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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Crazy Archaeology Hoaxes or Truth?


I remember a few months back when I was writing my post 30 Reasons Why You Should Become An Archaeologist, one of my list contributors mentioned this quote:

You’ve been watching the History Channel since you were a kid and you scream at the TV when they perpetuate pseudohistory.
How many of you still watch the television questioning every historical reference when it's completely out of context and nonfactual?  Well,  it seems that this top ten list illustrating the world's largest archaeological hoaxes is stirring up some conversation.



Personally, I remember learning about Piltdown Man in classes and I saw the FeeJee Mermaid in person in St Augustine. I even remember when they finally put the dating controversy to rest about the Shroud of Turin. So we think!
A 13th/14th century piece of cloth does not a Jesus cloth make!
For some it's about glory and fame, but to others, it's about sharing history with the world.  I like conspiracy theories as much as the next person, but I also like evidence. Archaeological evidence that is. I like truth and I like support. I want to know why something is thought to date to 3 billion years ago and I want an explanation.  It's hard to explain to people that the Grand Canyon was not created in less that 6000 years. Not surprisingly, it seems these are the people that are arguing their case for the Shroud of Turin Hoax.



Unfortunately, these hoaxes only show us how gullible many people can be, but even more disconcerting is the fact that experts looked at this findings and deemed them authentic. Granted, some of these discoveries were made at a time when there was no advanced dating, and funding of the digs was under the control of people with questionable motives. Either way, it's an entertaining list.

Have a Happy Wednesday!

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Dr. Brian Redmond, curator of archaeology, discusses working at the Burrell Orchard site earlier this summer. The Archaeology in Action field school is open to adult museum members. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.cmnh.org/ArchaeologyinAction.

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