Graham Hancock and Bad Archaeology

Professional archaeologist Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, the force behind the Bad Archaeology blog, recently posted a series of articles detailing the (poor) research techniques and (flawed) argumentation of Graham Hancock. Here are the links to the series:

Some of the posts are lengthy — Hancock’s archaeology is, well, bad.

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Another Ancient Alien Fail: Moving 300 Ton Stones to Build China’s Forbidden City

The Live Science blog reported recently that Jiang Li, an engineer at the University of Science and Technology Beijing, has successfully translated an ancient Chinese document that reveals how stones in excess of 300 tons were moved over 70 miles without the wheel to build the famous Forbidden City.

Better sit down: the ancient document doesn’t credit aliens. Nor does it credit nephilim or talk about levitation.

From the article:

Vast numbers of huge stones were mined and transported there for its construction in the 15th and 16th centuries. The heaviest of these giant boulders, aptly named the Large Stone Carving, now weighs more than 220 tons (200 metric tons) but once weighed more than 330 tons (300 metric tons).

The ancient document Li translated revealed that workers dug wells every 1,600 feet (500 meters) or so to get water to pour on the ice to lubricate it. This made the ice even more slippery and, therefore, easier upon which to slide rocks.

The researchers calculated that a workforce of fewer than 50 men could haul a 123-ton stone on a sledge over lubricated ice from the quarry to the Forbidden City. In contrast, pulling the same load over bare ground would have required more than 1,500 men.

 

I’ll bet this won’t be part of the Ancient Aliens series. Just a guess. You just can’t make money telling people the truth.

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Ancient Aliens Malpractice

Jason Colavito just posted a review of the Ancient Aliens episode “Alien Operations.” As usual, the review is informed and insightful, while the episode was disturbingly dumb –another ode to incoherence. My favorite paragraph:

Tsoukalos adopts Thomas Aquinas’s argument from first cause to argue that human medical knowledge could not have developed spontaneously because every surgeon alive today learns from previous surgeons who learned from previous surgeons; therefore, invention is impossible and only aliens could have been the first cause. The idea of gradual evolution is for him inconceivable; a discipline must exist as an unchanging, complete whole or it cannot exist at all. This is the cultural version of the creationist staple about what good half an eye is. How then does he explain the fact that treatments exist today that did not exist ten years ago, like, say the 3D printing that the show discussed only minutes earlier?

 

 

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Stone Spheres of Costa Rica: No Aliens Needed

Stone_sphereMany PaleoBabble readers have no doubt heard of the stone spheres of Costa Rica. In addition to the debunking of the “Nuremberg UFO” engraving I posted about a few days ago, Frank Johnson of the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog also has a worthwhile piece on these stone spheres. Hope you’re sitting down: aliens didn’t make them.

As Johnson notes in his post, ancient alien theorists not only don’t have a firm grasp of the obvious (like hammer marks still visible on the stones – thanks for that advanced technology, ET), they’re just plain irritated that he would dare dispute amazing “proof” like this for ancient alien contact. I’m sure they’ll soon realize that’s a poor strategy. Why not just film another Ancient Aliens episode and make up different evidence? I’m just saying.

As is so often the case, mainstream scholars are not curled up in the fetal position, rendered dumbstruck by the shocking evidence for alien causation offered by the likes of Erich “I’m the reincarnation of P.T. Barnum” von Daniken. Johnson introduces readers to anthropology Professor John Hoopes. As Johnson notes, “Hoopes has not only examined the Costa Rican giant stone balls, he has a Website explaining them and the errors in many of the claims.”

At any rate, if you haven’t read a thoughtful treatment of the stones spheres, the post is recommended.

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Extraterrestrial Hippies? New Research on Egyptian Technology Tries to Get Noticed Online

A few days Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) posted a link online to an article entitled, “Extraterrestrial Elements in Egyptian Equipment.” Ancient astronaut believers (and Giorgio Tsoukalos’ hairdresser) no doubt saw the title and got pretty excited about the possibilities.

Sounds startling, doesn’t it? The word “elements” conjures up mental imagery about physics, metallurgy, and “space age” technological knowledge on the part of the Egyptians. It’s nice titling if you want to generate hits online. At least someone working at BAR isn’t a crusty field archaeologist in their seventies. But when you actually read the article you’ll find out it’s about iron beads.

You read that correctly. Beads.

The focus of the essay is about the extraterrestrial source of the iron in certain Egyptian beads. No, the iron didn’t come from a UFO crash, or alien gods trading advanced material in exchange for . . . something. Rather, the iron came from meteorites.

Rocks that the Egyptians saw fall from space, not intelligent visitors from space. But still interesting.

 

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Moving the Stones at Baalbek: No Aliens Needed

I can second Jason Colavito’s thoughts on Aaron Adair’s recent post on the very human technology used to move the trilithon stones at Baalbek (and other such stones at other locations). It’s a very good post and, for critical thinkers at least, lays to rest the myths about alien participation at Baalbek.

 

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Easter Island and Ancient Aliens

Those readers who have watched the three-hour documentary debunking the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens series know that part of the documentary is devoted to debunking an extraterrestrial explanation for the statues at Rapa Nui – Easter Island. I came across this short piece on the statues that contributes to dispensing with the nonsense as well.

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Ancient Neolithic Tunnels: No Aliens Needed

You just have to check out this fascinating article: “Massive European network of Stone Age tunnels that weaves from Scotland to Turkey.” Really cool.

If you’ve ever visited underground caverns (or ridden a subway), you know that getting from Point A to Point B underground (hence, without the stars, sun, or landmarks for assistance) over any meaningful distance requires planning and intelligence. This is yet another telling find documenting the intelligence and applied aptitude of ancient humans. Sure, prehistoric people weren’t using electricity or computers, but they weren’t sitting on their duffs waiting for star visitors to solve their problems, either.

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Baalbek Revisited: Another Reason to Reject Alien Engineering

This link comes by way of its author, Henk J. Koens of the Netherlands. Mr. Koens sent the link a while back to contribute to the conversation about Baalbek. He offers another clever solution. Have a look!

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Alien Dentists

Who will be the first ancient alien drone to claim that this report of a dental filling from 6,500 years ago speaks of alien influence? I wonder. Maybe the History Channel can start a new spin-off series. Giorgio! Giorgio! Wherefore art thou, Giorgio?

More to the point. This is yet another illustration of how we underestimate ancient people.

And for the conspiratorially-minded . . . this tooth is an “out of place artifact” that got attention from the mainstream (it’s hardly alone). Better read about is soon before the goons from the Smithsonian “anomalous artifact retrieval squad” move in to scoop this up so they can store it right next to all those North American giant skeletons they snatched up in the late 19th century.

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