This week, I’m going to take on a challenge. I’m going to review David (née Hatcher) Childress’s most famous book, and the one that he uses as his credential for appearing on Ancient Aliens: Technology of the Gods (2000), the book in which Childress claims to present evidence for high technology in ancient times.
Before we begin, let me remind any readers who aren’t familiar with my history with Childress that the alternative author attacked me in print in 2006 for calling him an ancient astronaut theorist during the period between his book Extraterrestrial Archaeology (1999) and his stint on Ancient Aliens (2009) when Childress claimed he did not believe in aliens. As I outlined here, it is hard to keep track of his constantly-vacillating position on what exactly he does believe.
So, onward to the book.
Yesterday in Salon, history professors Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg weighed in on the problems of historiography in the popular press. Their article is interesting and well worth the read, but it boils down to a single point: The only people qualified to write history are tenured professors of history, particularly those of liberal politics, like the authors themselves.
I'm spending today doing prep work in advance of the upcoming launch of Cthulhu in World Mythology next month, as well as what I hope will be a few exciting future announcements. I'll try to be back with a full new blog post tomorrow. Until then, be sure to check out the the promotional copy for my upcoming Critical Companion to Ancient Aliens Seasons 3 and 4: Unauthorized. The book should be available for sale once it's back from the printer next week. Also, take a look at the cool new graphics I've made to dress up all of the separate pages for my many books.
Today I thought I'd share another photograph that contradicts alternative authors' claims about the impossibility of ancient construction. In Technology of the Gods (2000), David Childress argues that Inca masonry is simply too large, too complex, and too perfect to be the work of humans. Specifically, he argues that that fitting together the oddly-shaped stone blocks would require "superhuman effort." He also claims that Inca blocks are too large to move, despite also recording that the Spanish, before modern technology, managed to move those same blocks to build Cuzco.
Today is a busy work day for me, so I'm going to keep this blog short. I'd like to share two photographs with you that both say something important about the ancient astronaut theory and alternative archaeology.
A particularly interesting strain of alternative history comes to us from Australia, where alternative theorists have proposed a longstanding Egyptian intervention in early Australian history, one that has left virtually no trace in the culture of Aboriginal Australians except for some random petroglyphs of dubious provenance. Worse, these alternative theorists also believe the Aboriginals sailed the world prior to 2500 BCE and gained nothing from the experience.
Yesterday I examined geologist Robert M. Schoch’s attempt to radically revise human history by claiming that the Easter Island writing system, traditionally dated to c. 1200-1500 CE, is in fact 10,000 years older. This claim appeared in part one of a two-part article. Today, let’s take a look at the second part, “The Mystery of Göbekli Tepe and Its Message for Us,” which appeared in New Dawn magazine’s September-October 2010 issue.
This week, I thought I’d take a look at some of the shorter pieces produced by alternative authors and the weird claims contained therein. Our first selection is “An Ancient Warning, A Global Message, from the End of the Last Ice Age” by Robert M. Schoch from New Dawn magazine’s July-August 2010 issue.
On July 29, the National Geographic Channel (“NatGeo”) aired a two-hour documentary about unidentified flying objects entitled The Secret History of UFOs. In late 2011, producers for NatGeo contacted me about appearing on the program as an expert on the ancient astronaut theory. I flew to Washington, D.C. in January of this year to record an interview for the show. NatGeo did not use my interview in the finished program. It produced two versions of the program, one for the U.S. and one for international distribution. The American version contains no discussion of ancient astronauts, while the international version, as represented by my DVD screener, does.
I was very disappointed in this decision, and my disappointment was compounded by the finished product, which was exceedingly mild in its critique of the ancient astronaut theory, almost to the point of uselessness. NatGeo demanded that I sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the interview which granted NatGeo the unlimited right to libel, defame, alter, and otherwise manipulate interview content without legal risk (this is standard for all TV releases) and required me to never divulge anything related to the “Shoot,” which referred specifically to the events of January 16, 2012, except for information publicly available. I will honor that agreement and restrict my comments to what happened before, what actually aired, and some ancient-astronaut-style questions about what might have happened that day.
Today we examine Book VI, the last section of Gavin Menzies’ The Lost Empire of Atlantis. Entitled “The Legacy,” it attempts to extrapolate from Menzies foundation of sand upward to a glorious, if unsteady, superstructure. We then sputter to a conclusion and discover some weird similarities between the exact wording of Menzies' sources and that of famous authors.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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