One of the most successful fringe writers of recent years, Graham Hancock is a leading light of a group of people who like to call themselves the ‘New Egyptologists’ to give a spurious sense of academic credibility. Others include his contemporary David Rohl, who has proposed a radical new chronology of Egyptian history to align it with the chronology of the Old Testament by reducing the dates of Egyptian kings. Hancock also tries to establish an alternative chronology, but it is one that pushes back some of Egypt’s most familiar monuments into a very distant past. Hancock’s body of work does not confine itself to Egypt; we see the usual suspects: Tiahuanaco, Mexican pyramids, early modern maps and so on – and we even see some new ones, such as flooded ‘cities’ in the Bay of Cambay, submerged ‘structures’ off the coast of Japan and even pyramids on Mars!
Among Hancock’s many complaints about orthodox Egyptologists and archaeologists is that they have consistently underestimated the scientific knowledge of ancient societies. Paradoxically, though, this persuades him that this knowledge was developed not by those societies already recognised by the archaeologists, but by an earlier civilisation not accepted by them. He claims to find evidence for his so-called ‘lost civilisation’ all over the world. The very vastness of his approach can make it difficult to deal with simply. A comprehensive analysis of his works would require a massive book, since it would need not only to refute his claims but also to present the comprehensive contextual evidence to show why his ideas cannot stand up.