The Dark Side Of Archaeology? Or, What happens when Evidence And Theory Conflict?

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posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 10:54 AM
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First, I would like to give credit where it's due. Thanks to member Zcustosmorum for bringing this documentary to my attention.

Normally, I would not post a nearly 90 minute video for the membership to watch, and comment on. Nevertheless, I found this film well worth the watch despite its sensationalist title. This is an old case, but evidently it still flares tempers among archaeologists and geologists to this day.

If you're familiar with Virginia Steen-McIntyre, and others who were involved in this dig, and have any interest in an archaeological "mystery" and scientific detective story, that brought out the best and worst in some of the brightest minds on the planet in their field, this is a film you should watch.




What happens when scientific evidence conflicts with theory? In the early sixties, discoveries were made in Central Mexico, which were the handiwork of early man. Exquisitely carved animal bones and advanced spear points caused much excitement, including a Life Magazine article, until the dates came in. 5 mutually exclusive geological tests revealed they were over 250,000 years old. In spite of the geochronology, archaeologists insisted the dates were too ridiculously old. This world-class archaeological region became off-limits for official research, a "professional forbidden zone."


This is the story of the shocking events that occurred, told first-hand by many of the actual participants. It reveals how one field of science can conflict with another and how new discoveries must battle evidence vs. belief, exposing what some have called "the dark side of archaeology."


Although I have done some amount of reading on this find, I think the documentary, while not perfect, brings out elements of the story you wouldn't normally hear. If you are already intimately familiar with this case, please, share your thoughts whatever side of the debate they fall on.
edit on 2/28/2013 by Klassified because: corrections
edit on 2/28/2013 by Klassified because: grammar




posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 11:03 AM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


You might be interested in this. The same thing happened here.

Lost Cave City in the Grand Canyon?



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 11:04 AM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


S & F
Unfortunately this is not the only case. One of them is the case of The 1.5 million years old foot print There is even a case of hominid fossil footprints dating to 3.6 million years ago. But their validity are constantly being argued. Evidence is evidence, it's unfortunate that some studies are being shelved because of conflicting theories.
edit on 28-2-2013 by XLR8R because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 11:06 AM
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reply to post by Bilk22
 


First time I've heard of this. Very interesting. I'm going to check this out for sure.



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 11:06 AM
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reply to post by Bilk22
 

I have done some reading on that. An interesting story to be sure. I'm not sure I would put it in the same ball park with the find made in Mexico. But I have always wondered how much truth there is to it.



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 11:10 AM
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For those of you that dont' care to watch the video.

en.wikipedia.org...

The wiki page goes over some of the sites history.

And this sort of thing pisses me off.
Because it doesn't fit into the neat preconceived notion that's already floating in the mainstream the truth is shut out of science.
Peer reviewed papers and everything. But still denied. it's pathetic.



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 11:12 AM
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Originally posted by XLR8R
reply to post by Klassified
 


S & F
Unfortunately this is not the only case. One of them is the case of The 1.5 million years old foot print There is even a case of hominid fossil footprints dating to 3.6 million years ago. But their validity are constantly being argued. Evidence is evidence, it's unfortunate that some studies are being shelved because of conflicting theories.
edit on 28-2-2013 by XLR8R because: (no reason given)


I agree. It is unfortunate.

I think this documentary gives people a good idea of what goes into an archaeological dig, and what's at stake for those involved. I'm hoping one or more of our resident archaeologists will share their thoughts with us on this dig. Whatever side they may fall on.



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 12:32 PM
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Originally posted by Klassified
I think this documentary gives people a good idea of what goes into an archaeological dig, and what's at stake for those involved.

(sigh) No, it doesn't.


I'm hoping one or more of our resident archaeologists will share their thoughts with us on this dig. Whatever side they may fall on.


This is an "ancient aliens" program and they have an agenda. Here's a link to the Wikipedia article on the show. My own comments (after having tried to watch the show) are ... unkind.

We've discussed much of the evidence (and the things they REPORT that "scientists say" about the evidence (and the things we really say about the evidence)) many times here. If you go to the guide section that I wrote for Ancient Civ, (click here) you will find a lot of discussions in great depth on all of the nuances.



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 01:08 PM
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Originally posted by grey580
For those of you that dont' care to watch the video.

en.wikipedia.org...

The wiki page goes over some of the sites history.

And this sort of thing pisses me off.
Because it doesn't fit into the neat preconceived notion that's already floating in the mainstream the truth is shut out of science.
Peer reviewed papers and everything. But still denied. it's pathetic.


One site with one anomalous date cannot reset all of science.

That's simply the truth, whether it makes a poster "sick" or not.

If that weren't the case, then theories would be rewritten every month, then re-written back to what they were earlier every other month.

These dates are so early, they cannot be accepted without corroboration. None has been found so far. Maybe someday it will be. Recently, there was a thread here about Acheulean tools (Huh?) found in Arizona. My understanding is that it's being looked into (assuming the whole story wasn't a hoax.)


Harte



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by Byrd
 

Thanks Byrd. I shall do my due diligence, and look at the opposite side of the story. So there isn't a shred of truth to this episode? What a shame. However, that makes me ask:

What about those that were interviewed for the documentary?
What about the discussions shown by those who were involved in the dig?

I am most certainly open to reading more than I've already seen and read on this, but I also get the impression those who won the war on this dig, are also the ones writing its history. Off to read your thoughts on the matter...

ETA: Nice link Byrd, but I'm not finding your comments on this particular dig. I'll keep looking though.
edit on 2/28/2013 by Klassified because: eta



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 03:16 PM
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ive posted this documentary 2 or 3 times in other threads


heres my post from this thread 12,000 year old native......




correct but dont forget theres FISSION DATING and theres also DIATOM method, like the documentary i posted above proves, the artifacts were in the same layer of diatoms that died out 80,000 years ago. and the FACT is they didnt find any, ANY, newer diatoms within the same layer of the artifacts. So thats 100% bang on the money, that those arrow heads are AT LEAST 80,000 years old. never mind about speculation like, but they could be 250,000 years old, because that dosnt matter at this moment in time. what matters is getting the so called scholars to acknowledge these findings, but oh no! not if it goes against the history books but again, the diatom process proves the artifacts are 80,000+ not a mere 13,000 years BS



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 06:26 PM
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Originally posted by Klassified
reply to post by Byrd
 

Thanks Byrd. I shall do my due diligence, and look at the opposite side of the story. So there isn't a shred of truth to this episode?


Try "partial truths" and "edited remarks" and "questionable authority figures." Not everything they present is false, but the conclusions they use are based on the concept that in order to maintain an audience (and therefore give them an income) that they have to present something that concludes "it was done by aliens."

I really don't do videos (I can read SO much faster than they can talk. I find it tedious to be tantalized with a hint of information and not have the ability to do instant fact-checking or be able to view whatever they're showing from all angles.) That said, here's a 3 hour movie that reviews and debunks much in the whole series. Or some of the series (I don't have the patience for a 3 hour movie.) It's by a genuine Biblical scholar.

Bad Archaeology (an archaeologist snarks about the really abysmal misconceptions presented about archaeology) also covers it.

There's also a book called "A Disinformation Guide to Ancient Aliens."


What about those that were interviewed for the documentary?

To be honest, I got through about the first 5 minutes of this episode before I found it unwatchable (I went "arrgh" at the claim that the earliest human ancestor to walk upright lived 25 million years ago.) Having other things to do, I did not watch further. I did not check the credentials of the people they interviewed, but on at least one other episode that I watched further, a check showed that some of the material may have been presented out of context and some of it is presented by people whose credentials I couldn't verify.

Cremo is not an archaeologist though he's an interesting man. He also has strong religious viewpoints which color his writings and approach to things.


What about the discussions shown by those who were involved in the dig?

Didn't stick around for it.


I am most certainly open to reading more than I've already seen and read on this, but I also get the impression those who won the war on this dig, are also the ones writing its history. Off to read your thoughts on the matter...

A fairer quote would be "those who spent a dozen years or more studying in great detail geology and history and cultures relevant to the site are those who write the history." Cremo, when he is wrong, suffers no repercussions. Fans of the Ancient Aliens adore him, conspiracy buffs who think archaeologists are hiding secrets adore him. He loses nothing. If he has another idea, he can publish it with a minimum of research (or no research) and he loses nothing.

The archaeologist/paleontologist/geologist who gets it wrong gets rewritten out of books when his (or her) theory is disproved ("aquatic ape theory" is one of those.) No crowds of adoring fans will support their work. If you publish an idea without careful supporting research, you will be hammered by colleagues and will lose out on promotion opportunities. No one's going to shout at them "come work for us!" Academic publishers will not consider a book by this person, and they will not be invited to write articles for textbooks (this is a source of income. Speaking from experience, it's not a HUGE source of income but it supplements.)

So they have everything to lose if they promote inaccurate, or unusual theories which do not take into account all that is known about a subject. Cremo and company have nothing to lose.



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 06:32 PM
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-WOW. Fantastic thread.

Personally I love the long documentaries and think the "normal" 4-20 min. vids are too short to be of much use. Plan on listening soon, just want to thank you for the very cool story I have never heard of. =)



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 08:04 PM
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reply to post by Byrd
 

For the record. I haven't even seen more a handful of Ancient Alien episodes. Nor do I take anything ANY documentary says at face value. Including Ancient Aliens. Gullible I am not. But I do endeavor to be objective. Which is why I like opposing views, because it keeps me from getting stuck in a rut, and believing what suits my fancy, instead of looking at all possibilities and/or facts. I have been to Bad Archaeology, and I've seen a good portion of AA Debunked previously. Both were worth checking out imo.



To be honest, I got through about the first 5 minutes of this episode before I found it unwatchable (I went "arrgh" at the claim that the earliest human ancestor to walk upright lived 25 million years ago.)

I don't remember that being said in this one. I must have missed that.



Cremo is not an archaeologist though he's an interesting man.

Cremo was not in this documentary. I am familiar with his work. Interesting is a good word for him. I do question his objectivity. But then I question everyone's objectivity. Even my own.



Didn't stick around for it.

Maybe you should have. The discussion(debate) between Robert G. McKinney, and Michael Waters was quite interesting. They obviously are at odds over the findings at this site. FYI. Others interviewed...
Chris Hardaker
Dennis J. Stanford
Virginia Steen McIntyre
Marshall Payn
George Carter
Charles W. Naser
Kenneth A. Farley
Sam L. VanLandingham



A fairer quote would be "those who spent a dozen years or more studying in great detail geology and history and cultures relevant to the site are those who write the history."

Which are exactly the people who were interviewed in this program. Those with first hand experience regarding this dig.



Cremo, when he is wrong, suffers no repercussions. Fans of the Ancient Aliens adore him, conspiracy buffs who think archaeologists are hiding secrets adore him. He loses nothing. If he has another idea, he can publish it with a minimum of research (or no research) and he loses nothing.

NO Cremo. And NONE of the regulars you would expect to see in an AA episode.



The archaeologist/paleontologist/geologist who gets it wrong gets rewritten out of books when his (or her) theory is disproved ("aquatic ape theory" is one of those.) No crowds of adoring fans will support their work. If you publish an idea without careful supporting research, you will be hammered by colleagues and will lose out on promotion opportunities. No one's going to shout at them "come work for us!" Academic publishers will not consider a book by this person, and they will not be invited to write articles for textbooks (this is a source of income. Speaking from experience, it's not a HUGE source of income but it supplements.)

This is brought up more than once in the documentary. Cynthia Irwin Williams was quite worried about it. And Virginia Steen McIntyre paid the ultimate price for her role in the dig. The end of her career. In her words.

Byrd, I respect your opinion. That's why I ask for it. Documentaries like this need a critical eye and ear like yours. I'm aware of that. But in this case, I really feel if you haven't seen it, and don't know the names of those who were interviewed in it, as well as what they said, you would be hard pressed to be able to say how good or bad a representation it is of this particular dig, and the controversy surrounding it.

Not that I expect you to watch it. You seem to have a busy life. I do however, appreciate you taking the time to put some food for thought in this thread. I'm always interested in what you have to say.

ETA: Forgot to mention. Ancient Aliens were not mentioned in this documentary whatsoever.
edit on 2/28/2013 by Klassified because: eta



posted on Feb, 28 2013 @ 11:07 PM
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Ah, this is so exciting. I love documentaries like this but will have to hold my excitement in check until I get home and I am able to watch the video.

The legends of Lemuria and Atlantis always comes to mind when this topic is discussed.
Makes one wonder if conventional science and history really are a "bit" off in their theories indeed.

Thank you!



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 01:13 AM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


Okay... I confess that when I went looking for the episode, I picked it up off of YouTube instead of clicking on your link. I shoulda clicked the link... what I got was NOT what you posted.

I just listened to about 10 minutes of the program you linked, and realized that it was not what I had found -- the originally titled show with Charlton Heston (and Steen-Macintyre.) I'd tried to watch the Heston show before and he does touch on the Hueyatlaco find in what seemed a sensationalized way. I found a more convenient discussion of the whole matter on Wikipedia.

A couple of observations (realize that I'm not as famous or as well studied as some of these people... nor do I work in these fields. I'm just an opinionated scholar with some knowledge here): First, the bone is problematic to me. I agree that there appear to be cut marks on it, but the art isn't presented like any other primitive art that I've seen. This isn't good or bad, it's just... very different and so no connection can be made with anything. The jumbled mess of lines makes me suspicious of pareidolia (again, nothing I can confirm here, only that the lines can be assembled in a number of ways.)

Second, I think that "suppressed" is a strong word here. The professionals mentioned do have a vested interest in the dig -- HOWEVER -- there is no supporting evidence. You may not be aware of it, but the evidence for pre-Clovis occupation was long in coming and although it's accepted now, it takes a lot of proof to get a consensus on something like the the Gault site. I remember the arguments over this one -- it also was an anomaly, but when other material showed up in the same age range, the site became more accepted.

250,000 years is problematic for a number of reasons, most of which boil down to "no real evidence of humans outside of Africa at that date." A 30,000 year date (which they seem to have settled on in at least one publication) would be somewhat supported by other evidence -- yes, we've seen humans on this continent in that date range... then as sites of equivalent ages crop up closer to Hueyatlaco, proof emerges that yes it's a valid date for that site.

Anyway, I've been aware of this one (marginally) for a number of years. I can see why they're feeling offended, but nobody's going to leap all over an anomalous result and declare it to be The Truth. Further, it hasn't been suppressed as much as it simply hasn't been accepted.

Anyway, a few thoughts from this end. Bear in mind that I'm not an expert and none of this is actually a field that I have a degree in. I have some Master's level courses in these fields, but no degree.



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 01:41 AM
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reply to post by Byrd
 




DENY IGNORANCE

then be ignorant yourself eh?
didnt even watch the first few mins before commenting on "ancient aliens"
typical sceptic



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 03:39 AM
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reply to post by Byrd
 





but nobody's going to leap all over an anomalous result and declare it to be The Truth. Further, it hasn't been suppressed as much as it simply hasn't been accepted.


an anomalous result?

the Diatom results are not anomalous, they are solid FACT!
and it has been suppressed
the Diatom dating alone gives us 'at least' 80,000 years - FACT! not 'speculation' or 'maybe'
this has to be accepted whether anybody likes it or not
so theres your suppression of the FACTS!




posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 03:56 AM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


Certainly an interesting spot Klassified and it does make the old grey matter churn over a fair bit. I will comment more when i have time to watch the video in full.

However, to all on this thread, i would like to point out in a friendly way that Archeology works like all other Sciences - a theory is proposed and then tested, before conclusions are made. However, in order for those conclusions to become accepted, other scientists have to test the theory and see if they bear out. In the case of archeology, this would take the form of corroborating evidence. In the case of Archeology, this means another site that bears out similar results. To my mind, that is good science.



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 07:01 AM
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Originally posted by GezinhoKiko
reply to post by Byrd
 




DENY IGNORANCE

then be ignorant yourself eh?
didnt even watch the first few mins before commenting on "ancient aliens"
typical sceptic


It's all good. She just didn't realize we were talking about two totally different documentaries. I admit to a certain twinge when I hear Ancient Aliens myself. We all make mistakes. I've made plenty of them on ATS.





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