Frauds myths and mysteries chapter summaries
Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology by Kenneth L. FederA fairly interesting read. Its style is somewhere in between that of a textbook and that of a popular book. Im not sure it entirely succeeds at either. The topics it covers include the Piltdown Man hoax, the Cardiff Giant hoax, the mound building culture, Atlantis, and settlement/discovery of North America. Its my personal opinion that everyone who has an interest in science should be aware of the Piltdown Hoax. The Cardiff Giant hoax was new to me; it might be of interest to those of you who have connections to Syracuse NY, since the Cardiff Giant does. The discussion of mainstream (white) Americans beliefs that the mound builders couldnt possibly have been Indians was interesting. The discussion of the physical evidence for a Viking presence in North America was also interesting to read about.
It was also interesting to learn that the idea of Atlantis the lost continent came from Platos dialogues. (And it reminded me how ignorant I am when it comes to classical topics. Sigh. So much to learn, so little time.) It was mildly interesting to read about the research thats been done on the Shroud of Turin, but I skipped the section on scientific creationism, because frankly, I already believe that scientific creationism is BS. If this book has a single flaw, its that the author really wants to debunk things like New Age-ism, having once been a believer and then realized that a lot of New Age claims were, er, poorly founded. In that context, an odd connection came up - an ethnologist named Stanislaw Poniatowski, who attempted experiments in psychic archaeology. I cant find conclusive evidence, but I would be very unsurprised if this Stanislaw Poniatovski turns out to be a descendant of this guy, who was the nephew of the Stanislaw Poniatowski that Catherine the Great put on the throne of Poland. (I read about this in Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power.)
There are links here that the book recommends as a further exploration of the topics covered. And in case that page is moved elsewhere, the top page is http://mhhe.com/frauds5/.
Beginning students of archaeology will probably find this to be worth a read.
Frauds, Myths, And Mysteries (textbook) - Feder, Kenneth
Kenneth Feder. Harry Shafer. Thomas Hester. Michael Alan Park. David Poirier. Michael Park. Feder, Central Connecticut State
General Works These provide very good overviews of the many fakes and hoaxes. Each has distinct focuses in archaeology, history, or art and discusses specific examples within their pages. Kurz artworks and archaeological objects and MacDougall all types are classics. Williams and Feder are both very good; the former looks at how fakes and hoaxes have contributed to the "wild side" of North American history, the latter takes a select group of the best-known and deconstructs them. Oscar Muscarella's book provides a passionate description of his view on forgery culture within the art world, as well as a full catalogue of pieces he believes are fakes. Calaveras Skull There are several retellings of the Calaveras skull story in print and online, but they all stem from the investigations and publications of William Henry Holmes, which are highly recommended. His "Preliminary Revision" used as a main source here is a model of debunking, correlating the versions of the story by those involved or present when it happened, taking apart the archaeological and geological evidence point by point, and adding a large dose of common sense.
Kenneth Feder. Harry Shafer. Thomas Hester. Michael Alan Park. David Poirier. Michael Park. Did some of those same ancient Americans also encounter visitors from other planets, painting images of space-suited aliens on canyon walls?