Archaeology is one of Kelley's great passions. He's read many books on the subject, as well as every issue of "Archaeology" since 1987.
How tall is a giant?
Over the millennia, people in many places across the globe have reported the existence of giants. Some of these alleged giants were supposedly six or seven feet tall, while others were considerably taller - 10 feet or more. However, many of these accounts are considered mythical or legendary. But even if such giants existed, were they simply the result of disease or genetic abnormalities? And were there just a few of them?
But these sightings have continued into the modern era. Many people in America, for instance, have reported seeing giants – or at least the bones of giants. Given these accounts, one may think there were many thousands, if not millions, of these giants roaming ancient America – a race of giants, in fact.
However, most of the evidence is anecdotal rather than scientific. Mistakes could have been made too, especially by people who know little or nothing about science, particularly archaeology or anthropology. Also, there have been plenty of hoaxes through the ages. Some people love to fool others.
So, have giants ever existed in America? Let’s see if we can answer that question. First, this article will provide a recap for the existence of giants through the ages and then finish the investigation with more recent information.
Please keep reading!
Giants in Mythology and Legend
Over the centuries, the existence of giants has been reported in many parts of the world. The word giant comes from the Greek word gigantes, and of course in the old days the Greeks wrote about the existence of giants in much of Greek mythology. For instance, the Olympian gods fought a war with the Gigantomachy, and they weren’t victorious until Heracles decided to join the Olympians.
According to Hindu mythology, the Daityas were a race of giants who fought against the Devas, because they were jealous of their Deva half-brothers. Power-hungry people, the Daityas often allied themselves with other races. Supposedly, female Daityas wore jewels as large as boulders.
The Old Testament of the Bible includes tales of giants too. The Book of Genesis mentions the Nephilim, who existed before and after the biblical deluge. And David battled the Philistine giant Goliath, who reportedly was about ten feet tall. Goliath’s brothers were also considered giants.
In Norse mythology, most of their various monsters were giants. In the eventual battle of Ragnarök, a kind of end-of-the-world tale, the giants will lay siege to Asgard, which will bring about the destruction of the world. Moreover, the Norse gods are related to giants. The chief god Odin was the great-grandson of the first giant, Ymir.
In medieval folklore, people believed giants were responsible for many ancient civilizations. Their reasoning was that only giants could have built the immense walls, fortifications, temples and statues now attributed to the Greeks, Romans, Celts or Druids.
Giants are also mentioned frequently in fairy tales, particularly Jack the Giant Killer, Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon and Young Ronald.
In 1890, bone fragments discovered by an anthropologist in France, and dating from the Neolithic period to the Bronze Age, came to be known as the Giant of Castelnau. Judging from the size of these leg and arm bones, it’s been estimated this “giant” was anywhere from 10 to 15 feet tall!
The Case for Giants in America
Most Americans have heard of Paul Bunyan, who, according to American folklore, was a giant lumberjack who was so big and strong he could bat cannonballs with his huge hands. In more recent times, Paul Bunyan has become a cartoon character of note.
And then there’s Bigfoot, aka Sasquatch, a hominid-like, ape-man that purportedly lurks in the woods of North America.
But these giants are just silliness, right?
Well, many authors have written about the possible existence of giants in America. Certainly one of the better books in this genre was penned by Richard J. Dewhurst, who wrote The Ancient Giants Who Ruled America, published in 2014. The following text will pertain to the discoveries Dewhurst writes about in this very interesting book.
Red-Haired Giants Found in Nevada
According to Paiute oral history, red-haired giants known as the Si-Te-Cah (the “tule eaters”) cannibalized people in what is now central Nevada. Eventually the Paiute tribes rebelled against these giants and eradicated them. Then, in 1911, a group of bat guano miners discovered the remains and artifacts of some of these giants in Lovelock Cave. Certainly the greatest of these discoveries were some mummies of the Si-Te-Cah, which had been wrapped in elaborate textiles.
During subsequent excavations by scientists in Lovelock Cave, numerous artifacts and some human remains were collected, but experts dispute the claim that giants once lived in the cave. Interestingly, archaeological samples taken from some duck decoys found in the cave showed that, using a dating technique know as Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, the decoys were from 2,000 to 2,500 years old.
Unfortunately, the mummies of the Si-Te-Cah have been lost; only the skulls of these alleged giants have been kept at the Humboldt Museum in Winnemucca, Nevada.
Mound Builders of America
Throughout Dewhurst’s book, he writes about the discovery of giants interred in burial mounds in parts of the United States. These accounts, dozens of them, in fact, cover a time period from the late 1700s until well into the twentieth century.
According to Dewhurst, thousands of these burial mounds were discovered over this time period and many still exist, particularly the larger ones. But the remains of the supposed giants discovered in the burial mounds disintegrated shortly after discovery, were lost, or stored away - without scientific investigation - and then forgotten. A typical account from the book goes like this:
GIANT EIGHT FEET, SEVEN INCHES TALL UNEARTHED
Ohio Science Annual, 1898
A rare archaeological discovery has been made near Reinersville in Morgan County, Ohio. A small knoll, which had always been supposed to be the result of an uprooted tree, was opened recently and discovered to be the work of the mound builders. Just below the surrounding surface, a layer of boulders and pebbles was found. Directly underneath this was found the skeleton of a giant 8 feet, 7 inches in height. Surrounding the skeleton were bones and stone implements, stone hatchets, and other characteristics of the mound builders.
The discovery is considered by the scientists as one of the most important ever made in Ohio. The skeleton is now in the possession of a Reinersville collector.
Cahokia, One of America’s Greatest Mound Builder Sites
The Cahokia mound builder site is one of the largest in North America. Located in southwestern Illinois, near Collinsville (across the Mississippi River from St. Louis), the site is near the confluence of three rivers, so the ancient people of the area must have loved this place. About a thousand years ago, Cahokia was a city larger than London, and there were 120 earthen mounds, though only 40 remain today. But the largest still exists, and it’s called Monks Mound, which is comparable in height and surface area to the largest pyramids built by the Egyptians, Maya, Aztecs and Toltecs.
Interestingly, also located near the Cahokia site, is what’s called Woodhenge, a structure that includes 48 wooden posts arranged in a 410-foot diameter circle. Woodhenge has many geological and celestial alignments.
At the Cahokia site, built by the Mississippian culture, hundreds of human skeletons have been found, including the bones of many sacrificial victims and, of course, the remains of giants.
Blond-haired Giants of Santa Catalina Island
During the 1920s on Santa Catalina Island, which is off the coast of Southern California (considered one of the Channel Islands), scientists dug up the skeletal remains of more than 3,700 people. Alleged to be from a race of blond-haired giants, one of the skeletons was over nine feet in length, though the average length of the skeletons was about seven feet. In those days, this discovery generated lots of excitement.
The ruins of a temple were also found at the Catalina Island site, where the remains of many sacrificial victims were unearthed. Investigated by the Spanish as long ago as the middle 1500s, the people of this civilization worshipped the Sun God. Subsequent radiocarbon dating indicated that at least some of the skeletal remains found on the island were as old as 7,000 years.
Dewhurst claims that most of these skeletons were taken by the University of California and the Smithsonian Institute, though the Smithsonian denied it had the remains for 50 years. However, in 2011, the Smithsonian admitted they had the skeletons in a restricted-access room. Be that as it may, 200 skeletons from the site can be found at UCLA’s Fowler Museum.
Evidence for a Smithsonian Cover-up?
Throughout the book, Dewhurst asserts that the Smithsonian Institute has engaged in a cover-up regarding the existence of a race of giants in America, but he provides no proof in his aforementioned book and, of course, the Smithsonian hasn’t admitted there ever was – or is – such a cover-up.
According to the online article, “Big Buried Secrets: Giant Skeletons and the Smithsonian” written by Micah Hanks, if the Smithsonian can be blamed for anything regarding the lost bones of giants, it’s that the Institute’s recordkeeping is not perfect. A quote from the article could summarize this issue:
Of course, the knowledge that such skeletons may indeed have been found at times, paired with the Smithsonian’s apparent inability to keep very good records about their discovery, no doubt helps to fuel the conspiratorial speculation. With all the unknown quantities present here (and whether they are largely fact, or merely fiction), at times it does become difficult to know whether the entire truth is really being told.
Was a Cover-up Ever Needed?
Adrienne Mayor, in her book, Fossil Legends of the First Americans, published in 2007, writes that the existence of giants in America is little more than the subject of persistent rumors. She claims that the presence of bones of large extinct mammals such as mammoths, mastodons, cave bears, saber-toothed cats and other Ice Age megafauna could have been mistaken as human bones. Moreover, she writes that hair pigment is not stable after death and that atmospheric conditions and different soil types can turn dark hair rusty red or orange.
There’s no incontrovertible evidence that any man or woman has ever been taller than eight feet 11 inches – the height of the world’s tallest human, Robert Wadlow. Other men and women have reached heights of above eight feet. Most, if not all of these people suffered from gigantism or acromegaly, that is, abnormal medical conditions. Moreover, some people, having no recognizable medical abnormality, have become taller than seven feet. (Many of these people play on basketball teams, in fact). Acromegaly effects about 60 out of every one million people, so over the ages there may have been thousands of so-called giants.
This begs the question: How tall is a giant? Is it anybody who suffers from gigantism - or anybody who’s taller than seven or eight feet? Who’s the authority to answer such a query?
Would he or she please step forward!
Anyway, in times past, there may have been quite a few giants, but what evidence is there that an entire race of giants - red-haired, blond-haired or otherwise - existed at some time and place on earth? Perhaps the Smithsonian Institute really has such evidence, but the organization insists that it does not. Without the bones of many such giants, people must assume that a race of giants has never existed on earth.
But, in the coming months or years that conclusion could change – by the author and many other people - so keep your mind open to all possibilities.
Please leave a comment.
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© 2015 Kelley Marks
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on March 04, 2017:
Thanks for the comment, shprd74! It's always good to get kudos from fellow hubbers. Later!
Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on March 04, 2017:
Very interesting hub kosmo and informative too.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on May 17, 2015:
Thanks for the comment, steve8miller. I suppose literally or figuratively, small people have been battling giants for a long time. Who will win? We'll have to wait and see. Later!
Steven Miller from Ohio Great City of Dayton on May 15, 2015:
You put a lot of work into this article and you have hit the nail on the head when it comes to giants. Or should I say the rock to the forehead, lol. I can tell you being 6 foot 4 inches tall that there are people even I have to look up to. My girlfriend actually met a man who toured the country who was a giant.
It seems we are interested in similar things and I hope you make more hubs like this. I have not made a hub on giants and would probably just send someone over here anyway. I will say this I am kind of tall and to me it seems like short people run the world and their not doing a very good job. Why are giants extinct? Not all but certain fearful short people sought out to destroy them all. I say this just having lived as a tall white man in America.
In high school I saw a lot of these people coming to me and getting me into trouble. The mentality that the little guy have a big friend is fine I like that. But the mentality of a little guy taking on the big guy just do be able to say or do what they want... Well I guess that's what they call little man syndrome.
It is an issue believe it or not it must be some primal thing, because I am a gentle giant and obviously if giants were hostile little people would probably not exist. Enough of this talk though before someone thinks we are starting a rebellion. lol
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on February 03, 2015:
Thanks for the comment, heidithorne. I heard about Dewhurst's book from a fellow hubber and wrote a hub about it. Myths and legends are always fun and interesting subject matter. Later!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on February 02, 2015:
There does seem to be a lot of current interest in the possibility of giant races, especially with the History Channel show about giants in America. So the question does rage on whether it's a race or anomalies. Good summary of discovered evidence in the subject. Voted up and interesting!