This episode of Ancient Aliens is entitled S11E04 “The New Evidence,” and it promises to provide startling new information that will support the ancient astronaut theory. In the past, when the show has promised “new” evidence, it usually involved a talking head reading a news article copied from the internet, usually nearly verbatim, before recycling old content on a tangentially related topic. What will this episode hold in store? Let’s find out…
Our first segment begins, predictably, with repeat claims summarizing the highlights of the ancient astronaut theory, going all the way back to the pilot episode. The “new evidence” starts, of course, with Chariots of the Gods, cutting edge news from 1968. This is followed by a rapid-fire barrage of news clips, including the embarrassing congressional hearing from 2014 in which an idiot congressman couldn’t tell the difference between science and Ancient Aliens. The visual wallpaper draws from stock footage from earlier episodes and “new” technology illustrated by the 1993 robot investigation of the Great Pyramid’s so-called air shafts. David Wilcock then calls science a “belief system” and argues that technology will force scientists’ beliefs to change.
When we get to the meat of the segment, we review the discovery of ninety or so buried standing stones two miles from Stonehenge in September 2015. Andrew Collings visits the site but admits to knowing nothing about the site. Archaeologist David Cheetham, a frequent History Channel guest, said the same thing. No connection to aliens is suggested, and the show drops the point. “Truth Warrior” David Whitehead, hilariously described only as a “talk radio personality,” then offers that an “advanced” civilization built the stone circles. David Childress saves the segment by illogically suggesting that aliens built all of the stone circles as landing pads for flying saucers. Really? How might these ships have landed on irregular and uneven stone rings? What would they need them for?
Ancient Aliens then throws to commercial with a new innovation: Like every other shitty reality show, they’ve started burning extra time by teasing a “coming up” highlight from the next segment that conveniently lets them replay the same footage after the break and therefore recycle content within the same hour. It’s another (stolen) innovation in avoiding originality!
This segment must have seemed like a great idea a few weeks ago when the producers slapped the show together. Recent news reports have suggested that King Tutankhamun’s tomb may have hidden chambers behind its walls, a claim that emerged from scans made in the tomb last fall. However, while this caused a furor for a few weeks in the spring when this episode was being assembled, radar experts threw cold water on the claims by the end of March, and now many believe that the original claims were overstated. The show uses this to raise the possibility that Nefertiti is buried in one of the hidden chambers, giving them license to recycle their frequent claim that the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten was a long-skulled alien hybrid who worshiped a flying saucer. They mention this once every three episodes or so—like this one and this one and this one. The claims are so familiar that this segment could have been pasted in from almost any old episode. The only difference is that the show speculates that undeniably alien artifacts are probably hidden in the alleged Tutankhamun tomb chambers.
The third segment reviews the excavation last year of an underground chamber within Teotihuacan’s Temple of the Feathered Serpent. There archaeologists found liquid mercury, which the talking heads find puzzling because they know that mercury is poisonous and used in technology. The narrator then misidentifies Teotihuacan as an Aztec site, confusing the fact that the Aztecs had very late myths about giants building the city. Lacking any interest in the facts, the show lets David Wilcock connect this to allegations that the Nazis used mercury to create a super-propulsion system because aliens used mercury in their engines. I will give the show credit for remembering that China’s first emperor was buried in a tomb filled with quicksilver, with claims they borrowed more or less verbatim from a previous episode. But the reason for that isn’t alien. It’s rather simple: Mercury doesn’t evaporate, so the ancients used it as a substitute for water in symbolic rivers. The show goes into questions about whether Chinese dragons and Quetzalcoatl were really spaceships, familiar claims from another old episode.
The fourth segment denies that Machu Picchu could have been an Incan construction from the fifteenth century. Instead, they allege that the god Viracocha was a space alien who helped the Inca to build the site. This is slightly different from the version given in an earlier episode where the show alleged that Viracocha spoke to some different Inca. This sets up a discussion of the 2012 claim by French explorer Thierry Jamin that ground penetrating radar had indicated the presence of a treasure chamber or tomb buried beneath Machu Picchu. Peruvian authorities refused to let Jamin excavate (Ancient Origins called it a conspiracy), which gives William Henry license to allege that the tomb contains the body and technology of space alien god Viracocha. Jamin believes it to be the tomb of the Inca emperor Pachacutec.
The fifth segment takes us to fan favorite Nazca lines (see, e.g., here and here and here), another evergreen Ancient Aliens topic. Last summer Japanese researchers claimed that satellite images found 24 now-eroded Nazca lines, including a llama and what the show calls “humanoids.” The show makes no claim that the new lines are any different than the previously known lines, and it repeats all of the same claims it always makes—that the lines imitated alien skid marks, that they signaled the aliens to return, etc. etc. The show compares the Nazca lines to geoglyphs found in 2014 by satellite in Kazakhstan, though the Central Asian lines may be as much as 8,000 years old, according to the show. (Scientists have said the oldest geoglyph is 8,000 years old based on artifacts that may be associated with it; others are as young as 1,000 years and more work needs to be done.) The show says that the date means that they geoglyphs were made at the same time as the buried stones from Segment 1, implying a contemporary alien visitation that mysteriously manifested completely differently around the world despite being the architectural program of a single alien visit.
The show concludes with more random news reports that they do not bother to contextualize or even relate to the ancient astronaut theory. Instead, they let the montage suggest something that they do not prove, and the talking heads rhapsodize about how new information that is always just on the verge of arriving will someday prove the ancient astronaut theory beyond doubt. “Archaeology will have no other choice but to accept the fact that we have been visited by extraterrestrials in the remote past,” Giorgio Tsoukalos says. Erich von Däniken returns near the end to say nothing new, and as we draw to a close the entire episode devoted to “new evidence” was mostly just a montage of half-understood material pasted over recycled claims from earlier episodes and even from the 1960s. It was a pretty good summation of the current state of the ancient astronaut theory.
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.
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