that the giant was carved from, and how the process of weathering occurred this made it possible for them to use scientific evidence to conclude that giant was a fake. The artist’s ability to identify the marks of the tools, due to their profession and knowledge, allowed them to also provide proof that the Giant was a fake. These groups of professionals were using knowledge and scientific understanding, unlike the majority of the population that didn’t know the different quos to look for in order to disagree with the Giants authenticity. The general public also wanted to believe in such a phenomenon due to their literal interpretation of Biblical stories, they were provided with what they wanted to believe in.
The lessons that are applicable from the Cardiff Giant hoax in science are that people without proper training or knowledge are vulnerable to be fooled. The creators of this hoax had the right plan in order to make money; they provided something extraordinary to the people that wanted to see this sort of thing. This hoax is similar to the Piltdown Man, whose success was due to the fact that many people wanted to believe in such phenomenon because it brought national pride. Both of these hoaxes have been proven to be false with the help of science. Science doesn’t cater to stories without evidence, thus scientifically trained professionals they were able to uncover such hoaxes that seemed legitimist to the general public.
In conclusion, there have been numerous hoax and frauds throughout history for different reasons. The Cardiff Giant: The Goliath of New York that was a proposed in America and was very popular due to Biblical mentions of giants. The main points that I addressed were who were the believers in the hoax and why they believed it, the people who were skeptics of the hoax, and the lessons in this story that are applicable to other instances of fraud. By examining these points it was easier to understand why this hoax was publically accepted. People were astonished of such an archeological discovery and they chose to believe it due to their literal interpretation of the Bible. Due to science and trained professionals investigation of The Cardiff Giant the hoax was uncovered and the statue proven to be a fake. Its not always wise to believe in something that everyone is believing in, until its been examined by professionals.

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