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Encyclopedia > Pseudoarchaeology

Pseudoarchaeology is an aspect of pseudohistory. Both of them are forms of pseudoscience and refer to the ideologically-driven, usually sensational interpretation of the past. Pseudoarchaeology is based on an interpretation of material remains and sites (which may be quite genuine themselves), using criteria that lie outside of a critical, scientific framework. Pseudoarchaeology also includes forms of protoscience. Pseudohistory describes claims about the past, which purport to be historic or supported by archeology, but which depart from standard practices of historical method and historiography to reach conclusions outside the domain of mainstream history. ... Phrenology is seen today as a classic example of pseudoscience. ... --203. ...

Contents


Usage

The term pseudoarchaeology is used by many to refer to those religious perspectives that do not follow the accepted norms of scientific inquiry, such as Creationism, as well as to the pursuit of untestable hypotheses or theories, such as the influence of UFOs or ancient astronauts on past civilizations. Pseudoarchaeology is most often associated with the investigation of theories generally discounted by scientific investigators, such as the existence of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat, lost continents such as Atlantis or Lemuria, and the idea of direct contact between the ancient civilizations of Egypt and the Maya. Some religious groups engage in pseudoarcheology in order to legitimize some present-day action. This article is about the Abrahamic belief; creationism can also refer to origin beliefs in general or, centuries earlier, to an alternative to traducianism. ... A UFO or Unidentified Flying Object is simply defined as any object or optical phenomenon observed in the sky which cannot be identified, even after being thoroughly investigated by qualified people. ... ... Michelangelo Buonarroti In the Hebrew Bibles account (Gen. ... Mount Ararat (Turkish Ağrı Dağı; Kurdish Çîyayê Agirî;Armenian Արարատ; Persian آرارات; Hebrew אררט, Standard Hebrew Ararat, Tiberian Hebrew ), the tallest peak in modern Turkey, is a snow-capped dormant volcanic cone, located in the far northeast of Turkey, 16 km west of Iran and 32 km south of Armenia. ... Lost Lands are islands or continents believed by some to have existed during pre-history, but to have since disappeared as a result of catastrophic geological phenomena. ... Athanasius Kirchers map of a possible Atlantis location. ... Lemuria is the name of a hypothetical Lost Land variously located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. ... // The Maya civilization is a historical Mesoamerican civilization, which extended throughout the northern Central American region which includes the present-day nations of Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras and El Salvador, as well as the southern Mexican states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and the Yucatán peninsula states of Quintana Roo, Campeche...


It can also include scientific investigations in which the ability to maintain a critical, scientific perspective is diminished by religious belief. An example that is frequently cited is research on the Shroud of Turin. The first photo of the Shroud of Turin, taken in 1898, had the surprising feature that the image on the negative was clearer than the positive image. ...


Extreme nationalist agendas and other proposed justifications of cultural primacy or superiority often drive scientifically or historically unwarranted interpretations of archaeological sites. Quite genuine archaeological finds may be converted to pseudoarchaeology by biased interpretors. Such motives of course are rarely explicitly stated, but the pseudoarchaeological interpretation or evidence is characteristically brought to bear in order to fabricate a supposed proof of some axiom: all the Xes of antiquity derived from Y. and the like. When the opposing camps of interpretation split along familiar contemporary ideological or cultural divides, the dispassionate observer suspects that some pseudoarchaeological interpretations are likely to be at work.


Not all genuine archaeology is free of authentic controversy, to be sure. German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann's expeditions to find the ancient city of Troy, following cues in Homer's Iliad have sometimes been advanced by the community of pseudoarchaeology, to show that sometimes radical new approaches within the discipline are derided at first. Schliemann declared one archaeological layer in the tell he excavated to be the lost city of Troy, and this identification was then accepted. Modern archaeology has corrected his identification: right site, wrong layer. It is not the results that define pseudoarchaeology, but the methodology. Portrait of Heinrich Schliemann. ... Walls of the excavated city of Troy (Turkey) Troy (Greek Τροία Troia also Ἰλιον; Latin: Troia, Ilium) is a legendary city, scene of the Trojan War, part of which is described in Homers Iliad, an epic poem in Ancient Greek, composed in the 8th or 7th century BC, but containing older... The Iliad (Greek Ιλιάς, Ilias) tells part of the story of the siege of the city of Ilium, i. ... See also Tell (poker). ...


Characteristics of pseudoarchaeology

In a characteristic approach that is symptomatic of many other pseudosciences, an a priori conclusion is established beforehand, and fieldwork is undertaken explicitly to corroborate the theory in detail (see the 1947 Kon-Tiki adventure of Thor Heyerdahl). Such convictions may lead to pious fictions, such as the Piltdown Man fraud and questionable "Viking" relics in North America. Supernatural guidance of archaeological finds is documented as early as the 326CE expedition led by Helena, mother of Constantine the Great to recover the cross outside Jerusalem, published by Eusebius. In the 17th century the scholar Athanasius Kircher published his readings of Egyptian hieroglyphics, based on his readings of scripture; there are many reasons for his failure— the lack of a Rosetta stone for a start— but his conclusions were purely pseudoarchaeological fantasy. Not all pseudoarcheology is intentional; at times it is caused by deeply ingrained societial or religious views, and the perpetrator may believe with absolute conviction their findings back up their less than rigorous theories. Phrenology is seen today as a classic example of pseudoscience. ... A priori is a Latin phrase meaning from the former or less literally before experience. In much of the modern Western tradition, the term a priori is considered to mean propositional knowledge that can be had without, or prior to, experience. ... The Kon-Tiki raft is shown on the cover of the DVD of the documentary. ... Thor Heyerdahl (October 6, 1914 in Larvik, Norway–April 18, 2002 in Colla Micheri, Italy) was a world-famous Norwegian marine biologist with a great interest in anthropology, who became famous for his Kon-Tiki Expedition in which he sailed by raft 4,300 miles from South America to the... Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus dawsoni) was a fraud which was perpetrated, possibly by Charles Dawson and/or others, on paleontologists from November 1912 until its exposure in 1953. ... The Kensington runestone is a roughly rectangular slab of greywacke covered in runes on its face and side. ... Flavia Iulia Helena, also known as Saint Helena and Helena of Constantinople, (AD c. ... A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars intersecting each other at a 90° angle, dividing one or two of the lines in half. ... Eusebius is the name of several significant historical people: Pope Eusebius - Pope in AD 309 - 310. ... Athanasius Kircher (sometimes spelt Kirchner) (May 2, 1601?–27 November 1680) was a 17th century German Jesuit scholar who published around 40 works, most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology and medicine. ... The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum The Rosetta Stone is a dark grey-pinkish granite stone (often incorrectly identified as basalt) with writing on it in two languages, Egyptian and Greek, using three scripts, Hieroglyphic, Demotic Egyptian and Greek. ...


Pseudoarchaeologists

Practitioners of pseudoarchaeology often rail against academic archaeologists and established scientific methods of hypothesis testing and empirical observation, claiming that scientists have somehow overlooked or disregarded critical pieces of evidence. They will sometimes go so far as to invoke inspired knowledge, such as the receipt of information through divine inspiration, dreams, or psychic phenomena such as ESP. Parapsychology is the study of the evidence of mental awareness or influence of external objects without interaction from known physical means. ... Extra-sensory perception, or ESP, is the name given to any ability to acquire information by means other than the five canonical senses (taste, sight, touch, smell, and hearing), or any other sense well-known to science (balance, proprioception, etc). ...


The findings of pseudoarchaeology generally are taken to confirm a wide-ranging, over-arching general theory, which requires supportive evidence "on the ground." By contrast, the usual small incremental rewards of genuine historical science, which often need to be interpreted within a historical context before the layman can even perceive that some little progress has actually been made, rarely appeal to pseudoarchaeology. Pseudoarchaeology thrives best on revolutionary single findings, which upset all the received ideas of a stodgy establishment. The reservations and doubts that beset all genuine historical understanding do not figure strongly in pseudoarchaeology. Some unscrupulous individuals who received the label of "pseudoarchaeologist" have demonstrated a greater interest in publicity and personal gain than in the pursuit of objective knowledge.


Though professional archaeologists have been known to sneer at one another's obtuseness, the developers and public publishers of pseudosciences often identify themselves by techniques of abusing the questioner, selecting and manipulating facts, or invoking a widespread conspiracy whether alleging that some particular event resulted not solely from the visible forces, but rather from covert manipulation, or insisting that supporting documentation is buried in inaccessible archives. A logical fallacy may mean nothing more than a fallacy or it may mean an error in deductive reasoning, i. ... Look up Fact in Wiktionary, the free dictionary A Fact is any of the following: Something actual as opposed to invented. ... This proposed logo for a U.S. government agency was dropped due to fears that its pseudo-Masonic symbolism would provoke conspiracy theories. ...


Well-known pseudoarchaeologists include Erich von Däniken and Graham Hancock. Erich von Däniken (born April 14, 1935 in Zofingen, Switzerland) is a controversial Swiss author who is best known for authoring works about extraterrestrial influence on human culture since prehistoric times. ... Graham Hancock Graham Hancock (born 1951) is a British writer and journalist. ...


Focus

There are a number of legitimate archaeological sites that have long been the focus of a disproportionate amount of unscientific speculation in the context of pseudoarchaeology. Among these are Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, Etruscan inscriptions, pre-Columbian European relics in the Western Hemisphere, Easter Island, Teotihuacan, Palenque, Chichen Itza, and the stone balls of Costa Rica. For some reason, other archaeological wonders such as the Great Wall of China or the spectacular burials at Xian have not received this type of attention. Stonehenge Stonehenge is a Neolithic and Bronze Age monument located near Amesbury in the English county of Wiltshire, about 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Salisbury. ... The Great Pyramid of Giza, (sometimes spelled Gizeh) is the oldest and last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous pyramid in the world. ... The Great Sphinx of Giza, with the Pyramid of Khafre in the background. ... Etruscan was a language spoken and written in the ancient region of Etruria (current Tuscany) and in parts of what are now Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna (where the Etruscans were displaced by Gauls), in Italy. ... Location of Easter Island. ... Teotihuacan was the largest Pre-Columbian known city in the Americas, and the name Teotihuacan is used to refer to the civilization this city dominated, which at its greatest extent included most of Mesoamerica. ... The Palace, Ruins of Palenque Palenque is a Maya archeological site not far from the Usumacinta River in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, about 130 km. ... Temple of the Warriors Chichen Itza is the largest of the Pre-Columbian archaeological sites in Yucat n, Mexico. ... The Great Wall of China (Simplified: 万里长城; Traditional: 萬里長城; Hanyu Pinyin: ; literally Long City/Fortress of 10,000 Li¹), is an ancient Chinese fortification built from the end of the 14th century until the beginning of the 17th century, during the Ming Dynasty, in order to protect China from raids by the... The Xian drum tower Xian (Chinese: 西安; pinyin: Xīān; Wade-Giles: Hsi-An; literal meaning: Western Peace) is the capital of Shaanxi province, in China and a sub-provincial city. ...


Critics

Some pseudoarchaeologists respond to criticism of their research by noting that many scientific truths are frequently ridiculed when they are first proposed; they further object to the term "pseudoarchaeology" as being pejorative and insist that everyone censor themselves accordingly. Look up pejorative on Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Meanwhile, archaeologists (and pseudoarchaeologists) schooled in Marxism and Critical Theory argue that scientific thought can support contemporary ideology by taking advantage of scientists' status as 'experts'. Incorporation of postmodernism into archaeological theory has led some archaeologists (e.g. Bettina Arnold, Bruce Trigger) to explore the role of archaeology in state formation and to reexamine archaeologists' status as neutral investigators of the past. The growth of Cultural Resources Management, wherein archaeology is used to guide political decisions, does little to refute these ideas. Marxism is the social theory and political practice based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century German philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... In the humanities and social sciences, critical theory has two quite different meanings with different origins and histories, one originating in social theory and the other in literary criticism. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Bruce Graham Trigger (born June 18, 1937) is a Canadian archaeologist. ... Cultural resources management (CRM) is a branch of archaeology concerned with the identification, maintenance, and preservation of significant cultural sites in the face of threat. ...


Most archaeologists attempt to distinguish their research from pseudoarchaeology by pointing to differences in research methodology, including recursive methods, falsifiable theories, peer review, and a generally systematic approach to collecting data. Few see themselves as unwitting cogs in a wider conspiracy, and many strive to make their work relevent to contemporary society.


History

Though the archaeological report given by Socrates Scholasticus (died c. 380), in his Ecclesiastical History, of St Helena's discovery of the True Cross may make her the patron saint of pseudoarchaeology to skeptics, it is clear that the manipulation of archaeological sites and "finds" to assist propaganda and pseudohistory is not a phenomenon simply of modern historicist culture. In the mid-2nd century, those exposed by Lucian's sarcastic essay Alexander the false prophet prepared an archaeological "find" in Chalcedon to prepare a public for the supposed oracle they planned to establish at Abonoteichus in Paphlygonia; Socrates Scholasticus was a Greek Christian church historian; born at Constantinople c. ... Flavia Iulia Helena, also known as Saint Helena and Helena of Constantinople, (AD c. ... According to Christian tradition, the True Cross is the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. ... Pseudohistory describes claims about the past, which purport to be historic or supported by archeology, but which depart from standard practices of historical method and historiography to reach conclusions outside the domain of mainstream history. ... Lucian Lucian of Samosata (Greek, Λουκιανὸς Σαμοσατεύς, Latin, Lucianus; c. ...

" in the temple of Apollo, which is the most ancient in Chalcedon, they buried bronze tablets which said that very soon Asclepius, with his father Apollo, would move to Pontus and take up his residence at Abonoteichus. The opportune discovery of these tablets caused this story to spread quickly to all Bithynia and Pontus, and to Abonoteichus sooner than anywhere else."

At Glastonbury Abbey in 1191, at a time when King Edward I desired to emphasize his "Englishness" a fortunate discovery was made: the coffin of King Arthur, unmistakably identified with an inscribed plaque. Arthur was reinterred at Glastonbury in a magnificent ceremonial attended by the king and queen. Asclepius (Greek also rendered Aesculapius in Latin and transliterated Asklepios) was the god of medicine and healing in ancient Greek mythology, according to which he was born a mortal but was given immortality as the constellation Ophiuchus after his death. ... Glastonbury Abbey in Glastonbury, Somerset, England, now presents itself as traditionally the oldest above-ground Christian church in the world situated in the mystical land of Avalon by dating the founding of the community of monks at 63 A.D., the legendary visit of Joseph of Arimathea, who was supposed... // Events May 12 - Richard I of England marries Berengaria of Navarre. ... King Edward I of England (June 17, 1239 – July 7, 1307), popularly known as Longshanks because of his 6 foot 2 inch frame and the Hammer of the Scots (his tombstone, in Latin, read, Hic est Edwardvs Primus Scottorum Malleus, Here lies Edward I, Hammer of the Scots), achieved fame... King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Great Britain, where he appears as the ideal of kingship in both war and peace. ...


See also

Importance and applicability Most of human history is not described by any written records. ... The aluminium wedge of Aiud (also called the object of Aiud) is a mysterious artifact of uncertain origin in the shape of a wedge, which was found at an archeological site near the Roman town of Aiud. ... An anachronism (from Greek ana, back, and chronos, time) is something that is out of its natural time or appears to be. ... Imagine if you had your penis caught in the gears. ... Supporters and critics alike have long attempted to use archaeology to support their respective views of the origin(s) of the Book of Mormon. ... The Baghdad Battery is the common name for a number of artifacts apparently discovered in the village of Khuyut Rabboua (near Baghdad, Iraq) in 1936. ... Biblical archaeology involves the recovery and scientific investigation of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the periods and descriptions in the Bible. ... The Great Pyramid The Great Pyramid of Giza (29°58′41″N, 31°07′53″E) is the oldest and last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the World. ... Mount Ararat (Turkish AÄŸrı Dağı; Kurdish Çîyayê Agirî;Armenian Ô±Ö€Õ¡Ö€Õ¡Õ¿; Persian آرارات; Hebrew אררט, Standard Hebrew Ararat, Tiberian Hebrew ), the tallest peak in modern Turkey, is a snow-capped dormant volcanic cone, located in the far northeast of Turkey, 16 km west of Iran and 32 km south of Armenia. ... A clay vessel unearthed in Vinča, found at depth of 8. ... The Phaistos Disc (Phaistos Disk, Phaestos Disc, Festos Disc) is a curious archaeological find, most likely dating from about 1700 BC. Its purpose and meaning, and even its original geographical place of manufacture, remain disputed, making it one of the most famous mysteries of archaeology. ... Walls of the excavated city of Troy (Turkey) Troy (Greek Τροία Troia also Ἰλιον; Latin: Troia, Ilium) is a legendary city, scene of the Trojan War, part of which is described in Homers Iliad, an epic poem in Ancient Greek, composed in the 8th or 7th century BC, but containing older... Pathological science is a term created by the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Irving Langmuir during a colloquium at the Knolls Research Laboratory, December 18, 1953. ... ... Phantom islands are islands that are believed to exist and appear on maps for a period of time (sometimes centuries), and then are removed after they are proven not to exist (or the general population stops believing that they exist). ... --203. ... Phrenology is seen today as a classic example of pseudoscience. ...

External links

Alleged Pseudoarchaeological sites

"Graham Hancock" : Preeminent pseudoarchaeologist Graham Hancock.
"Erich von Däniken" : Another preeminent pseudoarchaeologist Erich von Däniken.
"Answers in Genesis" : A pro-creationist website that seeks to prove, among other things, the fallacy of carbon-14 dating.
"Alan Alford" : "Independent researcher" pushes the idea that ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Mesopotamian religions were "exploded planet cults" and have something to teach us regarding "eternal life in the other world."
"Rose Flem-Ath" : Official website for Canadian couple Rand and Rose Flem-Ath, authors of When the Sky Fell: In Search of Atlantis and The Atlantis Blueprint.
"Zecharia Sitchin" : Analyzes the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah as a nuclear weapon attack in 2024 B.C. that wiped out "a spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula."

Skeptics Graham Hancock Graham Hancock (born 1951) is a British writer and journalist. ... Erich von Däniken (born April 14, 1935 in Zofingen, Switzerland) is a controversial Swiss author who is best known for authoring works about extraterrestrial influence on human culture since prehistoric times. ... Creationism is generally the belief that the universe was created by a deity, or alternatively by one or more powerful and intelligent beings. ... Radiocarbon dating is the use of the naturally occurring isotope of carbon-14 in radiometric dating to determine the age of organic materials, up to ca. ... Sumerian list of gods in cuneiform script, ca. ... For other uses of the name, see Sodom. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... A spaceport is a site for launching spacecraft, by analogy with airport for aircraft. ... Sinai Peninsula, Gulf of Suez (west), Gulf of Aqaba (east) from Space Shuttle STS-40 See Sinai for other uses of Sinai The Sinai Peninsula (in Arabic, Shibh Jazirat Sina شبه جزيرة سيناء) is a triangle-shaped peninsula lying between the Mediterranean Sea (to the north) and Red Sea (to the south), located...

"Archaeological/Skeptical Resources, Critiques of cult archaeology, Roman Britain links" : Doug's Skeptical Archaeology site with articles and links to sites that refute some popular pseudoarchaeology.
"The Wild Side of Geoarchaeology Page" : Paul Heinrich's case against "alternative geology," including the impossibility of pole shifts and the artifact "from an advanced ancient race" that happens to be a spark plug.
"The Antiquity of Man" : Some of the latest research in authentic paleoanthropology and hominid evolution.
"Translated-Correctly": Compares two alternative translations of Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

Geology (from Greek γη- (ge-, the earth) and λογος (logos, word, reason)) is the science and study of the Earth, its composition, structure, physical properties, history, and the processes that shape it. ... This article or section should include material from Spark gap A spark plug is an electrical device that fits into the cylinder head of some internal combustion engines and ignites compressed aerosol gasoline by means of an electric spark. ... Paleoanthropology is the branch of physical anthropology that focuses on the study of human evolution, tracing the anatomic and genetic linkages of pre-humans from millions of years ago, up to modern times. ... Genera Subfamily Ponginae Pongo - Orangutans Gigantopithecus (extinct) Sivapithecus (extinct) Lufengpithecus (extinct) Ankarapithecus (extinct) Subfamily Homininae Gorilla - Gorillas Pan - Chimpanzees Homo - Humans Dryopithecus (extinct) Ouranopithecus (extinct) Paranthropus (extinct) Australopithecus (extinct) Sahelanthropus (extinct) Orrorin (extinct) Ardipithecus (extinct) Kenyanthropus (extinct) Pierolapithecus (extinct) (tentative) The hominids are the members of the biological family Hominidae... A speculatively rooted phylogenetic tree of all living things, based on rRNA gene data, showing the separation of the three domains, bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes, as described initially by Carl Woese. ...

References and resources


  Results from FactBites:
 
Pseudoarchaeology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1446 words)
Pseudoarchaeology is based on an interpretation of material remains and sites (which may be quite genuine themselves), using criteria that lie outside of a critical, scientific framework.
The term pseudoarchaeology is used by many to refer to those religious perspectives that do not follow the accepted norms of scientific inquiry, such as Creationism, as well as to the pursuit of untestable hypotheses or theories, such as the influence of UFOs or ancient astronauts on past civilizations.
Pseudoarchaeology is most often associated with the investigation of theories generally discounted by scientific investigators, such as the existence of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat, lost continents such as Atlantis or Lemuria, and the idea of direct contact between the ancient civilizations of Egypt and the Maya.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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