It's not unusual for the BBC to report on the eccentric pseudohistorical theories that British speculators propose. It is, however, unusual for them to layer so much pseudohistory into an ostensibly neutral news report.
Our story today concerns carpet-fitter Steven Tasker, 66, who thinks that he has uncovered the secret machine, mentioned in the Bible, that enabled the Egyptians to build the pyramids and the people of ancient Britain to build Stonehenge. It's an elaborate version of rollers and rockers that have been stacked atop each other. It's implausible--for example, he thinks that Egyptian jars used for eye makeup were the rollers--but he has convinced himself that it is the chariot of God described in the book of Ezekiel, with the wings of the cherubim and the calf's feet resembling his conception of the platforms and rockers used to rock heavy rocks across the landscape.
But I was dumbfounded by the illustration Tasker provided and the BBC ran uncritically:
Where do we even start?
In the center of the image we see a man dressed either like Moses or Merlin, which is weird enough, especially since Geoffrey of Monmouth had told a story about Merlin magically transporting Stonehenge.
But on the left we see a Nephilim Bible Giant, also from Geoffrey's account. In medieval legend, giants built Stonehenge, and Tasker has placed one in his Stonehenge panorama.
Just to top it off, the BBC cites Laird Scranton, an ancient astronaut theorist and software designer from Albany, NY, misrepresenting him as an Egyptologist (he is not), and letting him spin a bizarre conspiracy about Egyptians in Orkney, part of a long historical tradition born of medieval legend associating Scotland with its fictitious mythical namesake, Scota, a princess of Egypt:
Egyptologist Laird Scranton found DNA of animal and plant species on Orkney, that led him to believe a group of Egyptian priests arrived in northern Scotland and other parts of the world to establish centres of learning.
The BBC's Chris Wood simply lets this unfounded allegation pass as though grounded in fact.
All told, it was a uniquely disappointing article that let a lot of extremely strange material pass unchallenged under the cover of being a warm and fuzzy human interest piece.
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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