Friday 17 May 2024

"Are we being LIED TO about ancient history?"


                    Screen grab from You Tube video - fair use for purposes of criticism                         

For some reason, Elon Musk's Twitter now insists on filling my Twitter page with time-wasting, mind-rottingly vacant pseudo-archaeological crap. It would not be so bad ("multiple points of view") if it were not abundantly clear that the people writing these texts are deliberately shunning any opportunity to get better acquainted with the material they are warbling about. They know there is another side to the story, but they will not make the effort to actually look with any degree of application or comprehension at it. It's more fun to believe conspiracies and mysteries. So, it turns out that among the stuff one can find out there, You Tuber Luke Caverns [the Texas typo-hunting anthropology graduate (he says) whose recent output indicates that he he simply does not understand that unprovenanced antiquities from the market cannot be used as "proof" of anything], has recently published a pretty eye-popping "public information" video: "Are we being LIED TO about ancient history? - Graham Hancock's "Ancient Apocalypse. There is a word in the Polish language for this type of thing. 

Published on You Tube by Luke Caverns  Nov 25, 2022 (6,067 views)

This looks like clickbait to me. Caverns writes:
"With the rise of research from the likes of Graham Hancock, Randall Carlson, Robert Schoch and the late John Anthony West, we're beginning to see the emerging sentiment that the scientific/archaeological community is a dogmatic, hierarchical "Good Boys Club" that attempts to silence its skeptics and opposition".
He probably means old boys. The argument he's making here is very unclear, it's all over the place, on the one hand it's a fawning puff-piece for Graham Hancock, while pretending to be adding nuance to that man's ideas (note though that he calls Hancock's pole-shifting "Fingerprints of the Gods" a "novel" - why?).

Caverns totally ignores the background history of the "Atlantis" genre of pseudoarchaeology (De Camp 1971), ideas originating from the 1870s in the likes of Augustus Le Plongeon (1825–1908) after his investigations of the Maya ruins in Yucatán and James Churchward (1851–1936) in a series of books of the 1920s and 1930s, beginning with his 'Lost Land of Mu'. Then its history enters a phase where in European historiography it is mixed up (Kurlander 2017) in the völkisch-esoteric politics and ideology of pre-War Germany , Alfred Rosenberg's 'Myth of the Twentieth Century', etc. and  so on.  Hancock is by no means the innovator he and his devotees make out. But when the unsavory roots and intellectual associations of these ideas are pointed out, they get all huffy. 

Caverns even brings portable antiquities and collectors into the equation... Looking into the camera from his attic room, in all seriousness he comes out with this: 
"I won't get into specific names, sites or situations but a more explicit example of moral corruption in Archeology are the organizations over the heads of young hard-working archaeologists. There are places in the world where the government itself carries out secret archaeological digs to sell artifacts on the black market. Now are these artifacts evidence pertaining to an ancient Lost Civilization that need to be hidden from the general public? Or is it more likely that many faceless nameless billionaires would be willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money to own several thousand-year-old artifacts that can't be found anywhere else in the world? It's most likely the latter."
This guy cites no evidence for this accusation of foreign heritage professionals, but the photo he shows in the video to bolster his claim of this conspiracy-theorist "secret government" organization is.... of the storeroom under the New York shop of Mehrdad Sadigh the fake seller that was all over the international press three years ago. What a clown. Caverns is trying to pull the wool over his audience's eyes in the search for lucrative internet clicks with tabloid style "shock-horror-sensational" content with no backup. 

As I say, he cites no sources, but it is possible that this is a half-remembered rehashing of Jonathan Tokely-Parry's justifications, or some stuff thrown around by the antiquities dealers' lobbyists.  What the young wannabe scholar fails to mention is the roles of dealers and US dealers (like Sadigh) in particular, in damaging and corrupting the archaeological record so that people like his collector friend with the vases I discussed can "own a piece of the past". 

De Camp, Lyon Sprague (1971) [1954]. Lost Continents: Atlantis Theme in History, Science and Literature. Dover Publications.

Kurlander, Eric 2017.'"One Foot in Atlantis, One in Tibet". The Roots and Legacies of Nazi Theories on Atlantis, 1890-1945' in Leidschrift 32, no. 1 (January 2017): 81–101.


David Knell said...

I've always admired this observation by Isaac Asimov:

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge'.”

Sadly, the rise of YouTube and social media has compounded that cult far beyond just the US to the point of total and apparently irredeemable absurdity.

De. William Shephard said...

Are you not ashamed of yourself Paul? Hated by the metal detectorists who uncover history where you would never, ever think of looking, reviled even by members of your chosen profession, my dear fellow I know you are a devout Roman Catholic, a brainwashed victim of intense pressure but, pause a while, there is still hope, reject one of your beliefs, [the religious bullshit]and that may open the door to a realisation that you may be wrong, big time.

Paul Barford said...

Did your mother teach you to hurl abuse at people because of their religion? Any mother that would do that would be a coarse, negligent, smelly bitch, don't you agree? So why are you showing up your own mum by such behaviour?

How do you define "I know you are..."? What "knowledge" is that? While you are at it, define "devout", or just stop throwing about words you do not know the meaning of.

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