What Archaeologists Really Think About Ancient Aliens, Lost Colonies & Fingerprints Of The Gods

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#1
As this deals with the more Anthropological aspect of Archaeology and Pseudo-Archaeology, I reckon it belongs here rather than in Earth Mysteries.

What Archaeologists Really Think About Ancient Aliens, Lost Colonies, And Fingerprints Of The Gods

It’s no secret that far more people watch TV shows like the History Channel’s ‘Ancient Aliens’ than attend lectures by professional archaeologists and historians. Millions of people tune in to watch TV series and docu-dramas with a questionable grip on facts about the past. The stories spun by producers and writers may have some basis in truth, but they’re largely stories — they’re compelling stories, though, and they’re aimed at a general audience the way that most academic output isn’t.

People are also reading books about ancient aliens and other forms of pseudoarchaeology, according to archaeologist Donald Holly. He starts a recent open-access book review section in the journal American Antiquity by asking archaeologists to entertain the idea of pseudoarchaeology — just for a little bit — so that we can create better teachable moments, whether we’re talking to students or to anyone interested in our jobs. People who read these books are not ignorant or obstinate, he points out, but rather undecided about alternative archaeological explanations and clearly interested in understanding the past. ”It’s time we talk to the guy sitting next to us on the airplane,” Holly asserts. In collecting nine reviews of popular-on-Amazon pseudo-archaeology books by professional archaeologists, Holly hopes that this will both “offer the silent and curious majority that is interested in these works a professional perspective on them” and give archaeologists unfamiliar with the books a pseudoarchaeology primer.

The article starts out with two reviews of books whose main premise is that we need advanced humans — or nonhumans — to make sense of past developments. First up, Graham Hancock’s Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth’s Lost Civilization, reviewed by Ken Feder, an archaeologist famous for his anti-pseudoarchaeology book Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology. The gist of Fingerprints is that an extraordinarily advanced civilization roamed the seas thousands of years ago, giving advice to the people they found in places like Egypt and Peru and helping them establish their own civilizations. In return, these advanced peoples were treated as gods, particularly after some cataclysmic event wiped them out. Feder’s main problems with Hancock’s book include the fact that he cherry-picked his data, not bothering to address all the evidence; that he relies on very old and discredited fringe thinkers; and that he can’t conceive of cultural evolution.

In the second review, The Ancient Alien Question, archaeologist Jeb Card points out, as does Feder, that the origins of this idea lay in Victorian mysticism and Theosophy, a movement that “blended hermetic magic, spiritualism, Western curiosity abut Eastern religion, colonial racism, and misconceptions of evolution into a worldview of root races, lost continents, and ascended masters who originated on Venus or other worlds.” The author of The Ancient Alien Question, Philip Coppens, was a regular on the Ancient Aliens TV series and presents academic research as if science itself is mysterious. Most problematic, Card finds, is Coppens’ invokation of “the destruction of the Library of Alexandria and other book burnings as suppression of ancient truth without recognizing his own call for the destruction of the scientific order, replacing scientific investigation with a new history of mysticism and myth.” ...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kristin...s-lost-colonies-and-fingerprints-of-the-gods/

For more on pseudoarchaeology books, you can read the American Antiquity book reviews here: , or check out the fantastic blog by Jason Colavito, the “skeptical xenoarchaeologist.” And if you want to take a class in pseudoarchaeology, Ethan Watrall has put his fall 2015 Michigan State University course online, with all course material freely available to anyone who’s interested.
 

Ermintruder

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#2
I despair that mainstream media channels such as Discovery / Discovery Science and Nat Geo all via Sky TV just constantly churn-out pseudoarcheology as if it were indisputable fact. You will not find anyone, anywhere, that has read as much ancient astronaut material as me, but I remain hugely-sceptical (not just about this...as indicated often before, I now doubt everything).

Ancient Astronaut theories are the archeological equivalent of the Intelligent Design precept for biologists. Persuasive. Fascinating. Tempting. And utterly unproven
 

Naughty_Felid

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#3
I despair that mainstream media channels such as Discovery / Discovery Science and Nat Geo all via Sky TV just constantly churn-out pseudoarcheology as if it were indisputable fact. You will not find anyone, anywhere, that has read as much ancient astronaut material as me, but I remain hugely-sceptical (not just about this...as indicated often before, I now doubt everything).

Ancient Astronaut theories are the archeological equivalent of the Intelligent Design precept for biologists. Persuasive. Fascinating. Tempting. And utterly unproven


I enjoy watching them and I understand that it's all a load of bollocks.
 

Graylien

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#4
Archaeology is just more exciting with aliens. Whenever I've watched a documentary involving real archaeologists, it always seems to portray a bunch of guys in woolly jumpers digging up a damp field in Bath and finding some shards that once used to be a pot. This pot really increases our knowledge of the influence of Roman design on mid 1st century British cooking utensils, they enthuse.

Bugger that. I'd rather watch how aliens built the pyramids as interdimensional stargates, and then the bad aliens came along and there was loads of fighting and lasers and time travel and everything. Aliens didn't mess around making pots with whorls on and losing belt buckles in fields.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#5
I would guess that most of the posters on this board know how to enjoy the fantasies of pseudo-archaeology and scholarship. I think there is a lot to be said for the mind-boggling! It may work for whole quarters of an hour at a time as we are caught up in a mad pseudo-documentary; it won't last longer than the first trip to the footnotes (if any) when we are reading a book.

I am disappointed with the would-be mind-bogglers not because they are crap at history but because they are crap at boggling!

Enthusiasts for this stuff like to think their minds are more open than conventional thinkers but it is dismaying to look at the thickets of piffle they throw up in their search for the treasures of Rennes-le-Chateau, the grave of Jesus, the international prehistoric pyramid-savants, the giant Vulvarians who built Stoneminge . . .

I want my mind to be boggled properly and I want it now! :mad:
 

Ulalume

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#6
The thing that bothers me about ancient astronaut-type programming is that there's an assumption that ancient people could not have thought of/designed/created/ whatever it was that so puzzled the researchers. Not on their own, anyway. This does not give much credit to the intelligence of ancient people and even deprives them of the credit they deserve.

I saw Chariots of the Gods when I was tiny - maybe 3? - and I was amazed by it, I thought it was awesome. Wild speculation can be fun. As an adult, though, I don't tend to believe in progress so much. I do believe our ancestors were capable of these things we're now hard-pressed to understand.

I also mourn the good science and history programming on Discovery and History channels (and their many offshoots) but at least the Smithsonian channel had good programming still.
 

Cochise

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#7
Archaeology is just more exciting with aliens. Whenever I've watched a documentary involving real archaeologists, it always seems to portray a bunch of guys in woolly jumpers digging up a damp field in Bath and finding some shards that once used to be a pot. This pot really increases our knowledge of the influence of Roman design on mid 1st century British cooking utensils, they enthuse.

Bugger that. I'd rather watch how aliens built the pyramids as interdimensional stargates, and then the bad aliens came along and there was loads of fighting and lasers and time travel and everything. Aliens didn't mess around making pots with whorls on and losing belt buckles in fields.
I also get fed up with them describing anything they don't understand as a 'ritual object'. If you don't know what it is just say.

We haven't a clue why our ancestors built things like Silbury Hill, and we probably never will have.
 

Graylien

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#9
I don't know when precisely Ancient Aliens jumped the shark, but I just watched an episode from the latest series where the chap with the mad hair claimed that the Egyptian god Osiris was a robot powered by a Tesla coil. Oh my.
 

rynner2

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#11
I don't know when precisely Ancient Aliens jumped the shark...
Since the UFO flap started in the late 1940s (Roswell, etc) many people began to wonder if aliens could explain ancient historical mysteries. But in the 60s it was von Daniken, with his many Ancient Astronaut books (some of them serialised in the popular press), who really brought the idea into mainstream consciousness.
 

Graylien

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#13
Much to my surprise Father Lionel Fanthorpe cropped up on another recent episode. I was surprised partly because I didn't think it was his bag, but mainly because I thought he was dead. I could swear I read an obituary and everything.

He was talking about good and evil, and didn't say anything too ridiculous. Unlike the chap with the mad hair who was going on about Jack Parsons and L.Ron Hubbard opening up a dimensional rift by performing a ritual by Aleister Crowley. Actually, I think there's a thread about that round here somewhere. Lam and all that.
 

Tribble

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#14
the chap with the mad hair
I'm not sure Giorgio A. Tsoukalos is as mad as his hair. I reckon he knows he's spouting an awful lot of nonsense but knows it sells. Lucrative TV shows, conventions... and his own meme. He's happy to pose with fans doing "that pose with the hands" and sell t-shirts bearing images of his wild hair.



 

Zeke Newbold

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#16
Am I the only one on this forum willing to admit to finding Erich Von Daniken - as a personality - strangely appealing and cheering?

And yeah, I do know he was caught conducting underhand business dealings (something which I would normally make me disapprove of someone quite strongly), and that a lot of his arguments are as flimsy as hell, but I kind of grew up with him - started on him when I was about 9- and he was sort of like the starry eyed uncle that I never had.

Moreover, I continue to find the Nazca lines hard to explain away within conventional art history. I can think of no other art form created by human beings which can only be seen from above. To produce such artefacts seems to contradict the very drive to produce art in the first place - unless its target audience were indeed in a position of being able to view the symbols from above.

Yes, you can counter this with the proposition that the ancient Peruvians believed in Sky gods and were aiming their art at them - but if so where are the other examples of this throughout the world? It seems to me that art and design - almost by definition - is aimed at our fellow humans and needs must to be able to be seen by them.

Some have claimed that the ancient Peruvians had a balloon technology. This seems a bit of a desperate claim, but even if it were so, the use of such balloons would be only available to a small elite. All that brilliant and painstakingly constructed art work just so that a few guys could go up in balloons, admire them, then report back?

The Nazca lines remain mysterious...or tell me why I'm wrong.
 

Frideswide

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#17
but if so where are the other examples of this throughout the world?
I'd draw a parallel with the carving and painting in middle and high medieval european cathedral - some of which is too high ever to be seen once the place is finished, and some of which is hidden by the next piece of construction. i don't mean the next phase of building, I mean that the insides of things were sometimes carved and painted but would not be seen.

Any good?

Edit to add:
the use of such balloons would be only available to a small elite. All that brilliant and painstakingly constructed art work just so that a few guys could go up in balloons, admire them, then report back?
isn't human history littered with examples of a small rich powerful elite keeping things to themselves?
 

Zeke Newbold

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#19
Yes, I did allude to the fact that he has tangled with the law: rogue is putting it politely.

However, I don't believe that he is quite the dumbo he is so often portrayed as. Some of his books are only published in German - including one in particular where he answers his critics and admits to having made many mistakes in his previous writings. Anglophone readers will not be aware of this publication - and so get the impression that he never modifies his views, or accepts that he's sometimes wrong.

Frideswide: a clever intervention but I'm not swayed. Churches were built, rebuilt, adapted and added to over periods of time. In this process previous designs which were once able to be viewed no doubt later became obscured.

And elites use public art as a means of awing and subduing the masses (hence churches, for example).The idea of an elite employing people (slaves? ) to produce something which can only be seen from some distance in the air - and them just being able to only tell their minions about it seems ridiculous to me.
 

Frideswide

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#20
Frideswide: a clever intervention but I'm not swayed. Churches were built, rebuilt, adapted and added to over periods of time. In this process previous designs which were once able to be viewed no doubt later became obscured.

Sorting these sequences is what archaeology does. Said Frideswide the Archaeologist.
 
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#22
Chapman University Survey Finds Astonishing Levels of Belief in Ancient Astronauts and Atlantis
10/17/2016

Last October I wrote about a depressing survey from Chapman University which found that 1 in 5 Americans—20.3%--professed to believe in ancient astronauts. A couple of regular readers let me know that this year Chapman University repeated the survey, and the results were even worse. According to the annual survey’s new results, fully 1 in 4 Americans, an astonishing 27%, believe that aliens visited the Earth in the past. Even more disturbing, 39.6%--more than one in three—believe that Atlantis or another advanced prehistoric lost civilization once existed. (The survey did not ask about Atlantis last year.) Similarly, 42.6% of respondents believe that the U.S. government is covering up knowledge of alien encounters, and a full third think that elites are plotting a single world government.

The more detailed full results show that only 29% of respondents disagree that Atlantis existed, while a more robust 40.7% disagree that aliens visited the Earth in the past. In both cases, about one third of all respondents couldn’t decide whether Atlantis or ancient astronauts existed.

According to the analysis accompanying the survey, two factors that are most closely associated with holding beliefs in paranormal phenomena like ancient astronauts or lost civilizations are low education and low income. The analysis also named both religiosity and lack of church attendance as associated factors, suggesting that people with a complicated relationship with religion—believers who have a lack of connection to their community of faith—are most open to paranormal claims. ...

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/c...-of-belief-in-ancient-astronauts-and-atlantis
 
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#23
Chapman University Survey Finds Astonishing Levels of Belief in Ancient Astronauts and Atlantis
10/17/2016

Last October I wrote about a depressing survey from Chapman University which found that 1 in 5 Americans—20.3%--professed to believe in ancient astronauts. A couple of regular readers let me know that this year Chapman University repeated the survey, and the results were even worse. According to the annual survey’s new results, fully 1 in 4 Americans, an astonishing 27%, believe that aliens visited the Earth in the past. Even more disturbing, 39.6%--more than one in three—believe that Atlantis or another advanced prehistoric lost civilization once existed. (The survey did not ask about Atlantis last year.) Similarly, 42.6% of respondents believe that the U.S. government is covering up knowledge of alien encounters, and a full third think that elites are plotting a single world government.

The more detailed full results show that only 29% of respondents disagree that Atlantis existed, while a more robust 40.7% disagree that aliens visited the Earth in the past. In both cases, about one third of all respondents couldn’t decide whether Atlantis or ancient astronauts existed.

According to the analysis accompanying the survey, two factors that are most closely associated with holding beliefs in paranormal phenomena like ancient astronauts or lost civilizations are low education and low income. The analysis also named both religiosity and lack of church attendance as associated factors, suggesting that people with a complicated relationship with religion—believers who have a lack of connection to their community of faith—are most open to paranormal claims. ...

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/c...-of-belief-in-ancient-astronauts-and-atlantis
People with no sense of self or self-identity or community are more open to weird beliefs. Straight out of the text-book social identity theory is it not?
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#25
"more than one in three—believe that Atlantis or another advanced prehistoric lost civilization once existed. "

Well the discovery of ooparts, such as the Baghdad batteries and Antikythera mechanism are compelling evidence that levels of surprisingly advanced technology existed in times of antiquity.
Regarding Atlantis, (a personal interest of mine), given that sea level has risen something like 60 metres (almost 200 feet) since the legendary time of Atlantis, then it is blindingly obvious that far more of the Azores plateau would have been above sea level around 10,000 BC. The islands we now know as the Canary isles would, similarly, have been vastly larger back then, possibly even constituting one large land mass with a few channels across it. Recent archaeological discoveries may corroborate the ancient Carthaginian accounts of Hanno the Navigator finding already ancient ruins on the Canary Isles when he first landed there.
So, count me amongst those who keep an open mind regarding ancient technology and the existence of Atlantis pretty well where Plato said it was - beyond the Pillars of Hercules and in the Atlantic.
 
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#26
Review of "Astronaut Gods of the Maya" by Erich von Däniken
2/23/2017

Good news, everyone! Erich von Däniken has another new book out! It’s called Astronaut Gods of the Maya: Extraterrestrial Technologies in the Temples and Sculptures (Bear & Company, 2017), and it was translated by Aida Selfic Williams. The title should probably give you a good indication of what to expect in the book. The original German version was published in 2011, but it is now appearing in English for the first time. You might not expect the elements of casual racism, such as describing the Aztec as “coffee-brown, stark-naked natives,” but you probably expect the claims that various artifacts look to our author like pieces of modern technology.

Even old von Däniken seems to be getting tired of the routine. In his authorial preface, he tells readers that he will “explain for the umpteenth time” material about cargo cults that he first explored half a century ago. Consequently, the first chapter of the book reviews material about cargo cults that is familiar to anyone who has read his work. Specifically, he discusses the way that some groups in Asia and Australasia treated American World War II pilots as messengers of heaven and built mock-ups of landing strips and airplanes in the hopes of coaxing more cargo from the heavens. He compares this to the Maya and suggests that their pyramids and other buildings were built in imitation of aliens.

I don’t really know what more to say about the book. He goes through a number of pieces of Mesoamerican art, and in each case he interprets stylized animals, bones, plants, and other material as pieces of technology because they have been rendered in geometric form. He also follows the currently fashionable trend in seeing Asian influences in Mesoamerica, opining that seated Mayans look like they are doing yoga, and their headdresses look “Asian.” He parallels Graham Hancock in comparing Mayan art to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, a site built many centuries later, and he compares Mexican pyramids to those of India, which share only superficial similarities. ...

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/review-of-astronaut-gods-of-the-maya-by-erich-von-daniken
 

Shadowsot

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#28
Am I the only one on this forum willing to admit to finding Erich Von Daniken - as a personality - strangely appealing and cheering?

And yeah, I do know he was caught conducting underhand business dealings (something which I would normally make me disapprove of someone quite strongly), and that a lot of his arguments are as flimsy as hell, but I kind of grew up with him - started on him when I was about 9- and he was sort of like the starry eyed uncle that I never had.

Moreover, I continue to find the Nazca lines hard to explain away within conventional art history. I can think of no other art form created by human beings which can only be seen from above. To produce such artefacts seems to contradict the very drive to produce art in the first place - unless its target audience were indeed in a position of being able to view the symbols from above.

Yes, you can counter this with the proposition that the ancient Peruvians believed in Sky gods and were aiming their art at them - but if so where are the other examples of this throughout the world? It seems to me that art and design - almost by definition - is aimed at our fellow humans and needs must to be able to be seen by them.

Some have claimed that the ancient Peruvians had a balloon technology. This seems a bit of a desperate claim, but even if it were so, the use of such balloons would be only available to a small elite. All that brilliant and painstakingly constructed art work just so that a few guys could go up in balloons, admire them, then report back?

The Nazca lines remain mysterious...or tell me why I'm wrong.
There's evidence of other geoglyphs, it seems that the conditions in Peru and the soil there just made it so they were preserved.
Two that still survive and come to mind at the Chalk Giant and Chalk Horse, both need to be maintained to a degree.

While a big deal is made of the Nazca Lines being visible from the air, they can also be visible from the nearby mountains and hills. Some even look more in proportion that way. And we have some indication those held some significance to them.
Its hard when it comes to tradition or religious worship to seperate something from actual usefullness to something thats purpose is entirely ritual.
It very well could be they had some mundane world use that was mixed into ritual ceremonies.
Maybe at certain points of the year the shaman goes to the mountains or hills, or members of the tribe did, to meditate, to commune with the gods, to seek insight.
Or maybe they served a similar purpose to cave paintings, cornerstones of storytelling of past adventures.
Or just sort of "mine is bigger than your" point scoring like puramid building in the early dynasties of Egypt before writing and conquering became more of a focus.
 

Shadowsot

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#29
The Baghdad or Sassinad batteries aren't really OOPARTs, they're pretty well attested to being scroll jars that were used in the area and buried under new homes and other structures of that time period. The idea of them being batteries comes from their discoverer remarking they resembled linden jars.
Problem os they wouldn't work very well. They were completely sealed, the copper tube was insulated feom the outer iron sheath (or was that the other way around?) there was no way to draw a charge from them.
Modern reconstructions that set them up as batteries ignore these issues.
They date from around the first century, from a time period we have a lot of data from. There's no evidence of electricity being ised from the time period. No wiring, no electroplating, and no writing about it. There's a vaccum of artifacts or data around them being used as batteries, but not around them being another example of sacred scroll jars.

This is different than the Antikytherian mechanism. We've known for a long time the Romans had complex knowledge of gears. Not only examples, but writing detailing them has survived. The technology not only served for practical use, like building or plotting roads, but into religious buildings and entertainment. Using complex automata as special effects in plays.
Or setting up elevators and timed sequences and flooding in the Colleseum.
The issue was really the lack of certainty of it being associated with the shipwreck it was found on and the detail of the gears initially.
Technology doesn't exist in a vacuum.
 

Shady

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#30
Archaeology is just more exciting with aliens. Whenever I've watched a documentary involving real archaeologists, it always seems to portray a bunch of guys in woolly jumpers digging up a damp field in Bath and finding some shards that once used to be a pot. This pot really increases our knowledge of the influence of Roman design on mid 1st century British cooking utensils, they enthuse.

Bugger that. I'd rather watch how aliens built the pyramids as interdimensional stargates, and then the bad aliens came along and there was loads of fighting and lasers and time travel and everything. Aliens didn't mess around making pots with whorls on and losing belt buckles in fields.
You would know Mr Graylien :p And i love this post :D *hugs it*
 
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