Today we’re talking with Steph Halmhofer about her recent survey on Canadian Fears, modeled after the Chapman Survey of American Fears. She’s looking at Canadian pseudoarchaeological beliefs, among other topics, and she’s come on the show to share some preliminary results from her survey.
If you’re a Canadian resident and you want to take the survey, please use the link in the show notes!
Today we’re talking with Paulina Przystupa (@punuckish) about the panel she put together at the SAA’s this past Apil. Her topic was Creative Outreach focusing on using social media as a way of communicating what the public about archaeology. We talk about better ways to use various social media to make archaeology accessible to everyone, and how we can go to geek conventions and talk about archaeology.
Today we’re talking with Dr. David Anderson (@DSAArchaeology) about the intersection of Archaeology and Pop culture, and how a history of pop culture, specifically comics and adventure genre has fed the prevalence of pseudoarchaeology ideas, especially Ancient Aliens and Ancient Astronauts
2018 has been a bit of a roller coaster for the Archaeological Fantasies blog and podcast. I know many of you have noticed, so I figured, Let’s have a rundown of what’s happening here at the AF Studios…
Last year I went back to finish my Masters’ degree and well, between that and working full time, it’s been…fun? Unfortunately, the blog suffered and will need to be scaled back some, but I still need to make monthly markers, so stick with me. We’ll have a good time still.
I moved in February, and though I’m in a much nicer place, moving across three states takes a bit of doing, and I’m still not done doing yet since I’ve been gone almost three weeks each month since I moved. Still, it’s all been good, just busy.
Oh, I got the flu. That was almost three weeks of my life. Get your shots folks. Just trust me on that.
The most important bit here, that I’m sure you’re all reading for, is…..The podcast is moving!!!
Yes, we’re moving the URL of the podcast, which means we will not be on the Archaeology Podcast Network anymore. The podcast will be hosted here instead, on the Archaeological Fantasies blog. I feel like this makes more sense in the long run, but in the short term, it means we have a little bit of restructuring to do.
The podcast is going to be on hiatus until July 1st, at which point we’ll relaunch with our new location here on the blog. You’ll (hopefully) still be able to subscribe to us with Itunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and with luck Spotify. You can also listen here directly or subscribe to our RSS feed at https://archyfantasies.com/feed/podcast/ or see the full listing at our Blubrry site: The Archaeological Fantasies Podcast.
(Shout out to Mike Dell at BluBrry, you rock)
As always this is a labor of love, but it still costs me out of pocket, and hey, I’m happy to pay. Still, if you feel like donating some, it will help pay for the new hosting costs and the blog upkeep. You can support us monthly on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Archyfantasies or throw us a few bucks when you want on Ko-Fi : https://ko-fi.com/A8833HAS . Either option helps us out.
Thanks for waiting out our dust, and I hope you can help spread the word! As always follow us on Twitter @ArchyFantasies and contact us if you have questions. Hopefully, this will go smoothly, fingers crossed.
Podcast Music by the esteemed Mr. Soup at ArchaeoS0up Productions. I cannot tell you how much I love this song, thank you for letting us use it.
On today’s episode we talk with Jennifer Raff about the recent CBC episode of The Nature of Things: Ice Bridge. We talk about how the Solutrean Hypothesis, how it’s it’s not supported by evidence and is supported but White Supremacists. We talk about the issues not brought up in the CBC show, and why we as archaeologists should be talking about it.
Just in time for our big MonsterTalk Halloween Special, due out Monday on Halloween, here’s a list of our spookiest episodes to date! Go catch up on a year’s worth of archaeological notes about Ghosts, Witches, Mummies and Vampires!
We all think we know about the story of King Tut, but a lot of it was embellishment at the time, as well as confusing the story of Tut’s discovery with stories of other mummies at the time. Ken, Jeb, and I talk about the reality of the Mummy’s curse, in this episode. We’re also able to sus out where some of the myths about the Mummy’s curse come from, who probably started them. We also make some possible connections between King Tut and Cthulhu (noting a trend?) and talk about the long term impacts of the idea of the mummy. It’s a great episode, go give it a listen!
Here on the blog we’ve just started to dip our toe into the waters of Oak Island. However, there is one recent detail that has popped up that we just can’t wait to discuss. That topic is the Roman Sword that was supposedly found off the coast of Oak Island in a shipwreck.
According to the Daily Mail;
” Researchers, led by Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, claim they have evidence that Roman ships visited North America ‘during the first century or earlier.’ (Zolfagharifard 2015)”
Sounds cool! So what’s the evidence?
Pulitzer claims that he’s found a Roman sword that is “100 per cent confirmed (Gadd 2015, Zolfagharifard 2015)” and that is “the smoking gun to his theory (Gadd 2015, Zolfagharifard 2015)”. He says that the sword was discovered in a shipwreck just off the coast of Oak Island, and apparently made this announcement on the History Channel’s show Curse of Oak Island (Gadd 2015, Zolfagharifard 2015).
It doesn’t take long for this claim to start unraveling though, and unraveling in such a spectacular way at that.
First, the discovery of the sword is not exactly well documented. In Pulitzer’s own words in his interview with the Boston Standard last year:
“Pulitzer explained: “Some years ago, a man and his son were scalloping off Oak Island, which sees them hang rake-like object off the back of their boat. When they brought this up, the sword came up with it.
“The father kept it for decades, and when he died it went to his wife, then his daughter. Then when she died many years later it went to her husband. It was he who came forward to the island and said ‘I think you should know about this and where it was found.” (Gadd 2015)”
This is not the way to find reliable artifacts. We’ve gone over this many times on this blog and on the podcast. Context is King, Queen, and God. In order for an artifact to be valid it must be documented. Pictures, diagrams, documents, etc. This doesn’t exist with this sword. Even if it was a true artifact, the value of it beyond being cool looking is lost and it is by no means viable as evidence of anything by this point. So, this is the first problem, and frankly, for me, it’s a death knell. But there’s more…
One of my favorite things that Andy has done is gotten his hands on several other copies (he’s up to 10 now) of the exact same sword that Pulitzer has tried to put forward as 100% real. So far Andy has created a database of the copies, and made point by point comparisons showing that the swords are all related to each other. He’s created a time-line of sorts using the differences on the sword hilts. He’s made his research and findings accessible to the public at large, so you can go look at the work he’s doing to debunk this now famous Not-Roman artifact. Andy’s pretty much stuck a fork in the topic.
Pulitzer for his part has tried to offer up more “evidence” for Romans in Canada. The Boston Standard lists a few of these, so lets have a look shall we?
Pulitzer claims that the originating shipwreck is still off the coast of Nova Scotia and that it is undisturbed, which is clearly not true since he supposedly has an artifact from it. He says that his team have “scanned it” whatever that means (Gadd 2015) and that it is definitely Roman (Gadd 2015). He’s not released these scans to anyone to see, so we have to take his word for it. In the exact same paragraph though, he makes mention that the wreck hasn’t been seen first hand yet, because the Nova Scotia government is hesitant to send an actual archaeological team down there (Gadd 2015). I can only assume they are even more hesitant let treasure hunters down there.
Pulitzer also tries to used DNA evidence to prove his point, saying that;
” “The Mi’kmaq carry the rarest DNA marker in the world which comes from the ancient Levant (the eastern Mediterranean). You can’t screw with DNA.” (Gadd 2015)”
No, but you can grossly misrepresent it and not actually understand what’s being shown. Jason Colavito covers this pretty succinct on his blog;
” He [Pulitzer] also alleges that the Mi’kmaq have Levantine DNA, which is a claim based on the fringe history DNA Consultants’allegation that the Mi’kmaq’s Haplogroup X links them to the ancient Near East, something that DNA experts dispute. (Colavito 2015)”
Pulitzer also claims that there Mi’kmaq petroglyphs in the surrounding area showing Roman legionnaires (Gadd 2015). Just looking at the offered image it’s clear either those are the longest swords ever made, or their something more like spears. Which I’m sure the Mi’kmaq peoples were and are familiar with. See, we don’t need a legion of Europeans to explain Native petroglyphs, Native people are capable of explaining themselves. I wonder if anyone has bothered to asked them about their petroglyphs?
Just for good measure Pulitzer tries to tie in linguistics, which is almost never accurate when used by the fringe as Colavito points out:
” He [Pulitzer] further argues that the Mi’kmaq preserve 50 Roman sailing terms, though he identifies none. Since the Mi’kmaq have a long history of interaction with French sailors, and French is a Romance language, if there are Latinate borrowings, he would need to prove these were not mediated through French. (Colavito 2015)”
He’s also offered a variety of Roman items that are not found on Oak Island, but around Nova Scotia as a whole. None of which are particularly impressive and all of which are without context. They are neat to collect, but not actual evidence of anything.
Lastly, Pulitzer tries to argue that the Romans brought an invasive species of plant with them on their voyages to help them fight scurvy (Gadd 2015). Said plant is now found all over the area. But plant he points to is called barberry (Berberis vulgaris) and was brought by the Europeans during the colonial period (Colavito 2015). Which would make sense since all the shipwrecks in the area are dated between 18th and 19th centuries (Gadd 2015).
Pulitzer has been proclaiming quite loudly that he’s going to produce a White Paper. No one has seen it, except maybe the Boston Standard. Much like no one has seen the shipwreck scan, or like how no one gets to see the “original” Roman sword for actual research purposes.
All and all, in my opinion, this issue is a modern fraud. I for one am glad to see how quickly archaeologists like Andy and his supporting community have risen to the clarion to debunk it.
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