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The so-called ‘London hammer’

The so-called ‘London hammer’

In June 1936 (or 1934, according to some versions of the story), Max Hahn (1897-1989) and his wife Emma were walking along Red Creek, near their home in London (Texas, USA), when they spotted a rock nodule with a piece of wood sticking out from it. Some time later (perhaps in 1946 or 1947), their son George (born 1921) broke it open, to reveal a metallic hammerhead in the centre of the nodule, to which the wooden handle was attached. The creationist Carl Baugh (born 1936) purchased the object about 1983 and began to promote it as ‘the London Artifact’ at his Creation Evidence Museum, which opened in 1984.

On the Museum’s website, Baugh asks:

“If the artifact is truly from the Cretaceous time frame, where does this leave evolutionary theory, since man was not supposed to have evolved for another 100-million years or so? If the artifact is relatively recent, that means that the Cretaceous Hensell Sand formation from which it came is relatively young… Again, where does that leave evolutionary theory with its traditional dates for the Cretaceous formations?”

The Museum sells replicas of the hammer, one of its star exhibits.

One of the major problems with this object is that there is no evidence whatsoever that the nodule was ever part of the Red Creek’s geology, which is the Lower Cretaceous Hensel Sand Formation. These deposits are thought to be roughly 110-115 million years old. Having acquired the object in the early 1980s, Baugh promoted it as a ‘pre-Noachian’ artefact (in other words, dating from a time before the mythical Flood of Noah). However, it was soon pointed out by a geologist that minerals dissolved from ancient strata can harden around a recent object, making it look impressive to someone unfamiliar with geological processes. In fact, the style of the hammer would lead us to recognise it as nineteenth-century in date and of definitely American provenance.

Glen Kuban’s debunking of the ‘London hammer’

26 Responses to The ‘London hammer’ (Texas)

  • Jack says:

    Has anyone ever done carbon dating on the organic handle? Although I’m inclined to believe it’s old compared to me, it ain’t ancient.

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      I doubt that anyone has tried and I suspect that, as it’s a star exhibit in a creationist museum, its owners won’t be inclined to submit it for dating. Creationists pooh pooh radiocarbon dating when it gives ancient results, claiming that it’s unreliable, but love it to give unexpectedly young results on supposedly ancient objects.

    • Jim says:

      Jack, the hammer or the sediment was never alive. Carbon dating can only be done on living or once living matter. I do not wish you or anyone who commented here, think that I am name-calling when I use the term ignorant, but the secular scientist rely heavily on the ignorance of the public. Notice all the comments on your request. Each is ignorant of the carbon dating fact that I pointed out to you. There are other kind of radiometric dating that is available for non living matter, such as rocks. If you wish to know about these then you will have to do some research on your own, but keep in mind that they, like carbon dating, cannot be accurate because each one uses speculation, yet no secular scientist will tell you that. Thus preying on your ignorance in the matter and making them look intelligent. Remember in your search for scientific knowledge that secular scientist can only offer the fact that they are well “schooled”, do interpret this as them being intelligent or educated. Take for the example of the “engineer” who’s comments you will find on this page, is he right?

      • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

        Jim, my suggestion, had you read it correctly, was that the handle could be dated by radiocarbon.

        The secular scientist creationist relies heavily on the ignorance of the public. Notice all the comments on your request. Each is ignorant of The average “creation scientist” wants to hide the carbon dating fact that I pointed out to you. There are other kind of radiometric dating that is available for non living matter, such as rocks. If you wish to know about these then you will have to do some research on your own, but keep in mind that they, like carbon dating, cannot be accurate because each one uses speculation, yet no secular scientist will tell you that have multiple lines of convergence that confirm the hypothesis of radioactive decay that lies behind their application, but no “creation scientist” wants you to know that, preferring to pretend that they are all unbridled “speculation”. Thus preying on your ignorance in the matter and making them look intelligent. Remember in your search for scientific knowledge that secular scientist can only offer the fact that they are well “schooled” “creation scientists” do everything in their power to prevent you from understanding the real world, do interpret this as them being intelligent or educated. Take for the example of the “engineer” who’s comments you will find on this page, is he right?

        There, fixed it for you!

        By the way, the uncalled-for scare quotes around “engineer” are insulting to cleanholio. You have no right to pretend that he is unqualified: how would you know?

  • Dai says:

    I agree totally with you keith.

  • privacyisazombie says:

    Unlike say, granite, sandstone can form very quickly. Experiments showed you can grind up sandstone, mix it with water and pour it into shapes and voila, instant sandstone blocks. Dont try it at home though, the quartz powder in sandstone is very dangerous to your lungs.

  • Chuck says:

    Carbon dating is not particularly accurate on many time-scales. Easier would be to try and match tree rings to archival data.

    Easiest would be to check the mineral types and attempt to replicate an action of enclosing an artifact into the rock.

    Of course, without th ability or desire to incorporate new data into your world-view (a skill the vast majority of creationists seem to lack,) no evidence could be convincing enough to withdraw the speculations.

    The thing I find striking about this artifact is that the hammer is not bound to the rock in any of the many places you would assume if it had been incorporated into the rock. In fact, it dosen’t look like it would be a major problem to replicate the artifact by the use of chisels, a drill, a hammerhead and a hammer handle….

    The lack of provenance and in many cases the original artifacts themselves in so many of these cases sets alarms ringing. It’s so convenient for an unusual artifact to be unavailable for investigation….

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  • Curt Welch says:

    It looks like a blacksmith’s swage tool for pointing rock drill bits. Typical of the 1800′s.

    Here’s a picture of one from our Guild’s shop which is a bit more modern (maybe early 1900′s):

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150889164859317&set=a.10150149284994317.295360.674029316&type=3&theater

    Check out some mining tools on this page, and the swage tool at the bottom which is another variation of this type of tool:

    http://www.stonestructures.org/html/tool_gallery.html

    All mines that used rock drills used to have a blacksmith on site to sharpen the drills because they would go dull very quickly. They had boys that acted as “runners” going down in the mine to collect the warn out drills, and bring them back to the blacksmith, who would sharpen them, then run the new sharp drills back to the miners”. This “hammer” was not a hammer at all, but a blacksmith tool probably left behind at an old mine from the 1800′s.

    Check out this picture of the “hammer” which shows the end better to note it’s similarity with these types of tools:

    http://www.zmescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/london-hammer-2.jpg

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      That is very helpful, thanks! A tool with relevance to quarrying explains perfectly why it was found where it was. A so-called “mystery” that is no longer in the least mysterious.

  • Mike says:

    What about the metallurgy of the hammer head itself? It is a strange mix of iron, chlorine and sulfur which, in this case at least, rendered a type of tool steel that is highly resistant to oxidization. Modern steels have nothing in common with this formula and the technique in the hammer’s manufacturing is not in the last few centuries of steel making history. If this artifact was actually a common type of 19th century metal working hammer, where are all the others just like or very similar to it in their composition? The closer we are to the things actual time of origin the easier it should be for us to fully understand if we are really talking about something within that of modern human’s ancestry or from something outside of it. As far as I’ve dug into this thing there have been no definitive explanations as to it’s process of manufacture. A 19th century hammer would be easy to expose. Probably right down to the very person who made it! Tools like this were made in mass, not unique one offs so to speak.

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  • mimereader2 says:

    I looked carefully throughout my family’s genealogy, and yes, OK, I do see an ancestor who made tools for the other cave people. Now you must understand this was a very long time ago. In fact, this relative made a full set of nice tools for Noah sometime before the building of the Ark, which itself is somewhere up on Mount Arrarat. So if there’s a good Christian out there somewhere who would like to help fund our expedition to find those tools, which may indeed still be aboard the good ship Righteous Brother (That’s its proper name), you may send me a generous donation. What we hope to do is to compare the tools, and that would confirm everything. God bless you one and all, for you’ll all get your just desserts in the end.

  • cleanholio says:

    Mike – As an engineer I can tell you that chlorine corrodes steel, even stainless steel, and there is no way that any steel can be made with chlorine. I don’t know what creationist website you pulled that from, but it is impossible. I noticed you didn’t tell us who did the metallurgical report on the hammer head. Why don’t you share that with us so we can all see it for ourselves, hmm?

    • cleanholio says:

      I guess Mike isn’t going to post his metallurgy report….what a stunner

      • jutsyn says:

        I read a piece on this artifact a long time ago, can’t recall the original source, but I remember that the metallurgical analysis was done by two independent labs, one of which was Battelle Memorial Institute…

        As mentioned above, the presence of chlorine in the hammer is inexplicable, as it isn’t, and has never been used in metallurgical processes at all, by anyone, in all of recorded history —
        so if it really is SIMPLY a few-centuries-old mining hammer, how can the iron alloy be explained, it’s unseen elsewhere on the planet;
        it’s Unique — if the composition of the metal can be verified, that’s some solid evidence that’s damn hard to explain (previous High Civilization of humans before us?, technological/genetic intervention by an advanced space-faring species in ancient times? :D )
        .
        Also reported to be incredibly pure iron (~96.6%), and decades ago a section was chipped off, and the exposed iron hasn’t even begun to corrode;
        If any aspect of this artifact is still unexplained, it’s the elements comprising the hammer (if – as usual – Another independent party can perform analyses and confirm the results of the hammerhead’s composition)…

        • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

          Look at the style of the object. That ought to be the starting point. Stylistically, this is a nineteenth-century hammer. If you then want to go ahead and perform tests on the composition of the iron, by all means do so. However, quoting a source that you can’t remember that claimed that two independent laboratories had done some tests isn’t really a good argument. It’s easy to do a Google search that brings up stories quoting the Battelle Institute. However, the February 1985 issue of Creation Ex Nihilo specifically denied the involvement of the Institute, so it seems that the analysis was not performed by them.

          It turns out that there is nothing inexplicable about the metallurgy of the hammer. The whole thing is a fraudulent claim.

  • 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!)

    • cleanholio says:

      Gonz – There is a mountain of proof that there was no worldwide flood. But lets forget that for the moment and focus on your sedimentary layers comment. The sedimentary layers found throughout the globe encompass a wide range of different ages. And when I say different ages, I mean millions of years. Radiometric dating has confirmed this. Different fossilized remains of animals that lived at different times has also shown that sedimentary layers are not all the same age and were not all deposited at the same time. If there was a worldwide flood, that kind of water action would not have deposited the fine grained homogeneous material that rock formations like limestone are made up of. You would have had quite a range of particle sizes in all sedimentary formations. You also would have had a wide range of fossils too. Funny, isn’t it, that the ONLY fossils in sedimentary rocks are the ones that aren’t alive today? The supposed worldwide flood killed off all the animals (except the two of each species in Noah’s boat), yet NONE of the animals we see today are found anywhere. Not one elephant, mongoose, moose, finch. Not one oak tree or acorn either. Nope, the only thing we find are animals and plants that aren’t found anywhere today.

      That doesn’t bother you just a little bit? Every living creature, plant and animal, alive today has NO representation in sedimentary rocks supposedly laid down just thousands of years ago, even though 99.99% of them died in the supposed flood? And ALL the plants and animals that are found fossilized in those rocks cannot be found alive anywhere on Earth, even though Noah took a pair of every species…

      I know that, as a cultist, you are used to having people tell you what happened and how to think. When the preacher or the creationist website tells you something, your brain just does what it always does and accepts it without question or skepticism. That is how you have come to accept fictional nonsense as the truth even though it is so easily dismissed with a little rational thought.

      You should be ashamed to be fooled so easily…

  • Peoplearefunny says:

    It has been proven that parts of the Aticama desert havn’t seen rain in 2.3 million years.. That means no flood…

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      The problem is that True Believers will see this as “atheistic science” simply because it contradicts the only source of authority they trust, their Bible.

Agree or disagree? Please comment!