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Pseudoarchaeology: the concept and its limitations

  • Robin Derricourt (a1)

The familiar term “pseudoarchaeology” allows us to categorise and comfortingly dismiss a diverse group of alternative presentations of the past, and reinforce our own professionalism as scholars and scientists. Glyn Daniel regularly denounced the ideas of a “lunatic fringe” in Antiquity editorials, and contributors to a recent unforgiving book analyse “how pseudoarchaeology misrepresents the past” (Fagan 2006). Other terms like “alternative” or “cult” archaeologies describe the same phenomena, and it is appropriate to consider elements of pseudohistory in the same argument. The conventional image is of a clear gap between the knowledge gained through our scholarly and scientific research and thinking, and the illusory pasts and falsehoods created by others. But such a binary division does present problems.

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B. Trigger 2006. History of archaeological thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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