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The Rock-Bound London Hammer Mystery

By James Donahue

Among the list of unexplained fossils found in the rocks is the London Hammer, an large iron hammer head with a broken portion of the petrified wooden handle still attached, found by hikers in a creek bed near London, Texas, in 1936.

Found embedded in a broken block of limestone, people who study such things believe it may be an item dating back to the Cretaceous period, which reaches to the era of the dinosaurs.

Critics, however, argue that the hammer is merely a tool discarded by a local miner within the last few hundred years. They theorize that under certain conditions, limestone formations can occur within this period of time.

Thus we have a disagreement among students of fossilized artifacts in the rocks. Either it is a "pre-flood human artifact, manufactured about 130 million years ago, or it is a contemporary anomaly getting blown out of proportion. Is there such a thing as "rapid fossilization?"

The artifact was discovered by Max Hahn and his wife while they were hiking along the Red Creek near London, Texas, in June, 1936. They noticed a rock module with a piece of wood protruding from it, and brought it home. The rock was not attached to any other formations along the creek bed.

The hammer, hidden within the rock, was not discovered until about ten years later when Max Hahn's son, George Hahn, broke open the rock. Inside was the rest of the petrified wooden handle and a double-faced metal hammer head.

Also found was a clam shell and parts of other shells. All of the shells could have been from creatures living in contemporary times, as well as a distant past.

As the story is told, the hammer head showed little oxidation when the rock was first broken open. It was smooth, with a brownish coating. Since then the metal has rusted and developed a rough finish.

The hammer head is shaped rectangular, with one end featuring concave bevels forming a pattern resembling a plus sign, and the other end containing a protrusion in the center. Someone in the Hahn family used a file on a small area of the metal to see if it was really metal. The filed area remains bright and unrusted, even after about 45 years.

An analysis of the metal shows it to consist of 96 percent iron, 2.6 percent chlorine and 0.74 percent sulfur. Thus it is almost solid iron, and an iron of a quality that some say exceeds the quality of any iron being produced today.

The handle is described as unmineralized wood, with small areas of black carbonization at the ends.

The artifact was acquired in 1983 by Carl E. Baugh, an active collector of alleged geologic anomalies. It was Baugh who dubbed the name "London Artifact.

Since acquiring the hammer, Baugh has promoted the artifact as proof that human history is somewhat different than science would lead us to believe. Baugh reportedly resisted Carbon 14 dating of the wood in the handle, which would help to determine the real age of the hammer.

Critics argue that there is an early American style to the hammer, and they suggest that the undistorted and poorly mineralized condition of the wood handle suggests a more recent date when it was manufactured.

Because Baugh has maintained an unwillingness to permit careful scientific inspection of the hammer, the rock that encased it, or even the shells within the rock, there remains an uncertainty as to the authenticity of the age of this artifact.

That early intelligent life forms once existed on this planet prior to earlier mass extinctions, leaves room for such artifacts to be authentic. The hammer is only one of a long and growing list of metal, cut jewels and other manufactured anomalies discovered in places where they should not have been, mostly in coal deposits deep within the earth.