Posted in History, Media

Ancient Aliens is terrible .

So in December 2019 I was inspired by a comment in a friend’s post on Twitter to write a rage thread about Ancient Aliens. Given the issues being tackled across the world with the BLM  movement going strong and a huge push to diversify academics and academic ideologies, I figured it was about time to expand on my original post and approach it in a slightly less constrictive form than the 280 characters we get in a twitter post, as you can probably tell, I like to waffle on a bit.

To start, I will set out a slightly edited (typos fixed and slightly reworded in places) version of the twitter thread below:

Ancient Aliens is the bane of my life. Having studied 4 histories at A Level, and completed the first year of my degree, the amount of times shows like Ancient Aliens and other and  Pseudo-Historical ‘documentaries’ out there are used as sources is astonishing, and the fact that they’re aired on the ‘History Channel’ as fact should be criminal. I’ve done a few in depth studies of episodes of Ancient Aliens, the main reason being I wanted to show my friends how bullshit most of their history is. Not only do they misrepresent information, they knowingly put forward outdated research and findings as fact and withhold other findings that would disprove their hypothesis purely because it’s inconvenient and doesn’t ‘prove that aliens are real’. If a settlement has signs of previous occupation (one example would be midden pits), where activity dropped off very quickly and seemingly without reason, don’t assume aliens abducted everyone, but expand your search parameters and also examine the mass grave of plague victims found a mile outside the settlement walls. It’s not difficult. It’s just doing your freaking job and thoroughly researching your topic! I don’t understand why people find it necessary to do shit like this. The history of the Ancient World is fascinating enough without having to force it into a false narrative the way shows like Ancient Aliens do. If Aliens do exist, and if they ever did present themselves to the Ancient World and we find that information, we find that data, then trust me, I would be the first one all over that shit, but stop forcing it as fact when there is literally no evidence to support it!

The original thread can be found here

I would like to state, the above example regarding the settlement and plague victims, (as far as I am aware at least,) is a hypothetical situation. I do still stand by the example though, as I believe it reflects the actions and attitudes of the show’s creators and research staff with frightening accuracy. 

To the point though –

[…] and the fact that they [pseudo-histrical and pseudo-archaeological shows] are aired on the ‘History Channel’ as fact should be criminal

See tweet.

The following picture is a ScreenCap of the top 4 results when ‘Ancient Aliens Pyramids’ is searched in google:

So I clicked on the first link to be presented with this:

And here is how the bio of that video reads:

I will admit, the content of this video itself doesn’t actually mention aliens, which I think is possibly the worst part about it. They present what I’m going to assume are facts (I’m not an Egyptologist or a Physicist so please correct me if I’m wrong) in a way which, to most viewers, would appear to be a professional, well put together manner, it’s on the History channel, why would they doubt it? This is how they drag so many people in though, it creates a false sense of security and trust, when something is backed up by so many ‘facts’ how could it be bullshit?

The only Academic named within the video is Michael Dennin, Ph.D. Physicist at the University of California, Irvine. Now I’m not doubting his credentials, as I said, I’m not a Physicist so I am working on the basis that what is presented here is, or at least at some point recently has been believed to be, fact. According to the UCI website he’s “well-known for popularising science for the public”, and they proceed to back this up by mentioning his appearance on Ancient Aliens along with a handful of other TV shows. 

I would start off by asking this simple question: ‘Why is the only academic featured in this video a Physicist, not an Egyptologist?’ And I will follow that with the answer that any Egyptologist worth their salt would destroy any arguments put forward to support the ‘Ancient Astronaut’ theories presented in the rest of the show. If you present an argument saying the mathematical knowledge presented in the building of the pyramids is far beyond even what we today could calculate, then follow this up with a Physicist who doesn’t dispute that claim and continues to add more facts to the argument, you cement the idea in people’s minds that Academics actually believe this shit. Then once you have that idea cemented in peoples heads, the bullshit theories start to make sense, they start to be believable.

The other ‘specialists’ shown in this video… well I’ll let you make your own minds up:

. David Childress – An American Author, and the owner of Adventures Unlimited Press, a publishing house established in 1984 specialising in books on unusual topics such as ancient mysteries, unexplained phenomena, alternative history and historical revisionism

. Scott Creighton – Author of three books:

  • The Great Pyramid Hoax: The Conspiracy to conceal the true history of ancient Egypt
  • The Giza Prophecy: The Orion Code and the secret teachings of the pyramids
  • The Secret Chambers of Osiris: The lost knowledge of the sixteen pyramids

. David Wilcock – Author of The Ascension Mysteries: Revealing the Cosmic Battle between Good and Evil – the blurb of which on google books reads: “Now, in The Ascension Mysteries, David Wilcock reveals that the earth is on the front lines of a battle that has been raging between positive and negative extraterrestrials for 500,000 years and he looks ahead to what this battle means. Follow his enthralling journey through the history of the universe and explore the great Cosmic Battle surrounding the Ascension of mankind.”

. Freddy Silva – A leading researcher of alternative history, ancient knowledge, sacred sites and the interaction between temples and consciousness.

I am hoping you can see my point here…

There has been a huge discussion over the last few months about how Ancient Aliens is a prime example of the systemic racism within academics. I spent some time this afternoon searching the internet for a list of what Archaeological sites Ancient Aliens have covered, and I’m surprised to say I can’t actually find one. With 15 seasons currently having been aired, (scary, I know) it’s a heck of a lot of work for someone to torture themselves with, but I might have to do so in the future. If you do know of a list, drop me a link on Twitter or by email, (which can be found on the Contact page,). Because I don’t have access to this data at the moment, it’s not a claim I am in a position to back up as I am aware that they have covered sites such as Stonehenge so they do not solely cover sites on the African Continent and the Middle East. What I will say though, is that episodes like the one being advertised in the video [season 12, episode 4 as per IMDb listing] are at the least, a bi-product of the systemic racism within academics. By refusing to admit that people we would now recognise as being of African and Middle-Eastern descent were capable of building what is the only surviving Wonder of the Ancient World without the assistance of Aliens, you are diminishing the impact and importance they have had on the world and the achievements of their ancestors, you take away their history, their heritage, their identity. By attributing, or accepting the attribution of their accomplishments to that of a ‘higher being’, be it Aliens or those of White European descent, you are part of that systemic racism whether you realise it or not. By watching shows like Ancient Aliens, or allowing shows like Ancient Aliens to be aired on your TV channel, you are part of the problem, and until pseudo-history and pseudo-archaeology shows are axed, or in the least accompanied by a ‘this is pseudo-XYZ’ disclaimer, nothing is going to change. And things really need to change.

Posted in History

Home Sweet Home

I wanted to write this to give you some kind of insight into my life and where my slight obsession with history stems from. If you follow me on Twitter (if you don’t, you totally should) then you’re probably familiar with my periodic gushing about how awesome my home town, Colchester, is, and I wanted to take this opportunity to expand on that slightly.

As a settlement, Colchester has been continuously occupied since the Bronze Age, with Archaeology in the area surrounding the town being datable to as far back as the Palaeolithic period. Finds such as Acheulian Handaxes from the Paleolithic and Tranchet Axes from the Mesolithic, through to Neolithic Henges and Bronze Age Barrow cemeteries, the pre-history of Colchester and the surrounding areas is just as rich as its later history. 

I was considering doing a brief run down of the history of the town but honestly, with near constant occupation for over 2000 years, it’s a lot to get through, but it’s something I will tackle (bit by bit) at some point. For now though, if it is something you would be interested in, I recommend getting yourself a copy of Colchester: A History by Andrew Philips, published in 2017. It’s the first full and comprehensive history of the town that has been published in over half a century and is well worth the read.

What really captured my heart as a kid though, was the Roman and Norman history that I grew up surrounded by. Sat in the middle of town, just a 10 minute walk along the river from the house I grew up in was a Norman Castle, the ‘dungeons’ of which (there aren’t actually any dungeons, they’re just foundations, something which was drilled into us as kids) were the ruins of the Roman Temple of Claudius, some of which can still be seen to this day. On my walk, I would pass through at least two gated roman walls depending on what direction I went, and would pass through Castle Park, the grounds of which (and the Hollytrees House Gardens) were laid out in 1729 by Charles Grey. None of it seemed like history, yes, these things were very old, but they were there, they weren’t just part of the past, they were present and real and you could touch them interact with them and you didn’t have to go to a museum to do so, you just had to go to the park or go for a wander into town! Even my primary school was a grade II listed building built in 1894 as a split gender school. History was everywhere growing up and it has shaped my life.

It wasn’t exactly a shock when I fell in love with history as a subject at school. One of the clearest memories I have from primary school is a term in year 4 where we spent Wednesdays after lunch learning about Greco-Roman mythology and rewriting the myths ourselves, at the end of term we all got to bind all the stories we had written and drawings we had done into a book which we took home, I’m pretty sure my mum and dad still have somewhere. At 11, in my first year of secondary school, I stayed behind on a Monday with my History teacher and built a to-scale replica of a motte-and-bailey castle with chicken wire and mod-rock for a display for parents evening. I moved to Leeds at 12 and probably not surprisingly, took GCSE History, where we studied the Normans, Saxons and Vikings, and their styles of Warfare, Trade and Daily Living, the final exam being a comparison between two of the peoples and their approach to one of these three topics. It was a 4 hour exam over two days, finished it in two hours and came out with an A… (should have been an A* but grade boundaries were moved last minute) I loved it, and couldn’t wait to do more.

So after a… questionable first year at 6th form (aged 16), I moved back to Colchester and started my madness. At this point I already had an AS in English Literature, so I continued that in my second year, and chose to pick up Medieval History, Archaeology, and Theatre Studies. Third year rolls around and I chose to drop Theatre Studies but continue and complete my Medieval History and Archaeology A Levels.I also picked up Classics and Ancient History at AS Level and for some reason did pre-GCSE Latin and a group of friends and I roped our Ancient History tutor into teaching us Ancient Greek in two of our free periods a week. I’ll be honest, it’s not a collection of subjects I would advise studying all at once, especially with two ancient languages alongside, but despite the workload and the serious pressure I put myself under, I wouldn’t change it for the world, but this is what I mean by ‘slight obsession’, give me the opportunity to learn more and I will, even if life does get in the way of obtaining my degree.

My love and my passion for history of all periods has been built and nurtured by what surrounded me, be that through my studies or as part of the surrounding landscape. If it wasn’t for the amazing history teachers I have had throughout my education and being given the opportunity to take the subjects I did at 6th form, then I probably wouldn’t be doing this now and would likely have dropped out of a Music degree instead of Classics. If I had grown up somewhere else, somewhere with less visual history (and I’ve honestly barely scraped the surface here) I doubt my education or personal interests would have matured the way they have over time. At some point I will finish my degree, I just have to wait till the time is right. For now, I’m happy doing what I’m doing and sharing my passions with you all through my slightly odd blog.

Photos courtesy of Simon Folkard and you can find him over at Flickr and Twitter