Self-described "spiritual archaeologist" Klaus Dona presents himself as the original skeptic. In interviews (such as this one) he outlines a narrative of himself as a wide-eyed innocent, constantly beset by the amazing discoveries and earth-shattering revelations that rain down upon him. What he has to tell us will forever alter history . . . if only the government of (insert chosen artifact’s country of origin here) would stop its close-minded disbelief and/or active suppression.
Dona claims to have examined over 3,000 ancient artifacts that mainstream academia rejects. He briefly displays several hundred in his traveling exhibit titled "Unsolved Mysteries” (part 1 can be seen here). Among other things, Dona has cobbled together a version of human history that incorporates an ancient, global race of high tech giants that created sophisticated structures, tools, and technology more advanced than today.
Throughout Dona's presentation (there are several versions that are very similar - e.g., here and here), he makes a jumble of vague claims to attempt to link together his collection of artifacts. The slideshow jumps around a bit and his artifact dating can fluctuate from show to show ranging from an off the cuff “15-20 million years old” to 17th century C.E. His typical claims related to giants include reference to oddly shaped skulls, photos taken of a grouping of "giant bones" from Ecuador, a bit about a 3-meter-long red-haired skeleton in Utah, and representations of "giants" in art.
The skulls shown by Dona, unfortunately, aren't attached to any information about where they come from: where were they were found? who excavated them? where are they located now?
Dona claims that numerous doctors and scientists have studied these skulls, but he neglects to mention them by name. He tells us the skulls are from Malta, but does not reveal a region or site name. He can provide no archaeological context for the skulls, there are no pictures or records of how they were found or by what process they were excavated. In short, he provides no relevant information regarding these skulls or their origins. What we are offered instead is Dona’s description and hypothesis including his statement that “The picture on the top shows you the skull of one of these skeletons and it looks like it is deformed. But definitely these skulls are not deformed, they are naturally styled like an egg.” In the absence of any additional information, the claim is simply an unsupported assertion.
Another of Dona’s keystone pieces of his case for giants begins with a photo of several bones on a table. There isn’t much to glean from the pictures: the image quality is poor and there is no scale to indicate size. Dona begins by sketching the background of the "discovery:"
'I got this information, I got another information, and finally, in Ecuador, I got from the family of Father Carlos Vaca, who found 1964 the broken bones of a 7.6 meter giant”.
The story goes that the townspeople who found the bones called their local priest, Father Carlos, to come to examine the bones. Dona tells us that because Father Carlos had spent some time working in a hospital, he is qualified to identify human remains. Dona then claims he conducted unspecified research with an unnamed specialist and they subsequently confirmed these to be giant bones because they were “at least exactly five times bigger.” Dona tells us the bones are from Ecuador, but neglects to identify the region or site.
Dona’s story raises more questions than it answers. In what capacity did Father Carlos work within the hospital that he was able to correctly identify a series of bone fragments? Who conducted the research? The bones are five times bigger than whose bones? What tests were performed to verify their authenticity? In an interview Dona stated:
“I have a friend who is the only archeological DNA specialist in Austria. And he checked these bones, but he could not find any any DNA and he said, up to 10,000 years there might be a chance to find DNA, but if bones are older than 10,000 years, you can forget, you cannot find any DNA anymore.”
The ability to extract DNA, of course, depends on a number of factors and there is no magical cut-off at 10,000 years.
While these bones from Ecuador are touted as Klaus Dona’s definitive proof of South American giants, there just isn’t enough information to confirm the remains are even human, much less confirm that they belonged to a 7.6-meter giant.
We run into the same issue again with his claim of a red-bearded giant in Utah. This time Dona offers even less information. Dona clicks a photo of a carved stone on the screen and goes on to state that a 3-meter skeleton of a red haired man with a sword and armor was found in Utah. I could not find any further information about this claim: it appears to be merely an anecdote. It is a story he tosses into his show without a shred of evidence to prove it, seemingly banking on an image overload for his audience. If you’ve made it this far into his presentation maybe you're satisfied by the sheer number of claims rather than the quality of those claims.
Dona also uses art to bolster his case. He presents a photo of a sculpture he claims is from somewhere in west Africa. The sculpture features an oversized man riding what looks to be an elephant and from this he states that “even in Africa, every tribe has legends of giants.” No additional information is provided about the statue: we know nothing about its origin or how it came to be in Dona’s collection. Without context, provenience, or even basic information about its composition, viewers are left with little more than Dona’s word that the photo is of an archaeologically significant object. He seems to be claiming that because this one statue was found somewhere on the continent of Africa, every tribe that ever lived in that vast and diverse continent has a shared legend of a race of giants. To base such a sweeping claim on nothing more than a single carved statue is an insulting oversimplification. Regardless, he recycles this logic later on and eventually states that every culture around the world has a legend of giants.
Klaus Dona doesn’t explain, just shows; his magpie collection speaks for itself. This is not archaeology. It’s not science. It doesn't even qualify as pseudo-science. This is an unsubstantiated theory posited by one who believes that imagination holds the key to explaining all of human history. It’s one short leap of faith to the next. He tells the audience that he doesn’t have all the answers, but if they would like to purchase some, his DVD presentation of his travelling giant show is available
These blog posts were written by students in Forbidden Archaeology (Fall 2016)