Archaeology and history

Nov 2014
5
Hitchin, UK
#1
I come to this forum as an archaeologist with a particular interest and expertise in Britain from the first century BC to the seventh century AD. That gives you a clue about my professional work.

Outside that, I have two principal areas of interest. One is the evidence for an historical "Arthur". The first excavation in which I took part was run by John Morris, notorious for his book The Age of Arthur, which has been universally panned by academic historians yet remains in print and popular with amateur historians. As a teenager, I was in awe of Morris's expertise, which has perhaps coloured my approach to his work; I have come to realise that the only way it can be approached is by becoming completely familiar with the texts he used. I am also a great believer in reading texts in their original languages, as translations can't convey some of the subtleties of the originals.

My other great interest in Bad Archaeology. I grew up with the works of Erich von Däniken, saw them thoroughly debunked and have been dismayed at the resurgence in Ancient Alien rubbish. More than that, I am passionate about dispelling the myths and (it has to be said) lies surrounding particular cultures, sites and artefacts. That was why I started the Bad Archaeology website many years ago and now write an occasional blog about it.
 

Lowell2

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,541
California
#2
Welcome to the forum. There's a few threads on Arthur (myth or any basis in reality) here and I know I'm not alone in being interested in any archaeological documentation for any warrior behind the story of Arthur. You might find the thread on "God was a volcano" interesting regarding bad archaeology. The thread isn't active right now, but there was a lively debate on Troy (was it real and if so, where was it) that you might find interesting also.
 
Feb 2011
822
Kitchener. Ont.
#5
I come to this forum as an archaeologist with a particular interest and expertise in Britain from the first century BC to the seventh century AD. That gives you a clue about my professional work.
Welcome.
We may be from the same generation :) I also grew up with von Daniken, Velikovsky, and all those "How not to do it" books.

Bearing in mind the focus of your website, may I ask, how often have you come across examples of "Bad Archaeology" within the ranks?
 
Nov 2014
5
Hitchin, UK
#7
Welcome.
Bearing in mind the focus of your website, may I ask, how often have you come across examples of "Bad Archaeology" within the ranks?
There are examples of Bad Archaeology done by professional archaeologists, but they are few and far between. What does rankle with me most, though, are the amateur cranks with the Big Idea who actually do fieldwork but then squeeze all their discoveries to fit a preconceived agenda. There aren't a lot of them, but they do seem to make a lot of noise and earn the respect of locals.
 
Jan 2012
421
South Midlands in Britain
#9
I come to this forum as an archaeologist with a particular interest and expertise in Britain from the first century BC to the seventh century AD. That gives you a clue about my professional work.

Outside that, I have two principal areas of interest. One is the evidence for an historical "Arthur". The first excavation in which I took part was run by John Morris, notorious for his book The Age of Arthur, which has been universally panned by academic historians yet remains in print and popular with amateur historians. As a teenager, I was in awe of Morris's expertise, which has perhaps coloured my approach to his work; I have come to realise that the only way it can be approached is by becoming completely familiar with the texts he used. I am also a great believer in reading texts in their original languages, as translations can't convey some of the subtleties of the originals.

My other great interest in Bad Archaeology. I grew up with the works of Erich von Däniken, saw them thoroughly debunked and have been dismayed at the resurgence in Ancient Alien rubbish. More than that, I am passionate about dispelling the myths and (it has to be said) lies surrounding particular cultures, sites and artefacts. That was why I started the Bad Archaeology website many years ago and now write an occasional blog about it.
Morris stretched his sources, perhaps too far for some. I recall reading his first book and finding myself amazed at what looked to me like assertions rather than evidence. There was, however, a cultural thirst at the time for an historic Arthur and Morris provided it. Vide Leslie Alcock and Geoffrey Ashe. This in turn has led us to where we are now, more critical and rejecting an historic Arthur. Truth is archaeology and archaeologists, now freed from the Arthurian hang-up, are filling in the vacant spaces between 400 and 600 AD. `The Fields of Britannia' by Rippon, Smart and Pears is a revelation as is Rippon's own `Kingdom, Civitas County'. Both necessary works that prove what most already suspected. More power to your professional elbow!

I will confess a love for Bad Archaeology just because it is total rubbish. I adore reading the assertive drivel about ancient aliens. It has a cultural context much as do faerie stories which performed the same function within their day. People need their myths and woe betide those of us who debunk them. Mind you, I enjoy doing a bit of debunking as well.
 

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