Integrity Of Ancient Mummies Offended By Ancient Aliens
Archaeologists all over the world have for decades refuted claims of an extraterrestrial influence on the building achievements of ancient humans. The academic community regard such claims as “ aliens of the gaps,” reflecting the “ God of the gaps” theological perspective where gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God's existence. Proponents suggest ancient alien contact influenced the development of ancient cultures, and their technologies, religions, and sometimes biology, and a common theme is that ancient deities were extraterrestrial in origin, and that their associated divine powers were remnants of advanced technologies brought to Earth by these ancient astronauts.
Supporters of ancient astronaut theories suggest extraterrestrial explorers came to Earth long ago and they cite artifacts such as this ancient Mesopotamian cylinder seal depicting what is interpreted as a flying craft. (Public Domain)
Denigrating Pre-Columbian Peruvian Cultures
The idea that extraterrestrials visited ancient civilizations was first amplified in the pop-cultural sphere in the 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods? in which Swiss author Erich von Däniken popularized the ancient astronaut theory claiming the collection of massive geoglyphs in Southern Peru - the Nazca Lines - were only fully visible from the air and therefore could only have been landing strips for extraterrestrial crafts. He implies a civilization who had technology capable of traversing space and time would have required lines in stone to prevent them crashing to Earth. In reality, the Nazca Lines are composed of over 10,000 lines and cover an area of nearly 1,000 sq. kilometers (621 miles) comprising about 300 different figures including animals and plants, some of which measure 30 meters (98 feet) wide and stretch more than nine kilometers (5.6 miles) long, and most of the figures can be viewed from nearby hilltops, negating the need for a spaceship.
In 2009, historian Ronald H. Fritze wrote Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions, explaining while some of the Nazca Lines point to water sources, others represent celestial-constellations some of which indicate dark-constellations occupying spaces in the starry wheel of the Milky Way. The closest they got to aliens was that they might have been symbolic offerings to sky deities. However, Chariots of the Gods? was on The New York Times bestseller list for several years and it helped to launch Von Däniken's career as a public speaker, inspiring the sales of 70 million copies of his books as of January 2017.
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Ashley Cowie is a Scottish historian, author and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems, in accessible and exciting ways. His books, articles and television shows explore lost cultures and kingdoms, ancient crafts and artifacts, symbols and architecture, myths and legends telling thought-provoking stories which together offer insights into our shared social history. www.ashleycowie.com.
Top Image: A naturally preserved Peruvian mummified male, possibly from the North coast of Peru where the Chimu culture buried their dead in 'mummy bundles', curled up in foetal position with bound hands and feet.(1200 – 1400 AD)(Wellcome Images / CC BY-SA 4.0)
By Ashley Cowie