Ancient Origins Censored: Skeletons, Mummies and Naked Neanderthals Deemed Too Shocking to Publish
We are being censored! With a Google report listing nearly one hundred violations for ‘shocking’ and ‘sexual content’, anyone would think we fall into the same category as LiveLeak. So, what is this shocking content we’ve been publishing? Skeletons, mummies, Roman statues and bare-chested depictions of Thor! Is this the future of the internet, where even Tutankhamun must hide his face?
According to the Google Adsense Prohibited Content Policies, Ad serving will be disabled on websites that do not remove content flagged as inappropriate in a timely fashion. For many online publishers, including Ancient Origins, this can mean a significant loss of business income – for some, it may be their sole income. This is forcing many publishers to comply with the policies or be forced with closure as they struggle to meet costs.
“We understand the need for keeping inappropriate content off the internet, particularly that which may cause harm,” said Ancient Origins Co-Founder Joanna Gillan. “But when content that is educational and central to our understanding of ancient history is considered inappropriate, this is nothing less than censorship.”
Ancient relief carvings aren’t exempt from sexual content classification ( CC by SA 2.0)
Ancient Origins received a report listing more than 20 pages deemed as ‘Shocking Content’. Google defines shocking content as:
“Content containing gruesome, graphic or disgusting accounts or imagery (e.g., blood, guts, gore, sexual fluids, human or animal waste, crime scene or accident photos)
Content depicting acts of violence (e.g., accounts or images of shootings, explosions, or bombings; execution videos; violent acts committed against animals)”
Sounds reasonable right?
But…. ‘human waste’ includes images of skeletons and mummies, including the world-famous Otzi the Iceman, Tutankhamun, Ramesses II and Juanita, the Inca Ice Maiden.
And, ‘acts of violence’ includes paintings of Zeus striking the earth with his thunderbolt, and relief carvings of ancient battles. Yes, you read that right. Unless Ancient Origins deletes all its images of mummies, skeletons and ancient battles, we are on the Google black list!
One of the images blacklisted on Ancient Origins was the above depiction of the god Thor with his hammer (TNS Sofres / flickr)
Dozens of our articles have been flagged by Google as inappropriate for its ‘Sexual Content’. Ok, we admit that a handful of our articles may be a little risqué as we delve into topics such as sexuality in Ancient Greece, erotic art in Pompeii, and the wild antics of frisky ancient gods. But Google doesn’t stop there.
“Many of our pages have been blacklisted for showing photographs of Roman statues that are not wearing clothing,” said Joanna Gillan. “Naked Neanderthals, 30,000-year-old figurines of the female figure, and paintings of a bare-chested god of Thor also met the Restricted Content classification.”
“There is no negotiating with Google,” Joanna added. “Either you get in line with their policies or you get out. We are worried about what this means for the future of the internet and the impact this has on the field of ancient history where even the Statue of David is deemed too scandalous to show to the world.”
Top image: Reconstruction of a Homo Erectus Woman (RIDVAN / Adobe Stock)