Archaeologists Want To Win People Back To Science
Editorials News | Apr-14-2019
In the month of February, one of the famous podcast: The Joe Rogan Experience referred to an idea that was made popular by some of the books and TV shows: that an image of the Mayan King K’inichJanaab’ Pakal, that was carved upon the lid of his sarcophagus when he had died in 683 C.E., depicts him taking off in a spaceship.
Host Rogan was extremely doubtful of the very notion, which has been used so as to argue about theextra-terrestrial visitors seeded in the sophisticated ancient societies like the Maya. He asked that what exactly the mainstream archaeologists made out of it.David Anderson, took that request as a call to action. Anderson who is an archaeologist at Radford University in Virginia, jumped onto Twitter and stated that “Dear @joerogan, speaking as a ‘mainstream’ archaeologist … it showsfallen into the depth of the underworld at the time of his death.” The rocket-propelling “fire” below Pakal is a personification of the underworld, and the “spaceship” is a world tree, a common feature in Mayan art. Rogan retweeted upon Anderson’s thread. This brought him more than 1000 likes and many grateful comments—a long with a few angry ones also.The best example as Pakal’s supposed seat in a spaceship is of only what Anderson and others describe as “pseudoarchaeology,” which completely ignores the cultural context of ancient artefacts and uses them so as to support predetermined ideas, instead of test hypotheses, about the past. Common beliefs include that aliens have largely helped in the building of the Egyptian and Mayan pyramids, that refugees leaving Atlantis brought technology to cultures all over the world, and that it is thus a well-established fact that European immigrants were cited out to be the original inhabitants of the North America.Jason Colavito, an author in Albany who covers pseudoarchaeology in books and on his blog stated that indeed such ideas and beliefs might look like too harmless or even amusing. But they have “a dark side,” to them as well. Nearly all such claims assume that ancient non-European societies did not have the capability of inventing sophisticated architecture, calendars, math, and sciences like astronomy on their own. Kenneth Feder, who was an archaeologist at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain and is slated to present at the SAA session began to write about the dangers of these ideas much before many other scholars even started paying attention to them. He was of the belief that it is totally racist at its core.
By: Anuja Arora
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