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Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries : Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-05-10
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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Ancient astronauts? Atlantis? Psychic archaeology? Pharaoh's curses? Committed to the scientific investigation of human antiquity, this indispensable supplementary text uses interesting archaeological hoaxes, myths, and mysteries to show how we can truly know things about the past through science. The text presents examples of fantastic findings, and carefully, logically, and entertainingly describes the flaws in the purported evidence for each fantastic claim; readers can hone their own evaluative skills by example.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Science and Pseudoscience

Belief in the Enbelievable

Pseudoscience and Archaeology

Why I Wrote This Book

Chapter 2: Epistemology: How You Know What You Know

Knowing Things

Science: Playing by the Rules

The Workings of Science

The Case of Childbed Fever

The Science and Nonscience: The Essential Differences

The Art of Science

Science and Archaeology

Chapter 3: Anatomy of an Archaeological Hoax

The Cardiff Giant: The Goliath of New York

Why Did They Do It?

Current Perspectives: Frauds

Chapter 4: Dawsons Dawn Man: The Hoax at Piltdown

The Evolutionary Context

A Remarkable Discovery in Sussex

The Piltdown Enigma


The Lesson of Piltdown

Current Perspectives: Human Evolution

Chapter 5: Who Discovered America?

America's First People

Who's Next? After the Indians, Before Columbus

Europeans in America: The Norse Discovery of America

Other Voyagers, Other Visitors

America BC?

Current Perspectives: The Peopling of the Americas

Chapter 6. The Myth of the Moundbuilders

The Myth of a Vanished Race

Who Were the Moundbuilders? Identifying the Vanished Race

The Moundbuilder Mystery Solved

Rationale for the Myth of a Vanished Race

Current Perspectives: The Moundbuilders

Chapter 7: Lost: One ContinentReward

Atlantis: Where Are You?

Atlantis: The Source of the Legend

After Plato

Current Perspectives: Atlantis

Chapter 8: Prehistoric E.T.: The Fantasy of Ancient Astronauts

Gods in Fiery Chariots

The Archaeology of Mars

Current Perspectives:The von Daniken Phenomenon

Chapter 9: Mysterious Egypt

When Did People Get This Smart?

Ancient Egypt

Current Perspectives: Secrets of the Pyramids

Chapter 10: Good Vibrations: Psychics and Dowsers

Psychic Archaeology

Dowsing Instead of Digging

Current Perspectives: Archaeology Without Digging

Chapter 11: Old-Time ReligionNew Age Visions

Scientific Creationism

The Shroud of Turin

New Age Prehistory

Current Perspectives: Religions Old and New

Chapter 12: Real Mysteries of a Veritable Past

The Cave Painters of Europe

The Civilization of Europe

The Civilization of the Maya


Conclusion: A Past We Deserve

Supplemental Materials

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