Whether one is reading an article, or investigating on-site; whether one is an archeological expert or a curious child: anyone is allowed--even encouraged--to ask questions or just guess what these excavation and cave site findings might mean. That's me--a total outsider--for the past decades. Most of us have stopped as outsiders, content to allow enthusiasts and experts to connect these findings to an existing literature. An adventurous few have just posted or published interpretations outside of established academic sources--to the dismay of serious explorers: and the delight of debunkers.
Martin has confounded nearly everyone by doing both--with a twist. He's speculated, published in accredited scholarly journals, and now published a book with the blessings and support of a notorious "new age" explorer, Graham Hancock, even appearing as an AOM. The twist is that he's claiming scientific support for his findings--and that's where I get interested.
Mark has already laid the groundwork for Martin's claims and results:
Mark even tries to find common ground between you and Martin:
My interest is in Martin's retrospective study designs.
Retrospective designs are especially common in economics and medicine where the independent variable can't be controlled. We can't study heart attack victims until they have a heart attack. However, we can validate many retrospective findings prospectively. For example, based on an association between blood pressure and heart attacks, we can compare the frequency of heart attacks between those with high blood pressure and those with lower blood pressure.
Unfortunately, Martin's retrospective design can't be validated prospectively. If one gave a group of modern humans in a remote cave a blank wall and wall decorating materials, one wouldn't expect them to replicate Martin's Lascaux cave painting discoveries from long ago. At best, one can hope to replicate Martin's findings on other caves yet uncovered--even if that is less convincing.
The real problem I see so far is Martin's associating probabilistic counting rules with proposed groupings of zodiac signs. With a deck of cards, it's unassailable--but can we really assume that every possible combination of every zodiac feature in every position is equally likely? If not, as you argue, the odds are less.
The deeper concern I have as a research designer is to stall the statistical analysis short of the established measuring tools: correlations, regressions, and direct comparisons between means.
An obvious comparison would be to do a correlation between Martin's zodiac time stamp and carbon 14, expressed in r and R2 numbers. If the comparison were properly done, one would hope for a correlation of 0.8 or better--and be disappointed by a correlation of 0.5 or lower. That Martin's statistical analysis has not progressed even this far is of concern.
From a design perspective, Martin still needs to refine his analysis to convince outsiders like me.