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Erich von Daniken

Erich von Däniken

One of the most successful and influential of all Bad Archaeologists is the Swiss former hotelier, Erich von Däniken (born 1935). He caused controversy in the late 1960s with his popularisation of what has become known as the ‘ancient astronaut hypothesis’, although he was by no means the first to propose it. His first book, Chariots of the Gods?, published in 1967 after no fewer than twenty-two rejections, became a worldwide bestseller, thanks in no small part to its tone: a strident attack on hide-bound academia by one who dared to speak his mind. He was not the first fringe writer to adopt this stance and he has not been the last: expert bashing has become an important cultural cliché over the past half century or so. The ups and downs of his career have seen him arrested for fraud, become a global media personality and, ultimately, made him wealthy through the sale of over sixty million copies of his books. He has consistently claimed that the remains of ancient cultures can only be explained by extraterrestrial interventions in human history.

The ‘Great Martian God’

The ‘Great Martian God’, a rock painting discovered in the Tassilli mountains by Henri Lhote and said by von Däniken to be a representation of an alien wearing a spacesuit

During an early career as a waiter, he was able to save for extensive travels in which he hoped to find evidence for an idea he had developed through reading the Bible (and, although he does not admit as much, it is clear from the outset that he got many of his ideas from his reading of the works of speculative writes such as Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, Robert Charroux and Peter Kolosimo): that extraterrestrials had meddled in human history. The piece of evidence he considers the most convincing that he has ever produced is the cover slab of the tomb of the Lord Pacal in the Pyramid of the Inscriptions at Palenque, weak stuff though it is. Moreover, his description and interpretation are not original: they derive from an article by Guy Tarade and A Millou in an Italian magazine Clypeus, published in October 1966. He saw it as a representation of a humanoid being in a space capsule and it became the cover image for the hardback publication of the English edition of Chariots of the Gods?. Subsequent books took his search for evidence farther afield and he even dabbled in analyses of religious visions (Miracles of the Gods) and Greek mythology.

The spacemen gods

Like so many fringe writers, von Däniken cannot accept that ancient peoples had spiritual experiences or imaginations. Whenever people in the past wrote about ‘gods’ and ‘heaven’ they were thinking about how to express their incomprehension of vastly superior technology.

Because the gods of so many ancient cultures are associated with the sky or with objects in the sky, such as the sun and moon, von Däniken believes that there must be a literal connection. In a late twentieth-century context, they can be identified with the beings that were being recorded from the early 1950s onwards as pilots of Unidentified Flying Objects, who claimed to those with whom they made contact that they had come from other planets. Although von Däniken remains surprisingly agnostic about UFOs, the connection is clear: the gods of ancient myth were space travellers whose craft are identical with those phenomena that UFO enthusiasts regard as historical records of ‘flying saucers’.

Alien artefacts?

Human artefacts record their presence on earth

A restored Parthian jar, claimed to be an electric cell

A restored Parthian jar, claimed to be an electric cell

Von Däniken uses an assortment of out-of-place artefacts and spectacular monuments to provide evidence for his thesis. He seems to regard all of them as human creations, albeit aided or inspired by space travellers (unlike Alan Alford, who claimed that the Great Pyramid had been built by the Anunnaki as an apparatus for splitting water molecules to provide hydrogen fuel for spacecraft…). Nevertheless, he believes that the artefacts he uses to suggest alien contact could not have been developed the peoples using them: the ‘Batteries of Babylon’, for instance, cannot be an invention of the Persians of the first millennium BCE, but must be a degenerate version of something originally more sophisticated of extraterrestrial origin. Most of these pieces of evidence involve the same argument: these creations are too complex to be the unaided products of ancient humans because those humans lacked the technical expertise to create them.

Much of the argument is almost racist: the people of distant times lack the mental capacities of the alien ‘gods’ – just as the people of distant places in more recent centuries were claimed to lack the mental capacities of the ‘superior’ Europeans who ruled them.

Among the artefacts, though, are pieces unknown to conventional archaeology, such as the gold objects allegedly found in cave systems in Ecuador. In addition, for the most part, he provides no references to where the material has been published or where it can be viewed. This poses problems for the serious researcher who may wish to follow up claims about specific pieces of evidence. Parts of Chariots of the Gods?, for example, consist of lists of artefacts that are effectively meaningless as they lack any contextual information or detail.

The gods themselves left nothing behind

Whilst some sceptics might consider it necessary to identify the products of the aliens themselves, this does not appear to be a problem for von Däniken. He seems to believe that, unlike humans, the space travellers were able to do all sorts of things while on earth that have left no trace in the archaeological record. The only evidence is evidence by proxy: the anthropogenic material he identifies as inspired by the aliens.

Genetically modified humans?

Like a number of fringe writers, von Däniken has immense difficulties with the origins of the human species, as well as of human civilisation. He finds the transition from archaic to modern forms to be too rapid to be accounted for by evolution and is evidently troubled by the common assertion of religions that humans have been created in a god’s image. To him, this is evidence for the special creation of humanity. Where he differs from the creationists, though, is in his insistence that when ancient texts speak of ‘gods’, they actually mean ‘astronauts’ (hence the subtitle of the English translation of Chariots of the Gods?: Was God an Astronaut?). Humans were created in the (relatively) recent past by the selective interbreeding of spacemen with proto-human females.

84 Responses to Erich von Däniken’s Spaceman-Gods

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  • James H says:

    It worries me that a person is prepared to go to the extent of develpoing an entire website called “badarchaeology.com” solely for the purpose of attacking authors, without actually reading their work!. Firstly Erich Von Daniken has never posed or painted himself in the light of an ‘archaeologist’ he is, and always has been a ‘Theorist’. His book s do exactly what they set out to do, which is provoke independant thought; as apposed to merely going with the various “Stabbing in the dark” that archaeologists do. He is a religious man, raised a strict Catholic, with a strong belief in God and he is not “evidently troubled by the common assertion of religions” but proposes that there may be other explanations for SOME of the recorded events that have been attributed to the works of a devine creator. At no point does he suggest that religion is incorrect, but that sightings recorded in ancient texts could, possibly, be real and actual accounts of events that happened in a truely physical way. He is uncomfortable with the idea that ‘God’ in whom he believes, is painted as the giver of free will yet the destroyer of those that have ventured off his preferred path. He has taken true archaeological findings that, over the years, have had endless proposed explanations; all of which have been handed down to schools and published with very little hard eveidence supporting them, and said “Given the incredible size of the cosmos and the mathmatical probability of there being intelligent life on other planets before our own, why is it so hard to believe that we might have been visited and those visitations have been interpreted as divine happenings by a religiously driven society?”
    Personally, I would recommend that you read the books for yourself. Start with CHARIOTS OF THE GODS?, see what you think and, if you don’t want to accept the theortical possibility that history has puzzle-pieces missing and that without those pieces we can not possibly find TRUE explanations, then put the book down and don’t read the next one… Isn’t it incredible, the thought that you aren’t being forced to believe something just because someone else believes it???

    As for whoever wrote the review on this site… You have too much spare time that is ill used.

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      Thank you for the gratuitous insult.

      I read Chariots of the Gods? when I was ten years old, when it was serialised in an English newspaper. I bought the paperback when it cam out a couple of years later, followed by Return to the Stars, The Gold of the Gods, Miracles of the Gods and According to the Evidence. I have read every single one of them. Not just once, not even just twice but many times.

      As I’ve said until I’m blue in the face, I’m perfectly open to the idea that there are things in the past that require a different explanation from the one given by mainstream archaeologists and historians. The problem is that people like von Däniken speculate without providing the slightest shred of viable evidence for their ideas. His books are badly written, full of non sequiturs and speculation piled on speculation then repeated as if proven fact. The man can’t string a coherent argument together, so why would I believe a word he writes?

      The reason I spend time putting this site together is that there are too many people like you, taken in by frauds like von Däniken, who need to be given access to facts when the web is generally filled with rubbish that promotes ‘alternative’ (i.e. wrong) views of human achievement.

      • Kong_ says:

        I heartily agree! Never having read von Daniken’s books (his TV “documentaries” were insulting enough), I was impressed only on the number of unsupported assertations he could raise with the minimum amount of evidence to induce the maximum amount of hyperbole.

        Indeed his initial book on “astronauts” was even titled “Chariots of the Gods?”….with a QUESTION MARK behind it, as if he was unsure in his own work to the degree that he was afraid to make a definitive statement of fact.

        His “theories” are extremely thin bits of heavily edited evidence, followed by “Isn’t it possible…?”, “could it be…?”, “what is the chance…?”…..and so on. I’m wondering if the question mark isn’t von Daniken’s favorite punctuation mark.

      • andrea says:

        main stream archeology has at least has many holes as non main stream. we must have been genetically modified or else why is the missing link between humans and apes not found yet? lucy is not the missing link. the universe must be full of life some more advance or a lot more advance then others, planet earth, what a beautiful ground for reseach, i would not be at all surprise if despite all our arrogance we are nothing more than a rat lab.
        apologies for any spelling mistake, english is not my main language.

        • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

          There is no missing link between apes and humans: we are apes.

          • Nell Smith says:

            Slight correction – and very late in the day, long after this article was written! Still, it’s worth saying, since this is such a common misconception (and since this website purports to represent 100% correct fact, yes?)… it’s NOT true that human beings “are apes”. What is true is that human beings and apes share a common ancestor. Just for clarity, like… :)

        • Feriha says:

          So many missing links! Deliberate?

      • Morten Lyngstaed says:

        If you’re so skeptical and so annoyed by Von Daniken’s assertions, why don’t you publish your own (perfectly written) book to counter his claims instead of knocking up a web site to attack his theories? Authors are free to write what they like. You read the book, you didn’t like what it said, just move on.

    • Julie says:

      My husband and I have been listening to his theories on Ancient Aliens and many other shows. That man is Brilliant. Why do we all close our eyes and not see what is right in our faces? He is not saying anything other than; “this is a theory I have looked into, think about it, if you like.” Why does it have to be so hard to say “your idea is wrong because of what I believe?” I Know for a fact by choice, God first. But ancient history is telling me that nearly everything Americans were taught about ancient history in school, are not fact as taught to my child? I am raising an eyebrow! When we look at the sky I see warped space-time. Anything is out there and most of what I know for fact is leading in many directions. Where does a person start when looking into ancient theories and answers? Can anyone say they can tell me – must have solid facts – that there is nothing more than my eye can see and my God and faith can explain? Where are they finding facts and not telling Americans? Things are being hidden and I want to know. Simple as that.

      • Helena says:

        Hi, perhaps you (and others who have only seen the TV programme extolling Von Daniken) would also like to watch the BBC Horizon programme (if it is still available) which debunked his statements one by one. I too was impressed when I first read Chariots of the Gods. But then I was an innocent and had no idea that people wrote nonsense for gain. 2 examples of his fraud spring to mind.
        !. he used a photo of part of the feet of a Nazca eagle to claim that there was an ancient runway in the S American desert. Only when you saw how he had doctored the photo of these human (though intriguing) artefacts did you see how he misled by omission.
        2.Some stones supposedly painted in ancient times with accurate anatomical drawings of the heart etc. The guy actually producing these – using an old Sunday Times colour supplement as his reference, showed the Horizon journalists how he produced and ‘aged’ his artefacts. He also remembered Von Daniken clearly as he had taken photos of the stones. So Von Daniken knew that these were modern fakes.
        On and another one, Pyramids. Why are they built in Egypt as well as S America? Because (according to an engineer) without mortar the pyramid is the only shape which can be used to build monumental architecture. They did not (as asserted by Von Daniken) appear from nowhere. They developed from earlier structures and there are plenty which fell down or partly fell down before they got it right. (At least in Egypt.) I am not a professional archaeologist but have read widely and watched just about every TV programme about such things, including all the Graham Hancock ones.It is possible to keep an open mind – this includes not choosing to believe the latest idea, whether the theory of an amateur or a fraud, or that of a professional – without checking it out. E.g. While I am not qualified to nay say them I am not wholly convinced by Mike Parker Pearson and Ramilisonina’s’s ideas about Durrington Walls and Stonehenge. Historiography traces the history of such ideas and often shows them to be as much as or even more a product of their times than of the truth.

    • At the risk of pouring napalm on the fire, it is worth noting that Von Daniken admitted to falsifying his data in “History is wrong”

  • John Rumierz says:

    A huge push for EVD’s “work” came from a compelling TV program that was televised about the time “Chariot’s…” came out in the USA. The image of astonished Javanese (?) tribesmen looking skyward towards an airplane which apparently they had never seen before was compelling enough to cause me to buy the book.
    It was

  • Daniel says:

    It is a shame my comments were deleted from the site – I provided a coherent intellectual reasoning with nothing personal whatsoever, a simple argument basing my comments on the so-called unbiased information on this site. I hope my following observations remain on the site to add to a reasoned and wholesome debate:

    “The reason I spend time putting this site together is that there are too many people like you, taken in by frauds like von Däniken, who need to be given access to facts when the web is generally filled with rubbish that promotes ‘alternative’ (i.e. wrong) views of human achievement.”

    I thank and appreciate your perspective, I think I see what you mean, however, put quite simply, I very much doubt, as we are dealing with history, and also pre-history (his-story – part fictionalized it can be argued) the realm of ancient history is that of theory, NOT fact – hence the such accused ‘rubbish’ assertions of the much maligned Von Daniken – without backing any particular ‘theory’ it seems plausible that there should be alternative theories, however wild, to ask relevant and as yet subjectively answered questions (such as those espoused by modern day archaeology), which authors and researchers should be encouraged to do, rather than stamped down and ridiculed with scorn (which seems to be this site’s ambition – to me, personally, that smacks of arrogance and also ignorance).

    “The problem is that people like von Däniken speculate without providing the slightest shred of viable evidence for their ideas. “

    I understand your points, thank you for sharing, let me elaborate for you and try and help you understand alternative perspectives, which I hope you will agree is actually a healthy idea: To explain further from my points, the purpose of theory making, is to speculate and elaborate– this is the foundation upon which a lot of our understanding of pre-history is based – now, such a celebrity like Daniken has made inconsistent claims to the overall evidence, however, I think you will find that there are many authors and professionals who do indeed look into these areas with a fuller, more accurate approach. Essentially, Von Daniken is interpreting ancient manuscripts at face value – the argument that on one hand ‘the aliens didn’t build the pyramids’ (actually an inaccurate summation of a claim from ancient astronaut theorists) while on the other hand there is a trend in modern day mainstream academia to revert ancient man to the delusional and metaphorical – NOT the actual physical interpretation that, yes, ancient man was re-telling actual events. To argue that the ancient astronaut theory, along with wider interpretations (such as seemingly banded together in one heap with ufos, conspiracy theory and spirituality/religion) this is unyielding and again, forgive me, but arrogant – as I have reasonably evidenced.

    “Indeed his initial book on “astronauts” was even titled “Chariots of the Gods?”….with a QUESTION MARK behind it, as if he was unsure in his own work to the degree that he was afraid to make a definitive statement of fact.”

    I understand your points, however, Von Daniken is an amateur, not a professional researcher as you will certainly agree, with this in mind, it is his role, his right, to raise questions and ‘unsupported assertions’ – THAT is the whole purpose, not to give blanket factual and subjective arguments painted in a black and white fashion – he has a flawed argument concerning certain details as you know, however, that does not mean that the ancient astronaut theory is flawed. As you will no doubt agree, ancient history is perspectives, hence, this is exactly why we SHOULD have arguments from many arenas, no matter how flawed, to further realize our history and understand subjective evidence.

    In conclusion to the above points, both for and against the argument that the ancient astronaut theory is unsupported or ill evidenced comes down to a basic understanding of mankind, academia, establishment and history – with the birth of a very new idea to science (since the mid to late last century) of the ancient astronaut theory, it has been met by stern opposition by many in the professional mainstream establishment exactly how new ideas were opposed throughout time within science.

    However, wild theories such as men descending from apes, giant monsters roaming the Earth and a gigantic bang to begin the universe were once regarded as lunacy.

    Thank you.

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      I’m not sure which comments have been deleted. I try not to delete comments unless they are offensive (and, believe me, I have had some really personal attacks in comments by people who have clearly spent time looking for information about me).

    • Matthew says:

      I am hearing an awful lot of ‘I understand’, but frankly, I think your lying. Couldn’t it be that any one of the pieces of so called ‘evidence’ that Daniken shows is actually just normal human development, artistic imagination, hyperbolic witnesses, and architectural genius? <— There's that annoying question mark again.

    • James Lively says:

      There is one, small, problem.
      When you go to a library, for example, and you wish to find a book, you have a card catalog to assist you. Understanding the dewy decimal system can help you find any book, reference or fiction.

      Now, if you walked into a store, and purchased a story that you knew was fiction, and you saved it, took care of it, whos to say that 2000 years from now when your house is a dig site that these explorers do not mistake your fiction for fact?

      If you discovered the wreckage of a library, temple, palace, or any other important place, discovered a document, or maybe a cave painting, how does one know for sure that this was a true belief or an effort to save a really good story?

      One misunderstood document discovered 2000 years from now, may cause some people to believe that we have eyewitness accounts of creatures that feed on the blood of the innocent, others that turn into hairy beasts under the full moon, and of people that could somehow fly unaided.

      These accounts would be few and far in-between, and the majority of the evidence would be against such things. Very similar in my opinion, as the work done by von Däniken.

      So, to summarize, be very cautious when dealing with controversial documents and evidence. Some, if not all of these drawings/depictions may very well be authentic, but we can not be sure of their design intent. Are they stories designed to frighten one into cleaning there dwelling? Maybe really good stories that were deemed good enough to preserve? Without being there at the time they were written, it can be near impossible to tell.

      We, as a society, are already creating the “new age science(s) of the future with out art, our culture, entertainments, and documents. I can only hope that we CLEARLY distinguish works of fiction, from works of fact.

  • Like all people who have striven to pass on great truths and revelations,this man has also been subject to typical human behavior;disregarding the truth because of fright.There is so much evidence to suggest that Extraterrestrials had and still have a huge influence on mankind. If modern science and world governments told the truth about UFOs and all the other controversial stuff found on mars and our moon and also the many anomalies out in space then maybe people would not be too quick to announce this prophet as an idiot but realize that he is passing on great truths that must be known to all.History is wrong, science is flawed and we are told lie after lie. We have become like gods, we will leave this earth and live in space, and return to help out. we will be called gods and there will be scientists who disbelieve it and lead humanity astray. It is as simple as that.

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      If that is your vision of the future of humanity, then who am I to argue with it. My question is: how does the energy necessary for interstellar travel get paid for?

      • MuckFexico says:

        Keith, I appreciate your intelligent approach but please let me pose an idea I heard somewhere else that made sense. It was about the 1% difference between us and primates. How that 1% allows us to do things that primates could never understand or fathom, space travel, splicing the atom, etc,. Then they said imagine 1%, 10%, or 50% smarter than us by a being that had a 13 billion head start. Anything they did would be awe inspiring ‘magic’ to even our smartest minds. my point and theirs I think was that limiting ourselves to only what MAN ‘thinks’ he knows now or can imagine, leaves us at a disadvantage to imagining things light years beyond our own possibilities. Whos to say the ‘Laws’ that a 13 billion-year-old advanced being might have discovered? I think you are selling yourself short for the sake of still being able to disagree with ‘those people’.

        • deano says:

          To MF, Microbiologists will be the ones that prove DNA is of intelligent design. Even the vanguard of evolution, Richard Dawkings (The God Delusion), when questioned on the origin of life, brings up “Directed Panspermia”, ie, that “aliens” brought life to Earth. Watch> “Expelled” movie
          You are correct on the chimps 1-2% difference. Great apes have 48 chromosomes, yet Homosapienssapiens have 46, 2 being “genetically spliced” to make us different around 200 000yrs ago!
          Another mutation period(around 10 000yrs ago) occurred in Mesopatamia. Wheat & Cows have been genetically changed from their nearest ancestors. Isnt it IRONIC that man became civillized around this time with domestication of animals & crops,irrigation,the plough, the wheel, laws, religion & WRITING!!!

          If interested, look at >: Adam’s Calender, Mitochondrial Eve, Domestication of Wheat & Cows

          Loyd Pye has some very enlightening videos as well

  • Simon Randall says:

    I have no problem with this website, Bad Archaelogy, referring to the works of Mr von Däniken. He describes himself as a Sunday archaeologist in “Return to the Stars”, so quite clearly wants to paint or pose as an archaeologist, otherwise he wouldn’t use the term at all.
    As has been pointed out, he cannot substantiate any of his theories. An 8 year old child can theorise that the Moon is made of cheese. It takes much more to prove a theory. Erich von Däniken uses the absence of evidence as a major support for his works. Decent science doesn’t need such parlour tricks.
    I’m sorry to say that his books don’t even read particularly well. As has been pointed out above, he has a dreadful habit of using far too many non sequiturs.
    As a keen reader of science fiction books, I put his works in this category too, although such authors as Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov filled their books with more science fact.

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  • Trevor says:

    The global élite, through the secret US military, knows of and communicates with our alien presence. Lloyd Pye correctly asserts that incredibly-distinctive modern humans suddenly appeared 200,000 years ago without any apparent lineage from earlier forms. The 2nd and 3rd pre-human/monkey chromosomes had been fused artificially to give 23 pairs in total instead of 24. This eloquently explains the thousands of inheritable genetic defects which uniquely plague homo sapiens.

    Von Däniken exaggerates some claims such as the Gurlt ‘cube’ and the ‘incredibly-hard’ but, in reality, soft volcanic tuff of Easter island. However his many valid lines of evidence point inexorably to a long-standing alien presence and stewardship of our genome and our race.

    To the present day artificial-gravity-propelled visitations occur:

    http://www.eceti.org/Eceti.Multimedia.html

    http://www.gravitywarpdrive.com/Government_Scientist.htm

    The reason the élite will not, for the time being, admit to these visitations is in order to deny zero-point energy to the masses who must be kept enslaved to big oil and taxes.

    • Ryan says:

      Chromosomes fuse and numbers of them change all the time naturally. What evidence is there that this particular fusion could only be artificial and that it was what gave us all our abilities? Since I’ve heard this chromosome argument trotted out numerous times you should check out the story of the 44 chromosome man (obtained naturally), http://genetics.thetech.org/original_news/news124 who apart from his lesser number of chromosomes is indistinguishable from those of us with standard amount. Also why would we have a chromosome that was artificially fused if it gave us all the genetic defects you mentioned? This doesn’t make sense if aliens are here to work with the elite, world governments, or the military. If you think it eloquently explains anything more than your ability to believe random explanations you are mistaken.

  • Trevor says:

    Scientists and doubters like you will always say ‘Nature can do anything’. Really? So why are humans unique in having 4,000 heritable genetic defects compared with the mammalian average of 250? This is the fallout from alien genetic manipulation to make us as smart as we are. Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4TKCNKaJPQ

    Other consequences have been that 6% of human populations are psychopathic, the remainder let psychopaths rule, and females have the hardest birth process in geologic time due to bipedalism and large brains. Additionally our little alien friends communicate telepathically and routinely wipe conscious memories from abductees, thereby maintaining secrecy.

    • If humans have more heritable defects than other primates it could be for several non-alien reasons

      1. Other primates have a selective pressure that means they don’t look after their disabled/sick and those that have defects simply don’t breed. Humans on the other hand, are more inclined to look after our sick, because we don’t have the same selective pressures and pretty much spent the last 60 years crying over the nasty implications of eugenics.
      2. Humans are doing the work on genetics, not other primates. It’s more useful to us to study our own genome and sicknesses, then it is to understand the myriad of diseases in other primates. Actually we study our own diseases in other primates and mammals. Hah.
      3. We have diseases that look heritable but are actually correlated with genes due to a long history of racism being a factor in socioeconomic inequality which creates poverty and increases disease rates for people with particular genetic similarities

      In other words, not all heritable diseases are genetic, culture and environment has a huge influence, and we’re the ones studying the genes so why would we care about other primates unless their diseases are similar to our own.

  • georges says:

    There is something I must stress, as a frenchman, Robert Charroux, is much more fun to read, as is always the case with original compared to plagiarism, so f*** Daniken et al. everything is there in Charroux, Easter Island, Enoch Ezechiel and Ummo, Venusian and Sirius : good entertainement if you like the bizarre and freaked litterature.

    I really like your website but I’m afraid you will never be able to prevent some people thriving on fraud and ignoring evidence, their belief is the less likely theory must be the right one, always .

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  • Mark says:

    Agree,there is a lot of bad archaeology around at the moment. There is much being recovered in the world of real archaeology at the moment to keep anybody interested. The worrying thing is that programmers on the likes of The History channel are using this waffle as part of their documentary style films with Ancient Astronaut Theorists appearing as experts. This mis information reminds me of early 20th century proporganda, is it just entertainment? Or is it exploitation? It’s wrong either way,

    Mark
    Mjbatty@hotmail.com

  • Where to start? The History Channel does not claim to have any experts on Aliens, they are all theories. I’ve watched all of the different programs, my favorite being Ancient Aliens. This does not mean I believe we come from an alien species however, I do believe we are not the only planet with living beings on it. I believe there is also the possibility that we have been visited. If we can believe in religion, mainly stories told hundreds of years after they where supposed to happen, then why not believe in other things?

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      It’s not a matter of belief but of evidence. I also believe that there are probably millions of planets harbouring life in our galaxy alone, some of which will have intelligent creatures. What I don’t see is any evidence that there have been visits to Earth by any of these alien civilisations (if they exist). The evidence produced by people like Erich von Däniken is very weak, quite disparate and includes not one single object of extraterrestrial origin. My other objection is that the aliens always look a bit like us and, in the case of von Däniken, are capable of breeding with us. This is patently stupid: there is no reason why extraterrestrial life should be based on DNA (although some other polymer chain based on amino acids is possible) and, even if it were, that it should be compatible with our own. Remember that humans and chimps can’t interbreed, even though our DNA is more than 99% identical. What chance is there that something from another planet would be able to?

      Also, don’t forget that theories aren’t just ideas picked out of thin air. Theories are hypotheses that have undergone rigorous testing against the data; for that reason, they are robust. The same can’t be said for the silliness spouted by the talking heads on The History Channel!

  • Darkros_BAO says:

    Todo esto son palabras con mucho fundamento.. y lo mejor con pruebas.. ademas somos un mundo con los ojos cerrados.. que las cosas entan delante de nosotros y somos capaces de darnos cuenta de lo que pasa a nuestro alredor… ya es tiempo de abrir nuestros ojos y decir que no estamos solos en esta galaxia…

  • Darkros_BAO says:

    These are all words very foundation .. and what better evidence .. We are also a world with eyes closed .. Entan things ahead of us and we are able to realize what happens to our own peril … it is time to open our eyes and say that we are not alone in this galaxy …

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      Darkros, I don’t disagree that there are very probably other types of life out there in our galaxy (and beyond), but I do not see any evidence whatsoever that these aliens have ever visited us.

  • Monty says:

    Fascinating discussion. I’ve only read this thread, so I cannot comment on the rest.

    First, science is a system of thinking about the world and our place in it. Science is available to everyone, but it requires some effort. It requires more effort than just watching some television shows or reading popular books. The underlying principle of science is experimentation, which includes double-checking and review by others. This review by others, called “peer review,” is done by people who look at the work that has been done but who do not know the author. This so-called “blind” review ideally means that people are not judging the person but what the person has said, written, discovered, claimed, and so on. The goal of these different readers is to make sure that the best results get published. But human beings are not infallible; they make mistakes. That’s why the scientific process is so time consuming and so dismaying for people who are not familiar with what is involved. It’s much simpler just to believe what we want to believe rather than what the “evidence” shows. Because some people do not like to make the effort of serious study that science requires, they find in science all sorts of bad things that they do not like. This is very sad.

    Second, we can contrast science with the completely different method employed by entertainment companies. Their goal is to entertain us and to make money in the process. (Peer review readers, for instance, normally make no money when they conduct a “blind” review.) For the History Channel and Discovery Channel, and so on, their goal is simply to make money. As a result, they have no incentive to have a panel of experts in a field evaluate extraordinary claims. On episodes dealing with extraordinary claims (Loch Ness monster, aliens, UFOs, and so on), both channels minimize any serious evaluation, giving the most time to the person or persons making the claims. An excellent parody of the way these channels operate appears on the South Park episode on Thanksgiving (the American holiday in November). I recommend readers of this page take a look.

    This “infotainment” approach to matters runs counter to science because it ignores counter evidence and will not provide a forum for disagreement. In other words, some TV programs are simply promoting a belief system, rather than a scientific approach.

    Now, let us turn to some of the claims made about “ancient astronauts.” I recently saw the movie Prometheus, which tried to “explain” the aliens in the movie series Alien. In this movie (spoiler alert), we are told that non-earth human-like entities “seeded” our planet with their DNA, and it led to us. But they do their seeding after there is already plant life here. Alas, our DNA is connected to all the life on earth, so this is not a very satisfactory explanation. Later, we see a kind of ‘pregnancy’ of an alien in a human, as in the Alien movies. Alas, such interbreeding is all but impossible…at least on the timescale of a few days! This gets shortened later in the movie, when one “prometheus” is ‘mated’ by another alien creature, and within minutes it is transformed into the creature we know as the Alien (as in the movies with Sigourney Weaver).

    I mention this movie because one of the key points in it is that early in the movie some “scientists” make a discovery that supposedly throws out everything we know about the science of heredity.

    Now, I am not a specialist in the sciences, but it does not take specialist knowledge to have a basic understanding of how DNA, heredity, biology, chemistry, and the other sciences work. It does take some effort and some time, but it is doable. Just not in a lazy rainy afternoon scrolling through Wikipedia.

    This movie is useful because it illustrates the approach used in the Von Daniken books and, alas, by some of his defenders. I have read the early “ancient astronaut” books, but I also read other books by different authors who have different points of view. One of these is by another writer similar to Von Daniken, a writer of popular books called L. Sprague de Camp. His book, “Ancient Engineers,” looks at the engineering marvels of the past through the eyes of historians, engineers, archeologists, and so on. He provides additional sources for further reading. De Camp looks at human artifacts and wonders, “How did people build them?” He then tries to find out how people could have built this or that item.

    His explanations are not just clear, but they are testable. This takes us back to a central part of science. It must be possible to “test” an assertion or a claim. This is why modern science has something called a “falsifiability” requirement: each hypothesis (a kind of initial belief) has to have a means of being shown that it is not correct. This approach is counter-intuitive; it’s not what we normally do in our daily lives. But it is the way that science works.

    To return to the science-fiction movie Prometheus, it’s “scientific” part operates on the hypothesis that aliens put “our” DNA into the world. But there is no proof of this. In fact, the ‘evidence’ given does not exist at all. Worse, the claim cannot be “falsified,” because we cannot ‘prove’ that there are no aliens nor that they did not at some time come to the planet. People who do not understand the “falsifiability” principle of science often believe that the absence of proof constitutes proof! But, of course, this movie is entertainment, not science. Science fiction operates on a different principle: “what if” X were true? (Of course, the whole Alien series premise of alien pregnancy and birth is preposterous, but that is a topic for another time.)

    I give this example, because movies have to reach us at a gut level, so to speak. That’s what entertainment does and must do to be successful. It answers other needs and serves other purposes than science.

    The problem is that when a History Channel or Discovery Channel program covers its entertainment with the “look” of science, people may believe they are getting something scientific. Unfortunately, that may not be the case. If we start first from a knowledge of science, it is possible to find that many TV shows are not really devoted to promoting full understanding of a topic.

    What are some of the claims made by advocates of “alien” interventions on our planet?

    1. People could not have made the pyramids in Egypt or in Mexico.
    2. People could not have made Stonehenge.
    3. People could not have created or erected statues on Easter Island.
    4. People could not have fashioned the intricate system of “figures” on the Nazca Plain.

    And so on.

    Notice that all of these are negatives.

    The most common “explanation” for these things is that either “aliens” did the work or taught the people of the time how to do the work or got the people of the time to do the work for them. People, in short, are not capable of such wonders.

    Ah, ancient people, that is. Otherwise, we’d have to include planes, trains, and automobiles, not the mention skyscrapers and the “chunnel” in our list of alien-inspired artifacts.

    One person in this commented that the idea that “ancient people” could not have envisioned, designed, and created any and all of these works is a form of modern racism. Ancient people aren’t here to defend themselves. Their only defenders are professional archeologists and other trained scientists, who have shown that the creators of the four items listed as examples above were human beings just like us. Well, not like many of us, alas, who prefer to get our fix of superiority by dismissing ancient people.

    I came to this website because a buddy of mine was telling me that some “primitive” people of the Southeast Pacific had a “cargo cult” based on the stuff left during WWII by soldiers and so on. They apparently took airplanes to be “gods” or something created by gods. Whether that is true or not does not matter. It is an argument “by analogy,” not a proof. It gives no evidence at all about what people in the past did. He was simply trying to say that all of science was–or could be–wrong and that von Daniken is–or could be–right.

    It turns out that my buddy had never read anything that contradicts what he read in von Daniken. He has no ability to evaluate any scientific matters, because he is entirely unequipped to think about these topics from any fair, rational perspective. He only has his belief in aliens, which is coupled with a belief that ancient and “primitive” (non-modern, non-white) could not possibly have done great things in the past.

    We were standing next to a new Mercedes-Benz. I asked him if he could build one. He said no. I said, “Ah, then it was built by aliens.” In the end, he agreed that he should at least read some other viewpoint about the engineering marvels of the world–old and new.

  • CoalCampArchaeology says:

    Dr. Fitzpatrick-Matthews, would you review the Starchild Skull for this section on extraterrestrials? One of my favorite ancient astronauts case studies, and I would love to read a critical synthesis.

  • Bond_KJ says:

    Carl Sagan summed it up the best by saying that it would be extraordinarily unlikely that any extra-terrestrial life would be in technological lock-step with our own evolution. Logic points to, if one is inclined to see this as a possiblity, either the discovery of microbial life, or life that is so far beyond anything we could imagine within our paradigm, that we do not recognize it as life.

  • tim says:

    you say that his argument that we coud not have made these inventions because of our intelligience racists, yet hes proposing that argument based on the MAINSTREAM ARCHAEOLOGICAL mentality that human intellectual evolution is strictly linear, most of his argument is rhetorical. it seems to me hypocritical to say that we culd have done this then, yet you exalt the idea that we are the best we have ever been now but still could never do the things they did then with the same materials and same amount of time. the modern scientific community is entirely to conservative, and like a fundamentalist religious fanatic, seeks just to discredit anothers belief simply to validate their own, an entirely flawed mentality.

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      I don’t know where you’ve got the idea that “the MAINSTREAM ARCHAEOLOGICAL mentality” suggests “that human intellectual evolution is strictly linear”, because that’s certainly not what mainstream archaeologists believe. I certainly don’t “exalt the idea that we are the best we have ever been now”. You seem to be engaging in the same sort of straw man arguments that von Däniken and his type use.

  • John says:

    I disagree entirely. The history he theorizes, and the COUNTLESS ancient texts he has gone meticulously researched in the last thirty years alone have to say something. He is dead on about evolution as well. If you can show me how any other animal in earths history that has evolved in the last 500,000 years as drastically as we have, Id be more inclined to agree with you. Cognition, vocal chords, things like that. The megalithic structures around the world, some of which being 250 tons of granite, obviously cut with machine tools. Puma Punku just to name one. One would have to come to an obvious and inevitable conclusion that there was technology on this earth at one point in time or another to do such a thing. So we are left with the evidence but nothing to explain how they were built, besides the very few mechanical cuts left behind on unused pieces. This is all proven archaeology, there for the taking. My point being is that there is a gigantic mystery when it comes to these things, and all we have are theories. Thats what any of us have, based on things we see with our own eyes. Your website is not for free thinkers and theorists. I feel you have chosen specific areas of archaeology to base your argument on, and have left out some of the most important finds in our current history. It doesn’t look like you have diligently researched the entire subject enough to blast Erich von Däniken like this.

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      You are entirely wrong.

      Von Däniken’s “research” is entirely without context. Yes, he may have looked at lots of ancient texts, but does he try to understand them in the terms of the societies that produced them? of course not. That would entail actually learning something about those societies. He’s not in the least bit interested in that.

      We know a great deal about how ancient societies transported heavy weights (for goodness’ sake, the Egyptians even made tomb paintings showing how it was done, but will von Däniken ever reproduce them?), how they cut stone blocks for monuments like Puma Punku. This is what “proven archaeology” looks like, if you take the trouble to do the research that von Däniken avoids.

      Yes, there are mysteries about the past. We can never know everything about how ancient societies operated. But von Däniken uses a “god-of-the-gaps” argument: he looks for things that, in his opinion, are not explained and proclaims “aliens did it!” without producing a shred of evidence that this was the case.

      My website is indeed for “free thinkers and theorists”: I aim to show how unbridled speculation not based in evidence can lead to ridiculous ideas.

  • John says:

    Nice, my comment was deleted. Sorry for making so much sense out of your massive FAIL.

  • John says:

    …call me the asshole then…

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      If the cap fits…

      But resorting to name calling is hardly going to endear you to me or make me appreciate anything else you have to say.

  • Helena says:

    What interests me is the intense need some people have to ‘believe’ in something e.g. alien visits, virgin births, multiple gods etc. and to stick with that belief, twisting and turning through thick and thin. Anything which threatens that belief is a Government conspiracy or cover up.
    I find trying to keep up with the theories of modern science more than enough. Of course because scientists are open to new ideas if their pet theory is shown to be weak or even false they are happy to change their minds. (Well, maybe not happy.)

  • Sri says:

    I’ve read that book, chariots of the gods. Boy, it was some seriously engrossing stuff. Truth or fake, it was well worth the 75RS(2$ approx.). Who cares if he’s a fraud and his theories are sheer hogwash.:P

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      I’d agree if it were well written, but it’s not. In places, it’s hard to work out what he’s trying to say. It may be the fault of the translator, but I suspect not. Apparently the original manuscript was so illiterate, the books is effectively by a ghost writer. I suspect that much of von Däniken’s unreadable verbiage was recycled in According to the Evidence, which repeats much of Chariots of the Gods? in an even less readable form.

  • deano says:

    Dont run me down coz i’m not an eloquent writer.Evidence?The bible doesnt mention dinosaurs but everyone believes in them. Modern christianity was due to Constantine winning a battle circa 333AD where it became a compilation of old & new texts. In Genesis 1:26 “we Created man in OUR own image” who is we?Genesis is taken from old Sumerian stories.Arent the clay tablets evidence of the Annuaki.Funny how in the recent war in Iraq the museum was ransacked!! What knowledge were US Military seeking? Why was a female reporter during 9/11 talking of bldg 7 collapsing when it is still clearly standing behind her? Where was the plane that apparently brought it down? Evidence these days seems to be in the eye of the beholder. Getting back to EvD,the evidence is the megalithic structures themselves.Why doesnt the great pyramid have any hyroglyphics inside.Archeologists all say it was a tomb.That egyptian “hawass” wont let them explore the tunnel underneath they just found(TOURIST DOLLARS), or open the door up that shaft that looks like it has been cut with a laser(8″x8″) The Nazca lines werent discovered until the first planes flew over them in 1930s. One mountain range has been levelled flat-no debris/rubble anywhere. Puma Punka is the perfect example of machine-cutting & coring with building blocks that interlock with rebates for cast in-situ molten alloy clamps & brackets.All archeologists tell us Indian natives had no writing or the wheel. When found in 1500s they were either llama herders or jungle hunters with blowdarts, & all their myths said these structures were built from sky-people.The evidence of these megalithic structutres built from obviously advanced technology is global-there are even pyramids in China!But getting back to modern evidence of alien interaction all anyone has to do is look at crop-circles.The shapes & designs of some would be hard to reproduce by computer graphics programs.Their is plenty of video evidence of them being made by “Orbs” of white light ,some being chased by military helicopters, & one shows 4 “UFOS” above a field then the very next day a huge complex design below where they were.Interestingly some of the pictograms have shown the Mayan calender & patterns while one shows the temple corridor at Luxor in Egypt-bit of a coincidence! Apart from so many intricate “Sacred Geometry” types the design which is truly incredible appeared in a field next to a radar telescope. In 1974 Carl Sagan sent a message into space with Earth information,our population,Chemical mcomposition,our solar system, & a diagram of a human, & the telescope we sent it with.Nearly 30yrs later a crop cirle appeared in the same format,but with the picture of a small humanoid with a large head,their solar system,population & a picture of their transmitting device If thats not a big hello for the human race-then what is.But the de-bunkers will pull that to pieces because of :doug & dave” to pub crawling pranksters that apparently go into these cropfields between 2-4am with ropes & a plank & make them(concocted by mainstream media).It would take a team of surveyors a week to set some of them out-let alone all the tracks they would leave & all the broken stems! The real ones occur overnight & alter the stem at the node by heat/microwave without damage.Doug & Dave must be very busy because the appear globally too. Another thing that astounds me is the leap in technology.Mobile phones,siliccon chips,night vision,leds & fibre optics- has this all been reverse engineered at Area 51.We know its there but they wont admit it.U2,SR71,F117, & B2 Bomber are evidence.Where is the evidence for USOs- any naval person will tell you they have seen one.

    • Apologies for short reply as there are a lot of points fused together in a fashion that is unclear to me, and the comments section is at the bottom so I now have to rely on my poor memory to reply to your points i.e. only what I can remember.

      1. RE Pyramids in Eygpt, meso/South America and you say China as well (didn’t know that).

      What all these societies have in common is a uhrm, pyramidal hierarchy with the ancient world treating kings often as god-kings (or being deified in some form, say post humuosly). The short answer is that pyramids are symbolic of the social structure of the time. Lots of workers on the bottom and that big king at the top. Whether the outside or the inside was decorated isn’t relevant so much as what they were decorated with and used for, and it was a different ceremony in each culture although the symbol is more or less the same. The Eygptian ones are like very big tombstones were the meso-American ones the priests made human sacrifices for the gods and the god king. Both have pictographic (or heiroglyphic) inscriptions showing the reasoning for the build and its use, both relate to real human beings (kings) whose remains have been found.

      There is no mention of alien visitors in any of these. However, there’s a lot of stuff about the kings. If you’re thinking How did they both come up with pyramids, you might as well ask how did they come up with a heirarchical society, or farming wheat, maize and so on. It’s pretty straight forward – made sense at the time and changed into what it was and what it is now. Just as Europe has kings but didn’t have pyramids or how both Australia and Ireland have a Stonehenge type monument but only met each other recently :)

      Humans like learning and making up new stuff. Whether it’s real monuments or fake interpretations of those monuments.

      2. References to sky people

      I don’t think meso-americans have actually said sky people built their pyramids. Please provide a link that isn’t about the so called 2012 apocalypse which obviously didn’t happen.

      Speaking of that the Maya didn’t disappear and are well aware that their ancestors build pyramids. And a lot of that prophecy stuff was made up by stupid white men that wanted to sell books. Not meaning to be racist but that’s what happened.

  • austin77 says:

    To be honest, as a typical Pisces (not that I am interested in that stuff) I can see both arguments/sides of the debate. Basically, it’s true, we are dealing with artifacts, whatever they are which are very old in human terms, and essentially hard to support any theory in a factual, proof like way, no matter how clear the evidence, it is still evidence and not fact. I think the key to this area of archaeology is to approach it in the right spirit, although, to accept we are understanding it in human terms.

    Now, this is where the problem comes in, because are somewhat passionate about the subject, and I think this is where it muddies the waters in a debate, because there is nothing emotional about this subject, and I think you’ll all agree that approaching the subject in an emotional capacity brings an instantly flawed argument – in my opinion it is better and more acurate to be sobre, non judgemental and as evidence based as possible.

    To be honest, I think the subject is really a non topic, there are differing theories, some more mainstream than others, some more academic and researched and others researched in an amatuer nature, because of the infrastructure of academia, science and education this will mostly be the case for many years. And I don’t have a problem with that, I do hold the assertion that anyone looking into ancient history should take due process and approach the varying subject matter from a proffessional point of view, rather than a number best seller – that is instantly Von Daniken’s problem, it has not gone through due process and essentially his work has no value.

    The fact is, we are human and not all of scientific, some years ago a poll was made asking the question ‘do you believe extraterrestrials are among us’, the outcome percentage was 50/50. It was higher in India apparently that they had a belief in extraterrestrials having visited Earth. How I would personally interpret this information, is that put simply there will be people who are open to the possibility and people who aren’t, and both are as valid as each other, because although the fact is that ‘UFOs’ exist, we know they are real, we do not officially or formally know what they are, and that fact remains.

    I’m not wishing to offend anyone, honestly, but argueing ancient aliens and ufos is for fools, which is why I have been slightly skeptical about the motivations of this website. it is a non topic. You either are interested in this area and want to talk about it or you prefer having a non-interest or critical slant on it, even debate it and question it, and why Eric Von Daniken, although an amatuer, he does have the right to question, to question is NOT a bad thing, and that’s where critising him to the point of personal slants, to me anyway, is unfortunate.

  • Tom says:

    Some of the aspersions cast upon “mainstream archaeology” in this thread clearly indicate parroting of the ancient alien advocates. Reading a few books by reckless “theorist” that have a financial interest in disparaging academia hardly qualifies one to assess a field. Read the peer-reviewed journals before presuming to comment on what archaeologists do or do not do. My field, history, is also regularly the target of armchair interlopers. It is amazing how many persons accept uncritically the half-baked opinions ions of a popular writer and arrogantly and ignorantly feel they have standing to criticize or even ridicule field experts Copy-and-paste pretenders abound.

  • stalker says:

    Let’s say, Erik Von Daniken, as well as Zecharia Sitchin, and others are wrong. How it comes, people hardly knew the plough, wrote about orbits, percentage of water on Earth, calendars… How they smelted the gold, silver, and other metals. How they built Tiahuanaco, Pyramids, and Baalbeck. You can go to Baalbeck, and see there 3 stones, each about 800 tons, and one 1400 tons. But how???

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      You say “people hardly knew the plough, wrote about orbits, percentage of water on Earth, calendars…”: where is your evidence that early farmers knew about orbits (of what?) or the percentage (volume?) of water on Earth? As for calendars, they are something that early farmers would necessarily be familiar with.

      You seem to have fallen into the trap of believing that ancient peoples who lacked the sorts of technology that we enjoy were somehow stupid. They were not: their brains were as good as ours and they could think things out.

  • This discussion won’t ever come to any conclusion. Both parties will stay true to their opinions. But to be honest… I, as well as many others, would love the extraterrestrial theory to be true. : )

  • martincx says:

    This is a must read article to Ancient Aliens TV Show lovers.

    I guess that show is popular due to the general ignorance of the common people, but the Aliens did It! “Theory” is so stupid it hurts..

  • deano says:

    Just found an amazing site with rock solid evidence of a metropilis in southeast africa. Google earth shows its vast size.Roads,bldgs,terraces & a STONEHENGE type structure. This should be the FIND OF 21st CENTURY. We all know that stoneage hunter/gatherers were nomadic or built basic huts in africa. One photo depicts a stone wall 5ft by 2ft wide- the archaeologists first datings have estimated 60000yrs to +150000yrs!!!! Instantly you are going to scream HOAX so I’m not going to speil on deaf ears & closed minds. So check all this out on “viewzone.com 200000yr old metropilis found in africa” The archaeologists there are having troubles getting there heads around it all, so I would love to hear your thoughts on their credentials & findings. Google earth shows the structures outline & the stonehenge srtucture is amazing. Is this the dawn of modern man?

  • For me, there is only one problem: archaeology and anyway contemporary science is taken by most people [especially the public, but also by a lot of scientists themselves and/or most of the time] as ‘new religion’.
    All theories/discoveries are taken as ‘the truth’ and as fact. Religion against this [and especially the stories] are taken as parables, bed stories and so on and is not taken at all as serious.

    I like the relative openness in the thought processes of Erich von Daniken and I am sympathizing with some of his theories.
    Everyone is attacking individuals, who don’t take contemporary theories as “truth”, who say, that evolution might not happened, that not everything was created without any plan and without any “inspiration” out of nothing. I don’t believe, that this makes sense. If theories are centuries old and might be a bit old fashioned, it doesn’t mean, that they are wrong.

    200 years ago, academics laughed about new ideas, which are today proven. Several of hundreds years ago, academics said, that it is blasphemy that the world is a ball…
    Proof is most of the time not coming from common wisdom and from contemporary theories…

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      It’s not correct to describe science (including archaeology) as religious in nature: science is self-correcting and only ever provisional, whereas relgions are (usually) fixed bodies of belief. People who regard science in this way are simply mistaken in their beliefs; no scientist (including archaeologists) would regard what they do as in any sense analogous to religion.

      You don’t get proof in science: thet’s the realm of mathematics. What science provides is a contingent body of knowledge that is forever changing as new discoveries are made, new hypotheses formulated and new areas of research are opened up.

  • deano says:

    I thought a new stonehenge & bldgs seen by Google would be an archaeologists new found TREASURE!! Obviously this site is about people trying to sound more intelligent than others!!
    NEW STONEHENGE & CITY IN SOUTH AFRICA!!!! Does anyone take an interest in new finds??
    Smithonisam stupidity & secrets. Hawass in Egypt. This SUPPORTS out of Africa migration!!

  • deano says:

    The area is called Mpumalanga. Search Adam’s calender- name of the stonehenge type structure. But it was the Google Earth images >vastly enormous & obviously linked by roads. I thought the Romans invented roads? I was unaware nomadic african tribesmen built structures out of rock, & what looks like terraces for agriculture. Dont they build thatched mud huts & kraals out of wood?
    The reason I dont trust egyption expert Hawass, is because he blatantly denies the caves & tunnel that links the “Tomb of Birds” to the great pyramid. Yet can star in US drivel>”Caves of the Mummies” actually filmed inside them. If he can lie about this, what is he hiding?
    Would like to know what is hiding in Smithsonian vaults as well.
    Have always been interested in megalithic stuctures, but cant understand how ancient man could have fashioned & moved granite blocks weighing anything over 20tns. Let alone raise them into position.How would they have got rollers out once in position? Hardwood wedges would disintegrate in place or,if metallic,would leave “chipped marks” on the blocks. No timber lever could work. (worked in construction industry for 25yrs> concrete beams over 20tns are a major endeavour now!! )

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      Adams’s Calendar looks to be a stone circle; unfortunately, the literature available on the web is extremely unreliable and seeks to establish a vast age (I’ve seen claims of anything between 75,000 and 200,000 years old). Without any scholarly literature on the subject, assessment of their age is difficult, but I would suspect that it’s somehow linked with the various stone-walled enclosures that are typically said to be associated with the migration of Bantu-speaking peoples into the region, bringing with them the building tradition that reached its peak with Great Zimbabwe.

      Even in areas where stone circles are widespread, such as western Britain, dating them is notoriously difficult. Attempting to date them by means of supposed astronomical alignments is not a good place to start. For those dating Adam’s Calendar to 75,000 BCE, the assumption that certain recumbent stones mark the rising point of Orion’s Belt (an asterism that is unaccountable popular among Bad Archaeologists) is taken to provide that date (although it could also mark a date around 11,500 BCE). This is using an untested assumption—how do we know that the builders of the circle were interested in Orion’s Belt?—to build an hypothesis about astronomical alignments that is again untested—how do we know that the circle builders had any intention of including astronomical alignments into their structure?—that is then used to guess an untested date—how do we know that the date is 75,000 BCE rather than 11,500 BCE? The piling up of untested assumptions is no way to make a case for an ancient date.

      As for the Giza Tomb of Osiris (and I assume this is what yo are referring to when you mention “the “Tomb of Birds””), the claims that it links with the Great Pyramid are just plain wrong. Zahi Hawass is indeed a controversial figure who often seems more intent on self promotion than anything else, but he does have a real passion for the past. I suspect that he’s hiding nothing more than his vague promises to deliver amazing discoveries that so often fail to materialise.

      The whole issue of transportation of heavy stone blocks in the ancient world is one that archaeologists have been working on for more than a century. The popular view that they used rollers is quite wrong: most of the time they used barges for water transport and sleds to carry the stones short distances overground. There are Egyptian tomb paintings and reliefs that show this process in great detail. The use of the lever was unknown in Egypt (and most other places, for that matter): ramps, such as the mudbrick examples found around the collapsed pyramid at Meidum or inside the Temple of Karnak, for instance, were used to raise heavy stones. Comparing modern engineering with ancient engineering is, in many ways, comparing apples with oranges: we have notions of efficiency and cost-effectiveness that were meaningless in the ancient world, while ancient societies often had a surplus of manpower that we can only dream of. Imagine the situation: you have no deadline, no bills to pay, you’re working for the state, which feeds, clothes and houses you, and no lack of (expendable) manpower. That’s how megalithic structures were built!

  • deano says:

    Thanks for your detailed reply. However I feel the big assumption here is that the Bantu people circa 1000-1300AD built this vast metropilis. Terraces & Roads? Nomadic tribesmen usually move to greener pastures once an area is stripped by grazing & trees for wood depleted. The stones themselves were moved from miles away to make the calender.
    As for megalithic sleds. I am not talking about efficiency or costings. I mean the actual manual/physical /weight transfer methods once the block was near its final position. Even if the block & sled were directly above correct position, how did they get the sled out? Yes ropes might work if a single line of blocks was required, but not if the block was surrounded on 2 or more sides.
    Until methods of how they done such collosal tasks can be recreated with their technology, I dont see how anyone can say for sure how they were built.
    The programs I have seen that attempt such feats fail dismally, or are re-enacted on blocks a quarter of the size.
    Obelisks being a major headache. 18th & 19th century methods involved cannonballs on tracks as bearings. huge cranes & dozens of jacks.

    Roman erections of obelisks used similar methods, but they chose to move the smaller ones

    Egypt is the mecca of archaeology by most scholars. A cave & tunnel system linking underground to (sorry second pyramid) seems like a must be researched site. The aswan granite found by drilling in front of the Sphinx to a depth of 15ft must surely indicate something else is buried below the plateau.
    .It seems to me archaeologists just assume they were built by Egyptions because of their location.,& by Hawass theory. If something underneath the plateau points to different builders, Hawass, & the history books will have to be changed. Now he is out of the power/control mechanism, he wont be able to veto modern seismic & ground penetrating equipment. Satellite imaging links the cave/tunnel structure to underneath the 2nd pyramid.
    I have been captivated by the pyramids ever since the tracked robotic camera climbed the shaft only to confront another doorway/blockage. I’m just not convinced this entire structure was built as a tomb, & as you say the dating of stone is very difficult…

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      Contrary to popular opinion (especially that promoted by the South African régime under the Apartheid system), the Bantu speaking peoples who migrated into south-eastern Africa during the late first and early second millennia CE were not pastoralists: they were agriculturalists who cultivated sorghum, millet and beans. They were thus sedentary, which is why they built stone-walled compounds. They were also iron workers and developed great expertise in gold working.

      The early kingdom of Mapungubwe based its wealth on gold and ivory traded with Arabs who were exploring the south-east African coast at this time. From about 1050 CE, a stratified society developed around the hilltop settlement of Mapungubwe in what is now South Africa. Although rediscovered in 1932, its importance has only really been recognised in the past fifteen years. DNA evidence suggests that the original rulers were of Khoi/San decent, although culturally Bantu. The kingdom collapsed early in the thirteenth century CE when the Indian Ocean trade on which it depended was diverted to the growing kingdom of Zimbabwe to the north.

      This, I suspect, is the cultural origin for Adam’s Calendar and associated remains. The question of construction methods is one that will be specific to the Mapungubwe kingdom. We can seek analogies from prehistoric Britain, from Bronze Age Egypt, from the Classical world and so on, but they remain possibilities rather than definite answers. The fact that we cannot currently provide a detailed explanation for how stones were moved and put into position does not mean that construction involved high technology. This is a god-of-the-gaps type argument: if I can’t (currently) explain the precise mechanism for a phenomenon, it does not therefore mean that god did it/aliens did it/a lost civilisation did it. We are learning a lot about the cultural context of many of these “mysterious” structural complexes in southern Africa. I suspect that we will one day understand these sites in considerable detail, just as we understand Stonehenge and similar places today.

      As I pointed out before, we know a lot about how heavy stones were moved in Ancient Egypt: there is even a relief showing an obelisk in a barge. No high technology there! And again, even if we find it difficult to understand the precise details about how individual stones were manoeuvred into position, we may one day have the evidence. Again, we can’t invoke a god-of-the-gaps explanation to bring in high technology.

      There is a lot of nonsense floating around on the web and among “Alternative Egyptologists” about the archaeology of the Giza plateau. Of course “archaeologists just assume they were built by Egyptions because of their location”: all the evidence points to an Egyptian origin. All the everyday remains—the potsherds, houses, butchered animal bones and so on—as well as inscriptions point to activity there from the Fourth Dynasty onwards, but not before. As I’ve said in response to other commenters, any civilisation produces rubbish and it seems to be a reasonable rule of thumb that the more technologically complex the civilisation, the more rubbish it produces. If there had been an advanced technological civilisation doing work on the plateau before the Fourth Dynasty, it is inconceivable that it has left no rubbish behind whatsoever.

      What is your evidence that “[s]atellite imaging links the cave/tunnel structure to underneath the 2nd pyramid”? The claims I have seen suggest that the (non-existent) tunnels from the Tomb of Osiris links with the so-called “pit”, the unfinished subterranean chamber in the Great pyramid (they don’t).

      The dating of the Great Pyramid doesn’t depend on dating stone: it depends on cartouches of King Ḫwfw (Khufu or Cheops) painted onto blocks that were in chambers sealed since the structure was built and rediscovered in 1837. Some of these cartouches are (just) visible painted onto surfaces now forming joints with neighbouring blocks (in other words, they cannot have been painted since the blocks were moved into position). “Aha!”, you may say, “how do we know that they aren’t the cartouches of an earlier King Ḫwfw”. Simple: cartouches were not used for royal names before the Fourth Dynasty, that of which Ḫwfw was the second King. Case closed!

  • sam sahu says:

    to progress our world or being developed our technolgy ,we have need to know our history……….

  • Oregonian says:

    I’m fairly certain a lot of these Ancient Alien proponents were also touting 2012 Mayan Calender Spiritual Awakening new age crap.. Hey guys, it’s 2013 now.

  • Dave says:

    It isn’t just the ancient aliens that are being credited with creating monuments and “teaching” early humans, it’s in the modern realm as well. I’ve seen television programs and read articles by “theorists” like von Däniken claiming stealth systems are derived through reverse engineering alien technology. I guess “theorists” never considered that people within the military industrial complex could ever figure out how to achieve making military aircraft invisible to enemy radar systems. Not to mention these “theorists” also do a great disservice to human intelligence and ingenuity by claiming that humans were, and are currently, incapable of devising, planning, and building complex buildings, systems, and technologies. I know that’s a sweeping generalization, but my point is these clowns are just reaching for any conclusion that helps them get interviews and sell books.

    Lily Loves to Paint stated there is no mention of alien visitors in any of the pyramids which reminded me of a South Park episode where the History Channel, which has little to do with actual history anymore, doing a show on ancient aliens at the first Thanksgiving meal. The so called experts all stated that nowhere in the historical records do the puritans mention there NOT being aliens present. They also brought up that prior to the first Thanksgiving no mention was ever made of stuffing. It just appears, fully formed with no evidence of how the recipe came into being, so of course stuffing is alien technology. It’s worth checking out.

  • Jeremy says:

    Von Daniken is absolutely correct! Sceptics should watch the whole series of ancient aliens and then look up everything referenced in the series. I am sceptic on many things mentioned in this series but overall the ancient astronaut theory is concrete. The only thing missing is “a body ” which obviously the government will never reveal because it would cause mass panic and the affect it will have on the worlds religions.

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      Are you joking?

    • deano says:

      To Jeremy, It seems as if the “bodies” are begining to appear.
      In Peru, on a peninsula called Paracas, they have found dozens of skeletons with an extremely elongated cranium that only has 2 plates. DNA testing is currently being done.(Very similar to the Egyption pharoah Ahkenaton & Queen Nefrititi)
      Loyd Pye had the Starchild skull, which doesnt look human at all–almost like a “grey”.
      In the 19th Cty , many “giant” skeletons were found in the US, but are all in a warehouse of the Smithsonian Museum. Archaeologists have to follow the “accepted version of history” in order to get grants & funding. We will never know what US forces grabbed from the Bhagdad Museum during the occupation of Iraq.
      Hopefully, now that Egypt has a new gov, & that ranting idiot Zawi Hawass of Chasing Mummies fame is gone, we might get access to the “Hall of Records” underneath the Sphinx!

      Many early explorers talked of giants too, especially at Tiera del Fuego(Cape Horn Sth America). If I was an archaeologist that is where I would be digging!

  • Miles M says:

    the degree of accuracy required to build the great pyramids to it’s current dimensions is astonishing. Each stone would have to have been shaped to one thousandth of an inch (0.0245mm) on each length. Its angular accuracy is also incredible. In the 80s the Japanese attempted to create a scale model of the great pyramids and failed, that as a fact alone is impressive for this ancient civilization. As an engineer I can see both sides of this very complex argument.

    I am indeed a skeptic on the majority of conspiracy theories but this is one that has always had me on the fence. Every single ancient civilization know to man documents some form of UFO, sky people, flying boats or something similar. Millions of people around the globe have reported seeing UFOs and with the availability of cameras now, video evidence is becoming common place (although a lot of it could be passed off as fake I agree!). If this was a court of law, any crime that has this many witnesses would have the defendant found guilty.

    Giant people – no
    Little grey men – no
    But intelligent beings with the potential to visit our planet and impart knowledge on ancient and even current civilizations – quite possibly.

    Looking at the rate of technological advancement over the last 30 years it’s not a far cry to say that another intelligent civilization (probably with a bigger planet so they have more resource) could have thousands of years of technological development on us, they could have perfected nuclear fusion – harnessed helium 3 or many other things that are well off the mark in order to power their vehicles.

    I think that there have been millions of planets in the history of the universe that have had intelligent life, however 99.99% of these outgrow their planet, become hateful and/or have a natural disaster that wipes out all life on the planet. This would mean that the vast majority never get to the stage where intergalactic travel is possible. But in the right set of circumstances, a civilization may be able to develop to such a stage that it can – and that is where these UFOs come from.

    With that level of science there is no telling to what is possible for them, leaving a scary yet exciting question mark

    Would love to hear your opinion as although I think you are a bit heavy handed with some of your arguments and sometimes seem a little short on hard evidence, you seem very well informed and able to put together a well formulated argument.

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      The problem with hypothesising a technologically advanced civilisation as the builder of the Great Pyramid is that we know exactly which civilisation built it and the context in which it was built. We know when it was built (at least, we know the king responsible, even if the radiocarbon dates suggest that it may be as much as two centuries older than the conventional historical date, derived from counting the reign lengths of different kings). We know that there were earlier pyramids and we can see the evolutionary sequence from mastaba tomb to step pyramid to true pyramid, with at least one failure (the Pyramid of Meidum) along the way. The phenomenal achievement of the Giza pyramids (and remember that the Khaefre pyramid is almost as big as the Great Pyramid and just as carefully laid out) ought not to be underestimated. However, the Old Kingdom kings were never able to match building on such a scale again. One has to ask why. A plausible explanation is that they effectively bankrupted the state by putting so much time, effort and resources into a one-off project designed to ensure that that king continued to live in the afterlife. There were also religious changes: the Fifth Dynasty kings were devout sun worshippers who developed a new type of monument, the sun temple (basically a tall mastaba with a giant obelisk on top), so the effort was split between pyramid building and sun temple building.

      I don’t know why so many of my critics think that I don’t believe in alien life. I do and I get fed up with pointing this out. I find it inconceivable that the conditions for the start of life exist only on earth; given the size of the universe (and it is impossible to conceive just how vast it is), there must be billions if not trillions of planets with life on them. Some of those will have developed technologically advanced civilisations. Whether or not we could even recognise these life forms or their technology is another matter.

      As to whether aliens have visited earth, I remain agnostic. I was a firm believer in UFOs in my youth, but as I have read more about the very poor evidence presented for them, I am doubtful that they are alien spacecraft; I suspect that several different phenomena account for them, including human misperception as the main one.

      With some of the stories on this site, there is little hard evidence to go on because the sources of original bad information don’t give enough to go on to do a thorough analysis. If I’m occasionally heavy handed, that’s because I have a tendency towards bluntness. Perhaps I lived in the north of England for too long!

  • deano says:

    I thought that you couldnt carbon date stone because it is a ceramic & not of carbon like wood or bone?
    This means an accurate age is impossible. Just because their is carvings of heiroglyphics relating to a particular king inside, doesnt mean nessecarily it was built in that time.
    If a teenager “tags” a building with grafitti, that does not make him the builder of the building!
    If you reverse the status quo, the Great Pyramids & Sphinx were made first, then the Egyptions tried to copy these structures but failed. Their attempts using smaller mud bricks & mustabas that collapsed under the strain, are evident by their eroded nature of today.
    If one takes a close look at the head of the Sphinx, it is less aged & out of proportion to the rest of the lion it is on. They could have easily reshaped the original lions head into the face & headpiece of today.

    The hardest Egyption myth though is construction techniques. I have already talked about trying to move 70tn blocks of granite, but it is the evidence of machining that captures my attention.
    The engineer, Chris Dunn, has some interesting revelations about this, namely cutting & coring bore holes. Some of the machined curved surfaces have perfect radii fillets >an internal square corner with a perfect 1/4″ fillet, core holes with machine marks & perfectly flat faces.
    He has queried numerous Granite masons of today, & they couldnt even replicate this.

    So we are suppose to believe this was all done with stone hammers, copper chisels & copper saws. If the Egyptions had left core cutters & diamond saws I might believe what we are told. But none are found.
    The question then is “Who provided the Egyptions with machine cutting tools?”
    “Where are the tools?”
    “Who made the tools?”
    The only plausible answer is they have gone with the owners> back into space………..

    • Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews says:

      You are right: you can’t carbon date stone. It isn’t ceramic though: it’s mineral. However, what can be dated is mortar. Despite the claims of people like von Däniken or Hancock, mortar was used in the construction of the pyramids and it contains small quantities of carbonised material that can be dated. What has surprised archaeologists is that the radiocarbon dates are around two centuries older than we thought the pyramid to be. It could be that the carbonised material in the mortar is recycled wood from older objects or it could be that our chronology for the Old Kingdom is off by two centuries. At the moment, the jury is still out on this. But what it does mean is that we do have radiocarbon dates for the Great Pyramid’s construction.

      The hieroglyphs naming Khufu are inside chambers that were sealed the moment their ceilings were in place: no-one could come along later and add them like a teenager’s tag on an already existing building. They were only discovered when Howard Vyse and Dominic Shea Perring dynamited their way into these chambers in the nineteenth century.

      The evolutionary history of Egyptian pyramids is quite clearly not one of copying already existing structures at Giza. If that were the case, we wouldn’t find that the earliest pyramid (that of Djoser) began as an ordinary mastaba, which was subsequently extended, then had three more mastabas piled on top to make a four-stepped pyramid, was then extended again and had two more mastabas put on top to make the six-stepped pyramid we see toady. We then see a series of stepped pyramids, followed by the hybrid at Meidum, where the steps were subsequently filled in in an attempt to make a true pyramid, which went disastrously wrong when the infill collapsed. After that, the techniques for building true pyramids were developed by experiment at Dashur. This sequence of building is associated with a sequence of kings’ names; the names then match the sequence in the king lists compiled in the New Kingdom. They also fit into the correct sequence when radiocarbon dating is done. There has been a recent discovery at a Red Sea port of the earliest papyri ever located; some, dating from the reign of Khufu, deal with the construction of his pyramid. No, you simply can’t push the construction of the Great Pyramid back to a more distant time.

      The weathering of the Great Sphinx’s head is easily explained and has been many times. The quarry in which it was carved contains several different strata of limestone, known as formations. The uppermost is the hardest, while the lower formations are softer. The head is the only part of the Great Sphinx carved from the upper formation (after all, it is the highest part of the monument), so we would expect it to be less weathered.

      We know exactly how the Egyptians moved large blocks of stone. And their achievements are nothing compared with Catherine II of Russia, who moved a 1200 tonne granite blocked used to make an equestrian statue of her father, Peter the Great, some seven kilometres without machinery, using only manpower.

      The carving of the blocks is something that really does excite the imagination. Despite Chris Dunn’s assertions, we do have an idea of how the Egyptians managed to cut bore holes, as we have paintings of them doing it. They used a bow drill with sand and lots of patience. Experimental archaeologists have confirmed that the technique works. There is no need to postulate “machine cutting tools”: we know that they didn’t have any but we know what they had instead.

      End of story.

  • master d says:

    Archaeologist Ken Feder is hilarious and informative in this audio interview on the subject
    http://monstertalk.skeptic.com/ancient-alien-astronauts-interview-with-ken-feder

    I love von Däniken but loved Feder even more. What a great interview.

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