Lue Elizondo crowed on social media about efforts his network of operatives made to convince the tiny Republic of San Marino to ask the United Nations to give official sanction to the city-state’s annual UFO conference. Meanwhile, the public continues to care less about space aliens, as evidenced from the declining ratings of Ancient Aliens, which last week attracted only 700,000 viewers in live + same day ratings, with just 80,000 of those viewers clocking in under the age of 50. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the onetime industry leader in paranormal programming has been reduced to piggybacking on more successful upstarts, since this episode is a transparent attempt to make a cut-rate copy of Graham Hancock’s much more popular Ancient Apocalypse series from Netflix.
Sigh. The show starts with old ideas about “civilization” originating in southern Mesopotamia six thousand years ago, problematic not least because the show chooses not to define “civilization.” The oldest cities arose there, but how that maps onto the idea of “civilization” is unclear. The show falsely claims that the Mesopotamian flood myth’s connection to the Hebrew Bible’s flood myth was only discovered in 2009, laughable because the similarity was known since ancient times and directly studied from cuneiform originals since the nineteenth century. Irving Finkel somehow agrees to appear on this show to discuss this, and is edited to seem as though he claims to have discovered the Mesopotamian flood myth. The show then discusses Göbekli Tepe, whose monumental architecture Robert Schoch calls a ”civilization” and therefore claims is proof that a “major civilization” predated any in southern Mesopotamia by thousands of years. But Göbelki Tepe was almost certainly built by hunter-gatherers, which makes it difficult to claim as an urban, agricultural, sedentary “civilization” of the style of later cities. The show next compares Göbekli Tepe to the similar site of Karahan Tepe, which is obviously in the same megalithic tradition. Giorgio Tsoukalos falsely claims both sites are part of one “megalithic city” and the narrator alleges they are the antediluvian cities of the Nephilim-Giants from the Bible, who are aliens.
Just as in Ancient Apocalypse, the show next visits Derinkuyu, Cappadocia, Turkey, and debates how far it dates back into prehistory. Andrew Collins claims that the “same people” built Göbekli Tepe and the underground cities of Turkey “pre-flood.” There is no evidence that the carved cave cities date back nearly that far, and Ancient Aliens does even less than Graham Hancock to explain the evidence. Weirdly, the show next backs up to try to explain what cuneiform is and to explain mythology discovered through its translation, a chunk of text very much out of place (having already discussed cuneiform as though the viewer understands it) unless they are simply copying and pasting bits of older episodes without thinking through their scripts. (It’s too generic for me to identify a specific episode.) The show conflates various Mesopotamian peoples, misunderstands the anonymous Anunnaki gods as handbag-carrying birdmen, and alleges the Anunnaki built Göbekli Tepe. Andrew Collins claims the Anunnaki are the same as the Watchers from the Book of Enoch. This is likely not true—the Watchers are a complex mythology born from many influences, though one strand likely included Mesopotamian mythological beings of some kind, more likely the semi-divine sages who taught civilization than the anonymous Anunnaki.
The third segment sends Andrew Collins and Hugh Newman to Karahan Tepe to gawk at the site and dishonor ancient people and modern knowledge with their conspiracy theories. Newman alleges that the stylized hands on the t-shaped pillars, which have as many as eight fingers, represent the Nephilim because the Giant of Gath (who was not a son of fallen angels) had six fingers. On the strength of this, the show mistakenly claims that the Watchers appear in Genesis 6, which actually speaks of the Sons of God (“Watchers” is what the Book of Enoch calls them), and the show repeats its frequent refrain about the Watchers being space aliens who somehow traversed space and time but were happy to live in big piles of uncomfortable stones in Turkey rather than someplace with indoor plumbing and central heat. These aliens, they suggest, built not just Turkish megalithic sites but “megalithic sites around the world.” A picture of Easter Island, whose statues were erected some ten thousand or more years after Karahan Tepe, appears as the narrator makes the claim.
The fourth segment looks at Stonehenge, Maltese temples, and Easter Island and alleges, falsely, that “local indigenous cultures” all claim they were built by giants. Stonehenge’s legend of giants is medieval, many thousands of years after the fact. Similarly, the Maltese legend cannot be traced back to the construction of the temples. I’m not aware of giants being associated with Easter Island’s statues. This leads into a silly discussion of “giant” bones, citing Victorian stories that almost certainly describe Ice Age megafauna bones, like those of mastodons and mammoths. Some astronomical alignments, not all proven intentional, are next discussed, and David Childress thinks that Karahan Tepe was aligned to point to the stars around which the Anunnaki’s planet revolves.
Having stretched five minutes of content into forty-five minutes of screen time, the fifth segment again repeats the same material about Noah’s Flood in the versions from Genesis and the Book of Enoch. Other traditions directly or indirectly dependent on the Flood myth are discussed, including the Zoroastrian story of Yima building a shelter against a coming winter. The story, a late one, is transparently an adaptation of the Near Eastern Flood myth, but the show omits dates and pretends that ever narrative is pristine and independent evidence of a global cataclysm. But where Graham Hancock sees Karahan Tepe and Göbekli Tepe as monuments erected by the survivors of the Flood, Ancient Aliens alleges that they are the remnants of the pre-Flood civilization, intentionally buried to preserve knowledge—a story lifted from medieval Arabic stories rooted in extra-biblical legends of Enoch’s pillars of wisdom. As should be obvious, there is no geological evidence of this cataclysm having any impact on these sites.
The final segment notes that Turkish authorities have confirmed at least twelve megalithic sites similar to Göbekli Tepe are known across a 125-mile range. The show false concludes from this that the scattering of sites, occupied across centuries, were a “megalopolis,” with all the false implications that this was a single massive city with urban infrastructure rather than a series of ritual structures built over long periods, separated by miles and years, by hunter-gatherers who may have lived there part-time. The show ends with religious thoughts about human origins and space aliens.
How the hell did Irving Finkel agree to be on a show like that?
1/22/2023 02:55:49 pm
In more extensive lectures & writings he makes it clear they based it on their contemporary understanding of tower construction. And he was furious they took out the actual story of how an unknown Flood Tablet version fell into his hands with information as to what the Sumerians said the Ark (not the Tower) looked like (and which he had an upscaled model made and it actually floated).
1/21/2023 11:11:32 am
Great review as always. I was trying to figure out how our Ancient Alien guys think people living in underground cities survive a flood? I also wonder how burying a city protects it from a flood? Do they not know how floods work? I continue to watch, and shake my head, and read your reviews.
1/21/2023 04:04:41 pm
The question of what is a civilization largely depends on whose ox is being gored. IIRC from Jared Diamond and Thomas Sowell it's basically taken literally as "having a city." Then how do you define city and what do you do about England which has villages, towns, and cities. And the U.S. of course has "unincorporated areas". George Carlin, call your office.
1/22/2023 10:12:50 am
Dunno about Ohio but at Cahokia mound the population at its height was around the same as London at roughly the same time and would check your other boxes for features of civilization. Evidence of this in other areas if one wants to trust folks like DeSoto and his lads, at least until things like Mr. Smallpox made their appearance.
1/24/2023 01:49:18 am
Okay, cool, if they had
1/24/2023 12:50:55 pm
Okay cool. This is one of those rare instances where I bow to you for knowing more about stuff than me.
1/25/2023 05:19:54 am
Bow accepted. Carry on.....
1/27/2023 02:36:40 pm
First off, I need to thank Jason for his kindness in allowing me to deal with so much nonsense and slanders.
1/28/2023 05:08:58 pm
First off, I need to thank Jason for his kindness in allowing me to deal with so much just effing stupid idiocy.
2/5/2023 09:49:02 am
You seem unpleasant, Kent
2/8/2023 04:24:50 pm
I only *seem* unpleasant. Step to me and you will meet Lucy and Ethel. I am not Rick "I fuck my fans and brag about fighting on the internet" Redfern. Random car collisions aside, not fighting is pretty much my lifestyle.
1/30/2023 12:40:02 pm
"This certainly fills me with confidence when they say they want to create a database of UFO witnesses’ personal data." Is this sarcasm? Hard to know =/
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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.
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