The Territory of Pseudoarchaeology

I Want to Believe
(The X-files)

Pseudoarchaeology is a term for theories which try and pass themselves off as being archaeological, but in fact, aren't. This is the kind of archaeology we find in the Territory of Pseudoarchaeology. Part of the reason these theories get more attention in mainstream media than well grounded theories is that they're more fun.

In the example of the key on the True Archaeology page, wouldn't it be more fun to just throw parsimony out the window, and imagine that the lost key we found is the key to untold wealth if only we could find the chest it unlocks, rather than just something someone accidentally dropped? Or that our suffering after being hit by a car wasn't just due to meaningless chance, but from the curse of the key? Perhaps we were even destined to pick up the key.

But it's only fun until someone loses an eye, which is what happens when our ability to see truthfully into the past is impaired. When we understand the principals of sound archaeology, not taking things just on authority but with an understanding of how to judge the claims of any would be authority, we can enjoy pseudoarchaeology as much as anyone, as a wonderful form of entertainment full of alien intelligences, goddess worshipping amazons, great ancient civilizations which disappeared without a trace, and... Well, anything is possible when you eliminate the probable.

The thing which defines a theory as belonging in the Territory of Pseudoarchaeology is that it violates critical, even defining, concepts of archaeology. For example, claims that an ancient civilization existed but left no material culture to study, or that ancient people couldn't build pyramids on their own so space aliens had to help them with advanced technology, violate some pretty basic principles in archaeology. People who suggest such theories can wear pith helmets and claim to be archaeologists, but they aren't doing archaeology!

Atlantis | Pyramid Aliens | Really Ancient Sphinx Builders