Dorchester Pot

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Background


 The Dorchester Pot measures at around 4.5inches by 6.5inches high, and 2.5 inches in diameter, and 0.8 inches thick [1]. This beautiful bell-shaped object was composed of a metal, which most presumed to be zinc with silver overlay, with a small round opening at the top of the bell. Adorning, the base of the Dorchester Pot are several decorative vines wrapping around it and six different intricate, floral arrangements that decorate the surface of the outer surface of the bell. The decorative elements of the Dorchester Pot undoubtedly seem Victorian style in nature, and according to witnesses, it was clearly made by an extremely experienced blacksmith based on the ornate nature of Dorchester Pot. The utility and or purpose of the Dorchester Pot is unknown, with theories ranging from it being a purely ornamental object, vase, and a hookah base. Since its discovery, further research into the Dorchester Pot is impossible as it was lost shortly after its original discovery, leaving only a detailed drawing for reference. Today, the Dorchester Pot is occasionally referred to in articles, and websites where it is classified as an OOPArt (Out of Place Artifact) [2], due to the place that it was found, and that it was allegedly not on par with the technology available during the era in which it was found. 


Excavation


  The Dorchester Pot was found in 1852, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The exact date is unknown as the newspaper article which first announces the discovery of the Dorchester Pot, states that the incident took place “several days ago” [3]. Records indicate that a controlled explosion unearthed the Dorchester Pot, which was used to break up a large mass of puddingstone that was under the surface of the ground outside of the Meeting House Hill, belonging to Rev. Nathaniel Hall. According to witnesses who were present at the time that the explosion was set off, following the blast, the Dorchester Pot was discovered in two pieces, amongst the rubble from the puddingstone[4]. While it is unknown precisely who originally found the Dorchester Pot, an article by the ‘’Boston Transcript’’, which makes the first-ever reference to the Dorchester Pot on June 5, 1852, mentions several notable people from the Dorchester community. Including Rev. Hall, John Kettle, Dr. J.V. C. Smith, John Doyle, and Professor Agassiz[5]. The original article by the ‘'Boston Transcript’’ states that following its’ discovery, the Dorchester Pot was taken to the home of John Kettle. An incredibly detailed drawing with accurate measurements was then made by Dr. J.V. C. Smith, who intended to submit it to an accredited newspaper ‘’Scientific American’' so that the object could be further studied. Shortly afterward, the Dorchester Pot was lost, and its location continues to remain unknown, although there have been several people who have since claimed to either own or know the location of the Dorchester is; however, these claims remain unsubstantiated.


Geology


Underneath the ground of the Meeting House Hill, and much of the surrounding area, there was a large mass of rock, specifically, Puddingstone, this mass of Puddingstone is often referred to as Roxbury Conglomerate. Reports indicate that at the time they discovered the Dorchester Pot they were using dynamite to break up the stone 15 feet deep in the ground, and in the process unearthed the Dorchester Pot in the explosion. [6]


Post Discovery


Interestingly, the Dorchester Pot did not receive much attention at the time of its discovery, and would likely have been forgotten to history following its first official mention in the ‘'Boston Transcript’’, had it not been for the reprint of the original article in the ‘'Scientific American’',. Ironically, when the ‘'Scientific American’’ reported on the Dorchester Pot they were supposedly mocking the towns’ people and passed off the discovery as a joke. Even saying sarcastically writing, that the Dorchester Pot must have been made by Tubal Cain, a blacksmith referenced in the bible. The Dorchester Pot would not be referenced again for over seventy years, until it was brought back into the light, in 1919 by Charles Fort, with the publication of his novel ‘’The Book of the Damned’’, reawakening the publics’ interest in the Dorchester Pot. Several reports and websites have claimed that the Dorchester Pot has been studied and tested by museums and universities trying to ascertain the exact age of the pot. However, they were unsuccessful and could not establish conclusive results[7]. Despite these claims, I can find no record or any evidence of this, nor are there any recent photographs that have been proven to be the real Dorchester Pot. 


Pseudo-Archaelogical Lure


 Pseudo-archaeologists have a plethora of theories as to the potential origin of the Dorchester Pot. Several of these theories are based on the notion that the Dorchester Pot was embedded into puddingstone underneath the surface of the Meeting House Hill, which when carbon dated proved to be well over 500 million years old. Many pseudo-archaeologists theorize that in order for the Dorchester Pot to have been embedded within the stone, it too must have been more than 500 million years old, which would date the Dorchester Pot all the way back to the Ediacaran Period — leading to a flurry of theories on how it got there and who created it by numerous pseudo-archaeologist.


Creationists


 One of the more common theories regarding the Dorchester Pot is presented by creationists who claim that the Dorchester Pot provides proof of an ancient civilization living in North America prior to the Noachian Flood [8]. Siting the imagery on the surface of the Dorchester Pot, as their primary evidence for this theory. Specifically, the floral depictions, which they argue had gone extinct over one hundred thousand years ago, when they believe the Dorchester Pot, was created [9]. Thereby, also proving that the timeline of the bible of Earth's creation is correct. Creationists even point to the ironic statements in the ‘’Scientific American’’ that the Dorchester Pot had in fact been created by Tubal Cain, who would have also been the first person to settle in Dorchester, Massachusetts, as evidence for their theory. Another creationist claim comes from a different religion entirely Falun Gong which claims, without citing any evidence, that the Dorchester Pot is 100,000 years old[10].


Ancient Aliens


  An alternate theory to creationism that the Dorchester Pot was evidence of an extremely skilled race of metal worker aliens occupied North America sometime around 500 million years ago. This theory stems from the fact that the rock in which the Dorchester Pot was said to have been encased was dated to be around 500 million years old. Pseudo-archaeologists believe that in order for the Dorchester Pot, to have been inside of that rock it must be of the same age. Their theory follows that obviously, 500 million years ago, the technology to work with metal of any kind would not have existed nor the sentient beings to even make use of technology. Leading to the conclusion that Earth must have been visited by extraterrestrial beings who possessed the technology and resources to work with metal, and either intentionally or accidentally left the Dorchester Pot behind where it would be discovered millions of years later [11].. 


Lost Civilization


Some also theorize that the Dorchester Pot is evidence of a lost ancient civilization. Reasoning that it is obviously, an Out of Place Artifact (OOPArt), that would have required technology from beyond its’ time to have been constructed. Its existence is proof that there must have been a civilization of people living in North America with extraordinarily advanced technology that has since vanished.


Analysis of the Pseudo-Archaeological Narrative


 Some also theorize that the Dorchester Pot is evidence of a lost ancient civilization. Reasoning that it is obviously, an Out of Place Artifact (OOPArt), that would have required technology from beyond its' time to have been constructed. Its existence is proof that there must have been a civilization of people living in North America with extraordinarily advanced technology, that has since vanished [12].  Analysis of the Pseudo-archaeological Narrative    The vast majority, if not all, of the pseudo-archaeological claims surrounding the Dorchester Pot, is contingent upon the notion that the Dorchester Pot did, in fact, come from the inside of the Puddingstone called the Roxbury Conglomerate. However, there is no substantial proof that the Dorchester Pot was actually encased within the solid rock, as was described by the witnesses present at the Meeting House Hill during the explosion. The basis of these theories forces the assumption that these men saw the Dorchester Pot explode out from under the ground. Furthermore, there are a number of more reasonable explanations for why the Dorchester Pot could have been found broken amongst the rubble caused by the explosion that does not rely solely on the testimonies of men who have long since passed away.    For example, the first article was written about the Dorchester Pot printed by the ‘'Boston Transcript’’, mentions Dr. J.V. C. Smith’s recent travels East, without naming any specific region or country. The article states, “Dr. J.V. C. Smith, who has recently traveled in the East, and examined hundreds of curious domestic utensils, and has drawings of them have never seen anything resembling this” [13]. Curiously, though, the depictions of the Dorchester Pot bare a striking resemblance to Indian Pipe holders, from the Victorian. Which tends to be the exact same size and shape, with similar decorations as the ones depicted on the Dorchester Pot, and also likely from the same region that one of the few men who were present at the time of the explosion just got back from visiting. When looking at the images of the Dorchester Pot, I was struck by how ordinary this supposedly, ancient relic looked. My line of thinking was not alone, as many critics of the pseudo-archaeological theories surrounding the Dorchester Pot comment on its resemblance to other household objects from the Victorian Era.   Additionally, a significant portion of the pseudo-archaeological theories are based on the results from carbon dating the Puddingstone from the Roxbury Conglomerate, found near the Meeting House Hill, which was proven to be over 500 million years old. These results make complete sense, however, they do not prove anything about the date of the Dorchester Pot. Unless you can prove that the pot was, in fact, embedded in the stone which as I have previously stated is impossible. Without being able to carbon date the pot it is you cannot substantiate or prove most of the Creationist and Ancient Alien theories. The other theory which references the flowers decorating the Dorchester Pot having been extinct for the past 100,000 years is again impossible to corroborate without the physical pot. However, it seems that the bulk of the theories on the origins of the Dorchester Pot are not concerned with evidence and fact and instead rely on the unknown.  Despite all of this, though, the biggest issue surrounding the true origins of the fabled Dorchester Pot is the lack of facts and research that are available to study. There are several contradictory statements surrounding the discovery of the pot that appear in different articles and or websites. Simple things such as the date that the Dorchester Pot was discovered varies by over a year between different articles. Likely, due to the fact that not only did the ‘’Boston Transcript’’ not provide an exact date for when the explosion at the Meeting House Hill occurred but also that the copy that is referred to by researchers is the reprint from the ‘’Scientific American’’, which also neglects to specify the date. Compounding this issue, there are no surviving archives of the ‘’Boston Transcript” from the early 1850s.    Outside the original newspaper articles, there is no concrete evidence that the Dorchester Pot ever actually existed at all. Without the artifact, simple tests that would provide invaluable information helping to discern the real history of the Dorchester Pot, are impossible. Archaeologists cannot even prove the type of metal the pot was made out of, let alone carbon date the pot itself. Leaving all research of the artifact to be hinged off of a single drawing, and one eye witness statement. Because of this, all of these claims cannot be proven, dismissed, or refuted because there is simply no evidence at all. 


References

  1. “ Dorchester Pot.” Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, https://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/1152348#cite_note-BadArchaeology2007a-9.
  2. Admin. “1852, May 19: The Dorchester Pot.” Anomalies: the Strange & Unexplained, 21 Jan. 2017, http://anomalyinfo.com/Stories/1852-may-19-dorchester-pot.
  3. Burby, Tom. “Out of Place Artifact: The Story of the Dorchester Pot.” Strange New England, 21 Sept. 2015, http://www.strangenewengland.com/podcast/out-of-place-artifact-the-story-of-the-dorchester-pot/.
  4. Crofton, Ian. History without the Boring Bits: a Curious Chronology of the World. Quercus, 2015.
  5. “Dorchester Vase.” Genesis Park Dorchester Vase Comments, https://www.genesispark.com/exhibits/evidence/paleontological/artifacts/dorchester/.
  6. Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Keith, and Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews. “Metallic Vase from Dorchester, Massachusetts.” Bad Archaeology, 19 Aug. 2007, http://www.badarchaeology.com/out-of-place-artefacts/very-ancient-artefacts/metallic-vase-from-dorchester-massachusetts/.
  7. Nali. “On the Menu.” OOPArt? The Dorchester Pot - [Le Site D'Irna], https://irna.fr/OOPArt-The-Dorchester-Pot.html.
  8. Robinson, J.P. “OOPArts Found in Coal and Stone: Is There an Explanation for These Anomalous Bells, Chains, Walls and More?” Ancient Origins, Ancient Origins, https://www.ancient-origins.net/unexplained-phenomena/ooparts-found-coal-0010767.
  9. The Book of the Damned: By Charles Fort, https://archive.org/stream/bookdamnedbycha00fortgoog#page/n130/mode/2up.
  10. “The Dorchester Pot: New Questions about an Old OOPART.” Jason Colavito, http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/the-dorchester-pot-new-questions-about-an-old-oopart.
  11. “The Mysterious Dorchester Pot Found Solidly Embedded within 15 Feet of Sedimentary Rock: Out-of-Place Artifacts (OOPArt).” Of, http://thebiggestsecretsoftheworld.blogspot.com/2011/02/mysterious-dorchester-pot-oopart.html.
  12. “The Mystery of the 500-Million-Year Old Dorchester Pot.” TRANSCEND Media Service, https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/08/the-mystery-of-the-500-million-year-old-dorchester-pot/.
  13. Cremo, M.A., and R.L. Thompson (1998) Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race. Badger, California, Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing. 914 p
  14. PureInsight, 2006. Zhengjian Book Series: "Removing the Veil from Prehistoric Civilizations" -- Chapter 3: Prehistoric Smelting Technologies and Mining Activities Translated from 《揭开史前文明的面纱》连载(三):史前人类的金属技术与采矿活动
  15. Ancient Code. “The Dorchester Pot: Originating from the 593 Million Year Old Roxbury Conglomerate.” Ancient Code, 18 July 2018, https://www.ancient-code.com/the-dorchester-pot-originating-from-the-593-million-year-old-roxbury-conglomerate/.
    1. Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Keith, and Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews. “Metallic Vase from Dorchester, Massachusetts.” Bad Archaeology, 19 Aug. 2007, http://www.badarchaeology.com/out-of-place-artefacts/very-ancient-artefacts/metallic-vase-from-dorchester-massachusetts/.
    2. Burby, Tom. “Out of Place Artifact: The Story of the Dorchester Pot.” Strange New England, 21 Sept. 2015, http://www.strangenewengland.com/podcast/out-of-place-artifact-the-story-of-the-dorchester-pot/.
    3. Admin. “1852, May 19: The Dorchester Pot.” Anomalies: the Strange & Unexplained, 21 Jan. 2017, http://anomalyinfo.com/Stories/1852-may-19-dorchester-pot.
    4. Admin. “1852, May 19: The Dorchester Pot.” Anomalies: the Strange & Unexplained, 21 Jan. 2017, http://anomalyinfo.com/Stories/1852-may-19-dorchester-pot.
    5. Nali. “On the Menu.” OOPArt? The Dorchester Pot - [Le Site D'Irna], https://irna.fr/OOPArt-The-Dorchester-Pot.html
    6. “ Dorchester Pot.” Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, https://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/1152348#cite_note-BadArchaeology2007a-9.
    7. Admin. “1852, May 19: The Dorchester Pot.” Anomalies: the Strange & Unexplained, 21 Jan. 2017, http://anomalyinfo.com/Stories/1852-may-19-dorchester-pot.
    8. Dorchester Pot.” Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, https://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/1152348#cite_note-BadArchaeology2007a-9.
    9. “The Mystery of the 500-Million-Year Old Dorchester Pot.” TRANSCEND Media Service, https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/08/the-mystery-of-the-500-million-year-old-dorchester-pot/
    10. PureInsight, 2006. Zhengjian Book Series: "Removing the Veil from Prehistoric Civilizations" -- Chapter 3: Prehistoric Smelting Technologies and Mining Activities Translated from 《揭开史前文明的面纱》连载(三):史前人类的金属技术与采矿活动
    11. Ancient Code. “The Dorchester Pot: Originating from the 593 Million Year Old Roxbury Conglomerate.” Ancient Code, 18 July 2018, https://www.ancient-code.com/the-dorchester-pot-originating-from-the-593-million-year-old-roxbury-conglomerate/.
    12. Crofton, Ian. History without the Boring Bits: a Curious Chronology of the World. Quercus, 2015
    13. Admin. “1852, May 19: The Dorchester Pot.” Anomalies: the Strange & Unexplained, 21 Jan. 2017, http://anomalyinfo.com/Stories/1852-may-19-dorchester-pot.
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