Past and Present: The Idiocy, Fabrications, and Lies of ‘Ancient Aliens’

Using the “Gish Gallop” – spouting off a series of misinterpretations and falsehoods to bury his opponent under an avalanche of fictions and distortions. By Riley BlackFreelance Science Writer Until now, I have assiduously avoided Ancient Aliens. I had a feeling that if I watched the show—which popularizes far-fetched, evidence-free idiocy about how human history has[…]

Listen and Learn: Debunking the Pseudarchaeology and Revisionism of ‘Ancient Aliens’

Completely incorrect, intentionally deceptive, and outright fabricated. Video Presentation from Frederik Larsen In this three-hour presentation, Chris White demonstrates that Ancient Aliens series are not wrong on just some information, but on every single point where they assert the Ancient Astronaut theory to explain evidence. He also demonstrates the often deceptive means they use to[…]

Featured Scholar: Sarah Bond – The Nonsense (and Racism) of ‘Ancient Aliens’

Where, exactly, the idea of ancient aliens building the pyramids began – and why it’s all bunk. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate About Dr. Bond Sarah Emily Bond is a Professor of History at the University of Iowa.[1] Her research focuses on late Roman history, epigraphy, law, topography, GIS, and Digital Humanities.[1] Bond received her PhD in[…]

Listen and Learn: Exploring the Secrets of Ancient Egyptian Tombs

Egyptologists unearth the world’s richest seam of ancient archaeology. Presentation by Channel 4 Documentaries The first royal tombs, called mastabas, were built at Abydos during the first and second dynasties. They were marked with a stele inscribed with the kings’ names. The burial chambers were cut into the rock, lined with sun-baked bricks and faced[…]

Featured Scholar: Barry Cunliffe – Archaeology of Neolithic Europe

His interest in Iron Age Britain and Europe generated a number of publications and he became an acknowledged authority on the Celts. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Overview Sir Barrington Windsor Cunliffe, CBE, FBA, FSA (born 10 December 1939), known as Barry Cunliffe, is a British archaeologist and academic. He was Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford from 1972 to[…]

Mudlarking: Searching for Lost Treasure – and History – on the Banks of the Thames

Established by the Romans in the 1st century AD, the edge of the river has always been a hive of activity. By Jason Sandy and Nick Stevens Ever since man first quenched his thirst in its waters, he has left his mark on the riverbed. Ivor Noël Hume, Treasure in the Thames (1956) London would[…]

Featured Scholar: Jane Sidell and the Archaeology of Ancient Roman London

London has been home to a huge diversity of cultures, inhabitation, patterns and events since the ancient world. Profile Jane Sidell is an archaeologist and honorary lecturer at University College London. She is Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England. After realizing at the age of 8 that I wanted to be an archaeologist, I[…]

Featured Scholar: Israel Finkelstein and Archaeology in the Holy Land

Finkelstein has carried out his own fieldwork in a variety of sites and regions in Israel and Palestine. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Israel Finkelstein is an Israeli archaeologist, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University. Finkelstein is active in the archaeology of the Levant and is an applicant of archaeological data in reconstructing biblical history.[1] He is also known[…]

Why Do We Rebury Ancient Sites after Archaeological Digs and Study?

There are many scenarios where reburial is the best option for an excavated heritage site. Introduction When we bury something, it’s usually because it’s dead or we want to hide it. But what if burying something actually extended its life? It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes burying excavated ancient art and architecture is the best[…]

A 3,000-Year-Old ‘Lost Golden City’ Discovered in Egypt

It has been called the most important discovery since tomb of Tutankhamun and a window into the ancient world. Archaeologists hailed the discovery of “the largest” ancient city found in Egypt, buried under sand for millennia, which experts said was one of the most important finds since unearthing Tutankhamun’s tomb. Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass announced[…]

The Ancient Peruvian Moche Royal Tombs of Sipán

The tombs were found almost completely undisturbed. A Golden Discovery In 1987, Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva received a tip from the police that local villagers had discovered gold in one of the huacas (a term for ancient sacred sites used widely in Peru) and were looting artifacts at the site of Huaca Rajada in the town of Sipán, near[…]

How Do Archaeologists Know Where to Dig?

Archaeologists used to dig primarily at sites that were easy to find from obvious visual clues. Technology plays a much bigger role now. Introduction National Geographic magazines and Indiana Jones movies might have you picturing archaeologists excavating near Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge and Machu Picchu. And some of us do work at these famous places. But[…]

Egyptologists’ Notebooks: An Interview with Chris Naunton

How European scholars, archaeologists, and Egyptologists explored an ancient culture. Dr. Chris NauntonHistorian and Egyptologist Introduction “The idea of a kind of intact tomb, at a certain moment where the archaeologist breaks through the door and lifts up a lamp to reveal the glint of gold everywhere. That’s become the defining moment for archaeology.” What[…]

Analyzing Bones: What Skeletons Can Tell Us about Ancient People

Analyzing the bones and teeth of individuals can give us insights into the details of their lives. Introduction Imagine you are an archaeologist excavating at a new building site in East London, the location of an ancient cemetery. Deep down you uncover bones that look old. You recover a full skull with teeth, and most[…]

Step-by-Step Path Taken by First People to Settle the Caribbean Islands

Did people settle these islands by traveling north from South America, or in the other direction? Artifacts provide a definitive answer. Introduction For the millions of people around the world who live on islands today, a plane or boat can easily enough carry them to the mainland or other islands. But how did people in[…]

Classical Archaeology and Ancient Greek Mythology

Despite the scientific rigor of archaeology today, archaeological exploration is still an art and an adventure of the human mind. Introduction to Classical Archaeology Classical Archaeology is the study of past societies in the Mediterranean region on the basis of surviving material evidence. What this means, for all practical purposes, is that classical archaeologists –[…]

Analyzing an Ancient Indus Seal from Mohenjo-daro

Seals numbering in the thousands have been discovered in excavations of Indus cities as well as in sites in the Persian Gulf in southwest Asia. By Dr. Arathi MenonArt Historian Introduction Incised on this small stone (less than two inches across), we see a large figure seated on a dais surrounded by a horned buffalo,[…]

Ancient Diseases: Traces of Suffering in the Bones

Diseases have often influenced historical events, but they are neglected in the documentation of these events. Human remains used to be considered a nuisance in archaeological excavations. Today they are considered a valuable source of information to understand the ways of life of prehistoric populations and their conditions. A short distance from what is now[…]

The Medieval Materiality of Magic: The Ritual Lives of People and Things

Examining objects and material culture in ritual performances intended to heal, protect and transform the living and the dead. Introduction This explores the relationship between medieval magic and religion, with particular emphasis on the use of objects and material culture in rites of healing, protection and transformation. It extends the practice-based approach to consider ritual[…]

Seizure of Looted Antiquities Illuminates What Museums Want Hidden

Middlemen often photographed their wares after receiving them from the tombaroli (grave-robbers). Introduction Over 20,000 precious art objects were seized in a raid at dawn — what can this tell us about beauty, theft, and the museum? On July 4, 2018, Europol and the Italian Carabinieri’s Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage announced the[…]

What Archaeology Can Tell Us about Medieval Medical Care

They had sophisticated medical treatments at their fingertips – from preventative hygiene to prosthetics. Introduction The conventional view of medical historians is that curative treatment in medieval infirmaries was based primarily around prayer and a nourishing diet. But a new archaeological study reveals that more active therapeutic technologies were used in medieval monastic healing. In[…]

The Archaeological Record and Epidemics Since the Prehistoric World

People have lived with infectious disease throughout the millennia, with culture and biology influencing each other. Introduction The previous pandemics to which people often compare COVID-19 – the influenza pandemic of 1918, the Black Death bubonic plague (1342-1353), the Justinian plague (541-542) – don’t seem that long ago to archaeologists. We’re used to thinking about[…]

Adamgarh and Nagori: Rock Art History of Madhya Pradesh

Rock art is the primary source to study the culture, rituals, traditions, and lives of prehistoric societies. By Zenab Khan Introduction Rock art, that is paintings and carvings on natural rock formations, is one of the earliest forms of creative expression and a universal phenomenon among prehistoric societies. An instrument of communication rather than simply[…]

Prehistoric Italian Rock Drawings of Valcamonica

The first appearance of these drawings can be dated back to the age of Epipaleolithic (20000-1000 BP). Introduction The rock drawings of Valcamonica are prehistoric petroglyphs carved in the glacier-polished, grey-purple Permian sandstone of the Camonica valley that extends for 90 km in the Italian provinces of Brescia and Bergamo in Lombardy. The name of[…]

The Sanctuary at Ancient Keros: Materiality and Monumentality

A place for the perform­ance of rituals of congregation. Abstract The discovery of the early bronze age sanctuary on the Cycladic island of Keros is briefly described. Why islanders in the Aegean should establish the world’s first maritime sanctuary around 2500 bc is then considered, and other instances of early centres of congregation are briefly[…]

Tales from a Medieval Plague Pit

We can now catch tiny pieces of DNA from ancient diseases and look for clues about how their genes have changed over time. Introduction The Black Death is without a doubt one of the most famous infectious diseases in history. Sweeping across Asia and Europe during the mid-fourteenth century, it reduced European populations by as[…]

Genetics and the Archaeology of Ancient Israel

Modern DNA analyses give an indication of what might be learned from ancient studies. By Dr. Roy J. KingAssociate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, EmeritusStanford University Who were the ancient Israelites? This question has been endlessly debated but almost no attention has been paid to their biology. That is now about to change, and[…]

From Ancient Scotland to Online Auctions: A Tale of Roman Nails

Ancient iron nails would hardly be considered Art, but they could offer insights on Roman metalworking. Introduction In 1977, just three years after the newly built Getty Villa opened its doors to the public, Chicago resident Norman J. Cowan and his family visited the museum during a trip to California. The museum must have made[…]