This week’s Ancient Aliens asks the completely unnecessary question of why ancient people built new temples on top of previous temples. This is no great mystery. Temples typically occupy the best real estate and have an aura of sanctity, so reusing those sites is a no-brainer. The first segment repeats a false “mystery” it has covered many times before, and wrongly. The show thinks it is triumphing over archaeologists by claiming Sacsayhuaman in Peru was built before the Inca. Archaeologists have known that for ages. It was in my college archaeology textbook decades ago. The show lets Brien Foerster spread lies about ancient people being unable to carve rocks with time and tools, and Giorgio Tsoukalos repeats claims going back to the pilot episode that it was made with lasers or other extreme technology. Following this, the talking heads gape in awe that new buildings stand atop old ones, and that holy sites remain holy for centuries or even millennia. The show, however, elides the fact that many of the new buildings were constructed to replace those destroyed in war or by disaster, not just out of fancy. Kathleen McGowan, who thinks she is a descendant of Jesus, speculates that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is a portal to another dimension.
The second segment returns to a well the show has plumbed since the pilot episode in 2009, the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek. The usual arguments are rehearsed, that its great temple platform, the trilithon, is primeval in origin and of such impossible size and weight that it must be the work of aliens. That claim has been debunked many times, but that doesn’t stop Ancient Aliens from recycling parts of earlier episodes almost verbatim. Claims that the Watchers built Baalbek as a rocket launchpad by Matest Agrest, the Soviet scientist who made ridiculous claims about ancient astronauts as part of Soviet propaganda efforts to undermine Western faith and science, are cited approvingly—indeed, worshipfully—and Zecharia Sitchin’s version of the same claim is also cited uncritically despite generations of scholars having debunked Sitchin’s eccentric and inaccurate “translations” of Near Eastern texts.
The third segment repeats information from the show’s infamous episode about Puma Punku, with underlying material recycled from as far back as the show’s 2009 pilot. There’s not much to say here that I haven’t said before, though the show justifies the recycling with some feints toward buried ruins indicating that there were earlier constructions—just like at all the Andean pyramid structures, which were frequently rebuilt and expanded.
The fourth segment returns to Peru to look at the remains of a destroyed Inca temple of Coricancha atop which the Spanish built a cathedral. As ought to be obvious, that construction effort was an intentional act of imperialism, of colonizing Inca sacred spaces to display Spanish power. The show speaks in awe of the idea that the Inca had built Coricancha on the site of an earlier temple. The talking heads take literally a myth that a golden sun-disc in the temple allowed communion with the sun god Inti, alleging that it was, basically, a TV screen. Nothing in the Spanish accounts indicated anything like a TV screen, but you can make up anything you like when you don’t have to rely on facts. Naturally, loudmouth ignoramus Andrew Gough, formerly of Forbidden History, has joined Ancient Aliens and begins to dominate the talking head segments by this point in the show. Anyway, as I joked when they first did this same segment back in 2017, “This is about like claiming that a crucifix is a radio receiver because Catholics kneel before it when they pray.”
The fifth segment offers yet another collection of recycled claims and footage, this time about the frequently discussed Nan Madol in the Pacific. The old legend that Nan Madol has an earlier, submerged twin city—proved false by archaeology—are accepted as true, and David Childress repeats his false claims made several times over the years that both cities are electrically charged. Tsoukalos suggests that the city’s basalt logs were moved with magnets. Hugh Newman and Travis Taylor allege that the site is a vortex to another dimension, despite the manifest lack of interdimensional portals anywhere in Nan Madol. George Noory of Coast the Coast AM says he has “no doubt” that Nan Madol and other sites are indeed sites for alien communication. All the show had to do was visit just one vortex during their visits to any of these sites over the years to prove there was a wormhole to another dimension, but did they? Of course not. It would be so easy, but then what would they do for an encore?
The final segment talks about the connections between the magnetic fields of the Earth and the Sun, though they make no effort to explain how this has anything to do with the “vortexes” they identified in the previous segment. The vortexes have now become portals that are somehow entwined with other star systems or other dimensions, though this does not follow from the allegations of electromagnetic activity previously discussed. Science is hard, so rather than proving anything, the talking heads just ask questions and suggest that somebody else should do the work of trying to disprove their nonsensical notions of sacred sites as alien Wi-Fi hotspots.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, 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.