PW Posts, aka WordPress is Stupid sometimes.

So yes, there were several password protected posts that went up the last two days, they were supposed to be unseen by people, but obviously that didn’t work. Sorry about the confusion. I was working on a class project that I planned to share after the semester ended, but thanks to WP being stellar, you all get to see it early if you want. Again, the confusion is on my end and WP not understanding how not to share a PW protected post, but then again, you all get access to my class project. 

Oh and there’s a new editor thing going on and no I don’t like it.  It was hard enough to format a post in WP before, this is not helping. 

The History of Pseudoarchaeology: The Re-Engagement of Professorial Archaeology with the Public

The Re-engagement of professorial archaeology with the public was not an easy one. There had been a 30-year silence on the end of archaeology and when they came back into it, it was as if they had forgotten how to communicate.

Ken Feder published the first edition of his book Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology in 1990, 30 years after Robert Wauchope published his Lost Tribes and Sunken Contents. Now in its ninth edition, Feder’s book has become a staple textbook for many a college class on Alternative archaeology. And it’s good, Feder has an easy way of writing with wit and simplicity, able to break down archaeological ideas and pseudoarchaeological ones so that the general public can understand what he’s saying. All without talking down to his audience. There is the criticism that Feder is too harsh in his tone and treatment of pseudoarchaeology, particularly certain individuals who try to push their flavor of alternative archaeology, but we’ll address this in a bit.

Feder’s publication seems to have triggered a brief rapid fired publication of pseudoarchaeological rebuttals. Stephen Williams published Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory in 1991, Francis Harrold and Raymond Eve Cult Archaeology & Creationism: Understanding Pseudoscientific Beliefs about the Past in 1995, and Mary Lefkowitz published Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History in 1996. Understanding how books get written and published, we know these volumes were being written sometime in the late 80’s early 90’s which means the academic conversation about the problems with pseudoarchaeology were being noticed again around this time. Harrold and Eve’s book is an edited volume based on a 1986 symposium at the Society for American Archeology meeting that year. Feder, Luanne Hudson, and Herrold organized the meeting because they had become concerned enough by the prevalence of pseudoarchaeology they thought it should be addressed and brought to the attention of their peers (Harrold and Eve 1995)

Right after this rush of publications, we start to see on the back end of professional archaeology the conversations begin. Why do people believe this stuff? What’s wrong? Is it them? Is it us? A general discussion began about 1998, started by James Deetz. He made a call to his peers to return to a style of writing that was more prose like, more open, more storytelling and less fact telling. Deetz himself is a bit of a master at this with his books In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life and Flowerdew Hundred: The Archaeology of a Virginia Plantation.

Deetz’s call to archaeologists to be more open with their writing style is echoed by Adrian Praetzellis (1998) and Teresita Majewski (2000). Both talk about workshops offered in 1997 and 1998 to teach archeologist’s how to be more open in their writing. It’s Majewski who sums up why this sudden need to re-learn communication is so important. Naming *Hyperscience* as when archaeological inquiry has been narrowed down to such a small scale that archaeologists lose sight of the essential human aspect of the discipline (Majewski 2000). She calls out archaeologists for being protective of their “facts” and about who gets to tell the story linking the story of the facts together. Which is a sentiment we’ll encounter going forward. The idea of who owns the past is not only a valid argument but one we’ll see alternative theorists try to subvert.

Deetz, Praetzellis, and Majewski all make a collective call for archaeologists to become better storytellers, to embrace the power of story, and ignite the imaginations of the public through storytelling.

“I welcome the potential of storytelling, or ‘interpretive archaeology,’ to contribute to both public interpretation and archaeological analysis.” (Majewski 2000)

Storytelling is a skill pseudoarchaeology had already mastered by this point though. As such archaeology was at a huge disadvantage when it came to re-engaging the public.

It didn’t help that archaeological publications stopped being available to the public as well. This entire discussion with Deetz, Praetzellis, Majewski and their peers happened in the pages of Historical Archaeology, a scholarly journal for the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA). As such it was, and is, only available to members of the SHA’s. Many of its articles are still kept behind a pay-wall, and even in today’s era of Google, the articles are not always the first thing to pop up when you look something up. Not that most people would be willing to pay the price for an article anyway.

So the point here is, that in the late ’90s when this professional realization that archaeologist kinda suck at talking to the public was occurring, the public was completely blind to it because they were basically blocked from participating.

Lack of public participation is not an issue for alternative theorists though, public engagement is their bread and butter, and as we’ll see, their powers of storytelling and mastery of the Internet and social media again leaves professional archaeology in the dust.


Deetz, James
1993 Flowerdew Hundred: The Archaeology of a Virginia Plantation, 1619-1864. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville.

1996 In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life. Expanded and rev. ed. New York: Anchor Books, 1996.

1998 “Discussion: Archaeologists as Storytellers.” Historical Archaeology 32, no. 1 (March 1998): 94–96.

Feder, Kenneth L.
2007 Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology. Ninth edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Harrold, Francis B., and Raymond A. Eve, eds.
1995 Cult Archaeology & Creationism: Understanding Pseudoscientific Beliefs about the Past. Expanded ed. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1995.

Lefkowitz, Mary R.
1996 Not out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History. New York: BasicBooks, 1996.

Majewski, Teresita.
2000 “We Are All Storytellers: Comments on Storytelling, Science, and Historical Archaeology.” Historical Archaeology 34, no. 2 (June 2000): 17–19.

Praetzellis, Adrian.
1998 “Introduction: Why Every Archaeologist Should Tell Stories Once in a While.” Historical Archaeology 32, no. 1 (1998): 1–3.

Williams, Stephen.
1991 Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991.

Music in podcast provided by

“We Don’t Dig Dinos” ArchaeoS0up Productions. Use with permission.

“Feelin Good” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

The History of Pseudoarchaeology: From Engagement to Isolation.

Things changed drastically as archaeology developed and professionalized. During the pre-professional time, or the Romantic Era of archaeology as Jeb Card and David Anderson (2016) call it, archaeology was really more of a jumbled collection of competing methodologies, antiquarians out looking for epic adventures chasing down mythic locations, and making extraordinary claims to establish racial dominance and promote nationalist agendas (Card and Anderson 2016). However, as the field of archaeology matured, it began to challenge these behaviors, choosing scientific procedures over frivolity, demanding evidence to support wild claims, and in general, growing up.

For example, Alternative theorists love to point out a couple early hoaxes that archeology had to deal with. The most famous of these would be the Piltdown man hoax.

Ever so briefly, the Piltdown man was an early 1900’s hoax were the lower jaw of an ape was altered to look like it belonged with the cranial part of a human skull. It was ‘discovered’ in 1912 in Sussex England and was lauded as the missing link (Feder 2010, 1990). Though the hoax wasn’t one-hundred percent debunked until 1949, it did have its early detractors (Feder 1990). Many thought it was just a little too convenient that Piltdown man was discovered where it was, and as time went by and more actual hominids were found around the world that predated Piltdown’s supposed age, more suspicions were thrown at it. 1949 was the beginning of the end for Piltdown man as a series of tests revealed that the bones that made up the skull were not the right age or even from the same species (Feder 1990).

Piltdown man fits because of the desperate need by the British government to have, not only an early hominid discovered on their soil but to have it be *the* missing link. British archaeologists at the time were willing to overlook clues that this was probably a hoax. Yet 40 years later, after a lot of questions from inside the field, the Piltdown man was exposed.

The reason this case is so well known is because it played out in the public eye, mainly by the circumstances of the time. Newspapers carried stories and images of the Piltdown man (Feder 1990). The public loved it and talked about it. It was even presented by the researchers to the public. Because of this, other researchers were able to know of and examine the hoax, and call it into question long enough to finally get it disproven. Now when we talk about the Piltdown man, we’re talking about the hoax and not the supposed missing link.

The development of Institutional Professional Archaeology.

Honestly, this is where things start to decline as far as the interactions between archaeology and pseudoarchaeology are concerned. Leading up to the 60’ Archaeologists were all over the place publicly. During the 1800’s they were traveling around speaking and presenting findings. Granted this was a necessity of the times, but the side effect was a great deal of public engagement.

As time moved on, Archaeologists began to appear on the radio and then TV (Card and Anderson 2016) embracing the new media as ways to communicate with the public. They wrote popular books about archaeology and, again, spoke publicly about the topic.

This all seemed to work out best over in the UK. Sir Lenord Woolley was all over the radio, Sir Mortimer Wheeler and Glyn Daniel were named TV personality of the year in 1954, the UK show Animal, Vegetable, Mineral was a success where the US version What in the World was not (Card and Anderson 2016). Overall, it seemed like everything was going good.

Then the New Archeology moment began in archaeology, symbolizing a shift in archaeological theory and practice. This time was important, it was a time when archeology began to look critically at itself and evaluate itself. It started important theory groups like gender and queer theory, started a realization of the colonial practices of archeology and called out the racism of the field. We’re not going to delve deeply into any of this here, but it’s important to understand what was happening as the archaeological field solidified and professionalized.

Unfortunately, it also isolated itself, pulling away from the public eye and behind academic walls. Card and Anderson (2016) point out that during this time where archaeology was maturing and professionalizing, the public saw very little of it. Instead what they did see was TV, books, and magazines pushing sensational ideas like ancient astronauts, ley lines, hidden symbols and lost civilizations (Card and Anderson 2016). Few professional rebuttals were issued, and even those didn’t appear to make it to the general public.

Chariots of the Gods? by Erick von Däniken was published in 1968. It inspired a TV series In Search of Ancient Astronauts airing in 1973. These were just a few of the most popular, clearly pseudoarchaeological media of the time. The result of all this uncriticized attention on fringe ideas resulted in actual archaeologists becoming characters and stereotypes, and the most recognized ‘Archaeologist’ in the US during the 70’s and 80’s being von Däniken and Indiana Jones.

The only book to come out at this time that I can find is Robert Wauchope’s book Lost Tribes and Sunken Continents in 1962. Even this though was a response to a 1947 book by Harold Gladwin, who was either being completely serious with his offensive, racist diffusionist theories or was just trying to be funny. Jullan Steward said about Gladwin’s book:

“Anthropologists who are familiar with Gladwin and with Gladwin’s solid contributions to Southwestern archeology during the past two decades will recognize this book as the release of partially suppressed theories with which he has long wanted to taunt the profession. They will understand that his manhandling of facts, his whimsical methodology, and his beating of dead horses are designed to get their blood pressures up. They will recommend that their friends should read the book for sheer entertainment but that they should not believe a word of it.” (Steward 1949)

Either way, he did have noted eugenicist E.A. Hooton write the foreword…so.

As archaeology withdrew from the public eye and from the public discussion of archaeology, they lost control of their image and symbols. Jeb Card (2017) points out in his book Spooky Archaeology that the void created by archaeologists was gladly filled by pseudoarchaeologists putting on the trappings of archaeology and creating an image that allowed them to co-opt archaeological authority.

“Anyone willing to wear the old symbols of pre-professional archaeology can claim the archaeological legacy and it’s mythic social currency even if their ideas or methods have no significant tie to actual archaeological practices, past or present.” (Card 2018)

It took over thirty years before the next book written by a professional archaeologist challenging pseudoarchaeology would be published. By then pseudoarchaeology had its hooks in the minds and imaginations of the public. Von Däniken and his cohort had not only lit a match, but the flames had caught, inspiring movies like Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Comic Books like Jack Kirby’s Eternals (1976), Games like Dungeons and Dragons (1974), hundreds of popular fiction stories and even more ‘Docu-mysteries’. Even newspaper comics routinely poked at these ideas, The Farside by Gary Larson started in 1980, routinely joked about archaeology, cavemen, and aliens.


So to recap where we are just now:
  1. During the Romantic era of archeology, it was pretty chaotic, but as the field professionalized, archaeologists began to question extraordinary claims and test them using developing methodology.
  2. As archaeology further developed and focused on much-needed self-reflection and theory development, it isolated itself and withdrew from public discussions.
  3. As archaeology left the conversation, pseudoarchaeology jumped in with both feet.
  4. When archaeology came out of its self-imposed exile, it realized the damage done by its non-participation, but at this point, the damage was done.
  5. Now archaeology is trying to desperately catch up with pseudoarchaeological claims and re-learn how to engage the general public.

Basically, by the time professional archeology decided to wake up, the damage was already done. Pseudoarchaeology was part of the mainstream and nearly every part of entertainment. When archaeologists began to re-engage pseudoarchaeology, they were confused at the public’s rejection of the world of facts and theory, and even argued amongst themselves about how best to embrace this new wave of fringe beliefs. Still, it was clear something had to be done, the question was what, and how.


Card, Jeb J., and David S. Anderson, eds.
2016 Lost City, Found Pyramid: Understanding Alternative Archaeologies and Pseudoscientific Practices. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2016.

Däniken, Erich von.
1968 Chariots of the Gods?: Unsolved Mysteries of the Past. New York: Berkley, 1968.

Feder, Kenneth L.
Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood, 2010.

Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology. Ninth edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Gladwin, Harold S.
1947 Men Out of Asia. Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1947.

Reinl, Harald.
1973 In Search of Ancient Astronauts (TV Movie 1973) – IMDb. 16 mm, Documentary. Thunderbird Video, 1973.

Steward, Jullan H.
1949 “Men out of Asia. Harold Sterling Gladwin.” American Anthropologist 51, no. 1 (January 1949): 113–15.

Wauchope, Robert. Lost Tribes & Sunken Continents: Myth and Method in the Study of American Indians Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

Music in podcast provided by

“We Don’t Dig Dinos” ArchaeoS0up Productions. Use with permission.

“Jarvic 8” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

If by Indiana Jones you mean a fake archaeologist, then yes Megan Fox is the new Indiana Jones.

critical tv

Ok, for starts let’s not slam Megan Fox for being an actress, or a model, or a woman, or any of the sexist bs I know I’m about to see over this. Yes, she was probably picked to do this show because she knows her way around the studio and how to look good on camera. It is literally her job and I will not begrudge her that.

What I am going after is the drivel her new show, “Legends of the Lost with Megan Fox”, is apparently pushing.

If you can’t tell from the title, I am responding to the USA Today Article Megan Fox fulfills her lifelong dream of becoming Indiana Jones in Travel Channel series. 

The article, of course, has to remind us that Megan Fox is indeed an actress:

“Yes, you read that correctly: The “Transformers” actress, whose last role was filling in for Zooey Deschanel on Fox’s sitcom “New Girl,” is taking her love of ancient history to “Legends of the Lost,” premiering Tuesday (8 EST/PST). “

OMG Really? Am I supposed to be excited that it’s Megan Fox, or impressed that “The “Transformers” actress” is capable of doing something else?

We then move on to talk about how annoyed Fox is that no one listens to her when she’s talked about wanting to do a show like this before. All the way back in 2016 Fox was telling the Los Angeles Times about string theory and her love of alternative history.

“I don’t think acting is my ultimate passion,” she says about a week before the “Ninja Turtles” opening. “I have other skill sets and gifts that are much, much stronger that I am obligated to exercise and use. I’m really more intellectually minded. I’ve always been into alternative history, antiquities, archaeology. I’ve always been really consumed by these deep mysteries that exist on our planet that can’t be explained today by science. They eat away at me.”

In the USA article, Fox bites back a little at people who always seem so surprised at her interests. “None of those things are the things people bother reading or retaining,” she laments.

I get it. Look the world is not kind to women who stick out, and Fox does. She’s also decided to throw her hat into a very male-dominated field. Pseudoarchaeology or Alternative Archaeology is pretty much a boys club, Fox would be one of two that I can think of right off the top of my head and we really don’t hear much from Janet Wolter without her husband’s name attached to it. So I mean, if she wanted an uphill battle, she’s got it.

Sadly though, Fox is probably going to do well as long as she stays inside the prescripted lines of most Fringe beliefs. She’s got the experience and the budget to make an exciting “documentary” and a ready-made audience eager to watch.

But on to the questions.

Fox is asked how long she’s been interested in ancient history, and she tells us she took a Greek mythology class in high school. Then she is very certain to tell us she’s never been to college. I guess that means something?

Then she gets asked:

“Q: Aside from the discovery that there were many female Viking warriors, what was the most interesting thing you learned shooting the first episode in Norway?”

Ok, so female Viking warriors have kinda been a thing for a while, granted there’s recently been a controversy over the most famous of the warrior burials, but the idea of Norse women as warriors isn’t new. Just because the mainstream media doesn’t want to act like they know that, doesn’t make this suddenly news.

Fox responds that she was surprised that women were also merchants. She says this is news to her because it’s not in “our history books.” I mean, my history books taught me that. I still have several on my shelf that talk about Norse society and women’s roles in them. I will admit that they are not high school textbooks, but they are history books.

Next question was how was shooting at Stonehenge different than the great pyramids of Giza. Fox responds with how mystical and magical Stonehenge was (an attitude Jeb Cayrd has talked about in his book Spooky Archaeology) and then tells us how we don’t know anything about Stonehenge because unlike the Egyptians, whoever they were who built Stonehenge didn’t write things down. Also, even though the Egyptians wrote stuff down, they didn’t write down how they built the pyramids.

Look…The English Heritage Site has a nice history of the Stonehenge site with some pretty extensive footnotes if you want furhter reading. I found that by googling it. The Smithsonian even has a nice page on the site, even if it’s from 2008.

As for the Pyramids, Ken Feder suggests two books: Building in Egypt: Pharaonic Stone Masonry. by Dieter Arnold and  The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man’s Obsession Led to the Solution of Egypt’s Greatest Mystery. by Bob Brier and Jean-Pierre Houdin.

It’s not surprising to see Fox pulling the party line of “OoooOOooo unsolved mysteries” but it is aggravating that this is going to be on live TV without a rebuttal by people who are actually qualified to talk about the topics the show picked; Stonehenge, Viking Women, The Trojan War, and of course America’s Lost Civilization (because Native Americans aren’t real as far as alternative theorists are concerned.)

Fox is asked what else she’d like to look at if there was a season 2. Fox lists off things she thinks are also mysteries like the Sphinx and the soundly debunked Shroud of Turin. She thinks the testing in the 80’s wasn’t handled well. Luckly, there’s been studies this year that further debunk the Shroud. 628-year-old fake news: Scientists prove Turin Shroud not genuine (again) and  New study suggests Shroud of Turin a fake, supporting study retracted

She’d also like to do the Nazca Lines, because no one knows what those are for. (Well I’ve got a 3 part series for you!)

Overall, I’m looking forward to this series, both to see how bad it’s really going to be and to see how it’s received. Also, I plan on well…critiquing it as I watch. So hopefully we can all experience this together, and maybe talk about how we as archaeologists can confront this, even when don’t have Travel Channel as a platform.



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.

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

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

You can follow us on twitter @Archyfantsies, Jeb J. Card @ahtzib ,  Ken Feder @fiftysitesbook or look us up on Facebook. You can reach us by email at

Contact us below or leave a comment.

Re-vamping the website and the Patreon site.

I’ve had a few requests lately to change a few things around here, one of which was to add the podcast eps to the Patreon. Apparently, there is a player attached to the site. I didn’t know that, so I’m working on adding the past years worth to the Patreon. This is both a warning and an announcement to people if you start seeing oodles of new episodes of the podcast on Patreon, that’s why. Hopefully, it won’t affect the actual podcast feed so no strange bulk uploads.

I’m also adding a few new things to the website, a Pseudoarchaeology Timeline and a reading list. These are both going to be living documents and will be updated with links and information from time to time.

I’m also going to try and pay more attention to the Patreon page, keeping it updated and such. However, I’m still learning so if you have suggestions let me know.

Thanks as always for all your support and enjoy the show!

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.

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

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

You can follow us on twitter @Archyfantsies, Jeb J. Card @ahtzib ,  Ken Feder @fiftysitesbook or look us up on Facebook. You can reach us by email at

Contact us below or leave a comment.

Monstertalk Crossover Double Feature



I bet you can’t guess what’s in store for you, dear listeners, later on this month. Until then, slack you blood-lust on these two juicy episodes in our Pseudoarchaeology Double Feature.

Music in this special episode Copyright Richard O’Brien.

Thank You for listening.

If you’d like to support the Podcast, 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 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

Theme Music was provided by ArcheoSoup Productions

This episode was produced and edited by Sara Head.

Contact us below or leave a comment.

Bears Ears Rock Art with Vaughn Hadenfelt – Episode 93


Welcome 2018 and Bears Ears Update – Episode 90

Antiquities Laws and Regulations – Episode 75

Friends of Cedar Mesa | Stewarding the greater Cedar Mesa area in …

Bears Ears Rock Art

Pilling Collection of Fremont Culture Figurines

Hexham Heads, ley lines, and Wear-sheep-men


If you’d like to support the Podcast, condenser donating to us monthly on Patreon: or giving just a little on Ko-Fi : . Either option helps us out.
Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and like and share us where ever you can. You can follow us on twitter @Archyfantsies or look us up on Facebook.
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CBC, The Solutrean Hypothesis, and Jennifer Raff – Episode 92

AF POdcast icon_3000x3000On 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.


CBC under fire for documentary that says first humans to colonize New World sailed from Europe. National Jan 11 2018

DNA in Archaeology with Jennifer Raff. ArchyFantasies. 

The Solutrean Hypothesis – ArchyFantasies Episode 31. 

DNA in Archaeology with Jennifer Raff – Episode 50. 

Review of Across Atlantic Ice: The Origins of America’s Clovis Culture by Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley.

Raff, J. A., & D. A. Bolnick

2015 Does Mitochondrial Haplogroup X Indicate Ancient Trans-Atlantic Migration to the Americas? A Critical Re-Evaluation.297–304.

Archaeological Fantasies and the genetic history of the Americas. Violent Metaphors.

On thin ice: problems with Stanfordand Bradley’s proposed Solutrean colonisation of North America

Director defends documentary that claims Europeans could have been 1st humans in North America.

Jennifer Raff at the Guardian

Support the Show

If you’d like to support the Podcast, condenser donating to us monthly on Patreon: or giving just a little on Ko-Fi : . Either option helps us out.
Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and like and share us where ever you can. You can follow us on twitter @Archyfantsies or look us up on Facebook.
Contact us below or leave a comment.

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