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.