Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review of The Mounds Anomaly

THE MOUNDS ANOMALY      by Phyllis Gunderson

 BookLook review by Debbie Balzotti

I love anomalies don’t you? To save you having to look up anomaly let me just help you out with a definition as it applies to archaeology. It’s when someone finds something like an ancient cave that seems to contain Egyptian style artifacts in North America.

The main character in “The Mounds Anomaly” novel is an eccentric, sarcastic, middle-aged archaeology professor named Mathilda (Matt) Howard. She’s exactly like Indiana Jones – except for a few major differences. He’s good-looking and dashing and well, she’s not. They both share a devotion to ancient ruins and artifacts but while Indy travels to exotic international locations, Matt goes to farms, sheds and gullies in the USA. Dr. Jones never gets injured and saves the lives of his cohorts. Dr. Howard breaks her arm falling off a thirty-foot cliff in Illinois, and her ragged incision on a snake bite victim to do a suck and spit almost kills a girl.

Provo author Phyllis Gunderson has written 26 chapters of a fictional story with 26 author’s notes at the end. It’s a great way to separate fact and fiction without slowing down the plot, unless you are like me and become more intrigued by the facts and references.

In the fictional story, Matt Howard discovers that the Smithsonian Institute suppressed and even destroyed evidence from mounds found in North America. The conspiracy apparently continues despite thousands of artifacts collected from the mounds. Huh.

I confess that I spent some time on the internet after I finished the book to check the facts. I came across this reference to a famous Smithsonian annual report: Cyrus Thomas, the Bureau's appointed head of the Division of Mound Exploration, eventually published his conclusions on the origins of the mounds in the Bureau's Annual Report of 1894. It is considered to be the last word in the controversy over the Mound builders' identities. After Thomas' publication, scholars generally accepted that varying cultures of prehistoric indigenous peoples, Native Americans, were the Mound builders.”

Were the mound builders Native Americans or an earlier culture which had arrived on boats from the east as Gunderson suggests in her novel? I’m more curious now about ancient American history which I suspect is exactly what the author intended.