I remember why I’ve never wanted satellite television

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For some reason, there is a channel known as The History Channel. Given its schedule, I can only conclude that the name is ironic in a postmodern sense. It certainly bears only a tangential relationship to something that I would recognise as ‘history’. I’ve been aware for some time that its programming is weighted towards the American Civil War and Nazis, much in the way that the ‘bookshop’ W H Smith has a ‘History’ section that deals largely in World War II and bullshit history. Given that the channel has aired series such as The Bible Code: predicting Armageddon and Nostradamus Effect, I really ought not to be shocked at any of its offerings.

And yet…

Head from Tikal (Guatemala)
According to the History Channel’s website, “This ancient stone figure, found at the Mayan ruins in Tikal, Guatemala, resembles a modern-day astronaut in a space helmet”; no, it doesn’t!

And yet, the discovery that it has given air time to a programme called Ancient Aliens (note that it’s not even a question!) is shocking and profoundly depressing. And it’s in its second series! Given that many people in the modern world use the television as their principal window on the world and source of information about that world, for a significant number of them, it has an authority that probably no other institution (even school) does. If it’s been on a television documentary, so popular wisdom has it, then it must be true: a twenty-first century equivalent of “I read it in the paper, so it must be true…”. A quote from an online forum should suffice to illustrate the point: “I don’t think you will be able to easily ‘debunk’ anything you see on the history channel. Everything that you see on their shows comes from legit scientific sources and is supported by many word class researches and experts”. There are times when I despair for the future of our civilisation.

The background information for the series, posted on the channel’s website, says:

According to ancient alien theorists, extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of science and engineering landed on Earth thousands of years ago, sharing their expertise with early civilizations and forever changing the course of human history… Ancient alien theory grew out of the centuries-old idea that life exists on other planets… The space program played no small part in this as well: If mankind could travel to other planets, why couldn’t extraterrestrials visit Earth? …

Most ancient alien theorists, including von Däniken, point to two types of evidence to support their ideas. The first is ancient religious texts in which humans witness and interact with gods or other heavenly beings who descend from the sky—sometimes in vehicles resembling spaceships—and possess spectacular powers. The second is physical specimens such as artwork depicting alien-like figures and ancient architectural marvels like Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt.

This blurb flatters the promoters of the ideas that descriptions of gods from the sky in ancient texts are accounts of genuine extraterrestrial visitations and that archaeological remains that make little obvious sense to us today: it calls them theorists. Almost as if they are scientists. And for many of us, scientists are the ultimate arbiters of what is real and what is not.

On the page dealing with Evidence of Ancient Aliens? (at least the web designer has had the courtesy to make it a question!), we find six things presented in support of the idea (okay, let’s be generous and go with the channel’s word, theory). These are:

  • The Nazca Lines
  • Vimanas
  • The Moai of Easter Island
  • Puma Punku
  • The Book of Ezekiel
  • Pacal’s Sarcophagus

It’s an eclectic list, to be sure, and it covers some exotic locations as well as some interesting ancient literature. But it’s a hugely problematical list and it has the fingerprints of Erich von Däniken all over it; moreover, four of the items have been widely debunked since the 1970s (perhaps best in Ronald Story’s 1976 The space-gods revealed: a close look at the theories of Erich von Däniken).

Geoglyph depicting a hummingbird, Nazca
Geoglyph depicting a hummingbird, Nazca (Perú)

The Nazca Lines are one of von Däniken’s favourite bits of evidence, so it’s little wonder they show up here. Situated in southern Perú, they consist of lines, geometric shapes and animal representations etched into the surface of the desert by the simple expedient of removing the oxidised pebbles on its surface to reveal the contrasting colour of the sand beneath. The designs are thus shallow, on average only 0.15 m (5.9 inches) deep. The History Channel’s website repeats the claim first put forward by Erich von Däniken that “the lines served as runways” for the gods’ spaceships; this conveniently ignores the fact that anything with any weight, such as a spaceship, landing on the plain would disturb the pebble surface and reveal the lighter sand underneath, thus creating new lines and effacing any designs it might pass over. This has clearly not happened. The lines – whatever their origin – can never have been used as runways.

Rama in his vimana
Rama in his vimana, depicted on a modern mural

A vimana (Sanskrit विमान) is something found in ancient Hindu literature, with a variety of meanings. Its etymology (it can be analysed vi-māna) means ‘measuring out’ or ‘traversing’ but in literature it refers to a ruler’s palace, the tower above the holy of holies in a Hindu temple, a god’s palace, a flying seat or flying building (from which, some modern dialects use the word to mean ‘aircraft’) and a chariot. Although vimanas make occasional appearances in Vedic literature, the text most quoted as evidence for their reality is the Vaimanika Shastra, purportedly a treatise on aeronautics written by Bharadwaja (Sanskrit भरद्वाज), one of the mythical sages of Hinduism. If genuine, it would be remarkable. Of course, it isn’t. Nobody had heard of the text until 1952, when its existence was revealed by Gomatam R Josyer (said to have been Director of the International Academy of Sanskrit Research in Mysore), according to whom it had been dictated by Pandit Subbaraya Shastry (1866-1940) in 1918-23. Despite its sonorous name, the International Academy of Sanskrit Research seems only to have had the one director and to have produced only one publication of its prestigious research: G R Josyer’s Vymaanika Shaastra Aeronautics of Maharshi Bharadwaaja. I can smell something and it isn’t aircraft fuel. Basically, the pillar on which the Ancient Aliens theory that vimanas were real flying machines rests turns out to be a mid-twentieth century hoax.

A re-erected mo'ai
A re-erected mo’ai, complete with coral eyes and red topknot

The mo’ai of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) are the well known monolithic stone statues that were erected in special locations on the island between about 1250 and 1500 CE. About 887 statues are known to exist, almost half of which are still in the quarry at Rano Raraku, which appears to have been the principal source of the stone from which they were carved. Those that made the journey were set up on stone platforms (known as ahu) on the coast, with the statues facing inland over the different clan areas of the island; each statue was carved to represent a deceased ancestor and they were intended to watch over their living descendants. After the first European contact with the islanders in 1722, when all the mo’ai on ahu were standing, fighting among the islanders resulted in the toppling of every single statue by 1868. Archaeological research since 1955 has revealed a great deal about the date and purpose of the statues and it is difficult to understand why they are considered evidence for ancient astronauts. Indeed, they are not ancient and were still being erected after Columbus’s voyage across the Atlantic.

Scattered masonry at Pumapunku
Scattered masonry at Pumapunku

Pumapunku is a site that forms part of the better known Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco) complex in Bolivia. Although the ancient astronauts proponents try to ascribe a vast age to the complex (over 14,000 years is not uncommon), there is a radiocarbon date from a primary deposit of 1510 ± 25 bp, which calibrates to 517-605 CE at 96% confidence. This quite clearly puts the origin of the site in the sixth century CE; those who want an earlier origin have to explain why no earlier cultural material has been found at the site. The sites are known for their stone architecture, which displays features that are quite unlike Old World building techniques. The complex joints between the stones are sophisticated and designed to provide strong wall without mortar and maximum stability in an earthquake zone; they are not evidence that aliens guided the human builders, as the programme seems to have claimed, and exhibit increasing sophistication with time.

Raphael's "The Vision of Ezekiel"
Raphael’s imagined view of the vision of Ezekiel

The Book of Ezekiel is one of the more bizarre works in the Hebrew Bible. Attributed to a prophet who calls himself Ezekiel ben Buzi (יְחֶזְקֵאל בֶּן-בּוּזִי), who appears to have been born around 622 BCE, it details what he refers to as “visions of God”. This is the first problem for the ancient astronaut theorists, who want him to be describing an actual Close Encounter with a spaceship and its occupants. Nor is it a straightforward eyewitness account, as there is evidence in the text itself for extensive editing (indeed, there are numerous variants of the text in existence). The plan of the work is actually quite straightforward: Yahweh reveals himself to Ezekiel as a warrior god in a chariot and pronounces a series of judgements on Jerusalem and Judah, followed by a series of judgements on the gentiles (specifically the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Philistines, Tyrians, Sidonians and Egyptians) and concluding with some vague prophecies about the return of the Jews to Judah, the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the bestowing of great blessings on the Jews. This does not sound like the imparting of extraterrestrial wisdom from a technologically advanced flying machine. Instead, it is typical of early Jewish apocalyptic literature.

The sarcophagus of K’inich Janahb’ Pakal (603-683 CE, more often known simply as Pacal), discovered in 1952 in the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque (Bàak’ in Modern Maya), is another thoroughly debunked bit of evidence, but it is one that Erich von Däniken seems to regard as his best, so keen is he to promote it. When he first wrote about the relief on the lid of the sarcophagus, there was only rudimentary knowledge of how to translate Maya hieroglyphs, so we can excuse him (to a limited extent) for not understanding the nature of the scene depicted. We can now read the inscriptions that gave the temple its name and they outline the history of Katun 4 to Katun 13, giving the background to the dates on the sarcophagus. An understanding of Maya iconography allows us also to ‘read’ the relief on the lid as the journey of the king into Xibalba (the underworld) during the night, wshere he will battle with and defeat the Lords of Death, with the water god (guardian of the underworld) waiting below, while the king escapes from the open jaws of a dragon or serpent, rising up towards the world tree; he is in a foetal position, ready to be reborn as K’awiil, god of maize. There is no spaceship, no astronaut, no alien…

I find it incredible and frightening that a worldwide distributed television channel that bills itself as ‘The History Channel’ can broadcast such rubbish as Ancient Aliens. If it were an entertainment programme, I’d have fewer worries (although it would still make me cross); it is the implied authority of the channel (‘The History Channel’, not just any old ‘History Channel’) that makes the broadcast of this series so potentially damaging, as we saw in the reaction of the forum poster quoted above. A channel that is making claims for its authoritative status, which offers educational resources, has a responsibility not to mislead its viewers (no doubt its executives think of them as ‘customers’). That responsibility is one that all makers and broadcasters of supposedly factual television have, but one that few of them take seriously: the responsibility to check facts.



  1. The brain is a computer,if it has misimformation fed into it it will cause problems -misrepresentation -untruths-spelling mistakes-to be really sure of facts input one must use eyes as tools to verify those facts before concluding initial input …The carved stone face profiles i have retrieved are created by hundreds of hours of hand and stone tool application ..An invitation to visit and view Ancient carved stone collection and a conducted tour of the series of sites from where these Taonga were collected is still open at “Badgers Den” Dannevirke ,Tararua .Remember ,when the brain computer is switched off that imfo. is lost forever,unless it is recorded in script ,parchment or stone..Stone messages don’t lie! they represent that link to the ancient past ,why would anyone carve a face likeness on a stone if they didn’t want it to be recognised for ownership purposes or as a generation marker .Normally i dont reply to sceptics.far too negative for my way of thinking..Cheers ! may IO -and RA go with you !.


    1. Badger,
      Skepticism is about forming your ideas based on scientific inquiry and method. It is, in fact a very healthy and positive mind set to have, as it encourages curiosity tempered by data. There is everything right about brainstorming and flights of fancy for the skeptical thinker, provided that once an idea had been formed it can be deemed valid by putting it through available means of rational, repeatable testing. Observation, hypothesis, experiment with control, collection of data, conclusion ( rejection or acceptance of hypothesis). If the hypothesis seems valid is there another way to test it? Can it provide multiple angles of testability? (an excellent example of this is our recent 75 year journey to understanding and forming a working theory of plate tectonics. There are multiple valid ways to verify the idea.) Skeptical thinking is really the epitome of positive thinking. Ask why! Seek truth!
      (please note that this reply was framed using solely positive suggestion in an attempt to show the reader that skeptics are inherently encouraging to people. :-) ).
      And may the sun continue to provide the planet with a balanced array of electromagnetic rays providing the heat and light energy that is the basis for all growth and energy on our lucky little planet!





  2. A more recent interpretation of Janaab’ Pakal’s lid is that he is being reborn/exiting the Underworld rather than entering it. The main reason behind this argument is that he is in the position a child is when it is born. The jaws of the Underworld are now believed to be that of a centipede rather than a serpent.


    1. That’s a good point and makes a lot of sense. A descent into the underworld is a necessary part of his apotheosis, but it would be more pertinent to show his rebirth in triumph and ascent to the abode of the gods as his final and greatest achievement. Thank you!


  3. I am one of the probably very numerous Pharyngula visitors who enjoyed this post. It seems that no field of study is safe from fuzzy-thinking woo. But at least each field also has its defenders of straightforward critical thinking like yourself :)


  4. It’s actually changed to just History now, instead of The History Channel. That’s mostly so they can have their reality programs and say, “History, made every day.”

    I’m sad that you didn’t have my favoritest example from that wretched show: the map of the New World from the year 1500 that supposedly shows the borders of Antarctica beneath all the ice. The program even shows how perfectly it matches up to a real map. This proves that aliens made the map.

    In reality, that map is a quarter of a larger map of the world, that was a compilation of at least a dozen maps, created by an Ottoman Navy admiral. Some of the maps used to compile it go back to the time of Alexander the Great. The fragment in question was made from several maps created by European explorers, including Columbus. The kicker? Because it was created from several different maps, many features are on there more than once, including groups of islands in the Caribbean. Not only that, but the land that supposedly perfectly represents Antarctica beneath the ice is actually just another map’s depiction of South America, accidentally put on there twice.

    So in order to prove it matches reality, the show itself had to contort it to make it look like it fits. That goes beyond just having quack “experts” spew their b.s. in front of the camera — they had to actively help them lie!


  5. Another Pharyngulite passing by. I’m a physics student, not an archaeologist – but I agree completely about your analysis of the Hystery Channel.


  6. As I noted on Pharyngula – the customers are actually the advertisers – the viewers are the product. And I think the MBAs have taken over with the goal to extract every unit of profit from these “revenue streams”. It’s depressing.

    I’m looking forward to a new era where we can subscribe to science/history programming and actually be the customer.


  7. Says the “History” Channel:

    “Most ancient alien theorists, including von Däniken…”

    I’ll take exception to that in Mr. von Däniken’s behalf. Sure, he might be alien (to how history and archaeology are done, for starters), but ancient? Come on! 76 years is not that old!


  8. Another Pharyngulite reader, here. The network decay of the History Channel really saddens me. There once was a time I could turn it on any time of the day and be both entertained and educated, even if it did have a disproportionate focus on WWII and the American Civil War.

    Now it’s aliens, psychic powers, Bible Codes, and completely off-topic reality shows whenever I look. I went for a long time without TV thanks in part to that, and now that I have it, again, I still rarely watch anything.

    Now if only there was an easier way for me to get a long list of history documentaries to play on Netflix streaming. The problem I have there is that you have to know in advance what you’re looking for, not stumble onto something interesting… I’m getting into a Mayincatec (Mayan/Inca/Aztec) mood, now.


  9. Ugh. The History Channel. What a spectacular load of bullshit you have become. You weren’t all that great to begin with, what with your huge hard-on for the Nazis at the expense of other, more interesting tidbits and your trite, politically correct, revisionistic documentaries on the civil war.

    But this? It’s pathetic. You have completely lost it if you think that appealing to the batshit conspiracy theory crowd will get you ratings, it’ll only cement your doom and forever soil whatever credibility you might have had.

    Great article, this retarded channel NEEDS to be slapped around more often. Maybe somehow we can beat some sense into them.


  10. The argument that the moai are evidence of alien involvement seems to come from Erich von Däniken’s book “Chariots of the Gods?” In it, he talks about how the Easter Islanders lacked the technology to move the statues and how the stone used in the moai couldn’t be found on the rest of the island. This is so thoroughly debunked that even other “Ancient Alien” conspiracy groups are admitting it isn’t true, so the History Channel using it as an example is just sort of an embarrassment.


  11. Re: “A channel that is making claims for its authoritative status, which offers educational resources, has a responsibility not to mislead its viewers (no doubt its executives think of them as ‘customers’).”

    This single misunderstanding in your throwaway remark is the basis of why this channel and several others I can name make this kind of change over time. Broadcasting executives think of the viewers as product; their customers are the advertisers who buy time and fund the channel (and to a lesser extent the cable companies who are willing to pay something for a bundle containing the channel). If they conclude that more “aliens” brings more viewers, increasing the value of the product they sell their advertisers, they do it.

    This is why the SciFi channel (rebranded “SyFy” to try to become more inclusive than its Science Fiction/Fantasy origins might suggest) now includes wrestling and James Bond movies. When was the last time there was anything in the way of “Arts” in the Arts and Entertainment network (which now refers to itself strictly as “A&E”) – note that 15 years ago, a number of DVDs of BBC classic mini-series like “Pride and Predudice” were issued under the A&E imprint. And even the Science Channel (which used to include the name of its group, “Discover”) includes science fiction: the series
    “Firefly” was shown, though originally with a sort-of-science related introduction by the channel’s favorite popularizer, Michio Kaku; I think they are also branching into some questionable areas, though more likely with a scientist bringing some questions to the table. The Bio channel seems still to show mostly biographies (of varying quality) and the Documentary channel shows documentaries. Other Learning Channel group and Discover group channels (there aren’t really that many different broadcasting companies out there) are devolving at a lesser or greater rate.


    1. I get what you mean about TV executives thinking of the advertisers as their ‘customers’, although I’m a bit puzzled by the concept of the viewer as ‘product’ (unless this is a difference between English and American uses of the term): to me, ‘product’ is the output of the channel, of which Ancient Aliens is an egregiously awful part.

      Here in the UK, we have a sort of ‘History Channel lite’, in the Freeview channel Yesterday (itself a rebranding of what was formerly known as UK TV History). When it retained ‘History’ in its name, its programme schedule was dominated by history documentaries, but since the rebranding, it has become interminable re-runs of historical drama, a programme called The Antiques Roadshow (cheap reality television in which members of the public queue for hours to have family a heirloom piece of tat appraised by an antiques dealer in the hope that they will place a ridiculously inflated valuation on it) and the ubiquitous Time Team (another reality television programme, although not a cheap one, in which a team of professional archaeologists has three days to solve an archaeological mystery submitted by a local resident). Heaven forbid that it should start buying programmes from History.com!


      1. I am using the word ‘product’ in this sense: networks (subject) are selling advertisers (indirect object) _something_ (direct object). This _something_, or the ‘product’, is a generic reference to what corporations sell to buyers, in this case ‘eyeballs’ or ‘viewers’. They don’t care about the viewers, they just need numbers of them to provide to their advertiser customers, and they do what they can to increase those numbers while keeping within the constraints established by their own marketing. E.g., they advertise themselves as some sort of ‘history’ channel, so they can’t just plop in episodes of “Coupling” (UK), say, just to increase their numbers. As they rebrand themselves they can expand the kinds of programs that they show to include known viewer magnets. Amidst all this verbiage the point should be clear; networks sell numbers of viewers to advertisers, and anything they can do to ‘legitimately’ increase those numbers so they can raise their rates or get more customers they will do.

        Anyhow, you may well know this, but as you say you are on the east side of the ocian, I’d just mention that “Antiques Roadshow” may correctly be termed ‘cheap reality tv’ since it is shown on US Public Television, which has less money for program development than any commercial outfit.


      2. To be clear , the product is what is sold to the customer. The customers are advertisers, and what is being sold is the viewership. So the product is the audience.

        The programming isn’t the product because it’s not what’s sold. The programming is the lure used to gain more product (attentive humans) to sell.


    2. Yes, but on the “Bio” channel all they air are Bio’s of celebrities?? What abt..the rest of the human beings from the beginning of recorded time?? Scientists,artists, philosophers,tec.. Tesla, Joan of Arc, Mozart, Sarte, Caligula.. Hell, I would even be excited to hear abt. Jack Johnson ( the boxer from 1900) he had a fascinating life. Jeez, I don’t know I can think of thousands of examples. Instead they have Angelina Jolie & Co..Not to mention don’t they have that ridiculous, celebrity ghost stories, celebrity close calls, my ghost story etc…series..I have never owned a television and raised my 3 sons w/o a television. Once they quit calling it broadcasting and switched to “programming” I got scared..


      1. The whole cult of celebrity is something that’s been developing for a while. I suspect it started with the promotion of Hollywood stars and gradually moved on to encompass people with even the slightest media presence.

        I’ve been in a couple of television programmes and it’s been interesting to see the reactions of complete strangers. The oddest was when someone who was cycling past me almost fell off whilst shouting “I’ve just seen you on the telly!”, as if I somehow needed reminding.

        Then there are the celebrity game shows, which always seem to include a host of people I don’t recognise, whose names I don’t know and whose presence seems predicated on selling a new book/film/television programme or boosting a flagging ‘career’. A lot of these ‘slebs’ appear to be famous for having been on other reality shows.

        Is it middle age that is making me so intolerant of modern ‘culture’? I don’t think so: people have been accusing me of being snobbish about culture since I was a teenager. I think that I’m just in a minority that believes in the value of thinking for oneself, in the idea of self-improvement through education and in the concept of art as beauty. Oh, and in the worth of a good rant occasionally!


  12. If many people think A looks like B, then A resembles B. Doesn’t mean A and B have anything to do with each other: Quetzalcoatl has nothing to do with runny dog poop, yet many people refer to his statue as such.

    Anyhow, no argument that schlock seems to always win out. Why is a bad copy of Top Gear (and they don’t even change the title, like ‘Top Gear USA’ or something) on the History channel?


  13. Sadly, I cannot remember the last time I tuned into History to watch something about history. I do occasionally tune in for Top Gear and Pawn Stars, the latter of which at least shows antiques. Modern Marvels at least has a more historical bent and I do try to watch that when I can, but otherwise? No. Ancient Aliens is the crap they should be programming against. They should have shows debunking that sort of nonsense, but why bother, when pushing it is easier, cheaper and (probably), gets better ratings?

    I’ve taken History to task a few times on my blog. For some examples, check these links:


    And to a lesser extent: http://wilybadger.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/sdrawkcab-gnikrow/


    1. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they actually had a show debunking this kind of thing?

      And experimental archaeology could be used to make an archaeology-based show that resembled Mythbusters. Except they might actually get the archaeology right, unlike the one archaeology-based episode of Mythbusters I’ve heard about.


  14. Oh my goodness, yes. Tried watching that show one time, as someone who has only a layman’s knowledge of history, and even I couldn’t stand it. My boyfriend turned off the show because I wouldn’t shut up about how silly it all was.


  15. I wish the History Channel would go back to just talking about the Civil and both World Wars at this point… Instead we have this show, MonsterQuest, MysteryQuest, and various other flavors of occult, supernatural, and cryptozoological programming…


  16. Yep, there’s some really bad stuff. My personal worst encounter was the show Cities of the Underworld, where they literally just pull crap out of their butts on the spot. In one episode they had a guide, not any sort of epert, but just some dude with no apparent qualifications and asked him “so Hitler could have stood ont this very spot?” – “Yeah, sure.”


    1. dennis – I AM an archaeologist and the underworld show actually showed a tunnel that I had dug at a Maya site years ago misrepresenting it as part of a network (It’s only about 50 feet long connecting two plazas) and a place that Maya priests would have used to “appear magically” on top of a pyramid (it comes out halfway down a pyramid and on the side). Imgaine my surprise when a friend called me told me to turn on the TV. My wife won’t let me watch these channels anymore because I start yelling at the TV…


  17. I’m another Pharyngula reader stopping by to let you know I liked your post.
    The inclusion of the mo’ai boggles my mind. Is von Daniken trying to say that they look like “ancient aliens” or that they were made by “ancient aliens?” Collapse by Jared Diamond details pretty extensively how the mo’ai were created and how their creation helped create environmental catastrophes that led to the fall of the Rapa Nui.


  18. I have this text that proves extraterrestrial aliens brought us satellite television to better program us to — no, I shouldn’t even joke about it because (1) someone might believe me and (2) it’s probably already been done.


  19. Another problem with using the Nazca lines as runways – they are not flat. I saw I a non-stupid documentary on the Nazca lines and there was a scene that someone walking along them – the terrain could be described as “rolling”. They only look flat from the air. I used to fly gliders and we were taught very early that if you can the slope of the ground from the air, it is too steep to land on. Any one who claims the Nazca lines could have been runways either has never seen them from the ground or is lying. It is appalling but not surprising that anyone would take a convicted embezzler like Von Daniken seriously.


  20. Still wondering why it is that money seems to create prostitution of everything. Dumbing-down seems to have reached rock bottom, but they blast their way even further down. Ugh!
    Still think that ‘Happy Holidays with Hitler’ is a very good slogan for the HC.


  21. The “History” Channel gave up all pretense of being an educational tool about history when they ran the show… “Future disasters”!

    But what really saddens me is they actually had a pretty good show recently called ancient battles or something like that. It did seemed to try to be historical if not over dramatic, and was quite educational. Alas I think they canceled it. Probably to run a show about Bigfoot or something. I swear I actually feel dumber after watching most of their shows.


  22. I ostensibly blog about history (like any good blogger who does it for giggles I write about whatever the hell I want). Whenever I find it necessary to discuss anything on The History Channel I put it under the tag “The Bullshit Channel” and refer to the channel as such. I don’t use the tag much, though, because I don’t watch The Bullshit Channel anymore.

    I actually think I got in to the habit about four years ago when I saw a special on Gavin Menzies’ execrable 1421: The Year that China Discovered America. They actually had a segment with a guy wandering around a dune somewhere near Seattle with dowsing rods, using them to walk the outline of a supposed Chinese junk that was supposedly from the 1421 expedition. They started digging and what did they find? A bunch of driftwood and various other bits of debris.

    That was about the time that they started devoting every other hour to Nostradamus-esque fantasies, too. And then there was the whole Ida thing.

    So, yeah. Terrible channel.


  23. ugh, i couldn’t even sit through one episode of this crap; “I don’t understand, therefore aliens!” They actually contacted me wanting to use one of my photos. I gave them the proper response: http://accpaleo.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/yes-there-is-such-a-thing-as-bad-publicity/ . One of these days I’ll get my video capture device working and do a Doug Walker-esque review of it on my youtube channel.

    ps: I did a paper on Easter Island back in my intro to Archaeology class and there are plenty of good theories about how they moved the statues without the aid of aliens. There is some good evidence to suggest that the moai were walked across the island, like you would a refrigerator.


  24. Here’s an excerpt from a blog article I wrote recently on The History Channel:

    U.S. television network, History, announced on May 24, 2011 that a 10-hour series covering the entire Bible has been in the works for two years and is expected to air in 2013. News reports covering the announcement all refer to the series as a docudrama, which is commonly understood to be the dramatization of factual events. Such dramatizations, however, almost always use dramatic and historical license to manipulate, distort or ignore certain facts for entertainment purposes without making their audience aware of what those distortions are. The recent movie, The King’s Speech, is a good example of that, as explained by Christopher Hitchens.

    History president and general manager, Nancy Dubuc, referring to the series as bringing “the historical stories of the Bible to life for a new generation”, seems to suggest that ‘docu’ in docudrama indicates documentary, in other words a factual representation of real historical events. I suppose she had no choice but to maintain the pretence of history when announcing this project, but remember, she is not in the business of teaching history but in delivering eyeballs to advertisers. The History channel exists to make money, not to educate viewers with actual history, and what better way to make money than to promote the Bible to the gullible. It’s what god frauds have been doing for centuries.

    It is simply not true that Bible stories are historical, especially the most dramatic ones likely to be portrayed in the series. At best they are historical fiction — metaphors and myths mixed in with bits of real history — at worst they are lies. And they do create hysteria in people who believe the Bible is a factual, true account of reality. Just look at the recent hysteria created by Harold Camping, or browse through the more than 3,000 news articles in the Religion and Child Abuse News archive that document the hundreds of ways in which hysterical Bible believers abuse children. I’ve linked to some of those articles below. The headlines alone are enough to prove the point.



  25. Spot on, I loathe this show since I first saw it and had the misfortune of watching it.

    Anyhoo, I was flicking through the channels the other day and saw that piece of dreck was running a double and I read the synopsis to see what crazy was being peddled. The first one was focusing on how just about every piece of kit the Nazis developed was by virtue of reverse engineering yet another crashed alien ship that conveniently came down in Germany. The second was going to be about how Joan of Arc received help from aliens to defeat the English!

    Seriously, aliens apparently cross vast distances merely to dispense tactical advice to a medieval dust up and boost Joan’s confidence. The show seems to always labour the point that humans are so incredibly stupid that they are incapable of developing anything or even winning our own battles without ET’s guiding hand. I’m surprised that we can manage wiping our backsides without ET’s help given how utterly inept we are. Besides, surely if ET is meddling in just about everything, we’d have their damn craft – those that are not busy crashing – lining up in orbit, yet it’s empty out there.

    It makes me despair for humanity when these credulous clowns have an uncontested platform to spew their mindless drivel and it be all too easily mistaken for a genuine, credible explanation of our past and present. I tried complaining to History about this awful show once, pointless exercise, I received no response for months then an email appeared from them to tell me that the problem had been solved and the ticket closed.


  26. Anytime I CE versus AD or BCE versus BC – the text is entirely suspect. Gently reteaching history even if complaining about a bizarre website that calls itself “The History Channel” versus “The Revisionist History Channel.” .


  27. We actually get this channel on our digital cable line up. We discovered a very long time ago that it will show anything that has even the TINIEST hint of ‘historical drama ‘ in it, even if the show is pure fantasy built along the lines of pseudo-historical alternate universe type of history.

    Lately it has been showing such things as “Wild Wild West”, “Gladiator”, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Hunt for Red October.”


  28. History is to the History Channel as mud pies are to the Food Network. The History Channel’s chief purpose seems to be to show how long and bizarre Giorgio Tsoukalos’ hair can get in each succeeding program they use him as an “expert” for.


  29. They seem to not want us to remember the REVOLUTIONARY WAR and the REASONS IT OCCURED. Then another war with the British in 1812. 101 years later their bankers own us again.


  30. only thing i watch on history is what i like to call the pawn stars trifecta the 3 shows that deal with ppl finding selling and restoring antiques the rest is rubbish


  31. My introduction to this riff-raff was back in the late 60s, early 70s with: “One Hundred Thousand Years of Man’s Unknown History” by Robert Charroux. And then, of course, “Chariots of the Gods”, by Daniken. Through the years these types of people have attempted, most especially Daniken of willfully pedaling, what could be called, fraud. Nothing new.

    I always get a kick out of the people talking about this stuff on HC. Not PhD in Archeology from the whole bunch. Maybe, a PhD in Literature, but that’s about it.

    But then again, what goes around, comes around. We’re back into the New (Old) Age of Woo.

    Heck, even bell-bottoms are making another comeback.


  32. History Channel :

    59 minutes minutes saying unverified stuff and
    1 minute with a (real) expert saying “those theories are BS”.

    Or you could say, the same channel is refuting it.

    History Channel is one of the least credible channel around here, only comparable with CNN and Fox News.


  33. Popular culture and its “beneficiaries” cannot digest academia. Seeking information about archeology from the History channel is akin to learning “science” from science magazines and news websites. These are all crafted in the name of entertainment, and nothing else. This is hardly surprising.

    I recall that a student in my archeology class once asked, “Didn’t the aliens build Machu Picchu?” with utter seriousness. It is evident that most people simply cannot understand the difference between the stuff they watch for jollies, and what they learn from more credible sources.

    Personally, I got rid of the television years ago.


  34. I’ve been too lazy to complain online about it, but I’m glad you did. At one point my cable company had a run of channels, 37-40, that served quality television for when I wanted to learn something. The History Channel (History), The Learning Channel (TLC), Discovery and Arts & Entertainments (A&E). Each one has slowly been dumbed down. TLC runs shows about weddings, A&E runs junk, Discovery runs shows about fishing, and well, we all know about History.

    In fact, History is even worse than you might suspect. Their fact checking for their more credible shows is really poor, even for little points that could be looked up on Google. I’ve caught them dozing at the wheel with there fact checking on a couple occasions and emailed them a couple times. Years ago they were pretty good about at least acknowledging they’d screwed up, but they don’t seem to care anymore.

    I was watching one of their shows on gang violence once (not the sort of thing I’d usually watch but I’d been flipping through the channels and happened to hear the name of one of the small local cities in my area (Troy, NY) so with nothing better on I decided to watch. There were several facts that seemed off, but nothing I knew for sure, until they off-handedly mentioned the esteemed Cornell University as being ‘local’ (in the context of where students would go out to the bars on a Friday night), even although it’s 3 hrs. and 150+ miles away. No big deal I thought. I sent them an email to let them know about their mistake.

    If that had been all there was to the story it would have been no big deal, but they wrote back to argue with me… and not about something subjective like their definition of local, but about where Cornell is located. It seems when they Googled universities local to my area a paid ad came up at the top of the page so it must in fact be local, otherwise it wouldn’t be listed. Their fact checkers couldn’t tell the difference between a paid ad at the top of a Google search and an actual search result or click on the links to see that Cornell was half way across the state. Even when I told them I’d lived near Troy for nearly 30 years, that my grandparents had taught at Cornell, that I had vivid memories of the long, seemingly endless drive in the back seat to visit them as a kid, the simple evidence on Google maps they didn’t want to consider that they were wrong.

    (Found your post from a link on Fark!)


    1. You are not the only one History Channel has argued with. I took them to task about repeating the now-debunked-myth that Native Americans are responsible for syphilis infections that eventually spread to Europe . . . it has been proven that the STD version of syphilis existed in the Old World long before the Age of Discovery. I cited authorities, all PhD’s in a variety of fields. History Channel wrote back and told me I was wrong, wrong, wrong. They would stand by their report because their version was “common knowledge”. Not being one to back down, I pointed out that curing warts by killing toads by the light of a full moon was also common knowledge, but was just as false. They never responded.


  35. This made me laugh: “When was the last time there was anything in the way of “Arts” in the Arts and Entertainment network (which now refers to itself strictly as “A&E”) ”

    In the hospital system in my country, A&E stands for ‘Accident and Emergency’ – I’ve long been of the opinion that the so-called History channel was a disaster in progress!


  36. Very nicely written piece, really enjoyed reading it!

    As a huge fan of the original History Channel I fully echo your unhappiness with the state of affairs regarding their broadcasting choices.
    Honestly though, I used to thoroughly enjoy a fair bit of their programming which used to be so much more varied and interesting – of course that was before it became The Fox History Channel, following which they slowly but surely began moving in the direction of repeated telecasts of the same things… the world war shows, the american history shows, the crappy conspiracy theory type shows… they had all these before too, but they used to be just a portion of the overall programming, I even remember shows about musicians, about artists, different countries and cultures and so much.
    It is sad how far TV has sunk in a lot of ways… there is innovative programming and creative work still being done but unfortunately it is more and more among the minority.

    Of course being in India I have even less access to good shows on the air so I’ve not had a TV or cable myself for over a year now.

    Nice site, will try and drop in when life permits.


  37. Lame. Weak. Sad.

    Is that the best you people can do “No, there weren’t no aliens neither?”

    You’re in trouble and you know it.

    Go move the Trilithions at Ba’albek and get back to us.


    1. Ah the conviction of the True Believer! Resorting to insults.

      And yes, it is the best “we people” can do. It’s called using evidence. Not taking a look at something, thinking “I can’t imagine how they did that” and moving directly on to “if they didn’t do it, then aliens must have!”, without the slightest shred of evidence for it.

      As for Ba’albek, it’s not up to me to move the great platform. I can suggest ways in which human beings might have been able to do so several thousand years ago without invoking the deus ex machina of alien intervention.

      Why are you people always so happy to demean the efforts of our ancestors by denying they were capable of amazing things?


      1. Yes, read your blog. It’s nothing but insults. Project much?

        Archaeologists are the biggest true believers there are. Building engineers are the ones who realize how ridiculous your claims are. Those blocks weigh millions of pounds and you claim they were moved with ropes.

        And it’s you people who demean the testimony of our ancestors by dismissing their accounts of ancient contact as delusion or fantasy. YOU do that.


      2. Am I a believer in “Ancient Astronauts”? Absolutely not! Do I believe that there are many historical mysteries yet to be solved? My answer would be a resounding yes!
        Years ago as a teenager I read “Chariots of the Gods” and thought “wow”. A few months later it was a subject of study in our history class in highschool. We didn’t so much debunk it as we did analyse it and come up with alternative “theories”. What this book did for me (after being a history class subject) helped teach me to be a critical thinker.
        I viewed that book (and others) from a totally different perspective.
        I feel that a lot of the commentors believe that the average TV viewer is a moron and think that everything they view on TV must be true. I don’t feel that way. I think the average TV viewer is probably reasonably intelligent and can weed the BS from the facts.
        Unfortunately (fortunately?) the programming on “History Channel” had to evolve. There is only so much history involving “WW2, WW1, Civil War, Revolutionary War” that I could stomach. In the first 3 yrs. watching History Channel I had watched everything possible about these wars. There just isn’t that much new that would warrant a full length feature on these subjects. From the very beginning I wondered how they would manage to fill programming slots without endless re-runs. Of course we still get the re-runs but of a different nature.
        I believe the biggest problem here is in the name “History Channel”. Maybe it should be changed? Any ideas?


    2. just of the record…

      The Trilithions at Balbek weight about 800 ton each one. It´s impressive. The heaviest weight moved in the ancient world was about 980 ton. Vitruvius has a good description on how it was done. No ufos or aliens were needed.

      But today…

      The Saturn V rocket weighted about 3,039 tones.. and could fly.

      The heaviest man made object moved is the Statfjord J platform with 900,000 tones.

      The heaviest object moved are icebergs with more to 6,000,000 tons http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi388.htm

      So a little block if 800 ton hardly is proof of anything alien. Instead is a testimony to human ingenuity.


  38. The best explanation I’ve found of this show so far.

    “The show’s premise rests on the idea that space monsters from beyond the moon traversed the infinite vacuum of the cosmos to come to Earth and help early man move rocks around”


  39. Nice post, i watch ancient aliens, i’ve even watched most episodes, first off all i want to tell you that what you just said doesn’t nessecarily contradict the theory.

    First of all, i agree on the nazca lines, common histoy tells us they used it in a religious kind of way, yes you can see them from above, and i agree with you that they are most probaly no more then human fantasy.
    What’s intresting is when a mountain is somehow missing his top, first it would be a very hard thing to do back in those days, and why ? That said comes another question wich is where are the remains.

    I agree with you on the vimana’s , they could also be no more then a figment of imagination.

    I agree with you on the Mo’ai, claims that they are from extraterrestial beings is an unfounded statement, it’s nonsense, there are no aliens needed to explain those structures and there religious ways.

    Your claims on PumaPunku are insufficient to tell the complete story, even in the 6th century those tools where not available, second of all : the stories that they are atleast 14000 years old have not been proved by carbon dating, however : (From Ancient Aliens series) Tiwanaku legend says they did not build them, and that’s exactly what we see here, i do not believe tiwanaku build PumaPunku.

    There are a few footnotes.

    First off, did they ever finish it?
    Second, if they finished it, why is it shatterd apart?
    Third, There are so many mathematical principals involved to ensure they would fit exactly, if we were to have trouble building such a structure today.
    Fourth, the building techniques do not match the technology known to exist at that time, what did they know , we now don’t know or are blind to see?
    Fifth, this is remarkable to say atleast, wich is that on some 90 degrees angles you can even cut yourself when you go over it with your finger, wich means that they would have to be cut down with enormous precision,and wich is doubtable to say the tiwanaku civilization had the means to do so.

    Evidence of tiwanaku or PumaPunku being build by an civilization older then the tiwanaku civilzation has not been found, we should be able to find atleast remnants of that previous civilization, most scientists will agree when if you we’re to build such a building you would have to have had some sort of language.

    In my opinion it is possible that Ancient Aliens had a helping hand in human development and thus helped build PumaPunku, it is because all around the world similar buildings like PumaPunku have been found, pushing boundries of what people could do at those times to much higher hights then we thought of possible.
    Because some of those structures cannot be explained by modern day science we would have to ask ourselves what are we missing in the story of mankind.

    Second, you think of evidence debunking the theory, yet you come forward with nothing that hasn’t been told before, part of searching for the answers is looking outside of the box when it comes down to history, the more you learn, at some point you are gonna have to, there are so many stories, buildings, legends , statues, or gold remnants that are really astonishing to look at today, and you wonder how?
    As a modern day society do we look at ourselves with arrogance towards the ancients, or are we willingly denying something that could be the answer to everything when it comes to history.

    Aliens are ridiculed nowadays, but we’re a given fact back in ancient times.

    Around the world things are found that shouldn’t exist, in south america lies the temple of the sun, and in egypt lies the great pyramid, what is really intresting is that they have such similarites, this cannot be, yet it happend, History was wrong to say Columbus was the first to arrive in America, rather the Vikings now have the honour to be the first, the question you need to ask yourself is what kind of things you learned of as a child, are they still correct?

    Soon the first planet with probable life on it will be found, thus raising intrest in Ancient Aliens, it is mere logic such television shows are made, and in time, when it has more support, we might actually look for answers, because however you turn it around, it still raises more questions then it answers, the question of how did they do it is a question that dazzles scientists today, it’s a question that MUST be answered, and untill a viable answer is given, you have to ask yourself wether or not Aliens is such a ridicilous idea or that there is some truth on it.
    In my opinion they sometimes give to little to human achievements and rather give those to aliens, but when there are things we cannot even recreate today, to me an question mark reveals itself.

    I’m done now, i have much more information but i’m tired of typing, in the end it comes down to that we don’t really know everything yet, certainly not about our own past, a thing like Ancient Aliens, atleast puts forward some evidence, rather then read it out of the ”holy book of idiots” called ”the bible”, and some of that evidence is still not debunked to this day, rather then everything else when it comes to history and religion, wich have numerous explanations of why and how, i guess that’s the most intriguing history.

    Greetings from Holland!


  40. RandiWatch…. “millions of pounds”….


    In the quarry of Baalbek there are two bigger blocks than the trhillitons, weighting about 1,200 ton… but, they are still at the quarry. The romans could not move them to their place. That was the limit of their technology.

    Most of the claims about Baalbek by Sitchin and Daniken come from and old book “Voyage autour de la mer morte” by Felicien ce Saulcy” from 1864!!!!!

    This book was written before any excavation was done at the place and it mere fantasy, including the weight reported by the autor, about, 20,000 ton for the Thrilliton… but it was simply bad math, and bad archeology.

    As the saying goes… garbage in, garbage out…


    1. The Romans couldn’t move them? Then why cut them? You saying the Romans were idiots? I guess you’re insulting our ancestors too. Maybe it’s because those blocks were used for a different, much earlier site that was destroyed during a major earthquake.

      Go move some of those rocks. Leyner tried and failed in Egypt. Repeat the experiment. To scale. Isn’t that the basic rule of science?

      You people have never been challenged and you don’t have the answers. Period. You know it, I know it and soon the world will. Look at this as a major opportunity to rewrite history.


      1. As any engineer would admit, They simply reached their limit. The maximun weight they managed to move was 950 tones.

        And there is nothing around those stones as any archaeologist would tell you.

        And about moving them… the heaviest of them was 1,200 ton, A Saturn V rocket weights 3,200 tones.. and it flies…
        So far the heaviest man made object that has been moved weights 900,000 tones. It was the Statfjord J platform.

        finally I cite this info:

        (edited) says:

        The stones in Baalbek are not as heavy as claimed by many authors. The three actually moved weigh just under 800 tons each, and only the not-moved block in the quarry weighs about 1000 tons.

        The stones were transported over a path only 600 meters length and about 15 meters *downhill*. The quarry is 1160 meters high, and the temple 145 meters. So it was easy to keep the stones on an even level to their final resting place and it was uneccesary to lift them about 7 meters as some authors claim.

        As you might know, Rome is the city with the most obelisks outside of egypt. They stole the things by the dozen and took them home. The heaviest known obelisk weighs 510 tons, and it was transported some 1000’s of *kilometers*. This transport was documented by the roman author Marcellinus Comes. The romans even left detailed paintings and reliefs about the ways to move such things : as on the bottom of the Theodosius-obelisk in Istanbul.

        They used “Roman-patented” winches, in German called “Gopelwinden” which work with long lever ways. To move a 900 ton stone, they needed only 700 men. The transport was slow, about 30 meters a day, because they had to dismantle and rebuild the winches every few meters, to pull the obelisk with maximum torque. But in Baalbek, where they moved several blocks, maybe they built an alley of winches, where they passed the block from winch to winch.

        But its irrelevant, because they needed only three weeks per block, and that’s OK. Oh by the way, the Romans worked a few hundred years on the temple, until the project was finally canceled.

        From Roman times, and the trilithon was built in Roman times, we have full documentations about the methods they used. For example, the transport of a 900 t block at the time of Thedosius (compareable to the Bal Bekaa blocks) was accomplished with 12 winches manned with 24 men each – or only 264 men!!!

        The romans developed a system of continous winch movement, called in German a “G�pelwinde”. With this system, winches are placed on poles dugged into the ground besides the transport way. In the example listed above 2 parallel rows with 6 winches on each side, between them the weight was moved. Each winch had a distance of about 5 m to the next. All 6 winches on each side had a different repe angle to the weight to pull. The lower, the smaller the transport force afflicted to the block. When the angle ot the two winches most behind got unpracticable, the winches were removed from the pole and moved to the frontmost position and the ropes got new connected. And so on. The blocks were transported on sleds. The transport of the Byzanz-Obelisk eg. took about 2 weeks for 3 kilometers from waterfront to 300 m height. The Trilithon-blocks were transported only 600 meters to a lower position!!

        When the work was finished, the poles were pulled out and the holes filled.

        Next point: How were the blocks in Bal Bekaa lifted? Answer: They werent lifted. The quarry was slightly higher than the platform of the forum, so the Romans only had to fill a small trench with rubble to bull the blocks horizontally to their places.

        FD “


  41. Gee, that’s all fascinating. Except for the fact that the Romans didn’t build Ba’albek, they restored it and called it Heliopolis. It was built long before the Roman Empire existed and was destroyed in an earthquake. Maybe the Romans didn’t move the stones because they didn’t cut them and maybe it wasn’t a quarry but a prior site that the Romans used as a source for stone, just like what happened thousands of times when pagan temples were converted to mosques or churches. Some archaeologists you guys are.


    1. a yes… Daniken and other have claimed that… but they have no offered evidence. That is not a fact, but a fantasy.

      Archaeologist have excavate Bal Bekaa bellow the thrillitons, and have not found nothing older than roman.

      Also have excavated the quarry and found roman trash. For an archaeologist Trash is more important than anything, because it tells you more about how the people live.

      By the way Bal Bekaa es the MODERN name of the place, as it dates from the XIX century. The Old name is Heliopolis.

      They foundations and the structure is typical roman engineering, only bigger than usual.

      Fantasy is not a good replacement for facts.


  42. Wow, this just gets better and better. Two seconds on Wikipedia- aka Skeptic Heaven- put that one to rest:

    There has been much conjecture about earlier levels at Baalbeck with suggestions that it may have been an ancient settlement. The German expedition in 1898 reporting nothing prior to Roman occupation.[1] Recent archaeological finds have however been discovered in the deep trench at the edge of the Jupiter temple platform during cleaning operations. These finds date the site, Tell Baalbek from the PPNB neolithic to the Iron Age. They include several sherds of pottery including a teapot spout, evident to date back to the early bronze age.[2] Previous excavations under the roman flagstones in the Great Court unearthed three skeletons and a fragment of Persian pottery dated to around 550-330 BC. The fragment featured cuneiform letters and images of figurines.[3]

    This is boring.


    1. You’re right: it is boring.

      Your complete lack of understanding of any archaeological principles such as stratigraphic success means that it is pointless trying to engage in a debate.

      Ba’albek as a site may be older than the Roman period. The trilithons are not. Get over it.


      1. Rubbish. There’s no Roman temple using such massive stones. the Romans were extremely practical-minded builders. They never would have cut stones they couldn’t move. The fact that there’s such an effort to cover up the pre-Roman origin of the site shows nothing but panic.

        The clock is ticking…


        1. Panic?
          Who’s panicking?
          What you don’t seem to appreciate is that any young archaeologist would make a name by demonstrating all these things that alternative archaeologists claim are there. If we could demonstrate that it really is impossible for humans to have built the platform at Ba’albek, that it is much older than we currently believe, there would be any number of real archaeologists about to make their careers by doing just that. Ask yourself why it’s not happening.
          There is no conspiracy.
          All I can see is a huge hole where the evidence should be.


  43. Are you serious? Do you think that any young archaeologist would last a second in the system raising these questions? Do you think he or she would get a single penny in grant money? Do you think they’d keep their jobs at any university? Do you think they’d be published? How could they afford a team or testing without appealing to the same narrow interests who control all of the science done in North America and Europe?

    You are dangerously naive. But that just means you were well trained by the system.


    1. Yes, a young archaeologist would last by raising such questions and looking at the evidence. It’s all about evidence, which is what the Ancient Aliens Hypothesis so plainly lacks. If it’s there, it’s there. It’s not being hidden by some vast academic conspiracy.
      Grant money? I’ve never seen a penny of it.
      Most archaeologists don’t work in universities. Most work in commercial organisations. I work in a museum.
      Publication isn’s an issue. Von Däniken has mad a fortune from it. His problem is that he hasn’t presented any convincing evidence whatsoever.
      If “all of the science done in North America and Europe” is controlled by “narrow interests”, how on earth does any new research get done?
      I’m neither dangerous nor naïve, thank you very much. I do my job to the best of my ability and I do my job with the evidence I have at my disposal, not the wishful thinking of Ancient Aliens Theorists.


    2. you are well trained, like all compiracionist..

      it´s the same if they are creationist, holocaust deniers, hiv deniers, ufo believers, chemtrail, haarp, etc.

      “there is a conspiration of silence”, “soon everyone will know the truth”, “we are fighting against the system”…

      it does not matter that decades goes and evidences stack… against them, yet they keep repeating their mantras, asi they were shields to isolate form the real world.

      That is why sites like this are important. Some people is willing to fight against all the nonsense.

      Science is about questioning, about destroying dogmas, about searching info that creates new questions. That is why science can not be controlled.


  44. Uh, yeah, Sure.

    Even though you might dismiss it out of hand, Ancient Astronaut Theorists have a large and growing body of evidence that is finding a huge audience while controlled archaeology is increasingly seen as irrelevant, compromised and denialist. And I’m hopeful that more intelligent and enlightened countries like India will break the truth embargo in the future as the evidence continues to mount.


    1. That is exactly what creationist have been claiming the last 100 years…

      yet.. each day there are more proofs against creationism. There hardly any reliable evidence.

      The Kosso artifact: an old spark plug. the Klerksdorp,spheres?… most of then are not spherical and they are not from Klerksdorp,… etc etc.. that is not evidence.

      Opparts?, hay you really check the truth about them?… Do you have any idea of who is Cremo and what he actually claims?


  45. wow – all of the goofy cynics huddled together thumbing their noses at everything … go crawl in a hole and die. you’ll be comfortable in the hole because you’ll all be together.


  46. What a horrible, inept analogy. 100 years ago Creationism was the Establishment and Darwinism was the upstart. Now mainstream archaeology is the corrupt, deceptive and oppressive establishment and Ancient Astronaut Theory is the future. Enjoy your last days of ridicule and grandstanding. The shoe will be on your foot in the future.


  47. I can’t resist. Yet another righteous ‘educated’ historian whining about the the awful rot being spooned to the masses for profits. You are precisely the reason the public has an insatiable appetite for anything that is even remotely close to an entertaining presentation of history. You pretentious boring twit! Get used to it – HISTORY BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE – they will consume whatever they choose and you can piss off – academic elitist ass hole!


      1. I enjoy the alien episodes. I find them entertaining and some but not all make me wonder if aliens were around at various times in the past. The complexity of some of the monuments etc. leave me to ask the question,How were these monuments built with the tools available to people 1000 or more years ago. For instance, tell me how the H shaped stones in south America were cut so precisely? You seem to be ready to debunk the ancient theorists but do you have the answers to all the questions that are raised?


  48. Did the writer of this post even watch the program? I would be interested to know how the show is narrated. The History Channel description presents the summary of the subject matter of the show in the third person, as though they are presenting the ideas of the “theorists” who think this shit is true. Nowhere do they claim that this stuff actually happened or that they have some privileged access to the true and correct fact of the matter history…at least not in their summary.

    I wouldn’t normally defend The History Channel because I don’t think they dig very deep when they produce their programs. Many of their programs consist of repeating footage or photographs and interviews with the utterly boring academic historians who often have rather extreme theories themselves. Of course, this is part of the study of history at high levels. It’s not just places, people and times; it’s also about broader social, cultural, religious, and political contexts, as well as psychological motivations of dead people. To have an accurate and anywhere near adequate understanding of a particular historical event or period is hard shit (one might even argue, impossible), so naturally this stuff is debatable, and yes, people have theories. Anyone who has a theory is a theorist. The better theories (i.e., more likely to capture the most truth), of course, are more grounded by numerous and various sorts of evidence.


    1. No, I didn’t watch the programme (why do you think the post has the title it does?): my comments relate entirely to the website. Being in the UK, I can’t even watch the online postings of old episodes, not that I’m in the least bit tempted by the content of the website.


      1. Wait…

        If you didn’t watch the program episode by episode then what credibility do you really have on assessing it from an anti perspective? To look into only a portion of the subject matter you’re against is like playing a video game for only fifteen minutes and making your overall opinion before you’ve even finished the game. It’s sort of symbolic of the very theorists on the show — taking bits and pieces of scattered fabric to form a certain bias.

        I have watched all three seasons of Ancient Aliens, and no doubt, like any bit of theory dribble and straw-grabbing, it has inconsistencies and inaccurancies, which I expect. I have noticed that words like “probably, maybe, assume, possibly, and theorists” make up 90% of the dialogue, however. ‘Theorists’ are just that; people collecting theories to help their own personal interpretation make “universal sense,” sometimes totally stepping on the toes of history in the process and “getting things wrong,” and because the formerly mentioned words are always thrown around, I never take the show further than it takes itself, so I don’t think anyone, pro or anti, should either. That being said, the overall show — despite the hairy bits that can be nitpicked — is a fun source of “fodder” for the general “aliens might’ve been here” thought. A goose chase is always a goose chase, but it’s the kooky, impossible chase that makes it a fun run to see somehow. I’ll agree with one poster that, “You seem to be ready to debunk the ancient theorists but do you have the answers to all the questions that are raised?” but nonetheless, a show like this should be on a channel called “The Mystery Channel,” indeed. It’s kind of how like I feel “The Haunted” does NOT belong on Animal Planet when the animal isn’t the star of the program to begin with.

        At the very least, maybe the program can influence a tiny percentage of folks from this “alien, paranormal, blood-sucking” generation to look into what they’re addressing and research the real “true or false” facts for themselves, evidently breaking off from the tunnel vision and wanting to find true answers to history and creation. Though sometimes a silly program, the “What If?” stimulator behind it made my baby brother more interested in actually finding general “tribal history” intriguing. For most others, I definitely know it won’t work that way….but hey! Cheers to that five percent? XD


        1. …Ehhh.

          Replace “theorists” with “srs-business speculators” in that comment. I forgot the other poster’s name, but they were right. Speculation = contemplation and/or consideration of a topic. Theory = series of tested speculations.

          I hope I didn’t sound like one of these disrespectful trolls trying to pick a fight, by the way. I wasn’t intending to; it’s hard to communicate an appropriate tone through the internet! ):


    2. Brian:

      There is a difference between speculations and a theory.

      You can say, I have this idea, now lets collect whatever can be used to prove it, no matter what i need to do to fit it…

      Or you can say, I have all these facts, What is the best explanation for them, and how I test it.

      While it has been speculated that History is not a testable science, that is not correct. A scientific theory, needs to be able to predict things.


      – The Pyramids were built by people… lots of people, and people need a place to live, eat and even die. that is a Town… and the town of the workers was discovered.

      While accidental discoveries occur, usually an archaeologist excavates based on theories about what does he know.

      But what all the ancient astronauts speculators do? They just collect but do not try to test anything.
      for example, the is wood figure they claim it´s a representation of a plane… no matter it looks like the representation of birds in paintings. Then claim NASA test it in a wind tunnel… but never present the evidence. The reality, NASA never heard of it. It´s like the creationist when they do quote mining, they just expect nobody check the original source.

      Usually when you do a little research on their claims you expect to find very interesting things… like experts that are not, non existent institutions, non existent references, claims presented as facts, distortion or biased selection.

      You have Sitching making “sumerian translation”… on an acadian seal!.
      Yoy have Charles Hapgood, twisting a turk map, until it fits… what he believed (in his time) was the coast of the antartic, while ignoring all the notes in the map explaining he took the information from Genovese maps.

      Those people simply distort the truth to fit their speculations… and th

      i refuse to call them “Theories… ” ,


  49. As a practicing archaeologist I find the pseudoscience represented in forums such as the History Channel or even Discovery or SyFi to be profoundly disturbing. Not only is it incredibly removed from the daily activities of actual populations but it is fundamentally degrading. It serves to recognize the accomplishments of these communities, suggesting that they could not have completed them. As research questions in my field are primarily anthropological in origin, any materials observed must be described within the context of cultures they occupy. It is my expectation that if one were to encounter the magnificent temples at Tikal or El Mirador (which in fact only reflect upon the wealthiest portion of these communities) and attribute them to the British or Dutch it would widely be dismissed as arrogant and naive. However it somehow becomes acceptable to neglect the living communities which affect us as long as the object you attribute action to is unqualified and unrestrained in imagination. This is not science. A scientist observes the accomplishments of these communities and concludes that the their innovation was greater than expected. This disparity in the understanding of basic scientific methodology is extremely disturbing and as a citizen inspires concern toward the quality of education for which we all have a responsibility.
    And at last… There is a dragon in my garage.


  50. Brian says: “To have an accurate and anywhere near adequate understanding of a particular historical event or period is hard shit (one might even argue, impossible), so naturally this stuff is debatable, and yes, people have theories. Anyone who has a theory is a theorist. The better theories (i.e., more likely to capture the most truth), of course, are more grounded by numerous and various sorts of evidence.

    The problem is that programs like this give equal weight to the “alternative” theories and the standard theories, thus granting equal credibility to the “alternative” theorists as to serious scientists, when neither deserve such. These ancient alien theories are of extraordinary nature and therefore require extraordinary proof. But instead of such evidence we get less than ordinary “evidence”; mostly speculation and arm-waving deductions from nonexistent facts. These shows on the cable channels thus do the science a great disservice.


  51. “This is not science. A scientist observes the accomplishments of these communities and concludes that the their innovation was greater than expected. This disparity in the understanding of basic scientific methodology is extremely disturbing and as a citizen inspires concern toward the quality of education for which we all have a responsibility.
    And at last… There is a dragon in my garage.”

    Real science demands that a theory is tested. Real science demands that results are reproduced. Real science demands that those claiming that small populations with primitive tools and no records of advanced knowledge repeat the experiment. If you archaeologists are going to claim that these people could defy the laws of physics, then YOU MUST SHOW US EXACTLY HOW.

    You must prove to us how these cyclopean stones were moved over great distances up the sides of mountains and then fit them into place with such precision that you can fit a pen knife into the seams. You must rebuild these massive megalithic structures in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY you argue that these people – some of them who didn’t have alphabets or understand the concept of a wheel- did.

    You have to provide the documentation that proves how the Egyptians could build massive tunnel complexes without the use of torches or how these ancient people possibly understood the complex planetary and geographic alignments encoded into these buildings without aircraft or telescopes.

    Guess what. It will never happen.

    The universities, the media, the foundations, the government bureaucracy, the science journals- the entire weight of the multi-trillion dollar establishment is all on your side. But the truth is not.

    It’s over. You know it. I know it. Soon the world will know it.

    And someone who calls his blog Bad Archaeology and attacks a show he never watched has no business complaining about insults.


    1. So far not one of them has defied the laws of physics. Most of those claims just came from sensationalist sources.

      In Giza, you can put an arm between the rocks of the core. Only in some parts of the exterior were done with more precision. They use low quality rock for the inner core, and filled them with sand and lime. The outer core was don on soft limestone, that could be easily worked.

      Egypt, Rome, China, India, all they have alphabets and had wheel and good technology. There is nothing magic about them Just read the works by Vitruviuis.

      The Pyramid of Khufu is a marvelous work, but the heaviest stone it has weight of 40 ton. I will take centuries before the Egyptians would learn to move heavy weights, and we have illustrations on how they did it.

      If you refer to Stonehenge, I was built on a period of 1,000 years. So they could take years to move a single stone it they wanted. The most massive of those stones, can be moved by a single people with the right tools, just with wood planks and they could use hundreds of people to move one stone at a time.

      The Egyptians did not have “complex planetary and geographic alignments encoded”…. that is just plain fantasy. To align the pyramids , they uses simple techniques with strings and weights. The errors on the construction of the pyramid shows exactly what we can expect from those instruments.

      In prehispanic America, the wheel was know, there are toys with wheels, but Wheels are not useful for all places and never manage to move wight in the same scale of the old world structures.

      They were magnificent achievements, of the past. But there was nothing that “defies the laws of physics”

      Seems there are two different worlds. The real world and the fantastic world of Bad Archeology.


    2. Okay, I know I shouldn’t be feeding the troll, but you state: “Real science demands that a theory is tested. Real science demands that results are reproduced.”

      Have the AA theorists been able to meet this criteria?

      That is all.

      And Javier, you are not going to make any headway on this. You are wasting your effort. This sort of person can not be argued with, because they believe that argument is simply contradiction. They are not capable of considering anything outside their pre-configured beliefs, and have an answer for everything (as you have no doubt noticed). They willfully choose which evidence (real or imagined, contextualized or not) to accept and which to refute based on whether it conforms to their belief system. Providing examples of evidence that contradicts those beliefs results in confusion and anger, but does not deter them from their rhetoric. These things, they will tell us, are faked or are done without accurately replicating the original situation.

      As I realized a while back: For a conspiracy theorist (and AA folks are just a variety thereof), the LACK of evidence is its own proof that their belief is true, because it supports their assumption that some institution is hiding the evidence. It requires a bizarre sort of circular meta-doublethink.

      So please, for your own sanity, stop poking at RandiWatch. He may not have better things to do, but surely, you do.


  52. I knew one of you people would post that video. Now try those methods on miles and miles of sand, not asphalt or concrete and try placing hundreds of thousands of giant stones at the rate it would have taken to build the great pyramid using that method. Oh, and then prove that anyone ever used those methods before he did.

    Put up or shut up. Repeat the experiment even once. Leyner tried and failed on a miniscule scale. All of you will do even worse.

    It’s over. You lost.


    1. You demand that “YOU MUST SHOW US EXACTLY HOW” is interesting. Have any of the whack job ancient alien “theorists” done that? Have they shown exactly how aliens traveled to earth and interacted with ancient societies, and how they built the pyramids with their tractor beams and their antigravity beams and hordes of nanobots?

      Spewing out idiotic crap like “If you can’t prove it happened your way, then it must have happened my way, and I don’t have to prove it” is really a tiresome tactic, but apparently is the only one you have. You assume that if you can’t understand something, then you make something up. You really don’t understand how science works, do you?


    2. Oh.. what thew heck,., one last time..

      Leyner is an archeologist, not an engineer… and he did not failed, he learned about problems he did not knew.

      Actually is easiest to move the blocks on wet sand. as Lehner show. Arqueologist have unheart wood implements simlar to the ones shown on the video. And remember, 99.99 of the blocks weigh about 1 ton… and where low quality limestone, easy to cut.


      That was last.. no more troll feeding.


  53. so far I see no one debunking ancient alien theories, just a bunch of self righteous current or future history teacher/coaches. Will someone please explain how gigantic blocks were first carved and moved up mountain sides and across deserts. someone also explain why anyone would care to put that much effort forth. who ever wrote this article gave no real “scientific” reason for the nazca lines.. crop circles… or any other mysterious happenings


    1. Crop circles? It was Doug and Dave, it was a joke, and the gullible swallowed it whole. Next thing you will be telling me about the Deros, or Lemurian lizard tamers, or wait for it….Adamski!


    2. “how gigantic blocks were first carved and moved up mountain sides”

      Let´s see: In Egypt the blocks were moved by boats, not by the deserts. Giza is just a couple of km from the Nile and the biggest blocks at the pyramids are just 80 tonnes. Those blocks were not cut but split, that is why they were not very precise.

      Several centuries later, Egyptians would learn to move obelisk up to 900 tones, but still would move then in boats, as shown in the Hatseput Queen tomb.

      The important things about those giant efforts. The civilizations that learned to use their population and resources to big enterprises became more stable.

      The effort to build the pyramids of Giza unified Egypt in one nation. They used that same organization to some bigger (yet less prestigious) enterprises, like dams, and irrigation channels. Some of those projects involved twice the resources involved in Giza. Curiously, nobody claim they are extraterrestrials.

      About more “gigantic blocks”. The biggest block at Baalbeck are still in the quarry, one of them still uncut. Romans tried to move them, but they were beyond their capabilities.

      That people do not want to hear the explanations, do not mean they do not exists.


  54. You people think just because you can offer up lame response out of the air everyone is supposed to roll over. And you call people trolls because you can’t take a spoonful of what you’ve been dishing out for years.

    I got news for you- the more you insist on these rope and log fantasies the more contempt you are held in by rest of the world. How many men does it take to move a ten ton stone? A fifty ton stone? How long does it take to move a thousand of them into place across a vast stretch of desert? How much water do you need to tamp down the sand when the burning desert sun evaporates it as fast as you put it down? How did they move enough water to the Giza plateau which is in the middle of the desert? Never mind the grave robber excuse, why isn’t there a single carving, bas relief, or statue to be found in the Great Pyramid? How do you get fifty ton rocks up the sides of Andean mountains? How do move giant stones with soft palm logs or in places with no sign of trees at all? Why do we have so many accounts claiming that so many of these sites were built by earlier races? We have laundry lists from ancient Egypt et al- where are the blueprints for some of these megalithic structures?

    You can run away but you can’t hide. The truth can’t be stopped.


  55. Never been here before, but have aeen ancient aliens. Don’t see the material as anything but speculation, but interesting. This site is the other side of the coin, “The flat earth ghroup”


  56. You have given another view point that is valid. Thats fine. I think someof the time they ‘reach’ when trying to make a connection, just like you do. I would hope you wouldnt just write off the biggest story of all time because of that.
    I would hope you would dig deeper than this post.
    You will find the vast amount of data from culture to culture about Gods coming down from the sky, giving the locals enlightenment ,tools, etc. and walking among them…is just too perfect. Every culture has this same story and THAT is what matters to me. Over seas. Across mountains. At the top and bottom of the world. The same story. There is something to it. Dont write it off.


    1. Superficially… they may look to an outsider as similar… but just look a little deeper and they are so different.

      For example, in the nahua cultures, the Teotl (most Nahuatl scholar agree that translate this as gods is a misunderstanding), lived among the men, but they sacrificed their lives and become spirits , in order humans could live.

      So, no gods coming from the sky.

      Probably there is a big misunderstanding, since many of the first scholar had an ethnocentric view, and had a cristian point of view, putting the words “gods”, “Heaven”, “hell”, etc into their descriptions. But Human civilization is much more complex and deeper.

      DAniken et al, have distorted the history of many civilizations so they look the same.


    2. Of course there are similarities between religions. They all come from people who live on the same Earth, bound to the same natural curiosity and love for heroes, hostage to the same weather, wanting the same rains and fearing the same famines, looking up at the same night sky, the same moon, the same five “stars” that seem to move with minds of their own, witnessing the same eclipses, fearing the same diseases, and hearing the same stories of earthquakes and distant volcanoes. Whatever culture in whatever continent they may reside, whether dessert or jungle the differences are minor compared to the same human needs and situations they faced.

      That being said, as Javier so excellently put it the similarities are greatly exaggerated by people trying to force everything into a western perspective. There’s a world if difference between the native american’s vision animal, the Abrahamic religion’s angel, the Gothic deified chieftain, and ancestor worship of the ancient Chinese. The differences become a lot easier to iron over when one looks at regional neighbors and ancient trade partners like Egypt, Israel, Arabia, Greece, and Rome, to which I’d respond with a nice “well, of course.”


  57. I think the “History” channel specializes in “flyover history” – here’s what it looks like from high up in the air where all the details blur and nobody has to get their hands dirty with facts. Ugh. I find it interesting that people would rather believe “it’s all aliens” than to give any credit to human ingenuity and doggedness, examples of which are not far to find. Thank you for this post. (And seriously? Joan of Arc got help from aliens? They seem to have a penchant for useless gestures, these aliens?)


  58. Great article. Reminds me of a show I saw on the Discovery Channel that showed what future species would look like after humans were gone. I don’t know it’s name, but it’s of equal nonsense essence.


  59. … since we have here a great group of people who THEORETICLY can make better television, who can make History sound even atractive to a tunneleer or garbage man…COME ON BRING UP YOUR OUW CHANNEL! POSERS


    1. So you’ve never complained about a television? Never thought you could direct a film better than the director?
      Thought not.
      It’s not posing to point out when a television channel deliberately and knowingly feeds its audience rubbish and lies. That’s what The History Channel is doing and it’s doing it for ratings. That’s because ratings=revenue. Making a fat profit for the shareholders is all that the company executives care about. They certainly don’t give a damn about the audience or the reliability of the programmes.
      And, believe me, given the chance (and, more importantly, the money), I’d make television programmes about the past that would blow The History Channel out of the water. You want posers? Just look at the idiots presenting Ancient Aliens!


  60. You debunkers are so brazenly arrogant it’s just sad. You worship at the altar of conservative, dogmatic, old-guard science. I mean a little skepticism is good, but I won’t give you the honor of calling you a skeptic.

    The fact is, the universe is teaming with conscious beings. And yes we can travel faster than light, not by those pathetic fuel burning rust buckets that NASA sends up. The world of quantum physics is reawakening the ancient knowledge we lost.

    So either open your mind to the possibility that most of what we’ve been taught by our schools and churches are just completely wrong, or get out of the way. Because shits about to change big time.


  61. But the program is so much fun! and the guys’ hairstyles are out of this world [sic]! We watch it for the comedy factor and the “logic”!


  62. I read much on this site and agree about ancient aliens being a no go. But I lived in Bolivia and personally spent time at tiahuanaco and when you mention carbon dating material to just a few BC I wanted to know how or what was dated.
    As far as I understand stones and rocks are unable to be dated. I love the site and will be moving back to Bolivia in 2012 permanently.
    I plan to see more of the site and also the large and monstrous stone structures in Peru. I am not dissing anyone but there has never that I have seen a reasonable explanation as to the construction methods used here. I worked on industrial construction more than 30 years as a crane operator, and I personally do not think we could build these today.

    I think that maybe we have a likely scenario for ancient ancestors, who may have survived a deluge with technologies that we do not yet understand. For another thing there was found in the general area something called the “Fuente Magna” that was claimed to be fake until the writing was translated from African type Sumerian and said to possibly be from maybe 2,500 to 3,000 BCE.

    I think man was really great at one time and who knows what happened, but we are once again advancing in many technologies and if we don’t learn how to play together better we may find we have another disaster and any marvels we had gone and nothing will remain from our types of construction.

    these early ancestors built with rock that was both hard and enduring, which is more than we do today.

    Rather than everyone dissing each other I for one would love to see speculation on how these (ancient and primitive) people could master what we would have tremendous difficulty doing.


  63. completely agree. i fell asleep in front of the history channel this evening, and woke up to this being on after having experienced it in a half conscious state for a preceding half hour. i thought it was a joke. it sounds like a parody of itself, but it is obviously intended to be taken seriously. the script has logical holes big enough to drive a mack truck through. i have no idea what they are attempting to accomplish with this garbage. it’s. damn shame too, because there is a ton of really wonderful educational material out there and it almost never shows up on cable, so we can instead endlessly learn more about celebrities, pawn shops, allegator hunters, shrimp fishermen (which, believe you me, have an unlimited supply of insight to impart about a whole range of topics), political propaganda, etc etc etc. oh well.


  64. Hello. Nice article. I fully agree. I pass by the show, now and then, when I’m looking for something — anything — on. Hard to find anything worth value these days on TV, period. Sometimes, in passing, I can watch a segment of this and humor over it, at least. I got the point of the lay-line stuff and had to turn it off and search for the facts, which led me here, because it was just so out there. It was certainly crazy enough to hear the huge/giant/enormous leap the guy made in trying to “figure out” why the Vikings would need these structures, that perhaps this means they could also fly… I mean, what? Where does one make such a leap just because they made these things on land? The other side of this absurdity is that they kept referring as “evidence” to back this up that the Vikings were a sea-faring race… Well, they certainly got around by boat from land to land mass, yeah … but they did so … to conquer the land. Once they got on shore, it’s not like they just stayed for a while and said bye to the locals, and went back to somehow live entirely in the sea… They landed, set up camp, then pushed forward and conquered the land until there wasn’t any more land to conquer, or they were pushed back by opposition. I don’t see how that can possibly be removed as part of this equation by these people. No, of course. I see. It all makes perfect sense now. They only built these things on land because they flew there… It’s really the only conclusion one can make, isn’t it? Ugh…

    And yes, for years we called it The Hitler Chanel in our house. Hitler and Nazis, all day, every day! The Military Chanel and the other off-shoot have taken up that mantel now.


  65. I don’t know anything about the sunspot theory, but you did get the Mayan dates right…kind of. The era doesn’t “end” on that day, the 13th Baktun (a time of significance) begins.


  66. There are many unexplained things that can be interpreted in different ways. Some of mainstream archaelogists theories may be correct or incorrect, the same applies to The Ancient Alien theory. There is no definite answer. To open up peoples minds to alternative theories is fine. The granite was cut so precisely in Puma Pumka that even today a computer program would have to be ued to achieve the same result( if it can be achieved). Also, how did they cut the granite, did they have a diamond tipped drill


    1. One of the differences between real archaeologists and pseudoarchaeologists is that real archaeologists are prepared to accept that their ideas may be incorrect. When new evidence is found, or new ways of interpreting existing evidence (particularly ways that include previously poorly explained data) are proposed, they will adopt these new ideas. They accept that this is how our understanding of the world and its history progresses. Pseudoarchaeologists, by contrast, begin with an idea, often by cherry-picking those bits of data that real archaeologists have not yet explained adequately, and forcing the rest of the data to fit.

      The cutting of the stone (actually sandstone, not granite) at Puma Punku was achieved by humans, no doubt about it: what you need is a grinding material (sand works well) and lots of time. We modern humans are so accustomed to doing things to tight schedules and using technology to carry out things we find difficult, laborious or tedious, that we tend to forget that ancient societies managed without the types of technology that we have. They had several things that we lack, though: an over-abundance of human resources (slaves, serfs or peasants depending on where and when) and no concept of the deadline.

      Sandstone is a relatively easy material to smooth, as it is soft; where did you get the idea that the builders used granite? From a pseudoarchaeologist on a certain television programme, perhaps?


  67. Just one simple question on Puma Punku. If this was indeed made by primitive stone builders in the 6th centruy CE, how did they manage to do such exquisite carving of megalithlic stones in diorite. The only thing garder than diorite is diamonds. So do you, and all archeaologists, claim these primitive american indians craved using diamond-studded tools, or do you just dismiss it entirely? I don’t claim it is aliens, nor anything else. But to claim you KNOW how it was done and WHO did it, requires proof. To me, it is just as outrageous to claim ancient people carved 800 ton rocks or granite and diorite and moved them into place using copper chisels as it is to claim aliens did it. So as they say: extraordinary claims requires extraordinary proof. Where is YOUR proof that a bunch of primtive stone-age humans built this? You provide me THAT, and I will begin to listen to the rest of your claims.


    1. Why on earth do you consider the builders of Puma Punku “primitive”? I detect a hint of racism here. And no, to claim that the people who were there at the time were the people who built it does not require “proof”: it requires evidence. The evidence is that the local inhabitants had a tradition of building in stone, a style of artistic representation and a means of carving that would have enabled them to build it: Puma Punku fits into that continuum.

      If you want to explain it in terms of an external influence, using high technology, then the onus is on you to provide the evidence for the existence of this other civilisation with a technology unknown to the people living in the area at the time (but not the circular reasoning claiming ‘Puma Punku therefore high technology”). You can’t: all you have is an argument from incredulity.


    2. Steve.. that already has been anwered here:

      a) there are no 800 ton stones at Puma Punku.

      b) they are not made of diorite but red sandstone, a soft sedimentary block easy to carve.

      Simply, most ancient astronaut and similar sites have the same claims, since all are copied from the “sacred texts” by Daniken, Hanckock and similar.. so .. “They must be true”…

      but really.. that is very very bad archeology


  68. crazier then believing in an invisible man who lives in the sky. Who watches your every moment of every day and this invisible man has a list of ten things he does not want you to do. He loves you and he wants your money…Oh! And he made the world in six days! While that dude Joshua, uh, well, he stopped the sun by yelling at it. Don’t forget about Mr. Jesus who was born of a virgin and nullified natural laws to perform miracles.


  69. he-hemmm….To quote the TV show X-files-“the truth is out there”. Well if it is, it is most likely not to be revealed within the apparatus of television. Is there wrong information on TV?- Sure but I would point to news to be far more damaging to the general population, compared to a show that purports that ET life exists out in the universe and we may be part of that process.

    Scientifically speaking isnt there some mathematical equation that says it is almost a mathematical impossibility that our species/ our planet could be the only one supporting intelligent life,

    Your points on bad archeology pertaining to the show, are valid and regardless of how much our belief systems and pre conceived notions want to steer us it is good to be rooted in some good scientific method when trying to get to the bottom of things.
    I wonder however, if this method too, may fall short when trying to reveal the reality of ET’s/ interdimensional beings???
    The argument being if the next most intelligent species down from us is not able to write,build computers, or rockets…etc, then how vast might the difference be between the next most intelligent life above us?
    How do we apply a scientific method to something that may not even have a physical body as we know, be able to defy our gravity and that may work well outside anything we may call science.
    It is a paradigm paradox.
    I guess my point is that without science we are just shooting in the dark, but just because science is unable to explain something with our current analysis does not mean it doesn’t exist!
    and finally… although Ancient Aliens may not be the most scientific show, I am glad it exists- to spark our curiosity.


    1. The point isn’t so much that “if the next most intelligent species down from us is not able to write,build computers, or rockets…etc, then how vast might the difference be between the next most intelligent life above us?”; rather, it’s that we can’t (yet) communicate with species that have a proven biological relationship with us, so how much less likely is it that (a) we’ll be able to communicate with a truly alien civilisation and (b) they will be a DNA based life form that is able to share its own DNA with us in order to “improve” our species? The alien astronaut crowd seem to lack imagination: they cannot conceive of alien life as being particularly different from ourselves. That’s anthropocentric and arrogant!


  70. The Physics of Archaeology.

    Remember that current Archaeology as a ‘Science? ‘ is still very, very far from perfect.
    Bad archaeology existed in the past, it exists today, & it will happen in the future.

    To Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews: Humility is a virtue, not a vice.
    The field of inquiry involved is profound, perhaps more so than you comprehend.


    1. I’m a bit puzzled by your post. What is the “Physics of Archaeology”?

      Archaeology isn’t and never will be a “hard” science like physics: it’s a social science, more like psychology, sociology or economics. When the New Archaeologists of the 1960s tried to make archaeology a “hard” science, they could only come up with the most banal laws and it soon became obvious that the attempt was pointless.

      Thanks for your platitude on humility.


  71. Ok . Given that you are correct, can you, from your point of view answer the question which fuels both sides of ths subject ? HOW AND WHY DID THEY DO IT ?!


    1. Already there is a video that covers most of the subjects:

      Quote: “It was produced by Chris White and includes commentary from Dr. Michael Hesier.

      It is distributed for free on the internet and is a completely non-profit project. Viewers are encouraged to share, and burn copies to DVD, as long as they do not profit from its distribution.”


  72. I would really like a summary with factual data of the “mainstream” scholars’ work at the site of Pumapunku. I watched the H2 farce and wanted to vomit. However, I am really interested in the field data that has been collected at the site and analyzed. I want to know: who decided that the bowl used as evidence in the program has Sumerian cuneiform writing? What linguist did they consult? What does it say, if it is in fact Sumerian? And so I could go on with many questions….


    1. Here you can find something about the popular account for the discovering of the “Fuente Magna”


      But the most important part is

      “After a careful examination of the Fuente Magna, linear script Dr. Clyde A. Winters determined that it was probably Proto-Sumerian,”

      And that is the main problem.

      Dr. Clyde A. Winters is one of the proponents of “afrocentrism”. The idea that the origin of civilization was done by black people.

      He claims that sumerians, egiptians, olmecs and greeks, were black and that there is and eurocentric conspiration to hide this.


      Honestly, that gives me headaches…


      1. I have a background in Science; so, I am continually evaluating sources for data, scientific methodology, and sound logic. I will remain a skeptic of any source that lacks objective proof. Anyone who begins an investigation with a preconceived idea has already begun to skew the data to support their point of view. Valid research collects data, then examines that data for reliable, logical conclusions.

        Much knowledge was lost when the Alexandrian and Mayan libraries were destroyed by invaders; one cannot assume that the ancients did not have knowledge that mankind must rediscover for itself.


        1. if a disaster would wipe all our libraries, we would lost a lots of our knowledge, but future archeologist would be able to asses our technological level.

          The would find remains of our machines our machines, our homes , and.. our garbage.

          Most of the poetry, literature, historic records, religious thoughts of the mayas was destroyed, but we can see what they could accomplish.

          Marvelous for their time, but not mysterious. Their mathematics had addition, subtraction, they could multiply and divide… But hardly more. They have not “advance mathematics” (calculus, matrix algebra, arithmetic of the infinite, vectorial algebra, etc).

          There is no trace that could suggest they had knowledge beyond their time.


  73. The History Channel is merely entertainment for the masses and most erudite individuals do not view it with any seriousness. To say something resembles something else is NOT a crime, misinformation or any such thing. Sorry, but the statue, in my opinion, appears to be wearing a diving suit. I don’t declare it to be such, only that its appearance is such. It’s okay to have opinions, believe whatever one wants and even come out and make statements regarding these things – first amendment and all that nonsense. What’s odd, is to get upset over it. Honestly, we do not know, and to deny questioning is inappropriate. It has only been in the last century or so that we understood our galaxy to be only one of countless such systems in the universe. It’s ok for us to keep learning, even if we keep making mistakes, because they are part of the learning process. We all have some distorted belief systems and limited understanding of things. It’s okay.


    1. Archaeology doesn’t work by playing games of “it looks like”: that’s how Bad Archaeologists like von Däniken work. Instead, we try to understand the cultural context in which these things were produced, the types of symbols that people employ in their artworks and so on. That takes years of study and experience, something that the Bad Archaeologists who make the ludicrous claims on Ancient Astronauts fail to do, either through laziness or because they realise that once they understand what is already known about ancient cultures, their ideas will be blown out of the water.

      To say “we do not know, and to deny questioning is inappropriate” is utterly defeatist. Of course, there’s a lot that we will never know about the past, but to pretend that we know nothing and that speculation without data to back it up is as good as trying to understand the data we do possess is just plain daft. It is worth getting upset about because these frauds are making money by denigrating the achievements of our ancestors.


  74. The satellite television comfortable viewing.Thousands of channels in cooperation of different countries are being broadcast seven days a week in 24 hours it would be more likely as cable channels in other Asian countries. With free satellite television access there is no more to ask for.
    diseqc switch


    1. “The satellite television comfortable viewing”
      Not sure what you’re saying here. Given all the cable / satellite choices available to us in the US it’s no surprise that it caters so much to the lowest common denominator. What is so sad is that it is SO low.


  75. I view the Canadian equivalent of the history channel (History Television), which takes most of its programming from its American parent (minus US heavy content).

    The channel occasionally has programming of genuine historical importance, though this does tend to skew to subject matter that has been mined to death (King Henry the 8, Queen Elizabeth I, the D-Day landings, Julius Caesar – Augustus). The channel also tens to carry a lot of “reality” tv series (such as ice pilots, ice road truckers etc.) that has little or nothing to do with history.

    Many of the better quality shows tend to be either Canadian productions or from the BBC or national geographic. However a Canadian or British sourced show is not guaranteed to be a gem.

    The Canadian show “Battles BC” for instance purports to chronicle the lives and major battles of famous generals from ancient history such as Caesar and Hannibal. However, the show also includes the lives and famous battles of “real” generals such as Moses, David and Joshua which appear to be sourced entirely from the Talmud/Old Testament. The inclusion of mythical figures alongside apparently non-tongue and cheek analysis of their “campaigns” is particularly misleading as apparent scholars of military history are the persons carrying out the analysis. A truly shocking bit of rubbish or propagandistic misdirection and conflation for clearly religious purposes. To reiterate, Battles BC is a horribly misleading show which mixes in genuine historical analysis of real figures such as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar with sensationalized and misleading analysis of mythical characters.

    As well, upon the release of that recent horrible alternate Shakespearian conspiracy movie there were a spate of British documentaries lending support to various of the outlandish claims.


    1. “I view the Canadian equivalent of the history channel (History Television), which takes most of its programming from its American parent (minus US heavy content). ”
      A year or so ago, the second channel of the History Channel franchise took history out of its name, when “History International” became “H2”. The latest nonsense is apparently this archaeologist wannabe who is claiming that some artifacts with runes in a hole in the ground a few miles from here are really the grave of a middle-ages Englishman (not sure of the claimed date, but it’s definitely well before Columbus).


  76. This show has got everyone thinking-brilliant.It seems that people cant believe in Aliens-past or present.We could argue about ancient megalithic sites all day so I’ll suggest some evidence for their existence in the last 20yrs. A detailed look at crop cirles made overnight in wheat(a genetically modified crop-10000yr near east) show intricate geometric design including mayan calenders,egyption temple at luxor & a matching response next to a radio telescope transmitter of the Arecebo message sent in 1974, by Dr Carl Sagan(debunker). Others are of a size & complexity that no “pranksters with planks” could reproduce, even with a team of surveyors, & they are bent at the “node” not broken from trampling. Multiple videos of ufos, & white orbs of light making them exist & even military helicopters chasing them. They are a global phenomenon -Doug & Dave must be very busy.Even seen an interview by an ex graphic designer/architect who was warned away from them by CIA. The mainstream media just ignores, while they have progressed from a simple circle to intricate designs covering acres, some even depicting the solar-system. The majority in UK are near very ancient sites including stonehenge. All of this EVIDENCE is on internet & books showing the transition from simple to incredible-have a LOOK!!!! Yes we all look at youtube videos & photos of ufos & yes a lot are fake.But not everyone knows how to do CGI, especially in a lot of the poorer countries & their seems to be new images every week.Have a look at the “Dome of the Rock” in Israeal where 4/5 cameras from different angles(one a Govt surv) captured incredible footage.One is a fake to place doubts(american tourists). It is only a matter of time before a mass sighting is captured. NO WAIT!!! There was over Pheonix by 10000plp even the governer. Air Force explanation 2dys later-FLARES! They are not ment to drop flares over built up areas but apparently this night they did. Ex-presidents,astronauts,military generals & pilots etc.commercial pilots,police & high standing members of the community all with nothing to gain & everything to lose(credibility,pensions,freedom & own life) are all witness to ufo events & willing to swear under oath. Are they all mentally ill,sufferining mass dilusions, cant distinguish a flare,lantern,planet venus or swamp gas? The Evidence is everywhere if you look! The trouble is the anchor person telling the story laughs,ridicules,X-files is the background music & little green men pops up.Do you trust media? Where is the plane that brought down Bldg 7 of 9/11?Do you know what HAARP can do?Do you know about ECHELON? All this & more can easily be found on internet. How you interpret depends on pre-conceived ideas-interpretation of EVIDENCE. On a lighter note look up domestic cows & the cheetah. Genetically modified 10000yrs ago in near east?PS KEEP SEEKING THE TRUTH-ITS OUT THERE!!!!


  77. Goody-goody! Out of the billions of galaxies out there I’m glad we’re the only one’s in our planet that have life and there are really no aliens out there. Whew! now I can sleep better. LOL


    1. Do people who make this sort of drive-by comment actually read the blog?

      I have no doubt that there is alien life out there. Got that?

      What I do have issues with is that there isn’t a single shred of credible evidence on this planet that any alien life forms from another planet have actually visited this one. Do I need to spell this out to every smart-arse commenter?


      1. Really, smart-arse! LOL or maybe you’re blog is up your arse.
        If you’re an atheist then the following comments are moot but
        if you believe in God, is there a shred of evidence that he exists?
        If you’re a Christian and believe that Jesus is your savior?, Is there
        a shred of evidence that this is true. Do you believe that nuclear
        particles exist, then have you actually seen one physically? or
        are the scientists theorized since there is phenomena that would
        indicate that nuclear particles exist, yet no once has ever seen one!


      2. Let me add too that I know where you’re coming from and what your beef is. You’re pissed because you seem to think they are blaspheming your sacred archaeological methods and procedures. Listen, the last time I watch the show those people call themselves “Ancient Astronaut Theorists”. I never heard them say they were archaeologists! Maybe the methods they use resemble those that the archaeologists uses but they never said it is hard-core archaeology. They the “Ancient Astronaut Theorists” theorize that maybe because certain primitive peoples drew star maps that resemble a part of our galaxy millions of miles away and to think they did not have powerful telescopes to see it for themselves and draw the damn thing on a cave wall that somehow ancient astronauts were not responsible. And they the “Ancient Astronaut Theorists” cannot make this claim or theorize as such because there is no shred of credible evidence is so ludicrous.


        1. Rubbish.

          The reason that I am angry with these people is that they claim to be investigating the past, yet they are lying about the past to inflate their own egos and to make money. They may not use the term archaeologist to describe themselves, but they are using archaeological data to interpret the past: whatever stupid label they use to describe what they do, people regard them as archaeologists because they understand that when one uses the material remains of the past to talk about the past, one is doing archaeology.

          If anything is ludicrous, it is their claims. If they had decent evidence, I would happily accept it. The fact is, they don’t.


      3. Really, smart-arse! Or is your blog up your arse! LOL..
        If you’re an atheist then the following is a moot point.
        If you believe in God, is there credible evidence that he
        exists? If you’re a Christian and believe that Jesus
        is your saviour, is there a shred of evidence that this
        is true? Well I know for a fact that you don’t doubt
        science, being an archaeologist and all. In which case
        you know that physicist believe that all matter is just
        composed of nuclear particles even though it seems that
        they nor has anyone ever seen, heard, felt one physically!
        In fact they are trying to prove that another particle
        exists just because there is phenomena or the behavior of
        other particles mandates that there exists such a particle.
        Even though none of them has ever seen it yet or traces of
        it has yet to be discovered!

        Actually you yourself said “alien life exists but there
        is just no evidence that they have been here” like what
        the “Ancient Astronaut Theorists” are claiming. Yes they
        call themselves “Ancient Astronaut Theorists” and they
        they don’t claim to be archaeologists like you. And I
        know where your coming from. Your whole “beef” is about
        these “Ancient Astronaut Theorists” and how dare they use
        my sacred science of archaeology to back up their claims!
        Really, it never occured to me that they were doing that.
        They may have taken the discoveries and findings of your
        archaeology and asks the question “What If?”. They are
        asking questions and with an open mind, instead of the
        current status quo of the reasons why things are the
        way they are because you can only explain it that way
        because “aliens” or “ancient astronauts” are out of the
        question and you have to have your hard evidence to even
        get to the point of accepting “What If?”.

        But now with your admonition that “alien life exists but there
        is just no evidence that they have been here” supposes that
        you believe that there are aliens but that there are actually
        no advance alien civilizations out there that can visit us.
        You may counter with “For the last time I believe that alien
        life exists and that there maybe advanced, albeit, very advanced
        alien civilizations out there. It’s just that they have not
        visited earth because there is no hard archaeological evidence
        to support it.” Can you really believe deep down that the
        last statement is true? IMO, the basis and premises of
        archaeological evidence or what an archaeological evidence
        should be is too outmoded and narrow.


        1. How impressive that you repeat a whole paragraph from a previous comment. That must mean that you’re serious!

          The Ancient Astronaut Theorists are claiming the exact opposite of what I said. Yes, it is a virtual certainty that there is other life out there in the universe and a good bet that some of it is intelligent. The Ancient Astronaut Theorists think that they have evidence from a variety of ancient cultures that intelligent life has indeed visited Earth.

          It is all very well to say that “the basis and premises of archaeological evidence or what an archaeological evidence should be is too outmoded and narrow”, but what do you actually mean by it? Archaeological evidence is the physical evidence of past human activity; the types of evidence we can recognise are expanding all the time. The stuff the Ancient Astronaut Theorists use is all familiar stuff; they are not finding new evidence at all. What they are doing is misunderstanding, misrepresenting or just plain lying about that evidence. Some of them, I suspect, are lying deliberately. Some of them probably believe every word they say. None of them has ever tried to understand the cultures from which they draw evidence in anything more than the most superficial of ways. Reading a book or two about the ancient Egyptians, the Maya and so on does not give the Ancient Astronaut Theorist in-depth knowledge about those societies: they do not spend the years that real archaeologists spend looking at the rubbish left behind by all humans. They are rank amateurs and their ignorance of the ancient societies whose cultures they trawl to find evidence for alien visitation is shameful: why do you think they refer to the people of these sophisticated peoples as “primitives” so frequently?


  78. Pacal in a fetal position? Fetal is head tilted forward, feet tucked close to buttocks, and from what I have seen eyes closed, do you really think Pacal is in a fetal position?


  79. guys i am watching history channel now. 14/12/2013 they are showing a documentary about a war that happened in 1913 between germany and MARSHIANS (ALIENS FROM MARS). are they serious????? they are saying that it really happened with “historians” and videos with witnesses. PLS SOMEONE HAS TO DO SOMETHING this is brainwash


  80. I came to this blog with a lot of interest but unfortunately the analysis presented here to refute those claims isn’t convincing enough. Sorry!


  81. Dear Keith, the lines on nazca can be navigation and the animals and stuff just form of art.

    Just dont write stupid shit, thank you.


  82. I find it interesting that no one on the history Channel has thought of the fact that..,, Why do these simple drawings in the desert seen only by height are so simple that aliens who could navigate the universe would have no need of them! To think that ancient men would be so simple yet intelligent enough to do almost impossible deeds to attract them back is stupid! Read what Edgar Caycee had to say about the Atlantians and it makes much more sense.That they had flying machines powered by lost technology, different from today, etc. This explains the simplistic maps, used by human freight carriers or truck drivers to deliver goods. Also explains the pyramids as power infrastructure to power these air machines. The past is our own , not alien, but ancient history that was destroyed and rebuilt, perhaps a few times. Yet it is also possible that aliens are and do visit, yet we are confusing their history with ours. Also it is more believable that we once had communication with heaven as Swedenborg suggests yet the flood was necessary to close this by extermination of the corrupted intelligence of mankind, which threatened life itself ,or its goodness. Souls were trapped into eternal damnation of continual incarnation into the life forms of the earth, which would doom them if not rescued before the earth was destroyed by the death of the sun. It seems the [original sin] was the love of their progeny became greater then the love of their spouse and was contrary to Divine order, hence the flood and the closing of heaven to man and in its place a conscious.


    1. I agree with you, wholeheartedly, but let me add that 1 billion years ago we were an advance civilization which is hinted today as Atlantis. Humankind came from another planet in our galaxy and started a colony here on earth. Unfortunately, because of human nature they obliterated themselves vis-a-vis their advance technology. The dinosaur era was actually the mutation that came about from the self-destruction of our ancestors from the stars.


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