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Hit The Road with Chet Garner

Face to Face With History

Look into the mystery of the Malakoff Man at the Pearce Museum

A group of workers near the East Texas town of Malakoff made an unusual discovery near the Trinity River in 1929. They were digging out a gravel pit when they unearthed a round stone about the size of a basketball lying 20 feet below ground level.

As they looked at its smooth surface, the stone seemed to be looking back at them through two carved eyes. Was this a prehistoric sculpture? And how did it get buried in dirt that at the time was believed to be 100,000 years old—when humans didn’t get to Texas until some 20,000 years ago? I had the same questions and set off for the Pearce Museum in Corsicana, southeast of Dallas, to get answers.

I was stunned by the wealth of artifacts inside this little-known museum on the campus of Navarro College. I could have spent hours exploring the immense Civil War collection, but I was on a mission for the mysterious. In a back room, I found three carved heads surrounded by Native American projectile points and an impressive hunter-gatherer display.

It turns out that following the original discovery in the Malakoff quarry, archaeologists found two more heads in the same vicinity. As far as explanations go, it seems science is as stumped as I am.

These unusual heads have as many supporters as they do critics, with some scientists attempting to discredit their integrity. Some believe them to be all-out fakes while others argue that they’re authentic, dating them to when Paleo-Indians were known to have been in the Americas, roughly 9,000–15,000 years ago.

Unfortunately the dig site was flooded, halting any further investigations (insert conspiracy theories here). Regardless, it was fun staring down a mystery that can stare right back.