The Nampa Figurine: A Mysterious 2 Million-Year-Old Stone Doll

The Nampa Figurine: A Mysterious 2 Million-Year-Old Stone Doll
A small human image, skillfully formed in clay, was found in 1889 at Nampa, Idaho. The figurine was found at over 300-foot level of a well boring which would appear to place its age far before the expected arrival of man in this part of the world.

Other than Homo sapiens sapiens, no hominid is known to have fashioned works of art like the Nampa figurine. The evidence therefore suggests that humans of the modern type were living in America around 2 million years ago, at the Plio-Pleistocene boundary.

In 1887 James A. Pinney, Nathan Falk, Joseph Perrault, John Bernard, and M. A. Kurtz formed a company to locate artesian water at the new frontier town of Nampa, Idaho.
Nampa figurine
Nampa figurine

By July of 1889, one of the owners of the drilling company, Mark A. Kurtz, was checking the material brought up by a sand pump from a layer of clay over 300 feet down in the well boring. A strange object came into his hands. On washing it, he found it was a small human figurine.

Kurtz later showed the figurine to Charles F. Adams, president of the Union Pacific Railroad, who happened to be passing through Idaho. Adams, who had recently read a book by G. F. Wright, wrote to Wright about the discovery.

Wright, from the East Coast of the United States, wrote to Kurtz, requesting a photograph of the arti­fact. Kurtz replied that there was no way for him to make a photograph, so he sent Wright the figurine. Wright noted: “The object is about an inch and a half long, and remarkable for the perfection with which it repre­sents the human form.”

He added, “It was a female figure, and had the lifelike lineaments in the parts which were finished that would do credit to the classic centers of art.” Wright also examined the borehole to see if the figurine could have slipped down from a higher level. He stated: “To answer objections it will be well to give the facts more fully.

“The well was six inches in diameter and was tubed with heavy iron tubing, which was driven down, from the top, and screwed together, section by section, as progress was made. Thus it was impossible for anything to work in from the sides. The drill was not used after penetrating the lava deposit near the surface, but the tube was driven down, and the included material brought out from time to time by use of a sand pump.”
The object was not of recent manufacture. It was deeply colored with the iron oxides characteristic of the de­posits from the 300-foot level. Wright showed the object to archaeologist F. W. Putnam of Harvard University. “Upon showing the object to Professor F. W. Putnam,” wrote Wright, “he at once directed attention to the character of the incrustations of iron upon the surface as indicative of a relic of considerable antiquity.

“There were patches of anhydrous red oxide of iron in protected places upon it, such as could not have been formed upon any fraudulent object. In visiting the locality in 1890, while on the ground, to compare the discoloration of the oxide upon the image with that upon the clay balls still found among the debris which has come from the well, and ascertained it to be as nearly identical as it is possible to be.

“These confirmatory evidences, in connection with the very satisfactory character of the evidence furnished by the parties who made the discovery, and confirmed by Mr. G. M. Cumming, of Boston (at that time superintendent of that division of the Oregon Short Line Railroad, and who knew all the parties, and was upon the ground a day or two after the discovery) placed the genuineness of the discovery beyond reasonable doubt.

“To this evidence is to be added, also, the general conformity of the object to other relics of man which have been found beneath the lava deposits on the Pacific coast. The Nampa image is also similar to the famous Willendorf Venus, thought to be about 30,000 years old.”
Willendorf Venus
Willendorf Venus

According to current Darwinian theories of evolution, figurines like the Idaho image are made only by hu­mans of the modern type, who came into existence only about 200,000 years ago.

The oldest statues of human fig­ures of a degree of artistry similar to that of the Nampa image only go back to the Late Paleolithic period of Eu­rope, about 20,000 or 30,000 years. In ancient Sanskrit writings of India, however, humans have been present since the beginning of life on earth. There are figures of gods and goddesses in Indian temples that, according to traditional sources, are as old as the Nampa image and older.

The Nampa figurine strongly challenges the evolutionary scenario was noted by W. H. Holmes of the Smithsonian Institution. In 1919, Holmes wrote in his Handbook of Aboriginal American Antiquities:

“According to Emmons, the formation in which the pump was operating is of late Tertiary or early Quaternary age; and the apparent improbability of the occurrence of a well-modeled human figure in deposits of such great antiquity has led to grave doubt about its authenticity.”

Holmes thinks that it must be slipped down from a higher level. Evidence that contradicts evolutionary preconceptions about the antiquity of the human species is often rejected, just for that reason alone.

If Holmes could have demonstrated that he could in that area find some place where he could drop a figurine and have it go down 300 feet into the ground by some natural pathway through a 15-foot layer of basalt, and further down to the 300-foot level, that might constitute some real evidence in support of his theory.

But no such evidence was provided. We also have to take into account the testimony of Dr. Putnam and Dr. Jewett that the object was of con­siderable antiquity. Today the Nampa image is kept in storage at the Idaho State Historical Society in Boise, Idaho.

Sources: Atlantis Rising Magazine vol. 64 : “The Mystery of Nampa Image” by Michael Cremo; Hidden History of the Human Race by Michael Cremo

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