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Irrationality and Popular Archaeology

  • Kenneth L. Feder (a1)

An important aspect of archaeology is communicating the significance of data and research results to a fascinated, although often uninformed public. However, on the basis of book sales, newspaper coverage, television programming, and film presentations, it would seem that the public is inordinately fascinated by the more extreme, speculative, and often pseudoscientific claims made by those purporting to use archaeological data. Through questionnaires distributed to undergraduate students and to professional, teaching archaeologists, I made an attempt to comprehend the nature of the public's appetite for pseudoscientific archaeological claims. The role of education in refuting or perpetuating pseudoscience in archaeology was then assessed.

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Charles Cazeau , and Stuart Scott 1979 Exploring the Unknown: Great Mysteries Reexamined. Plenum Press, New York.

John R. Cole 1980 Cult Archaeology and Unscientific Method and Theory. In Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory, Volume 3, edited by Michael Schiffer , pp. 1-33. Academic Press, New York.

Gerhard E. Lundeen , and Otis W. Caldwell 1930 A Study of Unfounded Beliefs Among High School Seniors. Journal of Educational Research 22(4): 257273.

Richard S. Mac Neish 1964 Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization. Science 143: 531537.

Marshall McKusick 1982 Psychic Archaeology: Theory, Method, and Mythology. Journal of Field Archaeology 9: 99118.

Anne Ross , and Peter Reynolds 1978 Ancient Vermont. Antiquity 52: 100107.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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