Wednesday, 13 February 2019

alley oop

Though not the first or most famous of its class, learning that the mildly mysterious Coso Artefact was discovered on this date in 1961 by some rock-hounds in California’s Owens Valley did impel us into the strange and contentious realm of out-of-place archaeology. While prospecting for geodes, the group found a spark plug from the 1920s encased in a rock that was estimated to be a half-a-million years old.
Though geological processes could account for the concretion and nodule formation around the clear anachronism, proponents of time-travel, prehistoric alien visitation and lost civilisations of course carried the day—as they do for other anomalous found objects, deemed in the wrong chronological context, that are categorised as OOPArt (Out-of-Place Artefacts). While not all are haunted with the blight of pseudoscience and sometimes there is a honest misinterpretation, wishful-thinking or confirmation-bias over a pet theory, most claims are dubious and tend to be a demerit to human ingenuity and accomplishment, like the Nebra Skydisk or the Antikythera mechanism being the artifice of extra-terrestrials or even gods, pareidolia due to suboptimal inputs and of course outright forgeries and hoaxes meant to embarrass or strengthen an agenda or alternate point-of-view.