The Hammer of London, Texas

January 30, 2009 Updated: January 30, 2009

An Oopart (Out Of Place ARTifact) is a term applied to dozens of prehistoric objects found in various places around the world that, given their level of technology, are completely at odds with their determined age based on physical, chemical, and/or geological evidence. Ooparts often are frustrating to conventional scientists and a delight to adventurous investigators and individuals interested in alternative theories.

At first glance, this rock-encrusted wood and iron relic seems innocent enough, but some insist that it could be millions of years old. There is obviously much controversy surrounding such a claim, but just how old is the hammer of London, Texas?

After the specimen was first discovered in the geographical zone known as Edwards Plateau, it was a full 10 years before the rock attached to the wooden handle was broken open to reveal the hammer head inside.  Found encased in stone, it must have been built before the rock formed around it (a process that some say took millions of years).

Subsequent analysis of the specimen reveals that segments of the handle’s interior have turned to coal, and the perfectly formed head is composed of an iron grade only attainable with modern technology. The handle has been described as exhibiting a state not unlike the same petrifaction seen in prehistoric trees.  However, not everyone agrees with these observations.

According to some geologists, this slow petrifaction process took place more than 140 million years ago. Based on these calculations, not only did a human civilization exist before the historic process of petrifaction occurred, but those humans already possessed the technology to create a modern hammer.

The head, according to studies by the Columbia Institute of Metallurgy, is made of an alloy containing 97 percent pure iron, 2 percent chlorine, 1 percent sulfur, and is bubble-free. Like the petrified handle, this iron head appears to have undergone a process of purification and hardening, typical of a modern metal alloy of the 20th century.

It has been observed that the rock in which the hammer was encased shows signs that the embedding process was carried out under distinct atmospheric conditions that are quite different from what is seen in recent times. According to these scientists, the rock tells of atmospheric conditions that are in fact more consistent with a remote age.

Prehistoric Relic, Modern Tool, or Unusual Meteorite?

But other scientists argue that there is insufficient evidence to support the supposed several-million-year-history of the relic. When the hammer was found by hikers Max and Emma Hahn in 1934, they failed to document where exactly it was unearthed. Therefore, it could not be determined where in the geological strata the hammer was buried—a key piece of evidence in qualifying its age.  Some accounts even claim that the specimen was never found buried in the earth at all, but sitting loose by itself on a ledge.

Furthermore, since Carl E. Baugh purchased the artifact in 1983, he has not permitted it to undergo radiocarbon dating.  However, supporters of Baugh’s decision argue that such a test would only complicate the issue, as organic substances of a much earlier origin have long contaminated the specimen, making an accurate date impossible to determine with this method.

Another more extreme theory suggests a remote possibility that in prehistoric times a meteorite with an extremely unique chemical composition and morphology caught a piece of wood, much like the head of a hammer imprisons its handle.  While the idea itself is far-fetched, a chemical analysis rules it out entirely.

The portion of rock surrounding the head of the hammer presents some anomalies, as it appears to have been fused with some kind of coating. Chemical analysis of this sheath found quantities of potassium, silicon, chlorine, calcium, and sulfur. This composition contradicts the hypothesis that the head of the hammer belonged to a fragment from a meteorite, given that the bodies of our solar system don’t exhibit such a chemical makeup. Even so, the hammer head is too well formed to have occurred by accident.

So did this hammer belong to an early American miner—a tool merely a few hundred years old that later experienced a rapid growth of fossilization?  Or is this a genuine Oopart, an indication that our planet has seen civilizations of advanced technology in its remote history?  With the evidence available, we are left only to speculate.

The hammer is currently on display at the Creation Evidence Museum in Texas.