Tampa-Area Man Wonders If Roman Coins Found on Beach Prove Pre-Columbian European Presence in Florida
On Sunday, the Science Channel premiered America’s Lost Vikings, a show in the mold of History’s Curse of Oak Island following the misadventures of two former History Channel archaeologists, Blue Nelson and Mike Arbuthnot, as they explore real and imagined Viking exploration in pre-Columbian North America. The first episode was rather dull, with little left for me to say that hasn’t been said by Sara Head of Archaeological Fantasies in her review posted on Adventures in Poor Taste. I strongly recommend that you read the review. But I do want to highlight one of Head’s key points, about the particularly masculine bent of this genre of programming:
Regular readers will remember Jeffrey J. Kripal, a professor of philosophy and religious thought at Rice University, because a few years ago he declared that a Renaissance painting depicted a genuine flying saucer, and more recently, because he held a UFO symposium. In a recent interview, Kripal has made a surprising new claim that finds further parallels with the pseudo-religious ramblings of latter-season Ancient Aliens. Kripal says that he believes the human imagination does not necessarily generate its own ideas but instead may be a conduit for receiving supernatural messages from the outside. This is surprisingly similar to the claim made on Ancient Aliens that geniuses do not have original insights but instead have their thoughts beamed into their heads by superior space aliens.
West Virginia Archaeologists Blast "Appalachian Magazine" for Reviving Claims about Irish Monks in Ancient America
On Monday, the Council for West Virginia Archaeology posted an open letter that they wrote to the editor of Appalachian Magazine, taking issue with that publication’s December article attributing some Native American petroglyphs in the state to Irish monks. The article, posted on December 21, asked whether Celts preceded Columbus to the Americas. Frankly, as a bit of recycled garbage culled from 1980s press clippings, I would never have taken notice of it were it not for the Council’s letter. Sadly, there are simply too many similar pieces recycling twentieth century pseudohistory to keep track of.
Andrew Collins Claims Native Americans Were Ruled by Hybrid Denisovan Giants Who Masterminded Mound Building
Andrew Collins has made something of a career out of rewriting the same book over and over again, with slightly different material keyed to whatever was the most recent archaeological controversy or discovery at the time of writing. It was not too long ago that Collins delivered a book on Göbelki Tepe (my review: Part 1 and Part 2), in which he suggested that the Denisovans, a different species in the genus Homo known from only a few bone fragments, are the mysterious Nephilim of the Bible and the civilizing god-kings who bequeathed the arts and sciences to a benighted line of Homo sapiens. Apparently delighted by this claim, Collins has rewritten the same material into a new book called Denisovan Dawn, coauthored by gigantologist and Edgar Cayce acolyte Greg Little, and due out from publishing dumpster fire Inner Traditions in September. Collins first published his new claims in August on Ancient Origins and is currently promoting a presentation he plans to give on the subject later this spring.
Secrets and Riddles of Ancient History: Great Powers of Forgotten Worlds
Jennifer S. Dawson | Camea Publishing | December 2018 | $2.99 eBook
In some respects, self-publishing has been a boon in terms of providing a path for voices outside the mainstream to share their points of view. But mostly online eBook self-publishing has resulted in tens of thousands of half-assed click-bait titles of middling to low quality. The author Jennifer S. Dawson—apparently a pen name for a non-English-speaking author—churns out a remarkable number of books in the “ancient mysteries” genre, covering topics familiar to readers of 1970s volumes on similar subjects. I’d try to address the books by theme, but they are a hodgepodge of short articles on unrelated topics united only in their general connection to lost civilizations, ancient astronauts, and other such threadbare “mysteries.” Secrets and Riddles of Ancient History: Great Powers of Forgotten Worlds, recently published, is representative of both the author’s handling of mysteries and the carelessness that characterizes so many attempts to exploit the ancient mysteries genre.
Compared to years past, this was a rebuilding year for the fringe. Most of the major figures on the fringe sat the year out, preparing for bigger things in 2019 and beyond, and those that were active either failed to produce their promised results, delivered results that failed to meet expectations, or spent their time teasing revelations yet to come in 2019, or whenever they need a cash infusion. There was no major fringe history bestseller this year, and the wannabes in the category came from small presses and consequently received little or no media attention outside dedicated fringe sites. The new fringe pseudo-documentaries that made it to air either muddled through their middling runs or failed outright. The reason for the decline in the fringe was easy enough to see: The fringe had gone mainstream in 2017, and the continued presence of conspiracy theorists and fringe thinkers in the upper ranks of the Republican Party and the Trump Administration lessened the demand for pseudo-history. These sorts of claims tend to be more popular as counterprogramming.
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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