This past week geologist Erin Matchan, writing with colleagues in Geology, claimed that the Gunditjmara people of southern Australia preserve the world’s oldest oral tradition, dating back 37,000 years. Being conservative on such things, I find it difficult to accept that claim, since preservation over such long periods occurs nowhere else in the world, and the evidence is suggestive without being conclusive. Matchan alleges—while admitting that she does not have proof—that the Gunditjmara origin story for the Budj Bim (Mount Eccles) volcano records its catastrophic formation over a period of months tens of thousands of years ago. She bases this date on her dating of the volcano’s rocks, which, so far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the oral story since the oral tradition does not describe the formation of a volcano. Previous estimates placed the volcano’s origins around 25,000 BCE.
An Indian scholar claimed that the ancient Sanskrit epic The Ramayana features historical accounts of interactions between Homo sapiens and Homo erectus. Dr. Rangan Ramakrishnan made the claim in his ten-volume study of the Ramayana, its traditional author Valmiki, and its later reception and adaptation in Indian culture. He holds a doctorate in yoga (!) and produces content valorizing ancient India and the Vedas. An article in the South China Morning Post quoted the author on the bizarre claim. Here, Ramakrishnan speaks of Hanuman, a monkey god, and the Vanaras, his monkey retainers:
In the December 2019 issue of El Ojo Crítico, a Spanish-language magazine investigating the unexplained, Chris Aubeck has an article looking into the Taylorville UFO encounter of 1873, one of the sightings that he had alluded to in his December interview with Thomas Brisson Jørgensen that I wasn’t able to immediately identify at the time. The story is amusing, but as I thought when I read Aubeck’s description, it scarcely seemed credible. The December issue of El Ojo Crítico was recently posted online. Now, after seeing Aubeck’s much lengthier and more detailed take on the story, excerpted from a forthcoming book, I am even more confident that it just another hoax article, like so many of its era.
Scott Wolter Claims His Research Will Reshape American Culture, Plans Trips to "Templar" Treasure Sites in America
The Nielsen ratings held mixed news for Ancient Aliens in its second Saturday broadcast. The show’s viewership remained steady at 1.046 million, but the composition of the show’s audience is changing. Steep declines in the number of younger viewers have pushed it out of the top 50 broadcasts in the advertiser-favored 18-49 demographic for the day it airs. When the show aired on Fridays, it typically cracked the top 10 and to the best of my knowledge was always in the top 20.
Before I begin today, a sad story from Europe: An archaeologist in Spain is facing potential jail time after fabricating a series of artifacts that he used to claim extraordinary connections among the ancient Basque people, the Roman Empire, and the Amarna period Egypt of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Eliseo Gil claimed that his finds, primarily ceramics bearing Basque or Latin inscriptions, “rewrote the history books,” but he got caught after scholars noticed that the ancient names in the “Latin” inscriptions used modern Spanish spellings and contemporary punctuation, such as “Eneas” for “Aeneas,” according to a report in the Telegraph. Gil allegedly took genuine Roman ceramics and added his own inscriptions, which were apparently intended to glorify Basque history.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.