Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Best and Worst on Film / TV

My list of the worst and best shows ever on Archeology are as follows.


1, Chariots of the Gods, Probably the worst but redeemed by being quite FUN in a really bad way. Probably the Plan Nine From Outer Space of documentaries.

Pacal’s Sarcophagus lid used in Documentary Chariots of the gods.

2, The Incredible Discovery of Noah's Ark, a absurd piece of nonsense where a gentleman fooled the makers of the documentary with a bit of "Noah's ark" that had been aged in Teriyaki sauce.

3, The Mysterious Origins of Man. Charlton Heston disgraces himself in this distorted screed against "orthodoxy".

4, In Search of Ancient Astronauts, which among other things contains an absurd and risible version of the Atlantis tale. I E., the Atlanteans were nuked by ET.

5, The In Search of TV series. Most episodes devoted archeology were out and out one-sided pieces for outrageous claims and theories and predictable for ignoring the "orthodox" view. An occasional good episode only slightly detracts from the god awful paranormal and fringe boosting of the TV show.

6, Kon Tiki Man, a hero worshiping TV series devoted to Thor Heyerdahl's carrier that very poorly dealt with the real problems with his theories. Really funny was the repeated statements that Heyerdahl's theories were "new" and "radical" when they are just the same old late nineteenth early twentieth century hyper diffusionism.

7, Underworld, Fingerprints of the Gods, and any thing else by Hancock. Classic examples of pseudoscience and distortion.

8, The Mystery of the Sphinx, once more a distorted, sensationalistic telling of the “mystery” of the age of the Sphinx.

The Sphinx

9, Michael Wood's embarrassing In Search of the Trojan War, which manage to dance around the question of how much history was in Homer's poems while serving great gobs of romance. In throw away lines Wood would admit that the historical kernel in the poems was small but then go right back to romance and leaving viewers with the impression that the modern study had shown that the historical kernel of the Homeric poems was substantial.


1, The Archeology TV series. Provocative and interesting.

2, The case of the Ancient Astronauts, A dagger through the heart of Chariots of the Gods.

3, Ape Man, a journey narrated by Walter Cronkite about how we became us.

4, Ancient Lives. Romer’s personal view of the ordinary lives of a group of Ancient Egyptians's, showing how they were and were not like us. An example of how ordinary dirt archeology can illuminate the past. Required viewing, and reading, for anyone interested in Ancient Egypt.

5, The Lost Pyramids of Caral. A interesting overview of the discovery of the site of Caral and what that tells us about the origin of civilization.

Pyramids of Caral

6, Legacy, Michael Wood's bite size look at several original civilizations, China, India, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Central America, built around themes, done with sympathy and sense. Wood’s In search of the Dark Ages is also excellent.

7, The real Garden of Eden, for reasons obscure to me this show about archeology on the island of Bahrain, (in ancient times Dilmun) has stuck with me.

8, The Secrets of Easter Island, a stake through the heart of Heyerdahl's ideas about Easter Island.

Statues on Easter island

9, Building a Pyramid. Who says "conventional" "Orthodox" ways of building the pyramids are not interesting and provocative?

Pierre Cloutier

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