I received an email recently from someone wanting to know about giants. She wanted to know if I believed if “all of the giant stories” are real or not. She then asked me to elaborate so I’m posting my response to her here.
Dear Sarah thank you for your recent email regarding “giants.” In your email you mention the “mighty men of old,” the “Anakim,” and the “Philistines.” These references are from the Old Testament of the Bible. The “mighty men of old” are alleged to be the offspring of fallen angels and human women. Nimrod was one of these “mighty men of old” and I don’t find anything indicating that he was a giant nor any taller than other men of his time. Nimrod was the King of Shinar (Mesopotamia) and a grandson of Noah. The biblical text says that he was a “mighty hunter” as well. He is also named as the builder of the famed Tower of Babel. Researchers have tried to connect Nimrod with a historical king found in the archaeological and historical records and there are varying opinions as to just who he was. Some scholars think he was Sargon the Great while others think Nimrod is purely a mythical figure. Others believe he may have been the historical Naram-Sin who was the grandson of King Sargon of Akkad as postulated by researchers Yigal Levin in 2002. Myth or historical figure? That is the first question I must ask when it comes to Nimrod. Whether he was or was not I find nothing to indicate he was a giant as I said but he could have well been one of the “mighty men of old” because legend has it that he was an angel-human hybrid.
Regarding the Anakim the biblical text describes them as having been a race of giants descended from Anak. They are said to have lived in the southern part of Canaan (the southern Levant) near Hebron. Their Hebrew name “Anaqim” means “strength, stature.” The Israelites identified them with the Nephilim giants and when Joshua drove them from the land some found refuge in Philistine cities such as Gaza. This, biblical scholars believe, led to interbreeding between the Anakim and Philistines that produced the alleged Philistine giants one of which was the famous Goliath whom David supposedly slayed with a slingshot of the battlefield. The Anakim are described as “strong and tall” and of mixed race of giant people. Question is how tall were they?
What must be kept in mind is that ancient people were not normally as tall as we are today so a person standing 4 or 5 feet tall would certainly think a person standing 6 ft 4 in. tall would be a “giant.” I don’t find anything historically or archaeologically to indicate the Anakim or the Philistines were “giants” other than they seem to have been people who were taller than the average person of the time. To bring this down to a personal level, I stand 6 feet tall and when I’ve encountered people standing 7 feet tall or taller I consider them “giants” and I describe them to others as “giants.” So the term “giant” is relative in my opinion.
You also ask me about all of the “historical media” accounts of giants. I’m assuming you are referring to the popular newspaper articles reporting the discovery of skeletal remains of “giants” just about everywhere during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I don’t believe any of these newspaper accounts for a couple of reasons. First, newspaper accounts are NOT “historical” accounts and in the time period in which these reports were written sensationalism was a big selling strategy! Call it “yellow journalism.” Newspapers wanted to sell as many copies as possible to make money and if a sensationalized story accomplished that then so be it. We still see this selling ploy today with the sell of “tabloids.” You know the line…..”REVEALED! Trump is a Martian and has SECRET son on Pluto!!”. Yeahhhhh…………rightttttt 🙂
Your next question concerns Native Americans and their stories of “giants.” There are certainly many stories spoken of by Native Americans about “giants” but we need to keep in mind that many Native Americans were short in stature. Again, when you stand 5 feet 2 inches tall and you encounter a people standing over 6 feet tall those people would certainly be “giants” to you.
One of the most famous accounts involving “giants” and Native Americans comes from Lovelock Cave in Nevada. This cave is also known as Loud Site 18 and Horseshoe Cave along with being known as Sunset Guano Cave. The cave is approximately 150 feet long and 35 feet wide. It is an important site because the environment inside the cave is conducive to preserving organic and inorganic matter. The Paiute tell a story involving this cave and their oral history says that a people known as the “Si Te Cah” were a tribe of red haired giants who were also cannibals who lived near the cave or inside the cave (versions vary). The story goes that the Paiute got tired of them bullying their people so they killed them all inside the cave. But what are the archaeological facts about this story?
Back in 1911 miners (they were collecting bat guano) in Lovelock Cave DID find mummified remains matching the Paiute description of these red haired people and similar remains were also discovered in other dry caves in the area. Well…..allegedly! Mayor in her book entitled “Legends of the First Americans” suggested that the “giant” description of remains found in Lovelock Cave and other caves in the area were fabricated by entrepreneurs to foster tourism! They even went so far as to put the “giant” skeletons on display so all of the tourist could gaze upon them! Problem is ALL of the skeletal remains they put on display were NORMAL size people!!
Not far from Lovelock Cave we find the skeletal fossilized remains of Mammoths, cave bears, and other prehistoric animals. These bones could certainly be taken for “giant” bones to the untrained eye OR the naive tourist eye. Mayor also addresses the issue of the red hair in her book pointing out that hair color is NOT stable after death and that factors such as temperature, soil, et al can turn dark hair a rusty reddish color after death!
Historically, the guano miners DID find artifacts inside Lovelock Cave and they collected them and even dug some up thus making future excavating by archaeologist problematic to say the least. Large amounts of refuge (trash) from ancient people were found inside the cave and one of the first professionals to excavate the cave was named L.L. Loud from the Museum of Anthropology at the University of California. He spent 5 months excavating the site and collected about 10,000 artifacts NONE of which could be associated with “giants.” Loud returned to the cave 12 years after his first excavation and others assisted him including some local Paiutes. They discovered a duck decoy cache in the west end of the cave which is actually pretty cool.
Robert Heizer excavated the cave in 1949 and returned to the cave two more times (1950 and 1965). In 1968-69 he along with Lewis Napton found disturbed human remains that were so scattered around that a complete recovery of the remains was impossible. What remains were collected turned out to be Native People and NONE were of giant stature! A prehistoric sling was also found which was hand woven textile. This is considered to be one of the earliest sling artifacts found in North America. It may have been a child’s toy or it may have been used for hunting and war. This sling was just one of several textile artifacts found inside the cave. Returning to the human remains found in the cave they were dated between 4500 kya and 900 years old. NONE were giants! All were of normal sized people. The same is true of all other caves in the area.
Now I said earlier that the skeletal remains found in Lovelock Cave were Native American remains and I want to qualify this because everything found in the Americas is deemed to be Native American by archaeologists. They also tend to dismiss the oral traditions of Native Americans as “superstition.” I DO NOT!
That said, let’s take the oral tradition of the Paiutes that a race of tall red haired “giants” lived in the Lovelock Cave and surrounding area. I have postulated before that these red haired giants may have been Homo erectus or some descendants thereof. Homo erectus stood about the same as any average man or woman today but a few stood over 6 feet with some even nearing 7 feet tall. Those would be GIANTS even today to many of us! Further, biologists have told me that the color red is the “perfect camouflage color.” Could these “giants” have been H. erectus in the Americas? In my mind it is a possibility as I hold the view that we didn’t evolve from anything but, rather, there were several species or breeds of ancient human ancestors who interbred finally producing us today, HYBRIDS. And I am not alone in my belief either.
Frankly, I think that is what the reality is behind these “giants” from all over the world including the AMERICAS. No I don’t buy the idea that the Americas sat over here in their pristine untouched environ until that LOST BOY called Columbus stumbled upon this land. And he literally stumbled by the way 🙂
I find no evidence of giants! That is, giants in terms of what most people conceive of giants as (ie: 23 feet tall monstrosities). What I DO FIND is PLENTY of evidence of tall people encountered by shorter people all over the world with the result being the shorter people describing the taller people as “giants.” So in this sense YES there were GIANTS but nothing near the tales of fame-seekers and scammers and outright charlatans who plow stories of 23 foot giant men. Oh…and one other thing…. as far as I know neither the Smithsonian nor any other museum have “hidden bones” of giants. What they DO have are bones of tall people in storage not yet subjected to scientific analysis. That is NOT what I call “conspiracy.”