Forbidden Archaeology: Fantasies, Frauds, and Mysteries of the Human Past

Is everything we’ve been taught about the past wrong? Do ancient myths, stone ruins, and human DNA preserve evidence of an advanced global civilization that was wiped out by a disaster? Is there a worldwide conspiracy among academics to suppress knowledge about what really happened in the past? This semester, we will explore three major fraudulent ideas about the human past–all connected to this semester’s theme of justice–and evaluate them using the theories and methods of archaeological science. First, we will explore the connections between white supremacy, colonialism and imperialism, and fantastic claims about ancient aliens and lost civilizations, such as Atlantis. Second, we will explore the historical origin, context, and legacy of the Moundbuilder Myth–the claim that Native Americans did not build the earthen mounds of eastern North America–and how it was used to dispossess Native societies of their lands and cultural property. Finally, we will explore how pseudoarchaeology has been used for nationalistic purposes, including the promotion of violent conquest and genocide. 

Click a title below to view student projects from ANTH227 this semester!