Reports From Around the World
Accounts of the discovery of giant remains are not limited to North America. On the contrary, they are universal. The Germans referred to the giants that once inhabited their land as “Huns.” There is an old story that there were two large Hun graves on the Buggenhagen estate at Züssow in northeast Germany. In 1594, the people of Greifswald needed stones for a building, and, upon their request, the Buggenhagens gave permission to take the stones from the two Hun graves. After the Greifswald stonemasons had cut up the large stones, they became curious about what was buried beneath them. They began to dig into one of the graves, where they found many human corpses, all in a row. They were completely preserved, and measured between eleven and sixteen feet in length.[i]
The pyramid of Cuicuilco is the oldest structure in the valley of Mexico. It is a conical earthen mound, with an outer facade of basalt slabs; smooth ramps or causeways lead to the top. The eruption of a nearby volcano caused the site to be abandoned around A.D. 200, but the pyramid was built much earlier. American archaeologist Byron S. Cummings excavated the site for the Mexican government in 1920. Based upon sedimentation rates, Cummings estimated that the pyramid had been built around 6,000 B.C., but later radiocarbon tests done on charcoal indicated a date closer to 2,000 B.C.[ii]
Cummings was not the first to dig at Cuicuilco. A Spanish physician named Hernendez, sent to Mexico by Philip II, visited Cuicuilco and wrote about having found the bones of large beasts along with those of men in excess of five meters (sixteen feet) tall. Natives believed that giants had built Cuicuilco.[iii]
The historian Don Ferdinand d’Alva Ixtilxochitl (1568-1648) reports that, “there were giants in New Spain (Mexico). Furthermore, their bones may be found everywhere, and ancient Toltec historians have dubbed them Quinametzin, against whom they fought many wars and had much strife in this land called New Spain. . .”[iv]
Some of the giants of New Spain were discovered early in the last century by Charles C. Clapp, who had been in Mexico supervising a mine owned by Thomas W. Lawson. According to The New York Times:
He found in Mexico a cave containing some 200 skeletons of men each above eight feet in height. The cave was evidently the burial place of a race of giants who antedated the Aztecs. Mr. Clapp arranged the bones of one of these skeletons and found the total length to be 8 feet 11 inches. The femur reached up to his thigh, and the molars were big enough to crack a coconut. The head measured eighteen inches from front to back.[v]
A similar report of Mexican giant remains appeared in The New York Times on December 2, 1930. A mining engineer named J.E. Coker said that laborers working near Sayopa, Sonora, had uncovered an old cemetery where bodies of men averaging eight feet in height were found buried tier by tier.[vi]
There are reports of larger, heavier people in ancient Egypt. Egyptologist Walter B. Emery (1903-1971), while excavating at Saqqara in the 1930s, discovered the remains of individuals who lived in pre-dynastic Egypt. These people had large, dolichocephalous skulls (a dolichocephalous skull is significantly longer than it is wide). This race had fair hair and a taller, heavier build than other ancient Egyptians. Emery believed that this race was not native to Egypt but had performed important religious and governmental roles in the country.
“Towards the end of the IV millennium BC,” Emery wrote, “the people known as the Disciples of Horus appear as a highly dominant aristocracy that governed entire Egypt. The theory of the existence of this race is supported by the discovery in the pre-dynastic tombs, in the northern part of Higher Egypt, of the anatomical remains of individuals with bigger skulls and builds than the native population, with so much difference as to exclude any hypothetical common racial strain.”[vii] These remains date from the period before the first dynasty, around 3,100 B.C., as reckoned by Egyptologists.
We would expect that the post-Flood reduction in the physical size of humanity would roughly correspond to the reduction in lifespans, as indicated in Genesis 11:10-32. We would also expect that the largest post-Flood human remains would be found in relatively close proximity to the mountains of Ararat, where Noah and his family disembarked. Thus, it is not surprising that we come across the following evidence:
Dear Christian Friends, I was born and lived in the Middle East from 1938 to 1968. I was Ain-Tell and Euphrates water works Engineer and was very interested in archaeology and history and had some very interesting finds, some of which may sound unbelievable. I have brought with me a few silex arrowheads, etc. from the very battlefield where King Nebuchadnezar and Pharo Necho’s armies fought. And what about the giants mentioned in Genesis? In southeast Turkey, in the Euphrates Valley, and in Homs, and at Uran-Zohra, tombs of about four meters long [13 feet] once existed, but now roads and other construction work has destroyed the spots. At two places, when unearthed because of construction work, the leg bones [femurs] were measured about 120 cms [about 4 feet]. It sounds unbelievable.[viii]
A person with a four-foot-long femur would stand about twelve feet tall.
Myths and Legends
In discussing the oral traditions of the Tezcucans, a tribe of Mexico, Hubert Howe Bancroft states:
Of the creation which ushered in the first age we know nothing; we are only told by Boturini that giants then began to appear on the earth. This First Age, or ‘sun,’ was called the Sun of the Water, and it was ended by a tremendous flood, in which every living thing perished, or was transformed, except, following some accounts, one man and one woman of the giant race of whose escape more hereafter. The Second Age, called the Sun of the Earth, was closed with earthquakes, yawnings of the earth, and the overthrow of the highest mountains. Giants, or quinames, a powerful and haughty race, still appear to be the only inhabitants of the world.”[ix]
This Mexican legend corresponds with biblical history. During the first age, before the flood, giants inhabited the earth. Immediately after the flood, because of catastrophic plate tectonics, there were many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the early centuries after the Flood, and the people were still larger than they are today.
Asian mythology told of a class of people that inhabited the “realms of delight” who were twice as tall as normal men but paid no attention to the laws of virtue.[x]
The Shawnee Indians of North America supposed their ancestors to have been much more perfect, both in intellect and physical stature, than the present race:
“They were of very large stature, both men and women, which they attributed in part to their abstinence from sexual intercourse during the early years of life. In those days the men at a hundred years were equal to those of the present race at seventy. A gradual degeneration has at last brought them to their present state and is now working imperceptibly among all the Indian tribes.”[xi]
The Pawnee Indians also believed that a race of giants pre-existed them and that the Great Spirit destroyed this race with a flood. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody relates the following story:
While we were in the sand-hills, scouting the Niobrara country, the Pawnee Indians brought into camp, one night, some very large bones, one of which a surgeon of the expedition pronounced to be the thigh-bone of a human being. The Indians claimed that the bones they had found were those of a person belonging to a race of people who a long time ago lived in this country. That there was once a race of men on the earth whose size was about three times that of an ordinary man, and they were so swift and powerful that they could run along-side of a buffalo, and taking the animal in one arm could tear off a leg and eat the meat as they walked.
These giants denied the existence of a Great Spirit, and when they heard the thunder or saw the lightning they laughed at it and said that they were greater than either. This so displeased the Great Spirit that he caused a great rain-storm to come, and the water kept rising higher and higher so that it drove those proud and conceited giants from the low grounds to the hills, and thence to the mountains, but at last even the mountain tops were submerged, and then those mammoth men were all drowned.
After the flood had subsided, the Great Spirit came to the conclusion that he had made man too large and powerful, and that he would therefore correct the mistake by creating a race of men of smaller size and less strength. This is the reason, say the Indians, that modern men are small and not like the giants of old, and they claim that this story is a matter of Indian history, which has been handed down among them from time immemorial. As we had no wagons with us at the time this large and heavy bone was found, we were obliged to leave it.[xii]
The Iroquois, Osage, Tuscaroras, Hurons, Omahas, and many other North American tribes also have legends to the effect that giant men once lived and roamed the land.[xiii]
The Toltec Flood Legend
We noted above that the Mexican historian Don Ferdinand d’Alva Ixtilxochitl stated that there were once giants in Mexico, and that their bones are found everywhere. Don Ferdinand also relates this remarkable Flood legend that places these Mexican giants in a story that clearly corresponds with Bible history:
“It is found in the histories of the Toltecs that this age and the first world, as they call it, lasted 1716 years; that men were destroyed by tremendous rains and lightning from the sky, and even all the land, without the exception of anything, and the highest mountains, were covered up and submerged in water fifteen cubits (caxtolmolatli); and here they added other fables of how men came to multiply from the few who escaped from this destruction in a “toptlipetlocali”; that this word nearly signifies a close chest; and how, after men had multiplied, they erected a very high “zacuali,” which is today a tower of great height, in order to take refuge in it should the second world (age) be destroyed. Presently their languages were confused, and, not being able to understand each other, they went to different parts of the earth.
“The Toltecs, consisting of seven friends, with their wives, who understood the same language, came to these parts, having first passed great land and seas, having lived in caves, and having endured great hardships in order to reach this land; . . . they wandered 104 years through different parts of the world before they reached Hue Hue Tlapalan, which was in Ce Tecpat, 520 years after the flood.[xiv]
The duration of the first age, 1716 years, differs by only 60 years from Ussher’s calculation of 1656 years for the pre-Flood period using the Masoretic chrono-genealogical data. The 15-cubit height of the water above the mountaintops, the tower, the confounding of the languages, and the dispersal of the people are all identical to the Genesis narrative.
The uncanny similarity between the Toltec flood legend and the Genesis narrative raises the suspicion that the legend was influenced by the teachings of Spanish priests after Cortes conquered Mexico in 1519. But on closer scrutiny, the legend appears to be genuine.[xv]
The Toltecs taught that one God, omnipotent and invisible, had made all things, a religion very different from that of the cruel Aztecs. (Bancroft, at 55, 56.) This raises the question: Who were the “Toltecs?” The encyclopedias say they were a warrior nation that controlled central Mexico between A.D. 900 and A.D. 1,200 and were similar to and conquered by, the Aztecs, or Mexica.
But until recently, the Toltecs were considered a legendary race of superhuman beings. “Toltec” was more of a claim of cultural affiliation (someone who comes from Tollan “place of reeds” i.e., large city) rather than an actual nation of peoples. (Code of Kings, p. 200). The word Toltec or “Nahuatl” means “master builders” or “artificers.” They were an ancient race of warrior kings from whom the Aztecs claimed descent.
“Much of what the Aztecs aspired to can find its roots in the still mysterious epoch of the Toltecs. The Toltec influence over almost all subsequent cultures of Mesoamerica cannot be overestimated. The Mixtecs, the Itza Maya, the Huaxteca, and most importantly the Mexica (Aztecs) claimed descent from the Toltecs, and Toltec blood was considered to be the legitimizing stamp of any ruler. Yet very little is known about these people. There are no contemporary written accounts.”
I believe the term Toltec refers not—or at least not only—to the nation that immediately preceded the Aztecs in Mexico but also to a much more ancient Central American people: the early post-Flood settlers. This would explain why they left no written records: they had not yet developed a written language (recall that Ellen White wrote that the antediluvians did not have or need written records). It would explain the eerily accurate flood legend. It would explain why they were called “master builders”: they came from the same stock that built the cyclopean and megalithic structures found all around the world. It would also explain why they were considered a race of superhuman beings: they were taller, longer-lived, and more intelligent than their descendants, who often aspired to recapture their lost glory.
[i]. Hamilton, Ross, personal communication with David Read, citing J. D. H. Temme, Die Volkssagen von Pommern und Rügen (Berlin: In der Nicolaischen Buchhandlung, 1840), no. 173, p. 213.
[ii]. The Xitli lava flow that ended the occupation of the site is known as the “Pedrigal.” Cummings found three cultural levels, separated by two layers of volcanic ash and sediment, below the Pedrigal but above the paved floor of the pyramid. The pavement was eighteen and a half feet below the bottom of the Pedrigal lava. Cummings estimated that it would have taken about 6,500 years for this sediment to accumulate. After Willard Libby invented radiocarbon testing, C-14 tests were done on samples of charcoal taken from below the Pedigral (but about 1,000 feet from the pyramid). There was an orderly correlation of older dates with deeper samples. At about the level of the base of the pyramid, the charcoal samples were testing to about 2000 B.C. See Hapgood, Charles H., Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited, 1966), pp. 199-204, citing “Radiocarbon” Supplement of the American Journal of Science, vol. 5, pp. 12, 13, and vol. 6, pp. 332-334; Cummings, Byron S., “Cuicuilco and the Archaic Culture of Mexico,” Bulletin, University of Arizona, IV, no. 8, (Nov. 15, 1933). See also Cummings, Byron, “Ruins of Cuicuilco may Revolutionize our History of Ancient America,” National Geographic, vol. 44, pp. 203-220 (1923).
[iii]. Corrales, Scott, “Mexico: Forgotten Ruins and Ancient Astronauts.”
[v]. Hamilton, Ross, personal communication with the author, citing The New York Times, May 4, 1908.
[vi]. Steiger, Brad, Worlds Before Our Own (New York: Berkeley Books, 1978), pp. 54, 55, citing The New York Times, December 2, 1930.
[vii]. Emery, Walter B., as quoted by Vittorio Di Cesare and Adriano Forgione, “Malta: The Skulls of the Mother Goddess” HERA magazine, (Rome, Italy).
[viii]. Taylor, Joe, Fossil Facts and Fantasies (Crosbyton, TX: Mt. Blanco Publishing, 1999), p. 66.
[ix]. Bancroft, Hubert Howe, The Native Races of the Pacific States (San Francisco: The History Company, Pub., 1886), vol. III. “Myths and Languages,” p. 64.
[x]. Campbell, Joseph, The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology (New York: Penguin Books, 1962), pp. 227, 228.
[xi]. Shawnese Traditions: C. C. Trowbridge’s Account, Vernon Kinietz and Erminie W. Voegelin, eds, (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1939).
[xii]. Hamilton, Ross, personal communication with the author, quoting The Life of Hon. William F. Cody, Known as Buffalo Bill, The Famous Hunter, Scout, and Guide: An Autobiography, Foreword by Don Russell (Paperback reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980).
[xiii]. Wilkins, Harold T., “The Giants in the Earth,” Fate Magazine, January, 1952, in Out of Time and Place: From the Files of Fate Magazine, Terry O’Neill, ed. (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1999), p. 60.
[xiv] Ignatius Donnelly, Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, at 87, citing Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough’s Antiquities of Mexico (London: 1830-1848), vol. 9, pp. 331, 332, in turn citing Ixtilxochitl’s Historia Chichimeca.
[xv] “It will of course be said that this account, in those particulars where it agrees with the Bible, was derived from the teachings of the Spanish priests” notes Donnelly, “but it must be remembered that Ixtilxochitl was an Indian, a native of Tezcuco, a son of the queen, and that his ‘Relaciones’ were drawn from archives of his family and the ancient writing of his nation; he had no motive to falsify documents that were probably in the hands of hundreds at that time.” Donnelly, p. 88. The text itself indicates that Ixtilxochitl was skeptical of the legend, as when he states, “and here they added other fables . . .”
But even if Ixtilxochitl was not trying to propagate Biblical teachings (and he clearly was not), there are still two ways that the legend might reflect them: 1) Christian or Hebrew teachings had reached the New World prior to the Spanish conquest. There is evidence, compiled by researchers known as “Diffusionists,” of pre-Columbian exploration of the Western hemisphere by Old World explorers; and 2) the teachings of Spanish priests in the sixteenth century had already become transmogrified into native myths by the time Ixtilxochitl wrote his history in the early seventeenth century.
That the legend reflects Christian teachings cannot be ruled out, but experience with Catholic evangelism makes the priestly teaching theory very unlikely. Usually the Catholic priests were merely trying to secure the natives’ loyalty to the church, not impart Bible history to them. In fact, to secure the natives’ loyalty, the Catholics were often willing to “baptize” quite a bit of native religion and folklore into Catholicism (see, e.g., the mother goddess of Tonantzin transmogrifies into Our Lady of Guadalupe). This was their pattern throughout the world, and reflected the fact that Catholic theology itself is a blend of Biblical and pagan Greek ideas. Teaching the chrono-genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 to the Mexicans right after Cortes’ conquest of Mexico was the last thing they would ever have been concerned with. It seems very probable that the Toltec Flood legend is genuinely indigenous, and was handed down through the generations from the early post-Flood settlers.
It is intriguing that the Toltecs claim to have arrived in Mexico 520 years after the flood. If they wandered for 104 years after Babel before finding Mexico, that places Babel about 416 years after the flood. Many commentators believe the Babel dispersion was around the time of the birth of Peleg, because Genesis 10:25 states that one of Eber’s sons “was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided.” (Some argue that the division of the earth refers to catastrophic plate tectonics dividing the continents, but that had to have happened during the Flood itself; the better view is that the “dividing of the earth referred to in Genesis 10:25 was the confounding of languages at Babel, which resulted in the people moving away from each other.)
According to Genesis 11 (in the Masoretic text), Shem fathered Arphaxad two years after the flood, who fathered Shelah thirty-five years later, who fathered Eber thirty years later, who fathered Peleg thirty-four years later. This would place the birth of Peleg only 101 years after the Flood. But the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) adds a century to the last three ages in the sequence. If Septuagint ages are substituted for Masoretic ages, the data is 2+135+130+134=401, astonishingly close to the 416 years indicated by the Toltec legend. But it seems odd that the Toltec legend would track the Masoretic numbers for the pre-Flood chrono-genealogy of Genesis 5—with an age of the Antediluvian world only sixty years different from Ussher—then follow Septuagint numbers in Genesis 11. Also, the Masoretic omits Cainan between Arphaxad and Shelah, whereas some Septuagint manuscripts include Cainan, adding an extra 130 years to the calculation, placing Babel 531 years after the flood, not so uncannily close to the Toltec legend of 416 years. But the fact that the Toltec flood legend does not consistently track one version of the Bible is very strong evidence that the legend is genuinely pre-Columbian and pre-Christian. If it merely reflected Catholic teaching, the numerical data should reflect only one version of Scripture, not a combination of versions.