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of place artifact) is a term applied to dozens of prehistoric objects
found in various places around the world that seem to show a level of
technological advancement incongruous with the times in which they were
made. Ooparts often frustrate conventional scientists, delight
adventurous investigators open to alternative theories, and spark
A hammer was found in London, Texas, in 1934 encased in stone that
had formed around it. The rock surrounding the hammer is said to be more
than 100 million years old, suggesting the hammer was made well before
humans who could have made such an object are thought to have existed.
Much mystery surrounds the so-called “London Hammer.”
Many have contested claims that the hammer is so old.
Carl Baugh, who is in possession of the artifact, announced that it
was tested by Battelle Laboratory in Columbus, Ohio, a lab that has
tested moon rocks for NASA. According to Baugh, the tests found the
hammer to have unusual metallurgy—96.6 percent iron, 2.6 percent
chlorine, 0.74 percent sulfur, and no carbon.
Carbon is usually what strengthens brittle iron, so it is strange
that carbon is absent. Chlorine is not usually found in iron. The iron
shows a high degree of craftsmanship without bubbles in the metal.
Furthermore, it is said to be coated in an iron oxide that would not
readily form under natural conditions and which prevents rust.
Glen J. Kuban, a vocal skeptic of Baugh’s hammer claims, wrote in a
1997 paper titled “The London Hammer: An Alleged Out-of-Place Artifact,”
that the tests were conducted privately rather than at Battelle
Laboratory. He cites a 1985 issue of the magazine Creation Ex Nihilo.
Epoch Times contacted Battelle Laboratory to verify. A spokeswoman said
she had not heard of the hammer in her 15 years at the lab, but she
would check into it.
Kuban said the stone may contain materials that are more than 100
million years old, but that doesn’t mean the rock formed around the
hammer so long ago. Some limestone has formed around artifacts known to
be from the 20th century, so concretions can form fairly quickly around
objects. Concretions are masses of hardened mineral matter.
Baugh’s website says, however, that the fossils in the stone
surrounding the hammer “retain fine detail, indicating that they were
not reworked, but [are] part of the original formation.” This would
suggest the fossils and the hammer are from the same time period, that
the fossils did not just get mixed up in materials that formed rock
around the hammer at a later date.
“Even if Baugh’s statements were true about the fossils retaining
fine detail, it would not at all preclude the nodule being a relatively
recent concretion, since the [reworking] … would not require any
significant amount of abrasion or transport,” wrote Kuban in an email.
Kuban also questioned Baugh’s claims, since they had not been published
in a peer-reviewed journal or other authoritative literature.
Carbon dating performed in the late 1990s “showed inconclusive dates
ranging from the present to 700 years ago,” Baugh supporter David Lines
reported at the time. According to Kuban, Lines said the test had been
contaminated by more recent organic substances. Such contamination is
one of the reasons Baugh is said to have delayed having the artifact
carbon dated (skeptics say he delayed because he feared being proven
wrong). Dating is often called into question on both sides—by skeptics
and proponents—for various reasons when it comes to ooparts.
The object was found by a hiker, and it seems it was not found
embedded in the original layer of rock, which would have made a stronger
case for an ancient origin. It was a chunk of rock found resting on a
ledge, perhaps having tumbled there from within a larger formation.
As evidence of the hammer’s age, Baugh said part of the wooden handle
had turned to coal. The photos of the hammer show a black part of the
hammer that looks like it could be coal.
The debate surrounding the hammer’s origin has become bound up with
the creationism versus evolutionism debate. Baugh is a creationist.
Kuban is a creationist-turned-skeptic (or a much more moderate
creationist). Creationist take various stances on this artifact, and
many evolutionists dismiss it as a creationist hoax. Kuban wrote in an
email that “not a single major creationist group has endorsed or his
claims about the hammer.”