Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Archaeologists Unearth Lousiest Civilization Ever"

The Onion just published a great send-up of archaeology publicity. Don't you get sick of those press releases and newspaper articles that sensationalize archaeology and gush over minor finds? If so, check out the item in The Onion (subtitle: "What a Bunch of Losers," Researchers Say). One of my favorite publicity overkills was a press release saying that archaeologists had discovered a pyramid far older than any previously known at a site in Mexico. After several excited emails from National Geographic and other reporters asking for comments, I checked it out. Turns out that a particular Aztec pyramid was known to have many construction stages. The earliest stage (buried under the later stages) had been located in the 1950s, but was never excavated. Now, archaeologists looked for, and found, that earlier stage. Wowie-zowie.

And if you haven't seen "Beatles 3000", another great archaeology spoof, you need to view it now. This one contains a more serious and troubling critique of archaeological interpretation, and is hilarious.

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