Category Archives: Uncategorized

Atlantis Deep Dive Comic 1

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The Archaeology of Giants

Atlantis at Last! In Search of Aliens S01, E01
https://archyfantasies.com/atlantis-at-last-in-search-of-aliens-s01-e01/

Atlantis – Episode 17
https://wordpress.com/post/archyfantasies.com/5961?site=archyfantasies.com

Remix – Atlantis in Sardinia with Dr. Emily Holt – Archaeological Fantasies ep 107
https://archyfantasies.com/remix-atlantis-in-sardinia-with-dr-emily-holt-archaeological-fantasies-ep-107/

Hi! I’m an archaeologist who likes games, video games, gaming, horror, the supernatural, and debunking pseudoarchaeology. Check out my vids for more on the above topics, and toss us a coin if you like what I do.
Twitter – @ArchyFantasies
IG – @ArchyFantasies
Emai – ArchyFantasies@gmail.com.

Coming up on Archaeological Fantasies:

In this interesting time…my semester is wrapping up, and I decided to change my thesis proposal with three weeks left in the semester…because reasons.

That said. I do have a stock of podcasts that need tweaking before being posted. I’m going get those up soon, and thank everyone for being lenient with us. I think you’ll really enjoy the topics coming up, we got haunted Winchester house, archaeology and ghost hunting pt 2, race in academia, and the Historical accuracy of the Assassin’s Creed games pt2!

We’ve also got a bunch of collaboration things like the “Hunt for Secret Mysteries” vids and Podcast with Bill Auchter with ArchaeoRPG and ArchaeoThoughts. We’re taking on Skinwalker Ranch right now, and wow, just…its bad yall.

We’re also still working on our own archeology surveys in Elder Scrolls and No Man’s Sky and looking at Aliens, Giants, and the Paranormal on our sub-blogs. 

So hopefully there’s a lot to keep you busy this month while my output might be a little spotty. I have a couple of quick vids planned, but other than that, I need to lay low and convince my Thesis Professor to let me lead a real-life phase 1 survey in Elders Scrolls Online…I have a crew and everything. 

In the meantime, enjoy this throwback from the archives, where Dr. Jeb Card and I talk with Dr. April Beisaw about Ghost Hunting as Historical Archaeology! 

Also, be sure to check out Jeb and Blake Smith’s newest podcast “In Research Of” for a fun and critical look back on Leonard Nimoy’s classic pseudoarchaeology show. 

Show Notes:

April Beisaw on Twitter: @AprilMBeisaw

April Beisaw website 

Lost City, Found Pyramid edited by Jeb Card and David Anderson 

Game Food Archaeology: Major Dunmer Food Stuffs.

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Ashalander Camp Cook Fire. Note the baskets and simplicity of the setup. 

The Dunmer race in ESO can be divided into two distinct cultural groups. One being the Indigenous Ashlanders and the other being the city and town dwelling Dunmer. When talking about the major foodstuffs of these groups, it’s important to keep them separate, as the city Dunmer have a great deal of Imperial influence to their cuisine where the Ashlanders appear to keep to more traditional cuisine.

Despite the separation, there are a few shared foods between both groups. Saltrice and Kwama, in its various forms, especially eggs, are something all Dunmer incorporate into their cooking.

As meats come only in generic terms, all Dunmer eat poultry, white and red meat, game, and small game. Though the sources of these meats are different from other regions in Tameril. Dunmer pulls their meat sources from the local animals, which all appear to an outside observer like myself to be lizard and insect-derived fauna.

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Ashlander Camp Fish Drying Rack. 

Now here is where we start to see a divide in preferred foodstuffs. Ashlanders will eat Nix-hounds, guar, a verity of fish, and mud-crabs. This is what we can pick up from not only recorded recipes but also from examining the food preparation in the Ashlanders camps.

City Dunmer doesn’t appear to eat many kinds of seafood, though there is a recorded crab recipe for the Redoran. Examining the City Dunmer kitchens and pantries, we see meat sources that are not local. Pheasants, ducks, and geese are among the exotic foodstuffs we see. There is a noticeable lack of fish found here. This is clearly explained by the City Dunmer’s access to a wider variety of trade items than the Ashlanders, who are known to be reluctant to deal with outsiders. .

Beyond meats there are several other reoccurring foodstuffs in the City Dunmers’ recipes; melons, seasoning, cheese, pumpkin, tomatoes, greens, flour, radish, potato, Jazbay grapes, garlic, beets, carrots, Frost Miriam plant, perfect roe, scrib jelly, Namira’s rot, Imp stool, and lemons. We can add Bananas to the mix as well, but only when dealing with the southernmost reaches of Dunmer influence, again showing a cultural mixing between the Dunmer and their southern neighbors.

Outside fo the city, we lose the exotic ingredients such as cheese and flour for the most part and many melon dishes. We see the incorporation of more Ashyams and pumpkin to the diet. Though there is evidence of a cheese and bread plater associated with Ashlanders, though it’s such an outlier, it’s authenticity is questionable.

Another distinct difference between Ashlander and City Dunmer cooking is the concept of ‘plated’ meals versus one-pot meals. Ashlanders favor meals that can be cooked in large pots, possibly communal, and eaten with fingers or dipped bits of bread. There is an Ash Yam Loaf recipe and is probably the common bread type among the Ashlanders. Its main ingredients are Potato (Ash Yam) and Flour (unspecified type, but possibly local wild Whickwhaet).

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Dunmer Feild Cooking, not the racks of meat, bread, apples, and cooking pots. 

City Dunmer seems to prefer meals that separate ingredients and are served on individual plates or bowls. They are eaten with typical utensils, knife, fork, spoon, along with an individual drink as opposed to a water skein. Again this appearers to be due to the embracing of outside cultures’ influences.

Now, this all is mostly learned via interacting with the game world. Stepping back slightly and looking at player interpretation of Dunmer food and food culture expands our understating of City Dunmer cooking, while not really expanding Ashlander foodways much.

There is in-game precedence that Dunmer food is considered very spicy. There is also some precedence that Ashlander food is often seasoned with ash, specifically volcano ash. The game only provides “seasoning” as a generic catch-all category, however showing in-game spice markets with a variety of spices. These spice markets aren’t represented in Dunmer territories, and it’s entirely possible these markets only came into game-reality recently with a newer expansion for Northern Elsewyr. It could also be the games subtle way of showing the difference between food being Heat-Spicy versus being Seasoning-Spicy, ie, chilies vs. curry.

Mural of Vivec City

With only “Dunmer food is spicy” and the 27-ish in-game recipes, players and ESO scholars have worked diligently to recreate the ‘taste’ and ‘flavor’ of Dunmer cooking, trying to find a real-world comparison to use aa guides. This has led to some very inters ting discussions about Who the Dunmer are based on IRL.

To my knowledge, ESO officially has never said who or what culture is based on in the real world. Which I think is smart as they appear to take elements from several cultures and weave them together to create a new in-game culture that is *almost* recognizable but still distinct on its own.

Speculation has picked several good IRL influences for the Dunmer. Two cultures that are regularly picked are Japanese and Indian food culture. This is based on the cannon spiciness of Dunmer food and the prevalence of rice dishes, bread, and bugs.

The bugs need a bit of explaining.

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Nix Hound looking noble

Kwama and Nix, the two major meat sources on Vvardenfell, are both fairly insect looking, though both drop either poultry or red meat. Scribs, which are the larva of Kwama, and Kwama eggs, are their own substances. Scribs producing Scrib Jelly and jerky and the eggs being used much like eggs IRL. So it’s not really that Dunmer *eat* bugs, as it is, their food sources look like insects.



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Kwama Eggs in a basket

That being said, it’s not uncommon for IRL food cultures to incorporate bug and larva into their diets. Who likes shrimp? Yeah.

So, what we’ve looked at here is the major foodstuffs available to the Dunmer and Ashlander food cultures. What we’ll look at next time, is the recipes themselves, both in-game, official cookbook, and player-made content.

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Hi! I’m an archaeologist who likes games, video games, gaming, horror, the supernatural, and debunking pseudoarchaeology. Check out my vids for more on the above topics, and toss us a coin if you like what I do.
Twitter – @ArchyFantasies
IG – @ArchyFantasies
Emai – ArchyFantasies@gmail.com. 
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If you want more on ArchaeoGaming check out the ArchaeoRPG channel  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi0v2MFRN_1DRXSlkzn4a2w for all your archaeology and gaming needs!

Let’s Play: Archaeologist sets up Data for Excavation in No Man’s Sky.

NMS 1 year later
This episode we’re figuring out how to take grid points from our ship, dream up ways to set up a grid, I wish my mom a happy birthday and clean up animal poop for profit.
Also, my mom calls and I have to defend my life choices.
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Check out Andrew Reinhard’s book ARCHAEOGAMING: An Introduction to Archaeology in and of Video Games https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/R…
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Hi! I’m an archaeologist who likes games, video games, gaming, horror, the supernatural, and debunking pseudoarchaeology. Check out my vids for more on the above topics, and toss us a coin if you like what I do.
Twitter – @ArchyFantasies
IG – @ArchyFantasies
Emai – ArchyFantasies@gmail.com. 
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If you want more on ArchaeoGaming check out the ArchaeoRPG channel  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi0v2MFRN_1DRXSlkzn4a2w for all your archaeology and gaming needs!

ArchyFantasies in the time of Covid.

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Hello everyone! This is just a quick message about how we’re navigating the whole lock-down and our content.

Currently, it’s not affecting our production schedule, and so I don’t see a need to alter much here. I may be putting some things out directly to everyone instead of making non-members wait a week, but for the most part, I’m going to maintain things the way they are for now.

That said, I understand some people may not be able to maintain their support at this time, and as much as I hate to lose ppl, I COMPLETELY understand.

It was asked of me what our PayPal is for those who’d like to support us, but can’t do monthly amounts. So if that’s you (it doesn’t need to be) our PayPal email is ArchyFantasies@gmail.com.

Even if you can’t financially support us you can really help us out by liking and sharing our content where ever you encounter it! Reviews and interactions on our Blogs,  Pods, and Vlogs would be immensely helpful.

And lastly, please take care of yourself and the people around you! We’re all in this together.

Lovecraft and Religious Exoticism.

Lovecraft and Religious Exoticism.

Last post I touched on the concept of Orientalism and how it’s used in a lot of Lovecraft’s writing. This post I want to focus on something specific, mainly Lovecraft’s use of religion and superstition in his stories.

When we talked about Orientalism, I also brought up the idea of cultural exoticism, which is the Othering of things outside of our own culture. It’s ethnocentrism in practice, and Lovecraft used it a lot. Jason Colavito in his book Cult of the Alien Gods mentions how Lovecraft was fascinated with the Muslim religion for a brief while. That fascination did not appear to lead to greater education about the Muslim religion for Lovecraft. It seems that Lovecraft merely learned a few tidbits about the Muslim religion and ran with the rest of it in his imagination. We see these details peppered throughout his stories. Of course, there is the mad Arab, the author of the Necronomicon, whose name was also the alter ego of Lovecraft himself for a while. We see Lovecraft’s weave in superstitions of Djin and the mysterious city of Irem, in his short stories.

Lovecraft’s heavy-handed poetic license didn’t focus entirely on the Muslim religion and culture. He was also fascinated with the ancient religions of European countries as well. Several stories highlight this fascination showing the superstitions Lovecraft imagines ancient peoples might have had. He, of course, uses his own cosmic pantheon as stand-ins for any real gods or spirits. Lovecraft was building a brand after all, even if that exact concept hadn’t been developed yet.

Lovecraft enjoyed creating horror in his stories by tapping into the past and weaving it into the future. Unfortunately, so often, the characters he chose to represent this ‘living past’ were foreigners, or economically depressed individuals, or those who would be considered poorly educated. Lovecraft used classism as much as he used racism in his stories to create distance between the reader and those he wished to mark as pitiful or horrifying.

So what exactly am I describing when I say religious exoticism?

Perhaps the best examples that pop into my mind immediately are such things as the lost city of Irem and the idea of the Necronomicon. Irem is part of actual folklore as being a city that existed before the pyramids in the great desert of Arabia. The inhabitants of the city were supposedly giant individuals or even Djin. Some claim that the citizens of Irem where those that built the pyramids, and/or where the Djin enslaved by Solomon to build his temple.

Lovecraft took this story and ran with it in his own tail “The Nameless City.” But Lovecraft, of course, embellished his story with details and ideas that were not originally part of the folk-story.

He did something similar when he created his mad Arab and the Necronomicon. The book of course as many may know is supposed to be a text on how to summon and control Djin, and is supposed to be one of the most powerful and terrifying books ever written. The Necronomicon is completely made up, though there are some texts that may or may not have been the influence for the Necronomicon. There is varying evidence to suggest if Lovecraft would even have been aware of the existence of these old books or even the actual existence of these old books. Neither of these details are important to our conversation today.

What is important is that once again Lovecraft took one particular detail, his fascination with the Pre-Muslim magic and belief in Djin, and ran with it. I don’t think Lovecraft puts any true facts in either his story of Irem or the Necronomicon’s many incarnations. He didn’t need to, he was telling a story trying to create an atmosphere of horror and suspense and danger, and did so by taking just enough reality and then embellishing the crap out of it, without true care for accuracy.

As we have been learning in our shallow deep-dive into Lovecraft and all things he influenced, this religious exoticism of Lovecraft’s did not end when he stopped writing. As far as is using it as an element for storytelling, Lovecraft’s cabal of writers; friends and students, continued to use these elements in their own stories and his writing style has definitely influenced writers ever since. We talked about the long reach of Lovecraft when we talked about the 25th anniversary of “In the Mouth of Madness” by John Carpenter. It’s always fun to have a little geek out moment.

But we can still see the impact of religious exoticism in the modern-day. And here I wish to tie-in a recent article I wrote about dybbuk boxes. A very brief recap of what a dybbuk boxes, supposedly it’s a Jewish spirit box meant to contain an evil spirit.

Now the reason I compare the dybbuk box to Lovecraft’s writing is that there was a movie released in 2012 called The Possession. The inspiration for the movie came directly from the original dybbuk box that was sold on eBay. I covered the dybbuk box in its history on the Paranormal Archaeology blog. And in my investigations of the dybbuk box, I found that it is a completely made-up object, however, there is enough independent belief in the reality of a dybbuk box that they are quite popular now. And it’s my honest belief that the reason the dybbuk box is so popular is because of its connection to the concept of Jewish mysticism.

The Jewish religion does have a branch that is concerned with mysticism, it is not a very well-known branch to the average person. Many people may not even know that there is Jewish mysticism. But like all religions, including Catholicism and many Christian denominations, there’s always an element of the mystical and/or the magical.

That being said the dybbuk box is not Jewish in any way, not only is the dybbuk box completely made up, but the concept of a dybbuk box is counter to actual Jewish mysticism. But that’s not the important detail is it? Much like Lovecraft to took a few ideas from the Muslim religion and ran with it to create his nameless city and his Necronomicon, the original creator of the dybbuk box took a few ideas of Jewish mysticism and cobbled them together to create a completely fake artifact that he sold on eBay as a haunted box. Much like Lovecraft’s creation of the Necronomicon has spawned several iterations of the book to the point where people have even tried to create genuine copies of the Necronomicon and sell them to the public, the dybbuk box is quite popular on the Internet. They can be purchased even now on sites like eBay and if you go to YouTube you can find several videos of people investigating and opening the dybbuk boxes, many of them believing they are having some kind of supernatural experience in the process.

What allows this to occur is the mysterious and unknown elements of religions that are foreign to us. For example, the idea of speaking in tongues is very strange to many who do not practice it. Yet for religions that believe that this is a tenement of their religion, it’s not strange at all. Yet how many horror movies have we watched the past where strange cults become possessed and start speaking in tongues? Why is this frightening to us? Why is it a staple of horror movies throughout the years?

Because it is a not well known, mysterious, religious practice, whose significance may not be evident to those observing from the outside. It is the same thing with Jewish mysticism, it serves a purpose within the religion, and is misunderstood by those outside of it. Catholicism has the same issues with their saints and the Vatican. How many times have we heard of a great Vatican conspiracy? Why is this, because the Vatican is secretive. It is the same thing with Lovecraft and the Muslim religion and made up pagan religions. Things that are not well understood by outsiders are easily seen as things to be suspicious of or even fearful of.

For Lovecraft, these were the perfect elements to create horror stories that would stick with his readers for generations to come. For those of us living in the modern era, where we should be more understanding of the differences of others, religious exoticism should be a warning sign to us.

When we step back from entertainment and see religious exoticism in practice in our lives we should be wary. How many times have we had arguments with people around us about sharia law or the practice of praying five times a day while facing east? How many times have we seen or heard horror stories of Muslims, or Sheiks, or even Indigenous peoples practicing their religions and being attacked for practices that seem strange to outsiders? Here in America, we tend to see everything through a Christian filter one way or the other. Whether we are believers or not. It affects everything that we see and do and affects the decisions we make about people around us. Have you ever stop to wonder why multiple spouses are frowned upon? If everyone is a consenting adult, is anyone truly being harmed? But yet we refuse to allow for legal polygamy, and we look on with suspicion to those who practice it.

This isn’t me advocating for polygamy, this is me trying to point out the religious exoticism affects us even today. And the idea that exotic elements of other religions are things to be feared are traits that we have deep inside of us. Lovecraft used them as a way of making a story, we should be examining them as warning signs of our own personal biases. The next time you have a knee-jerk reaction to the religious practice of another, you should perhaps look inside first and figure out why it bothers you. Is it because someone is doing something that seems wrong to you because it’s occurring outside of your own culture? It might be scary to find out how often that is really the truth.

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Resources:

 

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Hi! I’m an archaeologist who likes games, video games, gaming, horror, the supernatural, and debunking pseudoarchaeology. Check out my vids for more on the above topics, and toss us a coin if you like what I do.

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The Major Issues with Transoceanic Travelers (Hint it’s the R and S words)

The Major Issues with Transoceanic Travelers

So there’s a few unifying threads when it comes to certain pseudoarchaeology ideas — one of which being the concept of the Transoceanic Traveler. I recently finished reading a book called The Path of the Spiritual Sun. It’s a guidebook for a new religion that a gentleman named Beelzebub is trying to hype.

The central premise of Beelzebub’s argument in his book is that all religions stem from an ancient race of sun worshipers who existed before the biblical flood. That premises alone is a bit of a bag of worms to unpack, but then we start looking deeper into this mysterious vanished race, and what we find is not surprising at all. I did a podcast recently talking about my thoughts and feelings over the book itself. What I wanted to concentrate on here is the idea of the great white race of ancient ancestors who come bearing culture from across the oceans.

Now sometimes you see this theme, and it’s small scale-wise. It’s usually just one culture supplanting another. An example I can think of is the Lost Tribes of Israel coming to the Americas. (this did not actually happen.) Clearly, the Lost Tribes of Israel were not some great global master race, but according to some fringe theorists, they were the ones that brought civilization to the Americans. (again, this did not actually happen.)

A lot of times, you also see this concept of the Transoceanic Traveler echoed in ancient astronauts or ancient alien theories. If you have followed the Ancient Aliens’ TV series for the past ten years, you will probably know that one of the major linchpins of the ancient alien theory is that all Gods across all cultures are actually aliens. Prehistoric man assigned them the role of God because they were unable to conceive of anything else. I think the Ancient Aliens’ theory is probably the most extreme version of the Transoceanic Traveler simply because those culture bringers had to come across the vast sea of space.

Beelzebub brings this Transoceanic Traveler idea back to its ideological roots. That idea that prehistoric humans were incapable of creating their own culture and so required outside influence. Now, like most proponents of the Transoceanic Traveler idea, we don’t know where the original father race of people came from. Perhaps they grew out of the ground organically? Perhaps they are actually Gods? Who knows, no one ever bothers to provide too much of the back story for the fictional Transoceanic Traveler. What we do know is that these father races are almost always without exception a white race of men. I say of men because you very rarely see any mention of women when it comes to these theories.

Anytime women are mentioned in a Transoceanic Traveler story, it’s almost always as merely a vessel for the next generation. They’re simply there for the white man to have sex with and then bear sons to. On the very rare occasion, you will see some goddess relegated to the ranks of the enlightened father race, but it’s very rare.

So I’m sure at this point we can clearly see a few of the major issues with the Transoceanic Traveler idea. It is inherently racist in that it completely erases prehistoric cultures’ abilities to have agency over their own religion and culture and history. It also usually only applies to cultural groups that are perceived as being non-Caucasian, or more specifically non-Aryan (a term used verbatim in Beelzebub’s book). Now, unless you’re talking about a certain brand of wool, using the term Aryan is usually a red flag.

The Transoceanic Traveler it is also inherently sexist because it doesn’t include women at all unless they are a sexualized object, or merely a vessel of reproduction. This makes women nothing more than objects of the past, puts them in a position of being nonhuman. This seems to be a difficult idea for certain people to understand, that relegating women to a mear function is inherently sexist and dehumanizing. Not sure why that’s a hard concept for some, but apparently it is.

Also, by insisting that all of the great minds throughout history are direct descendants of these white male Transoceanic Travelers also erases any contribution of anyone who does not fall into that category. We see this with Ancient Aliens fairly frequently. Their claim that the great men throughout history are either the hybrid byproducts of male-alien / human-female interbreeding or the direct result of alien genetic manipulation.
It erases cultural achievement, cultural agency, and cultural independence, and pushes the narrative that male is best.

The truly insidious part of all of this is, however, that most people, I believe, who promote this idea of a Transoceanic Traveler culture bringing father race, are not themselves actively racist and sexist. I believe they just lack the tools to see the issues in this fanciful idea. For whatever reason, the Transoceanic Traveler story holds a lot of power over some. Perhaps it is the idea of mystery, the idea of a suppressed past, the Everyman myth where the average guy outsmarts the educated elite. Maybe it’s a small combination of all these things. But when you look past the romanticized adventure of the idea of travelers from another world, and you start seeing the inherent issues with an idea like this, and the problems that arise trying to make a statement like that true, you have a hard time being able to accept Transoceanic Travelers at face value.

Putting aside the fact that there is absolutely no archaeological evidence to support Transoceanic Travelers at the level of culture bringing father races. Yes, there is evidence that there was trade among many different ancient cultures going further back than written records were kept. Again this should not be something surprising, if two groups share a cultural border that is easily crossed, they’re going to cross it. But to see one culture completely supplant another, especially over a distance such as the oceans during a time where vessels were not built to go that far, that’s never been seen in the archaeological record. I could make the argument that historically it doesn’t hold up either outside of myths and legends, but I’m not that familiar with every historical text ever.

I call Transoceanic Travelers an idea over a hypothesis because it is not built in the formal way of a hypothesis, and therefore can be neither a hypothesis nor theory. It’s merely an idea that some choose to cling to in the absence of evidence and in the presence of problematic issues like sexism and racism. One must choose to accept Transoceanic Travelers. There is no evidence to compel us to accept it as fact. And I think once people understand that better, and examine within themselves why they need the transoceanic traveler idea to be true, I hope many will abandon the idea, and perhaps look at what archaeology actually tells us about the rich histories of the variety of human cultures around the globe.

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Sub-Blogs!? WTF Archy?

Archaeological Fantasies icon

Whats a Sub-blog?

Something I made up.

You’ll have noticed a weird hiccup in the blog last month. Well, it was the combination of a lot of things but mostly it led to some restructuring of the blog. Which also led to me thinking, “Hey, I got these three topics that I really want to delve into, but I don’t want to swamp the blog.” So I created three new sub-blogs, that are still part of the ArchyFantasies brand but are more focused in scope and a little different in tone.

Ancient Alien Archaeology banner

This one was kind of a no-brainer. I’m watching a lot of this show for my thesis and I really started this to help me organize my thoughts. However, it’s a lot of fun to look at things from a different perspective. Currently, I’m comparing the first and second season to the current season, and well, there’s a lot of overlap. I’m also looking at other purveyors of the ancient alien sauce, just trying to this all this stuff together.

The Archaeology of Giants banner

This one came about because I was traveling in the midwest a lot and that’s apparently Giant central. I figured people don’t know enough about the moundbuilder cultures so I might give it try. Dispelling giants solidified when I started watching the 2014 show Search for Lost Giants, and just…well I needed to blog about it.

Paranormal Archaeology Banner

This one I’m kinda excited about. I love the paranormal and the idea of paranormal objects fascinates me. This particular blog is about objects and sites, and how humans create and imbue them with meaning. I think the paranormal is the best way to look at this process. Paranormal sites and artifacts can be old or brand new, but they still hold meaning and understanding that, the creation process and the history of an object or sie, helps us understand our own relationships with history.

Archaeological Fantasies

And of course, this blog and podcast will continue. Starting in January the podcast will be back on air and the blog will be updated bi-monthly.

I hope you’ll go check out the other blogs, and let those tied you over till next year. We’ve had a lot of change in 2019, we’re ready for 2020.

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We’re on YouTube again!

If you’d like to support the Podcast or site, consider donating to us on Patreon or buy us a  Ko-Fi. Either option helps us out.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on the blog and like and share us where ever you can.

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Caution and Certainty in Archaeology and Pseudoarchaeology.

Caution and Certainty in Archaeology and Pseudoarchaeology.

Well, I finished reading America Before by Graham Hancock.

I know there’s already been several reviews about this book, and I’ll be getting around to a much more in-depth one. (Because as I keep telling people, this is part of my thesis, and I may as well kill two birds with one stone). But if you followed along with my tweets as I’ve been reading this book, you’re probably aware of most of my thoughts at this point.

And yes I did finally get to the part about the psychic technology.

As stated earlier, my biggest issue with America Before and other books like it isn’t the idea about psychic lost civilizations that somehow could harness the ability to control the weather and predict space phenomenon but couldn’t somehow survive the Younger Dryas. My biggest issue about them is the subtle and inherent racism of the theories.

What’s most disconcerting though is that explaining why these ideas are racist, tends to be almost as difficult as bailing water with a sieve.  The major reason for this seems to be that people don’t understand what is racism is. I’m pretty sure that is well outside the scope of this blog, but I refuse to let that stop me from pointing this crap out when I see it. Maybe it’ll stick and dawn on someone eventually. 

I had a recent comment about my opinions on these issues with alternative history and alternative archaeology. It’s clear from the comment that for this person simply stating “I-am-not-a-racist” is enough to negate all inherent racism in the ides of Hancock’s major idea of a lost civilization that predates all Native Americans, and then cultivated “primitive” peoples to create the cultures and tribes in the Americas.

Which is not what I want to focus on here, really. That’s for my Thesis and is probably a whole chapter on its own. 

What I really wanted to talk about is Uncertainty in Archaeology and how it’s different from the Certainty of PseudoArchaeology  

Interestingly, Hancock is paying attention to some of the developing discoveries in archaeology. 

He cites some fairly recent papers and attempts to follow the conversations that are going on around them. The problem is, he doesn’t have the context or the training in archaeological theory to understand the conversation that’s occurring. So all of these assumptions that he’s making are happening without the benefit of that knowledge. 

Archaeology can take some small portion of the blame for this.  Archaeology as a field is notorious about keeping things to itself, especially when it comes to developing theories and things we’re not 100% sure about yet. Archaeology as a field is incredibly cautious, we don’t like to put things out to the public that we are not completely sure are defendable or accurate. 

It’s good science because we’re trying not to confuse people with too many ‘what-ifs’ and ‘maybes’. The problem here is is that being cautious is somehow seen as being wishy-washy, and too many people in today’s day and age want definitive answers, and they want them now. 

This is where presenters and writers like Hancock come into play. 

Throughout his book, Hancock constantly speculates about what he thinks his lost civilization would be like and they would look like culturally and scientifically. There are several places in the book where he straight says he will not try to defend these ideas of his or try to provide evidence. Then a few chapters later, the things that he speculated about in earlier chapters, he lays out in words that show that he has now moved these statements from speculation into solid facts without the benefit of defending them or trying to validate them with facts and evidence. 

But because Hancock uses definitive language, and emotionally charged language at that, it feeds that need in a lot of people to have solid answers to questions. Solid answers that science is not willing to provide because we are taught to be cautious, we are taught to doubt, we are taught to follow the evidence when evidence is provided, and if there isn’t enough evidence we are taught to wait.

The contrast between this certainty and uncertainty is really where the conflict occurs.

Pseudoarchaeology is confident that it is correct, it is confident that it’s evidence points where it needs it to, it is confident that it has solved the mystery. Archaeology, by contrast, isn’t so confident, even when we know we have the evidence and it points one way or the other. We are still cautious about our language. We are unwilling to put definitive words down, because we know that with the presentation of new evidence that even our most solid theory can change. It’s why we put so much weight on evidence, and why we are so picky about what we will accept as evidence and why we argue with ourselves over what is the correct interpretation of the evidence. 

We are cautious by nature because we have been taught to doubt, something pseudoarchaeology does not teach. Pseudoarchaeology tells you that if you see something and it looks a certain way to you, then that must be the Truth, and that all you have to do to prove the truth is find evidence that agrees with you. Pseudoarchaeology teaches you to ignore anything that is counter to the evidence that you need. This is not how science works.

You can call your ‘assumption’ a ‘hypothesis’ all you wish, it does not make it a hypothesis. If you are not applying the scientific method you are not working with a hypothesis, if your hypothesis cannot possibly be proven false, it is not a hypothesis. 

Too often pseudoarchaeology presents an idea and call it a hypothesis. Then, as Hancock does several times in his own book, states that they are not going to attempt to provide evidence. 

This is not science, this is not a hypothesis, this is not how the scientific method works.

It is unfortunate that this statement will upset a few people. It’s unfortunate that this statement makes people think I’m being exclusive. But we have standards in science.  We have doubts at every step. We test everything, evaluate everything, and yes, we argue. 

If all we were really doing is forming our own opinions based on our own observations, whether or not they are true or accurate, and then arguing with each other about who’s fantasy is better, we would not be doing science. 

We would be doing Pseudoscience.

 


We’re on YouTube again!

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Check out Jeb Card’s new book Spooky Archaeology :
Myth and the Science of the Past

And Ken Feder’s new book Archaeological Oddities: A Field Guide to Forty Claims of Lost Civilizations, Ancient Visitors, and Other Strange Sites in North America

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Archaeological Fantasies 2018 Year in Review.

We did a lot this year on the blog and the podcast, not to mention personally.

We moved to Philadelphia, continued in grad school, went to several conferences, had a litter of kittens...

On the ArchyFantasies side, we moved the Podcast to an independent platform, reached out to several new guests and hosts, really launched our Pateron and in general really liked the way the podcast and the blog have expanded.

It thought it might be interesting to look back at the past year and see what our most popular articles and podcast episodes were. I was expecting a fair amount of overlap, but there was a kind of divide between my podcast and my blog.

Top Ten (11) Podcast Episodes in 2018:

Top Ten Blog Posts for 2018:

I’m glad to see such a variety of topics being enjoyed by folks on the podcast. Everything this year from our first episode to the emerging study of Archaeogaming. There’s a pretty wide variety there too, one I don’t really see in the blog.

The 10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts series is still going strong, and frankly, I blame Ancient Aliens. But hey, they’re driving people to my blog so…

I am glad to see criticism of Legends of the Lost is doing well too. They’re the top posts by almost double the others. That’s hearting.

Keeping it brief here, I like the way things are going here, but I can also see clear trends that people appear to want, given the medium. So saying, I’ve got several new and, hopefully, exciting new things to try with the podcast and blog, but we won’t be losing our staples either.

All that said, into the New Year we go! Thanks to everyone who has supported us this far, stick with us for more Archaeology, outreach, and plain old fun!

____________________________________

If you’d like to support the Podcast or blog, consider donating to us on Patreon or buy us a  Ko-Fi. Either option helps us out.

Grab a t-shirt or coffee mug from our Swag Store on Zazzle.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on the blog at www.ArchyFantasies.com and like and share us where ever you can.

You can follow us on twitter @Archyfantsies, or look us up on Facebook. You can reach us by email at ArchyFantasies@gmail.com.

Contact us below or leave a comment.