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The iron vessel allegedly discovered inside a block of coal from Wilburton (Oklahoma, USA)

The iron vessel allegedly discovered inside a block of coal from Wilburton (Oklahoma, USA)

A cup displayed at a private museum in southern Missouri was photographed by Robert Nordling, who sent a copy to the creationist Frank Lewis Marsh (1899-1992), emeritus Professor of Biology at Andrews University in Berrien Springs (Michigan, USA) on 10 January 1949. He forwarded it to Wilbert H Rusch (1913-1994) in 1966, who published an account in The Creation Research Society Quarterly 7 in 1971. Rusch was a Professor of Biology at Concordia College, Ann Arbor (Michigan, USA) and a founder of the Creation Research Society, for which he once served as President.

According to Rusch’s account, Frank J Kenwood (died 1968) of Sulphur Springs (Yell County, Arkansas, USA) made a statement on 27 November 1948 regarding the discovery of the cup in question:

“While I was working in the Municipal Electric Plant in Thomas, Oklahoma in 1912, I came upon a solid chunk of coal which was too large to use. I broke it with a sledge hammer. This iron pot fell from the centre leaving the impression mould of the pot in the piece of coal. Jim Stall (an employee of the company) witnessed the breaking of the coal, and saw the pot fall out. I traced the source of the coal, and found that it came from the Wilburton, Oklahoma, Mines.”

The usual problems of anecdotal evidence are seen here. No matter how certain Frank Kenwood might have been that the vessel was firmly embedded in the coal, might it not have been in some smaller pieces of coal that had become cemented together? Might it have been a joke perpetrated on a credulous worker by a more sceptical colleague (such as the only apparent witness, Jim Stall, of whom nothing more than a name is known)? Typically for this sort of artefact, much heralded by Creationist writers, the chain of evidence for its origin is not good.

Glen Kuban’s dissection of the iron pot

6 Responses to Iron cup from Wilburton, Oklahoma

  • privacyisazombie says:

    I don’t like using the lack of real-time recording during excavation as an argument.

    Such recording may be good evidence, but it’s just not realistic. Most archaeological finds are not made with a camera rolling or a mass of (reliable) eyewitnesses watching, and to dismiss a find based on this, seems like a cheap shot to use. I share the opinion of Glen Kuban that analysis may suffice to determine whether it was embedded or not. I also agree that in a case like this, quick accretion is a likely culprit for embedding.

    In fact, basic logic proves it. Coal is formed under sustained intense pressure, and this iron pot is not deformed. If the pot WAS inside a lump of coal, it was not the result of classic coal formation but by another mechanism, such as the accretion of coal particles around the pot.

    I for instance once found a modern coin which was well on it’s way to become embedded in rock! Highly doubt it was left there by a time-traveller, since the coin itself was in good condition :)

  • Highly suspicious. If it had been present before the coal was formed, the cup would likely have been deformed by the pressure,

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  • Gonzalo says:

    I have read the comments and ridiculous explanations made by the person in charge of these articles, and I have to say that this person is no more than an evolution-obsessed short minded ignorant. For everybody to know, there is a different explanation for all these discoveries, and that is this: The Sedimentary layers are not Age layers, they point to the occurrence of a world wide flood, please see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWlNTLPozMo&list=FLKnZ2H8Psk-dUKguNiWsF_w&index=52. And knowing that, we will know that all these objects are not millions of years old. They are objects burried during the big Biblical flood, that has being recorded by every ancient culture around the world. Including the Iron Cup from Oklahoma found inside a big chunk of Coal, which is not a fossil fuel as it’s said, and which formation doesn’t require millions of years neither, for that, please see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnpmy1ELk9U&list=FLKnZ2H8Psk-dUKguNiWsF_w&index=62. Thetre is a lot to know when there’s the will to know, eyes open. Please see Romans 1:18-28.

    God Bless,

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      Gonzalo, I am not “an evolution-obsessed short minded ignorant”. Evolution is a biological concept, not archaeological: I find it provides the best explanation for the biological diversity of our planet, but it has no bearing whatsoever on my understanding of archaeology or alleges “mysteries”. Rather, I suspect that you are the one who is “evolution-obsessed” in that you seem passionately to dislike its implications. You are the one who appears to me to be “short minded” if you can’t see (or are unwilling to see) what the evidence from multiple sources suggests.

      You can post as many links to ridiculous creationist YouTube videos as you like, but they are just plain wrong.

      Here is the text you recommend that I read:

      18 Ἀποκαλύπτεται γὰρ ὀργὴ θεοῦ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ἀσέβειαν καὶ ἀδικίαν ἀνθρώπων τῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀδικίᾳ κατεχόντων, 19 διότι τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ φανερόν ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς, ὁ [a]θεὸς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσεν. 20 τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου τοῖς ποιήμασιν νοούμενα καθορᾶται, ἥ τε ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ δύναμις καὶ θειότης, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολογήτους, 21 διότι γνόντες τὸν θεὸν οὐχ ὡς θεὸν ἐδόξασαν ἢ ηὐχαρίστησαν, ἀλλὰ ἐματαιώθησαν ἐν τοῖς διαλογισμοῖς αὐτῶν καὶ ἐσκοτίσθη ἡ ἀσύνετος αὐτῶν καρδία· 22 φάσκοντες εἶναι σοφοὶ ἐμωράνθησαν, 23 καὶ ἤλλαξαν τὴν δόξαν τοῦ ἀφθάρτου θεοῦ ἐν ὁμοιώματι εἰκόνος φθαρτοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πετεινῶν καὶ τετραπόδων καὶ ἑρπετῶν.
      24 [b]Διὸ παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῶν καρδιῶν αὐτῶν εἰς ἀκαθαρσίαν τοῦ ἀτιμάζεσθαι τὰ σώματα αὐτῶν ἐν [c]αὐτοῖς, 25 οἵτινες μετήλλαξαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ ψεύδει, καὶ ἐσεβάσθησαν καὶ ἐλάτρευσαν τῇ κτίσει παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα, ὅς ἐστιν εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας· ἀμήν.
      26 Διὰ τοῦτο παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας· αἵ τε γὰρ θήλειαι αὐτῶν μετήλλαξαν τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, 27 ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρσενες ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι καὶ τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν ἐν [d]ἑαυτοῖς ἀπολαμβάνοντες.
      28 Καὶ καθὼς οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν τὸν θεὸν ἔχειν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει, παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς ἀδόκιμον νοῦν, ποιεῖν τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα,
      (18 God shows his anger from heaven against all the evil and wrong things that people do. Their evil lives hide the truth they have. 19 This makes God angry because they have been shown what he is like. Yes, God has made it clear to them.
      20 There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all that makes him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do.
      21 People knew God, but they did not honor him as God, and they did not thank him. Their ideas were all useless. There was not one good thought left in their foolish minds. 22 They said they were wise, but they became fools. 23 Instead of honoring the divine greatness of God, who lives forever, they traded it for the worship of idols—things made to look like humans, who get sick and die, or like birds, animals, and snakes.
      24 People wanted only to do evil. So God left them and let them go their sinful way. And so they became completely immoral and used their bodies in shameful ways with each other. 25 They traded the truth of God for a lie. They bowed down and worshiped the things God made instead of worshiping the God who made those things. He is the one who should be praised forever. Amen.
      26 Because people did those things, God left them and let them do the shameful things they wanted to do. Women stopped having natural sex with men and started having sex with other women. 27 In the same way, men stopped having natural sex with women and began wanting each other all the time. Men did shameful things with other men, and in their bodies they received the punishment for those wrongs.
      28 People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking. And so they do what they should not do.)

      I’m unclear how the ramblings of Paul have any bearing on this object.

      Oh. By the way, posting the same response five times to different articles does not make it any more convincing (and, yes, I’ve just done the same!)

  • I live in the Pennsylvania Anthracite coal region. My Dad was a coal miner most of his life, he even was the owner of two different small drift mines. His most remarkable find was a rather large fossilized fish in the mud shale overburden. He bragged about it in a bar, and someone stole it from his mining shed. But he often talked about finding huge fossilized trunks and stumps of trees. And everyone who lives around here knows about fossilized ferns and other leaves, they are easy for anyone to find who wants to go picking in a culm bank. My point his this, and people with a basic understanding of geological processes know this. The intense pressure actually is necessary for the preservation of even soft tissue. Without it, a fossil will not be formed. The muck of a swamp, the mud of a lake, the sand of a river or ocean surround the tissue, successive layers cover it over, and it’s protected from rapid decay Same thing for a dinosaur bone. An iron pot or any other metallic object will be very well preserved in the anerobic (low oxygen) environment of swamp muck. They dig up human corpses in the Irish peat bogs with amazing frequency, thousands of years old. I don’t think humans were on earth 300 million years ago. Some other intelligent creature was visiting, and throwing it’s garbage around!

Agree or disagree? Please comment!